Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday musings

Somebody stop those pro-Obama folks who are destroying debate in this country--quick:
"An Ohio woman says her home has become a target for vandalism since she and her husband began posting a homemade sign that says, "Stop Obama Now." Paula Morin says a small window on their garage has been broken, their house in Sandusky has been egged, and the sign has been torn down or turned around. They no longer have it on the outside of their home but now display it in the front window."

Rapper Chris Brown says he doesn't remember hitting his girlfriend:
"Pop star Chris Brown has admitted guilt and apologized for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna in February, but he does not remember hitting the singer, he told CNN's Larry King.
Looking at police reports about the incident makes him feel like he's reading about a stranger, Brown said in his first television interview since the arrest. "I'm in shock, because, first of all, that's not who I am as a person, and that's not who I promise I want to be," he said in an exclusive interview that airs Wednesday night."
Hmmm. Well, that's interesting. Because all reports are that the incident above wasn't the first Brown struck Rihanna. Methinks unfortunately therefore that this was part of who Mr. Brown was--and maybe he still isn't taking full responsibility for it.

I'm glad Dick Cheney is out there defending the Bush administration's actions in the war on terror:
"“I knew about the waterboarding, not specifically in any one particular case, but as a general policy that we had approved,” said Mr. Cheney, who noted that neither a gun nor a drill had actually been used on detainees. “The fact of the matter is the Justice Department reviewed all those allegations several years ago.” “The judgment was made then that there wasn’t anything that was improper or illegal,” said Mr. Cheney, who was speaking in an interview on Fox News Sunday. Mr. Cheney said he also supported officers who strayed outside Justice Department rules and used unauthorized interrogation techniques, saying they did so to keep Americans safe. And he warned that Mr. Holder’s investigation would demoralize intelligence officers and discourage them from working aggressively to protect the nation. Mr. Cheney described the inquiry as an “intensely partisan, politicized look back at the prior administration” intended to placate the left wing of the Democratic Party. “It’s clearly a political move,” he said. “I mean, there’s no other rationale for why they’re doing this.”

Somebody needed to defend the administration. Fact is, since 9/11/2001, there hasn't been a terrorist attack in this country. There's a reason for that.

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers got a tough, hang-in-there outing from Justin Verlander yesterday and a huge 8th-inning home run from Placido Polanco, and yesterday edged Tampa Bay 4-3. That's how divisions can be won. Verlander for example trailed much of the game, but he held the Rays at 3...and gave the Tigers a chance to come back.
But...the Cubs piddled about yesterday against the Mets, getting only 7 hits and losing 4-1. That's not how big winning streaks are made.
And the Rangers' bullpen gave it up for one of the few times yesterday, allowing 3 in the 8th and losing to the Twins, 5-3.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday's fish fry

Hard to figure where the economy is going. Every day there's a different lead.
Today, the news is not so good:
"Household income in the U.S. is essentially stagnant, raising doubts about whether consumers already hurt by job losses can sustain an economic recovery."
Although in past days we've heard news that new jobless claims are down, that consumer confidence is up, but that the budget deficit and unemployment figures should continue to rise.
Sure doesn't figure to be a big-time recovery anytime soon, though.

Charles Krauthammer last night gives an excellent summary concerning why President Obama's poll numbers are plummeting re: health care:
"What's killing the Obama health plan is not the Republicans, it's not the Blue Dogs, it isn't the rallies in the town meetings. It's numbers. It's reality. Obama says: "I'm going to expand coverage and reduce the cost." And the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, steps in and gives you numbers. It says: No, it will not reduce. It will increase our costs by $1 trillion.
Obama says: "Oh, yes, [cost might rise] in the first decade , and then it will decline." The CBO says no. There will be an increase in the deficit in the second decade. It's the numbers and the reality that is sinking Obamacare."
And by the way, watch out for a lot more iterations of the following liberal talking point, this time coming from Michael Kinsley:
"The reason Americans have turned against health-care reform, after electing President Obama in part for promising it, is simple: Despite protestations to the contrary, Americans don't like change."
That's a falsehood. Oh, liberals would like it to be true--for if it was, then the left could simply claim Americans are acting out of "fear", and more easily (they think) move them off that position. Fundamental: this is not just fear of "change." This is a belief that what the Democrats are selling on health care is a bad idea.

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers were off. The Texas Rangers beat the Yankees, 7-2--and won two of three in the Bronx. Two big home runs from Ian Kinsler were highlights--as was the Rangers' bullpen throwing 5 and 2/3 innings of two-hit ball. The Rangers trail the Red Sox for the wild card by only a game and a half. And it continues to be the team's pitching that's the big story.
Meanwhile the Cubs need a big winning streak. So they immediately go and lose two of three to the Washington Nationals, including yesterday's 5-4 loss. Give the Nationals some props, though--they've gone 14-11 in August. No luck this year for the Cubs.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

"Tax deadbeats are finding someone actually reads their MySpace and Facebook postings: the taxman. State revenue agents have begun nabbing scofflaws by mining information posted on social-networking Web sites, from relocation announcements to professional profiles to financial boasts."
Another reason why conservatives want to keep government limited in scope...

