HolyCoast: January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

CHP Photo Leak Costs Taxpayers $2.4 Million

One of the most searched stories I've ever done came as a result of an automobile accident on Halloween day, 2006, when a Porsche driven by an 18-year old crashed at very high speed into a toll booth.  CHP employees leaked grisly photos from the accident which found their way onto the internet and precipitated a wave of cyber bullying and additional pain for the family.  I've done several posts on the subject, including the fact that most of the people who find my post via Google are usually trying to find the grisly photos (which I've never run or linked to), and now there's been a resolution in the case against the CHP:
Ending a 4½-year court battle that rewrote state law, a Ladera Ranch family tormented by grisly accident photos of their daughter on the Internet has settled a lawsuit against the California Highway Patrol for leaking images that went viral worldwide.

The CHP agreed to pay the family of Nicole "Nikki" Catsouras $2.375 million Friday after a judge ordered the two sides to talk ahead of a jury trial scheduled for March, CHP spokesman Fran Clader said.

The deal puts an end to an emotionally charged legal drama waged by Lesli and Christos Catsouras on behalf of their daughter, Nicole "Nikki" Catsouras.

Nikki's horribly disfigured remains are permanently on display on hundreds of websites after an Oct. 31, 2006, crash that left the 18-year-old nearly decapitated.

On top of the grief of losing the eldest of their four daughters, Lesli and Christos Catsouras say they and their three surviving daughters have had to endure a never-ending nightmare of knowing that a click of a mouse can unknowingly bring up ghastly images of Nikki on their computer screen.

"The family was compensated for the emotional pain and suffering associated with the release of the photos," Catsouras family attorney Keith Bremer said. "The CHP came to the table with significant funds in an effort to resolve this case and remove any chances of a monumental verdict."
This case has basically changed the law as it pertains to photos of a deceased person who is not considered a celebrity or someone whose likeness after death would have some particular value. Unfortunately, the internet makes is possible to spread images far and wide very quickly, and makes them equally hard to get rid of once they're out there. The grisly photos in question are still being put on websites and that's a shame.

Professional law enforcement needs to be more careful with the images they take of crime and accident scenes, and I'm sure this case will have an impact.

Musical Chairs in Florida

First of all, it looks like Mitt Romney has trounced Newt Gingrich and everyone else in Florida.  As I write this I'm listening to Romney's victory speech.  The message is good, but I don't know if I buy the delivery, or how the rest of America will take him. I tweeted this a moment ago:
Dear GOP: You better hope Romney beats Obama or conservatives are going to have their own party in 2016.
In other Florida news, I reported recently how redistricting was pushing more Democrats into Allen West's district and endangering the one-term congressman.  West has apparently decided not to sit back and let that happen, and several congressmen are going to be moving seats.  This headline sort of explains it:
Allen West moves North, Tom Rooney moves West, Adam Hasner to CD22
West will be moving to a newly created district with a better GOP voter mix, and the other guys are making similar moves to better ensure their futures.  I hope it works.  It would be a shame to lose West or any of the other GOP congressmen.

The Teddy Memorial

No, not a memorial to skimpy women's nightwear (though now that I think about it, that might be appropriate in this case), but a memorial to the corpulent late Massachusetts senator:
The Kennedy family transferred ownership of the main home in their compound in Hyannis Port, Mass., to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate on Monday. The institute will use the 9,055-square-foot waterfront home for educational seminars and will create a plan to allow limited visits by the public, according to a statement. The Kennedy family, which still owns other homes in the compound, will continue to use the property on a limited basis.
I hope they use this picture somewhere.
If they're going to do this right they need to park a partially submerged 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88 in the surf.

Weekly KHND Interview Podcast/Video

Here's the video/podcast of this morning's radio interview on KHND Radio.  My part starts at 20:50.

The Catholics Will Get Their New Big Glass Church

The Crystal Cathedral is changing hands:
A last-minute attempt to block the sale of the Crystal Cathedral failed Monday.

Cathedral insiders asserted that the congregation has a 99-year lease on the landmark Garden Grove church, and they refused to give up the lease to allow a court-ordered sale to go forward.

But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kwan ordered the $57.5 million sale of the church to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange to proceed.

The sale probably will close in the next several days. The diocese has promised that the congregation can continue to use the cathedral for three years before it becomes the diocese's spiritual home.

During an emergency hearing, no one from the congregation was able to prove that the 99-year lease exists.
The dwindling congregation will have to find someplace else to go in three years. My guess is there won't be many of them left by then.

It's quite a facility, but I doubt the Catholics will let us sing there the way the old church did way back in 2002.

Sports Video of the Day

Hasn't this guy ever heard of the laws of physics?  And how do you practice something like this without having a several hundred pound snowmobile land on you numerous times?  Amazing.

Education Cartoon of the Day

I remember some of my teachers had very creative hall passes, but none like this:

If Newt and Mitt Are Unelectable, Obama Is Even Less So

Could we have a presidential election in which nobody wins?  Of course that won't happen, but none of the candidates from either party can be considered electable.  Both Mitt and Newt have their problems, that's for sure, but that doesn't mean Obama gets a free ride back to the White House.  Real Clear Politics looks at Obama's electability:
It’s understandable that the focus would be on Republican candidates in the midst of a GOP primary. But we shouldn’t forget that the general election -- like all incumbent elections -- will largely be a referendum on Barack Obama. And, under current conditions, Obama is every bit as unelectable as the Republicans supposedly are. Consider:

1) Obama is still unpopular. Almost all models of presidential elections examine presidential approval ratings (very few use challenger favorability, incidentally), as presidents rarely win many votes of those who disapprove of their performance in office. In other words, Obama probably needs to be pretty close to 50 percent approval on Election Day to secure re-election. (In 2004, George W. Bush was at 49.7 percent in the RCP Average on Election Day.)

As of this writing, Obama’s job approval in the RCP Average is 46.8 percent. For the last month, his job approval in Gallup has bounced around between 42 percent and 46 percent, averaging 44.7 percent.

To put this in perspective, on Election Day 2010, his approval was 45.6 percent in the RCP Average and 44 percent in Gallup. In other words, his rating is roughly where it was when Democrats suffered their worst midterm drubbing since 1938....

2) The economy is still a millstone. As I noted above, there has been some good economic news lately. But the flip side of this is that we’ve heard it before: Late 2010 and early 2011 were filled with bullish reports on the economy, as was early 2010 (remember “Recovery Summer”?).
Just take a look at the previous post on the projected unemployment rates for the next couple of years and you'll see why Obama has an uphill fight to hold his job.

Read the rest of it at the link.

Today's Chris Christie Lesson in Government

Sometimes you gotta call 'em as you see 'em:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie lashed out at a fellow Garden State politician Monday, calling an openly gay state legislator a “numbnuts” in response to the lawmaker labeling him a racist last week.

A visibly perturbed Christie made the comment during a news conference on Monday, reported the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

It all started last week when Christie called for a voter referendum on gay marriage.

“I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South,” Christie said.

Those comments upset Democratic assemblyman Reed Gusciora, who responded last week by saying, “Govs. Lester Maddox and George Wallace would have found allies in Chris Christie over efforts by the Justice Department to end segregation in the South.”

On Monday, Christie called Gusciora’s words “transparently political.”

“You have numbnuts like Reed Gusciora, who put out a statement, you know, comparing me George Wallace and Lester Maddox.”
That's exactly how every politician should respond to Democrats who play the race card - call them idiots (or numbnuts). The more the race card is slapped back like this the less likely the left will attempt to use it.

Unemployment Will Stay Above 8% For 2012, Over 9% in 2013

From Mark Knoller:
New projections from Congressional Budget Office this morning: national unemployment rate stays above 8% this year & next.

