Sunday, December 23, 2012

Random Thoughts

• There are 5 BCS bowls so why don’t the top 10 BCS teams play in them? • Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher? If you have read any of Lee Child’s novels you know something is wrong. o First, the movie would be simply “Reacher” since the title character generally goes by only his last name. o Second, Reacher is physically imposing – 6’5” 250 lbs - and uses his size to intimidate. Isn’t Tom Cruise a little guy? • I said that I was taking a break after the election and I have. o I haven’t watched a single newscast. o I haven’t read a single newspaper. o I haven’t listened to talk radio. o I haven’t missed it. • You know you are getting old when o The TV shows you watch only air commercials about ED, debt reduction, class action lawsuits and stool softeners. o On the stations you seldom watch, you haven’t a clue what anyone is talking about. o Your grandchildren are in college. • Its been a productive deer season thus far – I won’t burden you with pictures. But after last year being the worse ever, its nice to have a good one. As some of you know, I have not eaten what my grandfather used to call “store bought meat” in 30 years. I have enough venison in my freezers to last until next year and still give a good bit away to friends and family. • I hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Post-Mortem of the 2012 Election

I was going to look back on the election after deer season and was sent this observation of Prof. Laura Hollis of the University of Notre Dame. I couldn't have said it better. "I am already reading so many pundits and other talking heads analyzing the disaster that was this year's elections. I am adding my own ten cents. Here goes:

 1. We are outnumbered. We accurately foresaw the enthusiasm, the passion, the commitment, the determination, and the turnout. Married women, men, independents, Catholics, evangelicals - they all went for Romney in percentages as high or higher than the groups which voted for McCain in 2008. It wasn't enough. What we saw in the election on Tuesday was a tipping point: we are now at a place where there are legitimately fewer Americans who desire a free republic with a free people than there are those who think the government should give them stuff. There are fewer of us who believe in the value of free exchange and free enterprise. There are fewer of us who do not wish to demonize successful people in order to justify taking from them. We are outnumbered. For the moment. It's just that simple.

 2. It wasn't the candidate(s). Some are already saying, "Romney was the wrong guy"; "He should have picked Marco Rubio to get Florida/Rob Portman to get Ohio/Chris Christie to get [someplace else]." With all due respect, these assessments are incorrect. Romney ran a strategic and well-organized campaign. Yes, he could have hit harder on Benghazi. But for those who would have loved that, there are those who would have found it distasteful. No matter what tactic you could point to that Romney could have done better, it would have been spun in a way that was detrimental to his chances. Romney would have been an excellent president, and Ryan was an inspired choice. No matter who we ran this year, they would have lost. See #1, above.

 3. It's the culture, stupid. We have been trying to fight this battle every four years at the voting booth. It is long past time we admit that is not where the battle really is. We abdicated control of the culture - starting back in the 1960s. And now our largest primary social institutions - education, the media, Hollywood (entertainment) have become really
nothing more than an assembly line for cranking out reliable little Leftists. Furthermore, we have allowed the government to undermine the institutions that instill good character - marriage, the family, communities, schools, our churches. So, here we are, at least two full generations later - we are reaping what we have sown. It took nearly fifty years to get here; it will take another fifty years to get back. But it starts with the determination to reclaim education, the media, and the entertainment business. If we fail to do that, we can kiss every election goodbye from here on out. And much more.

 4. America has become a nation of adolescents The real loser in this election was adulthood: Maturity. Responsibility. The understanding that liberty must be accompanied by self-restraint. Obama is a spoiled child, and the behavior and language of his followers and their advertisements throughout the campaign makes it clear how many of them are, as well. Romney is a grown-up. Romney should have won. Those of us who expected him to win assumed that voters would act like grownups. Because if we were a nation of grownups, he would have won.

But what did win? Sex. Drugs. Bad language. Bad manners. Vulgarity. Lies. Cheating. Name-calling. Finger-pointing. Blaming. And irresponsible spending. This does not bode well. People grow up one of two ways: either they choose to, or circumstances force them to. The warnings are all there, whether it is the looming economic disaster, or the inability of the government to respond to crises like Hurricane Sandy, or the growing strength and brazenness of our enemies. American voters stick their fingers in their ears and say, "Lalalalalala, I can't hear you." It is unpleasant to think about the circumstances it will take to force Americans to grow up. It is even more unpleasant to think about Obama at the helm when those circumstances arrive.

 5. Yes, there is apparently a Vagina Vote. It's the subject matter of another column in its entirety to point out, one by one, all of the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of the Democrats this year. Suffice it to say that the only "war on women" was the one waged by the Obama campaign, which sexualized and objectified women, featuring them dressed up like vulvas at the Democrat National Convention, appealing to their "lady parts," comparing voting to losing your virginity with Obama, trumpeting the thrills of destroying our children in the womb (and using our daughters in commercials to do so), and making Catholics pay for their birth control. For a significant number of women, this was appealing. It might call into question the wisdom of the Nineteenth Amendment, but for the fact that large numbers of women (largely married) used their "lady smarts" instead. Either way, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are rolling over in their graves.

