August 12, 2012
I QUOTE IOWAHAWK in my USA Today column on the Ryan choice. “Paul Ryan represents Obama’s most horrifying nightmare: Math.” (Bumped).
I QUOTE IOWAHAWK in my USA Today column on the Ryan choice. “Paul Ryan represents Obama’s most horrifying nightmare: Math.” (Bumped).
A photo of President Obama was suddenly pulled from the website of the group Building One America, whose goals were documented extensively in Stanley Kurtz’s book Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities. The book, which was released ten days ago, reveals what Kurtz refers to as Obama’s plan to undercut the political and economic independence of America’s suburbs. Kurtz connects current Obama administration policy with his personal history, and with groups like Building One America in particular.
This website shows a cached view of how the BuildingOneAmerica.org site looked on July 19th, 2012 — with a photo of President Obama talking to Building One America’s President Mike Kruglik, which was taken during a 2011 meeting held at the White House.
The Internet is hard to fool. “The photo of Obama and his mentor appears to be completely gone from the BuildingOneAmerica website. The site has gone from having a photo of President Obama — one of the best known, most instantly recognizable people in the world — talking with a leader of Building One America to its current state, with dozens of photos of unidentified people either talking or listening. The photo of Pres. Obama and Mr. Kruglik gave the site and organization an instant, visceral credibility as a politically well-connected group. Removing that instant recognition seems like a bizarre choice for the organization to suddenly make.”
JOE BIDEN, SOUNDING DESPERATE. I don’t remember him whinging about money in politics back in 2008, when Obama broke his public-funding promise and raked in the dough to outspend McCain.
NOTE TO PROFESSORS: You must hate Paul Ryan.
KATIE ROIPHE DEFENDS SINGLE MOTHERHOOD. She writes “I am not a huge believer in studies,” but then advances . . . a study in support of her argument.
Being raised by a single mom isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a kid. But it’s not the best, either, and some random guy who happens to be around isn’t a substitute for an actual father. If men wrote about mothers that way, there would be shrieks of outrage.
UPDATE: Related thoughts here.
PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: Romney responds to heckler in Wisconsin, then tells Obama to get his campaign out of the gutter.
UPDATE: Via TwitPic, a photo from the Wisconsin rally.
THE BOND MARKET’S CHINA SYNDROME. “The US fiscal situation is no different than Europe, and you can bet that if our yields start rising, our credit condition will rapidly deteriorate. This will feed on itself. Suddenly sentiment will shift and our reliance on foreign financing will be at risk as the reserve currency status is called into question. We are blaming Europe for our current economic problems, but in reality they are doing us a favor by providing a blueprint for how a bond market meltdown can unfold. For the US it potentially is more severe because once it gets started the only way to stop it is to print more currency, which will exacerbate the problem.”
RESPONDING TO THE USUAL SMEARS: “How the Romney/Ryan ticket is richer, whiter, or more establishment than Kerry/Edwards was 8 years ago is beyond me, but then again that’s the nature of politics.” Remember, in 2004 it was crucially important to have a decorated military veteran at the top of the ticket. In 2008, it didn’t matter at all. Just like it didn’t in 1992 or 1996.
ROLL CALL: Issa To Sue Eric Holder Monday.
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: My Son Is Not My Late Husband’s Biological Child — Should I Tell His Parents?
Watching the hysterical reaction from the left yesterday over Romney choosing Paul Ryan as his veep makes you wonder how much was pre-written boilerplate, with the Republican candidate’s name simply dropped in at the last minute, once Romney formally made his announcement. It’s sort of the Bizarro World version of the riff brainwashed into the skulls of Frank Sinatra and the rest of Laurence Harvey’s troops by the Soviets and Communist China in The Manchurian Candidate: “Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.” Instead this weekend, we’re getting “INSERT NAME OF REPUBLICAN TO BE DEMONIZED HERE is the worst, vilest, sexist, homophobic, God-worshipping, Second Amendment-supporting, budget cutting, evilest human being I’ve ever known in my life.”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Does Student Loan Debt Put a Damper on Your Relationship? “About 37 million Americans are weighed down by college debt, according to a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Twenty-seven percent of those students and ex-students also have past-due balances. The loans, whether they are his, hers or collectively his-and-hers, can be toxic for budding romances or new marriages.”