CBO projects unemployment decline "to around 7 percent by the end of 2015, before dropping to near 5½ percent by the end of 2017."
And from Jim Pethokoukis:
Recovery, RIP | CBO: Unemployment will average 8.8% in 2012, 9.1% in 2013; GDP will average 2.2% this year, 1.0% in 2013

Key CBO conclusion: Only 1/3 of the decline in labor force participation rate is due to demographics. The rest due to downturn
And from MelissaTweets:
We have a profound unemployment crisis, massive debt, and no leadership. Why would consumers lack confidence?
No president has ever been reelected with unemployment above 7.2%, but that doesn't mean the GOP can't screw it up enough that Obama can win even with 8%+ unemployment rates.

And don't underestimate Obama's ability to discourage enough workers to leave the job force and cause the unemployment rate to drop further than expected.

The CBO's projections can be found here.

Florida Primary Today

Romney looks like he's headed to a winner-take-all victory in Florida today:
PPP's second day of tracking in Florida finds little change in the state of the race. Mitt Romney leads with 39% to 32% for Newt Gingrich with Rick Santorum at 14% and Ron Paul at 11%. Romney and Santorum are both down a single point from Saturday's polling while Paul has gained 2 points and Gingrich has stayed in place.

The reason we don't find Gingrich getting blown out by a double digit margin in Florida is that he's winning a lot of the same groups he did in South Carolina. He's up 37-33 with Evangelicals, 40-33 with Tea Partiers, and 36-29 with voters who describe themselves as "very conservative." The problem for him is that he's not winning those groups by the same kinds of margins that he did in the Palmetto State.

Romney continues to have a large lead in the bank in Florida. 34% of our respondents said they'd already voted and with those folks he has a 45-33 lead. That puts Gingrich in a position where he'd have to not only win the election day vote, but win it by 6 or 7 points to upset Romney in the state. The kind of reversal necessary to make that happen seems unlikely to occur in the next 48 hours.
This is why I don't like early voting. People who vote two or three weeks ahead of the election are completely immune to any news developments that occur in those final days and I don't think it helps the democratic process.  There have probably been two or three debates since some of those people voted, plus various news developments that may have changed some minds.

Political Photo of the Day

This is simply disturbing - Willard Fabio (from Political Clown Parade):

Shocker: California Teacher's Association Backs Higher Taxes

Of course I'm being satirical with that headline, but the way it was reported Monday night on the local news you'd think this was a major victory for Gov. Moonbeam.  If Jerry Brown reinstated slavery the CTA would endorse his idea on the basis that the "slaves will finally get the educational opportunities they so desperately need.":
The California Teachers Association officially agreed Sunday to back Gov. Jerry Brown's multibillion-dollar tax plan, which should provide the governor hefty financial support for his fall campaign.

The union represents 325,000 teachers and education workers, and it is a heavy hitter in state politics. Brown is gathering signatures for a November initiative to raise sales taxes by a half-cent and income taxes on high-income earners. He has structured his budget so schools would face a $2.4 billion program cut in 2012-13 if voters reject his proposal, which he says is equal to three weeks off the school year.

The Democratic governor now has support from the state's two most powerful public employee unions, the CTA and the Service Employees International Union State Council. The SEIU has not made its support public, but CTA President Dean E. Vogel told his members on Saturday that the "SEIU State Council has already taken a support position," according to a text of his speech.
Major state-funded unions will always support higher taxes and will never support a reduction in the size of government at any level.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Political Headline of the Day

From Sister Toldjah:
FAIL: Va. state senator (D) proposes adding “mandatory rectal exams for men” to ultrasound bill
Isn't Obama already giving us all rectal exams?

Ferris Bueller Rides Again

Okay, this is funny.  It's Honda's new Super Bowl ad:

Dems Overtake GOP in Generic Congressional Ballot

For the first time in a long time:
President Obama might be right: Nancy Pelosi could become House speaker again.

A new Rasmussen poll just released finds that Democrats lead Republicans on the generic congressional ballot for roughly the first time in two-and-a-half years, a period that brought the nation the Tea Party and the overwhelming GOP victory in the 2010 midterm elections.

According to the new poll, 41 percent of likely voters would choose the Democrat in their district's congressional race, while 40 percent would go for the generic Republican.

Said Rasmussen, "Since the week of June 15, 2009, Republicans have led on the ballot every week but one, leading by as much as 12 points and as little as one. The last time the Democrats earned this much support was when the two parties were tied at 41% each in mid-November."

Of course, the approval ratings of both House parties is dismally low, but the switch to the Democrats in the generic ballot is a possible sign that voters might be souring on the Republicans who fought Obama over spending last year, led by the new Tea Party class.
I think there may be buyer's remorse, but not for the reason stated in the article. Some may object to the GOP fighting Obama, but what did those people think they were getting when they elected so many Republicans? I think the buyer's remorse, if any, is coming from people who expected much, much more out of the new GOP congress only to see it stymied by its own leadership. The GOP failed to listen to the voters and now they're paying the price in the polls.

GOP Voter Question of the Day: "Why Do We Have So Many Squishes?"

Ben Domenech interviewed a Florida voter, a former detective who is now a retired stay-at-home mom.  She never used to be very politically engaged, but after the 2008 election and the passage of Obamacare she became very engaged.  What she has to say about 2010 and forward should be very concerning to the GOP:
"2010 was a real turning point for me. I watched the midterm election results as we won the House with some good, solid conservatives and I felt so proud and accomplished. I felt like we - the TEA Party, my mommy friends, ME - we had made a difference," Rebecca said. "We were helping to put our country back on the right path, and return to the ideals of our founders."

"Then came 2011," Rebecca says, and her mood clouds. "It felt like every time I turned around, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell were selling us out, hanging our Tea Party freshmen out to dry, and doing it for no apparent reason."

She's unsure why this is. "Are they idiots, or just the worst chess/poker players ever? Every time they have an opportunity to limit government, reduce taxes, etc. they blow it."

And all the while, President Obama is able to "look like he's trying, he's really trying, but the 'Republican Controlled Congress' keeps getting in the way. The debt ceiling increases. The lack of a budget. The 30-odd House passed bills that Harry Reid won't allow a vote on." Indeed, Rebecca is so infuriated with the Congress' inability to carry their message or push back, she thinks a third party might be needed.

"I almost feel as though there needs to be a new party, a truly conservative party, that really represents us. Sometimes I feel like the GOP is more interested in protecting their jobs than in promoting conservative ideals. At least, that's what Boehner and McConnell make me think," Rebecca said. "Why can't we have a party full of Rubios - candidates who believe in American exceptionalism and limited government, and do so unapologetically? Why do we have to have so many squishes?"
There are a lot of people out there like that, and a major disappointment in 2012 could be just the thing to motivate the formation of an actual conservative third party. I don't like the idea very much because I think it will guarantee Democrat control for a long time until that party is firmly established, but just think of the impact of a party that actually ran and supported candidates like Marco Rubio and other strong conservatives. That would be something to see.

Obama To Equip His Hordes With Mobile Credit Card Readers

This is actually quite a good idea and the GOP should take note:
President Barack Obama is no stranger to fundraising: his 2008 campaign drew a record-shattering $750 million in donations, and many expect his reelection efforts will result in a colossal war chest exceeding $1 billion come November. To aid in that lofty endeavor, Politico reports that campaign staffers with Android and iPhone handsets will soon be wielding Square credit card readers for collecting contributions on the go. Square units will allegedly be distributed to both Obama for America employees and volunteers nationwide, though a date for the rollout hasn't been pegged as of yet. While smaller political outfits have also turned to the plastic dongle for fundraising, Obama's White House will be the first to utilize the mobile payment technology in a presidential contest.
I've been using Square to handle mobile credit card transactions for about a year now and I absolutely love it. The service works with my Android phone and almost instantly authorizes credit transactions and puts the money in my account within a couple of days (less their fee). I'd be curious to know if any special fee discount arrangements have been made for the Obama campaign. They normally charge 2.75% for swiped cards, and 3.5% for manually keyed transactions. I would think any other discount arrangements might constitute a donation to the campaign.

