Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday's musings...


The Democrats' health care reform plans aren't doing too well with the American public:

"In the last two weeks, eight national polls have been released showing what the American people think of Obamacare. The results of those eight polls — Pew, ABC/WaPo, PPP, CNN, CBS, Quinnipiac, Fox, and Rasmussen — show that by an average margin of 8.5 percent (49.0 percent to 40.5 percent), more people oppose Obamacare than support it. That's greater than the margin by which John McCain lost last November. If you drop the high and low polls, the margin is greater still, as half of the eight polls show Obamacare facing a double-digit deficit. Back in June, four national polls — Rasmussen, NBC/WSJ, Democracy Corps, and CNN — showed what Americans thought of Obamacare then. By a margin of 4.3 percent (44.3 percent to 40 percent), they supported it. So the drop in support for Obamacare has been 12.8 percent in five months."

And there are many other good reasons for conservatives to feel encouraged, as well:
"Senate Democrats face deep divisions within their ranks as they begindebate Monday on President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, withthe recent all-hands-on-deck coalition frayed over abortion and theoption of government-run insurance. While majority Democrats will need 60 votes to finish, some in theparty say they'll jump ship from the bill without tighter restrictionson abortion coverage. Others say they'll go unless a government planto compete with private insurance companies gets tossed. Suchconcessions would enrage liberals, the party's heart and soul."

Hard to see how the Dems bridge that divide. On the other hand, theyall clearly feel enormous pressure to pass SOMETHING. Don't be surprised if party liberals are convinced to drop their demands in order to pass a smaller-potatoes bill.

Here's the most important question in my mind still unanswered in this whole matter:
"If [Woods' car accident] was a careless mistake, why not speak to state troopers trying
to wrap the investigation?"

Obviously he's trying to hide SOMETHING that he deems embarrassing and personal. Unfortunately, the 24-7 news cycle beast won't be satisfied until it finds out what that is.

Indy Colts 35, Houston 27--the Colts rally from 17 points down to win.
This team just continues to find a way. This game was about the defense making adjustments and fixing early mistakes; and Peyton Manning and the offense coming to life, as they inevitably always do. They stuck with it. They didn't panic. It sounds easier than it is.
But also...Packers 34, Lions 12 on Turkey Day. The Lions and their fans are reminded (again) of just how far the Lions have to go.

The University of Notre Dame fires head football coach Charlie Weis.

Well, they gave him 5 years--which is what they gave Gerry Faust, for example, before canning him. There was no point in letting him twist in the wind. The team hadn't shown improvement, especially the defense. Key questions: will Jimmy Clausen leave now, too? Will Golden Tate? If they do, ND will likely be in for a tough transition year next year, no matter who they hire to replace Weis. I seriously doubt that new hire will be Bob Stoops. Why should he leave the big-time, established program he already has a Oklahoma in order to enter a very difficult transition period, not to mention a pressure cooker, at ND? Somehow though I expect someone like Brian Kelly at Cincinnati would love a shot at the true big time: I see him as a more likely target for the Irish.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday's NFL picks

Delivered on a Sunday, for a change...
I hope everyone's been having a wonderful holiday weekend.
I only went 1-2 in my NFL picks on Turkey Day...
which leaves me at 79-80-2 for the year. Time to improve! (again!!).

ATLANTA 12 over Tampa Bay. PICK: FALCONS. Because the Bucs start a rookie QB; Atlanta can score; and they need this game to stay in the playoff hunt.

Pittsburgh pick 'em at BALTIMORE. PICK: RAVENS. Because it appears Roethlisberger won't play today.

CINCINNATI 13.5 over Cleveland. PICK: BENGALS. Because the only defense against which the Browns have scored much is Detroit's. Memo: Cincy's defense is a lot better.

Indianapolis 3 over HOUSTON. PICK: COLTS. They just always seem to find a way to beat Houston. Don't forget too that Houston is coming off a tough loss and a short week.

Miami 3.5 over BUFFALO. PICK: DOLPHINS. Two teams going in opposite directions.

MINNESOTA 11 over Chicago. PICK: VIKINGS. How many picks will Jay Cutler throw today?

NY JETS 3 over Carolina. PICK: PANTHERS. Again, two teams seemingly going in opposite directions. Carolina is taking care of the ball more effectively now; the Jets aren't.

PHILADELPHIA 9 over Washington. PICK: EAGLES. The Redskins just can't score. Philly can.

SAN DIEGO 13.5 over Kansas City. PICK: CHIEFS. The Chargers will win. But the Chiefs are improving, and something tells me that the Chargers will have a bit of a letdown today.

SAN FRANCISCO 3 over Jacksonville. PICK: 49ERS. Because even though the Jags have won some games lately, it's largely been at home and against teams on the downward spiral. Jacksonville is an inconsistent bunch; remember the 41-0 pasting they absorbed earlier this year at Seattle????

Seattle 4 over ST. LOUIS. PICK: RAMS. Just a feeling---I think St. Louis will catch Seattle napping.

TENNESSEE 2.5 over Arizona. PICK: CARDINALS. The Cardinals are road warriors this year. And Vince Young's magic carpet ride is about due to run out.

NEW ORLEANS 2 over New England. PICK: SAINTS. The Saints this year have passed every test so far. This is a big one. But I think Drew Brees will find ways to exploit the New England secondary.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday's wash

"In a hopeful sign for the economy, the number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell below 500,000 last week for the first time since January. Consumer spending picked up in October, new-home sales hit their highest point in more than a year and shoppers' outlook brightened a bit ahead of the crucial holiday shopping season."

That's good news, and conservatives should give thanks along with everyone else.

I wound up only 6-9 last week. Time to start the rebound!

DALLAS 13.5 over Oakland. PICK: RAIDERS. The Cowboys will win this game. But with Tony Romo banged up, Jason Witten likely out, and the Cowboys' offense in any case stumbling badly--witness last week's game vs the Redskins--I think 13 points will be very hard for them to cover.

Green Bay 10.5 over DETROIT. PICK: PACKERS. I'd love to pick the Lions. But it looks right now like both Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson won't play tomorrow due to injuries. That really hobbles this Lions' team--that and its leaky defense, which gave up over 300 yards passing to the inept offense of the Browns, for goodness' sake.

NY Giants 6.5 over DENVER. PICK: GIANTS. It looks like maybe the Giants righted the ship last week. Meanwhile, the Broncos remain in free-fall.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat from northern Indiana, voted for the House version of the health care reform bill recently--but he doesn't want to sound too excited about it:
"Rep. Joe Donnelly on Monday defended his vote in favor of passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, the House of Representatives' version of health care reform...."What my vote did was enable us to continue this discussion," Donnelly, D-Granger, said following an appearance at Sanctuary at St. Paul's, a retirement community on the city's south side."

Donnelly comes from a relatively conservative district; note that he defends the bills mainly as cost-reducers and deficit-cutters. And he expects and wants the final bill to be more conservative. This apparently is the only way conservative, Blue Dog Democrats can defend this stuff. It's a very defensive stance. They're on the run, folks. Stay on the attack, conservatives.