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Welcome home Mr. President! Chalk graffiti outside Obama event: “Stop killing brown people with your drones.”
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Peak Oil? How About Peak China? “It may be hard to believe, but it’s been a full four years since China hosted the Olympics. At the time, Beijing 2008 appeared to herald China’s return, after a 500 year hiatus, to great power status. Commentators were falling over themselves to pronounce the inevitability of China’s rise and its implications for American influence in Asia. But is it possible we will look back on those Olympic Games as the peak of Chinese power, rather than the beginning of its rise?”
Romney embraced Ryan after the sociopathic — indifferent to the truth — ad for Barack Obama that is meretricious about every important particular of the death from cancer of the wife of steelworker Joe Soptic. Obama’s desperate flailing about to justify four more years has sunk into such unhinged smarminess that Romney may have concluded: There is nothing Obama won’t say about me, because he has nothing to say for himself, so I will chose a running mate whose seriousness about large problems and ideas underscores what the president has become — silly and small. . . . Romney’s selection of a running mate was, in method and outcome, presidential. It underscores how little in the last four years merits that adjective.
Indeed. Related: Robert Samuelson: “The selection of Paul Ryan — chairman of the House Budget Committee — as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential candidate has the potential to turn this dreary presidential campaign into a meaningful debate over the size and role of the federal government.”
STACY MCCAIN ON Romney and Ryan Heading To Ohio.
WEALTHY DRIVERS don’t necessarily buy expensive cars. It reminds me of that old commercial: “How do you think a man like me got to be a man like me?”
DON’T BE RIDICULOUS, WE’RE NATURE’S NOBLEMEN: Are Law Professors Greedy? “We certainly have the legal right to take advantage of these market distortions; the government itself created the programs. But when we take those steps, we have to recognize what we are doing to students, their families, the taxpayers, and the future legal profession. We certainly have to acknowledge that we are being greedy — and not in the good way that feeds a free market.”
BOOSTING BACTERIA IN DRINKING WATER could boost health.
CONTRAST WITH THOSE LONG LINES FOR ROMNEY-RYAN: “At Obama fundraiser in Chicago. Admission only $51, but room is half full.”
NEW SPECIES DISCOVERED, thanks to Flickr.
AT AMAZON, 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or less.
TURKEY SCIENCE BEGAN WITH THE MAYA: “A new University of Florida study shows the turkey, one of the most widely consumed birds worldwide, was domesticated more than 1,000 years earlier than previously believed. Researchers say discovery of the bones from an ancient Mayan archaeological site in Guatemala provides evidence of domestication, usually a significant mark of civilization, and the earliest evidence of the Mexican turkey in the Maya world.”
OLD GREEN: CLEAN ENERGY. New Green: No Energy. “For years, the green argument was something like this: If only we can replace fossil fuels with cleaner, renewable energy sources, we can enjoy our current standard of living without endangering the environment. Now it appears some greens have advanced the argument to a brand new phase: It’s as if they’ve replaced a green energy policy with a no-energy policy. Good luck with that.”
I’m beginning to think they just don’t like people.
ANIMAL FARM, the full-length 1954 animated movie.
READER BOOK PLUG: Reader Patrick Wayland asks me to plug his novel, The Jade Lady, a mystery with a hunt for World War Two treasure set in Asia. Done!
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Want To Live Longer? Eat Less, Have More Sex.
SEXISM ON MSNBC: MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell demeans women, parrots Axelrod: ‘Ryan is not a pick for moms, women.’ Funny, because I seem to see a lot of women in those pictures of the incredibly long lines at Romney-Ryan rallies. . . .
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: My Husband Won’t Move In With Me.
RUTH WEDGWOOD: Ban Ki-Moon Is About To Break The Boycott of Iran. “Maybe the secretary general hopes to show that he is not constrained by the foreign-policy preferences of the Western democracies.”
