Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday's fish fry

...and this will be the final one of the year: San Antonio 97, Dallas 87--the Mavs are out. I think what did them in was: 1] consistently getting off to slow starts in games in this series. Game 6 last night was the best example, when they scored only 8 points in the first quarter. But they did that several other times. Teams have to come out with energy; they can't put themselves in a hole. 2] I don't think the Mavs' defense was ever quite what they needed it to be all season. 3] San Antonio was better than people gave them credit for, and was playing well at the end of the season. 4] San Antonio's George Hill, relatively unknown before this series, became the X factor. He had 29 points in game 4, and 21 points in game 6. It's going to be a long off-season for Dallas...

Detroit 3, Minnesota 0: a series win for the Tigers over the Twins; very nice, and kind of a rare thing. Biggest stat for the Tigers: Dontrelle Willis gets the win, pitches 6 innings plus, allows no runs. Huge. If he can be a factor, so can the Tigers. It helped too, however, that the Twins did not start either Mauer or Morneau in this game...
White Sox 7, Rangers 5: the key in this game was the 7th inning, when walks, errors, and wild pitches turned a 3-1 Rangers lead into a 5-3 deficit. The Rangers had a chance to sweep the series. It's disappointing that it got away. Ian Kinsler rejoins the team this weekend. He needs to provide a spark...

So in Florida, Charlie Crist will indeed run for the Senate now as an independent. Er, why, exactly is he running? He has no coherent explanation:
"Employing a bizarre logic that would suggest he doesn't understand the nature of either primary elections or the two-party architecture from which he has benefited immensely over his career, Crist said that whether he wins or loses should be decided by the whole of the Florida electorate. "It's not one club's decision or another — or even a club within that club. . . .That's why we go straight to November."

Funny--he never seemed to have a problem with Republican primary elections before this. Marco Rubio has it exactly right:
"That’s not what this is about at all," Rubio told ABC News's Terry Moran in an interview that will air tonight. "In fact, this has nothing to do with ideas or principles or ideology; it's about, quite frankly, political convenience. It's about someone who wants to continue his career in politics and doesn't believe he can do that this year within the Republican party."

And this is what conservatives must hammer on here--Crist is doing this for no good reason of policy or principle. He simply wants higher office. It's all about his own ambition. I think the people of Florida will reject his unprincipled actions...

In polling news, Republicans continue to look good with Mike Castle in the Delaware Senate race... the Illinois Senate race with Mark Giannoulias...

...and probably in Indiana, where Dan Coats appears to have a solid lead over the likely Democratic senate candidate, Brad Ellsworth. This would be to replace the retiring Democrat Evan Bayh.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday's throwdowns

Tigers 11, Twins 6: an important win against a good team. Key stat: just that Detroit scored 11 runs. So far, offensively, they've done fairly well.
Rangers 6, White Sox 5: the Rangers have now won 4 of 6. Key stats: a long home run for Josh Hamilton. He's starting to hit. Ranger starter Rich Harden was a bit wild still, but made it through 6 innings. Despite all the Rangers' injuries (Ian Kinsler out, Nelson Cruz out), the team hangs in.

More bad news for our friends on the left. They claimed ObamaCare would become popular once the bill passed. It hasn't happened. On Arizona's immigration bill, they've roared that it's an example of Nazism and fascism. Once again, the American people don't agree--a Gallup Poll says 51% of Americans support it, only 39% opposed.

In other polling news, in Nevada, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid's senate campaign is still going nowhere---polls show him stuck at around 40% and trailing every likely challenger by around 10 points.

Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas remains in similar hot water.

Polls on the Republican primary in Arizona's senatorial election are all over the place. One poll has John McCain up over J.D. Hayworth by 26 points. Another has him only up by 11. McCain certainly can't rest easy yet. But I'd still make him a clear favorite in that one.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday's wash

Twins 2, Tigers 0: a lot was made of Detroit's shoddy defense last night; a couple of errors led to Minnesota's two runs. But the key last night was Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano, who pitched a masterpiece and shut the Tigers down. The good news for the Tigers: Justin Verlander pitched well. Right now the Twins look unbeatable in the Central division.
Rangers 4, White Sox 2: the big story here is Ranger starter C.J. Wilson. A reliever the last several years, last year the set-up man for closer Frankie Francisco, Wilson is now a starter, pitched well last night, and has a 1.75 ERA so far this year. The Rangers need all the starters they can get...

Dallas 103, San Antonio 81: the key stat for the game was this--Caron Butler had 35 points. Dirk Nowitzki had just 15, but that's OK; the Mavs can't rely on only one player. If Butler and others are scoring, then the Spurs' relentless double-teaming of Dirk won't be effective. The Mavs need to come with the same drive and energy tomorrow night in San Antonio that they displayed last night...

POLITICS UPDATE DEPT: ABC News/Washington Post comes out today with a poll that, on the generic congressional ballot question, would seem to present some bad news for Republicans, showing the Democrats with a 5 point, 48-43 lead there.

That's strange, and very incconsistent with the findings of other recent generic ballot polls. What gives? Ah, but I think Jim Geraghty over at NRO has it figured out:
"The poll’s partisan split comes out 34 percent Democrat, 23 percent Republican, 38 percent independent. The CNN exit poll on Election Day 2008 put the split at 39 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 29 percent independent. Is the partisan split on Election Day 2010 really going to be more favorable to the Democrats than 2008 was?"

Answer: no. In other words, Republicans are very under-represented in this poll, hence its skewed results. But we'll keep watching the polling on this question and see if anything backs up the Post/ABC findings...

Meanwhile, in the Arizona governor's race, there's no sign the new immigration law there is unpopular; incumbent Governor Jan Brewer, who just signed the bill and was shown trailing in the polls before that, has now, according to Rasmussen, shot out to an 8 point lead in the race.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday's trackings

Tigers 8, Rangers 6: the Tigers conclude a 5-6 road trip with a win, and a split of their series in Texas. Best stats of the night for the Tigers: Jeremy Bonderman's quality start, along with Brandon Inge hitting the ball hard, very hard, every time up (including two home runs). Maybe his slump is over. The Rangers have to be worried about Neftali Perez's abilities as a closer.

