Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mathematical ability in females

For around 100 years, IQ testing has consistently found that females have better verbal ability and males have better mathematical ability. But that is of course politically incorrect so Leftist researchers have been scratching around for an explanation of differences in mathematical achievement that does not involve innate ability. The latest such is below and it will no doubt be much quoted in future.

One glance at it shows that it disproves nothing. No one has ever claimed that ability is the only influence on achievement. Remember that funny old concept of "hard work"? All that the study below does is confirm that the power of example has an influence on achievement too -- which is hardly news either.
Female teachers' math anxiety affects girls' math achievement

By Sian L. Beilock et al.


People's fear and anxiety about doing math-over and above actual math ability-can be an impediment to their math achievement. We show that when the math-anxious individuals are female elementary school teachers, their math anxiety carries negative consequences for the math achievement of their female students. Early elementary school teachers in the United States are almost exclusively female (>90%), and we provide evidence that these female teachers' anxieties relate to girls' math achievement via girls' beliefs about who is good at math. First- and secondgrade female teachers completed measures of math anxiety. The math achievement of the students in these teachers' classrooms was also assessed. There was no relation between a teacher's math anxiety and her students' math achievement at the beginning of the school year. By the school year's end, however, the more anxious teachers were about math, the more likely girls (but not boys) were to endorse the commonly held stereotype that "boys are good at math, and girls are good at reading" and the lower these girls' math achievement. Indeed, by the end of the school year, girls who endorsed this stereotype had significantly worse math achievement than girls who did not and than boys overall. In early elementary school, where the teachers are almost all female, teachers' math anxiety carries consequences for girls' math achievement by influencing girls' beliefs about who is good at math.



Dear Mr. President: Why We Are Not Hiring

When an administration makes its hostility to business clear, reasonable businessmen pull down the shutters

Mr. President, did I really hear you say that businesses aren't hiring because they can't get bank loans? Are you kidding me? Please indulge me for a moment, and we can get to the actual reasons.

But first, I must add that every time you step up to the microphone -- for example, your impromptu presser on Tuesday -- the painful decision to shut down my business of eighteen years is validated by your words. And I should thank you for that. For the record, that decision was formalized on November 5, 2008. Check your calendar. Some fifteen months later, I can say that it was the best business decision I have ever made. With your hands on the levers of the government and the economy, I wanted to have as little at risk as possible.

Don't get me wrong -- it was a torturous and gut-wrenching decision that went against every fiber of my being. I had to betray deeply rooted entrepreneurial instincts and set some more mundane material goals. And while it might seem extreme, I think my mindset speaks to the real reason businesses are not hiring now.

So what is that mindset?

It's not complicated. I am neither a swooning David Brooks enamored of your pant crease nor a silver-spoon trust-fund baby like Christopher Buckley. I've simply had some twenty-five entrepreneurial ventures -- with a good number of strikeouts to be honest -- and real-world experience told me exactly who you are and exactly what the business climate under your rule would be like. And I was exactly right....

The fuel price domino nudged the subprime mortgage domino -- itself an outgrowth of liberal lending policies -- and we have all seen the unraveling of a financial system underpinned by real estate values. Those valuations were the basis for any number of derivatives and credit default swaps and so on. Putting the Wall Street talk aside, the net result to business of this massive wealth-destruction is that employees are more desperate for money, and customers are less willing to buy and slower to pay when they do.

This is the Main Street carnage of "unfettered government" on small business and families. It is the destructive fruit of environmental leftists, the Fannie-Freddie cronies in government, and other corrupt liberals and crony capitalists in positions of unmerited influence.

It crushes the bank account and the spirit of the entrepreneur -- and it is all caused by government incompetence from beltway bureaucrats with zero business know, like you and practically your entire administration.

I'll admit that the prospect of running a small business under a McCain administration with Reid and Pelosi running Congress was not all that enticing, either. But it was your election that inspired me to pull the plug. After all, I saw how your Illinois buddies refused to let Republic Window even close down on their own terms, so I figured I better get out before your government and some union figured out a way to prevent me from quitting a business that I dreamed up, financed, created, and built from scratch.

Things were getting bad enough with Bush and other Republicans unable or unwilling to fight the encroaching liberal governmental infestation of our lives, but the thought of having a president who believes in that infection -- who would champion it and push it -- just scared the hell out of me. It beat the entrepreneurial spirit out of me, too.

So I decided to sit the risk-reward world of business ownership out for a while. Like many, we are no longer willing to take all of the financial and legal risks and aggravation of owning and running a business...not with even higher taxes, more regulation, more litigation, and more emboldened bureaucrats on the horizon. People who have a dream to build a better life by taking risks and starting a business instinctively know when those principles are under attack.

And with you, Sir, in the White House, these principles are indeed under attack. Why this surprises anyone is a mystery to me. Jeremiah Wright hates these principles. So did Saul Alinsky. So do Van Jones and Bill Ayers and Andy Stern. I don't know any "structural feminists," but I bet they hate them too. And so do you. This is part of the America that you promised to "fundamentally transform."

I knew what that meant. I could sense the bulls-eye on my back. This is who you are. And since you clearly do not understand business at all, let me give you a short primer:

Any business idea, from the first day it is hatched, is nothing more than a series of cost-benefit analyses that the idea-holder either acts on or passes on. Sometimes the first decision is to forget the idea. Sometimes the first decision is to move ahead and invest some cash.

Perhaps a few million cost-benefit analyses later, you might have Microsoft or Home Depot or ESPN. Or you might have Bill's Plumbing or Johnson's Quality Homes or a café or an electrical wholesaler, and so on. And those businesses still operate on a constant stream of risk-reward decisions. In the business world, there is no neutral gear.

(There: Now you have more useful information than Jamie Gorelick or Franklin Raines got from Harvard.)

And when we have a president and ruling class who are clueless about and hostile towards business, the risk-reward equation shifts dramatically against further investment of time, talent, and capital. And that's where we are today.



Think Twice Before Opening Door to Census Worker

Can governments do ANYTHING right?

Despite reports last fall that the Census Bureau had severed ties with community-organizing group known as ACORN, Americans might want to think twice before opening their doors to canvassers for the 2010 Census after reading what I discovered this morning.

According to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office Oct. 7, approximately 785 employees with disqualifying criminal records could still end up working for the Census Bureau this year. Excerpts (below) show the exact wording of the agency’s frightening information about the people who go door to door conducting interviews and collecting information for the 2010 Census:
The Bureau’s efforts to fingerprint employees, which was required as part of a criminal background check, did not proceed smoothly, in part because of training issues. As a result, over 35,000 temporary census workers — over a fifth of the address canvassing workforce — were hired despite the fact that their fingerprints could not be processed and they were not fully screened for employment eligibility.

…of the prints that could be processed, fingerprint results identified 1,800 temporary workers (1.1 percent of total hires) with criminal records that name check alone failed to identify. Of the 1,800 workers with criminal records, approximately 750 (42 percent) were terminated or were further reviewed because the Bureau determined their criminal records — which included crimes such as rape, manslaughter, and child abuse — disqualified them from census employment.

…we estimate that approximately 785 employees with unclassifiable prints could have disqualifying criminal records but still end up working for the Bureau.

In addition to the news about the criminal element aspect of the 2010 Census, the 2009 report contained an estimate of the total cost of the 2010 Census being some $3.4 billion higher than the estimate in a 2006 GAO report. Compared to ex-cons knocking at my door, I guess I can live with cost overruns.



Marvel Comics Apologizes for Capt. America's Tea Party Bashing

Comics now being used by Leftists to brainwash the young

Holy irony of ironies, Batman! The developers of some of the most patriotic cartoon heroes ever produced are now having to back down from bashing some of the most patriotic people in America today.
Since 1941, Captain America has been one of the most popular comic book characters around. The fictional super-patriot fought Nazis during World War II, took on those who burned the American flag during the Vietnam era, and raked in hundreds of millions of dollars for Marvel Comics along the way. Now, the appearance that he is taking on the Tea Party Movement in a storyline about investigating white supremacists has forced Marvel to apologize for the comic hero.