ENTHUSIASM: Reader Tim Ellis emails from outside the Romney-Ryan rally in High Point, North Carolina: “I am in line at the High Point NC rally, I can’t possibly begin to tell you how many people are here. The line is winding around buildings at least 3 blocks. People are still flowing in too (into line, not the building), we drove 200 miles and may not get in. That will be fine though just to see this level of support.”
Related: This is what 2012 looks like — lines around the block at Romney-Ryan rally in High Point, NC. “Let this be a lesson for The Eeyores Among Us.”
CYNTHIA YOCKEY COULD USE SOME HELP. I donated.
IN THE MAIL: From Richard Miniter, Leading from Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him.
BOYCOTTING THE BOURGEOIS INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE, but demanding the bourgeois institution of wifely inheritance. Wait, you mean that “all property is theft” stuff only applies to other people’s property?
Gabrielsson and Larsson weren’t just a couple, but also a leftist action group. First they were Maoists and then Trotskyists, voicing their criticism of the Swedish welfare state from a leftist point of view. She was an architect, while he worked for a news agency. They managed to make ends meet, and had no children. Like many Swedes of their generation, they were anti-bourgeois.
In their social circle, while couples may have been monogamous, they didn’t marry. But under Swedish law, a member of an unmarried couple doesn’t inherit anything from his or her deceased partner, no matter how long the couple was together. Blood trumps love, unless a will exists, but Larsson hadn’t written one. For that reason, the rapidly growing proceeds from the sale of the books and the film rights went to two biological relatives, Larsson’s father Erland (his mother Vivianne is dead) and his younger brother Joakim. . . .
After Larsson’s death, when his novels suddenly became such a huge success, the widow who isn’t a widow under the law sat down with Erland and Joakim Larsson to discuss what should happen next. An agreement seemed possible. But then attorneys took over the case, and an inheritance war ensued — one in which the Stieg Larsson fan community has participated extensively.
Two camps have since formed in Sweden: the (primarily female) Eva camp, with its own website (www.supporteva.com), and the (primarily male) Larsson camp (www.moggliden.com).
Shocking, that division. Plus, this: “The inheritance dispute is being waged publicly. It culminated when Gabrielsson and Joakim Larsson went on Swedish television to explain their respective positions on the dispute. The widow, invoking a higher form of justice, said that the money had made the two Larssons greedy. Joakim Larsson defended his right to the inheritance and, in his modesty, came across as likeable.”
“A higher form of justice” translates as “give me the money regardless of the law.” “Greedy” means “you won’t give me what I want, just because it’s yours, not mine.”
RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Boom-and-Zoom vs. Turn-and-Burn: “By picking Paul Ryan, Romney has decisively broken from Obama’s policy path. The selection of Ryan means Romney is no longer running as Obama-lite. He’s bet that the guys in no-man’s-land don’t want Government Cheese. They want a real job. They want a real future. They want to be citizens of the greatest country on earth again.”
#TSAFAIL: Stranded jet-skier saunters through JFK safeguards. “A stranded jet-skier seeking help effortlessly overcame the Port Authority’s $100 million, supposedly state-of-the-art security system at JFK Airport — walking undetected across two runways and into a terminal, The Post has learned. Motion sensors and closed-circuit cameras of the Perimeter Intrusion Detection System, or PIDS, were no match for Daniel Casillo, 31, of Howard Beach, who easily breached the system meant to safeguard against terrorists. . . . Dripping wet and in a bright-yellow life jacket, Casillo climbed the perimeter fence, which is eight feet high, and walked across that runway and intersecting Runway 31L — and made it all the way to Terminal 3 without anyone noticing.” He’s been charged with criminal trespass — no, really — while the officials involved should be charged with criminal negligence. But it’s doubtful that anyone will even lose their job over this.
UPDATE: Reader Brian Medcalf says I’m wrong to blame the TSA, which isn’t responsible for airport perimeter security. That’s a fair point, I suppose. But if the perimeter is this insecure, what’s the point of having the TSA gropefest at all?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Shane Nichols writes: “I disagree. Reader Brian Medcalf has missed the point, which is that the TSA is an incredibly expensive farce. The fact that a stranded jet skier was able to access the very assets that TSA is spending billions to protect (runways and terminals) makes that point even more difficult to refute. It may be that TSA is blameless for allowing the man to scale the fence undetected. But that would make it no less appropriate to criticize the TSA for wasting our time and money to play security theater at the front door of the airport, while utterly failing to account for the unguarded back door. Arresting the stranded jet skier is an adolescent attempt to divert blame and attention from TSA’s breathtaking incompetence.” Among others’.