Nope--in New Jersey, Republican gubernatorial Chris Christie continues to lead Dem incumbent Jon Corzine pretty big.
By the way, other polls note that Corzine job approval rating in NJ is 35%; disapproval, 65%. Good luck with that, Mr. Corzine.

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers lose to the Angels yesterday 4-2, but still take the series, 2 victories to one. Edwin Jackson didn't pitch that badly; but give credit to the Angels' Joe Saunders, who pitched a bit better.
Meanwhile the Yankees yesterday again schooled young Rangers' pitcher Derek Holland, beating him 9-2. Andy Pettite of the Yankees again showed why he's now third all-time on the Yankee win list.
And the Cubs got some hitting from Milton Bradley and blasted the Nationals, 9-4. But what they really need to salvage this season is to win 9 or 10 in a row, and soon. Yesterday's win was only one.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday's wash

Victor Davis Hanson states what needs to be said in the wake of the Senator's passing:
"The country sends its condolences to the Kennedy family, as the last of the three prominent Kennedy lions passes from the American political scene....At times such as these, it matters little that many of us disagreed with much of the vision of Ted Kennedy — nil nisi bonum de mortuis dicere. He had an incredible near-half-century run in the Senate, suffered terribly from the loss of his three brothers, and was a powerful and deeply sincere advocate for liberal causes respected by his peers of both parties. Requiescat in pacem."

Still a lot of skepticism out there--a recent poll suggests 25% favor Obama-style reform, but 37% oppose.
That's another sign too of how "dead" conservatism is. Heh heh...
Nor does the Gallup poll bring Obama better news today--his approval rating today reached an all-time low for him, 51%.

And by the way, why exactly is President Obama having so much trouble in this health care debate? I think Michael Gerson hits on a good point today:
"Obama thought -- not without reason -- that his political moment might be different. His electoral mandate was broad. An atmosphere of economic crisis, he calculated, might leave Americans open to Rooseveltian social innovation. It was a miscalculation. Americans were neither as desperate nor as malleable as they were during the New Deal. Obama's massive spending, intended to stabilize the economy, also drained the Treasury, making it more difficult to propose major new expenditures. Deficits of $9 trillion over 10 years have raised the prospect, according to Warren Buffett, of an American "banana republic" -- endlessly printing money, weakened by inflation and abandoned by foreign bond investors."
Exactly. The Great Depression was a unique, profound crisis. Unemployment was over 25%. The American people were indeed desperate. Obama thought that the present time was a New Deal moment. It wasn't. The American people indeed wanted "change." But that didn't mean they wanted an infusion of liberalism through a new New Deal.

The city budget in Detroit is as always out of whack. They face a huge deficit. There is all kinds of talk of cuts, etc. One councilwoman however decided to take a small step:
"City Councilwoman Alberta Tinsley-Talabi says she'll turn in her city-leased Crown Victoria on Thursday as part of her effort to get the city's budget under control. "It is extremely difficult to debate cuts in public transportation which services 40 percent of Detroit residents while continuing to utilize a vehicle provided by taxpayers," she said in a statement. "If I can't ensure citizens have adequate transportation then I certainly should not have a taxpayer provided vehicle." She said she was told by the city's General Services Department, which manages the city's fleet of vehicle, that turning in the car will save about $7,200 a year."
Good for her. May more follow her example!

BASEBALL DIARY: good grief, what's gotten into the Tigers? They had lost 10 straight series on the road. Now here they are playing the mighty Angels in Anaheim. But last night the Tigers strung together a bunch of highlight-reel defensive plays and key hits and win seal a road series win. The Tigers now lead the division by 4 and 1/2 games. Can they do it!!? Note the key roles being played by Miguel Cabrera, who's having an MVP year at the plate, and Jarrod Washburn, who somehow kept the Tigers in the game until their late rally.
The Texas Rangers won again, on the road against the Yankees, 10-9. It was an impressive offensive performance--the Rangers banged out 16 hits. But they had to weather a late Yankee rally, as the Yanks scored 4 in the 9th inning off of Frankie Francisco. One wonders--is Francisco wearing out? Good news: even the NY Times says that the Rangers last night "showed the pluck of a playoff team." How 'bout that.
The Cubs meanwhile continued their slide to playoff irrelevance by losing at home to Washington, 15-6. They've lost 13 of 18.

Well...a columnist for the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch suggests that, because Michigan's a little down right now, perhaps Ohio State's biggest football rival is now Florida.
That perhaps Michigan is no Frazier to OSU as Ali, but is turning into "Jerry Quarry."
Well. Methinks one Michigan victory would change that back again. This is bulletin board material. Tack it up there, Coach Rodriguez.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday trackings

5 are killed today due to terrorist bombs in Afghanistan.
One senses that the Islamofascist terrorists in the Middle East are ramping things up.
There's been a lot of activity lately in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Obama administration is going to have to stand firm. Let's hope it does.