With the Square readers campaign minions could walk around rallies and accept cards on the spot for campaign donations.  Square usually limits the number of devices on one account to 20, but they may be making an exception given the number of people involved in a campaign.  I just wonder how many people will open their credit card statements and find they've contributed more than they planned to a campaign, or perhaps made a contribution they didn't even know about.  The potential for fraud and abuse is pretty high in such an uncontrolled environment.

The other risk is that anyone can set up a Square account, so if they wish to pad their own coffers all they need do is sign onto their account rather than the official Obama campaign account.  Any transactions would flow to their bank instead of the campaign.  Maybe I should start attending Obama rallies to make a little extra cash?

The GOP should pay attention - using a mobile credit card device like Square is a good idea worth copying.  Get on it.

Leftist Latinos Demand Marco Rubio Play Identity Politics

These people are going to be disappointed if they expect to influence Marco Rubio's votes by demanding he play their identity politics game:
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is at the top of every pundit's short list to be the Republican vice presidential nominee, in the belief that having a Latino in the second spot on the ticket will attract Latino voters who have been fleeing the GOP in recent years.

But today at the Hispanic Leadership Network conference in Miami, the Berkeley organization Presente Action is launching a national anti-Rubio campaign during his big moment in the national spotlight, days before Tuesday's critical Florida primary.

Their assertion, backed by recent surveys, is that Rubio's positions on several key issues, immigration in particular, are far from the mainstream of the Latino electorate.

So Presente, a 3-year-old, 250,000-member online hub that aims to be "the Latino MoveOn.org" is aiming its campaign at the senator who is a Tea Party darling. The campaign's name: "No somos Rubios." ("We are not Rubios.")

"Rubio has to decide," said Presente Action co-founder and strategist Roberto Lovato, "if he's a Latino or a Tea Partino."
These people want all Latinos to vote as a bloc, which is what black voters currently do. As I explained in a previous post, the day black voters decided to act as one they effectively gave up their political power. So far Latinos haven't made the same mistake, and because so much of their electorate can still be swayed by political arguments, they have retained the power that blacks have lost.

Latinos would be wise to ignore these groups and make up their own minds about candidates and issues.  That's what Marco Rubio has done.

Political Graphic of the Day

ElectionProjection.com is back up and running and has provided its first look at an Obama vs. Romney race.  It's very close, but the edge at this point is to Obama.  The first numbers give Obama a 272-266 Electoral Vote win (it takes 270 to win).  Interestingly, the project gives Romney a slight edge in the popular vote, sort of a repeat of 2000.  I wonder if those states that think the popular vote winner should get their electoral votes would agree to give their votes to Romney instead of Obama if he won the popular vote? Not likely.
The site is also looking at the House and Senate. Based on current polls they give the GOP a 50-49-1 lead in the Senate, and a 242-193 lead in the House, if the elections were today. There's still lots of work to do to guarantee or improve those numbers.

This is a site I'll be checking regularly throughout the campaign year as its updated for new polls.  It was a good resource in 2008.

Michelle Obama Does Her Part for the Economy

She's just like the rest of us...
Michelle Obama reportedly shelled out $50,000 on “the sexiest lingerie in the world” at Agent Provocateur, according to The Telegraph.

The first lady’s visit to the Madison Avenue store helped increase the lingerie brand’s sales by 12 percent.

After several British news outlets reported on the shopping spree, a White House official denied the story, according to Politico.

Agent Provocateur CEO Gary Hogarth couldn’t comment on the luxury store’s client list, but he did say that there had been some high-profile clients.

The French company is known as much for its erotic lingerie as it is for its high prices.
There are certain images of the First Lady you just don't want invading your mind.

Political Cartoon of the Day

Seen on Facebook:

If You're Planning to Sit Out the Election if Your Guy Doesn't Get the Nomination, You Don't Have a Candidate You Have a Personality Cult

This year the primary election process seems to have taken on much more of a "my guy or nothing" attitude among many voters.  We've seen that for several cycles with the Ron Paul nuts, but increasingly that seems to be the theme of the day with other campaigns as well.  The Romney forces say they can't support Newt if he wins, and the Newt forces say they'd rather elect Obama than Mitt.  Rick Santorum seems to be the only guy who has escaped these personality cult politics, but that's probably because he has relatively few followers.

It used to be GOP voters would shrug their shoulders, swallow hard, and go vote for the RINO-of-the-day who was foisted on them by the party establishment.  That all changed when the Tea Party came along and supported candidates who were in some cases unelectable (like Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle) rather than line up behind a unreliable RINO. As a result we probably gave away the Senate seat in Connecticut and our best chance to flush Harry Reid away in Nevada.  There were victories, like Marco Rubio in Florida, but demanding ideological purity is a risky game.

So, what happens with Tea Party voters if Mitt Romney wins the nomination?  Do they stay home and help give Obama four more years, or so they swallow their pride one more time and pull the lever for Mitt?  It all comes down to priorities, and the first priority has got to be ending the reign of Obama.  As bad as Mitt might be on some issues, is he really going to be worse than Obama?  Of course not.

Some are saying they're okay with electing Obama as long as the GOP holds the House and takes the Senate (the latter is certainly not a sure thing).  However, that ignores the fact that Obama has already shown he's willing to exert power that he may not even legally have via unilateral executive orders and the like.  He recently made two recess appointments even though Congress wasn't in recess.  If you think you can check his power with a GOP congress, you're wrong.  You can stop legislation, but you can't stop executive orders and onerous regulations that will be imposed by Obama's appointees.

Bottom line, whoever the nominee ends up being the fate of the nation requires the allegiance of ALL GOP voters toward our candidate.  We may not like him all that much, and he probably won't be our favorite, but if he can win and stop Obama we must support him.

The #OccupyWallStreet Movement is Past Its Expiration Date

How do you know when your leftist protest movement is past its expiration date?  When lefty cities like Oakland have finally had enough:
Oakland City Hall was set to reopen Monday after municipal employees worked to clean up damage they said was caused over the weekend by Occupy protesters, about 400 of whom were arrested following clashes with police in this Northern California city.

The mass arrests, described by police as the largest in city history, appear to have injected new life into the Occupy movement as protesters in a number of American and European cities took to the streets Sunday to express their solidarity with the Occupy Oakland group.

"The Occupy movement will respond, as we have always responded: With an overwhelming show of collective resistance," Occupy Wall Street said in a statement posted on its website.
The City of Oakland is getting what it deserves. They babied this movement and allowed it to violate numerous city ordinances all in the name of "freedom of protest and assembly", and now that they've finally grown tired of this silly game, putting the genie back in the bottle isn't going to be easy. The city now has a whole collection of spoiled brats who aren't going to give up their city-granted freedoms very easily. And with solidarity protests breaking out in other cities, like L.A., we appear to have some more temper tantrums to work through before this movement finally dies.

Political Quote of the Day

From Rep. Allen West (R-FL):
"Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America."
West may need to start directing his ire at the GOP establishment that's actively working to redistricting him right out of Congress.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gov. Moonbeam Suffers Rare Bout of Sanity

He apparently wants to ease the burdensome regulations on the oil industry and has fired two regulators who got in his way:
Late last year, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed for a top state regulator to ease key requirements for companies seeking to tap California's oil. The official balked.

Relaxing rules on underground injection, a risky method of oil extraction common in the state, would violate environmental laws, wrote Derek Chernow, then head of the Department of Conservation, in a memo obtained by The Times.

The process, in which a rush of steam, water and chemicals flushes oil from old wells, had been linked to spills, eruptions and a Kern County worker's death. The federal government had asked the state to tighten its regulations, but the oil industry complained that the stringent rules were killing jobs.