Still much huffing and puffing about the new Arizona immigration law. Critics (the same critics who scream and yell about Tea Party protesters being too loud, extreme, and intemperate) now scream and yell that the law is Nazi, fascist, etc. George Will today sets them straight:
"It is passing strange for federal officials, including the president, to accuse Arizona of irresponsibility while the federal government is refusing to fulfill its responsibility to control the nation's borders. Such control is an essential attribute of national sovereignty. America is the only developed nation that has a 2,000-mile border with a developing nation, and the government's refusal to control that border is why there are an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona and why the nation, sensibly insisting on first things first, resists "comprehensive" immigration reform. Arizona's law makes what is already a federal offense -- being in the country illegally -- a state offense. Some critics seem not to understand Arizona's right to assert concurrent jurisdiction. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund attacks Gov. Jan Brewer's character and motives, saying she "caved to the radical fringe." This poses a semantic puzzle: Can the large majority of Arizonans who support the law be a "fringe" of their state?"

In other news, even James Carville's Democratic pollsters over at Democracy Corps have Republicans leading the 2010 generic ballot.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday's musings

Tough weekend--San Antonio 92, Dallas 89: the Mavs now trail 3-1 in the series. Just seems to me that San Antonio has wanted it a bit more, ever since game 2. They've hustled, made big shots, and it seems like every since the game 2 loss, the Mavs have quickly gotten tight when adversity hits. Big expectations can do that to you. Dallas can't do anything now except win game 5, and go from there.

The Tigers lose 2 of 3 over the weekend to the Rangers, including yesterday's 8-4 loss. The Tigers' problem right now is simple--their starting pitchers aren't getting it done. Yesterday Rick Porcello gave up 6 runs and 10 hits in only 4 innings. They must improve. The Rangers should be encouraged meanwhile that they've won 3 of 4, their bats are waking up, and Ian Kinsler should return soon from injury.

Apparently President Obama is worried enough about the coming 2010 midterms to make a big push, starting now:
"Obama plans to issue a call-to-action video message to his supporters on Monday, the first in a series of personal efforts designed to rekindle the grass-roots magic that propelled him to the presidency in service to his party's congressional and gubernatorial candidates, Democratic officials said."

Apparently the Dems think they can motivate enough folks to get them over the top in November. Well--we'll watch the polls and see if there's any movement.

Certainly there's plenty of reasons for Obama to be worried. In the state of Washington, it's evident that Dem Senator Patty Murray remains in trouble in her 2010 re-election bid.

The news media's liberal bias, example # 123,456:
Caught by the guys at PowerLine: CNN describes Arizona's new immigration law as "polarizing." Funny--they never described President Obama and the Democrats' health reform bill in that manner. Wonder why not???

Speaking of which, that new Arizona immigration law has made AZ's governor, Jan Brewer, a big name even to the NY Times:
"...what is accepted as the country’s most stringent immigration enforcement law, allowing the local police to stop and check the immigration papers of noncitizens and making it a state crime not to have them, was making its way through the Legislature. Legislators said Ms. Brewer, who is seeking a full term, was long prepared to sign such a bill, and her closest opponents in the primary all backed it. But her staff members hashed over the details with Senator Russell Pearce, a Republican who has made driving illegal immigrants out of the state his passion.
Though not closely allied with Mr. Pearce, she took up his mantra that the law would help the police weed out criminals. “Border-related violence and crime due to illegal immigration are critically important issues to the people of our state,” she said on Friday after signing the immigration bill. “We cannot sacrifice our safety to the murderous greed of drug cartels. We cannot stand idly by as drop houses, kidnappings and violence compromise our quality of life.”

Look for immigration to be a major issue now in the country for some weeks to come, especially given that President Obama dissed the Arizona law quite publicly.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday's fish fry

Finally--Rangers 3, Red Sox 0: the Rangers win for the first time in a week. But maybe this will get them going. The team got an excellent start from C.J. Wilson.
Tigers 5, Angels 4: a big win for the Tigers. They salvage in split in Anaheim against a tough club. Justin Verlander struggles, but gives his team a chance to win. Key stat: Tiger relievers have now tossed 15 and 2/3 scoreless innings in a row. And the bullpen won this game, holding a 1-run lead for 4 innings...

Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is fast becoming a conservative hero. Here's why:
"Faced with an $11 billion hole in a $30 billion budget, Christie used his broad constitutional discretion (New Jersey’s is arguably the most powerful governorship in the Union) to wield not a scalpel or an axe, but a scalpel the size of an axe against a Trenton machine rivaled only by Chicago and Albany in sheer size and scope.
As part of his efforts, he cut state aid to school districts by about 5 percent of their total budgets. Predictably, as school boards across the state pondered cutting programs like music and athletics to make up for the shortfall, the powerful New Jersey Education Association and its affiliates raged at the prospect of layoffs, even though new teacher hires in the state have grown far faster than enrollment, and have continued to grow even as the rest of the economy shed jobs. “Think of the children!” the unions cried. But Christie called the bluff, promising to restore aid for districts whose staffs agreed to one-year pay freezes (not even cuts mind you, much less permanent ones) and to pay 1.5 percent of their salary into their exorbitant benefits packages (the vast majority currently pay 0 percent)."

A conservative who not only talks about bloated government--but does something about. Good for him.