In recognizing their superhero faux pas, which was first noted by Todd Huston on Publius' Forum, Marvel first argued, then finally apologized, thus:
Where Mr. Houston [sic] is correct is in our accidently [sic] identifying in one of the held up signs, the group as being a part of the Tea Party instead of a generic protest group. That's something that we need to apologize for and own up to, because it's just one of those stupid mistakes that happened through a series of stupid incidents.

Stupid keeps coming back as the simplest, most accurate description of those too-clever-by-half elitists with their leftist agendas. It will take a lot more than a few hijacked superheroes to keep those "Teabaggers" down.

Comic books are produced by artists, writers and editors. This "mistake" was made through all three, and to explain it that way is stupid in and of itself.



The Economist Gets Tea Parties

While the American news media coverage of the Tea Party movement has been dominated by the likes of Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, and David Shuster giggling like 11-year-olds over the word "tea-bagger," Britain's The Economist approached the Tea Party movement with real objectivity.

The US Media (including, as TMH notes, the comic book media) dutifully portrays the Tea Parties the way the Obamacrats want them portrayed... as eiher a dangerous collection of ignorant hillbillies and birthers riled up by a cabal of corporatists, talk radio hosts, and FoxNews. But The Economist, using the radical journalistic technique of attending tea party events and reporting objectively, reaches a rather different conclusion.
Even after a long weekend of speeches and workshops in Nashville, the precise composition, aims and ideology of this movement remain hard to pin down. That is because the tea-party is precisely what its supporters say it is: not an artificial "Astroturf" creation of the Republican Party, but a genuine grassroots movement, highly decentralised and composed of many people who have not participated in politics before. They have no agreed platform and no unified national organisation: the Tea Party Nation is itself only one of many tea-party organisations that have sprung up spontaneously around America. These people are learning their trade, honing their tactics and defining their politics as they go along.

Which sounds about right. The media went out of their way to portray the radical anti-Bush movement as regular folk, ignoring the ties to George Soros, ignoring the involvement of ultra-radical organizations like International ANSWER, and proving fawning, soft-focus interviews with shrieking deranged harridans like Medea Benjamin and Cindy Sheehan. The only thing you can count on about the MSM is that they will portray every issue exactly 180 degrees from reality.




John Hawkins has put up what he thinks are "The Best Quotes From Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism". Well worth a read. Even better to buy the book, of course.

Dong sags: "Vietnam's devaluation will help shore up its currency system, but inflation and a big trade deficit mean the government has more work ahead—and that could include further devaluations and sharply higher interest rates.... Vietnamese residents have responded by hoarding dollars and gold out of fear the currency—the dong—will become even less valuable in the future. The State Bank of Vietnam on Thursday lowered by 3.4% the official value of the dong.

It's not Republicans who are blocking bipartisanship: "A bipartisan group of senators forged agreement on a jobs bill that drew the White House's blessing Thursday - but hours later Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scuttled the deal and replaced it with his own Democrat-written measure. Scrambling to show Democrats are taking action to lower the 9.7 percent unemployment rate, Mr. Reid said the bipartisan proposal strayed too far from job creation and into special-interest giveaways. "The message is so watered down, with people wanting other things in this big package that we're going to have to come back and finish [the jobs agenda later]," Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, told reporters. He said there is no reason for Republicans to oppose the smaller bill. But Republicans said it was an about-face for Mr. Reid and accused him of kicking bipartisanship to the curb despite his and President Obama's repeated calls for the parties to work together."

Poll finds most Americans are unhappy with government: "Two-thirds of Americans are "dissatisfied" or downright "angry" about the way the federal government is working, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. On average, the public estimates that 53 cents of every tax dollar they send to Washington is "wasted." Despite the disapproval of government, few Americans say they know much about the "tea party" movement, which emerged last year and attracted voters angry at a government they thought was spending recklessly and overstepping its constitutional powers. The opening is clear: Public dissatisfaction with how Washington operates is at its highest level in Post-ABC polling in more than a decade -- since the months after the Republican-led government shutdown in 1996 -- and negative ratings of the two major parties hover near record highs."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Friday, February 12, 2010

Lashing Out Beats Accountability

Conservatives understand that liberals often demonize their opponents rather than debate the merits of the issues because the tactic works. But you have to wonder whether another reason they lash out is that they are angry that reality doesn't cooperate with their ideologically driven solutions and it's easier to blame others than to face up to the unpleasant truth of their failed ideas.

It's not just the tirades of liberal talk show host Ed Schultz, who said he would cheat to keep Scott Brown from winning his Senate election, or Chris Matthews, who said Republicans indoctrinate their members in the same way Cambodian communists re-educated their subjects, or the nasty outbursts of presidential adviser Rahm Emanuel.

I was also reminded of this, on a subtler level, when reading a Washington Post piece on David Plouffe, Barack Obama's presidential campaign manager, who recently returned to the Obama camp to quarterback the Democrats' election efforts in 2010 and beyond.

Plouffe said: "Politics is a comparative exercise. This isn't just a referendum on Democrats. ... It's a choice. ... Republicans right now are just sitting back and slinging arrows. We need to ... shine some light over their side of the fence."

Plouffe said he would remind voters that Democrats have spent two years trying to fix problems, whereas Republicans want to wheel a "Trojan horse" into Washington and spill out bankers and health insurance executives. Sure, why not vilify bankers and insurers when it helps your guy avoid accountability for his policies?

It's shamelessly Machiavellian of Democrats to accuse the GOP of going negative, when Democrats use Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" (e.g., "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it") as an instruction manual. But hey, they're out of fresh ideas, so what other choice do they have?

Notice how liberal Democrats frame almost any issue: stressing their supposedly good intentions and the Republicans' alleged lack of compassion to avoid a genuine debate and scrutiny of their policies. Consider:

On welfare, Democrats insist on ever-greater redistributionist programs with the ostensible goal of "ending" poverty. Nearly a half-century and $5 trillion since the war on poverty was initiated, we've barely made a dent in poverty. In fact, prior to the Republicans' Contract with America in 1994, we were losing ground in all relevant categories -- with black families, particularly black children, being the hardest hit.

Despite the evidence, Bill Clinton had to be dragged kicking and screaming into signing the welfare reform bill, for which, of course, he claimed full credit. But sadly, the manifest successes of the reforms -- which saw significant improvements in poverty and the rate of illegitimacy, especially among blacks -- didn't keep uber-liberal Barack Obama from rolling them back with a vengeance, something the public has barely noticed. These liberals cannot afford to allow success to stand, lest they be with fewer victims to exploit and conservatives to demonize.

On tax policy, the overwhelming successes of supply-side economics at improving the lots of all income groups without a loss in tax revenues didn't prevent liberals from falsely depicting the policies as sops for the rich and blaming them for the spending-induced deficits. More revealing was Obama's damning revelation that he favors capital gains tax increases as "a matter of fairness" despite admitting they result in decreases in revenue. Here he can't even credibly claim noble intentions. Instead of helping the poor, he's willing to hurt them, as long as everyone else is hurt, too. Class envy trumps results, which is really twisted when you think about it.

On education, liberals refuse to support school vouchers, the result being that many poor people, especially minorities, remain locked in inner-city schools without a key. Otherwise, liberals wouldn't be able to demand endless tax dollars for public education, which only they can "deliver."

On homosexual "marriage" and "don't ask, don't tell" policies for the military, liberals absurdly impugn conservatives as "homophobes" instead of addressing their valid interest in protecting traditional marriage as one of society's pillars and preserving the cohesiveness of the military unit, respectively.

On abortion, liberals refuse to consider mounting scientific evidence that the unborn are live human beings (as if further evidence were needed to confirm what we already know), because it forces them into moral accountability. Instead, they falsely declare the matter unknowable and, worse, try to co-opt the moral high ground as champions of women's rights while condemning their life-advocating opponents as bigots.

On man-made global warming, they cling to their flat-earth alarmism while refusing to discuss the evidence and accusing their opponents of willful blindness. Surreal on stilts!

On health care, they demand socialist solutions to achieve "universal coverage," when such solutions have failed everywhere they've been tried and will, studies show, leave millions uninsured. But they're still superior because they care. Or do they?



The Trouble With Elitist Theories

by Victor Davis Hanson

What's behind the Tea Party protests, low approval ratings for Congress, distrust of the media and unease with experts in the Obama administration? In short, a growing anger at the sermonizing and condescension by many of America's elites.