A week after Chernow wrote his memo, Brown had him fired, along with a deputy, Elena Miller. The governor appointed replacements who agreed to stop subjecting every injection project to a top-to-bottom review before issuing a permit.

Brown's decision to side with energy interests over his regulators reflects the economic and political pressures on the governor during his return engagement in Sacramento. The economy is still sluggish in the wake of a deep recession, and unemployment remains high.

Although Brown has fought offshore drilling and sued oil companies throughout his career, making him a favorite of environmentalists, he now talks of tossing cumbersome regulations to revive the economy. The oil industry, in particular, employs tens of thousands of Californians, many of them in Kern County, where the jobless rate is 14.5%.
We've allowed the environmental movement and the regulatory mess it has insisted on to trump common sense and stifle our state's economy. Good for Moonbeam to recognize the problem and do something about it.

Now if he'd just let us go after the oil we know is sitting just offshore, but this state has never gotten over the Santa Barbara spill of the late 60's and the people in power just assume there's been no improvement to drilling methods since then.

Top 1% of Earners Paid 38% of the Taxes

And yet Obama continues to claim they're not paying their "fair share" (from Heritage):
The top 10% of earners paid 70% of taxes. Is that fair?

Storm Chasers Canceled

The news is about a week old but I just heard it this morning.  One of my favorite Discovery Channel shows, Storm Chasers, has been canceled.  That's a shame, though I noticed this past season seemed to have strayed from actual storm chasing into stories focused more on personalities, and I think that was a mistake.  People didn't tune in for a soap opera, they tuned in to see severe weather and tornadoes.

The people involved in the series will continue to storm chase since that's their job, and hopefully their footage will be available on TV or the internet in some fashion.  I enjoyed the five seasons it was on.  If Discovery doesn't want it, somebody else should pick it up.  It's good TV when it's done right.

It's still a goal of mine to go on a storm chasing trip some Spring and see these things for myself.  They're a little pricey, but I gotta believe it would be some kind of fun.

Oakland Has An Old Fashioned Hippie Butt-Whomping

Good times were had by all but #OccupyOakland:
Oakland police made more than 300 arrests during a tense Occupy Oakland protest Saturday, with city officials expressing frustration and outrage at the tactics of some demonstrators.

City Administrator Deanna Santana said the city "will not be bullied by threats of violence or illegal activity. ... Breaking into buildings, assaulting police officers, provoking confrontations and vandalizing property are tactics that are counterproductive and divide our community. They drain scarce city resources away from the neighborhoods in greatest need. Oakland deserves better."

Other city officials said the protests prevented police from dealing with other emergencies.

"This particular faction of Occupy ... they're very violent, and I'm going to be asking for a lot more mutual aid," Mayor Jean Quan told the Oakland Tribune. "They are hurting the neighborhoods by continuing to do this on Saturday nights."
Mayor Quan babied these people for months, giving them everything they wanted and them some. She allowed them to block Oakland streets, shut down ports and harass local citizens. She's been a disaster for the city and is now suddenly a born again law-and-order mayor. If you want to fix the problem, first dump the liberal politicians and then let the cops do their job.

Political Quote of the Day

From a couple of tweets by Joshua Trevino:
Remember the conservative pundits who cleared the path for Romney by attacking candidates to his right for their lapses from conservatism.

Remember, too, that they did it -- advancing the godfather of Obamacare -- while proclaiming pure adherence to principle. Just remember.
Meanwhile, one of Romney's Florida spokesmen is leading an effort in the legislature to redistrict freshman congressman Allen West out of office. West is a favorite of the Tea Party and a black conservative. You'd think that Republicans would want to keep this guy in office, but not the Romneybots.

An Inconvenient Truth: Global Warming Ended in 1997

And it's probably going to get a lot colder before it warms up again:
The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years.

The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.

Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.

Meanwhile, leading climate scientists yesterday told The Mail on Sunday that, after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food.
We've had a bit of global warming this winter in So Cal. Last night at 7:30 pm it was still 72 degrees - shirtsleeve weather. We can thank a Santa Ana wind condition for the mild, dry weather, and so far we really haven't had what passes for cold around here. We may have approached freezing over night once or twice, but for the most part it's been pretty balmy.

I remember past years with something like this happened...only to turn bitter cold in February and March. One year, after nearly no rain all season, we had what was called the "March Miracle" and just got dumped on for several days. I remember going up to the local mountains at that time and finding over 8' of snow on the ground.

That kind of snowfall may become more common in the next 20 years or so based on these new climate numbers.

Newt: I'm In It Until the Convention

I'm not sure he'll have the money to hang in there if he starts rolling up a bunch of primary losses:
Despite signs that he could lose the important Florida primary on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich, who picked up the endorsement of a former opponent, Herman Cain, pledged Saturday to stay in the nominating race until the very end, telling reporters he would press on until the Republican convention in Tampa in August.

“I will go all the way to the convention,” Mr. Gingrich said after a rally at a golf course here. “I expect to win the nomination.”

Will this be the GOP's Obama vs. Hillary? We'll see.

Political Headline of the Day

If Newt had any hope of good coverage from the mainstream media, this will probably end that:
Gingrich campaign to traveling press: Find your own damn ride
You should read it to see how this all transpired. Kind of an insider's look at the campaign process.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Even the Wisconsin Progressives Want to Keep Scott Walker

This is interesting.  An online poll in a progressive Madison, WI newspaper is asking its readers who they'd like to see run against Gov. Scott Walker in the recall election.  The last option given is "I plan to vote for Scott Walker".  Here's the latest results:
If Feingold is their best option they're in trouble because I don't think he wants to run and risk another statewide loss. And based on these numbers (which are not scientific), even if all the opposition was gathered up for one candidate that person would still lose by 8 points.

The Wisconsin Union Thugs have their work cut out for them, especially when you read this item from Business Insider:
"It’s possible the recall elections will rally Wisconsin Democrats, spurring them to keep up the fight by heading to the polls in November. However, the recall election will not be cheap....

Democrats outside the state have expressed concern about sinking money into a statewide election so soon before the presidential race. There is also a chance that adding another hot contest to the year’s election calendar will induce voter fatigue, leaving would-be voters unwilling to summon the energy to make their way back to the polls again in November. In a state as evenly divided as Wisconsin, voter turnout is critical....

In the background, Wisconsin is also considering a proposal that would change the way it allots its Electoral College votes from a winner-take-all model to a representative one based on congressional districts. Maine and Nebraska are the only states that currently determine their Electoral College votes this way.... [I]f the proposal did somehow pass, it could deprive Obama of the last few votes he needs to win a close race, even if he narrowly carries Wisconsin.
I think every Blue state should change to proportional allocation of Electoral Votes. If California did that there would finally be a reason for Republicans to campaign in this state.

Economic Graphic of the Day

Some sobering numbers if you're planning a re-election campaign:

Political Quote of the Day

From Charles Krauthammer, discussing Mitch Daniels' GOP response to the State of the Union speech:
It was the best response speech I’ve ever heard after State of the Union, which is a hard thing to do after the pomp and the majesty of the President’s speech. And the content of it is quite remarkable. It was the best articulation of the conservative position on the major issues - on reforms, inequality and all that - that anybody has given in this cycle. I mean, you sort of sigh and you wish he were running.

But the advice I’d give to a Mitt Romney: memorize that speech, give it everywhere you go, you’ll be president, because he took on the issues of inequality in a way that nobody else has. He said the way you want to remedy inequality in taxation is not to raise rates, which will hurt the economy. What you want to do is you want to have the rich contribute by eliminating deductions, which increases inefficiency and equity, and also, entitlement reforms so you means test and the rich will get less, which promotes social equity and debt reduction. That is the way you want to do it. Nobody else had stated it. He did it in 30 seconds. It was quite remarkable.
Unfortunately, I don't think Romney has it in him to recite that speech and pretend well enough that he believes it.