Romney’s choice was not much of a surprise after he told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Thursday that he wanted someone with “a vision for the country, that adds something to the political discourse about the direction of the country. I mean I happen to believe that this is a defining election for America, that we’re going to be voting for what kind of America we’re going to have.”
This arguably describes some of the others mentioned as possible nominees, but it clearly fits Paul Ryan.
He doesn’t fit some of the standard criteria for vice president. He hasn’t won a statewide election, held an executive position or become well known nationally or even in much of Wisconsin.
But more than anyone else, more even (as impolite as it is to say) than the putative presidential nominee, Ryan has set the course for the Republican party for the past three years both on policy and in politics. From his post as Chairman of the House Budget Committee, he has made himself not just a plausible but a formidable national nominee by advancing and arguing for major changes in entitlement policy.
He has argued consistently that entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — are on an unsustainable trajectory. Left alone, they threaten to crowd out necessary government spending and throttle the private sector.
Few public policy experts, on the center-left as well as the right, disagree. But many politicians, certainly those in the Obama White House, shy away from confronting the entitlement crisis. Better to demagogue your way through one more election cycle and kick the can down the road.
That’s going to be harder to do, now. Plus this:
Ryan and Romney can make the point — lost in the shuffle when this is a low-visibility issue — that their plan leaves the current Medicare system in place for current recipients and those over 55. Those who have made plans based on the present program can continue to rely on it.
But they can also make the point that their reforms are necessary in order to make sure Medicare is sustainable in the long run. Polls show that many voters under 55 doubt that they’ll ever get the Medicare and Social Security benefits they’ve been promised.
One more thing about Ryan, I think, appealed to Romney. He has already shown he cannot be intimidated by the most eminent opponent. Watch the video of Ryan’s five-minute evisceration of Obamacare at the president’s Blair House meeting. You can tell that Obama didn’t like it one bit.
You know what will kill Medicare as we know it? Medicare as we know it. And he’s right about the intimidation bit. Compare to Tim Pawlenty’s failure at a crucial moment.
Also, Paul Ryan seems surprisingly popular among senior citizens. “Despite the attacks on Ryan over his budget plan, he’s easily the most liked of the short-listers among likely voters 65 years of age and over, with a 52/29 favorability rating. His ‘very favorable’ rating of 31% in the 65+ group is more than 10 points better than the other shortlisters in the Rasmussen survey (again, save Rice). Jindal did well, too, with a 44/28, as did Pawlenty with a 40/30 and Portman at 37/26, but Ryan’s draw among seniors outpaced all of them. Ryan has plenty of room to be defined in either direction with 35% of voters overall not having an opinion, but that’s only true of 20% of seniors — and Ryan already has a majority of them on his side.”
But then, a 2011 Gallup Poll showed that seniors liked Ryan’s budget plan better than Obama’s by a substantial margin.
UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin: 10 Ways Paul Ryan Annoys The Liberal Media. Only 10? Well, here’s one: “In choosing Ryan over less ideological figures Romney showed that he in fact cares about ideas, is determined to fix our fiscal problems and is devoted to free markets. Ryan in that sense validates Romney’s core beliefs.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Carlos Myers writes:
For once, we have someone who will be competent to be President of the Senate. What does this have to do with Ryan and the VP pick? That is because the VP is also the President of the Senate. So main job of the VP isn’t to be a “heartbeat away from the Presidency,” but to lead the Senate. The office of the President of the Senate has been largely maligned through US history, and its duties have been largely cooped by the Senate Majority Leader. So the question is, would Paul Ryan be the man that will insist in taking leadership in the Senate or will he, like every VPs before him, just sit back in the shadows so as to not rock the boat?
MORE: Social media pushback: Running scared: Obama frantically tweets ‘FACTS’ about Ryan; citizens respond with truth. “Oh, dear. President Obama’s Twitter feed is a hot mess of scared.”