 6. It's not about giving up on "social issues" No Republican candidate should participate in a debate or go out on the stump without thorough debate prep and a complete set of talking points that they stick to. This should start with a good grounding in biology and a reluctance to purport to know the will of God. (Thank you, Todd and Richard.)

That said, we do not hold the values we do because they garner votes. We hold the values we do because we believe that they are time-tested principles without which a civilized, free and prosperous society is not possible.

We defend the unborn because we understand that a society which views some lives as expendable is capable of viewing all lives as expendable. We defend family - mothers, fathers, marriage, children - because history makes it quite clear that societies without intact families quickly descend into anarchy and barbarism, and we have plenty of proof of that in our inner cities where marriage is infrequent and unwed motherhood approaches 80 percent. When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, many thought that the abortion cause was lost. Forty years later, ultrasound technology has demonstrated the inevitable connection between science and morality. More Americans than ever define themselves as "pro-life." What is tragic is that tens of millions of children have lost their lives while Americans figure out what should have been obvious before. There is no "giving up" on social issues. There is only the realization that we have to fight the battle on other fronts. The truth will win out in the end.

 7. Obama does not have a mandate. And he does not need one. I have to laugh - bitterly - when I read conservative pundits trying to assure us that Obama "has to know" that he does not have a mandate, and so he will have to govern from the middle. I don't know what they're smoking. Obama does not care that he does not have a mandate. He does not view himself as being elected (much less re-elected) to represent individuals. He views himself as having been re-elected to complete the "fundamental transformation" of America, the basic structure of which he despises. Expect much more of the same - largely the complete disregard of the will of half the American public, his willingness to rule by executive order, and the utter inability of another divided Congress to rein him in. Stanley Kurtz has it all laid out here.

 8. The Corrupt Media - is the enemy too strong? I don't think so. I have been watching the media try to throw elections since at least the early 1990s. In 2008 and again this year, we saw the media cravenly cover up for the incompetence and deceit of this President, while demonizing a good, honorable and decent man with lies and smears. This is on top of the daily barrage of insults that conservatives (and by that I mean the electorate, not the politicians) must endure at the hands of this arrogant bunch of elitist snobs. Bias is one thing. What we observed with Benghazi was professional malpractice and fraud. They need to go. Republicans, Libertarians and other conservatives need to be prepared to play hardball with the Pravda press from here on out. And while we are at it, to defend those journalists of whatever political stripe (Jake Tapper, Sharyl Atkisson, Eli Lake) who actually do their jobs. As well as Fox News and talk radio. Because you can fully expect a re-elected Obama to try to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in term 2.

 9. Small business and entrepreneurs will be hurt the worst For all the blather about "Wall Street versus Main Street," Obama's statist agenda will unquestionably benefit the biggest corporations which - as with the public sector unions - are in the best position to make campaign donations, hire lobbyists, and get special exemptions carved out from Obama's health care laws, his environmental regulations, his labor laws. It will be the small business, the entrepreneur, and the first-time innovators who will be crushed by their inability to compete on a level playing field.

 10. America is more polarized than ever; and this time it's personal. I've been following politics for a long time, and it feels different this time. Not just for me. I've received messages from other conservatives who are saying the same thing: there is little to no tolerance left out there for those who are bringing this country to its knees - even when they have been our friends. It isn't just about "my guy" versus "your guy." It is my view of America versus your view of America - a crippled, hemorrhaging, debt-laden, weakened and dependent America that I want no part of and resent being foisted on me. I no longer have any patience for stupidity, blindness, or vulgarity, so with each dumb "tweet" or FB post by one of my happily lefty comrades, another one bites the dust, for me. Delete. What does this portend for a divided Congress? I expect that Republicans will be demoralized and chastened for a short time. But I see them in a bad position. Americans in general want Congress to work together. But many do not want Obama's policies, and so Republicans who support them will be toast. Good luck, guys.

 11. It's possible that America just has to hit rock bottom. I truly believe that most Americans who voted for Obama have no idea what they are in for. Most simply believe him when he says that all he really wants is for the rich to pay "a little bit more." So reasonable! Who could argue with that except a greedy racist? America is on a horrific bender. Has been for some time now. The warning signs of our fiscal profligacy and culture of lack of personal responsibility are everywhere - too many to mention. We need only look at other countries which have gone the route we are walking now to see what is in store.

 For the past four years - but certainly within the past campaign season - we have tried to warn Americans. Too many refuse to listen, even when all of the events that have transpired during Obama's presidency - unemployment, economic stagnation, skyrocketing prices, the depression of the dollar, the collapse of foreign policy, Benghazi, hopelessly inept responses to natural disasters - can be tied directly to Obama's statist philosophies, and his decisions.

 What that means, I fear, is that they will not see what is coming until the whole thing collapses. That is what makes me so sad today. I see the country I love headed toward its own "rock bottom," and I cannot seem to reach those who are taking it there.