Democrat: 20,000 Jobs Is Not That Many

I'm sure the jobless pipeline workers and others who would have been connected to the Keystone XL pipeline project are comforted by that:
Chicago Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) drew fire from Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) on Wednesday when she dismissed the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, suggesting the 20,000 jobs it could create were relatively insignificant in the scheme of the greater economy.

“Twenty thousand jobs is really not that many jobs, and investing in green technologies will produce that and more,” she said on Chicago’s WLS Radio Don Wade and Roma Show on Wednesday morning. “But I’ll tell you what, you know it seems to me that the Republicans would rather have an issue than a pipeline.”

Coats, a vocal proponent of the project, which would transport oil from Alberta, Canada, to America’s Gulf Coast, swiftly responded in a separate interview on the same show later on Wednesday morning, suggesting Schakowsky has spoken insensitively.

“Tell that to the 20,000 people that woke up this morning and didn’t have a job to go to,” said Coats. “ ‘Well, these don’t really matter’ — I mean, this not only is jobs, this is less dependence on Middle East oil.”

“And here we have, you know, the president talking about becoming energy independent, but he turns down the easiest way to do that,” the freshman senator continued.
Gasoline has risen over 25 cents a gallon in So Cal the last few weeks and is now on a steady rise toward $4 (or perhaps $5). Canceling the Keystone pipeline is contributing to the market feeling that supplies will become ever shorter in the U.S. because this nation is no longer serious about dealing with its energy problems, but instead wants to focus on mythical "green" jobs.

26 Years Ago Today - the Last Flight of Challenger

It's hard to believe, but it was 26 years ago today that the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into its flight. It was the first time in the 25 year history of the U.S. space program that we'd lost astronauts in flight. Thinking back to that day, it's remarkable how the information technology has changed since then.

I was in my office in Mission Viejo, having just gotten in about 30 minutes earlier, when our Computer Systems guy came running in saying he'd just heard that the shuttle exploded. The sum total of the information media available to me at that moment was a small transistor radio that I kept in my desk for emergencies. We had no TV's in the office, and the internet was still a futuristic dream (at least for the general public). For the next several hours I listened to the news reports on that scratchy little radio. I can still remember hearing the analyst say that because of Challenger's altitude and speed at the time of the break-up, it might take as long as 45 minutes for all the debris to fall.

When I got home, I put a tape in my VCR (fairly new technology at the time- it had a wired remote) and ended up recording about 6 hours of Challenger-related news reports, including the memorial service with President Reagan, which to this day I've never been able to bring myself to watch. It was a very emotional time for America. I still have that tape and recently transferred it to DVD.  I don't know if I'll ever watch it, but it was a very memorable moment in history.

That night President Reagan spoke to the nation:

For those who may be too young to remember Challenger, here's a news report about it from the BBC. It would be 2 1/2 years before a shuttle took off again.

I also found an interesting article called the "7 Myths About the Challenger Shuttle Disaster". The article tackles the following myths:
  1. Few people actually saw the Challenger tragedy unfold live on television.
  2. The shuttle did not explode in the common definition of that word.
  3. The flight, and the astronauts’ lives, did not end at that point, 73 seconds after launch.
  4. The design of the booster, while possessing flaws subject to improvement, was neither especially dangerous if operated properly, nor the result of political interference.
  5. Replacement of the original asbestos-bearing putty in the booster seals was unrelated to the failure.
  6. There were pressures on the flight schedule, but none of any recognizable political origin.
  7. Claims that the disaster was the unavoidable price to be paid for pioneering a new frontier were self-serving rationalizations on the part of those responsible for incompetent engineering management — the disaster should have been avoidable.
It's interesting reading.

Of course, anyone old enough to be paying attention on that day will remember President Reagan, speaking from the Oval Office on the night of tragedy, as he ended his tribute to the astronauts with this:
"We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them this morning as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God."
And yesterday was the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire that took the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee and Ed White and stopped the Apollo program cold for many months while they re-engineered the Apollo capsule.

McCain Sees A Vote Against Romney As A Vote Against Mormons

This quote from John McCain, now shilling for the Romney campaign, after the South Carolina vote:
“We haven’t had time to do a real analysis of the Romney race in South Carolina, but once we break that down, there was some element of anti-Mormonism in that vote,” McCain asserted. “I’m not saying all of it, but there were elements there. There was nothing that Mitt Romney could have done.”
There was also an element of anti-RINO vote in South Carolina, and in 2008 when McCain ran. Neither McCain nor Romney can accept the possibility that some people vote against them because they don't like their wishy-washy politics.

Obama Speaks and Loses Support

As Don Surber put it, the crowd went mild. Some polling numbers (SOTU=State of the Union speech):
The Gallup Approve Disapprove
Pre-SOTU 44% 46%
Post-SOTU 43% 49%

Rasmussen Approve Disapprove
Pre-SOTU 48% 51%
Post-SOTU 46% 52%
There has been a definite pattern. When Obama goes silent during relatively quiet periods in D.C. his numbers start to creep back up, but as soon as he opens his mouth and starts spewing his version of liberalism/socialism again, down they go. The guy who used to cause women to faint in his presence now causes them to flee in panic.

SOTU speeches used to be worth a 3-4 point bump for presidents, though the bump was often temporary, at least they picked up a little support from the voters for their efforts.  Once again, this president creates a new pattern, and that's good news for the upcoming campaign.  The more people hear from him the less likely they are to like him.

Don't Name Navy Ships After Corrupt Congressmen Who Hated Our Troops

And yet that's what the Navy is just about to do, and one website called "No Murtha Ship" is attempting to stop it:
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus plans to honor the late Congressman John Murtha by giving his name to the Navy's new LPD (Transport Dock Ship), to be launched in 2013.

In doing so, Sec. Mabus is breaking the Navy's tradition of naming its San Antonio-class amphibious transports after American cities. He is also honoring a man who:

1) was one of the most corrupt members of the U.S. Congress, and

2) called our Marines murderers who killed Iraqi women and children "in cold blood."

We believe that such a man does not deserve to be honored by the U.S. Navy. If you agree, please help us petition Secretary Mabus to reconsider this outrageous decision.
Murtha also gave us the famous "Airport to Nowhere" in his Pennsylvania district that had only a couple of flights a day - to Washington D.C. - as significant cost to taxpayers. He basically had it built just for his use. Murtha was also a famous name from the ABSCAM scandal.

You can check out the website and find ways to make your opinion known.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Scientific Consensus: There's No Reason for Global Warming Alarmism

Don't you love it when we reach consensus?
Sixteen scientists took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal Friday to argue that there is “no compelling scientific argument” for “drastic actions on global warming.”

According to the group, made up of scientists from around the world, while there has been a concerted campaign to incite concern and action to stop climate change, the science is not coming together in a fashion that would warrant economy-stifling changes.

“The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause,” they wrote. “Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2.”

In these scientists’ opinion, Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant, but rather a key necessity for life — spurring the growth of plant life.
That's not just their opinion, it's fact. Carbon Dioxide is essentially plant food and without it everything dies (first the plants, then the animals that eat the plants, and then us).

Elizabeth Warren: Ignore My 8-Digit Net Worth, I'm Not One of the 1%

The rhetoric of class and inequality is back in force, and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren -- the standard-bearer for a combative new progressivism -- made the case to MSNBC's Lawrence O’Donnell last night that members of the Senate shouldn't own stock.

“I realize there are some wealthy individuals – I’m not one of them, but some wealthy individuals who have a lot of stock portfolios" she told him.