STILL MORE: Romney-Ryan event packed — here’s a pic of the overflow crowd from Sister Toldjah.
Plus, GayPatriot tweets on the lack of counterprotesters: “There were a total of six Obama supporters on the mile road into the complex. It was sad.”
LIFE IN BLOOMBERG’S NEW YORK: Bronx pol’s secret Facebook page with staffer boytoy.
She’s a real swing voter.
To constituents, she’s Naomi D. Rivera, a mild-mannered, bespectacled Bronx assemblywoman whose social-media page is dotted with her accomplishments, thoughtful sayings and the latest neighborhood news.
But on another, secret Facebook page, she’s Daniela Rivera, a sultry single 47-year-old who shows off her curves, her dance moves and, in one photo accessible to the public, the top of her lacy red bra.
But more than anything, the lawmaker’s Internet alter-ego is devoted to Tommy Torres, a fellow Democrat eight years her junior whom she has been dating for at least two years — and whom she put on her government payroll.
But of course. Plus: “After Post inquiries, she took down the Daniela page. Rivera’s father is former Bronx Democratic Party boss and Assemblyman José Rivera, who in 2008 lost control of the borough machine amid charges of nepotism. Her brother is Joel Rivera, a city councilman.”
FROM HOPE AND CHANGE TO RACISM AND IGNORANCE: Congresswoman Donna Christensen: ‘Are there black people in Virginia?’
ETHANOL VS. THE WORLD: The corn fuel mandate is raising food prices and hurting the poor.
In 2007 and 2008, food prices spiked, resulting in much higher U.S. grocery bills and far more hunger in the poorest countries as the global supply chain buckled. The world may now be on the cusp of a 2012 reprise amid the drought in the Midwest farm belt, the worst in 50 years. Luckily, there are plenty of simple, modest things Washington can do to alleviate and even prevent another crisis.
The problem is that these fixes are opposed by a minor industry that adds little if any value to the economy, even counting its prodigious Beltway operations. Yup, the ethanol lobby strikes again. It can’t succeed without a mandate that forces consumers to buy its product every time they fill up the tank, and if the resulting corn shortages drive food prices up in a way that punishes consumers around the world, so be it.
They’re politically well-connected.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Galloping To Insolvency.
The spiraling rise of component costs in higher education are helping to inflate the higher-education bubble. One of the reasons those costs are out of control is that colleges and universities see no merit in keeping track of some of the larger ones. You cannot exercise fiscal discipline if you have no idea what you’re spending. Higher education has at least two major cost drivers that it hides from rational oversight: diversity and sustainability. . . .
Of course, diversity and sustainability have real costs, even if they aren’t properly counted or disclosed, and such ideas can and should be subject to critical scrutiny. I’ve been doing my part in developing critiques of both movements. The dysfunctions in higher education’s financial model seem likely to make these matters more urgent. The “common good,” as my correspondent phrases it, isn’t achieved by pretending that we can ignore costs and bypass reason. Ostriches may achieve a certain moral clarity but we would do better from a higher vantage point.
When I see a school bragging about its “sustainability” efforts, I take that as an indicator that it’s on an unsustainable financial path. And I wrote at some length about university administrations’ efforts to expand diversity bureaucracies even as they cut teaching faculty.
PROFILES IN DECLINE: Comparison of 2010 and 2011 Enrollment and Profile Data Among Law Schools.
MESSAGE TO WOMEN: You Must Hate Paul Ryan.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Exclusive: U.S. banks told to make plans for preventing collapse.
ANOTHER REASON TO REPEAL THE HOLLYWOOD TAX CUTS: Google Appeases Hollywood But Rankles Internet Freedom Watchers. “Google’s nod to Hollywood with its decision to demote in its search results sites accused of copyright infringement raises questions about fairness and the ability of suspected violators to challenge the move. The Motion Picture Association of America has praised the Internet search leader’s announcement on Friday, while some advocates of Internet freedom have panned it or had a lukewarm response.”
Also, I think we should limit motion picture copyrights to 28 years. After all, at some point you’ve made enough money.