Liberal NY Times columnist Roger Cohen has a couple of criticisms of President Obama--and I don't think he's the only Obama supporter who holds them. For example, in general concerning Obama, Cohen writes:
"As an Obama admirer, I’m worried. He feels over-managed, over-scripted to me, to the point where he’s not showing the guts that prevailed at various difficult moments in the campaign....De-teleprompt the president for a few seconds!"

This sounds a little bit like what some progressives used to say about Ronald Reagan. At least Cohen's being consistent. In the same piece, concerning Afghanistan, Cohen notes:
"On Afghanistan, where an announcement is at last imminent on the troops the United States will commit to “the necessary war,” Obama has mixed messages with unhappy results. The clarity of March yielded to the cloudiness of fall and the long think has, in the words here of John McCain, “sounded an uncertain trumpet.” Peter MacKay, the Canadian defense minister, said the hesitation was “not helpful” because “everyone has hit the pause button until the U.S. decision.” I worry now that Obama’s quest for perfect calibration will yield a less than resounding fudge where the tenacious message of a troop increase is undermined by talk of exit timing. That’s not how you break the will of an enemy."

Wow. Sounds like what many conservatives have been saying. Obama should beware; criticism mounts upon him from many fronts.

Two polls came out today on the 2010 generic congressional vote. Rasmussen has the GOP up 7. Democracy Corps--which one would expect would want to present good news for Democrats--has the Dems up only 2.
The GOP and conservatives continue to have a real shot in 2010, and the polls show it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday's musings

NY Senator Chuck Schumer today:
"Failure is not an option on health care, a leading Democratic senator said Monday, even as Republicans turned up the heat on moderates who hold the fate of the legislation in their hands.
"We're not going to not pass a bill," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. With or without Republican support, Democrats will get it done, Schumer said, because a health care system that leaves nearly 50 million uninsured and spends more than any other is clearly broken."

But Schumer's not stupid. He knows how difficult it's going to be to broker a compromise between conservative and liberal Democrats.

So this tells you the following: failure is not an option, because Democrats will pass SOMETHING--anything--and call it "health care reform", even if it's relatively small potatoes.
And by the way, the longer this health care debate goes on, the more it seems to wear on President Obama's popularity. A new Gallup poll came out today--the president is down to only a 49% approval rating. Again, the more the public learns about Mr. Obama and his policies, the less they seem to like. Republicans and conservatives need to keep the attacks coming!

Remember how Democrats savaged Republicans in 2006 and in the years to come for supposed GOP failures on the "ethics" front? But now, there are a lot of Democrats in trouble, with one of the most prominent being Charles Rangel of New York, and conservatives need to pound away on him--and others on the left in 2010:
"Mr. Rangel has been under investigation by the House ethics committee since last year, when The New York Times reported that he rented four rent-stabilized apartments in Harlem for thousands of dollars per month below market value, despite a rule forbidding members to accept gifts worth more than $50. The ethics committee inquiry — also looking into whether he improperly used his office to raise money for an academic center named for him — later expanded to include unreported taxable income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic.
Last month, the ethics committee expanded its inquiry yet again after he amended his financial disclosure statements to account for hundreds of thousands of dollars in income and assets that he failed to initially report."

Once again, the Indianapolis Colts find a way to win--despite turnovers, penalties, etc the Colts make two big defensive stands in the 4th quarter and beat Baltimore, 17-15. You have to win these "grinder" kind of games. The Colts are.
Meanwhile, as for the Detroit Lions, you can't get too excited about their 38-37 win over Cleveland yesterday. Yes, it was surprisingly exciting and close, and hey, a win's a win. But the Lions remain 2-8 on the season. But what one CAN get excited about is the toughness and leadership shown by rookie Matthew Stafford on the final play of the game, being injured and on the bench but somehow eluding team doctors and throwing the winning TD pass on that play (and then wincing in pain afterwards). Maybe that's why the kid was the #1 pick...and deserved to be.

Not good news these days for the Detroit Pistons--they've now lost 5 in a row, including yesterday's loss to Phoenix, 117-91. Goes to show what happens in the NBA when you have a young team in transition, you lose some tough games (the Pistons lost their previous game in Utah in overtime), and you have to play 4 games in 6 nights on the road.

Meanwhile the Michigan State Spartans finally showed some real flash, blasting Valparaiso, 90-60. The Spartans have been ranked in the top 5 this year early, but so far haven't shown that kind of power. Yesterday was the first time they did; one notes they ran, using a fast-break offense. Let's see if Mr. Izzo continues that all season...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday's football picks (and other stuff)

Let's not even talk about how I did last week. This week will be better:

Boise State 23 over UTAH STATE. PICK: BOISE. That offense is rolling, and they still have a lot to play for.

CLEMSON 21 over Virginia. PICK: TIGERS. Clemson is rolling. Go with 'em.

IOWA 10 over Minnesota. PICK: GOLDEN GOPHERS. It's a rivalry game, and I sense Iowa having a letdown after a tough loss last week. Don't forget Iowa QB Stanzi again won't play.

MISSOURI 14 over Iowa State. PICK: TIGERS. Mizzou is getting hot at the right time. They had an impressive road win last week at K-State.

NEBRASKA 16.5 over Kansas State. PICK: K-STATE. Look, that Nebraska offense constantly struggles to score. This is too many points.

NOTRE DAME 6 over UConn. PICK: FIGHTING IRISH. ND can still score, and they'll be motivated to win their last home game.

Ohio State 12 over MICHIGAN. PICK: BUCKEYES. It's just hard to see that porous Michigan defense stopping anybody, much less Terrelle Pryor.

Oklahoma 6.5 over TEXAS TECH. PICK: RED RAIDERS. I sense Tech will play better at home. That offense remains more potent than Oklahoma's without Bradford.

Oregon 6 over ARIZONA. PICK: DUCKS. That Oregon offense is tough to stop. No one's done it for weeks.

Penn State 3 over MICHIGAN STATE. PICK: NITTANY LIONS. It's a big game for Michigan State. Which, more often than not, means they'll find a way to lose.

Purdue 3 over INDIANA. PICK: HOOSIERS. It's a rivalry game. IU has played well a number of times this season, but come up short. This time I suspect they'll find a way to win, against a Purdue team coming off a tough loss.

STANFORD 7 over California. PICK: CARDINAL. That Stanford offense is rolling. Ride 'em.

TCU 31 over WYOMING. PICK: HORNED FROGS. TCU is playing as well as anyone in the country right now.

TEXAS 27.5 over Kansas. PICK: LONGHORNS. Texas is rolling too. And Kansas is in turmoil, and on the road.

Wisconsin 7 over NORTHWESTERN. PICK: BADGERS. Wisconsin is hot; go with 'em.

I was 7-7-1 last week; I'm now 72-69-3 on the year.

Arizona 9 over ST. LOUIS. PICK: CARDINALS. They're unbeaten, and have played extremely well, on the road this year.

Cincinnati 9.5 over OAKLAND. PICK: BENGALS. That Raider offense is just horrible. I smell a shutout here.

DALLAS 11 over Washington. PICK: REDSKINS. I sense the Cowboys lost some mojo last week. And Jason Campbell and LaDell Betts picked up some steam. The Cowboys will win, but this is too many points.

