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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Frankie Says Relax

September 21st, 2011 - 9:51 am

Don’t get too excited about that poll showing Sarah Palin within striking distance of President Obama, and that “49 percent to 36 percent, voters said they definitely plan to vote against Obama.”

If you search for “Marist” here on VodkaPundit’s archives — almost ten years of archives — you won’t get any results, other than this post. Marist isn’t a very good polling agency, and I’ve never put any faith in their numbers.

The Do-Nothing Congress of 2012

September 21st, 2011 - 8:21 am

If there’s a Question of the Day, it must be from Stuart Rothenberg: Should Obama Run Against Congress?

Here’s the thinking behind it:

Running against Congress seems like a potentially fruitful strategy for President Barack Obama, especially because the recent CBS News/New York Times survey found that Republicans in Congress have a lower approval than Democrats in Congress, 19 percent compared with 28 percent.

Democratic consultants and strategists I have talked with recently don’t have any easy answers for the White House in trying to improve the president’s uncertain prospects for a second term. But most of them say that running against Congressional Republicans probably is what Obama can and should do, at least until he has another Republican target.

That “another Republican target” means, of course, the eventual GOP nominee. It doesn’t really matter who the nominee is, either, in the sense that the President will go after him with a fury that will make the Bush Machine attacks on John Kerry look like a Rembrandt portrait. With high unemployment, the economy skipping along the bottom (or worse by next year), Solyndra, Gunwalker, and all the rest, character assassination is about the only tool the Administration has left. It’s going to be nasty — but we knew that already.

I suppose the President has to do something campaign-like until then, and Congress is the thing to campaign against. But to what effect?

Sure, Congress is unpopular. But why Congress is unpopular is the question we need to ask. Some of the negatives are natural, they’re built in to the system. Americans don’t like Congress because we don’t like government and Congress writes the laws. Asking Americans to like Congress is like asking us to like colonoscopies: We’ll submit when we must, but otherwise — back off, pal.

Democrats don’t like Congress because half of it is run by Republicans and the other half is run by Harry Reid. Any of our Donkey friends looking for love in either of those places is going to come away disappointed.

Republicans don’t like Congress because half of it is run by Democrats and the other half isn’t doing what they sent them there to do — cut spending and the deficit. Sure, that’s just not possible with Reid and Obama in the way, but that probably just makes the frustration even worse. It’s tough when you win an historic election and still can’t get the job done.

So what does Obama get out of running against Congress? I don’t know if he gets anything at all. Already, Senate Democrats are getting tired of having to wear the President’s target on their backs. On the other side, Paul Ryan must be loving the increased exposure he gets, courtesy of Obama’s attacks. And he even got enough color on his face this summer to look amazingly lifelike when he goes on TV.

Long term, there’s another problem with running against Congress: Voter exhaustion. After a months of going negative, will there be anyone left to listen when Obama goes super-negative on the GOP’s presidential nominee?

I’ll pay attention — because I have to. Ordinary voters, who don’t clue in until the election is in full swing, will wonder what happened to Mr. Hopenchange. And more involved voters might slowly tune out the President’s words, until he becomes a faint and annoying buzz in the background.

But if Obama thinks he can still turn out his base, then maybe turning off everyone else really is the only strategy he has left.

Do you know who is blocking the President’s bold tax plan? The one that will rescue our nation from financial ruin? The plan that will create eight million new high-paying green jobs by a week from Friday and scratch the chin of every single homeless kitten in the whole entire world? Who stands in Obama’s way? The Tea Party, that’s who!

Or perhaps not:

Moderate Senate Democrats are signaling strong resistance to tax increases in the President’s deficit-reduction plan, and the early disapproval within his own party will no doubt give Republicans on the deficit super committee plenty of cover to block any and all revenue-raising aspects of Obama’s plan.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) told reporters Monday night that he’s put off by all the talk about increasing taxes when he believes the primary and only goal of the deficit super committee should be finding cuts to hack away at the deficit.

“Tax increases have to come second to cutting,” he said. “I was just home over the weekend and that’s what [my constituents] we’re all talking about.”

Of course, this story comes from the super-right-wing Talking Points Memo, so it’s probably all just made up. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go step on a kitten.