PAUL RAHE: Romney’s Declaration Of War. “In choosing Paul Ryan as his Vice-Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney has opted to go for broke, and he has indicated that he is a serious man — less concerned with becoming President of the United States than with saving the country from the disaster in store for it if we not radically reverse course, willing to risk a loss for the sake of being able to win a mandate for reform.”
AT AMAZON, it’s the August headphone sale.
HMM: Huge crowds line Manassas streets for Romney-Ryan. “Susan Ferrechio, The Washington Examiner’s crack congressional reporter traveling with the Romney-Ryan press bus troupe today, offers a photo of the crowds lining the streets of Manassas, Virginia, as the political caravan makes it way through downtown. How to explain such crowds if Obama is leading in Virginia, one of the key swing states? Either the Romney advance team did a phenomenal job of generating interest before today, or there is a continuing surge in electoral momentum for insurgent change-agent candidates like that which powered the Republican sweep of the 2010 races.”
More Manassas reporting from crack blogger Stacy McCain.
PHOTOSHOP FUN with the latest Obama effort.
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LIFE EXTENSION AND GENE THERAPY: AN UPDATE FROM AUBREY DE GREY.
TWEET OF THE DAY: “Has anyone asked what Paul Ryan’s relationship is to Trig Palin?” I’m sure the question has occupied at least one blogger’s mind.
THE ARGUMENT FOR ROMNEY-RYAN: Mort Zuckerman: Under Obama, the New American Dream Is a Job. “What we have been living through is a breakdown of the great American jobs machine. Jobs have long been the best social program, the best economic program, and the best family program in America. No longer. The jobs are not there. Unemployment today is the worst since the Great Depression. . . . All the net jobs created during the Obama administration have been part-time jobs. An estimated 35 million Americans are trapped in jobs they would have left in better times. Fewer Americans are working today than in the year 2000, despite the fact that our population has grown by 31 million and our labor force by 11.4 million since then.”
How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?
THAT OLD PRESS-PANIC IS NO LONGER OPERATIVE: Whatever Happened To The Huttaree Militia?
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Hard Times Spread for Cities: Rising Health, Pension Costs Top the List as Municipalities Struggle to Recover From the Recession.
BOB ZUBRIN: Our Emissary on Mars, Budget Woes on Earth.
WHY MORE GEEZERS are getting it on.
A CHAIR THAT MAKES SCARY MOVIES SCARIER: “The chair artificially induces body hairs to stand up, intensifying a person’s response.”
KEITH HENNESSEY: The Campaign Politics Of The Ryan Budget. “Every ‘cut program X by Y%’ quote about the Ryan budget will be relative to an unsustainable spending path. The irresponsible part isn’t the proposed spending cut, it’s the promise to keep spending growth going without specifying how you’ll pay for it. If President Obama were proposing tax increases to match his future spending growth, then this would be a fair attack. But he is not. More generally, the Obama fiscal path and campaign message rely on the false presumption that everything will be OK if we raise tax increases only on the rich and make small, mostly painless spending cuts. This is incorrect. Whether you support spending cuts, tax increases, or a combination, you need to make big, structural fiscal policy changes to get on a long-term sustainable fiscal path. Our federal government spending path is seriously out of whack and minor adjustments won’t fix it.”
HUMANS ON MARS: The Craziest, Weirdest, and Most Plausible Plans in History.
MICKEY KAUS: “Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan is certainly open to attack. I oppose it. Dems might make great use of it as an issue. But President Obama is a highly imperfect Medicare defender, having agreed to take Medicare away from 65 and 66 year olds in the failed ‘grand bargain’ talks with John Boehner. Indeed, according to the NYT, Obama thinks he didn’t get enough credit from the press for his willingness to throw Medicare under the bus.”
BRYAN PRESTON: Flashback: Paul Ryan vs Barack Obama, February 2010. Video at the link.
GERALD SEIB: Romney’s Ryan Pick Ensures Different Kind of Race. “The Ryan pick wasn’t the safest one Mr. Romney could have made—not by a long shot. But as the author of the budget plan that most clearly delineates the view of limited government that most Republicans hold, and with more specificity and crystalline explanation than most can muster, Mr. Ryan best guarantees the country will get the kind of philosophical debate worthy of a presidential campaign.”