A good point on immigration policy--from Charles Krauthammer:
"...the problem is ultimately that the feds haven't acted. What liberals don't understand who support the rights of illegals in the country is that if the American people had a sense that the borders are secure, they are shut — if we built a fence all the way, and we can — and they had a sense this is the last cohort of illegals (the ten or so million already here) — the majority of Americans including me would be in favor of amnesty. If that’s the last group who are coming in and the border is shut, that would be OK. The problem is that in the absence of any seriousness on the part of the feds to do something like that — two-thirds, three-quarters of the border is unsecured, does not have that fence — people see a revolving door, so that there’ll be an endless entry of illegal immigrants who know that after a decade or two, there’s going to be an amnesty – it’ll start all over again..."

There has got to be a real attempt to secure our borders. It's not about being mean to or punishing recent immigrants, illegal or otherwise. But our borders must be secure, and I think, put that way, most Americans will agree with that. Keep pushing this, conservatives.

In polling news, more good news for Republicans:
"The advantage in public support the Democratic Party built up during the latter part of the Bush administration and the early part of the Obama administration has all but disappeared. During the first quarter of 2010, 46% of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic, while 45% identified as or leaned Republican."

On the other hand, all this does is get Republicans back to where they were in 2006. As others have said, the GOP still needs to close the sale, and convince more folks they're a better alternative than the Dems. Still work to do there...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday's throwdowns

San Antonio 102, Dallas 88: so the series is tied at 1-1. The Mavs lose home-court advantage. Mavs fans have to be upset that San Antonio out-hustled Dallas last night. Key stat: the Spurs had 23 second-chance points; the Mavs only 9. Dirk was cold. So were the Mavs. The only bright spot: this year, when it's come to big games on the road, the Mavs have pretty consistently played well. They'll need to do that this weekend. I think they will.

Red Soz 8, Rangers 7 (12 innings): the Rangers are just in a bad rut. They've now lost 6 straight. Again last night they blew a lead, this time of 4 runs.
But it was also Tigers 4, Angels 3: the Tigers edge back over the .500 mark. They got a decent start from Jeremy Bonderman, and Jose Valverde pitched a perfect 9th inning for the save. Once again Miguel Cabrera got some big hits. They're hanging in there...

There's a new FOX poll out. Nothing surprising, which is good news for Republicans.
President Obama's approval rating is only at 46%.
FOX also has Republicans leading in the generic 2010 congressional ballot, by 4.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday's wash

Not so good...Red Sox 7, Rangers 6: the Rangers steal 9 bases, have loads of men on via hits and walks...but wasted many scoring opportunities. And the bullpen failed, failing to hold a 3-run lead in the late innings. A tough start for the Rangers...
Angels 6, Tigers 5: the Tigers didn't play a horrible game, making a nice rally from a 6-0 deficit. But they couldn't get over the hump. Not helping here is that the Tigers are playing the Angels at a bad time; LA has now won 5 in a row.

Wow--so Ben Roethlisberger is suspended for 6 games by the NFL today.

That surprises me a bit; and I almost wonder if the league is going a bit far. After all, Roethlisberger is not charged with any crime; other players suspended by the league, players whom we all agreed SHOULD be suspended, either had been charged or had admitted to criminal activity. One hopes the commissioner isn't under the impression that he had to be tough on Big Ben because Roethlisberger is white, and many players suspended previously were black. Allowing racial identity politics to influence this in any way is wrong.

On the other hand, Ben R needed a kick in the backside; details like the following make that clear:
"The NFL and the Steelers were angered and embarrassed by the tawdry details of Roethlisberger’s night out March 3. In a statement to police, the 20-year-old college student said Roethlisberger encouraged her, and her friends, to take numerous shots of alcohol. Then one of his bodyguards escorted her into a hallway at the Capital City nightclub in Milledgeville, Ga., sat her on a stool and left. She said Roethlisberger walked down the hallway and exposed himself. “I told him it wasn’t ok, no, we don’t need to do this and I proceeded to get up and try to leave,” she said. “I went to the first door I saw, which happened to be a bathroom.” According to her statement, Roethlisberger then followed her into the bathroom and shut the door."

You know, we have to admit that in 2008, Barack Obama achieved something that really was remarkable: he became the first Democrat to carry the state of Indiana in a presidential contest in ten presidential elections. Not since 1964 had a Democrat (Lyndon Johnson) carried Indiana in a presidential race. And yet, and is a sign, now, of how far Mr. Obama has slipped when we see how far his star has fallen in the Hoosier state:
"The last two polls from Rasmussen have found his ratings down dramatically among Hoosiers. Last month’s poll found that “just 39 percent of voters in the state now approve of the job he is doing as president . . . Sixty percent disapprove of his job performance, including 47 percent who strongly disapprove.” Two of Indiana’s House Democrats, Joe Donnelly and Baron Hill, are sweating their chances for reelection (and some have wondered whether veteran congressman Pete Visclosky should be sweating, too), while the GOP is expected to retain its current four seats easily."

Meanwhile, over at MSNBC Chris Matthews is becoming either unhinged, badly confused, or both. See what he said the other day concerning Charlie Crist:

"...what happens to Republicans who don't march to the right wing tune? Well they're getting purged. This is Stalin-esque, this seems to me we're getting into something here that I do think is particularly nasty. Chuck says there's precedence, and there may well be, but here you see a party basically pruning itself. Going around and saying, "Well we really don't like Arlen Specter. You go find something else to do. Go be a Democrat." We see this with Charlie Crist perhaps being given the boot."

Ugh. How to untangle such a mess? Look, no one in the Republican Party is demanding that Charlie Crist leave the GOP. But the fact is, he's running in a primary against another Republican candidate voters like the other guy, Marco Rubio, BETTER. What--are we bound to vote for incumbents like Crist or Arlen Specter forever? Are we forbidden to decide that maybe we prefer someone else?? And in any case, it's not GOPers who are booting Crist out. It's Crist, simply because he's about, apparently, to lose an election, deciding that HE is going to boot HIMSELF from the Republican Party. Because HE is choosing to do that, therefore Republicans are "Stalin-esque"???

That's just ridiculous.