We see this specifically, for example, in the debate over global warming, which a year ago was accepted as gospel. The high profile of prestigious scientists, former public officials like Al Gore and Van Jones, and the Obama administration all made impending cap-and-trade legislation seem likely. Skeptics were derided as "deniers" and virtual know-nothings.

But then the assertion of manmade climate change met a perfect storm. First, several high academic priests of global warming were discredited. Leaked e-mails at East Anglia University in the United Kingdom revealed doctored evidence, personal vendettas and cover-ups among scientists.

More recently, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted it had relied on faulty information, leading it to make inflated claims on impending manmade warming disasters involving Himalayan glaciers.

These exposes dovetailed with a series of unconnected events that further undermined the climate-change diktat. Many of the most prominent green advocates either seemed hypocritical or downright crazy. Al Gore, for example, has earned much of his new fortune from his supposedly disinterested public service to the green cause, and yet habitually leaves a carbon footprint like few others on the planet.

The president's own "green jobs" official, Van Jones, it was revealed, had signed a "truther" petition stating that the U.S. government had planned 9/11. His credibility shot, Jones had to resign.

Then there was the uncooperative weather itself. Environmental grandees jetted into frigid Copenhagen to discuss planet warming. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., portions of a very cold East Coast have been blanketed with unprecedented snowfall levels -- at a time when the public is supposed to be concerned that temperatures are unseasonably warming.

Other conventional wisdom from supposed experts has also been questioned. Take the model of the European Union. After the September 2008 American financial panic, European diplomats and intellectuals lectured Americans on the evils of unfettered capitalism and the superiority of their statist model. The strong euro and steady expansion of the EU had convinced many that their soft socialism was the only way of the future.

But European prosperity was, in fact, heavily subsidized by decades of free protection by the U.S. military. Meanwhile, aristocratic bureaucrats in Brussels were increasingly not accountable to their skeptical continental constituents -- and seemed terrified of popular referenda from member states on the EU constitution.

And now? Several EU nations like Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal face financial implosions -- brought on by unsustainable government spending, out-of-control pensions and endemic tax cheating. The euro is falling fast. Bondholders of European debt are jittery. Now, northwestern countries like Germany and France -- despite their own budget problems -- may have to bailout Greece. Yet, in 2009, the American binge of massive spending and borrowing, expansion of government, and new proposed taxes followed the model of the supposedly superior European system. But for all the massive new debt, unemployment here remains high and the economy still sluggish.

The Obama administration came into office also convinced of another theory popular among many intellectuals, lawyers and members of the media -- that the so-called "war on terror" had degenerated into a Bush administration overreaction to 9/11. Obama's anti-terrorism czar, John Brennan, lambasted the past anti-terrorism nomenclature and the methods of the very administration he used to work for. President Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay. Rendition, military tribunals and Predator drone attacks at one time or another were caricatured as unnecessary or counterproductive. Even the name "war on terror" was dropped for kindler, gentler euphemisms. "Outreach" and "reset" with the Islamic world became instead the talking points. Highly educated experts had to explain to those of us who are less sophisticated that the real dangers were Guantanamo Bay and the waterboarding of a few terrorist detainees rather than the need to detain and interrogate actual terrorists.

And now? After the mass murdering at Fort Hood, the Christmas Day bombing plot, the popular outrage over offering a civilian trial in New York to the architect of 9/11, and the snubbing of American outreach by a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran, there's less reason than ever to accept a therapeutic approach to dealing with radical Islamic terrorism.

There is an unfocused but growing anger in the country -- and it should come as no surprise. Nobody likes to be lectured by those claiming superior wisdom but often lacking common sense about everything from out-of-control spending and predicting the weather to dealing with enemies who are trying to kill us all.




Democrats in worst shape in the last 50 years: "The metrics are pretty clear: Barack Obama got the highest percentage of the vote for a Democratic candidate for president since 1964 and now he has plunged his party into its weakest position in the polls since that time. For confirmation, look at the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls on the generic vote for Congress: 45% Republican and 42% Democratic. Rasmussen Reports, which interviews only those who pass a screen as likely voters, has it 44%-36% Republican, ABC/Washington Poll has it 45%-42% Republican, NPR’s bipartisan poll has it 44%-39% Republican and Gallup has a 45%-45% tie. Democracy Corps, a Democratic outfit which has earned respect for its results, has Democrats ahead 46%-41%.

Muslims can do no wrong in Sweden: "Sweden's unemployment agency has been found guilty of discrimination for expelling a Muslim man from a job training program because he refused to shake hands with a woman. A Stockholm court Monday ordered the Public Employment Service to pay 50,000 kronor ($6,700) in damages to an immigrant from Bosnia who lost his jobless benefits when he was kicked out of the program. Citing his faith, the man had refused to shake hands with a woman when he was interviewing for an internship. The agency said his behavior was part of the reason he didn't get the position, and decided to exclude him from the program. The court ruled that the man was discriminated against because of his religion. It wasn't immediately clear whether the ruling would be appealed."

Animal tagging dead, authoritycrats stunned: "They were stunned. The gray, boring, unimaginative breed of faceless functionaries who inhabit the American enclave variously called Oz or Wonderland or Washington DC couldn’t believe what they had just heard. The US Department of Agriculture had tossed in the saddle blanket. The mandatory Grand Scheme to register every farm and ranch, to electronically tag every edible creature in America for the alleged purpose of ‘protecting consumers’ by tracking diseased animals, had died.”

The stupid British Left set to destroy more British jobs: "Unilever become the latest company to threaten to pull out of UK over rising taxes. The boss of Unilever has warned the company could be forced to move abroad if hit with further tax rises. The loss of the firm that makes PG Tips and Hellman's mayonnaise would be a major embarrassment for the Government and the biggest casualty to date. Unilever can trace its history in the UK back to the 1890s. A number of companies tired of constantly changing tax regimes and onerous regulations introduced under Labour have already moved abroad. And many business leaders have become increasingly infuriated with the Government for hitting hardest those British firms that make large slices of their profit overseas. The UK has one of the highest corporation tax rates in Europe, while the return to 17.5 per cent VAT will also deal a blow to firms. High-earners from April will be hit with Gordon Brown's 50p tax rate, a move which some critics have said will trigger an exodus of workers. Mr Polman said: 'We do have choices where we put research laboratories, choices for manufacturing facilities and choices where we put our senior management. In Ireland corporation tax is 12.5 per cent and the basic 2009 corporate federal rate of tax in Germany was 15 per cent."

Iran now a nuclear state: "As security forces clashed with his opponents, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran was quoted on Thursday as saying his country had produced a first batch of uranium enriched to a level of 20 percent, taunting the West by declaring that if Tehran wanted to build a nuclear bomb, it would say so. Iran, he said, repeating an earlier assertion, was now “a nuclear state.” Mr. Ahmadinejad again denied that Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons. “When we say we do not manufacture the bomb, we mean it, and we do not believe in manufacturing a bomb,” Mr. Ahmadinejad told the crowd, according to The Associated Press. But he added” “If we wanted to manufacture a bomb, we would announce it.” Western experts have already said that once Iran was able to enrich uranium to 20 percent it could theoretically move relatively quickly toward the manufacture of weapons-grade fuel, usually reckoned at 90 percent."

Breakaway Episcopalians get sympathy in England: "The Church of England threw a lifeline to a breakaway group of former Episcopalians on Wednesday, saying it "recognizes and affirms" the aim of the fledgling Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) to be part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. After hours of wrangling and debate in London, the Church of England's General Synod signaled that it sympathized with conservatives who have left the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada over radically different views on biblical authority, same-sex unions and the elections of two gay bishops. But the synod stopped short of doing what several African and other developing provinces have done -- formally recognize the 100,000-member ACNA, which was formed in June as a parallel Anglican body of 28 member dioceses with 742 parishes and 800 clergy."

Obama nominates yet another extremist: "The Senate is about to act on the nomination of militant leftist Dawn Johnsen to be the chief of the U.S. government’s elite legal team. But that post is a stepping-stone for top judicial offices, including the Supreme Court itself. That’s likely Barack Obama’s plans for Johnsen, and it’s why she must be stopped now. Ultra-liberal activist Dawn Johnsen, currently a professor at Indiana University School of Law, is President Obama’s nominee to be assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). As the OLC chief, Johnsen would shape the legal positions of the Obama administration on every issue. OLC is the elite legal team for the federal government, giving legal advice on every important issue to the attorney general, other department heads in the government, and to the president himself. That’s why the head of OLC is called “the attorney general’s lawyer.” The problem is that Johnsen is a radical."