San Diego pick'em at DENVER. PICK: CHARGERS. Two teams going in different directions. Philip Rivers and LT are picking up momentum. Kyle Orton is dinged up.

DETROIT 3.5 over Cleveland. PICK: LIONS. Is it possible to pick against both teams??? No? Well, the Lions have Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson still in there, and the Browns offense continues to look worse week by week.

GREEN BAY 6.5 over San Francisco. PICK: PACKERS. Look for that Packer defense to shut down San Fran's week offense in the frozen tundra of Lambeau.

Indianapolis 1 over BALTIMORE. PICK: COLTS. Because the Ravens, even with their win last week, are not playing well.

JACKSONVILLE 9 over Buffalo. PICK: JAGS. Buffalo's in turmoil. And the Jaguars--surprise!--are back in the playoff hunt and usually play effectively at home. David Garrard is now making plays.

MINNESOTA 10.5 over Seattle. PICK: VIKINGS. That defense will shut Seattle down. I'm surprised the point spread isn't higher.

NEW ENGLAND 10.5 over NY Jets. PICK: PATRIOTS. They certainly should have won last week; now they're mad.

New Orleans 10.5 over TAMPA BAY. PICK: BUCS. Not to win. But the Saints' level of play has dropped a bit in recent weeks; Reggie Bush is dinged up; and their secondary has injuries. Look for the Bucs to keep it close.

NY GIANTS 6.5 over Atlanta. PICK: GIANTS. They're rested up and healing up after their bye; and the Falcons have Michael Turner dinged up. Not good.

Philadelphia 3 over CHICAGO. PICK: EAGLES. Both teams have issues, and have injuries. I just think the Bears' offense is struggling so much that the Eagles will find a way to win this one behind McNabb's arm.

Pittsburgh 10 over KANSAS CITY. PICK: STEELERS. Kansas City still struggles to score so much that you can't see how they'll cover.

HOUSTON 4.5 over Tennessee. PICK: TEXANS. Vince Young and the Titans have had a nice run. But it's largely been against so-so or inferior teams. It'll end here against a Texans' team that needs a win and is rested after a bye.

In other news...

In polling news, not such good news for the Obama administration:
"Nearly two years into the recession, opinion about which political party is responsible for the severe economic downturn is shifting, according to a new national poll. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Friday morning indicates that 38 percent of the public blames Republicans for the country's current economic problems. In May, 53 percent blamed the GOP. According to the poll, 27 percent now blame the Democrats for the recession, up 6 points from May, and 27 percent now say both parties are responsible."

After a while, the party in power starts to own things.
Blaming Bush can't be the Obama administration's default position much longer.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

At least, that's what all of the Obama bunch's advocates and defenders have claimed for it the last couple of years--how smart Obama and all the people around him were. But you wouldn't know it these days. Consider:
How many jobs have you guys saved again?:
"The White House trumpeted job figures released last month, saying they proved the administration is on track to save or create 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year. But Earl Devaney, whose agency collected and released the data, said Thursday there are too many errors to know how many jobs have been created. Under questioning on Capitol Hill, he agreed the White House should have acknowledged the doubt surrounding the numbers."

Whoops. But then there are also all the problems to be found on the administration's website:
"Arizona's page, for example, showed the state's 52nd, 15th and 86th congressional districts received hundreds of thousands of dollars in stimulus money, according to CNN affiliate KNXV. However, no such districts exist in Arizona, which has only eight congressional districts. A report released Wednesday by the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity said it found such errors on pages for all 50 states, four territories and the District of Columbia. More than $6.4 billion in stimulus funds were shown as being spent -- and more than 28,420 jobs saved or created -- in 440 false districts, it said."

Read the whole thing. Note that the great champion of responsibility and accountability, Vice-President Biden, blamed everybody but the administration for what went wrong.

Meanwhile, the latest Rasmussen Poll on the generic congressional ballot for the 2010 election STILL shows Republicans leading.

And Public Policy Polling, in results out today, finds that only 40% of Americans support Obama's positions on health care reform; 52% are in opposition.

No good news for the president can be found in the latest Fox News Poll, either--there, his approval rating is down to 46%, a new low.

The Detroit Pistons are struggling. They've lost 3 in a row, 2 of them on a tough West Coast swing which still continues. The latest loss was to Portland, 87-81. Portland has a good team. But the Pistons' main problem is that they dig too deep of a hole for themselves early in games, and can't complete a comeback. Last night they trailed by 20. Late in the game the Pistons cut the lead to 1. Part of this lies in the fact that this remains a young team trying to learn to play together...
The other part of it is that the Pistons have now played something like 4 games in 6 nights. Why does the NBA have such killer schedules at times?
But the Dallas Mavericks are now 9-3, as they beat San Antonio last night in OT 99-94. Dirk Nowitzki scores 41 points, including 11 in OT. He's a leader. And the Mavs won despite having 3 starters out.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday's wash

Surprise, surprise--we're reminded again that when it comes to polling on this, how you ask the question matters, big time.

Most important is that, again, when the obvious negatives of single-payer, government-run health care insurance are pointed out to people, support for it drops significantly. This is yet another important reminder for Republicans and conservatives: stay on the attack!

Guantanamo won't be closing anytime soon:
"President Obama acknowledged for the first time on Wednesday that his administration would miss a self-imposed deadline to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by mid-January, admitting the difficulties of following through on one of his first pledges as president."

Oh, well--what else is new? He told us the stimulus bill would create hundreds of thousands of jobs by now, that if we passed that bill unemployment wouldn't rise, that we'd have a decision by now on Afghanistan, that we'd be out of Iraq, etc etc etc. None of those things have happened either.

This time it's Tom Friedman playing Henny Penny:
"...the world is getting crowded. According to the 2006 U.N. population report, “The world population will likely increase by 2.5 billion ... passing from the current 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion in 2050. This increase is equivalent to the total size of the world population in 1950, and it will be absorbed mostly by the less developed regions, whose population is projected to rise from 5.4 billion in 2007 to 7.9 billion in 2050.” The energy, climate, water and pollution implications of adding another 2.5 billion mouths to feed, clothe, house and transport will be staggering."

Really? Funny thing: we've heard this before, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Remember all the talk, the books, the articles, about a coming population "explosion", a population "bomb", that was going to mean a hugely crowded world, to starvation, to war? I do. None of it happened. I don't take UN reports as gospel or holy writ. Tom Friedman shouldn't, either.

Andy McCarthy of NRO has the best point on it--since when do these guys, who are not American citizens, who are foreign combatants--get "rights":
"What made the United States most vulnerable in the Nineties was our enemies' perception that they were at war and we were not. They gave us bombs, we gave them rights. That encouraged them to attack us more often and more audaciously — which is exactly what they did. If we are at war, and the Attorney General said this morning that we are, we have to treat it like a war. Pressed by Sen. Graham this morning, the AG could not name a single time when, during war, we captured an enemy combatant outside the U.S. and brought him into the United States for a civilian trial — vesting him with all the rights of an American citizen. That's because hasn't happened. That's not how you treat wartime enemies. Further, if we are going to have military commissions at all (and Holder says we will continue to have them), it makes no sense to transfer the worst war criminals to the civilian system. Doing so tells the enemy that they will get more rights if they mass-murder civilians."