In other polling news---yes, it's confirmed yet again: no bounce for Obama or the Democrats from the passage of ObamaCare. Quinnipiac reports that Obama's approval rating right now is only at 44%.
And only 39% of Americans approve of ObamaCare; 53% oppose it.

I'm a little surprised these findings gained so much mention this morning; in this space we've been tracking exactly these trends for weeks now. I guess it's always important to continue to get confirmation...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday's trackings

Angels 2, Tigers 0: what you worried about with the Tigers was their offense...and that worry seems a bit well-founded right now. No big hits last night. Only good sign: Dontrelle Willis pitched well.

Ramesh Ponnuru today reminds us of something very important--the first steps towards repealing ObamaCare have already been taken:
"The first steps toward the repeal of Obamacare have already occurred. First, the legislation passed without leading to a lasting improvement in the president’s or the Democrats’ approval ratings. Second, in part as a result, it has quickly become Republican-party orthodoxy that the new health-care legislation needs to be repealed and replaced with conservative reforms. Two Republican senators who seemed to throw cold water on repeal, John Cornyn of Texas and Bob Corker of Tennessee, promptly clarified that they support the goal."

Let's keep going.

Meanwhile, in Florida, it's now definite--Charlie Crist has let the NY Times know that he's seriously considering running for the Senate in Florida as an independent.
My guess? Obviously he has the right to do anything he wants, but in the end, this won't be a good thing for him. He'll simply look like a sore loser, which he is--he'll run as an independent because he's getting clobbered in the race for the Republican senatorial nomination by Marco Rubio. This will kill him with the Republican Party for all time. He won't win the race as an independent, meanwhile, no matter what polls say now. Republicans will unite behind Rubio once the primary is done. And Democrats in Florida don't like Crist much; and that would be the only way he'd win in the fall, by getting significant Democratic support (just as Lieberman won in Connecticut with Republican votes). But Crist won't get the crossovers. He'll just get political oblivion. Maybe that's what he deserves.

Republicans and conservatives need to unite behind Marco Rubio, who by all accounts appears to be a good solid conservative candidate; and let Mr. Crist know that's just what they're doing.

No major changes in the way 2010 looks right now, by the way--both Gallup and Rasmussen came out with polls on the generic ballot yesterday, and Gallup still has the GOP leading, with Rasmussen having Republicans up by a whopping 10 points.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday's musings

A lot of important sports happening this weekend...
Dallas 100, San Antonio 94: Dirk Nowitzki is a big star in this league, but I don't think he gets all the ink he should. He was 12 of 14 from the floor in this game, scored 36, powered a 7-0 run in the 2nd half all on his own, and was a key factor in Dallas winning this one. It also helped that the Mavs out-rebounded San Antonio, something hard for them to do...but something that makes them even harder to beat when they do it.

Meanwhile, it was a tough weekend for the Texas Rangers--they lost 5-2 yesterday to the New York Yankees, and were swept over the weekend. To me the key was that Yankee starting pitching just overmatched the Rangers all weekend--yesterday it was Andy Pettite, the day before it was A.J. Burnett, and before that it was C. C. Sabathia. All are pitching well. And the old cliche is right--good pitching beats good hitting most of the time...
The Detroit Tigers lost 2 of 3 over the weekend to Seattle; but did salvage yesterday's finale with a 4-2 win. The Tigers got an excellent start from Max Scherzer; a good sign. Once again Miguel Cabrera provided most of the offense with a 3-run homer.

Yes, the Obama administration passed their health insurance bill...but the American people still don't love it, nor do they love activist government in general:
"By almost every conceivable measure, Americans are less positive and more critical of their government these days. There is a perfect storm of conditions associated with distrust of government—a dismal economy, an unhappy public, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials. These are among the principal findings from a new series of Pew Research Center surveys. Rather than an activist government to deal with the nation's top problems, these surveys show that the general public now wants government reformed and a growing number want its power curtailed. With the exception of greater regulation of Wall Street, there is less of an appetite for government solutions to the nation's problems—including greater government control over the economy—than there was when Barack Obama first took office."

No wonder both Gallup and Rasmussen today have President Obama's job approval at only 48%.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday's fish fry

Indians 3, Rangers 2: the Rangers had an excellent chance to sweep this series, leading 2-0 in the bottom of the 8th. But Indian pitcher David Huff held them down to only 2 runs; and then the Rangers bobbled two balls, allowing 2 runners on, and Shin-soo Choo made them pay with a 3-run homer. Shows how important defense and maintaining focus can be in this game...
The Rangers now have to go and play the powerful Yankees in New York. Let's see how they bounce back.

In 2010 elections news, Harry Reid remains in big trouble--still down by about 10 points in the latest poll.
Same-same for Arkansas Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln, according to the latest polls.

And here's yet another polling outfit which shows Republicans leading the 2010 generic congressional ballot (this time by 5 points).

By the way, even Chuck Todd and the political folks at MSNBC, always a good bellwether for elite media opinion, and in the midst of trying to defend the president, still admit that Obama's numbers in the wake of the passage of the health insurance bill haven't rebounded:
" Obama really struggling with an approval rating near 50%, especially considering unemployment is at 10% and his predecessor’s approval rating was in the 20s and 30s his final couple of years in office? The president's approval rating has been static for about nine months now. That said, the fact that there wasn't movement UPWARD is clearly a concern for the folks at the White House; they did think there would be some bounce post-health care."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday's throwdowns

Royals 7, Tigers 3: the Tigers lose two of three to KC and really don't play well the entire series. Yesterday, the keys were failures to get big hits with runners in scoring position, and mediocre-to-worse pitching. The Tigers give up 22 runs in 3games to...the Royals. Not good. As a fan, one is glad Detroit remains 6-3 on the season, but they can play much better.
Meanwhile--Rangers 6, Indians 2: the Rangers are playing better. Josh Hamilton, Chris Davis, and Elvis Andrus are hitting well. Colby Lewis, who spent some major time in Japan and hadn't won a major league game since 2004, had an excellent start--he struck out 10. Ranger pitching is looking all right.