Hard to see how Warren wouldn't be, by most standards, wealthy, according to the Personal Financial Disclosure form she filed to run for Senate shows that she's worth as much as $14.5 million. She earned more than $429,000 from Harvard last year alone for a total of about $700,000, and lives in a house worth $5 million.

She also has a portfolio of investments in stocks and bonds worth as as much as $8 million, according to the form, which lists value ranges for each investment.
Of course, for a liberal Democrat just saying you're not rich is enough. The fact that the numbers prove the opposite doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is she doesn't think she's rich in her heart.

The Dem Senator Who Actually Wants to Solve Problems

Oregon's Ron Wyden has his fellow Democrats fuming because he's daring to work with the GOP to solve some big problems:
Republicans believe they have a 6-and-a-half-foot shield to fend off attacks that they want to end Medicare. And his name is Sen. Ron Wyden.

To the thrill of Washington wonks and the irritation of fellow Democrats, the lanky Oregonian has been collaborating with the man Democrats hoped to use as an election year battering ram: Rep. Paul Ryan.

The powerful Budget Committee chief is the House GOP’s chief advocate for transforming Medicare from its current government-run system into one that allows seniors to buy private health insurance. Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich infamously dubbed Ryan’s initial crack at accomplishing that “right-wing social engineering” as Democrats licked their chops in anticipation of excoriating the Republicans who dared to endorse it.

But now, by teaming up with Ryan on a more modest Medicare overhaul, Democrats fear Wyden has given the GOP an out.

Wyden and Ryan are floating an idea to allow seniors to choose between traditional Medicare and private insurance programs. Ryan is considering adding provisions in his 2013 budget that would pave the way for this approach.
This story demonstrates better than anything that Democrats would rather have the issue to demagogue than to solve real problems. That Medicare isn't the only thing Wyden has been working on:
As if that weren’t enough, Wyden also teamed up with another favorite Democratic whipping boy, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), to tear up a carefully scripted anti-piracy bill backed by one of the Democratic party’s most loyal constituencies: Hollywood.

To Wyden’s fans, he’s a genuine policy pro who wants Medicare to survive and the Internet to thrive. They say he’s the rare creature in Washington willing to cut a bipartisan deal in a highly polarized political environment.

But his critics — and they are legion in Democratic ranks — say he’s a political opportunist promoting himself at the expense of the party and its values.
The problem is the Democrat party has no values other than to promote itself and gain power. Wyden is raining on their parade by actually proposing solutions that have a chance of gaining GOP approval.  I think Washington could use a few more guys like Wyden.

Not Content to Stop With Our Presidential Candidates, Reuters Starts Attacking Our VP Hopefuls

From the Daily Caller:
Reuters Ravages Rubio -- In some ways, the Republican primary could be seen as the race to be Marco Rubio's running mate -- at least, most people think he is the leading candidate for the job no matter who wins the GOP nomination. The first term Florida senator is already a superstar with what appears to be a very bright future. So it comes as no surprise that some are trying to tear him down. But in a recent hit piece on him in Reuters, TheDC's Matt Lewis documented at least 7 major errors, many of which were related to the fact that Rubio isn't particularly wealthy --- at least by U.S. Senate standards. Lewis notes how Republican politicians can't win --- they get attacked for being rich, they get attacked for being poor: 

"Aside from the inaccuracies, it is interesting to note that Rubio’s debt is seen as a liability. Mitt Romney is frequently criticized by the media for being so wealthy that he’s out of touch with the common man. Meanwhile, Rubio — like most Americans — has faced financial difficulty — and yet that is also somehow a liability? Is there a magic amount of wealth that is just right? "
Yes, whatever amount Obama has. That will be considered by the press as the perfect amount of money and debt a person should have.  Anyone else will be deemed deficient.

Another Green Energy Plant Funded With Your Tax Dollars Goes Bust

I wonder if we could get a better return by just burning the money directly rather than funneling it through these shell companies?
The parent company of an electric car battery maker that received a $118 million grant from the Obama administration filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday.

New York-based Ener1 said it has been affected by competition from China and other countries.

Ener1 subsidiary EnerDel received a $118 million stimulus grant from the Energy Department in 2009, and Vice President Joe Biden visited the company's new battery plant in Indiana last year.

Ener1 is the third company to seek bankruptcy protection after receiving assistance from the Energy Department under the economic stimulus law. California solar panel maker Solyndra Inc. and Beacon Power, a Massachusetts energy-storage firm, declared bankruptcy last year. Solyndra received a $528 million federal loan, while Beacon Power got a $43 million loan guarantee.
The funding from the government for these companies is based on good intentions only, not a sound business plan. Nobody bothers to notice that we can't build this stuff cheaper than China before they hand them your tax dollars. The next president needs to stop ALL of these wasteful green energy programs.

Ah, There's Nothing Like #OccupyChicago in the Spring

The socialist drones whose evil spawn is the #Occupy movement have big plans for the G8 meeting in Chicago in May.  This is from their release:
“On May 1, 50,000 people from all over the world will flock to Chicago, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and #OCCUPYCHICAGO for a month. With a bit of luck, we’ll pull off the biggest multinational occupation of a summit meeting the world has ever seen.

“And this time around we’re not going to put up with the kind of police repression that happened during the Democrati
c National Convention protests in Chicago, 1968 … nor will we abide by any phony restrictions the City of Chicago may want to impose on our first amendment rights. We’ll go there with our heads held high and assemble for a month-long people’s summit … we’ll march and chant and sing and shout and exercise our right to tell our elected representatives what we want … the constitution will be our guide.
“And when the G8 and NATO meet behind closed doors on May 19, we’ll be ready with our demands: a Robin Hood Tax … a ban on high frequency ‘flash’ trading … a binding climate change accord … a three strikes and you’re out law for corporate criminals … an all out initiative for a nuclear-free Middle East … whatever we decide in our general assemblies and in our global internet brainstorm – we the people will set the agenda for the next few years and demand our leaders carry it out.

“And if they don’t listen … if they ignore us and put our demands on the back burner like they’ve done so many times before … then, with Gandhian ferocity, we’ll flashmob the streets, shut down stock exchanges, campuses, corporate headquarters and cities across the globe … we’ll make the price of doing business as usual too much to bear.”
When you look at their demands you see some of the underlying perversions in their beliefs. A "nuclear-free Middle East" is another way to say "disarm Israel", because nobody else in the Middle East has nukes and I'll bet they wouldn't consider Iran to be part of the Middle East once Obama lets them finish their bomb.

And when they talk about bringing 50,000 nuts from all over the world to this protest, 50,000 won't even make a dent in the nut population already in Chicago.  I'll bet that doesn't even represent 10% of the Chicago nut collection.  At least the wind in Chicago will blow the stench away.

Personally, I hope they shut Chicago down.  That city owes all of us a big one for giving us Obama and it would be fun to see how Rahm Emanuel handles a major outbreak of civil unrest.  I'll bet he has some Mayor Daley (the First) in him and there will be some head knocking before it's all over.  I doubt if he caves into the protesters the way Nanny Bloomberg did in New York City.

Trans Pacific Model Boat Race

Yesterday afternoon I headed down to Capistrano Beach to watch some of the kids from the Capo-Laguna  ROP (Regional Occupational Program) 3D Model Building Class launch boats on what they hope will be a journey to Hawaii.  My wife works for the organization and I took some photos for her.

The two teams were the WikiWiki, a more traditional single hull sailboat...
and the NeNe, a trimaran.