Trifecta: But of course we’re taking on AttackWatch.

Bonus: AttaaaaaaaaaackWaaaaaaaaatch.

A McKinsey & Co survey shows that 30% of private-sector employers will dump private health insurance under ObamaCare — and that’s just fine with Howard Dean:

Dean told Morning Joe, “The fact is it is very good for small business. There was a McKinsey study, which the Democrats don’t like, but I do, and I think its true. Most small businesses are not going to be in the health insurance business anymore after this thing goes into effect.”

The reason Democrats fought so hard to dismiss the McKinsey survey when it was released is because its conclusion undermines two major claims Obama made during health care debate: “If you like your health plan, you can keep it” and “It will not add one penny to the deficit.”

Fellow Morning Joe guest former New York Gov. George Pataki immediately hit the first point: “The only way its a help is if they drop coverage and their employees would all of a sudden have to go on the exchange, which is what of course the president promised wouldn’t happen.”

Just another step on the road to single payer.

In other words… If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. So long as your employer also likes your health care plan, which he won’t.

David Brooks: Foolish Little Girl

September 20th, 2011 - 9:20 am

David Brooks: “I’m an Obama sap.”

Well, we knew that, David — but do you have anything new to tell us?

As it turns out, yes. Brooks would like to tell us it isn’t his fault he’s a rube. It’s not Bush’s fault (I don’t think). It’s not even Obama’s fault. It’s — wait for it, because this is really clever stuff here — it’s Washington’s fault! Oh, yes, it is. Behold the excuse-mongering:

Yes, I’m a sap. I believed Obama when he said he wanted to move beyond the stale ideological debates that have paralyzed this country. I always believe that Obama is on the verge of breaking out of the conventional categories and embracing one of the many bipartisan reform packages that are floating around.

But remember, I’m a sap. The White House has clearly decided that in a town of intransigent Republicans and mean ideologues, it has to be mean and intransigent too. The president was stung by the liberal charge that he was outmaneuvered during the debt-ceiling fight. So the White House has moved away from the Reasonable Man approach or the centrist Clinton approach. [Emphasis added, buy why?]

Barack Obama lost the nice crease in his trousers, only because our nation’s capital is full of wrinkly, mean old men. It’s not the President’s fault. And so it certainly isn’t Brooks’s fault for being a sap — because deep inside, far below the cut of his jib, Obama hasn’t changed of whit. He’s still the pragmatic technocratic centrist he always campaigned as.

Shorter Brooks: “Please just love me like I love you, Barack. I forgive you — come back!”

This is an unseemly column, where Brooks attempts to prove he’s not really sap, by declaring his unending sapitude. But the truth is, “Obamaism” was never anything more than a campaign ploy to earn the trust of people like Brooks and Peggy Noonan and Chris Buckley and countless others who should have known better.

Noonan has manned up. Buckley has too, sort of. Brooks, however, still sounds like a Shirelles song every time his man comes around. He’d sound more manly if he’d change his tune to that of a woman scorned.

Hair of the Dog: It’s wall-to-wall Bill Clinton, as the mainstream media tries to remind us about that time we had a Democrat president everybody didn’t despise.

Bonus: It’s the Eyebrow of Semi-Disdain!

Smoke Yourself Thin!

September 19th, 2011 - 1:50 pm

National Bureau of Economic Research: Americans are getting fatter because we’re smoking less.

The law of unintended consequences can never be repealed.

” …and everybody hates the Jews!”

September 19th, 2011 - 12:42 pm

Wow. Just wow. New York mag is pulling out all the stops in the wake of NY09.

What — you don’t like the cover? How about this sick-making line:

In a way, history has been cruel to Obama, forcing him to succeed the wrong Bush—the one whose support for Israel, unlike that of his father, was uncritical to the point of blindness.

It’s all Bush’s fault. Still.

So I’m still sensing panic at the White House over the NY09 loss last week. My friend Rich Baehr is, I think, too optimistic when he argues that the GOP could capture its biggest share of the Jewish vote since Eisenhower. But it’s safe to say that Jewish voters — and Jewish donors — won’t come out in force in 2012 like they did in for Obama in 2008.

