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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Size Matters

August 14th, 2010 - 2:00 pm

It’s another big, big PJM Political. We’ve got Five Questions for James Lileks, Glenn Reynolds with Richard Epstein and John Yoo on law schools, plus Christiane Amanpour, Bill Whittle, Scott Ott and… I think maybe that pretty much covers it.

Whew.

Ten Items Or More

August 14th, 2010 - 9:40 am

Let them eat organic rhubarb, the importance of staying away from sharp objects, plus, Dave Weigel’s sexy comments, all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

Yank Hank!

August 13th, 2010 - 3:50 pm

Coast to Coast Tea Party: This week I talk with Liz Carter, running against Hank “Capsizing Guam” Johnson in GA-4.

She’s feisty, and a blast to interview.

If the Cruel Shoe Fits

August 13th, 2010 - 12:37 pm

From an otherwise-innocuous AP report on Nancy Pelosi’s House fundraising efforts:

No Democrat except Obama raises more money, say party officials, who credit Pelosi with pulling in $189 million since 2003. But she also is the GOP’s favorite target this year, eclipsing even the president in the guilt-by-association tactic that Republicans are using in dozens of races. [emphasis, obviously, added]

OK, if the Democrat incumbents in question voted for Porkulus, voted for Obamacare, voted for Cap & Tax, and all the rest, then there is no “guilt by association.” It’s just regular old guilt the GOP is exploiting, and the charge should stick — and stick hard.

You Keep Using That Word

August 13th, 2010 - 10:20 am

From the President’s statement on the new Southwest Border Security Act:

I have made securing our Southwest Border a top priority since I came to office. That is why my administration has dedicated unprecedented resources and personnel to combating the transnational criminal organizations that traffic in drugs, weapons, and money, and smuggle people across the border with Mexico.

“Unprecedented resources?” Well, yeah, if you include a White House lawsuit to prevent the state government of Arizona from helping the Federal government to enforce its own laws. That seems pretty unprecedented to me.

Good Times, Good Times

August 13th, 2010 - 10:14 am

Did the recession even ever really end? Maybe not, says Gluskin Sheff’s Chief Economist David Rosenberg. He also warns that the odds of a double dip are better (worse?) than 50/50.

It’s a Feature Not a Bug II

August 13th, 2010 - 10:01 am

At long last, savings! See:

President Obama has abolished the position in his White House dedicated to transparency and shunted those duties into the portfolio of a partisan ex-lobbyist who is openly antagonistic to the notion of disclosure by government and politicians.

Obama transferred “ethics czar” Norm Eisen to the Czech Republic to serve as U.S. ambassador. Some of Eisen’s duties will be handed to Domestic Policy Council member Steven Croley, but most of them, it appears, will shift over to the already-full docket of White House Counsel Bob Bauer.

The transparency thing was always a sham, of course. And anytime any President wants to can one of his “czar” positions is fine with me.

Which brings us to the obligatory Star Wars reference.

When Obama starting naming all these new czar positions, essentially overriding his cabinet and escaping congressional oversight, I thought of a scene from the command room on the original Death Star — and then promptly forgot to blog it for over a year. Anyway, it goes a little like this:

Governor Tarkin: The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I have just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.

General Tagge: But that’s impossible. How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?

Governor Tarkin: The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station.

OK, so the whole reference kinda falls apart with the bit about the giant orbiting battle station with its planet-destroying death ray. But it’s pretty obvious that this is an administration none-too-beholden to promises of transparency, or even to traditional (and constitutional) strictures on presidential powers.

I think Ira Stoll’s latest column, on the Fed’s bulging two-trillion dollar balance sheet, closes the case:

…to me the real significance of the chart (along with the downward stock index charts since the Fed’s statement Tuesday afternoon) is the potentially volcanic political impact. Think of it — $2 trillion in government money, more than the entire annual spending of the entire federal government in 2001 — thoroughly insulated from the control of elected officials.

Chopping up half of the American auto industry and handing it out as political favors? Carving up the health industry to give life-and-death power to an unelected political appointee? Killing off a hundred thousand high-paying jobs in the Gulf, as a sop to the environmental lobby?

That’s all chicken feed, compared to what the Feds can (and will) get up to with a $2,000,000,000,000 (and growing) slush fund.

POSSIBLY RELATED: In the long run, we’ll all be declared dead.

Trifecta: iPhones, Flip cams, and surveillance cameras everywhere. Privacy is dead, but should we mourn?