When it came time to launch, the surf conditions were not exactly ideal.  The long keel on the WikiWiki combined with the steep drop-off at the shore made for some challenges.
You know what they say about the best laid plans - WikiWiki had a tough start dealing with the surf.
WikiWiki was pulled from the water for some repair work to the mast and sail, and the NeNe was launched.
NeNe had a little easier time dealing with the surf and before long was sailing out of view.
WikiWiki was relaunched and finally made it safely past the breakers.
Thanks to a grant from Rainbow Sandals the teams were able to mount GPS transmitters on the boats and their progress can be tracked via their Facebook page.  Although the NeNe pretty much disappeared from view while we were there, she apparently got homesick and later beached herself.  She was recovered and after some repairs will be relaunched.  The WikiWiki came within 200 feet of shore (according to the GPS) but headed back out and continues on course.  According to the latest report was 13 miles out to sea.  Thanks to the offshore winds expected today she should be able to continue out to sea.

It'll be fun to watch.

California to Automakers: Please Stop Selling Cars Here

Why should they?
The head of California's air quality board on Thursday called proposed rules that would require automakers to build less-polluting cars and trucks by 2025 a historic move for a cleaner environment.

California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols said she hopes the rules to require that vehicles emit about 75 percent less smog-producing pollutants will "lead the nation and the world."
We'll lead the nation in decline in auto sales by the time all these rules go into effect. Carmakers won't be able to manufacturer a vehicle at a price anyone will be able to afford.

And we all know that further restrictions on business are just what California's economy needs.

Real GDP Growth in 2011 Barely Half of 2010's Growth

So much for the "recovery":
Real GDP increased 1.7 percent in 2011 (that is, from the 2010 annual level to the 2011 annual level), compared with an increase of 3.0 percent in 2010.
And there's this:
Food Stamps Up 45%; Federal Handouts Up 32%...
Hope, change.

Political Photo of the Day

Seen on Facebook:

Did Obama Pick a Fight With Gov. Brewer to Pander to Hispanics?

Could be:
Democrats see the chance that President Obama’s heated exchange with Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona on the airport tarmac in Phoenix could help him with the Hispanic voters he came West to court this week.

The run-in, captured in a photograph of the governor wagging a finger at the president as they discussed her book, “Scorpions for Breakfast,” lit up Hispanic radio stations and blogs all over the state. While it is difficult to judge whether the moment will have any lasting impact, Hispanic leaders said that what is being dubbed by some as the “dustup in the desert” could play in the president’s favor given the unfavorable view many Hispanics have of the governor for her advocacy of tough immigration measures.

“For that incident alone,” Robert Meza, a Democratic state senator from Phoenix, said Thursday, “85 percent more Latin people will gravitate toward the president.”
What nonsense. 85% of Latin people don't even know this happened or why.

I don't think this was a set-up. I just think Obama is a petulant, thin-skinned man-child who can't believe that after years of fawning praise from everyone around him suddenly finds himself the target of much criticism and he can't handle it. It's that simple.

Oh, and the Governor will pocket a little extra change because of Obama:
Whether or not yesterday’s confrontation with President Barack Obama was a stunt, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s book sales are benefiting.

According to Amazon.com’s list of movers and shakers, Brewer’s book, Scorpions for Breakfast, enjoyed a sales increase of 2,224,700 percent since she and the president butted heads on a Mesa runway.
Prior to the meeting, Brewer’s book was languishing in the annals of the millions of books sold by Amazon. It was sitting at 311,472 overall on Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday morning, the book had moved to number 14.

Israel Getting Closer to Calling Iran's Bluff

And they're apparently more convinced than ever that bluffing is all Iran's got:
Israeli intelligence estimates, backed by academic studies, have cast doubt on the widespread assumption that a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would set off a catastrophic set of events like a regional conflagration, widespread acts of terrorism and sky-high oil prices.

The estimates, which have been largely adopted by the country’s most senior officials, conclude that the threat of Iranian retaliation is partly bluff. They are playing an important role in Israel’s calculation of whether ultimately to strike Iran, or to try to persuade the United States to do so, even as Tehran faces tough new economic sanctions from the West.

“A war is no picnic,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio in November. But if Israel feels itself forced into action, the retaliation would be bearable, he said. “There will not be 100,000 dead or 10,000 dead or 1,000 dead. The state of Israel will not be destroyed.”
I think they're right, but it takes some guts to make that call and order a raid.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Final Debate

At least the last one for the next month, and probably the last one for some of the candidates.  I didn't watch it, but based on the reaction I'm seeing from a variety of people I follow on Twitter Rick Santorum did very well, but probably won't help himself that much.  Mitt was okay and had one of his better outings.  Ron Paul was....Ron Paul.  And Newt has apparently peaked and is now in mid-collapse.  I hear his numbers on In-Trade are diving with Romney now favored to win Florida at 92%.

Newt we hardly knew ye.

Mitt's gonna be the nominee and we better start figuring out how to beat Obama with him leading the ticket.


At Doheny Beach Park watching some of my wife's ROP kids launch boats in the First Trans Pacific Model Boat Race. The boats can be tracked by GPS.

Bill Cosby: Throwing More Money At Education is Not The Answer

If I wasn't in favor of eliminating the Federal Education Department altogether I'd want Bill Cosby for Education Secretary.  He's absolutely right about the real solutions that will improve education in our public schools:
Shortly before President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union on Tuesday night, comedian Bill Cosby joined with school choice advocates to discuss the “State of American Education.”

According to Cosby, the country can try as many education reforms as it wants but the real key is getting parents involved and concerned about their children’s education. Cosby added that additional funding is not the answer to America’s education woes.

“Cuts, cuts, cuts, that is what we hear, but education is not a thing that big bucks happens to be the answer [to]. The answer is — with education comes teaching children to respect and love questions, looking for the answer, reading,” he said, explaining that these responsibilities fall on the parents, teachers, and school officials.

Cosby demanded answers from Education Secretary Arne Duncan, asking why, with so much money going into the schools, the taxpayers still cannot get the value they put in. Instead of whining about cuts, he said, schools and towns should be looking for solutions outside the box.

“Okay — we know there are cuts, then let’s work with it. Let’s go to churches, find retired teachers who would like to join us in the basement of the church to work with the child,” Cosby said. “There are ways we can work around this and we have to talk and we have to move.”
There's more at the link. For decades we've thrown more and more money at education and gotten worse and worse results. The key is not making sure teachers have solid gold benefits and jobs for life regardless of the quality of their work, but getting parents involved and interested in their kid's progress. Too many parents have abdicated their parental roles to the schools and government. It's time to take it back.

Does a Newt Candidacy Help Or Hurt GOP Chances in the Senate?

Kurt Schlichter thinks Newt's potentially divisive candidacy might actually help secure a GOP majority in the Senate:
With Romney, people expected an inoffensive technocrat who would not scare the children or horses – someone who could get the votes of the moderate voters who get turned off by things like “ideology” or “confrontation” or “beliefs.” Maybe Mitt would not be much of an asset to an aspiring GOP Senate candidate, but he would certainly not drag anyone down. That is the conventional wisdom about Mitt.

But Newt shakes up that paradigm. The new conventional wisdom is that Newt’s caravan of baggage will so turn off voters that not only will they hand the GOP a rejection of Mondalian proportions in November but they will further take out their anger on the GOP’s senate candidates. So, the conventional wisdom goes, Obama will sail to reelection with a rejuvenated Senate majority and perhaps even the House. There goes the Republic.

Except the conventional wisdom, upon closer examination, makes little sense even on its own terms. It assumes that the voters are at least disappointed, if not angry, with Obama – if they weren’t, he would win no matter who we nominate. It also depends completely on the assumption that the intense dislike that the majority of voters feel for Newt personally is the reason for his inevitable failure. These two currents do not flow together – they collide.

Voters rejecting Newt would therefore be doing it not because they wanted Obama – they do not want Obama. They just want Newt less. But that personal animus toward Newt would not necessarily be transferred toward the GOP senate candidates themselves.