" Laura Hollis University of Notre Dame

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Puzzled

I was puzzled about the low turnout for Reagan/Carter, the popular vote for Bush/Gore and the number of "undecideds" in this election. Moreover, I thought that the "undecideds" and the number who said they were not going to vote - and who didn't - spoke volumes. Census shows that historically 60 percent of the eligible population registers to vote and 80 percent of that number votes meaning that 25 percent of the eligible population has always determined elections in this country. Now lets analyze why anyone would vote for these democrats. Why would poor whites? Middle class whites? Upper class whites? Minorities? Women? Jews? Even Catholics? As to minorities, it speaks volumes that in the south, the democratic party is basically black with the southern congressional delegation being 50 percent black. It is also interesting that the first democratic Cuban American was elected to congress from Florida meaning that younger cuban Americans are trending democrat. Yes all those minorities have strong beliefs that are aligned with republicans and not democrats. However, each one votes democrat because they feel that the republicans are hostile to them - not to their beliefs - but to them. Laissez-faire does not appeal to them because laissez-faire and states rights have historically meant that white majorities have trampled the rights of minorities. I would have not gone to Georgia without federal intervention. Yes what Georgia was doing was unconstitutional and the federal government must impose obedience of the constitution upon the states. However, it is difficult for the historically discriminated against to be for a smaller less intrusive federal government because left to their own devices, the majority have ruled in their own self interest to the detriment of the rest of us.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Random thoughts

Who did David Patreus think he was ? Bill Clinton? Just in case you missed it, one of the best observers of America is the Economist. Read the following and you wonder why they endorsed Obama. But their observations are on point. I am certain I wasn’t the only one to wonder how the republicans could blow the senate races – every single one of them. http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21565955-budget-deal-makes-sense-re-elected-president-his-opponents-his-country-and?fsrc=scn/tw/te/hugarepublican If Obama repeats himself we are going to be into difficult times. However, if he embraces Simpson-Bowles, oks the Keystone pipeline, does not raise taxes on small businesses and exempts them from some onerous regs, then there is a likelihood that we may get through the next 4 years intact as a country. Given the voting patterns, if Obama remains stubborn and arrogant then there is a strong possibility of a serious movement toward secession with the rest of the states jettisoning the cities along with the west coast and the northeast. There is no logical reason why this country should remain unscathed from geographic reorganization. At least I live in two states aligned with my political views. However, I will miss Ohio and (most of) Virginia.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Stunning

I was wrong. Barack Obama is not a one term president and was rewarded by the American voter for four more years. Go figure. No leadership on any issue. Disastrous foreign and domestic policies. Hostility toward business. High gas prices. High unemployment. Class warfare. Running on a platform of increased taxes. Amnesty for illegals. Benghazi. Fast and Furious. You name it. Not a single accomplishment. Yet all the so-called battleground states: Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire, Paul Ryan's Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania (with its beleaguered coal industry) voted for Obama. He is also leading in Florida despite cutting medicare benefits. Also Mia Love lost in Utah. The senate will be more liberal with Elizabeth Warren beating Scott Brown in Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin beating Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin and Tim Kaine beating George Allen in Virginia. Moreover, the democrats won senate seats in Missouri and Indiana where the republicans both decided to commit political suicide with dumb comments on rape. So Obamacare will come fully on board, the EPA will run roughshod on energy producers and will backdoor cap and trade, Eric Holder is still at "Justice", the debt will run up to $20 trillion, get ready for the fiscal cliff - which Obama actually wants, the Fed will continue to devalue the dollar and tempt the inflation gods. If there is any bright spot it is that given time American business will figure out how to deal with this environment and will adapt. However that will likely mean high levels of unemployment as less labor will be utilized. All in all it is clear that the country will be fundamentally different going forward. For Barack Obama this is mission accomplished. As for me, I am going to take a break and go deer hunting until the season ends in January.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fed needs new leadership