Economists say many lost jobs won't return: "About a quarter of the 8.4 million jobs eliminated since the recession began in the US won't be coming back and will ultimately need to be replaced by other types of work in growing industries, according to economists in the latest Wall Street Journal forecasting survey. While the job market is constantly shifting as some sectors fade and others expand, this recession threw that process into overdrive. Thousands of workers lost jobs as companies automated more tasks or moved whole assembly lines to places like China. As growth returns, so will job creation - just with a different emphasis in the mix of jobs being created. Economists in the survey are predicting a slow upswing for the economy as a whole. Respondents on average expect economic growth to settle at about 3 per cent in 2010, off sharply from the powerful 5.7 per cent seasonally adjusted annual growth rate in the fourth quarter." But with about 100,000 new jobs a month needed just to soak up new entrants to the work force, that pace of job creation will only slowly reduce the high unemployment rate."

Trial lawyers: Democrats’ other money machine: "Public-sector unions aren’t the only machine used by Democrats to recycle tax dollars for campaign funds. Trial lawyers also use government’s monopoly on the use of force to tax the public, profit handsomely, and recycle a portion of the funds to their political enablers.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Seven Huge Flaws in the Way Liberals Think

1) Liberals believe they can change human nature. Sure, human beings can be shaped and molded to a certain extent. Any parent who has spanked a child can tell you that. However, most people care more about what they're having for lunch today than an earthquake that kills ten thousand people on the other side of the world. We're just built that way and no amount of sensitivity training, preschool classes, or Michael Moore documentaries is going to "fix" it.

2) Liberals believe we can talk everything out with our enemies. One of the weirder quirks of liberalism is their belief that many of our bitterest enemies have rational reasons for disliking us and that can easily be talked away if they realize we're good people. Hence, the common liberal refrain of, "Why do they hate us?" The reason this is a particularly odd belief is that liberals don't even believe this about conservatives in the United States. The average liberal thinks that if we're nice enough, we can reach an understanding with Hugo Chavez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck can't be reasoned with.

3) Liberals don't have enough respect for our culture and traditions: To liberals, our cultural, economic, and political norms were formed by backwards troglodytes making arbitrary decisions based on superstition and racism. Unfortunately for them, as a general rule, that's not so and proceeding as if it is, will often lead to exactly the same difficulties that our ancestors already dealt with in times past. No matter how smart we are, as Thomas Sowell would say, our wisdom is often no match for the "distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before." Truly wise people are aware that there is a great deal that they do not know.

4) Liberalism is a fundamentally immoral political philosophy. Ironically, given all their talk about "shades of gray," liberals have a very Manichean view of the world. They consider their fellow travelers to be on the side of the angels, while the people who disagree with them are treated as evil. This leads to an "anything goes" mentality when dealing with their foes: ignoring the law via a "living constitution," politically based prosecutions, shouting down opposing speakers, and treating lying about their agenda or opponents to be moral. On the other hand, liberals will support other libs, no matter how corrupt, sleazy, or vile they are as long as they're politically useful to the left. See Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, John Murtha, and Robert Byrd for examples of that. In other words, as Margaret Thatcher has said of the Left, "For them, the end always seems to justify the means."

5) Liberals believe merely being liberal makes them good people. Liberals who're obsessed with money think they're compassionate because they give away other people's tax dollars. They believe they care more about the earth than other people, even as they fly around in private jets, because they babble on about global warming. They can be dumb as a rock, but believe they're smarter than most other people because they're liberals. In other words, in the minds of most liberals, liberalism is an all-purpose substitute for actual virtue instead of just another political philosophy.

6) Liberals have too much faith in government. Even most liberals would admit that government regularly fails the people. If you don't believe that, just ask them about the Bush Administration and they'll give you an earful. However, liberals tend to believe that with the right person in charge, government won't be so slow, stupid, inefficient, and badly run. Human history proves that they're wrong about that.

7) Liberals have minimal interest in whether the programs they support work or not. To most liberals, whether a government program betters people's lives is completely irrelevant to whether they'll support it. A program that doesn't work and costs billions, but sounds compassionate and helps Democrats politically is a huge success in the eyes of the Left. Once you understand that liberals think this way, their baffling support for programs that make no "common sense" is much easier to understand.



He’s a Yuppie: Why Obama can’t connect with the working class

By John B. Judis

I never thought I would be reproducing anything from TNR or John B. Judis but even a stopped clock is right twice a day and the analysis of Obama below seems spot-on to me. This may be one case where Judis's Marxist background has sharpened his perceptions. Marxists are obsessed by social class -- JR

Here is a fact: Barack Obama has trouble generating enthusiasm among white working class voters. That’s not because they are white. He would have had trouble winning support among black working class voters if they had been unable to identify with him because he was black. He has trouble with working class voters because he appears to them as coming from a different world, a different realm of experience, a different class, if you like. And that’s because he does.

I have recently read several stories about Obama that treat these difficulties as if they were paradoxical. The latest is from The Washington Post. “Despite his roots,” the article is headlined, “Obama struggles to show he’s connected to middle class.” And the story—which seems to use middle class, working class, and blue collar interchangeably—describes his supposedly non-elitist roots as follows: “He turned down high-paying jobs after graduating from Harvard Law School and became a community organizer, compelled by the experience of growing up with a single mother who sometimes lived on food stamps. He married a woman from a working-class family on the South Side of Chicago, and they rented a walk-up condominium in Hyde Park.”

The first thing to note about this description is that, like many accounts I have read of Obama’s life, it gets its facts wrong. He didn’t become a community organizer after graduating from Harvard Law School, but after graduating from Columbia. He left community organizing to attend Harvard Law School. After graduating from law school, he joined a prestigious Chicago law firm with offices just off Michigan Avenue. In 1991, he began teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago. He was chair of a Chicago branch of the Annenberg Foundation. Obama’s wife, who admittedly did grow up working-class, nevertheless graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law School. And Hyde Park is a pricey upper-middle-class section of Chicago.

The second thing to note is something about class in America. By Marx’s definition, what we have in America, and in other developed capitalist countries, is a large, diversified working class that ranges from low-paid laborers and clerks to engineers and teachers, all of whom work for someone else, and cannot claim to own or control the means of production. But even if one accepts this account of the working class, there can be enormous social divisions between parts of it. Race and income are important, of course, but so is function, which separates people who perform routine or menial or manual tasks from people who produce ideas and complex services. College professors do not always make more money than electricians; but they live in a different world. In census terms, it is the world of professionals compared to that of operatives, laborers, clerical workers, and technicians.

Obama’s parents were professionals—his mother was an anthropology PhD and his father was a Harvard-trained economist. How much money they made was immaterial. His grandmother, who raised him in Hawaii, was a bank vice-president. He went to a fancy private school and to prestigious colleges (Occidental and Columbia) that turn out professionals and managers. He clearly was not obsessed with making money, but with performing a public service—yet that doesn’t distinguish him from other professionals or other Columbia graduates. It does distinguish him from a working- or middle-class American for whom being a civil rights lawyer or professor or politician is at best a passing fantasy.

It is admirable that Obama spent three years after graduating as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side, but many graduates of elite colleges spend several years after college doing something unusual, before returning to graduate school or settling into a profession. Some travel around the world; some join the Peace Corps; some try to write novels. In the days of Theodore Roosevelt or George H.W. Bush, some became cowboys or oil wildcatters. It’s a tradition that goes back over a century. It’s called “sowing your wild oats.” Afterwards, they usually return to more sober and sedate occupations appropriate to their social background and education. That’s what Obama did. As I wrote of his community organizing period, he became weary of the life of the community organizer. He doubted he was accomplishing much, and decided to go to law school. He didn’t choose to go to Kent College of Law or John Marshall Law School—schools where he could have retained his ties with working class Chicago—but to Harvard Law School.