So where does ObamaCare stand? Is it striking a chord with the American people, as liberals promised? As we've been documenting, nooooooo:
"Obamacare has not won the people’s hearts and minds. Despite wildly positive media coverage and the triumphant White House signing ceremony, surveys find public support for the new law dropping like a stone. Support in the most recent CBS poll has fallen to a dismal 32 percent, with opposition up to a new high of 53 percent. The same trend was apparent in polls conducted by Fox News and Rasmussen. Nearly six of every ten voters now support outright repeal, according to the most recent Rasmussen survey. The polls reveal that frustration is particularly acute among political independents. Over half of the independents in the CBS poll, for example, thought the new law would increase their health-care costs; only 13 percent thought their costs would come down. Similarly, 42 percent expect Obamacare to deliver lower-quality care; only 13 percent expect it to deliver better care. By six to one (67–11 percent) they dismiss outright the claims by the president and Hill leaders that the new law will cut federal deficits."

That the bill's popularity has sunk to 32% surprises even me.

And then there's all the tax increases coming from the Obama administration. Did you know:
"House Ways and Means Committee Republicans have issued a summary of the 25 tax increases signed into law by Mr. Obama so far. They total $670 billion over the next 10 years, including 14 tax hikes (including an annual tax on every insurance policy and an annual tax on brand-name drugs) that break Mr. Obama's solemn 2008 campaign pledge never to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year. Many of these taxes are part of the ObamaCare monstrosity. New levies on investment, drugs, medical devices and insurance policies eventually will hit ordinary Americans, and the public knows it. A late March Fox News poll asked, "If major health care reform legislation is passed, do you think your taxes will increase, decrease or stay about the same?" Seventy-five percent think their taxes will increase."

The tax issue always helps Republicans.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday's wash

Tigers 6, Royals 5: once again Detroit gets to KC's bullpen, overcoming a 5-0 lead. The good: this team can come back. Austin Jackson, the Tigers' rookie centerfielder, continues to play well and get big hits. Joel Zumaya and Jose Valverde of the Tigers' bullpen shut the door once Detroit got a lead. But Dontrelle Willis didn't pitch well. Let's hope it's just a blip.

Wow---George W. Bush catching Obama in the polls???:
"Fascinating numbers from Public Policy Polling: "Americans are now pretty evenly divided about whether they would rather have Barack Obama or George W. Bush in the White House. 48% prefer Obama while 46% say they would rather have the old President back. Bush had atrocious approval ratings for his final few years in office, particularly because he lost a lot of support from Republicans and conservative leaning independents... These numbers suggest some peril for Democrats in making Bush a focus of their messaging this fall. A lot of folks who contributed to the former President's low level of popularity now like Obama even less."

That not only should impact how we view possible tactics in the 2010 races...but the entire 2010 race itself. Democrats may be in more trouble than anyone thinks.

In other polling news, two different polls--Susquehanna and Rasmussen--have conservative Pat Toomey with a 10 point lead over Arlen Specter.
It would give conservatives a great deal of satisfaction to see Mr. Specter defeated. I must admit that the possibility of it happening is, er, rather exciting...

Meanwhile, on the question of the generic congressional ballot, some liberal acquaintances of mine got excited the other day when CNN had Democrats leading that, 50-46. But...a GWU/Battleground poll out today has Republicans up 1. And overall, the RCP average has Republicans up 2.5. Still looking awfully good...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday's trackings

So Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, in the wake of his latest scandal, won't be prosecuted...but will be meeting privately with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

I guess one has to agree with the decision not to prosecute. Looks like it couldn't be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Roethlisberger committed a crime. And I doubt the commissioner will suspend him, either, and perhaps that shouldn't happen, either; the standard over the past few years for NFL players has not been to suspend in this kind of circumstance. But if I was Goodell, I'd give Big Ben a stern talking-to, and I'd make it public that I did just that. The guy's an NFL celebrity, a public figure, a two-time Super Bowl winner. What he does reflects on the league. And what was he doing that night in Georgia. Bar-hopping, picking up girls, feeding them yet more booze, and then having some kind of encounter, protected by his "entourage", in a dingy bathroom. It's tawdry, it could only lead to trouble, and it's not what someone like Mr. Roethlisberger should be doing, obviously. One gets the impression he's thought that, with his success, he can do anything...and get away with it. Maybe Commissioner Goodell should explain to him that that's not how it works.

Kansas City 10, Detroit 5: not a good day for the Tigers. 4 errors, including one dropped foul pop that was then followed by a big home run; walks; sloppy pitching. Let's hope it's just a one-day thing...
but meanwhile, Rangers 4, Indians 2 in 10 innings: the Rangers move back above the
.500 mark at 4-3. Nelson Cruz quietly has 5 home runs already. Rich Harden, on whom the Rangers are counting, had a quality start. Neftali Perez closed very effectively. A good day for Texas...

Dallas 117, LA Clippers 91: sshhhh...don't tell anyone, but the Mavs are on a roll. They've won 4 straight, almost have the #2 seed in the West nailed down, and have looked dominant. Dirk Nowitzki with 25 points last night; Shawn Marion with 21...and Jason Kidd with 12 assists. Are they peaking at the right time? Or are they teasing everybody again> Right now I lean towards the former...

So the Democrats told us that once the health insurance bill was passed, the public would love it. And yet...several weeks after its passage, support for it has gone DOWN. The latest RCP average of polling on the health bill shows only 40$ in support; 53% disapproval...and that's a loss of at least 3 or 4 points in the last week or two. (Indeed, the latest Rasmussen poll found only 38% in favor, 58% opposed!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday's musings

Tigers 9, Indians 8: quite a comeback victory for Detroit, although stranding 18 runners on base and having your ace Justin Verlander give up a bunch of runs make you scratch your head. But the Tigers hung in; their bullpen did a creditable job, rookie second baseman Scott Sizemore had 3 hits, and Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez continue to produce, so all those are positives. So is a 5-1 start...
Rangers 9, Mariners 2: well, the Rangers' first homestand of the year wasn't quite what they wanted; only a 3-3 record, but they did win 2 of 3 over the weekend. Scott Feldman pitched well yesterday; and really, Ranger pitching has been pretty solid overall. That's the good news. But who will close? And will this team hit like it can? Vlad Guerrero is hitting .500 so far this year, so that's an encouraging sign...