Meanwhile, reader John Borchers sends this cautionary image:
WANT SEXIER DREAMS? Try Sleeping On Your Stomach.
READER BOOK PLUG: Reader Carolyn Jourdan writes:
I’m a UT Law Grad (’81) and my book about leaving a job as U.S. Senate Counsel to work as an inept medical receptionist for my father for free for 4 years is in the Kindle Top 100 for under $3.99 you plugged on Instapundit. Help a (poor) girl out if you can. Please??
Done! The book is called Heart In The Right Place.
IN THE MAIL: From Stephen England, Pandora’s Grave.
HAS HUMANITIES EDUCATION been gentrified?
LOWER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: David Gelernter: The Friendly, Neighborhood Internet School.
Among 65 participating nations in the latest survey, the United States ranked 15th in reading, 23rd in science, 31st in math. In “science literacy” we were beaten by such intellectual powerhouses as Slovenia and crushed by the likes of Japan and Finland. But take heart: We beat Bulgaria!
Unfortunately, science is one of our strong subjects. “American students are less proficient in their nation’s history than in any other subject, according to results of a nationwide test,” the New York Times reported last year. “Most fourth graders [were] unable to say why Abraham Lincoln was an important figure.” The exam found 12% of high school seniors “proficient” in American history.
But statistics can’t measure the outright grotesqueness of our failure. Earlier this year, the Huffington Post reported on “Lunch Scholars,” a high-school student’s video about his fellow students. “Do you know the vice president of the United States?” the filmmaker asks. One student volunteers “bin Laden.” “In what war did America gain independence?” No one had the right answer without a hint.
A local Internet school sounds like a contradiction in terms: the Internet lets you discard geography and forget “local.” But the idea is simple. A one-classroom school, with 20 or so children of all ages between 6th and 12th grade, each sitting at a computer and wearing headsets. They all come from nearby. A one-room Internet school might serve a few blocks in a suburb, or a single urban apartment building.
It could hardly do worse than our current approach, which is also hideously expensive.
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IT’S ROMNEY-RYAN 2012. “Ryan puts the national debt front and center in the election, on par with or maybe even ahead of jobs. This is a winner of an issue, it’s what motivated people in 2010, and it will cause huge turnout.”
UPDATE: Byron York: Romney Goes Bold.
Here’s a bunch of Paul Ryan video. Here’s one:
And on the day Ryan was picked, it’s worth pointing out that we’ve gone 1200 days now without a budget.
Also, thoughts from Ira Stoll.
And Roger Kimball writes: The comeback team (or why Romney will win by a landslide).
The man who has added more than $5 trillion to the federal debt, who is running an annual deficit of some $1.4 trillion, who has burdened American business with a nightmare of stifling regulations, who has squandered hundreds of billions of dollars on failed “green” energy initiatives and non-stimulating “stimulus” packages, who has insinuated government into the private sector in blundering unproductive and fiscally ruinous ways and foisted on an unwilling public the horror of ObamaCare—that chap is going down and going down in a landslide.
Nice veep choice, kid. Don’t get cocky.
MORE STILL: The racist attacks have already started: Liberals point out that Paul Ryan is a white guy.
Meanwhile, reader John Perkins writes: “How long will it be before the MSM writes a snarky article about Romney and Ryan being like two young Mormon missionaries coming to your door. I mean, can Maureen Dowd even resist?” Well, if anyone uses this now, I’m charging them with plagiarizing John Perkins.
Plus: Jennifer Rubin: How Ryan Got The Job. “Romney is above all else a problem-solver, a doer and a fixer. Ryan, likewise, is a policy maven who has since 2007 been trying to advance budget, tax and health-care reforms, moving the Republican Party to become the champion of market-based reform. Ryan is a smart man, certainly the smartest in Congress, with an eye for detail and a facility with numbers. Romney prizes brains, precision and the ability to wield numbers. Ryan uses a scalpel, not a sledge hammer in skewering his opposition; Romney likewise uses piles of data to slay his competitors (as he did in the Florida and Arizona GOP primary debates). Ryan is personally and professionally disciplined, a straight arrow with a gee-whiz brand of optimism. Romney is as well. . . . The left will be effusive about the opportunity to renew Mediscare. But the Ryan team has been fighting that fight for some time and is perfectly willing to engage President Obama, who has heckled but not lead on entitlement reform. Who better than Ryan to take on the president while Romney sails above the fray?”