Once out of law school, Obama lived and worked over the next decade in a grey area between the very upper reaches of professional America and the country’s managers, owners, and rulers. He didn’t just have access to more money and live differently from ordinary Americans; he possessed power and authority that they didn’t have. He was of a different world, even if as a politician he would occasionally visit theirs.

There is no paradox, therefore, in Obama’s distance from white working class voters. What would be unusual is if he were able to echo their concerns in a deeply moving rather than in a somewhat mechanical way. Yes, there have been some gifted politicians of an upper class or professional background who have been able to do so. Some, like Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson, or Ronald Reagan, could draw upon their working class childhoods; others, like Franklin Roosevelt or Edward Kennedy, could evince a kind of upper-class paternalism. This made them great politicians. It didn’t necessarily make them great men or great Americans. Barack Obama is, by any fair measure, a great American, and he could turn out to be a great president. But he is not yet a great politician. He has not been able to transcend the political limits of his own social background. And that has been one of his problems as he attempts to extricate America from the mess he inherited.



Obama begs GOP to accept some Democrat policies

Why should they? Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing

President Obama made a surprise appearance at the White House press briefing, taking several questions from reporters. President Obama declared today that “a sense of purpose that transcends petty politics” must be forged by Democrats and Republicans to create more jobs, reduce the deficit and find at least some common ground on health care. “We can’t afford grandstanding at the expense of actually getting something done,” Mr. Obama said as he made a surprise appearance at the daily White House briefing for the media only hours after he convened his first monthly bipartisan meeting he called for in the State of the Union address.

The president praised Republican leaders for coming to the White House on a snowy day in Washington. He said the meeting went so well that Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, were “out doing snow angels together on the South Lawn.”

But his laughter gave way to a forceful message, saying that bipartisanship was a two-way street and neither side – including Democrats – could get their way. He said there needed to be at least some cooperation, but he offered no specific path for the legislative way forward. “Bipartisan can’t be that I agree to all the things that they believe in or want and they agree to none of the things that I want,” Mr. Obama said.

The president took several questions from behind the lectern in the White House briefing room, the first time he has appeared before reporters in a formal setting in months. The appearance by Mr. Obama had the effect of giving him the final word after the bipartisan meeting of lawmakers a few hours earlier.

It was the latest effort in a revised White House approach for the president to appear more transparent and more bipartisan in the second year of his term. He touched upon health care, saying that he would be willing to consider tort reform [But the Democrat Congresscritters won't. They need the lawyers' huge campaign contributions] in the overall debate on expanding coverage and bringing down the costs of health care, but he said Republicans needed to consider some of the Democratic ideas. “Bipartisanship cannot mean simply that Democrats give up everything that they believe in,” Mr. Obama said. He added, “That’s not how it works in any other realm of life. That’s certainly not how it works in my marriage with Michelle. There’s got to be some give and take.”

The president said he looked forward to the bipartisan health care session on Feb. 25, an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to sit down together – in a televised session – and share ideas on health care. He said he would be willing to start from scratch [A big backdown. But he had to do so or the Republicans would have boycotted the meeting], but only if the goals of the legislation remained the same.

Mr. Obama said the meeting should be a serious discussion, which ultimately included cracking down on insurance industry practices, lowering health are costs and expanding access to coverage. “My hope is this doesn’t end up being political theater,” Mr. Obama said. He added, “We have an obligation, both parties, to tackle this issue in a serious way.”




The Left is instinctively authoritarian: "The left would much rather rule than govern. It is certainly easier. And it tends to agree more with their authoritarian bent. Governing is a messy and hard business in which they must listen and react to constituents. It means they actually are servants to the public. On the other hand, ruling means the elite choose what the constituency should live with since it is believed by them that the elite know best what that should be. Those they represent exist only to justify the presence of their rulers. The only difference between our left wing and that which founded the USSR is ours haven’t ever had the chance to effect the change those in Soviet Russia did. To this point, our system has mostly prevented it.”

The Obama Administration is vindicating Bush antiterror policy: "Dick Cheney is not the most popular of politicians, but when he offered a harsh assessment of the Obama Administration's approach to terrorism last May, his criticism stung— so much that the President gave a speech the same day that was widely seen as a direct response. Though neither man would admit it, eight months later political and security realities are forcing Mr. Obama's antiterror policies ever-closer to the former Vice President's.... Meanwhile, one of Scott Brown's most potent campaign themes in Massachusetts was his line that "Some people believe our Constitution exists to grant rights to terrorists who want to harm us. I disagree." Mr. Brown even endorsed waterboarding. As long as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were responsible for keeping Americans safe, Democrats could pander to the U.S. and European left's anti-antiterror views at little political cost. But now that they are responsible, American voters are able to see what the left really has in mind, and they are saying loud and clear that they prefer the Cheney method."

The McConnell Plan: "Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t claim to have developed an economic stimulus plan of his own. But he does favor a cluster of proposals that, when packaged together, are a simple, sensible program for rejuvenating the economy. I take the liberty of dubbing it the McConnell Plan (without asking the Republican leader’s approval). If enacted, the plan would do a great deal more to boost the economy and increase employment than the ‘jobs bill’ that President Obama and congressional Democrats are cooking up.”

Proposed 45-Percent Death Tax Will Increase Unemployment: "Some Americans have declared 2010 the “best year to die.” Due to the temporary expiration of the estate tax or death tax, all individuals that pass away this year are guaranteed that their loved ones will receive their inheritance in full. Those that pass away are not forced to leave their mourning family with the burden of paying exorbitant taxes on their belongings. Yet, in Obama’s 2011 proposed fiscal budget he plans on reinstating the 45-percent death tax with a $3.5 million exemption. According to the Heritage Foundation, the 2011 proposed 45-percent death tax would disproportionally affect family farms and businesses: Family-owned businesses are often asset-rich but cash-poor. They have equipment, real estate, and inventory that makes them appear valuable on paper. But they have comparatively little cash on hand. When a family member dies, the death tax is an enormous burden on them. Many have to sell their assets, or in some cases the entire business, to pay the tax. Or they must divert the precious cash flow they need to grow the business over many years to pay the tab."

TSA finds study of Arabic suspicious: "A US rights group is suing law enforcement officials and airport security agents in Philadelphia on behalf of a student whom they allegedly "abusively" questioned and handcuffed because he was carrying Arabic flashcards. The complaint alleges Nicholas George, 22, was "detained, abusively interrogated, handcuffed and jailed... because he passed through an airport screening checkpoint with Arabic-English flashcards and a book critical of American foreign policy." The book was "Rogue Nation: American unilateralism and the failure of good intentions" by Clyde Prestowitz. George, who is originally from Pennsylvania, was traveling from Philadelphia back to his university in California where he is in the final year of a "double-major" in physics and Middle Eastern studies, the complaint says. George was allegedly detained by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners at the airport and "abusively interrogated for 15 minutes by a TSA supervisor," who asked him questions about the attacks of September 11, 2001, says the complaint. After that, George says he was handcuffed and taken to the airport police station where he was held in a cell for four hours. He was released after being interviewed by two FBI agents."

Could the Donks lose Obama's old Senate seat too?: "Rasmussen Reports came out with the first public post-Illinois primary poll on Thursday morning. ' Interesting finding in Rasmussen poll: While GOP nominee Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) is ahead of state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias by six points, there is a gender gap: Kirk leads among male voters "but trails his Democratic rival by 13 points among female voters." Rasmussen findings: "Republican Mark Kirk holds a modest 46% to 40% lead over Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in the race for the Illinois Senate following Tuesday's party primaries. "In December, Giannoulias was up by three points over Kirk. In October, the two men were tied at 41% each. In mid-August, Kirk held a modest 41% to 38% lead over Giannoulias."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Note to EYE ON BRITAIN readers

I have been trying to find a Wordpress template (theme) for that blog which I like -- without much success. A couple of themes that I rather liked looked good in Firefox but were a mess using IE8 or Google Chrome! Amazing. The Wordpress people must use Firefox only. I have now reverted to what I think is the most legible theme and will stick with that for the foreseeable future. It's pretty plain but at least it seems to be fine regardless of which browser you use.

For users of non-Windows operating systems (such as the various versions of Linux), however, it's a different ball-game. If Linux users have any difficulty, they should probably try different browsers until they find one that works (or maybe use Debian instead of Fedora etc.).