Why? National Review's editors explain today:
"Mechanics tasked with destroying the so-called clunkers have been posting the videos on YouTube, often muttering in anger as they fill the engines of perfectly good Corvettes and Cadillacs with sodium silicate and then run them until they self-destruct. The goal of the Cash for Clunkers policy is, literally, the destruction of wealth. To get a sense of how much value the program has destroyed in its short lifespan, keep an eye on used-car prices, which are expected to skyrocket as dealers see their inventory sacrificed to Washington’s green gods. Look also at the 12 percent decline in used cars donated to charity. This is to say nothing of the extra use their owners could have gotten out of them if the government hadn’t subsidized their destruction. In addition to flushing tangible assets, the program has destroyed wealth in other ways. First, it has added $3 billion to the deficit, which will have to be taxed out of the productive economy at some point. That’s money that won’t be saved, invested, or spent on other goods and services. Second, the $3,500–$4,500 vouchers for new vehicles only covered part of their cost. Buyers covered the rest by borrowing or spending their own money. Some of these buyers would have purchased a new car anyway, but other car owners spent money on new cars they didn’t need because of this policy. These consumers had less money to spend on other consumer goods last month, as reflected by worse-than-expected non-vehicle retail sales. Cash for Clunkers robbed from the taxpayers and the rest of the economy to pay Detroit and a few hundred thousand new-car buyers."
This is all very important. This program has been hailed in the media as a great success. It isn't. And it shows again that government intervention into the free market almost always creates far more problems than it solves.

One of the president's fairly reliable progressive media allies, Richard Cohen, has become disenchanted; he says the president cannot "teach":
"So Obama did not teach about the Gates incident and he is not teaching about health insurance. Some of his trouble is procedural -- turning over health care reform to Congress, a parliamentary Okefenokee Swamp in which reform bogs down, finally rots and emits noxious gases. Some of this has to do with the unavoidable complexity of any legislation. But some of it has to do with the inability of the president to simply say what he wants and why that's good for us. The failure here is twofold: the message and the messenger."
He's too cool, he's too above the fray, and as Cohen says, Obama was lucky to run against the hapless John McCain in 2008. He wasn't really tested. And many Americans, I suspect, ignored Obama's liberalism in their desire to embrace change. But now, they're being reminded of it. And they don't like it.

If Rudy Giuliani runs to be governor of New York next year, guess what--he's got a great chance to win, as he leads all of his likely opponents by over 10 points.

BASEBALL DIARY: hey, the Tigers scored some runs last night, in beating the Angels on the road, 10-7. Big win--it, plus the White Sox loss, again puts Detroit up by 3 and 1/2 games in the AL Central. I was disappointed to see Justin Verlander let down and let in a bunch of runs with a 10-0 lead. Maybe part of it was due to he and Gerald Laird not being on the same page, as the linked article suggests. But how often this season has Verlander pitched masterfully, only to lose or get a no-decision as the Tiger bats remained silent? He's allowed one of these. A win is a win.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday musings

So Scotland's government defends its decision to release this terrorist, though they also say the Libyan government broke a "promise" to keep his reception low-key.
But the real questions are: suppose Libya HAD kept their reception of this guy a quiet affair. Would that have justified his release? Nope.
And why were the Scots so stupid as to trust the Khadafy government anyway???

Gear up, Vikings fans, Brett Favre will play the entire first half of this week's pre-season game against Houston.
Maybe he can improve on his one pass completion from last week.
Is there anyone out there who wasn't shocked that Favre un-retired yet again???
Yes, he'd done it before. But it sure looked like he'd shut the door this time.
It's the old story---it's so hard for athletes like Favre to give it up. They're always so certain that they still have something left, that they can still play. But does Favre realize how ridiculous he looks??? Does he realize what a laughingstock he's become???
I don't think he does. And it's too bad. He's made a big mistake, I'm convinced. He'll tarnish his legacy. And it didn't have to be that way.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Some Sunday stuff

I'm back! Just time for a few items today, but more coming this week.

DETROIT TIGERS UPDATE: they've won 6 of their last 9, and their pitching has been solid--but they're still not hitting like they need to...
In other baseball news, the Texas Rangers are only 3-4 in their last 7 games, but they won today over Tampa Bay to avoid a sweep, and...if they can get a little help from the Yankees tonight...still might be just 1 game off the wild card lead going into next week.

Yes, indeedy, what were those Scottish folks thinking when they released the Lockerbie bomber this past week?
They claimed it was done on humanitarian grounds--that this particular terrorist is dying of prostate cancer, and has only months to live. But here's a thought or two: did the bomber show any humanitarian concern for those he killed back in 1988? And did he show repentance, remorse, and a desire to repair any of the damage he did???

If so, I haven't heard of it.
I give the Obama administration credit for the outrage they've shown over the release of this terrorist thug.

On the other hand, remember what President Obama's "stimulus" plan is doing here at home--causing damage:
"Thanks to Obama, one of the least indebted developed nations is now one of the most indebted — and getting ever more so. We’ve become the third most debt-ridden country after Japan and Italy. According to last month’s IMF report, general government debt as a percentage of GDP will rise from 63 percent in 2007 to 88.8 percent this year and to 99.8 percent of GDP next year."

Yes, methinks the stimulus, the health care debate...none of it's going Mr. Obama's way right about now. Look at the generic ballot for congressional races 2010--two different polls, both Rasmussen and NPR, give Republicans an actual LEAD there. Remember what that means--that in those polls, more people say they plan to vote Republican, when voting for congress in 2010, than plan to vote Democrat. Yes, a lot can change between now and then. It's early. But there's hope.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Vacation time...

I'm going to be gone for a few days. While I'm gone...

Interested in good links for representative area news around the country? Try:

And this.
And there's this.