We'll be following the Notre Dame women's basketball team here this year. This is a team with some prized freshman recruits on the team this year, everyone--literally everyone--back from last year, and they're ranked #4 in the nation to start off. ND won its first game, 102-57 over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. No surprise there. What I liked though, was how Coach Muffet McGraw got after this team for allowing its opponent 57 points, and for ND making too many turnovers. She's holding this bunch to really high standards, in other words--which is what she did with the 2001 team that won the national championship.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

And shows great deference to China's leaders, unwilling to challenge their lack of democracy and openness:
"Whether by White House design or Chinese insistence, President Obama has steered clear of public meetings with Chinese liberals, free press advocates and even ordinary Chinese during his first visit to China, showing deference to the Chinese leadership’s aversions to such interactions that is unusual for a visiting American president."

And what did it gain him? News reports today indicate there were no significant agreements achieved between Obama and Chinese leaders. Lesson: appeasing dictators, even in minor ways such as this, gets you...zilch.

Fred Barnes today nails it--why do Democrats want to pass an unpopular bill? Here's why:
"Democratic health care reform--Obamacare, that is--in either its House or Senate form is unpopular both in general and in most of its particulars. Not only that, it's become ever more unpopular as Obama has drawn more public attention to it. Yet the operating assumption of the president and congressional Democrats is that enacting Obamacare will increase their popularity and improve their prospects for reelection. Does this make sense? Will passing a widely disliked piece of legislation endear voters to those who passed it? Not on your life....The explanation for the seemingly illogical thinking of Obama and Democrats lies in the basic conceit of liberals: We know better. Sure, folks may like their current health care, but we'll give them a better, fairer, more reliable system that's good for them and the country. They'll grow to like it. And Obama and Democrats will get the credit and the boost in popularity that comes with it."

But if this legislation remains unpopular, the American people aren't stupid. They're not going to appreciate having legislation which the majority opposes rammed through Congress. Republicans and conservatives will have to keep reminding people just what it says about Democrats and Obama--that they rush to pass something the people don't want. So much for their faith in people.

Good news and bad news about the rapper who beat up his girlfriend:
"Given that his last romance ended with a sentence of six months of community labor and five years probation, it’s no surprise that singer Chris Brown hasn’t been lucky in love lately. Just don’t get the wrong idea. Any dating dry spell since Brown’s February attack on ex-girlfriend Rihanna is strictly due his choice to “chill,” rather than a lack of willing women. “My whole dating thing, I've been kind of chillin’,” Brown told MTV News. “I mean, I'm Chris Brown. I'm not saying it like that, but it's just, like, girls are going to be around. I love women. But I would say I've just been chillin'. I haven't really been trying to get into a relationship or trying to date anybody.”

The bad news is, he's probably right--he's a celeb, so no matter what he does, women will be "around." The good news is, he's not inflicting himself on anyone right now.

And who knows, maybe some day there will be enough awareness out there that more and more individuals will refuse to be abused.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday's musings

On the possibility of running in 2012, she says, on "Oprah":
"When asked about her plans for 2012, Palin said that a presidential run in two years is “not on my radar screen right now.” “I am dealing with so many issues that are important to me,” she said. “What I am seeing every day is that you don’t need a title to be important.”

Two things: 1] She's right. She's getting plenty of attention, and influencing the debate, right now. And 2012 might be too soon. I think she and the people around her know that 2016 might be better. By then, she'll be more seasoned, more experienced, and the political landscape might be much better. 2] It's no accident by the way that Palin did this "Oprah" interview. It fits right in with her book tour--bypassing the established, liberal media, and instead appearing in places and on shows where she'll find ordinary Americans to whom she can speak directly. I think it's going to work very well. And I think our liberal friends in the media are going to continue to be outraged by it. And their outrage is our joy.

It's the cost, Mr. Obama:
"Americans are worried about hidden costs in the fine print of health care overhaul legislation, an Associated Press poll says. That's creating new challenges for President Barack Obama as he tries to close the deal with a handful of Democratic doubters in the Senate. Although Americans share a conviction that major health care changes are needed, Democratic bills that extend coverage to the uninsured and try to hold down medical costs get no better than a lukewarm reception. The poll found that 43 percent oppose the health care plans being discussed in Congress, while 41 percent are in support. An additional 15 percent remain neutral or undecided.
"Well, for one, I know nobody wants to pay taxes for anybody else to go to the doctor — I don't," said Kate Kuhn, 20, of Acworth, Ga. "I don't want to pay for somebody to use my money that I could be using for myself."

You know Democrats in the House and Senate see these polls.
Don't be surprised if health care reform legislation gets pushed back to 2010.
All this is good news for Republicans and conservatives. Keep pounding away on cost, folks! We can win this debate and stop this costly, dangerous "reform."

Wow! Great rally by my Indianapolis Colts, coming from 17 points down to edge New England, 35-34. The Colts hung in. They never gave up. Obviously Peyton Manning was again a champion when it counted, and the defense made a big play when it had to. All those things are good. But...the Colts still have work to do. The run game's got to improve. The secondary is beat up by injuries, and you could see that in the way Tom Brady sliced and diced them for over 300 yards passing. The good news is that there remains time to fix things. And the Colts have a great shot at home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Meanwhile the Detroit Lions played hard, hung in gamely for a while against the Vikings (it was only a 17-10 game late in the 3rd quarter) but...really that was largely due to Vikings miscues. The Lions were outgained by over 200 yards and are clearly outclassed by the Vikings at most positions. It's a long, hard road for the Lions to improve...

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Detroit Pistons, in Detroit, 95-90 last night in a hard-fought game. Both teams can take away positives--once again the Mavs found a way to win on the road, and Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry led them. The Mavs are now 7-3--quite a different start than that of last year. The Pistons meanwhile hung in with a tough Western Conference squad despite Ben Gordon having an off game.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday's football picks

OK, this week it's time to really get going. Last week I was only 7-12; I'm now 64-68-1 for the year.

CINCINNATI 8.5 over West Virginia. PICK: BEARCATS. That Cincy offense will continue to roll. And I think this time the Bearcat defense will get a stop or two.

Alabama 12.5 over MISSISSIPPI STATE. PICK: BULLDOGS. I still don't trust the Crimson Tide offense to put up a lot of points; and Mississippi State played both Florida and LSU real tough.

BOISE STATE 32 over Idaho. PICK: BOISE. They put up lots of points at home.

Clemson 8 over NORTH CAROLINA STATE. PICK: TIGERS. That Clemson offense, with C.J. Spiller, is hot; ride 'em.

Florida 17 over SOUTH CAROLINA. PICK: GAMECOCKS. It's a road game, and again Florida's performance last week at home vs which the Gators were good, but less than awesome...and in which that offense was not-quite-at-high-octane levels...makes you think 17 points is just too much.

Georgia Tech 12.5 over DUKE. PICK: YELLOW JACKETS. Tech was a bit sub-par last week, but that offense should perform well here in a game the Jackets really need, and against a defense that isn't exactly rock-solid.