Knoxville News-Sentinel November 4, 2012 Regardless of who wins the presidency it is rumored that when his term as Fed chairman expires in 2014, Ben Bernanke will not be reappointed. This is no surprise if Romney wins. However, it is somewhat of a surprise if Obama is re-elected. This is because Bernanke has been the most accommodating Fed chairman in history. Under Bernanke, the Fed has purchased billions in Treasurys allowing the administration to spend without a budget constraint. One would think that Obama would welcome the continuation of what has been - to him - a wonderful relationship. On the other hand, Romney would certainly be delighted if Bernanke decided to exit even earlier, say January 2013. However, regardless of what Bernanke decides, a President Romney would be left with a Federal Reserve Board comprised of governors all appointed by President Obama. Even though the chairman gets the majority of the publicity, all the governors sit on the Open Market Committee that makes the decisions regarding monetary policy. This Board of Governors has been unanimous in its support of Bernanke in keeping long term interest rates artificially low. Thus, a Romney appointed chairman may encounter a recalcitrant group of fellow governors and find it difficult to reach a consensus if a change in policy were desired. Nonetheless, Fed policy even under Bernanke has been a contradiction. Through the expansion of its balance sheet by purchasing Treasurys in QE1 and QE2 and the purchase of mortgage backed securities in QE3, the Fed has dramatically increased the amount of excess reserves held in the banking system. Normally, these reserves would be loaned out, creating money. The result would be highly inflationary. That the banks are not lending the reserves and not creating money are a product of two disparate forces. The first is the Fed is paying 0.25 percent interest on the excess reserves. That amount is about what a two year Treasury earns, so the banks can hold the reserves and earn interest without incurring any default risk. Bernanke has indicated that this is how the Fed can ward off inflation. By manipulating the interest it pays on reserves it can induce the banks not to lend. However, by paying interest on reserves, the Fed is acting counter to its own stated policy - that of stimulating economic growth. Indeed, if you take out the increase in the government sector, overall economic growth during the Obama years has been negative. Coupled with the Fed seemingly driving the economy with its foot on both the accelerator and the brake are the actions of the Fed, the FDIC and the Comptroller of the Currency as bank regulators. All are still smarting over being accused of lax regulatory oversight precipitating the financial crisis. As a result all are now being heavy handed resulting in a tightening of loan standards drying up funding to businesses and individuals. So while the Fed is saying that it is pursuing expansionary monetary policy through its purchases of long term securities it is also not allowing the economy to expand. It would be a welcomed change to see a coherent Federal Reserve policy. Therefore, it will be a welcomed sight to see Bernanke leave.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ghosts of Ole Miss

I had never watched ESPNs 30 for 30 but watched the one “Ghosts of Ole Miss.” It told the story of the only undefeated Ole Miss team of 1962 juxtaposed with the integration of the school by James Meredith. It was a powerful story only marred by its telling. Too much time was spent on the story teller than on the story itself – but perhaps this is the style of the series. One lasting impression is the strength and courage of Meredith especially in light of the demonic evilness of the students interviewed. I enrolled in Georgia the exact same quarter that Meredith went to Ole Miss. I actually sent him a note telling him to stay strong. I never got an answer but he may have never gotten it. I remember growing up and hearing “you think Georgia is bad? You should be thankful you are not in Mississippi.” So true. The film revisited the deaths of Emmitt Till and Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner. The whites interviewed said “They deserved it.” No remorse there. Compared to Meredith, we seven blacks at Georgia had a walk in the park. Yes. Thank goodness we were not in Mississippi. The story then told of ridding the Ole Miss football games of all the confederate paraphernalia. Curiously it told of the first black cheerleader who in 1982 refused to carry the confederate flag but it neglected to mention the first black football player. I know all about this experience much too well. When I went to Georgia, the cheerleaders carried confederate flags as did most of the fans. The band was call the Dixie Red Coat Marching Band and played Dixie after the national anthem. We sat down and were pelted with stuff and yelled at until the dean of students showed up and started collecting IDs. Unlike Meredith, we went to every game and at every game we were called every name imaginable. Today no vestiges of the confederacy remains at UGA games – even the flags are gone from the tailgate. I wonder if the same is true at Ole Miss. The film also talked about the tribute to the 1962 team 50 years later and mentioned that Meredith was in the chancellor’s box. But it did not mention if any tribute was paid to Meredith. Curiously, there was a scene in which there was shown a statue of Meredith on the Ole Miss campus but not a word about it. Lastly, the best part of the film was the interview with Meredith himself. Clad in all white, he looked the part of a gentleman planter. He was still full of confidence and self assurance. Perhaps few people in history has had so great an impact on fundamentally changing a culture, a way of life and introducing so many in an entire state to the human race.