Sports news?
Naturally there's this.
And this.

National news?
And this.

And of course you need good conservative links:
And here.
And don't forget here.

See you when I get back!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday's fish fry

So Michael Vick is back in the NFL, with the Philadelphia Eagles.
I have no problem with him being given another chance to play. He's served his jail time. He certainly seems very remorseful. The league and Commissioner Goodell have apparently been very tough on him, have interviewed him intensively, and have made their expectations known. People have done worse things than he did--though what he did was a very, very bad thing--and have been given more chances.
But to me, the key is this: if he slips up again? He's gone. That's the way it's got to be. I expect that's the way it will be, both from the Eagles' standpoint and that of the league.

What's the root problem with Obama's plans? Jonah Goldberg today gets at the nub of it:
"Under the plan discussed at President Obama’s infomercial-esqe town halls, America would cut costs and expand coverage while avoiding rationing. Apparently, it’s paranoid to think that’s too good to be true."

A poll I referenced earlier this week had, in Pennsylvania, Republican Pat Toomey leading Arlen Specter. But a new poll is out that has Specter up by 5.
Volatile stuff. But here's the good news for the GOP, no matter what--that race is competitive.
But say, what about the "generic ballot" polling? You know, the one that asks which party voters expect to vote for next year in the congressional elections? Democrats have dominated that poll for some time. But not now--now the RCP average has Democrats ahead only 43-42, and the latest Rasmussen poll has Republicans AHEAD.

BASEBALL DIARY: well, the Tigers have an ace in Justin Verlander, that's for sure--13 wins now on the season for him, and yesterday he beat the Red Sox, 2-0. The Tigers still lead their division by 2 and 1/2 games--in large part because they have a pitcher like Verlander (and others don't).
Meanwhile the Texas Rangers continue to play solid ball--they won 2 of 3 series on their 10 game road trip, including yesterday's 4-1 win over Cleveland. Scott Feldman again pitched well as a starter. And Josh Hamilton is heating up--4 hits yesterday, and he hit .486 on the trip. The Rangers are just 1/2 game behind Boston for the wild card. And Boston is in Arlington for a 3 game series starting tonight--a big test for the Rangers.
But the Cubs are in trouble--not hitting well or pitching well, and they got swept this week by the Phillies, losing yesterday 6-1. They've lost 7 of 8, continuing their pattern of inconsistency they've had all year.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

I just think that when a student posts something on her private MySpace page, doing so clearly NOT in her role in a student or high school team member, and is NOT threatening violence against anybody or anything close to that, as was the case in this episode here to which I'm linking...
Then for goodness sake, public high school officials, just leave it alone, and remember that rights of privacy and free speech, though not absolute for those under the age of 18 (obviously), still do exist.

Some wish to claim that the protests against universal health care voiced at these town hall meetings have hurt the conservative cause. But a recent poll suggests that's not the case at all:
"The raucous protests at congressional town-hall-style meetings have succeeded in fueling opposition to proposed health care bills among some Americans, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds — particularly among the independents who tend to be at the center of political debates....In a survey of 1,000 adults taken Tuesday, 34% say demonstrations at the hometown sessions have made them more sympathetic to the protesters' views; 21% say they are less sympathetic.
Independents by 2-to-1, 35%-16%, say they are more sympathetic to the protesters now."
And also, get this--a Pennsylvania poll out today has the almost-certain Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate next year, Pat Toomey, leading incumbent Senator (and now Democrat) Arlen Specter by double-digits.

And President Obama and his backers keep claiming that, under the plans Democrats now seem to favor, no one will lose his existing health insurance. Is that really true? Not necessarily:
"...many small businesspeople are starting to figure out that under ObamaCare it will be cheaper to pay a penalty equal to 8% of payroll than to continue covering their employees' health insurance. How will people feel about Mr. Obama's claim that everyone can keep their existing coverage when their employer tells them it makes better economic sense to dump them into the government-run option than to keep paying for private insurance?"

BASEBALL DIARY: the road continues to be mighty unkind to the Tigers, as they lose again last night to Boston, 8-2. It didn't help that they had to face Josh Beckett.
But the Rangers came back strong, beating the Indians 5-0. Tommy Hunter again pitched very well; the Rangers have an impressive stable of young pitchers.
But the Cubs are in trouble--they again got bombed by the Phillies, 12-5. The Cubs seem to be having trouble beating teams with winning records...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday's wash