With the economy still in the tank, Obama’s reelection strategy rests on twin pillars:

• Demonize the opposition.
• Turn out the base.

The first part is easy, especially with the Complicit Media at the President’s back. The second part gets much more difficult, when public sector unions are losing their clout in states like Wisconsin, black unemployment is over 15%, and Jews are dissatisfied and distressed by the President.

The GOP doesn’t have to suddenly make pals with Andy Stern or convince millions of African Americans and Jews to switch parties. All that has to happen is, those folks stay at home and don’t vote “O.” To some extent, these things are already happening. We saw it in NY09 just a week ago — and in Wisconsin, Ohio, and New Jersey in the months before that.

The New York cover is just the first of many attempts by the Complicit Media and the White House to shore up the Jewish vote. It remains to be seen if it will work.

There’s Always Room for Tom Selleck’s Mustache

September 19th, 2011 - 11:34 am

Another week, another fake plan from President Obama to cut the deficit. Here’s the outline, courtesy of the AP:

In a blunt rejoinder to congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama called for $1.5 trillion in new taxes Monday, part of a total 10-year deficit reduction package totaling more than $3 trillion. “We can’t just cut our way out of this hole,” the president said.

The president’s proposal would predominantly hit upper income taxpayers but would also reduce spending in mandatory benefit programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, by $580 billion. It also counts savings of $1 trillion over 10 years from the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Let’s do some basic arithmatic. The promise is to generate $3 trillion in savings. One third of that, $1T, comes from defense spending in Iraq and Afghanistan that isn’t going to happen anyway. The drawdowns are already in place. You can’t “save” money you were never going to spend. So already we’re down to $2T in deficit reduction.

Next, the President wants to wring $580 billion out of entitlements, by finding that many dollars worth of “waste and inefficiency.” Of course, we were already granted a boon of $500 billion in cost-free savings in Medicare when ObamaCare passed. If we pretend, like the President does, that those $500 billions were really saved, it’s hard to see where we’ll find another imaginary $580 billion. So now we’re down to a mere $1.42 trillion in deficit reduction — over the next ten years.

But don’t worry because Obama says we’re going to get $1.5T in deficit reduction from tax hikes on “the rich.” What’s the real number? Let’s use a little something I call the “Clinton Rule of Thumb.” When President Clinton and the Democratic Congress jacked up taxes in 1993, revenues only increased by about two-thirds of the expected amount — and that was in a booming economy. So using the CROT, we can expect Obama’s tax hikes to generate $1T in new revenues.

However, this economy is, shall we say, not booming. So let’s cut the number in half again: $500 billion dollars in new revenues. And unlike the rest of the malarky in the President’s plan, I expect the tax hikes to be as real (and as serious) as a hemorrhagic fever. Which leaves us with a deficit plan that “saves” half a trillion dollars over the next ten years — or by a little more than one-third of our deficit spending from just last year.

This isn’t a credible plan. This is yet another soak-the-rich/class-warfare scheme aimed solely at securing Obama’s reelection.

Enjoy Some Golden Oldies from the Gray Lady

September 19th, 2011 - 8:15 am

You remember Bill Keller, right? Until very recently, he was the executive editor of the New York Times. A guy with a nose for news, you would hope. Someone who knows today what you’ll need to know tomorrow. A guy who can manage the hyperbustle of a big city newsroom, and get a relevant and informative newspaper out on the stands, each and every morning.

So I started reading his column just a minute ago, with all of the above in the back of the reptile part of my brain. And then he’s going on in the lede about President Obama’s inauguration, and how everything was Bush’s fault in just the third graf — and quite instinctively I glanced up at the dateline to make sure I wasn’t reading something from 2009.

But I wasn’t. The thing is dated September 18, 2011 — as if the last two-plus years hadn’t happened at all.

I’m thinking Keller’s retirement might be the best thing to happen to the Gray Lady since the invention of newsprint.

If You Want a MacBook Air Just Buy a MacBookAir

September 17th, 2011 - 10:18 am

I’m a gadget nut, so I read a lot of tech articles. And a lot of those are stupid. Behold — the stupidest tech article I’ve read in ages.