Wrong Reagan

An excellent post borrowed from Dan Collins below. Supporters of the teleprompter kid criticize someone who does NOT need a teleprompter! What gall!

If you’re in the mood for more sneering liberal contumely directed at Sarah Palin, you could hardly do better than to check out Pam Geller’s appearance on Joy Behar’s show, talking about Palin’s crib notes. Ron Reagan, Jr. keeps on repeating the mantra, “my father,” while projecting the worst of liberal condescension. Let’s just say that he entirely lacks the common touch that was one of the most endearing traits of Sr.

The Younger’s only point is that Palin is an empty-headed poseur. Yes, it’s true that that’s exactly how liberals represented his dad—the empty-suited actor with the jelly beans—but the difference is that, as everybody knows, that was a false representation. That many of the same people who levelled the accusation that Reagan was an intellectual lightweight are now levelling the same accusations against Palin makes no difference. He is as certain as those people were (though they are willing to admit that they were wrong now, although it doesn’t impeach their judgment), just as John Cole was certain that his former beliefs were correct, and just as certain that they are correct now. Humility is not easily learned by the self-worshipful.

It’s true that Palin disparaged Obama’s reliance on TOTUS, referring to a “telegenic guy with a TelePrompTer” in her speech at the Tea Party Convention. It’s also true that Reagan often used the device. Nobody these days seems to refer to Obama as a Great Communicator, though. There’s a considerable difference, I think, between several cribbed prompts written on one’s hand, and entire speeches recited off of an electronic screen. We’ve seen on several occasions to our embarrassment what happens when Obama’s elocutionary crutch fails him, and it reminds me a little of Max Headroom. Certainly Reagan was learned in the Founding Fathers’ writings (Lincoln wasn’t one, Mika) and in American history generally; can one truly say that of Obama? Is it likely that Obama’s letters to all and sundry will find their way into a considerable tome after he’s gone? Reagan had the habit of writing. It clarifies thoughts, it makes one regard one’s audiences. Would Reagan have gone on about a nameless woman who wished to be buried (even though cremated) in one of his t-shirts (the one who, contrary to the narrative, did after all have health insurance, though it had a very high deductible)? I don’t think so. He had none of Obama’s tone deafness (the ears, they mock!). Liberals (mirabile dictu!) now compare Obama’s use of the device to Reagan’s, conveniently forgetting how they abused the latter.

Reagan wanted to get government off of our backs. He was a master at going over the heads of intermediaries to speak directly to the American people to make his points. We liked that, because it assumed our intelligence. The contrast with the way health care reform has been conducted could not be more striking. We are told that we are too dense to understand the provisions of mooted health care reform policy, much less how the whole thing would operate in the aggregate. We are told that there’s no point in questioning whether even our Congresscritters have read it: it’s so complicated that we’d, they’d merely come away confused—better to rely on the talking points. Any program that’s so complicated that it’s incomprehensible perhaps should not be enacted.

Reagan famously said that it wasn’t that liberals don’t know anything, it’s that they know so many things that just aren’t so. Included among those things is the conceit that they’re smarter. Joy Behar? Katie Couric? I don’t think so.

SOURCE. More on the Democrat sneers here.


ACLU-Think Applied to Terrorists

This morning, in hearings before the Senate Intelligence Committee, several Administration leaders defended the idea of giving the would-be Christmas bomber the same rights as ordinary Americans in a criminal trial. This thinking, which mirrors the ideas of the ACLU, offers several ways that tens of thousands of Americans may get killed in future terrorist attacks.

Some of the facts for this article, but none of the legal conclusions, come from an article on on 3 February, 2010. The heads of services who testified as a panel before the Senate Intelligence Committee were led by Leon Panetta, Director of the CIA.

On the day of the failed attack, the FBI questioned the suspect for "fifty minutes" until "the suspect had surgery for leg burns." FBI Director Robert Mueller claimed that the suspect "stopped talking" after the surgery so his agents "gave him his Miranda rights." That meant he was assigned a lawyer, whose first advice was for him to clam up, which he did.

The Administration is now crowing that the suspect is "talking again" after FBI agents went to Nairobi and "talked to his family." The idea that this is a substitute for competent interrogation from the beginning is absurd. The number of terrorists who have honorable families who will get them to come clean in order to spare their lives can probably be counted on the thumbs of one hand.

However, the most absurd comment in the hearing, in answer to a question from a Democrat member of the Committee, was this:

Q. Why did you Mirandize the suspect?

A. Because we wanted his testimony to be admissible in a later, criminal court case against the suspect.

I did not have my TiVo running when this exchange took place, so I cannot cite the precise Administration official who said this. Ultimately, this legal policy was probably set by Attorney General Eric Holder, since his office oversees legal policy for all parts of the Administration, and directly oversees the FBI.

Turning terrorists in war into ordinary criminals is a stated purpose of the ACLU. That thinking now permeates the Obama Administration. It puts at risk American military and civilians, at home and abroad, because of intelligence not obtained in the investigation, and in intelligence betrayed and charges dropped in the subsequent circus trials. In simple terms, it means the policy of this Administration is, "we will make a fatal mistake now, to prepare for another fatal mistake in a few months."



Republicans not so dumb

Leftists have been calling conservatives stupid since the 19th century but it has always been just another hollow Leftist assertion that tells more about their own large egos than anything else -- JR

A new Pew Research Center study provides evidence that Republican voters are smarter about current affairs, issues and news:

Republicans, on average, answered one more question correctly than Democrats (5.9 vs. 4.9 correct). These differences are partly a reflection of the demographics of the two groups; Republicans tend to be older, well educated and male, which are characteristics associated with political and economic knowledge. Still, even when these factors are held constant, Republicans do somewhat better than Democrats on the knowledge quiz.

Among the largest gaps comes over knowledge of who leads the U.S. Senate. About half (48%) of Republicans are able to identify Reid as the current majority leader, while only a third of Democrats can name their own party’s Senate leader. More Republicans can name Reid (48%) than Steele (37%), the RNC chairman.

The one question in the survey in which Democrats slightly outperform Republicans is about the number of women now serving on the U.S. Supreme Court. Close to six-in-ten Democrats (58%) know that more than one woman serves on the high court, compared with 50% of Republicans. Though the Democratic Party is made up of more women than men, this finding does not appear driven mostly by gender. Republican men and women are about equally likely to answer this question correctly (about half each), while solid majorities of both Democratic men (60%) and women (57%) get this question right.

More HERE. For an extended discussion of IQ and ideology, see here



Bush billboard 'rather clever': "Former US President George W. Bush has returned on a Minnesota billboard funded by some people who aren't happy with the way things are going in Washington. The billboard's tagline: "Miss me yet?" Beverly Master, office manager of Schubert and Hoey Outdoor Advertising in Minneapolis, said the message was purchased by a group of small business owners and people from the Twin Cities area "who just felt like Washington was against them". They want to remain anonymous. Ms Master said the billboard went up at the end of December overlooking Interstate 35 in Wyoming and is scheduled to stay up until at least the end of February. She said her company, which owns the billboard, has not done any others like it. Wyoming Mayor Sheldon Anderson called the billboard "rather clever" but said he doesn't know who's behind it."

Obama's rating plunges underwater for first time in new poll as just 44% give him their approval: "President Obama's job approval rating has taken another dive, putting him underwater for the first time in the latest Marist poll. Just 44% of the country approve of the work Obama is doing, while 47% don't like what they see. The tough reviews come as Americans still find the commander in chief likable, with 50% rating him favorably, and 44% viewing him negatively. And they still blame former President George W. Bush for the dismal economy. Only 29% of voters say the poor economy is Obama's fault; 62% agree that Bush left the problem on Obama's desk. Still, people think Obama's policies are not change they can believe in. Forty-seven percent of voters say Obama has not lived up to their expectations, with just 42% saying he has. A narrow plurality - 38% - think Obama's change has been bad, and 37% think it's been good.