How long will it be until young people realize what the new health insurance bill does?:
"Under the health care overhaul, young adults who buy their own insurance will carry a heavier burden of the medical costs of older Americans — a shift expected to raise insurance premiums for young people when the plan takes full effect. Beginning in 2014, most Americans will be required to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. That’s when premiums for young adults seeking coverage on the individual market would likely climb by 17 percent on average, or roughly $42 a month, according to an analysis of the plan conducted for The Associated Press."

The new law caps how much insurance companies can charge in premiums for older, less healthy Americans. The difference will have to be made up somehow.

Media Bias update:
A McClatchy headline from the other day:

"Unified By Hatred Of Obama, GOP Still Searches For Challenger"

Did reporters or headline writers ever characterize Democrats, from 2000 through 2008, as "unified by hatred of Bush"?
They should have. But you know they didn't.

Meanwhile, lots of good news for Republicans in the latest 2010 polls: in Pennsylvania, Toomey still leads Specter by 7. In Florida, staunch conservative Marco Rubio leads moderate Charlie Crist in the GOP Senate primary by a staggering 29 points.
Republicans appear to have a great shot at a pickup in the Senate in New Hampshire.
Republicans just need to remember--polls mean nothing if you don't get out and work.

Desperation time in Nevada:

Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid meanwhile, behind in most polls--indeed, signifcantly behind--in his bid for 2010 re-election, is so desperate that he's come up with a strategy for winning with less than 50% of the vote:
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been hammered for months from the left and right, with prognosticators in both parties predicting that Nevada voters will send him packing come November. But Reid, his reelection team and some Senate Democratic insiders are eyeing a bank shot to victory — one that involves enough voters picking third-party candidates or even “none of the above” to let Reid win reelection with less than 50 percent of the vote."

Do Reid and his handlers really believe that a significant number of Nevadans, who clearly don't like him, will take actions that will allow him to win? Hah.

Bacon love:
Apparently America's love for bacon is so far overcoming the scoldings of America's PC food police:
"Bacon is once more our true, national food crush, spanning all ages, all cultures and all meals. It binds us in its aromatic allure — and maybe in its outlaw luster. Like a freedom fighter emerging from an underground bunker, the smoky strips of crispy bliss somehow survived the rise and reign of the cholesterol cops. It’s primal. It’s sublime. It’s bacon. And it’s bigger than ever, baby. How do we know? We give you the KFC Double Down, two slabs of fried chicken and melted cheese all squeezed around a sacred centerpiece — two pieces of bacon. The breadless sandwich that some are calling “angina on a plate” debuts at KFC restaurants on Monday. If customers order the Original Recipe variety, their Double Down will pack 540 calories, 32 grams of fat and 1,380 milligrams of sodium, according to KFC."

And hey, as a good conservative/libertarian, I say that if you want to eat bacon, go for it. That's what liberty is all about. Though I have to add: I've tried turkey bacon, marketed by Oscar Mayer, and you know what? It's not bad--good on sandwiches, got lots of that bacon flavor, but without all the grease. Try it. But try it because you might like it, not because the food scolds tell you to.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday's fish fry

Blue Jays 3, Rangers 1: the Rangers got an excellent start from pitcher C.J. Wilson. They'll need him. But they're not hitting yet as a team, and that's why they're 1-2 so far, scoring only 10 runs in 3 games.
But the Tigers are 2-1 on the young season, as Detroit beat Kansas City, 7-3. Keys--what else? Dontrelle Willis pitches 5 innings and only walks 2 and gives up 2 runs. Maybe he's over his social anxiety disorder at last. Everyone's pulling for him. And as it will likely be often this season, the Tigers needed Miguel Cabrera to come through for them and he did, going 4 for 5 with 4 RBIs.


Anti-abortion Democrat Bart Stupak, whose district encompasses the entire Upper Peninsula of Michigan and part of the upper lower peninsula, will retire. Another chance for a Republican pickup this fall; it's a district where, as long as the GOP works hard, it can win. Go after it, GOP!

And there's more bad news for Democrats today from the polling world:
"Americans' favorable rating of the Democratic Party dropped to 41% in a late March USA Today/Gallup poll, the lowest point in the 18-year history of this measure. Favorable impressions of the Republican Party are now at 42%, thus closing the gap between the two parties' images that has prevailed for the past four years."

In addition, the latest Fox News Poll now can be added to the list of polls that have found the Republicans leading the 2010 generic congressional ballot.

And it still looks like Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington faces a very tough race this year.

Barack Obama is proving to be the Republican Party's best friend.

Meanwhile, did you know that our friend to the north, Canada, is enforcing Canadian-correctness-of-the-political variety to such an extent that they seem to be massively violating free speech? For example:
"...since becoming a beacon of “restraint” and “civility,” Canada now prosecutes jokes. The British Columbia “Human Rights” Tribunal, under the same commissar who presided over a lengthy analysis of the “tone” of my own jokes, is currently trying stand-up comedian Guy Earle for his allegedly “homophobic” put-down of a heckler. Mr. Earle isn’t a right-wing hater like me and Miss Coulter. Until he fell afoul of his Sapphic heckler, he appears to have held conventionally Trudeaupian views. Left to his own devices, he would be more likely to essay an anti-Bush gag than one of Miss Coulter’s camel jests. But he’s wound up in court anyway, having lost three years of his life and facing $20,000 in punitive damages for a remark he made in the course of a stage act for which he received a $50 bar tab. The B.C. Supreme Court advised the tribunal against proceeding with their show trial on the grounds that it was not clear they had jurisdiction. So the tribunal went ahead anyway. Susan Cole’s Canada doesn’t “work” for Guy Earle. In fact, it’s destroyed him. “You better hope and pray that you aren’t next,” he writes. “And yet no one cares.”