Reading the Tea Leaves

August 12th, 2010 - 9:23 am

Two stories from two very different sources sharing one common theme. First, from the Daily Caller:

Additionally, Democratic lawmakers have taken heart that Republicans have tripped over themselves repeatedly as they seek to regain control of Congress. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and Gibbs, along with many other Democrats, boasted that primary elections on Tuesday showed that Democrats were nominating good candidates while Republicans were under attack by Tea Party energy from within their own party, causing them to in some cases nominate weaker candidates.

And now, the Guardian:

The results of primaries in four states on Tuesday will leave moderate Democrats facing Republicans who have been tainted by extreme views, or accusations of unethical conduct, in key races for the US Senate and state governorships. This should undermine the Republicans’ attempts to retake control of Congress. “This is the best night the Democrats have had this year,” said Larry Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia. “They’ve improved their position in all four states and the Republicans weakened theirs. The Democrats couldn’t have written a better script.”

OK, so Larry Sabato is a good pollster and a lousy analyst — we knew that already. But the Democrats seem to believe, honestly believe, that keeping the same old insiders is a big benefit — at a time when American voters are more fed up with politics-as-usual than ever.

The energy and enthusiasm is all on the side of the insurgents, because our incumbents (Democrats and Republicans alike) have failed. Completely failed.

It’s the Greatest Show on Earth

August 11th, 2010 - 6:31 pm

Trifecta: Grab some popcorn and enjoy the spectacle of the Democrats tearing themselves apart over Obamacare.

It’s the most gleefultastic Trifecta ever!

I Always Do

August 10th, 2010 - 9:22 pm

Trifecta: Scott Ott has in his hot little hands the latest results from the Tea Party Tracking Poll — and Bill Whittle and I try to figure out What It All Means.

Here’s a hint — keep your eye on the ladies.

It’s a Feature Not a Bug

August 10th, 2010 - 5:01 pm

The Democrats are at it again — disrupting people’s hopes and dreams just to plunge us deeper into debt. You might have already read this bit:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) promised his children for months that he would spend one uninterrupted August week with them in Hawaii.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had other plans for Chaffetz and the rest of the House. On Tuesday, Chaffetz will complete nearly 24 hours of round-trip air travel just to vote no on a $26 billion state aid bill unexpectedly tossed onto the schedule in the middle of the quiet August recess.

But dig a little deeper down and you get this:

Many members would prefer face time with their constituents ahead of the November midterms, and some are making no secret about their displeasure.

Except for incumbent Democrats, who would rather not see a repeat of last August’s Town Hall meetings. Any chance to escape their constituents — which might be what Pelosi had in mind all along.

Running with the Devil

August 9th, 2010 - 4:23 pm

Hair of the Dog: Christiane Amanpour dives headfirst into the Pool of Irrelevance (that’s a real thing, right?) and Roger Ailes has Satan working as his booking agent. And would you believe… More dumbass?

TV doesn’t get much better than that.

Slow Death: Week Two of This Week

August 8th, 2010 - 11:55 am

Just a couple observations about the changes wrought by the Amanpour Regime at ABC’s This Week.

1. The reworked title music sounds like Kenny G on a double-dose of Demerol.

2. Why would ABC spend millions of dollars a year on a terror apologist, when there are so many of them willing to work for free?

And now I have to go watch the remaining 41 minutes.

UPDATE: Amanpour is also doing “magazine”-type pieces, including one that feels like it’s from a particularly weepy Dateline segment. Ugh.

Flaccid Argument

August 8th, 2010 - 9:11 am

Milwaukee teachers are having a very hard time:

With the district in a financial crisis and hundreds of its members facing layoffs, the Milwaukee teachers union is taking a peculiar stand: fighting to get its taxpayer-funded Viagra back.
The union has asked a judge to order the school board to again include Pfizer Inc.’s erectile dysfunction drug and similar pills in its health insurance plans.

Translation: Milwaukee teachers can’t get it up, and they’re not even motivated enough to pay a couple bucks for a pill to help.

That’s just sad.

Must-See Radio

August 7th, 2010 - 8:13 pm

I keep telling you just how big PJM Political is, week after week. And, well, this week is no exception.

What — you want details? Just click the link already. You know you want to.

For Educational Purposes Only

August 7th, 2010 - 10:57 am

Spot the Recovery Summer, jet ski with a Russki , and marry your gay partner at the World Trade Center Mosque, all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

Coal Burning Cars

August 6th, 2010 - 2:37 pm

Volt” — it’s how you say “lemon” in newspeak.

Dropping Out of the Electoral College

August 6th, 2010 - 12:25 pm

Trifecta: Massachusetts is the latest of ten states either have passed or are considering legislation to bypass the Electoral College and go to a “national popular vote.”