ILLINOIS 4.5 over Northwestern. PICK: FIGHTING ILLINI. They've won two straight, they're at home, they seem to have turned things around and gotten momentum. They're hot; ride 'em.

Michigan State 3 over PURDUE. PICK: BOILERMAKERS. I'm a bit mystified as to why State is such a favorite here. They're not a good road team, and Purdue's got some momentum. Purdue has warmed up; ride 'em.

OHIO STATE 17 over Iowa. PICK: HAWKEYES. I know, Ohio State is at home, looked real good last week, and Iowa lost their starting QB. But I just have a feeling--OSU has been inconsistent. And Iowa has a good defense.

OKLAHOMA STATE 4 over Texas Tech. PICK: RED RAIDERS. That offense can score, no matter who's at QB. The Raider defense is improving. And Okie State doesn't have Dez Bryant.

PITTSBURGH 7 over Notre Dame. PICK: PANTHERS. This would seem to be an easy pick. I'm not sure it is; I expect ND to play hard. They have little left to lose, and that offense can still score behind Jimmy Clausen and Michael Floyd. But...but...that ND defense just can't jet the job done. And Pitt can score, too.

PENN STATE 25 over Indiana. PICK: HOOSIERS. Has anyone noticed? Yes, Indiana's lost a number of games. But they've been close in many of them. Meanwhile, I expect the Nittany Lions to have a post-Buckeye hangover.

TCU 20 over Utah. PICK: UTES. TCU is an excellent. They will win this game. But Utah is a solid club, and I just think 20 points is too much.

USC 10.5 over Stanford. PICK: CARDINAL. The Trojans aren't quite as good as some thought earlier this year; Matt Barclay is still learning. And, news flash: Stanford showed last week that they're good.

WISCONSIN 8.5 over Michigan. PICK: BADGERS. I've stuck with Michigan quite often this season. Can't do it this week--that defense just can't stop people, at all, and Wisconsin will prove that yet again.

Again, last week a point here, a point there, literally a half-point in the Miami-New England game, kept me from a good mark. I wound up 5-8; I'm still 65-62-2 for the year. This week I'm due. Here goes:

ARIZONA 8.5 over Seattle. PICK: CARDINALS. They've been inconsistent at home and dominant on the road; but they're clearly the better team right now than is Seattle, and I think in a divisional game like this they'll show it.

Atlanta 1.5 over CAROLINA. PICK: FALCONS. The Falcons' run game with Michael Turner is rounding into shape, and just in time. Carolina consistently this year has made a lot of mistakes; that kills you in games like this.

Dallas 3 over GREEN BAY. PICK: COWBOYS. The Packers don't match up well with Dallas in a number of ways here, but especially up front. Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 37 times already this season. The Cowboys pass rush is improving game by game.

Denver 3.5 over WASHINGTON. PICK: BRONCOS. The Redskins' offense hasn't shown much sign yet of breaking out of its season-long slump, and now Clinton Portis is hurt. Look for Denver to win a low-scoring game.

INDIANAPOLIS 3 over New England. PICK: PATRIOTS. I think both these teams are very, very good; I just think the Colts' injuries on defense, especially in the secondary, will hurt them here.

MIAMI 10 over Tampa Bay. PICK: DOLPHINS. Yes, the Bucs finally won one last week--but it was largely due to Green Bay miscues. Don't look for the Dolphins to be nearly so generous.

MINNESOTA 17 over Detroit. PICK: VIKINGS. That Lions defense can't stop anyone; and Matthew Stafford will likely commit a few more turnovers, what with that fierce Minnesota pass rush.

New Orleans 13.5 over ST. LOUIS. PICK: SAINTS. Indianapolis put up 42 points a few weeks ago in St. Looey; look for New Orleans to roll up similar numbers.

NY JETS 7 over Jacksonville. PICK: JETS. It's hard to figure the Jags; they're 4-4, but at times this year have looked horrible. They're inconsistent, and haven't done well on the road. I look for them to struggle again at New York.

OAKLAND 1.5 over Kansas City. PICK: CHIEFS. So much turmoil in Oakland. KC should have beaten the Raiders a few weeks ago at home; I just have a feeling they'll find a way to finally do it here.

PITTSBURGH 7 over Cincinnati. PICK: STEELERS. Again, this was a harder pick than you might think. Cincinnati is much improved. But I have the feeling at the Steelers, with Polamalu back, Roethlisberger playing solidly, will play very well here.

SAN DIEGO 1.5 over Philadelphia. PICK: CHIEFS. I didn't get the sense last week that Philly's offense and McNabb were totally in sync. You have the feeling they're a bit beat up. The Chargers meanwhile are at home and playing better.

TENNESSEE 6.5 over Buffalo. PICK: TITANS. Hey, I didn't think he could do much of it; but sure enough, Vince Young gave Tennessee a spark. And now they're on a mini-roll; ride 'em, against a Buffalo team that just hasn't found its stride.

Baltimore 10.5 over CLEVELAND. PICK: RAVENS. Baltimore will need this game to get back in the playoff hunt. Brady Quinn will start for the Browns; well did that work for them earlier this season? Not well.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

It's still in danger--in Indiana, some Purdue University students try to take a university employee's job away (read: silence him) because he made an argument against homosexuality that they did not like.
What's remarkable is that the employee made his case on a personal blog, on his own time, and made it clear that it was his opinion, and no one else's. Yet these students want him fired, anyway. Imagine if Purdue fired an employee for writing an essay supporting gay Americans and their lifestyle...

Continued good news for Republicans in the Senate--in the latest poll, Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Dodd continues to trail his likely Republican challenger by 11 points.

It's worrisome--and I think Charles Krauthammer gets at just WHY it should be worrisome:
"If the president expresses all of this uncertainty and takes this long in agonizing, you got to wonder, is his heart in it? He has to make a speech after his decision to demonstrate that he really is committed to success in this, because all of this delay and these excuses about Afghan/Pakistani partners gives the impression of an administration that will be looking for an excuse of a certain point of withdrawing or pulling back."

The Detroit Pistons blasted Charlotte last night, 98-75. Newcomer Charlie Villanueva seems to be helping the Pistons--he had 30 points. The Pistons stand at 4-4 for the season.
But, how quickly things change--the Dallas Mavericks go back to their old ways last night, losing 92-83 in San Antonio despite the Spurs not having Duncan or Parker in the lineup.

Chicago EVEN at San Francisco. PICK: 49ERS. Both teams have problems; both teams are coming in on a downer; but the Niners are at home, and even they should be able to exploit the Bears' obvious defensive deficiencies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday's wash

She says today, concerning the future of the GOP:
""Hopefully a lesson can be learned and we can move forward and make the party stronger and understand that there are many voices that make a party but we can all agree around core principles," Scozzafava told CNN."

Right--and I guess she thought the way to make the party "stronger" was to, at the end of the late NY-23 race, endorse the Democratic candidate and thus help him defeat the candidate for whom, in the end, the overwhelming majority of Republicans in her district voted.
Ms. Scozzafava's 15 minutes of fame are about up. Anonymity awaits her. It's where she belongs.