SAI is a site I admire, but sometimes the things they’ll do for clickthroughs…

Anyway, the article is headlined “The Best Super-Slim Laptop Alternatives If You Don’t Have The Loot To Spend On A MacBook Air.” If I ever decide to buy another laptop, it will definitely be something in the MacBook Air class — super-thin, super-light, and SSD-driven. So what contenders did SAI find? Here they are:

•ASUS UX21. The price is nice — $799. But it doesn’t exist. Not yet, anyway. And that’s the “expected” “starting” price. How will it stack up in real life? Nobody knows.

•Acer Aspire 3951. It looks very nice. You also can’t buy one, not even for the “under $800″ that SAI is “hearing about.”

•Lenovo ThinkPad X1. The starting price is the same as the 13-inch MacBook Air — $1299. So, it doesn’t quite qualify as cheaper. Especially since an 11-inch Air can be had for $999. But it has a hard drive, weighs nearly four pounds (over a third more), has a slower processor, and a lower-resolution screen. This isn’t an Air competitor in any way, shape, or form.

•Samsung Series 9. This is one hot-looking laptop, and it shares the same price as the 13-inch Air and the Lenovo. Size, weight, SSD, and battery life are all competitive, too. However, the Samsung has a slower processor and a lower-resolution screen. Apple will give you slightly more for your money. And again, this is at the top end of the Air price scale.

•Sony VAIO Z. Starts at $2,000. I have no idea what this machine is doing in a price competition.

•Toshiba Portege R835. I couldn’t find this one on Toshiba’s own web site to do a real comparison. But since it sports a hard drive and weighs over three pounds (and has the lower-quality screen and slower CPU), this is another one that just isn’t in the same class as the Air and the Samsung.

And that’s the whole list — two vaporware products, two standard laptops, a $2,000 behemoth, and a very nice Samsung unit that shares a starting price with the most-expensive MacBook Air.

I’ll have whatever SAI‘s Kenneth Butler is drinking. But make mine a single, because Kenneth is in a whole ‘nother from mine.

UPDATE: It wasn’t easy, but I managed to figure out how to upgrade the Lenovo to the same processor, Bluetooth (not included???) and SSD as the MacBook Air. Price: $1,944, with “savings.” You still get a worse screen, though, and an extra pound to carry.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Samsung also makes an 11.6″ model to compete with Apple’s tiniest Air — and starting at the same $999, too. It’s heavier and has a much slower processor for the price, but the screen is competitive, the SSD is the same and the battery life is advertised as longer.

And Stanley Kubrick Explains the Economy

September 17th, 2011 - 8:20 am

Sarah Palin’s NBA fling, Nick Cage is terrorized by frozen treats, and Rand Paul does his best Obama imitation — all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

It’s Another RIM Death Spasm

September 16th, 2011 - 1:56 pm

PlayBook prices slashed to $249. Wonder what that’ll do their guidance?

Required Viewing

September 16th, 2011 - 10:29 am
YouTube Preview Image

A Peek Inside the Sausage Factory

September 16th, 2011 - 10:24 am

I can’t wait to read this:

A new book claims that President Obama’s response to the economic crisis was hampered by a White House economic staff plagued by internal rivalries, a domineering chief adviser and a Treasury secretary who dragged his feet on enforcing decisions with which he disagreed.

The book, by Ron Suskind, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, quotes White House documents that say Mr. Obama’s decisions were routinely “re-litigated” by the chairman of the National Economic Council, Lawrence H. Summers. Some decisions, including one to overhaul the debt-ridden Citibank, were carried out sluggishly or not at all by a resistant Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, according to the book.

Gosh, it’s almost as though we elected a President with no executive experience.

The book, by the way, is called Confidence Men, and I just pre-ordered the Kindle edition.

A Bold New Plan

September 16th, 2011 - 8:39 am

A hidden provision in the President’s “jobs” bill would make it illegal for companies to discriminate against the unemployed:

President Obama’s American Jobs Act, which he presented to Congress on Monday, would make it illegal for employers to run advertisements saying that they will not consider unemployed workers, or to refuse to consider or hire people because they are unemployed.

The proposed language is found in a section of the bill titled “Prohibition of Discrimination in Employment on the Basis of an Individual’s Status as Unemployed.” That section would also make it illegal for employers to request that employment agencies take into account a person’s unemployed status.