Remember the news about Hillary Clinton's rather angry outburst yesterday towards a Congolese student, when Mrs. Clinton mistakenly thought she was being questioned about her husband's views and snapped rather angrily in reply that she was not there to "channel" her husband? Well, clearly the best thing for her and her people to do is to simply and briefly apologize for this--I mean, she really needed to keep her cool in a situation like this--and when she does so, the whole thing will go away. But I see today that a State Department spokesman is digging deeper, blaming the student for the whole thing:
"State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday that Clinton reacted that way because of the question. "As the question was posed to her, it was posed in a way that said, 'I want to get the views of two men, but not you, the secretary of state,'" Crowley said.
The French-speaking student later said he had meant to say President Barack Obama, according to U.S. officials traveling with Clinton. It was unclear whether that meant he misspoke or the translator erred. "Perhaps he was nervous," Crowley said. Asked if Clinton had any regrets about losing her cool, Crowley tried to deflect the question, saying she was not available to get her thoughts."
Wow. Mrs. Clinton doesn't strike me as a stupid, unthinking woman at all. But sometimes she and her people do the silliest things.
By the way, Charles Krauthammer has an interesting take on why Mrs. Clinton lost it with this student:
"But I think part of it is also the venue. Here you have Richard Holbrooke running Afghanistan and Pakistan — the heart of our troubles in Asia. You have George Mitchell in the Middle East. You have envoys here and there, and she is the secretary of state, and she's sitting in the Congo, in the Congo? You've got Petraeus running Afghanistan. You've got Odierno running Iraq. She is totally marginalized, sitting in Kinshasa. I'm sure it is a great city — in fact, it's not — but the Congo? Africa is very low on the scale of important interests of the United States. She was supposed to be the president of the United States at this point. She was going to be queen of the world. Instead, Obama bestrides the world. He gives speeches in the great capitals, in Cairo — and she is in the Congo! You'd be upset, also."

President Obama's still not doing so hot in the polls--for example, the latest from Gallup:
"Gallup sub-head: Americans disapprove of his handling of the issue, by 49% to 43%
Unwritten conclusion from Gallup result: Three weeks of a pretty relentless campaign-style effort on the president's part, trying to persuade the American public to back his plan, has had no effect."
And by the way, our liberal friends seem to want to make it sound like every single town hall forum on health care winds up being full of angry shouts and screams and people being drowned out. But actually, that's just not so:
Here's an example of a civil town hall meeting.
And here's another.
And another.

BASEBALL DIARY: frustrating--the Tigers lose last night, 7-5...but likely could have won had there not been a silly brawl which led to Rick Porcello being ejected with the Tigers leading, 3-0. It also didn't help that the Tigers failed to add on runs against a mediocre Red Sox pitcher...
Meanwhile, sure looked to me like the Texas Rangers were flat last night, and were shut out by the Indians 5-0. The Rangers had the bases loaded in the first but failed to score--and that was a huge moment in the game.
And the Cubs lost a tough one in 12 innings to the Phillies, 4-3. They've now lost 5 of 6 and are 3 games out of first place. They're playing very inconsistently right now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

Very busy today, so not much time for blogging. But...

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers come close, and play a decent game on the road. But they lose 6-5 in Boston. Bad news: Edwin Jackson didn't pitch well. Ah well, he'll do better next time. Good news: Magglio Ordonez had 3 extra base hits. He's got a new hitting stance, I've read--maybe it's helping him turn the corner.
Meanwhile the Cubs had a very bad time in Colorado, losing 3 of 4 and getting pounded by the Rockies' big hitters, including last night, 11-5. Troy Tulowitzki hit for the cycle. And the Cubs are happy to be cycling out of town.

Nope--our arguments are getting through on health care, for example, according to a recent Gallup poll:
"When asked, "Would you advise your member of Congress to vote for or against a healthcare reform bill when they return to Washington in September, or do you not have an opinion?" 35 percent said vote for, 36 percent said vote against, and 29 percent said "no opinion."

The numbers of those favoring a health care reform bill have dropped perhaps 20 points in only a short time.

She loses her cool when a Congolese student, actually trying to ask her what President Obama thought, is mis-translated, leading Clinton to think she was being asked what her husband thought.
It's not something that's going to be long remembered or be a big deal down the road.
But it is surprising that Mrs. Clinton, who's after all been involved in government, policy, and public events for quite some time--not to mention a tough two-year presidential campaign--can't maintain her poise better than that. One wonders: is she unhappy in the Obama administration? Is there something going on there? Stay tuned.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday musings...

The Democrats are losing popularity, says CNN:
"A new national poll indicates that the Democratic party's becoming less popular with voters. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Monday, suggests that the Republican party has not been able to capitalize on the Democrats' downturn....Fifty-two percent of people questioned say they have a favorable opinion of the Democratic party, down six points from February. Forty-one percent say they have a positive view of the Republican party, up just two points from February. "Most Americans still have a favorable view of the Democrats; half have an unfavorable view of the GOP," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland."
True, Republicans have yet to capitalize on this.
But I have little doubt they can, and will, should the Dems' slide continue.
All Republicans need is a positive message to go along with their criticisms of the Democrats.
Maybe next year it will be time for a new "contract with America."

Democratic Congressman Brian Baird sees evil intent in these Republicans attending town hall meetings to criticize ObamaCare:
"[Baird] said a "coordinated national effort" to disrupt public meetings with shouts and demonstrations, which he said Republican leaders were "egging on," was reminiscent of the kinds of things that drove Timothy McVeigh to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. "He believed himself to be a patriot fighting against an oppressive government," Baird said of McVeigh, whose act killed 168."
This is an old Democratic tactic--paint your opponents and their arguments as a part of horrible "extremism", link it to violence somehow, and thus make it so your opponents don't have to be listened to, their arguments ignored. Hey, why refute those damned Republicans anyway? They're just "extremists."