A recent speech on the economy

Speech to the Tennessee Bankers Association Meeting Nashville, TN October 24, 2012 The Economic Outlook I do not need to tell you that the economy stinks. How bad is it? Absent the government sector, negative real economic growth of -0.3 percent. That means that this is the first president other than Hoover with negative growth during his first four years. Yes, the president has a point when he says that he inherited a bad economy. With George Bush the economy grew 6.6 percent. But the president’s policies made it worse. His antibusiness agenda, refusal to compromise by adopting Simpson-Bowles and the Keystone pipeline along with his desire for tax increases and health care are only the tip of the iceberg. Federal spending is now 24% of GDP and growing. Traditionally it is 20 percent. Middle class incomes have fallen by $4,520. Health care premiums increased by $3,000. Only a blind party loyalist would want four more years of this. Regardless of who gets elected, there is the so-called "fiscal cliff” looming where we have tax hikes and spending cuts of nearly $600 billion of tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect at the end of the year. • Payroll tax cut benefiting 160 million workers is scheduled to expire at the end of the year (taking away $1,000 for the average family) • increase in the taxes of $1.7 trillion under Obamacare • A typical middle-income family making $40,000 to $64,000 a year could see its taxes go up by $2,000 next year if lawmakers fail to renew a lengthy roster of tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year, according to a new report. • Taxpayers across the income spectrum would be hit with large tax hikes, the Tax Policy Center said in its study Monday, with households in the top 1 percent income range seeing an average tax increase of more than $120,000, while a family making between $110,000 to $140,000 could see a tax hike in the $6,000 range. • The increases would total more than $500 billion -- a more than 20 percent increase -- with nine out of 10 households being affected by the expiration of tax cuts. • Taxes would rise by more than $500 billion in 2013 -- an average of almost $3,500 per household. • $109 billion in automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect in January Cumulatively, the country would see a 5 percentage point jump in its average tax rate, which works out to taxes on the top 1 percent jumping by more than 7 percentage points and about 4 percentage points for most people earning below $100,000 a year. Put another way, people in the $40,000-$64,000 income range would see their average federal tax rate jump from 14 percent to 17.8 percent -- or an increase in their overall federal bill of 27 percent. All told, almost 90 percent of all households would face a tax increase, though the top 20 percent of earners would bear 60 percent of the overall cost. Across all households the tax increases would average almost $3,500. The new top rate of 39.6 percent would kick in for income over $397,000. The current top rate is 35 percent rate. What will this portend for the economy? The Congressional Budget Office said in August that this would cause a 0.5 percent contraction in gross domestic product next year, triggering a recession. If postponed the consensus of business economists is that the U.S. economy will likely expand 2.4 percent next year, up from projected growth of 1.9 percent in 2012. The Federal Reserve analysts projected that the unemployment rate would stay near 8 percent through 2014 having downgraded its forecast. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said "I suspect that the fiscal issues may be part of that." I suspect that he may be right in the short run. But in the longer run, the irresponsible disregard of the Fed for the value of the dollar may be more significant. Regardless, if Romney is elected - sell your gold.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Random thoughts

• Candy Crowley. Should I say “I told you so?” Although it would have been written and reported that Romney was peevish, don’t you wish Mitt had said “Candy, if you are going to continue to interrupt me and fact check (erroneously) for the president, why don’t you go stand next to him.” Crowley’s open partisan behavior especially in interjecting that the president said at the outset that Libya was a terrorist attack when she had previously admonished David Axelrod that it was not, is the stuff that used to get people fired. Anyone taking bets that Crowley will stay on the job? • What about those anti-capitalist Nationwide Insurance ads that say “We don’t have shareholders so we make our policyholders first”? I expect Obama to show up saying “I endorse this message.” Well studies comparing mutual savings and loans to stock savings and loans show that the mutual organizations are less efficient and more wasteful than stock organizations. The mutual executives have significantly higher perks than those who run firms with stockholders. The stockholders (the market) provide oversight that lessens waste. So in reality the absence of stockholders is a bad thing, not a good one. • Have you noticed that the polls are suddenly showing Romney strongly in the lead? How could he possibly have gained 11 points in Wisconsin seemingly overnight? How could all of a sudden he be even with women nationwide? How come all of a sudden his national lead is 6 points? The answer is that as I have pointed out before, the polls have all been rigged with an oversampling of democrats. Again for those polls to be correct then the voters would have to show up on voting day in the same proportion as they are represented in the polls. Not likely especially given the stark drop in democrat registration. • I voted yesterday. I arrived at the polls 15 minutes early and the line was already out the door. One of the poll workers said that she had never seen anything like it. After I voted, the line was in the parking lot. I was told that the same was true all over east Tennessee. As a friend of mine said "I have been waiting for four years for this day!" Wonder who she voted for?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The coming election: Why am I so uneasy?

With the election coming I have a deep uneasy feeling that I have kept to myself. It is that whoever wins, the other side will actively try to tear this country apart. Consider all the invective on the left regarding the Tea Party, republicans and Mitt Romney. Need I say that the smear campaigns against each is actually a hate campaign. The left has yelled over and over that the right hates women - I guess even right wing women are supposed to hate women (who said it was remotely rational?), hates blacks, hates hispanics, hates gays, hates working class Americans and only favors corporate greed. I have even had people say this to my face. Even though blacks are becoming increasingly marginalized in this country, they still remain a powerful force. Defeat of Obama could galvanize many blacks to take to the streets. Joining them will be the anarchists, the Occupy Wall Street crowd, and the radicals on the left. On the other hand, the right has lambasted the "progressives" and Obama as socialists - if not communists - hell bent on the destruction of the country. An Obama victory could spur the skinheads, the states rights groups, the state secessionists, and the kook fringe on the right to take to the streets. Whoever that takes to the streets will likely be met with force from the opposing camps. The left thinks that the right tramples freedom and wants to institute a police state while ironically the right thinks the same about the left. While the right conjures up visions of Stalin on the left, the left throws Hitler back in the face of the right - even though Hitler was a socialist. Yes I know that four more years of Obama would be a continuing disaster on all fronts - domestic and foreign. Yes I know that Romney has the expertise to right the ship - but I am not certain if he has the guts to do it. But what I am not certain of is the reaction of the left if Obama loses or the reaction of the right if Obama wins. I have the feeling that we are in for some interesting times.