The problem here is, the bill doesn’t go far enough. Why not make it illegal to refuse to hire any qualified candidate? We could shave three or four points off the unemployment rate virtually overnight, simply by requiring businesses to hire people who can do the job.

Imagine the stimulative effects of those millions of new paychecks in the hands of hungry workers. Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid coffers would fill back up. Millions of uninsured would be insured again. Discouraged workers would flood back into the labor force and eroded skillsets would be restored. Best of all, our anemic economy would come roaring back, ending the trillion-dollar deficits and putting us instantly back on the path to fiscal sanity.

What? You say the federal government doesn’t have the power to require businesses to hire people? If they can make us buy government-approved private insurance plans, why can’t they take one simple, forceful action against greedy corporations and fat cats? Especially when it would benefit the whole nation — the whole world!

Moving in the Right Direction

September 16th, 2011 - 8:06 am

Fuel & utilities prices since President Obama was sworn in, in constant dollars.

Chart courtesy of MetricMash.

Martinis Keeps Me Ahead of the Curve

September 16th, 2011 - 7:47 am

Michael Walsh, yesterday:

Do President Obama’s advisers realize they’ve got him frittering away the last political asset he has left?

As unpopular as the president’s policies — and especially his results — have proved, a majority of Americans still like and, somehow, even trust him personally. But his new political strategy is based on a manuever that even fellow Democrats see as transparently cynical.

VodkaPundit, ten days ago:

But there’s a question here Smith didn’t bother himself with. And that is: Can Obama keep his personal popularity after going from “hope and change” to “Rottweiler-in-cheif.” That’s a tough act to pull off. In fact, I can’t think of any President who’s managed to do it.

Choosy readers choose VodkaPundit.

Flash is so great, Microsoft is abandoning it in favor of HTML5 when they introduce Internet Explorer 10.

Adobe makes some great products, but Flash is borderline malware.

Special Election Panic Attack

September 15th, 2011 - 9:54 am

When was the last time a New York Times story made you giddy? Think back, take your time. Nothing? OK, how about this one then:

Sensing trouble [ya think? -ed.], the Obama campaign and Democratic Party leaders have mobilized to solidify the president’s standing with Jewish voters. The Democratic National Committee has established a Jewish outreach program. The campaign is singling out Jewish groups, donors and other supporters with calls and e-mails to counter the Republican narrative that Mr. Obama is hostile to Israel.

Among those efforts is a multi-page set of talking points circulated last Friday with the title, “President Obama’s Stance on Israel: Myths vs. Facts.” David Axelrod, a close Obama adviser, has sent e-mails to Jewish voters, pointing them to a speech by the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, praising Mr. Obama and saying he had deepened the military cooperation between the United States and Israel.

Let’s think about that. President Obama is spending time and money trying to nail down the Jewish vote. In New York. This is akin to the GOP having trouble with the Mormon vote. In Utah. Now the story’s lede claims that

Not since Jimmy Carter in 1980 has a Democrat running for president failed to win a lopsided majority of the Jewish vote.

But that’s not quite true. Reagan did better with Jews than any other GOP presidential candidate — and he still got only 35% of the vote. 65-35 is still pretty lopsided, yes? Especially given that anything more than 53% is considered a landslide.

But, to steal a line from Ed Driscoll stealing a line from Small Dead Animals paraphrasing a line from Mike Meyers, “Now is the time on VodkaPundit when we juxtapose.” Here’s one of those telling details from CNN’s Political Ticker:

The Republican National Committee raised over $8 million in August, the highest amount the group has raised in an August of a non-election year and reportedly more than $2 million more than their Democratic counterparts.

But what is CNN not telling you? That August included the president’s big birthday fundraising efforts — and the DNC played it up for all it was worth. So much so, that Senate Democrats complained Obama was sucking all the air out of the room. Even so, Teh Won couldn’t beat the RNC during his own birth month. And to think the closest thing the RNC had to a big theme was, “Trying to suck slightly less than the DNC.” That’s not exactly setting the bar very high, especially with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz still in charge.

Makes you wonder if there’s a bus headed Debbie’s way.