And: Steve Hayward: “Ryan wants to have an adult conversation with America about the looming insolvency of the welfare state, and he has a serious plan to fix it. . . . I suspect Ryan is one of the few Republicans Obama genuinely fears; after all, Ryan schooled Obama in Obama’s faux-’health care summit’ early last year. (Obama does not look pleased in the video.) David Brooks reports, by the way, that Obama never picks up the phone to try to talk with Ryan. Ryan is not simply fearless about the issues, he also gets the larger picture, and can talk about the larger picture.”
PROF. WILLIAM HENDERSON: Federal Funding of Higher Education–A Bubble that is Going to Burst.
Student loans are viewed as “assets” by the federal government … until they become uncollectable, in which case the value of the assets eventually has to be adjusted through write-downs, just like mortgages in the mortgage crisis. Extensive use of Income-Based Repayment makes it possible for a student loan to be simultaneously uncollectable but not in default.
Folks, I am an unapologetic New Deal Democrat. But the current “system” of federal higher education financing is near perfect insanity. We set tuition and, no questions asked, the federal government writes us checks in exact proportion to students’ willingness to sign loan papers. For young people who have never worked, it is all like monopoly money.
The only way the math works is if the real earnings go up en masse for virtually all college and professional school graduates. In a rapidly globalizing world in which our students are competing against Chinese and Indian professionals, the assumption of mass rising real incomes is implausible. See, e.g., views of economist Alan Blinder in this NPR article.
Right now we–higher ed and the nation as a whole–are maintaining the illusion of prosperity through debt financing heaped on naive young people. This is immoral in the extreme. Moreover, in the long run, it is economic and political ruination.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: USDA spends $2 million on internship program for one full-time intern.
Who was the intern, and what were his/her connections?
YET ANOTHER REASON TO REPEAL THE HOLLYWOOD TAX CUTS: Near-Bankrupt California Awards Hollywood $100M In Corporate Welfare.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? Richard Trumka Wouldn’t Bet on House Democrats’ Gains. He thinks the Senate will stay Democratic, though. That’s the “hope,” part, I guess.
HOW RETIREMENT BENEFITS may sink the states. “Illinois is an object lesson in why firms are starting to pay more attention to the long-term fiscal prospects of communities. Early last year, the state imposed $7 billion in new taxes on residents and business, pledging to use the money to eliminate its deficit and pay down a backlog of unpaid bills (to Medicaid providers, state vendors and delayed tax refunds to businesses). But more than a year later, the state is in worse fiscal shape, with its total deficit expected to increase to $5 billion from $4.6 billion, according to an estimate by the Civic Federation of Chicago.”
GOVERNANCE: 1200 Days Without A Budget.
So how does that photo hold up today? Same resonance as it had back in 2008?
And let me once again suggest something Obama should have been reading in 2008. It might have imparted a bit of intellectual, or at least political, humility. Though probably not . . . .
Plus, More on Fareed Zakaria from Ed Driscoll. Bonus tie-it-all-together quote:
So a “journalist” completely in the tank for the man who says “you didn’t build that,” (and as James Taranto has noted, “Unearned success is the central theme of [Obama's] life story”) may not have written wide swatches of own his columns. Seems logical in a Bizarro World sort of way if true.
And Bizarro World is where we live these days.
#twitterhashtag RSS feed test.
WHY CALIFORNIA CITIES ARE GOING BROKE: Hermosa Beach meter maids making nearly $100K?
UPDATE: Reader Mike Kozlowski writes:
The Patrick Bobko mentioned in the linked story was my flight chief at Shaw AFB SC longer ago than I care to remember…and he was a smart, intelligent leader who didn’t stand for any nonsense. Seems that he hasn’t lost any of that, and is trying his damnedest to change things for the better. Let me respectfully suggest that your California readers keep an eye on this man – it will be him and people like him who really are California’s last hope.
California needs all the help it can get.