But it’s really all about stealing elections.

It’s Desperation Time

August 6th, 2010 - 7:50 am

Coast to Coast: I sit down to talk with Michigan Tea Party Alliance spokesman Gene Clem, about efforts by Democrats in his state to set up fake Tea Party candidates and put them on the ballot. Which is bad enough, but the sheer amateurism of it all will crack you up.

Required Reading

August 4th, 2010 - 11:23 am

Back in May, New Jersey’s new Republican governor promised he’d veto the Democrats’ “millionaires’ tax,” because Chris Christie wasn’t going to raise taxes, period.

The tax passed on party-line votes in the assembly and senate on May 20. Sweeney then certified the bill and walked it across the statehouse to Christie’s office, where the governor — who had vowed to balance the budget without raising taxes, and who’d developed a bewildering habit of keeping his promises — vetoed it. The whole thing took about two minutes.

“We’ll be back, governor,” Sweeney told Christie on being dispatched with the dead letter.

“All right, we’ll see,” came the reply.

Christie won that battle — and closed his state’s 11-billion dollar shortfall without raising taxes.

Draft this man for 2012.

Anyway, the quoted text is from a National Review profile of Christie by Daniel Foster, and you really do want to read every word.

Get Out the Vote and Then Some

August 4th, 2010 - 10:17 am

Trifecta: You don’t win elections by watching Glenn Beck. You’ve got to do the hard work – walk precincts, talk with neighbors and lick envelopes. It’s a lot of work, but well worth it.

Also, a “Now What?” bonus episode where we ask you to submit your questions for a special Tribefecta coming next week.

No, these are not the most ridiculous shoes ever. That would be… the cruel shoes.

Ignore the Idiot Behind the Curtain

August 2nd, 2010 - 10:25 pm

Chutzpah just got defined up. Check this out:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has hit out at the US military, saying that it bears the ultimate responsibility for any deaths of Afghan informers in the wake of the publication by his organisation of 75,000 leaked files of American army secrets.

Assange and WikiLeaks, the whistleblowers’ website that publishes leaked documents from around the world, have come under increasing fire amid accusations that publishing the files put people’s lives at risk. But in an interview with the Observer, Assange said the blame for any deaths lay squarely with US military authorities.

“We are appalled that the US military was so lackadaisical with its Afghan sources. Just appalled. We are a source protection organisation that specialises in protecting sources and have a perfect record from our activities,” he said.

Translation: “You made it too easy for me to get people killed, you killers!”

ABC Stands for Always Be Confusing

August 2nd, 2010 - 5:56 pm

It’s the Hair of the Dog you’ve been waiting for all spring and summer long, as Christiane Amanpour takes over This Week and does …things… to my usually-smooth persona. Also, Sarah Palin has the big cajones and Ceci Connolly has some very bad news for Charlie Rangel, delivered directly under the bus.

Quit Helping So Much III

August 2nd, 2010 - 3:21 pm

Rick Klein on what the President is doing to help in 60 congressional districts targeted for wins by the GOP:

Enter President Obama — or maybe not so much.

Though the president retains popularity in many corners of the country, the places where he’s grown substantially less popular happen to coincide with the places where Democrats find themselves most endangered.

That means the president is unlikely to be able to be able to turn around the sagging fortunes of Democrats this fall. Many of the same districts where a big political gun is most needed are exactly where this particular weapon won’t be deployed.

Maybe — and I’m really going out on a limb here — Obama should have worked to gain public support for his great big bills before letting Nancy Pelosi shove them through Congress.

Just a thought.

Well Duh

August 2nd, 2010 - 12:56 pm

Here’s your headline of the day, courtesy of Bloomberg: “Obamacare Only Gets Worse Upon Further Review.” No wonder Obamapelosireid insisted on passing the thing before anyone could read it. Here’s the scary stuff:

The new law creates 68 grant programs, 47 bureaucratic entities, 29 demonstration or pilot programs, six regulatory systems, six compliance standards and two entitlements.

Getting that massive enterprise up and running will be next to impossible. So Democrats streamlined the process by granting Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius the authority to make judgments that can’t be challenged either administratively or through the courts.

This monarchical protection from challenges is extended as well to the development of new patient-care models under Obama’s controversial recess appointment, Donald Berwick, whom Republicans are calling the rationer-in-chief. Berwick will run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where he can experiment with ways to use administrative fiat to move our system toward the socialized medicine of Europe, which he has at times embraced.