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Attaaaaaaaaack Waaaaaaatch!

September 15th, 2011 - 7:43 am

Bill Whittle has a gallery of Attack Watch posters. Email him your creation!

Moving in the Right Direction

September 15th, 2011 - 7:35 am

California unemployment since President Obama was sworn in. Gray background indicates economic contraction.

Chart courtesy of MetricMash.

Apple Redominates Tablet Market — Or Not

September 14th, 2011 - 2:00 pm

This is not as weird as it seems:

Worldwide media tablet shipments in the second quarter were driven by continued robust demand for Apple’s iPad 2, which saw shipments reach 9.3 million units, representing a 68.3% share of the worldwide market (up from 65.7% the previous quarter). Research in Motion entered the media tablet market in 2Q11 with its PlayBook product, grabbing a 4.9% share of the market. Apple’s strength and RIM’s entrance meant bad news for Android-based media tablets, which saw its collective share slip to 26.8%, down from 34.0% the previous quarter.

Android tablet sales are supposed to be going up, now that 3.x is available and manufacturers are putting price pressure on Apple. So how is Apple gaining market share? I’d wager that it isn’t, not really.

Note that the report covers the number of tablets shipped to retailers, not sold to consumers. Fact is, Android tablets are mostly sitting unloved on the store shelves and Android manufacturers have noticed — and have cut back on production. So of course shipments aren’t keeping up with Apple’s.

iPad isn’t surging ahead; Android makers are just starting to catch on to market realities.

Unlearn What You Have Learned

September 14th, 2011 - 1:54 pm

Yid with Lid: What we can and cannot learn from NY09.

Dial O for Booty Call

September 14th, 2011 - 12:43 pm

Please, Mr. President — no means no.

Tom Clancy Drool-Fest

September 14th, 2011 - 10:42 am

The Army gets the coolest toys:

After a year of successful testing, the U.S. Army has ordered over a hundred Switchblade UAVs for troop use. The Switchblade is a one kilogram (2.2 pound) expendable (used only once) UAV that can be equipped with explosives. The Switchblade is launched from its shipping and storage tube, at which point wings flip out, a battery powered propeller starts spinning and a vidcam begins broadcasting images to the controller.

A remote-controlled flying bomb? I would have killed for one of these when I was a kid.

A Special Election Victory Dance

September 14th, 2011 - 8:31 am

So I plugged “Debbie Wasserman-Schultz” into Google News to see what the DNC chair had to say about last night’s double-spanking of her party in those special House elections. And you know what? The best I got was an unsourced quote without a story to go along with it. From a TV appearance, maybe? I don’t know, because Google News won’t say. But here’s what DWS said:

In this district, there is a large number of people who went to the polls tonight who didn’t support the president to begin with and don’t support Democrats – and it’s nothing more than that.

OK, fine. There is a large number of people who don’t support the President — in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans by three-to-one. You know what political professionals call that? Panic time.

Politico has DWS claiming, without quotes, “These were just Orthodox Jews, not the mainline, Democrat-supporting, population.” OK, Debs — so what does that say about Obama’s chances in Florida next year? A barely-known Republican just took NY09 by almost the same margin (53-47) Obama won it in 2008 (55-44). And that’s after the DNC — you know a thing or two about the DNC, yes, Debbie? — pumped in oodles of money to turn out the vote.

How about that Nevada race then? NV02′s Washoe County is considered a bellwether area, and the Dems had “a weak showing there.” The district split 49/49 Obama/McCain in 2008. It’s 15% Hispanic. Republican Mark Amodei just won it by 22%. That’s a landslide, yes? It occurs to me for no particular reason that that’s an even bigger margin than Reagan beat Mondale in 1984. The Democrat in the race, Kate Marshall, “was critical of Obama but still supportive of a national health care overhaul.” Emphasis added, because that makes it sound like Marshall wasn’t exactly endorsing the health care overhaul Obama actually gave us.

So — run away from Obama and still lose by 22? Sounds like panic time to me.

And Reagan Was a Closet Commie

September 14th, 2011 - 7:59 am

Trifecta: Was Lincoln a big fan of big labor? E.J. Dionne wants you to think so.