Monday, October 15, 2012

So who taught you how to read?

One of the most laughable bumper stickers out there is the one that says “If you can read this, thank a teacher”. Are teachers really responsible for kids learning to read? If so then teachers are also responsible for kids not being able to read. Both my brother and I could read before we stepped inside a school. The same is true for my kids and my brother’s kids. However, even a teacher would be able to teach our children to read. I am reminded of my brother who was a math major at Purdue saying that he did so well because he could not understand a word spoken by any of his professors. Nevertheless, bad teachers don’t teach kids to read and the inability of teachers to teach is blamed on the kids. Consider that the head of the Chicago teachers union said that the increased accountability demanded by the city administration over the dismal performance of the school system was “unfair” because “poor kids can’t learn”! (http://eagnews.org/ctus-lewis-increased-accountability-unfair-because-poor-kids-cant-learn/). Of course this is nonsense. Consider that virtually all these students can recite every word to the most complicated rap after only three listenings. Indeed, if Lil Wayne rapped War and Peace, these kids would know Tolstoy in a week. If I were a parent in Chicago I would be on the warpath. The problem is that in the education system only the students do not have an advocate. Lack of achievement is always laid at the feet of the students when the real culprit is the method of instruction. The teachers are taught methods that have demonstrated failure. Sure there are high achievers but studies show that these students excel regardless of the method employed. The colleges of education have an invested interest in their traditional methods and will defend them to the detriment of the children taught. Yet nontraditional methods such as Direct Instruction have been shown to produce proficiency rates in at-risk students that are equal to and even higher than those for students in high income districts. Its high time that we quit excusing the teachers and blaming the kids. As I have said before, if we want kids to achieve then we should privatize the school system, collect the taxes and turn it over to the Catholics.

Early voting = fraud?

Early voting in Tennessee starts on Thursday. I know that some on the right are contending that early voting equates to fraud. But the logic escapes me. I have yet to find any confirming evidence. Those that argue fraud also argue that if voters cast their ballots before election day, that there is no chance that opinions that might change at the last minute will be reflected. This, of course, has nothing to do with fraud. I for one always vote early. I live in a district with high voter participation. On election day, the lines are long throughout the day and the wait is long. To avoid this inconvenience, I vote early. It is my impression that most of us early voters will not be swayed one way or the other by later breaking news - the fabled October surprise. We are not the undecided and I am puzzled how one could be undecided in this particular election. Yet I heard an interview with an undecided voter who said that he was faced with two unsavory choices: between "more government and less freedom". Excuse me? Naturally in the tradition of today's news interviewers, there was no follow up to explore this bizarre notion. Now it has occurred to me that the argument regarding voter fraud does not relate to early voting where the voters go to the polls early but to absentee ballots. There the potential for fraud exists. The case usually cited is in the Minnesota senate race where the republican Norm Coleman lost to the idiot Al Franken because an unlikely 60 percent of the absentee ballots went to the democrat. It would be interesting to see if in states where the election commission is dominated by democrats, that their candidates get the most absentee votes and in states where the republicans dominate, their candidates get the most. Then there might be an argument that absentee voting is likely to be fraudulent. But to include early voting at the polls as fraudulent is a bit of a stretch.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Do you believe in the polls? What about the tooth fairy?

One of the hot topics today is the polls. Most have Obama pulling away in the toss up states and ahead nationally. The conservative talking heads are expressing disbelief claiming that the polls are run by democrats and are trying to determine the outcome of the election. However, I find it hard to believe that the Wall Street Journal pollsters are a bunch of libs. Nevertheless, from a purely scientific viewpoint, one can call the polls into question. For whatever reason, most of the polls oversample democrats. The polls that don't actually have Romney ahead. Nonetheless, for the polls to be accurate, those who actually vote must reflect the composition of the polls. Thus, if the polls oversample democrats say 40 percent democrat, 30 percent republican and 30 percent independent, then the poll is only accurate if the actual voters keep the same percentages. While this may be likely, the likelihood that oversampling democrats is accurate is dubious at best. Consider the following: since the election in 2008, democrat registration has fallen dramatically. In the swing states consider the following: democrats are down over 400,000 in Ohio, 5 percent in Florida, 9.5 percent in Iowa and 19.7 percent in New Hampshire ( http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/27/drop-in-ohio-voter-registration-especially-in-dem-strongholds-mirrors/#ixzz27mDHMdtX). The pollsters admit that their models are largely unchanged from 2008 and reflect voting patterns from that election. Consider this, first the fall in democrat registrations should call for a revision of the samples. Second, common sense tells you that Obama will not do as well among any voting bloc save the progressive wing of the democrat party. He has to do worse among Catholics for the administration's stand regarding mandated birth control for employers. He has to do worse among Jews for his anti-Isreal stance and the anti-semitism in the Occupy Wall Street crowd - a democratic favorite. He may still get 95 percent of the black vote but the number of black voters will be significantly less. All this is common sense. For the polls to ignore all of this lessens their value and leads me to conclude that this election won't even be close. Romney in a landslide.