One of the best fundamentals to use to counter this is a simple one: Republicans and conservatives are ORGANIZING. They are seeking to get citizens involved in the democratic process, to make their voices heard. Attending town hall meetings is, indeed, an important part of community organizing.
You know--that thing Barack Obama used to do.
UPDATE: Reps. Pelosi and Hoyer have now escalated the battle over this by accusing the town hall protestors of being "un-American."
Funny--over the past 5 years or so, we've all seen those protesting the Iraq war or the Code Pink group do plenty of protesting and disrupting. Why didn't Speaker Pelosi denounce those groups as "un-American"?

BASEBALL DIARY: catching up from the weekend...the Tigers had a good weekend overall, winning two of three from Minnesota, including yesterday's come-from-behind win, 8-7. At least the Tigers are scoring some more runs. But now, a challenge--on to Boston. The Tigers now lead the division by 3 games.
It was a good weekend for the Texas Rangers, too. They won two of three over the Angels--that's now 9 wins for the Rangers in 12 games with the Angels of Anaheim this year. And yesterday rookie pitcher Derek Holland was simply masterful in blanking LA, 7-0. This kid has a chance to be something really special.
But the Cubs lost two of three over the weekend, including yesterday's game to Colorado, 11-5. The Rockies are tough at home, and are 43-22 under manager Jim Tracy. The Cubs need to keep chasing St. Louis...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Weekend wanderings

Here's finally a more solid sign that the economy is doing better:
"The long-battered U.S. job market showed some signs of improvement in July as employers cut far fewer jobs from payrolls and the unemployment rate fell for the first time in more than a year, according to a government report Friday."

Something tells me the administration didn't think through very well their decision to collect "fishy information" concerning their health care plans:
"The White House has been under fire since it posted a blog on Tuesday that asked supporters to e-mail any "fishy" information seen on the Web or received electronically to "There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there," the blog said, adding that "since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help." The blog was posted partly in response to a video posted on the Web that claimed to show Obama explaining how his health care reform plans eventually will eliminate private insurance. The video, featured on the Drudge Report, strung together selected Obama statements that the White House said were taken out of context. The White House said it wanted to be made aware of "fishy" comments about its health care plan because it wants to set the record straight. But critics called White House move an Orwellian tactic designed to control the health care debate. "This is a very troubling attempt to stifle the free speech of Americans who have the constitutional right to express their opinion and concerns about health care," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice. He called on Obama to repudiate his blog."

They left themselves wide open to charges of creating an enemies list, and/or of targeting opponents. Ask your liberal friends this question: what would they have thought had the Bush administration created a website such as this???
UPDATE: of course, judging by what President Obama said today at a Deeds for governor rally in Virginia, maybe he and the administration know exactly what they're doing, and intended to do it:
"I don't want the folks who created the mess do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking."

BASEBALL DIARY: another good day for the Tigers--a very solid start from rookie Rick Porcello, who won his 10th game, two hits from rookie Alex Avila (maybe he can give them some offense), and a win over Baltimore, 7-3. The Tigers won 3 of 4 in the series. They needed that...
And the Rangers finally won a game in Oakland, getting some home runs from Hank Blalock and Michael Young and another good pitching performance from Tommy Hunter. The Rangers won, 6-4. Now, on to Los Angeles to face the Angels...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

His poll numbers are definitely dropping--see Quinnipiac's latest poll:
"After 199 days in office, President Barack Obama has a 50 – 42 percent job approval rating from American voters, down from 57 – 33 percent July 2 to its lowest level since Inauguration Day, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Voters disapprove 49 – 45 percent of the way the President is handling the economy and disapprove 52 – 39 percent of the way he is handling health care, but approve 52 – 38 percent of the way he is handling foreign policy. Independent voters split 45 – 45 percent in their overall approval of President Obama, down from 52 – 37 percent in a July 2 poll by the independent Quinnipiac University. Republicans disapprove 77 – 16 percent, while Democrats approve 85 – 9 percent."
That's down around where Rasmussen's latest poll had him, at 49%.
I was thinking the other day that maybe Rasmussen's polls really needed to be questioned--their latest Obama polling seemed to have him at numbers much lower than other polls.
But now I'm not so sure...

BASEBALL DIARY: Tigers' fans will enjoy this big story in the Wall Street Journal today about pitching coach Rick Knapp, and his role in the Tigers' pitching success this year.
As for last night's game, good win last night for the Tigers, as they beat Baltimore 4-2; good pitching again by Edwin Jackson (but then, what else is new), and maybe Magglio Ordonez is coming around--he had a home run last night.
Elsewhere, the news wasn't so good. The Cubs looked flat and lost to Cincinnati, 4-0; journeyman pitcher Justin Lehr held them to only 4 hits.
Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers picked a bad time to struggle on the road; the Angels lost last night again, but so did the Rangers, falling 7-5 in Oakland. Vincente Padilla gave up far too many home runs to a light-hitting As squad...

Another one bites the dust:
"Former Representative William J. Jefferson was convicted Wednesday afternoon of using his office to try to enrich himself and relatives through a web of bribes and payoffs involving business ventures in Africa. A federal court jury in Alexandria, Va., deliberated for five days before finding Mr. Jefferson, 62, a New Orleans Democrat who served in Congress for 18 years until being defeated in 2008, guilty of 11 of 16 counts of bribery, racketeering and money laundering. He was acquitted of obstruction of justice and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal to bribe foreign government officials."
He's one of many Democrats with ethics problems. Republicans would be crazy not to make this an issue in the 2010 elections...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday's wash

"Those enjoying a Cowboys game from a luxury suite at the new stadium will have to shell out $90 for pizza and $66 for a 12-pack of domestic beer, reports Steven Sipple of the Lincoln Journal World."
Jerry Jones may think that people will shell out the big bucks no matter what hey charges for things. But I suspect he'll find otherwise.