And here’s the maze, which you, Obama’s lab rat, will have to navigate before you get to the part where Berwick tells you that you’re not politically-connected enough to get that new hip.

Sitting pretty at the center of everything, is Kathleen Sebelius, who is soon to become one of the most powerful people in the history of the world.

Be afraid.

Handicapping the House

August 2nd, 2010 - 12:03 pm

It’s time again for another installment of VodkaPundit’s semi-occasional Handicapping the House series. Lots of movement since we did the last one, about four weeks ago — most of it to the left. Let’s take a look.

As things stand today, the House is virtually tied — the Democrats would likely win 202 seats if the election were held today, the GOP 201. The remainder are just too close to call. What’s interesting is that out of 254 seats the Democrats now hold, only 149 are virtual locks. The GOP has a lock on all but ten of its 178 seats.

On the GOP side, there was zero movement, zilch. Not one Republican-held seat moved in either direction. Nobody firmed up in the polls, nobody got any softer. All the action was in the blue seats.

Six Democrats are looking slightly stronger. In GA2, John Barrow went from a Likely win to Safe. Honestly, this seat was never really in play. The district was redrawn a few years ago (much to the dismay of former GOP seat-holder Max Burns) to include more minorities and Democrats.

Two Toss-Up races now Lean Dem. Keep an eye on IA03. Supposed-Blue Dog Dem Leonard Boswell looks pretty secure — he won 56% of the vote in ’08. But his votes in favor of Porkulus, Cap & Tax and Obamacare could make him vulnerable. ID01 should be a gimme for the GOP. Big turnout in ’08 gave Walt Minnick a razor-thin win in a traditionally-GOP region that went almost two-to-one in favor of McCain-Palin.

Republican Jerry Weller retired after seven terms representing IL11, and Democrat Debbie Halvorson won big. She’s moved out of the Leans GOP column and into the toss up category. Same goes for Larry Kissell in NC08, who won by a better-than-expected margin last time around, and whose vote against Obamacare might buy him some protection.

And four Democrats are looking a little weaker since the last report.

NC07′s Mike McIntyre was supposed to have a Safe seat this year, but RCP’s poll averaging now shows him with “only” a Likely win. Guy’s been in office since 1997, and went against TARP — he’ll get reelected.

Former quarterback Heath Shuler is all over the place in NC11. In just a month, he’s gone from Leans Dem to Likely Dem then back to Leans Dem. He’s socially conservative and voted against Porkulus and Obamacare. This seat’s probably safe for the Democrats.

KY06 incumbent Ben Chandler beat the Bush Surge in ’04 to win his seat. He’s fairly socially-conservative, but has voted in lockstep with his party on everything but Obamacare. A credible GOP candidate should be able to take this one, as Chandler goes from Likely to Leans to… Oblivion, perhaps.

Lastly, NM01 had never elected a Democrat, but Martin Heinrich won pretty handily against GOP sheriff Darren White. He’s now in the Toss Up column, right one space from Leans Dem. But the region has been trending blue, and a couple years ago, The Hill selected Heinrich as the hottest person on Capital Hill. Might be enough to keep the seat.

Put it all together, and the situation going into November looks like this: Americans are sick of the Democrats already, but aren’t yet ready to trust the GOP again. And what I’m seeing out of the Washington crowd makes me think that the Republicans are counting almost exclusively on the former and ignoring the latter — to their own, great peril.

UPDATE: On Twitter, Nathan Wurtzel tells me that the latest SUSA poll shows Heinrich trailing by six points in NM01 to Jon Berela, who’s passed the magic 50% threshold. And NC11 is a tie. I think Cap & Tax has literally everybody in Appalachia spooked, and a Wurtzel rightly notes, Obama’s support has “collapsed” in the Rocky Mountain West.

Quit Helping So Much II

August 2nd, 2010 - 8:42 am

Obama went down to Georgia, he was looking for… someone… anyone, I guess. Read:

President Obama makes his first Atlanta appearance since his inauguration.

The President will fly into town Monday morning.

If you think this will be a time for Democrats running for office to rally around the chief executive- -you probably haven’t been following the campaigns this summer.

Former Governor Roy Barnes will not be available to meet Mr. Obama. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate will be somewhere in Georgia- – far from Atlanta.

OK, so maybe Georgia isn’t a huge surprise. But keep an eye on the rest of the President’s travel schedule over the next three months. If he avoids, or is avoided in, central Pennsylvania or upstate New York, then the Democrats are in really bad shape.

Not in as bad a shape as Obama, but still.

Aw, Shucks

August 2nd, 2010 - 8:11 am

I’m just a simple blogger, doing the best he can.