If the Fed wants more growth then why is it still paying interest on bank reserves?

One thing has puzzled me about current Fed monetary policy so perhaps you, kind reader, might have the answer. Fed policy has been expansionary. Ben Bernanke has solid support on his Open Market Committee for loose monetary policy. Just read the speeches of the Fed governors. Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart has said "For me," Lockhart told the Atlanta Institute of Internal Auditors, "the policy question was what tools in combination have the greatest chance of producing real results in terms of faster growth and employment gains while preserving price stability." (http://www.frbatlanta.org/pubs/financialupdate/12q3_lockhart_monetary_policy.cfm?d=1&s=email). Well Lockhart and his Fed buddies have me confused because the one obvious change that they could have made but haven't is the rate the Fed pays on bank reserves. For years, the Fed paid zero interest on bank excess reserves - the amount that banks hold over the amount that they are required to hold on transactions deposits (10%). Currently, the Fed is paying 0.25 percent on excess reserve holdings. To put that in perspective, the 3-month, 6-month, one year and two year Treasury all yield less than 0.25 percent. That means that banks could simply hold excess reserves than buy Treasurys and earn higher rates! No wonder the Fed instituted QE1 and QE2 which purchased Treasurys. Wouldn't it have been simpler just to lower the rate paid on excess reserves? That way the banks would be induced to purchase the Treasurys and the Fed would not have bloated its balance sheet. Now that the Fed (re: Lockhart) states that its objective is to promoted faster economic growth, then wouldn't eliminating the rate on reserves push banks into lending more? Sure this is a tough environment but the world on the street is that the banks' lending standards have become unreasonable even in these difficult times. Perhaps the reason is that they do not have to make as many loans due to the Fed paying them interest on reserves.

Negative Treasury yields?

Finance professors teach that markets are rational. That thinking is probably dated because in large part market movements may not be rational. First, there is a herd mentality in markets that lead to irrational movements. Second, markets are affected by actions initiated by computer driven models which may be contrary to what an individual investor might do. Rationality is an interesting topic in today's markets. Now the nominal yield on Treasurys is close to zero which means that for long term bonds, the yields are likely to be negative when adjusted for inflation. Meanwhile, in Europe, many core bond markets are already have negative short-term yields and with the turmoil in the eurozone, inflows from Europe to Treasurys could push US rates negative. Why would a rational investor buy an instrument whose return is practically guaranteed to be zero? The textbook answer is "safety". The Treasury is a safe haven in a turbulent market fraught with uncertainty. Well that makes sense but who says the Treasury is safe? Sure it may be safe against default but it certainly is not safe from loss. Another strike against the rational market argument is that junk bonds are currently trading at record low rates. Of course this is because those rates of around 6 percent seem lofty compared to Treasurys. However, remember these are junk bonds we are talking about. Even in the best of times, junk bonds pose a risky bet for investors. Now in this economic climate we would expect the yields on these bonds to go up not down. But going down they are because of the miniscule return from Treasurys yet the risk has gone up not down. Who says markets are rational?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

QE3? More like QE Infinity

The Fed just announced QE3. However unlike the first two iterations, this one has no expiration date or amount. Call it QE infinity. The action was taken at the last Open Market Committee - although Bernanke had hinted at it in his Jackson Hole speech earlier. The vote for the FOMC was 11-1. On the committee sit all 7 governors of the Fed, the president of the New York Fed and four of the other reserve bank presidents. I presume the one "no" vote was from the president of the Richmond Fed who has consistently opposed quantitative easing. On the other side of the spectrum is the president of the Chicago fed who wants even more easing than was agreed upon. The amount the fed will buy is $40 billion per month in mortgage-backed securities. This is an important departure from the other QEs in that the Fed is not buying Treasurys. Thank goodness for small favors. The purchasing of Treasurys is called monetizing the national debt and essentially has the Fed supporting increased government spending by purchasing Treasurys directly from the US Treasury. I have long advocated that this be made illegal except in a declared national emergency. When the Fed buys mortgage-backs it is purchasing bonds that are collateralized by mortgages. It is not clear if it is only buying the bonds from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or from the private sector or both. The issuer of the bonds buys the mortgages from originators, pools the mortgages and issues bonds against the pools. The purchaser of the bond (now the Fed) does not own the mortgages - they remain on the balance sheet of the issuer of the bond (say Fannie Mae). The issuer typically guarantees the timely payment of the principal and interest of the mortgages to the bond holder. In the case of default of a mortgage, the holder of the mortgage - not the bond - bears the risk. Generally, the mortgage pools are diversified so that unless there is a general mortgage meltdown, the risk that the bond will default are minimal. Historically, the purchaser of the mortgages has policed risk by evaluating defaults among the originators. Thus, if an originator is making too many "bad" mortgages, the purchaser will either buy subsequent mortgages at a haircut or not at all. As a consequence, the risk to the bond holder should also be minimal. Of course, when times are not usual, like in the mortgage market meltdown, then the bonds themselves default because the bond issuer defaults by not being able to cover the defaults of the homeowners. By announcing that it is only purchasing mortgage-backs, the Fed has announced that it is no longer supported the deficit spending of the congress and the White House. Rather, it has announced that it is supporting the mortgage market instead. This is because when the bond issuer sells the bonds, it then uses the funds to purchase more mortgages. So if I had my druthers, I prefer this QE to the others.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Libya and Egypt on 9/11: Why hasn't someone resigned?