The Democratic National Committee doesn't like the protests congressmen have faced concerning health care reform at town hall meetings lately. So what do they do?:
"Democrats are accusing Republicans of organizing "angry mobs" to disrupt town hall meetings across the country, but conservatives say the protests are a sign of the opposition to President Obama's health care plans. The Democratic National Committee released a Web video Wednesday charging that Republican operatives "have no plan for moving our country forward, so they've called out the mob."
Perfect. The Democrats have given Republicans a golden opportunity. The GOP should quickly put out an ad, pointing out that, apparently, if you're an average Joe in the middle class and you're uncomfortable with Democrats' health care plans, Democrats think you're nothing but a "mob." Republicans, of course, know better, and share your concerns.
The Democrats stepped in it here. Make 'em pay!!
UPDATE: and by the way, recent polls show conclusively that it's not just tiny "mobs" who oppose Democratic plans on health care:
"American voters, by a 55 – 35 percent margin, are more worried that Congress will spend too much money and add to the deficit than it will not act to overhaul the health care system, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. By a similar 57 – 37 percent margin, voters say health care reform should be dropped if it adds “significantly” to the deficit.By a 72 – 21 percent margin, voters do not believe that President Barack Obama will keep his promise to overhaul the health care system without adding to the deficit, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University national poll finds.American voters disapprove 52 – 39 percent of the way President Obama is handling health care, down from 46 – 42 percent approval July 1, with 60 – 34 percent disapproval from independent voters. Voters say 59 – 36 percent that Congress should not pass health care reform if only Democratic members support it."

But go ahead, Democrats, pretend everyone's on your side.

BASEBALL DIARY: a tough night for the Tigers last night--once again the inconsistent offense produces only 2 runs against the Orioles' mediocre (at best!) pitching staff, and Jarrod Washburn had a tough night in his Tiger debut, as the team loses 8-2. They need to win today, and thus win the series.
The Texas Rangers' offense continues to be inconsistent, too, as they lose last night to Oakland 6-0, and get only 5 hits off of the unheralded Gio Gonzalez. The Rangers need to turn this around, and quick.
But the Cubs continue to win, beating Cincinnati 6-3 behind Tom Gorzelanny, a recent pickup from the Pirates, and Kosuke Fukudome, who continues to hit. The Cubs are 14-5 in their last 19 games...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

CNN's Gloria Borger complains about all the "shouting" at health care forums attended by members of Congress recently:
"What about those folks who are actually interested in debating and discussing a very complex issue they're trying to digest? There are some who may actually want to figure out the best way to solve the health care problem."
Sigh. So typical. She's talking of course about a health care forum attended by Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter not long ago. You can get a link to a video of that meeting in Borger's piece. And yes, indeed, people got a bit angry and shouted at Sen. Specter during that forum.

Ms. Borger of course doesn't tell you why they shouted.
They shouted because Specter said we had to go real "fast" in doing health care reform.
And that's ridiculous. This is too big, too important, too crucial to our economy to rush. It's outrageous that persons like Specter and President Obama still want to push the idea that this must be rushed through. It deserves scorn. And maybe a little shouting, just to get the point across. (remember the Vietnam War era? Many of the liberals around now pleading for quiet were the antiwar advocates doing plenty of shouting back then...)

So National Review's editors show today. For example, the program is supposed to help us get rid of gas guzzlers on favor of more fuel-efficient cars. But...:
"Driving cars consumes energy, it is true, and producing that energy leads to pollution, as energy production always does. Cash for Clunkers subsidizes the switch from relatively fuel-inefficient cars to relatively fuel-efficient ones, but driving is not the only energy-consuming activity related to automobiles. Producing new cars takes a lot of energy, too. Manufacturing a new Toyota Prius, to take one example dear to the hearts of Obama-voting conspicuous green consumers from Seattle to Madison, uses the equivalent of burning about 1,000 gallons of gasoline. If Washington really wanted to encourage energy savings, it would subsidize the purchase of fuel-efficient used cars — as Wired magazine pointed out in a 2008 article (“Go Green: Buy a Used Car, It’s Better Than a Hybrid”), a 1994 Geo Metro gets mileage as good as the Prius’s without incurring the 13 million BTUs of energy necessary to build a new one. So it is far from clear that Cash for Clunkers will produce net environmental benefits."
As is so often the case, government intervention creates more problems than it solves...

Hah! Don't think so.
The latest polls show Republican gubernatorial candidates up big in BOTH Virginia AND New Jersey.