Fudging jobless statistics: "Last week's new unemployment numbers were bittersweet. At the same time the Bureau of Labor Statistics was declaring that the unemployment rate had declined slightly, to 9.7 percent, the government also was announcing that the economy had lost about 824,000 more jobs during the recession from April 2008 to March 2009 than Americans previously had been told. If this sounds like bureaucratic doublespeak, it is. The government doesn't really know the exact number of people with or without jobs. The number reported each month is based on surveys, and surveys often can have methodology issues. As it turns out, the surveys estimating the number of people with jobs reported over the past couple of years suffered from some really big problems. That's where government falsely claiming 824,000 more jobs than actually existed comes into play. Unfortunately, those adjustments have so far been made only through March 2009, and there are strong reasons to believe the survey data since then also need to be adjusted downward."

Another choice New York Democrat: "New York Governor David Paterson, who got the job after his predecessor resigned in a prostitution scandal, is fighting unconfirmed rumours and news reports of womanising and drug use. The rumours about Paterson's personal conduct have been circulating in the state capital of Albany - and sometimes appearing online and in newspaper reports - at a crucial moment in the Democratic governor's career. His popularity has fallen precipitously, but he has vowed to run for re-election in November despite lack of support from Washington Democrats. Paterson, New York's first black governor, has cited as fabricated a January 30 New York Post report that he was caught by state police in the governor's mansion cavorting with a woman other than his wife. He said on Monday that he has not been involved sexually with another woman since he and his wife separated temporarily more than a decade ago, reiterating an admission he made upon taking office 23 months ago. The Post has said it stands by its story."

Russia Is Toast: "The concept of BRICs nations (Brazil, Russia, India China) as an investment theme has been a mind-blowing success, both for the investors who initially followed the idea when it was created in 2001, and for the man who created it -- Goldman Sach's Jim O'Neill. But let's face it, there's clearly always been an oddball in the grouping -- Russia. Maybe things looked a lot different back in 2001, but today, it's clear that Russia isn't the BRIC we hoped it could be. The population is literally dying off, the country's political development is going backwards, and in the end any success we've seen from the nation has been nothing more than Russia riding the wave of high energy prices".

PIGS go bankrupt: "They are called the PIGS — Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain. What they have in common is that all are facing deficits and debts that could bring on national defaults and break up the European Union. What brought the PIGS to the edge of the abyss? All are neo-socialist states that provide welfare for poor people, generous unemployment, universal health care, early retirement and comfortable pensions. Most consume 40 percent to 50 percent of their gross domestic product annually, a crushing burden on the private sector.” [See also here]

Bertha Lewis Quits: Thanks, James O'Keefe!: "Acorn CEO Bertha Lewis quietly resigned as state co-chair of the Working Families Party, a few months after James O'Keefe led the undercover sting operation against her non-profit. From New York's City Hall News: Lewis was a founding co-chair of the Party. According to Working Families spokesman Dan Levitan, Lewis stopped serving as co-chair “about a year ago,” though many people familiar with the Party were unaware of that change and Lewis was identified as a current co-chair in an interview on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show as recently as September. The change in leadership comes as the Working Families Party and many of its endorsed candidates are providing extensive email and other documentation in response to December subpoenas from the United States Attorney’s office in New York. Lawyers are also preparing to return to Staten Island Supreme Court on Feb. 23 for the lawsuit being brought against the WFP’s company, Data & Field Services, and the campaign of now-Council Member Debi Rose by Randy Mastro on behalf of five Republican-connected residents of her Staten Island district."

GOP blocks Obama labor board nominee: "Senate Republicans have succeeded in blocking President Obama’s choice of a union lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board. The 52-33 vote to move forward with the nomination of Craig Becker fell short of the 60 needed to overcome a GOP filibuster.”

Bureaucratic attack on obesity -- what a laugh!: "In the Oval Office this morning, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum in conjunction with his wife’s launch of a nationwide campaign to tackle childhood obesity, what he called the ‘most urgent’ health issue facing the country. … The memorandum creates a 90-day plan creating a task-force to provide ‘optimal coordination’ between private sector companies, not-for-profits, agencies within the government and other organizations to address the problem of childhood obesity.”

Some fatal Muslim arrogance: "Mohammed Afchal was only moments from his destination when the car in which he was riding mounted the kerb and hit a power pole. He was killed instantly. Mohamed, 15, was a short distance from Chester Hill High, where he was a student, when the white Holden Commodore driven by his friend Abdul Zreika, 15, came off Gurney Road just after 3pm yesterday. Police said the car failed to negotiate a bend in the road, hit the kerb, then smashed into the pole. Abdul, who was initially trapped in the wreck, was taken to Liverpool Hospital, where he remained in a critical condition this morning. At 15, he was too young to hold a learner's licence. "When you're unlicensed you shouldn't be driving, no matter what the situation is," Abdul's older sister, who did not wish to be named, said. The 15-year-old took the Commodore, his mother's car, without their parents' knowledge, the 24-year-old said."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The New Discrimination

In favour of unionists

The election of a president of mixed race was supposed to mark an end to discrimination in America. Instead it has ushered in a new era of blatant discrimination. The very first piece of legislation enacted by the Obama administration was supposed to create or save 4 million jobs and prevent unemployment from going above 8% if enacted. Instead, the Stimulus Bill provided funding for existing government programs and many state programs for two years.

The real intent of this bill was to prevent the loss of unionized public sector jobs that make up 50% of all union workers and virtually all of SEIU's workers. Even the 10% of the bill that was supposed to repair roads and bridges contained provisions to limit the jobs to only union workers. Consequently, the unemployment rate has risen above 10%, despite the passage of the 787 billion Stimulus Bill.

The next action taken by the Obama administration was the government bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. This bailout violated bankruptcy laws which provide secured creditors with the first right to the company's assets. Instead the secured creditors got 29% of their investment while the United Auto Workers (UAW) got 78% of their investment and partial ownership of the company.

The hourly wages and benefits at Chrysler are $75.85 and at GM $73.25. If the cost of current retiree benefits cost is included, the hourly wage and benefit cost at GM would increase by another $31.00 per hour. When one compares these costs to the hourly wage and benefit cost at Honda of $42.95 and of all U.S. manufacturing jobs of $25.50, is there any doubt that the bailout of GM and Chrysler was a waste of taxpayer money on woefully non-competitive companies. The auto bailout plan was simply a way to skirt the bankruptcy laws to preserve UAW wages at the expense of the secured creditors and the American taxpayers.

However, the most blatant example of discrimination is in the healthcare bill. After a closed door meeting with labor union officials, Obama, Pelosi and Reed decided to exempt public and private sector union healthcare plans from the 40% tax on Cadillac plans. Why should organized labor that makes up less than 15% of the workforce receive their high value healthcare untaxed while the rest of the population that receive high value healthcare pay a 40% tax. This act of discrimination will cost taxpayers 60 billion dollars if the healthcare bill is enacted.

The 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law for all citizens, yet the Obama administration has discriminated against 85% of working Americans to reward his allies in SEIU, their surrogates ACORN and other organized labor groups that helped him become elected.



Recession chugs on, except in government

White House apologists were quick to point to the unemployment rate decline from 10 percent to 9.7 percent as evidence that the recovery is gathering momentum and that President Obama's policies -- especially his $787 billion economic stimulus bill Congress approved last February -- are "working." But the back story behind the figures provides cold comfort.

First, the drop to 9.7 percent unemployment does not reflect the creation of new jobs that normally accompanies an economic recovery. The number of new jobs is actually declining. Total nonfarm payroll employment, for example, dipped by an additional 20,000 positions after a December decline of 150,000 positions. The unemployment rate the day Obama took office last year stood at 7.6 percent and 134.6 million people had jobs. When he signed the economic stimulus, Obama promised the bill would bolster the economy sufficiently to keep unemployment below 8.0 percent. But the unemployment rate has exceeded 8.0 percent since last fall, and total employment stands at only 129.5 million. The stimulus has been a bust.

Second, anybody who thinks the job situation is going to improve dramatically in coming months is not paying attention to what's going on behind the unemployment rate.The Hudson Institute's Diana Furchtgott-Roth notes that "This is a better employment report than last month's report, yet the economy is still not creating jobs. The percent of the unemployed who are out of work for 27 weeks or more exceeded 41%, an all-time high. This is unacceptable and shows that Congress and the President need to focus on job creation, rather than on expanding government, because the tax increases and borrowing used to expand government reduce overall job creation and create uncertainty." Furchtgott-Roth further notes that "the labor force participation rate is the lowest since mid-1985." This means that fewer Americans are in the labor force.