Wow--more validation for Rasmussen and more good news for Republicans, from a mainstream, respected polling organization:
"Republicans have moved ahead of Democrats by 48% to 44% among registered voters in the latest update on Gallup's generic congressional ballot for the 2010 House elections, after trailing by six points in July and two points last month."

Read the whole thing--the key is independents, who now favor Republicans in this poll by 20 points. Of course, for 2010, another key will be turnout. But you have the sense Republican voters are getting energized...

The Dallas Mavericks are now 5-2 on the season, as they beat Houston last night, racking up over 120 points for the 2nd straight game. What's impressive is that the Mavs had 5 players score in double figures, and played enough defense in the second half to go on a big run. Can the Mavs be a true contender in the Western conference this year?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

Today we learn more about Major Hasan's views:
"The suspect in last week's deadly shooting spree at Fort Hood urged in 2007 that Muslims in the U.S. Army be allowed to claim "conscientious objector" status as the United States fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. "It's getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims," Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan said, according to a slideshow that the newspaper said Hasan used in the June 2007 presentation."

Well--it seems clear to me that someone with those kind of views, given the war we are in (and note that carefully) in Iraq and Afghanistan, should not be a major in our army, probably shouldn't be an officer in our army, and certainly shouldn't be stationed at a place like Fort Hood. The military failed to act on what they knew about Hasan. We must make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

Look what the president said earlier in his term:
"Experts agree that if nothing is done, the unemployment rate could reach double digits," Obama said in his weekly address on Jan. 24, urging Congress to quickly pass a proposed $1 trillion stimulus bill. The nightmare "double digit" scenario became Obama's mantra. "If we don't act immediately ... the national unemployment rate will approach double digits," he said in early February at a town hall in Florida. "Approach double digits," he repeated at a speech in Indiana. "Double digits," he wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post."

Guess what--we acted immediately, and unemployment has hit double digits. Look for Republicans to point this out, assuming the unemployment numbers stay this way, more than a few times between now and November 2010.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday musings

The Indianapolis Colts win (barely) over Houston, 20-17. The Colts are far from perfect, though their record is, and they have a lot of injuries and things to correct. But: for a second straight week, they had to grind it out. Championship teams do that.
But they've got to get some people healthy, and run the ball better.
As for the Detroit Lions, well, they're still very young and not very good, blowing a 17-0 lead at Seattle and losing 32-20, with Matthew Stafford throwing 5 interceptions. I think this quote from Seattle wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh sums up a lot of what goes on in games like this involving the Lions:
""They weren't very good last year, and I think that played a role in having the confidence that we had....We can't spot teams that have better records those type of leads, because I don't now if the confidence would be there, where guys know we're going to come back and win. But I felt when we were down 17-0, we were still going to win the game. That's how I honestly felt on the sideline."

And the Lions knew they could well still lose. And they did.

"The White House and military officials are leaning toward sending more than 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, U.S. officials told Fox News on Monday. Officials said President Obama will not announce his decision until after he returns from his upcoming trip to Asia and stressed that no final decision has been made, even in private. But the plan under serious consideration would split the difference between troop requests made by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. McChrystal had put forward a "high risk" request for only 10,000-15,000 troops, and a "medium risk" request of 40,000-45,000."

Obama had better be careful. Yes, politically a decision like the above might play well. It might seem sensible, mainstream, etc etc etc. But this war isn't about politics. It's about winning. And if much of what Obama's trying to do is simply split differences and look "moderate", then he might find himself getting deeper into Afghanistan but without a plan to win there. That's what Lyndon Johnson wound up with in Vietnam. That didn't work out too well for him.

Was the killer who shot all those people driven to his act by the"stress" of his deployment? John Podhoretz sets this straight:
"Obviously, there are a great many people in the military who wouldrather not be deployed to a war zone; for whom such deployments causestress; and who may indeed be philosophically opposed to the fightthey are obliged as a matter of law and duty to wage. Let’s say, justfor the sake of argument, that there are 10,000 such people. Only onehas actually taken a machine gun and mowed down his fellow soldiers.The argument that Nadal Hasan was somehow sent round the bend by hisorders is not only bizarre but also deeply and profoundly insulting tothose in the military who live with all the same pressures and do goodrather than evil."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday's football picks (and other stuff)

First, the other stuff...
It sure appears that what we have here is yet another shooting done by a Muslim extremist:
"Soldiers who witnessed the shooting rampage at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead reported that the gunman shouted "Allahu Akbar!" — an Arabic phrase for "God is great!" — before opening fire, the base commander said Friday."

Read the whole thing. We also learn that he posted on radical Islamist sites, praising suicide bombers. I've heard elsewhere from good sources that the shooter's "problems" with patients in Walter Reed Hospital had to do with the fact that he tried to convert them to Islam.
The real question is why this guy had any responsible position at all in the U.S. military.

So in polls examining the state of the generic congressional ballot, what we see right now is Democrats with a lead...but not a huge one. Ipsos/McClatchy has Dems up 7; CNN has them up 6; but Rasmussen has Republicans up 4.
You have to question the Rasmussen result a bit; it seems so out of line with other polling results, and Rasmussen does much of its polling through robocalls. But, consider this: Rasmussen called the Christie/Corzine race in New Jersey pretty much on the button in its last polling result. Many other polls didn't.
So it seems to me Democrats have only a narrow lead. That's good news for Republicans and conservatives--there's still plenty of time before November 2010 to narrow the gap, and it means the gap between the GOP and Democrats has significantly narrowed since 2008. It's gonna be interesting...

I was only 5-10 last week; I'm 57-56-1 for the year.

Boise State 21 over LOUISIANA TECH. PICK: LA TECH. It's a road game; La Tech will be fired up; Boise's a long way from home. I expect they'll win, but by less than 3 TDs.

ALABAMA 7.5 over LSU. PICK: CRIMSON TIDE. The Tigers haven't done too well this season on the road or against good teams. Here they face both. And that 'Bama offense has to break out some time...

CINCINNATI 17 over UConn. PICK: BEARCATS. I doubt the Huskies' defense can contain Cincy; and look for the Bearcats to make a big play on special teams, too (teams have run back kicks for TDs in each of the last two games against UConn).

CLEMSON 8.5 over Florida State. PICK: TIGERS. They're hot, and at home. FSU's defense has more holes in it than swiss cheese.

FLORIDA 35 over Vanderbilt. PICK: GATORS. It's a lot of points, but Vandy gave up over 50 last week, and one senses that Florida and Tim Tebow are getting in a groove.

GEORGIA TECH 16 over Wake Forest. PICK: YELLOW JACKETS. Tech is hot; ride 'em.

IOWA 16 over Northwestern. PICK: WILDCATS. Not to win, but to keep it close. And as we've seen, Iowa has a way of keeping its opponents in the game.

MICHIGAN 6 over Purdue. PICK: WOLVERINES. I'm going to keep picking Michigan until they get it right. This week, they have the perfect opponent to do so.

MICHIGAN STATE 20.5 over Western Michigan. PICK: BRONCOS. Michigan State should win this in the end, but they too do a lot to keep their opponents in the game.

MINNESOTA 7 over Illinois. PICK: GOLDEN GOPHERS. I doubt Illinois will sustain their momentum; and Minnesota gained some last week.