BASEBALL DIARY: big win for the Tigers last night, a 6-5 come-from-behind win over Baltimore. The Tigers rallied from a 5-0 deficit; the youngster Clete Thomas should gain confidence, as his walk-off homer won it in the bottom of the 9th; and Justin Verlander showed good toughness, giving up 5 runs in the first but then slowing down his pace and shutting Baltimore out for the next 8 innings. Maybe a win like this can get the Tigers on a roll. They're a thome for a few games, and Jarrod Washburn goes tonight.
And the Cubs are back in first place by a percentage point, thanks to Randy Wells and a 4-2 win over Cincinnati. Where indeed would the Cubs be without Wells--few had really heard of him before this year, he was kind of an emergency callup back in May, and now he's won 8 games.
But for one of the few times this year, the Texas Rangers' bullpen coughed up a lead, as C.J. Wilson gave up 3 in the 9th inning and the Rangers lost 3-2 to Oakland. Tough loss given whom the Rangers are chasing these days...

The New England Patriots no longer have Matt Cassel, and so must be absolutely desperate to find somebody, anybody, to be their backup quarterback. How do I know they're desperate? They just signed for Oakland Raider stiff Andrew Walter, who always struck me as better-suited to playing mannequin than QB.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday musings

They continue, even in the mainstream media:
"Some of President Barack Obama's health care numbers don't seem to add up. And that's complicating his efforts to pass his top domestic priority....Obama claims his health effort will not dig the nation deeper into debt and over time will help reduce deficits. He has vowed to not sign any health bill that raises deficits. But even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that none of the health plans pending on Capitol Hill would control long-term spending, and that ones with the elements Obama wants would add around $1 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years."
And that's from an AP report.
By the way, concerning health care reform, one blogger offered Democrats a good tip today:
"Tip for Dems: If you don't want people to think that subsidized, voluntary end-of-of-life counseling sessions are the camel's nose of an attempt to cut costs by limiting end-of-life care, then don't put them in a bill the overarching, stated purpose of which is to cut health care costs!"
Meanwhile Democrats will, apparently, fight back against their own and President Obama's plummeting poll numbers on health care by trashing the insurance industry.
Be ready.
And maybe a good point with which to respond is to point out the many examples these days of the problems with liberal governance, most of them happening in liberal, pro-Obama "blue" states--as Ross Douthat points out today:
"Consider Texas and California. In the Bush years, liberal polemicists turned the president’s home state — pious, lightly regulated, stingy with public services and mad for sprawl — into a symbol of everything that was barbaric about Republican America. Meanwhile, California, always liberalism’s favorite laboratory, was passing global-warming legislation, pouring billions into stem-cell research, and seemed to be negotiating its way toward universal health care.
But flash forward to the current recession, and suddenly Texas looks like a model citizen. The Lone Star kept growing well after the country had dipped into recession. Its unemployment rate and foreclosure rate are both well below the national average. It’s one of only six states that didn’t run budget deficits in 2009. Meanwhile, California, long a paradise for regulators and public-sector unions, has become a fiscal disaster area. And it isn’t the only dark blue basket case. Eight states had unemployment over 11 percent in June; seven went for Barack Obama last state capital after state capital, the downturn has highlighted the weaknesses of liberal governance — the zeal for unsustainable social spending, the preference for regulation over job creation, the heavy reliance for tax revenue on the volatile incomes of the upper upper class."

Note this, too:
"WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's treasury secretary on Sunday said he cannot rule out higher taxes to help tame an exploding budget deficit and his chief economic adviser would not dismiss raising them on middle-class Americans as part of a health care overhaul."

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers once again play poorly on the road and lose to Cleveland yesterday, 11-1. Again, they lose 2 of 3 (and to a last-place, depleted team, no less). Again, their road woes continue. The Tigers are only 7-18 on the road since June. It's got to change...
Meanwhile, the Cubs suffer a crushing loss--they blow a 2-1 lead in the 9th as closer Kevin Gregg gives up 2 solo HRs in the bottom half of the inning. At least Ryan Dempster pitched well. Can the Cubs rebound tonight against Cincinnati on the road? They'll need to...
But the Texas Rangers continue to hang right in there, as they again win 2 of 3 at home against Seattle--another series win--and win last night, 4-2. Scott Feldman, coming off one of his worst games of the season, had one of his best last night. The Rangers remain only 2 and 1/2 games out in the wild card race.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Some Saturday stuff

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers have just got to find a way to win some games on the road. They dropped another road game last night to Cleveland, 6-5 in 13 innings. Edwin Jackson for once didn't pitch that well; at least he didn't take the loss. Amazingly, the Tigers still lead their division despite losing 4 of 5.
But the Texas Rangers kept winning, beating Seattle 5-4. Vincente Padilla, who had a touch of the swine flu earlier this week, gave the club a quality start. Texas is now 15 games over the .500 mark, their best record at this point in the season since 1999.
But the Cubs lost, 5-2, mainly due to their hitters having used up a lot of their hits earlier this week (twice earlier the Cubs scored 12 runs) and Carlos Marmol out of the bullpen giving up 3 runs in the 8th. Marmol has walked 46 men in 50 innings pitched this year; that's way too many.

Reform is a messy business, lectures the Washington Post:
"The bill, a work in progress called H.R. 3200, is already phone-book thick. The latest amendments this week swamped Room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building, home turf of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Some 250 amendments had appeared by Wednesday night, and the number jumped to 350 by Thursday afternoon. The amendments filled 39 file boxes on chairs, under desks and in the aisles."
As thick as a phone book---and yet some folks wanted to rush this bill through before the August recess. Wow...