I care. That's outrageous. And I hope more people care, real soon.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday's throwdowns

In jobs news, it was reported today:
"The number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance for the first time jumped last week, according to government data released Thursday. There were 460,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended April 3, up 18,000 from an upwardly revised 442,000 the previous week, according to the Labor Department's weekly report."

I thought the great Obama "stimulus" package was supposed to be doing great things and eliminating this problem. Guess not...

By the way, Reason mag today has a terrific piece on what health insurance reform has done at the state level recently. Basically it's busted budgets--and so will ObamaCare:
"As spectacular failures go, it's hard to do worse than Tennessee. This early state attempt to dramatically increase health coverage, dubbed TennCare, started off promisingly. In 1994, the first year of its operation, the system added half a million new individuals to its rolls. Premiums were cheap—just $2.74 per month for people right above the poverty line—and liberal policy wonks loved it. The Urban Institute, for example, gave it good marks for "improving coverage of the uninsurable or high-risk individuals with very limited access to private coverage." At its peak, the program covered 1.4 million individuals—nearly a quarter of the state's population and more than any other state's Medicaid program—leaving just 6 percent of the state's population uninsured. But those benefits came at a high price. By 2001, the system's costs were growing faster than the state budget. The drive to increase coverage had not been matched by the drive to control costs. Vivian Riefberg, a partner at consulting firm McKinsey & Company, described it as having "almost across the board, no limits on scope and duration of coverage." Spending on drug coverage, in particular, had gone out of control: The state topped the nation in prescription drug use, and the program put no cap on how many prescription drugs a patient could receive. The result was that, by 2004, TennCare's drug benefits cost the state more than its entire higher education program. Meanwhile, in 1998, the program was opened to individuals at twice the poverty level, even if they had access to employer-provided insurance. In other words, the program's costs were uncontrolled and unsustainable. By 2004, the budget had jumped from $2.6 billion to $6.9 billion, and it accounted for a quarter of the state's appropriations. A McKinsey report projected that the program's costs could hit $12.8 billion by 2008, consuming 36 percent of state appropriations and 91 percent of new state tax revenues. On the question of the system's fiscal sustainability, the report concluded that, even if a number of planned reforms were implemented, the program would simply "not be financially viable."

Kansas City 3, Detroit 2 (11 innings): the Tigers get a solid start from Max Scherzer. That's great--they'll need him. But the offense can't do much, and closer Jose Valverde blows this one in the 11th after the Tigers had taken a lead. The bullpen won a game the other day; but this time they lose it.
Blue Jays 7, Rangers 4: the key to this game was Rangers' starter Rich Harden's walks--5, too many. And the fact that the Rangers mustered only 5 hits.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday's wash

2010 elections talk--are Democrats in big trouble (not just the ordinary troubles a party in power faces in midterm elections)? Maybe:
"...note that today, 49 percent of registered voters say the representative in their congressional district deserves reelection, and 40 percent say their representative does not. In late October 2006, the split on that was 54 percent "deserves", 33 percent "doesn't deserve." In November 1994, the split on that question was 54 percent "deserves", 30 percent "doesn't deserve."

The RealClearPolitics average, now, for the generic 2010 congressional ballot? Republicans with a 2 point lead.

On President Obama's announcement of a new American policy on the use of nuclear weapons, conservative and former Bush administration member John Bolton had this to say:
"The Nuclear Posture Review is deeply troubling in many respects, starting at the conceptual level with its unfounded assertion that the need for American nuclear deterrence has declined. By further unilaterally limiting the circumstances in which the U.S. would use nuclear weapons to protect itself and its allies, the Obama administration is in fact increasing international instability and the risks of future conflicts."

Yep. I also liked what Jim Geraghty at NRO had to say: that for America the bar for using nukes has now been set higher. And yet...what we really ought to be worrying about is where our enemies have set their bars.

That was one great game the other night, and while I was sad that Butler came oh so close but didn't quite pull it off...still, this piece and the Butler faithful there in Indianapolis have it exactly right: Butler and its team are champions, too.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday's trackings

Just a few notes today.

In 2010 elections news, even a Democratic poll (the PPP poll) finds the Republican Toomey leading Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, the Democrat Russ Feingold is most definitely in trouble--especially if Tommy Thompson runs against him.

Yes, it's back again for another season. Here we go:
Tigers 8, Royals 4: it's only one win, but it's nice to win on Opening Day. The keys to the game: new acquisition Johnny Damon had two hits for the Tigers. And it was nice to see them score 8 runs; their offense is a question this season. And the Tigers' bullpen pitched 3 innings of shutout ball, including a solid inning from oft-injured Joel Zumaya. Keep the good times rolling...
And it was Rangers 5, Blue Jays 4: the Rangers had a good rally; they trailed 3-0 in the 7th, and were without a hit, before they came back. Closer Frankie Francisco pitched well late. Starter Scott Feldman pitched creditably, allowing only 3 runs in 6 innings. The Rangers won 87 games last year and have high expectations this year; team prez Nolan Ryan predicted 92 wins and a division title for them. This come-from-behind win is a good start towards fulfilling those expectations.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday's musings

So the Philadelphia Eagles did indeed trade their star quarterback, Donovan McNabb...but to a division rival, the Redskins, which nobody thought they would do:
"Donovan McNabb is changing uniforms and staying in the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles traded McNabb to the Washington Redskins for a pair of draft picks on Sunday night. The Eagles will receive a second-round pick (37th overall) in this month's NFL draft and either a third- or fourth-round pick next year."