Third, among the few sectors of the economy showing net employment growth over the past year is the federal government. The federal civil service is rapidly expanding as Obama increases the size of government, with 33,000 new positions being added in January alone. Only 9,000 of those new slots were for temporary census jobs. In other words, what we are seeing is good times for the public sector and the growing prospect of a continuing and perhaps even deepening recession for everybody else.



Memo to Arianna: Stop being silly

By: Hugh Hewitt

Yesterday's joint appearance with Arianna Huffington on CNN's "Reliable Sources," hosted by the estimable Howard Kurtz, gave me a chance to tell Arianna in person what most people think about her crusade against the Fox News Channel: It is silly. Her focus on a word here and a phrase there is silly. The warning that Glenn Beck or others are "inciting" the public and that this is dangerous is silly.

The program also gave me the opportunity to say on television what I often say on radio: If I had it in my power, I'd give Keith Olbermann a 24/7 cable channel because he does more good for the center-right than almost anyone in America. His wild-eyed craziness combined with obvious lack of knowledge about so many things make him an advertisement for conservatism, and I really hope he survives his ratings plummet. He's the perfect example of a prompter-dependant sports announcer-turned-political commentator who digs a hole for the Left every night. Long may he broadcast.

But what I really enjoyed saying the most was the obvious: The Beltway-Manhattan media elite still cannot figure out Fox for the same reason they can't figure out Rush or Sarah Palin. They are elitists who long ago lost touch with the center of American opinion and who have no way of finding their way back again because they continue to staff up with a lethal (for ratings) combination of privileged execs, liberal-to-left-wing writers and producers, and know-nothing teleprompter readers.

What Roger Ailes has figured out that results in the cable ratings domination by Beck, "Special Report," Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Greta Van Susteren is not string theory. It begins with respect for the audience as opposed to contempt, and then adds in good humor and balance. The "Special Report" panel is the best panel in the business because it always has at least one smart and well-read lefty on it. Hannity's Great American Panel is the same.

Rarely if ever will you find a Fox anchor using the term "tea bagger" because to do so is to insult the millions of activists involved in the past year of town halls, demonstrations and debates, but also those who know them and beyond that those who are interested in what they have to say.

And you will find Fox covering the president's stumbles and the stories about the administration's rising tide of failure. The MSM has an enormous double standard -- imagine if Palin had mispronounced the word corpsman twice in her address Saturday night or her interview with Chris Wallace on Sunday morning -- and that double standard first astonishes and then offends.

The refusal to cover comprehensively the president's year of serial pratfalls and his risible reflex to blame Bush confirmed for a vast segment of the American audience that the MSM remains just as in the tank for President Obama as it was for candidate Obama. When the networks cease to be infomercials for the president, they might win over some of Fox's broad and growing audience.

There is no reason why MSMBC and CNN have to lag so far behind Fox. The audience is up for grabs every single night in America. There is no "brand loyalty" in the world of cable news. But to compete, you have to at least try to be fair and balanced. Or you at least have to be talented and smart.



Obama thinks small (for once)

Before his speech in New Hampshire on Tuesday, President Obama visited a small technology company in Nashua called ARC Energy. During his talk, he promoted ARC Energy as an example of the kind of innovation he wants taxpayers to subsidize with what he called "seed money" in the form of federal "green jobs" funding. We need to do it, he said, so we can get ahead of the Chinese.

Probably few in the audience knew what the people who founded ARC Energy only two years ago know: ARC received no federal startup money. Dr. Kedar Gupta and his wife founded the company with their own money, the same way Dr. Gupta co-founded GT Solar, the world's largest maker of photovoltaic cells, in the 1990s.

Obama presented a narrative that was fundamentally false - namely that, without federal "seed money," our technology sector won't advance quickly enough to beat the Chinese. But guess where ARC Energy sells many of its products? China.

That sleight of hand was typical of Obama's speech. The main point of his presentation was to tout his plan to pump $30 billion into small banks for the stated purpose of providing them with enough money to lend to small businesses. But that cannot possibly be the real goal of the program, for several reasons.

First, community banks are not short of cash for lending. According to Stephen Wilson, the chairman-elect of the American Bankers Association, they aren't lending because federal bank regulators have forced them to tighten their standards. "Obama is calling us `fat cats' and telling us to be lending more, and then he sends his bank examiners and regulators to stifle our lending," Wilson told the Cincinnati Enquirer last month. If Obama wanted to free up cash for small businesses, he could have his regulators back off and let small banks lend.

Second, if Obama were really interested in freeing up more money for lending, why is he proposing to tax large banks? Wells Fargo, one of the large banks Obama wants to punish with a new tax, is the largest small-business lender in America. It expects to loan $16 billion to small businesses this year. Bank of America projects a similar figure.

Those two banks alone would lend about as much (more, if the economy improves) to small businesses this year as the $30 billion Obama wants to spread among smaller banks. But rather than make it easier for them to lend, Obama is making it harder by proposing to tax them simply for being large and by having his regulators restrict their ability to take risks. By encouraging banks to build up larger cash reserves, Washington is reducing the amount of money available for lending.

Clearly, Obama's interest is not in freeing up money for small businesses. The only explanation for his behavior - taxing the largest banks and distributing money to smaller ones - is that he wants to use the power of the state to shift assets (and, thus, power) from large banks to smaller ones.

This is purely an ideological crusade. Obama believes that large banks are generally a bad thing, and small ones are generally a good thing. So, he's taking from the large and giving to the small. It's economic idiocy, but in his mind it's a morally just cause.

What Obama did in New Hampshire is the same as he has done for the past year, and on the campaign trail before that. He presented a fa‡ade of an argument to justify actions Americans would not possibly support were he to state their real motives. It's exactly how he tried to sell health care reform (it's vital to economic recovery!), his massive transfer of wealth from private producers to government employee unions (it's shovel-ready stimulus!), and his cap-and-trade bill (it will create green jobs!).

If we take any lesson from his New Hampshire "town hall" event (it wasn't a town hall meeting), it is that we must ignore what the president says his proposals are intended to do and scrutinize what they actually do. More often than not, we will find that they simply transfer wealth and power from people and groups Obama dislikes to those he favors.




Liberal Icon Attacks Obama Over Israel: "Marty Peretz, editor-in-chief and former owner of the liberal magazine The New Republic and a staunch supporter of Barak Obama in 2008, has written a column sharply critical of the president over Israeli aid to Haiti. On Jan. 15, Obama commented that in addition to U.S. aid to Haiti, assistance had come from "Brazil, Mexico, Canada, France, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, among others." He declined to mention Israel. In a column headlined "Maybe I'm Getting Paranoid . . . About Obama," Peretz wrote: "The fact is that, next to our country, Israel sent the largest contingent of trained rescue workers, doctors, and other medical personnel. "The Israeli field hospital was the only one on the ground that could perform real surgery, which it did literally hundreds of times . . . "So didn't Obama notice? For God's sake, everybody noticed the deep Israeli involvement."

Big pay for parasites: "The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data. Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months - and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted. Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time - in pay and hiring - during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector. The highest-paid federal employees are doing best of all on salary increases. Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available. When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000."

Biden Senate seat looks shaky: "The Democrats' future in the U.S. Senate looks even gloomier following Delaware Attorney General Joseph R. "Beau" Biden's announcement on January 25 that he would not run for the seat vacated by his father, Vice President Joseph R. "Joe" Biden, Jr. Democrats at the national level, unnerved by a recent series of Republican victories in special elections, had looked to the younger Biden as their best hope for keeping both of the First State's Senate seats in Democratic hands. The refusal of the vice president's son to run for Senate in the nation's second-smallest state says a lot about the current political climate."

Another extremist adviser for Obama: "President Obama has picked to advise him on military actions inside the U.S. the Missouri governor whose state "Information Analysis Center" last year linked conservative organizations to domestic terrorism and said law enforcement officers should watch for suspicious individuals who may have bumper stickers from Ron Paul or Chuck Baldwin. Missouri Gov. Jeremiah Nixon, a Democrat, is being joined on the Obama's special advisory panel by the governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuno, and Arizona Gov. Janice Brewer, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's replacement when she moved to Washington. They are among Obama's nominations for the 10 positions on Obama's new "Council of Governors" that he will use for advice on "military activities in the United States."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)