NOTRE DAME 11 over Navy. PICK: MIDSHIPMEN. That triple option always gives the Irish trouble; and Ricky Dobbs is back this week to run it.

Oklahoma 5.5 over NEBRASKA. PICK: SOONERS. That Sooner defense will shut another opponent down.

Oregon 7 over STANFORD. PICK: DUCKS. Stanford is better than they were last year, and they're at home. They're the sexy upset pick this week. But it won't happen--that Oregon offense is humming.

PENN STATE 3.5 over Ohio State. PICK: NITTANY LIONS. If Purdue's defense can cause Terrelle Pryor problems, just wait til he sees the Penn State D.

PITTSBURGH 21.5 over Syracuse. PICK: PANTHERS. Bill Stull is a fine QB, and that offense is rolling. Again, they're hot; ride 'em.

TCU 24.5 over San Diego State. PICK: HORNED FROGS. They're hot, and they know what's at stake. Coach Gary Patterson makes sure of it. They won't slip up here.

TEXAS 36 over Central Florida. PICK: LONGHORNS. That's a lot of points, but with Texas evidently jelling in the last few weeks, they can cover.

USC 10 over ARIZONA STATE. PICK: TROJANS. They'll bounce back.

Wisconsin 10.5 over INDIANA. PICK: BADGERS. You have to think the Hoosiers will be down after blowing yet another lead last week. Meanwhile, Wisconsin will use their power football to get it done.

I was only 6-7 last week; again, I was only 3 or 4 points from being way over .500 for the week. Argh! But I'm still 60-54-2 for the season.

ATLANTA 10 over Washington. PICK: FALCONS. It's a lot of points, but the Redskin offense is putrid. Atlanta can cover.

Baltimore 3 over CINCINNATI. PICK: BENGALS. I know, a lot of folks still don't believe in the Bengals. But--they beat the Ravens on the road, and the Steelers at home, and they're coming off a bye week after a very effective performance against the Bears. I guess I'm a Bengal believer.

CHICAGO 3 over Arizona. PICK: CARDINALS. I know; the Cardinals lost last week, and the Bears won. So the Cardinals, as is their Jekyll/Hyde habit, are due for a good performance, and don't forget they have a lot of good players at the skill positions. And I'm not yet a believer in Jay Cutler and the Bears.

Green Bay 9.5 over TAMPA BAY. PICK: PACKERS. The Packers will start Aaron Rodgers; the Bucs, rookie Josh Freeman. "Nuff said.

INDIANAPOLIS 9 over Houston. PICK: TEXANS. I suspect Indy will find a way to win this game late. But I'm concerned about the Colts' injuries on defense, and Houston offensively is red hot.

JACKSONVILLE 6.5 over Kansas City. PICK: JAGUARS. Both teams have had plenty of troubles. But the Jags seem to at times play capably at home; and the Chiefs' offense is just horrid.

NEW ENGLAND 10.5 over Miami. PICK: PATRIOTS. Miami was fortunate to win last week, largely riding Ted Ginn's kickoff returns. That won't happen against the Patriots in Foxboro, and there's plenty of evidence Tom Brady and co. are returning to form.

NEW ORLEANS 13.5 over Carolina. PICK: SAINTS. Who's gonna stop these Saints, especially this offense?

NY GIANTS 4.5 over San Diego. PICK: GIANTS. They're getting a bit more healthy, and they're at home. Against good QBs, San Diego's defense has gotten exposed this season. Look for that to happen again here.

PHILADELPHIA 3 over Dallas. PICK: EAGLES. Look for the Eagles' blitzes to pressure Tony Romo, and for the Eagle corners to take away Miles Austin. The Cowboys have improved; this game won't be a blowout. But I think the Eagles will win by, say, 7.

SAN FRANCISCO 4 over Tennessee. PICK: 49ERS. Yes, Vince Young gave the Titans a spark last week. But the 49ers played some tough, good football both against the Texans and the Colts on the road. They too have gotten a spark--from Alex Smith. I look for them to win this one by a TD or so.

SEATTLE 10 over Detroit. PICK: LIONS. I know; a shocker after the Lions' bad loss at home to the Rams. But the Lions actually are much the healthier team here, especially with big-time receiver Calvin Johnson returning. With him and with Stafford shaking off some rust, the Lions can keep this game closer than 10.

Pittsburgh 3 over DENVER. [PICK: STEELERS. I don't look for this to be a blowout, but I sense Denver coming back to earth, and you've got to like Ben Roethlisberger over Kyle Orton.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

The usual eyebrows are raised over Palin's upcoming book tour:
"According to Harper Collins, the publisher of Palin's forthcoming memoir "Going Rogue," Palin will bypass several of the major cities that are often the pillars of any big book tour, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. Palin's schedule instead takes the former Republican vice presidential candidate to smaller - and in many cases more conservative - cities like Fort Wayne, Indiana, Washington, Pennsylvania, Roanoke, Virginia, and Jacksonville, Florida."

Yes, how dare Ms. Palin bypass the Valhallas of the liberal establishment media. How dare she visit places and people with whom she has things in common, and who obviously share a connection with her??? The truth is, this is exactly what Palin should do--because this is exactly what she is about. Going to New York or LA is what Maureen Dowd or Nancy Pelosi would do. But Sarah ain't no Mo or Nancy--thank goodness.

The Detroit Pistons' defensive deficiencies show themselves last night, as they give up 44 points in the second quarter, rally, but run out of gas at the end, falling to Toronto 110-99.
Meanwhile the Dallas Mavericks, despite Dirk not having a good game and fouling out late, still played a nice game and were in great position to win late...but missed 4 of 5 free throws in the last 13 seconds and let the game get away. A real shame.

I see Washington Redskins' defensive coordinator Greg Blache today roared out a defense of owner Dan Snyder, claiming basically that Snyder is too a caring guy and that he really wants to win.
Well, actually, I'm sure he does want to win. But one of the main criticisms of Snyder is that, although he really doesn't know football that well or how to run an organization, he tries to direct the Redskins anyway. Guess what--nothing in what Blache said addressed that argument. I'm not surprised.

Interesting news today on the American peoples' assessment of Obama's policies:
"A majority of Americans now see President Barack Obama as governing from the left. Specifically, 54% say his policies as president have been mostly liberal while 34% call them mostly moderate. This contrasts with public expectations right after Obama's election a year ago, when as many expected him to be moderate as to be liberal."

And that's important because I remain convinced that a decent chunk of Obama voters last year wanted and expected him to govern as a moderate centrist; and that they don't want and stoutly oppose governance from the left.
Moderate Democrats are worried:
"Democrats on Capitol Hill began a nervous debate Wednesday about the course President Obama has set for their party, with some questioning whether they should emphasize job creation over some of the more ambitious items on the president's agenda....moderate and conservative Democrats took a clear signal from Tuesday's voting, warning that the results prove that independent voters are wary of Obama's far-reaching proposals and mounting spending, as well as the growing federal debt."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday's wash

Yesterday was a good day for Republicans, though it was too bad about NY 23. Still, a good day; this grudging analysis from the AP is instructive:
"Lessons from the off-year elections: The president's influence is limited, independents rule, incumbents beware, issues trump ideology and, once more, "It's the economy, stupid."
Also: Republicans can win — even if they lack a leader and their base is cracked. And this certainly isn't the Democratic-friendly political environment of 2006 and 2008 when the party captured control of Congress and the White House."