Yes, I suppose this is where McNabb wanted to go, and Philly Coach Andy Reid wanted to accommodate him in that way. So that partly explains this. And yet...the Eagles didn't HAVE to give McNabb whatever he wanted (the Packers certainly didn't for Brett Favre, as they resisted Favre joining the Vikings for as long as Favre was on their roster). Trading him within the NFC East...guaranteeing that they'll play him at least twice a year...tells one that the Eagles truly believe McNabb is on the downward spiral, that he really doesn't have "it" anymore...and that he won't be able to significantly hurt them next year, and in the years to come.

We'll see if that turns out to be true. It might. McNabb struggled at the end of last year. But he's only 33. Think of all the good years John Elway had in his late 30s.

Who will win the national championship tonight? It sure appears to me that Duke is the better team, and so if one is objectively trying to figure out who will win tonight...hey, you have to pick Duke. But still, I say: go, you Butler Bulldogs. A Butler victory tonight would be such a Cinderella story, such a huge upset, that I'd love to see it, and I sure hope we all do see it.

Remember late last week, when it was reported that several state governors had received threatening letters from some kind of extremist group? Columnist Charles Krauthammer has a good response:
"Oh, come on, I get e-mails like that every week. And, you know, I don't hold any office. . . .The FBI is saying, they are announcing all of this because it could inflame people who are really weirder out there. And why would you announce it? If you announce and then you spread the word — it might actually increase the inflammation."

Makes one wonder if the Obama administration sought the release of these "threats" for political reasons--to once again try to stigmatize all conservatives, all on the Right, with this "extremist" tag.

"Now that Obamacare has been enacted, we definitely won't be knocking any new archways through the wall at our restaurant and expanding into the empty storefront next door. With a waiting line on weekends, we could use the additional seats. The adjacent space could also be turned into a party room with seating for 50, perfect for communions, business meetings, and showers. But there will be no sawing and hammering or reducing the neighborhood's unemployment rate because we already have 42 employees and it's at 50 workers that the hefty new fines, mandates and penalties kick in under Obamacare."

Read the whole thing...

By the way, according to Democrats, just passing their health insurance reform plan would, why, just TURN AROUND the polling on it. America would like it! And quickly!! A CBS poll came out on the plan over the weekend. Those in favor: 32%. Those opposing??? A whopping 53%.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday's fish fry

No, not the current tournament, though it's been great.
Rather, I'm talking about what the NCAA is considering doing:
"The NCAA appears to be on the verge of expanding the men's basketball tournament to 96 teams. Insisting that nothing has been decided, NCAA vice president Greg Shaheen nonetheless outlined a detailed plan Thursday that included the logistics and timing of a 96-team tournament, how much time off the players would have and even revenue distribution."

Read the whole piece. A plan with that much detail suggests to me that, yes, it probably is almost decided. I don't think this new plan would ruin the tournament. But I'm not in favor of it. The tournament is great as is. This new format threatens to weaken the importance of the regular season, threatens to add a lot of games to an already-heavy early tourney schedule. Too much of a good thing? Too many games, almost? I do think Coach K of Duke is right when he suggests giving automatic tourney bids to both regular-season and conference-tourney champions. They both should get in. That way the regular season still means something.
We'll see what the reaction will be to this. Don't know that it will mean much, though. Because more games means more money for the NCAA, and that's what they want.

Orlando 97, Dallas 82: not a loss I'd worry about too much. The Mavs were tired after on OT victory the night before; while Orlando had had over 3 days rest. The Magic shot 14 of 24 from 3 point land. When they do that, very few teams can beat them. The Mavs just need to bounce back.

A new CBS News poll has President Obama's job approval numbers at only 44%. Again, oh how the might's numbers have fallen...

Meanwhile, today President Obama hailed the new jobs report out today:
"The nation's economy posted its largest job gain in three years in March, while the unemployment rate remained at 9.7 percent for the third straight month. President Barack Obama on Friday hailed the report showing the largest job creation number in nearly three years. "We are beginning to turn the corner," he said."

Gosh. Imagine it was 2007, and that President Bush had hailed a jobs report in which unemployment had not fallen, no matter how many jobs were created. What would candidate Obama have said then?? Somehow I doubt he would have accepted a we've-turned-the-corner spin...

Well, one thing is certain: Obama's and the Democrats' spin on the economy the last few months hasn't won over too many Americans:
"More Americans say Republicans would be better for the economy, taking a position Democrats had held through Barack Obama’s presidency, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll out Friday. Forty-eight percent of the 1,009 adults surveyed nationwide said Republicans would “do a better job” of dealing with the economy, topping Democrats by three percentage points. The number is a contrast from August, when Democrats were rated as better on the economy by 52 percent compared with 39 percent for Republicans."

what a turnaround.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursday's throwdowns

Dallas 106, Memphis 102 (OT): the Mavs trailed by 13 at one point in the 4th quarter, and weren't playing well...mainly making too many turnovers. But a good team, when the door is left open for them, knows how to make a run late, and that's what Dallas did, outscoring Memphis 15-2 down the stretch and then hanging on to win in overtime. Key stats: Dirk Nowitzki, after struggling much of the game, made 6 of his final 8 shots. Dallas earned its 50th victory; that's now 10 straight years the Mavs have won 50 games.

Among 2010 Senate races, Arkansas incumbent Democrat Blanche Lincoln continues to be in big trouble--now she trails a likely GOP opponent by 15 points.

Sigh. Yesterday President Obama announced that he will allow some more offshore oil drilling, and the progressives at MSNBC's First Read naturally like it:
"The day-after coverage of Obama’s offshore drilling announcement is looking pretty positive for him so far."
It then cites a couple of examples. But sure, of course it all looks "positive"...because too many Obama cheerleaders in the media have chosen to ignore that this is yet another policy about-face by Obama. In the 2008 campaign he claimed he was against increasing drilling. Now he's done a 180. Too many folks don't care.