Newt is uniquely polarizing, argues the conventional wisdom. If so, then it will be an easy matter for GOP Senate candidates to distinguish themselves from the guy at the top of the ticket. Candidates always scatter like roaches when an unpopular presidential candidate wanders into town. Just look at Obama when he flew into reddish Arizona– he wasn’t met by a herd of donkeys but by Republican Jan Brewer, whose politeness in doing so was met with characteristic ungraciousness.

In fact, distaste for Newt coupled with distaste for Obama could help GOP Senate candidates. Holding their nose to vote to reelect the president does not mean they want to give him the ability to keep going with the politics of division, bailouts and class warfare that have wreaked his approval numbers. Suddenly, voting for the Senate GOP candidates becomes much more attractive, even to moderates, when splitting the ticket means kneecapping the Obama campaign to transform America into the United States of Greece.

Voters aren’t dumb. They know that a GOP senate is the best check on a lame duck Obama, and they may even be willing to split the ticket to vote out Democrat warhorses like Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who might otherwise have no chance of defeat, in order to balance their vote against Newt. In other words, Newt dragging down the top of the ticket might well give a boost to the bottom.
That may be the best case scenario, but not necessarily reflective of reality. How many Republicans and anti-Obama independents may figure Newt's a sure loser and will just stay home, depriving GOP Senate candidates of easy votes? There will be some, that's for sure.

You can read the rest at the link.

I Don't Think Drudge Cares Much for Newt Gingrich

Just look at the collection of headline on Drudge that were present all at the same time this morning:
NEWT 1986: 'The Reagan administration has failed, is failing...
NEWT 1988: 'If Bush runs as continuation of Reaganism he will lose'...

I don't think Drudge believes Newt can win, or else he REALLY doesn't like him. Drudge lives in Florida so he'll have a chance to vote in next week's primary, but it looks to me he's already made his decision.

Nancy Pelosi: Uh, Never Mind, I Don't Really Know Anything

After suggesting she had some hidden insight into Newt Gingrich that would keep him from being elected, San Fran Nan is backing down:
Rep. Nancy Pelosi's office on Wednesday said the minority leader doesn't have any dirt on Newt Gingrich.

Pelosi has suggested in two interviews that she knows something that could prevent Gingrich from becoming president, but her office said the California Democrat doesn't have any secrets about Gingrich, who has shot to the top of national Republican polls after winning the South Carolina primary.

"The 'something' Leader Pelosi knows is that Newt Gingrich will not be President of the United States. She made that clear last night," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement.

"Leader Pelosi previously made a reference to the extensive amount of information that is in the public record, including the comprehensive committee report with which the public may not be fully aware," Hammill said.
Either Pelosi was slapped down because she really does have some information and the Dems didn't want her telegraphing her hand, or this was just another effort to remain relevant in this year's election. My guess is the second one is more likely.

Church Music Cartoon of the Day

My guitar player friend Joey posted this on Facebook:

Is Romney Trying to Make Himself This Election's Obama?

Jim Geraghty has some thoughts on Romney's lackluster campaign so far, and the possibility of this nomination going all the way to the convention:

Part of the problem is that it feels as if Romney 2012 is trying to pull off a rerun of the Obama 2008 campaign, running as a largely blank slate, letting voters of diverse ideological stripes project their desires and preferences onto him. The problem is that you can run that when you're a biracial young man with little or no political record ("present!"), an exotic personal story (Indonesia! Hawaii! Harvard! The mean streets of Chicago!) and rhetorical skills that are, if overrated, effective at hitting the emotional soft spots of the media and low-information swing voters. 

"I believe in America"? That's what you're going with this cycle, governor? I'm sorry, you don't get to quote The Godfather unless you've killed a bunch of your enemies while attending a baptism. Sure, Romney can have his super PAC run some attack ads against Newt, but does anybody think of Mitt Romney as a tough guy? As a fighter? As somebody whom you can disagree with, but whom you wouldn't want to cross?

I've laid out my gripes with Newt. But Romney is making that divided convention, party-elders-look-for-a-unifying-candidate scenario look better and better each day. With Ron Paul playing the delegate game quite smartly, and neither Mitt nor Newt likely to close the deal with unimpressed Republican voters, the deadlocked-convention scenario looks a lot more plausible than usual.

At least, let's put off that final decision as long as possible. As 
Jordan Gehrke wrote not long ago:

It's easy to get swept away in the feeling that this nominating process has to end early. But really, why should it? At the end of February, the Republican National Committee will have awarded only 174 RNC delegates out of the 1,143 needed to lock up the nomination.    A long primary would allow Republicans to protect their nominee, grow the party, and avoid handing Obama an early target. Let's hope history repeats itself.
A Newt win in Florida will certainly extend things further into the year, however if Mitt sweeps those northern winner-take-all primaries, I don't see how this goes all the way to the convention.

But wouldn't that be something? Delegates are committed to their candidates for the first ballot only. After that, they can vote for anyone they choose, including people who weren't on the original ballot.

But winning Florida is not sure bet for Newt. I'm not sure how his moon and Mars comments yesterday will play with those Florida voters not on the Space Coast. It appears to me that his numbers have peaked and may start edging down. A Romney win in Florida could tip the scales and end this nomination process much earlier.

That's One Small Step for Man, One Giant Promise for Newt Gingrich

I'm not sure this will play well with voters in much of the country:
Newt Gingrich told a cheering crowd along Florida's Space Coast late Wednesday that he would establish a permanent colony on the moon, and develop a spacecraft that can get to Mars, by the end of his second term as president.

Gingrich, who has long held a fascination with space exploration and has talked extensively about further missions to the moon, Mars and beyond, committed for the first time to pushing aggressively for such programs if he wins the White House. Just a few miles from Cape Canaveral, he played to a crowd eager for a renewal of the nation's space program. The speech also gave him a chance to tweak Mitt Romney, his leading rival for the GOP, who has mocked Gingrich's "zany" ideas.

"I was attacked the other night for being grandiose," Gingrich said. "I would just want you to note: Lincoln standing at Council Bluffs was grandiose. The Wright Brothers standing at Kitty Hawk were grandiose. John F. Kennedy was grandiose. I accept the charge that I am grandiose and that Americans are instinctively grandiose."
This was certainly a pander to the Space Coast folks who are seeing thousands of jobs disappear with the end of the Space Shuttle program. However, he opens the door to a lot of ridicule in other parts of the country.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Political Photo of the Day

The feisty Governor Jan Brewer greets Obama in Arizona:
I'm not sure that's the finger I would have used.

The Day Obama Met The Feisty Governor

That was today, and the feisty governor is Jan Brewer of Arizona:
President Obama’s visit to Phoenix got off to a rough start on Wednesday afternoon when Air Force One was met by Gov. Jan Brewer of Aizona —she of the book “Scorpions for Breakfast,” in which she accuses the Obama administration of turning a blind eye to illegal immigration because migrants will help Mr. Obama register more Democratic votes.

Mr. Obama stepped off the plane and was greeted by Ms. Brewer, who handed him a handwritten letter in an envelope that she later said was an invitation to discuss the “Arizona comeback.” The two had an intense exchange for several minutes; at one point Ms. Brewer pointed her finger at Mr. Obama.

Afterward, she told reporters that Mr. Obama “was a little disturbed about my book.”

“I said to him that I have all the respect in the world for the office of the president,” she said. “The book is what the book is. I asked him if he read the book. He said he read the excerpt. So.”

At one point, the two seemed to be talking at the same time, seemingly over each other. Mr. Obama appeared to walk away from Ms. Brewer while she was still talking.

Asked what aspect of the book disturbed him, Ms. Brewer said: “That he didn’t feel that I had treated him cordially. I said I was sorry he felt that way but I didn’t get my sentence finished. Anyway, we’re glad he’s here. I’ll regroup.”
We need to stop being so cordial. It's time for a governor to say "I'm not glad he's here - his policies are damaging my state and the sooner he's out of here and out of office the better." That's the kind of welcome Obama deserves.