Yes, Republicans can win--even though we at the AP still can't keep ourselves from trying to suggest they can't!
And by the way, who says social issues are always losers for conservatives and Republicans? They should check out Maine.
NR's editors had a good summary of what the elections last night proved, too:
"Democrats are taking solace in the banal truth that these elections were not solely referenda on President Obama. The Democratic candidate in Virginia ran a pathetic campaign, and the Democratic governor of New Jersey was a failure. The elections nonetheless offered proof (not that any should have been needed) that Obama cannot transfer his popularity to his allies. They showed that the powerful negative reaction to President Bush may have run its course. And they suggested that important aspects of Obama’s agenda are encountering formidable resistance, not only from the core supporters of the Republican party but also from independent voters. We would not blame the president if he took up smoking again."

And if the anti-Bush reaction has indeed run its course, then the Obama White House will only hurt itself with its endless reliance upon that mantra...
Meanwhile the Obama team continues to try to spin the results:
"The White House distanced itself Wednesday from Democratic losses in two states, saying the races for governor hinged on local issues and were not a referendum on President Barack Obama....White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that voters in both states went to the polls to work through "very local issues that didn't involve the president."

Oh--so THAT'S why Obama went several time to New Jersey, to campaign for Governor Corzine...and THAT'S why the national Democratic Party pumped in millions of dollars to both the Virginia and New Jersey races. Because the races didn't concern or have anything to do with Obama at all. Got it!

Once again, in the midst of complaining about all the hate, rancor, and "calumny" supposedly evident in the work of Rush Limbaugh and the Right in general, she then very personally and with much evident hate and rancor attacks...Rush Limbaugh and the Right. (She even attacks Limbaugh for his past addiction to Oxycontin, which he's admitted to and beaten.)
The problem with Ms. Dowd, of course, is that she has no idea just how hypocritical she's being and, even if she did, she probably wouldn't see anything wrong with it.

I didn't even have time the other day to talk about the Indianapolis Colts, who this past Sunday had to grind out an 18-14 victory over San Francisco. There was concern over the closeness of the win in Indy, over how the 49er defense broke up the Colts' offensive rhythm, over how Peyton Manning wasn't as sharp as he had been, and over the tough schedule now awaiting the team. But I'm with those who go this direction: that you're not going to be exceptionally sharp every week, that opposing teams are going to give you their best effort, and so you're going to have to win grinders and winning-ugly kind of games. Indy did that last week. That's a good sign. Championship teams do it.
But make no mistake, this weekend's game against Houston, which has won 3 in a row and boasts Matt Schaub, Steve Slaton and Andre Johnson, will be a tough one.

The Detroit Pistons this year are a new-look bunch--smaller, faster, more offensive-minded, but maybe questionable defensively. And right now they're beat up. But they found a way to beat Orlando last night, 85-80, and played defense while doing it. A good sign, maybe. They're 2-2 so far on the season.
Meanwhile the Dallas Mavericks are now 3-1 on the season and have won 3 in a row, beating Utah 96-85 last night. The star of the game? Easy--Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 the
fourth quarter, sparking a Mavs comeback from 16 down. That's what a true superstar does...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

And note that some in the Obama administration are already spinning possible defeats:
"The results of these elections tend to be overread," former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said Tuesday on NBC's "Today." "These are local races. There's 18,000 lifetimes between now and next November."

That kind of spin, so early in the day, could be good news for Republicans.
And here's some more weak Obama administration spin:
"We don't look at either of these gubernatorial races or the congressional race as something that portends a lot for our legislative efforts going forward or political prospects in 2010," [Obama press secretary Robert] Gibbs said during Tuesday's press briefing."

Of course you don't--when your guys are likely to lose.

That, again, it could be a good day for Republicans today--in both New Jersey and NY23:
[In New Jersey] Some Democrats said they were concerned that an early surge of support for a third-party candidate, Christopher J. Daggett, which appeared to come at the expense of Mr. Christie, is now fading as anti-Corzine voters settle on Mr. Christie...Most polls suggest that Democrats will lose the upstate New York House race and the Virginia governor’s seat..."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday musings

Apparently the North Koreans didn't get the "hope and change" memo:
" North Korea issued a veiled threat Monday to increase its nuclear arsenal if U.S. officials do not quickly agree to the one-on-one talks that the communist regime is demanding.
The regime's impatience came days after No. 2 nuclear negotiator Ri Gun came away from meetings with Washington envoy Sung Kim without an agreement to hold bilateral talks."

The Vice President badly misrepresents the situation, as always:
"Vice President Joe Biden challenged Republican voters in New York's 23rd congressional district to teach conservative "absolutists" a lesson in the special House election Tuesday by voting for the Democratic candidate in the race. "We aren't asking you to switch your party," Biden said at a rally for Democrat Bill Owens in Watertown, New York Monday morning. "We are just saying join us in teaching a lesson to those absolutists who say no dissent is permitted within your own party." The comments come a day after Republican Dede Scozzafava, who withdrew from the race Saturday amid heavy pressure from conservatives - endorsed Owens. Many high-profile Republicans, including Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and Dick Armey, have already thrown their own support behind third-party conservative candidate Doug Hoffman."

No, Mr. Vice-President. But let's straighten this out once and for all. Many conservatives and other Republicans did indeed decide Ms. Scozzafava wasn't for us. Not because we oppose "dissent" within the party. But, rather, because Scozzafava was SO liberal on abortion, taxes, and other issues that she wasn't simply a "moderate" Republican--she was a Democrat in Republican clothing. Fundamental: nobody should support someone, anyone, merely because they wear a party label.

And now Scozzafava showed her true colors by endorsing the Democratic candidate.
By the way, polls now show the conservative candidate leading this race. So much for him being a "fringe" candidate, or for the notion that radicals have taken over the GOP.
The latest polls out today show Hoffman clearly in the lead.
They also show McDonnell winning handily in Virginia, and Christie with a very good shot in New Jersey.
It could be a very good day for Republicans tomorrow.
By the way, NR's editors have it exactly right on the meaning of NY 23--there's a populist revolt out there, from which Republicans and conservatives can benefit:
"The growing revolt against Washington is an enormous opportunity forthe GOP. Republicans must continue to resist Obama’s statistgigantism, and align themselves with the rising common sense that sayswe can’t spend our way to prosperity and treat ourselves to (supposed)free lunch after free lunch. And, in their positive program, theyshould take a cue from figures such as Virginia’s Bob McDonnell,Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, who have shownthat a fundamentally conservative program can appeal tonon-ideological voters when it is focused on tangible quality-of-lifeissues and presented with good cheer."

You wouldn't think the Detroit Lions could be embarrassing anymore. But they can--losing, 17-10, at home to the worst team in football will do that for you.

“I don’t think he should keep hiding behind the fact that he inheritedall these problems.”

Read the whole thing--the Iowa voter quoted above isn't the only one.