I am outraged over the murder of four Americans including the ambassador to Libya yesterday on 9/11. I was earlier outraged over Egyptians going inside the embassy compound and trashing the American flag and flying a black al-qaeda flag in its stead. The question that needs answering is where were the marines? I had thought that each embassy had a detachment of marines to provide security. If that is so, then how did the protestors get insider the embassy compounds? Why aren't there dozens of dead radical muslims in Egypt and Beghanzi? Where were the marines? This shocking lack of security to me is an impeachable offense. No not of the president but of the secretary of state who continues to exhibit incompetency. These episodes mean that Hillary Clinton must go. If she does not resign then the senate should immediately move to impeach her. Yes I know poor old pitiful Harry Reid won't do it but at least the republicans should have the testosterone to recommend it. Impeach Hillary!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Random Thoughts

• The democratic convention presented us with a continuing contradiction. Among their most reliable supporters are Jews, blacks and Mexican-Americans (most of the media would say “Hispanics” but Cuban-Americans are reliably republican). But what was on parade should have been offensive to these groups. It was in your face abortion, gay rights and the anti-God fiasco. Blacks and Hispanics are notably against abortion, against gay marriage and pro-God. If the republicans were smart (remember George Will calling them the Stupid Party) they would blanket black and Hispanic markets with snippets from the democratic convention. They should also hold meetings with ministers and priests who serve these communities as well. As to the Jews, Obama has poorly veiled enmity toward Israel and many of the democratic leadership are openly anti-Semitic. I encourage the republicans to go after black, Hispanic and Jewish democrats in congress to force them to explain their allegiance to the democratic party. The congressional black caucus – excepting Allen West and Tim Scott – and especially Debbie Wasserman Schultz look like useful idiots. • My father was a proud alumnus of Savannah State University. I only knew him to be bitter about one thing. His diploma said “Georgia State College”. Back in the old days, some southern states attached “university of” to an all-white school and “college” to an all-black school. Thus Tennessee State University (black) and the University of Tennessee (white), Alabama State University (black) and University of Alabama (white) and of course there was Georgia State College (black) and the University of Georgia – ironically my alma mater. So when the state decided to put convert a two year college to a four year (white) university in Atlanta, they took away my Dad’s school’s name and gave it to the white school and renamed Dad’s as Savannah State. • But speaking of Savannah State, Dad would not have been embarrassed by their losing to Oklahoma State 84-0 and then the next week to Florida State. As a matter of fact he would have been proud of his Tigers. He knew they moved from Division II to D-I mainly to play basketball with the big boys to get the revenue to support their athletic programs but he would have never dreamed that they would do the same in football. If he were still here, I would have taken him to Stillwater and to Tallahassee. He would have worn his Tiger gear with pride. • By the way, this was a historic two weeks with Savannah State playing Oklahoma State and Florida State, Howard playing Rutgers, Florida A&M playing Oklahoma, Delaware State playing Delaware, Southern playing New Mexico, Grambling playing TCU, Jackson State versus Mississippi State, and Fort Valley State (my mother is an alumna) playing Valdosta State. • Today I saw an old beat up wreak of a Chevrolet pickup with a bumper sticker that said “Made in America by Americans”. I was laughing so hard I almost had to pull over.

Are the democrats racists?

While at the family farm awaiting the beginning of bow season I head a public service announcement pertaining to renewing a Georgia’s driver license. In order to renew the applicant is required to have the following documents: • You must be a Georgia citizen • You must be a US citizen and you must prove it. How? • You must have at least one (1) original or certified document to prove your Primary Identity; and • At least one (1) document to prove your Social Security Number; and • At least two (2) documents to prove your Residential Address; and • Appropriate Name Change documents, if needed Excuse me? The Georgia law is in accordance to the Real ID Act enacted by the congress in 2005. What does Eric Holder and the Obama Administration has to say about this. If they are suing states over voter ID why haven’t they sought repeal?. And by the way, didn’t you need a valid photo ID to be admitted to the democratic convention? Does this mean that the democrats are racists?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Liberals and libertarians: Today's bitter clingers

Back in the early 1970s I was faculty advisor to the University of Florida College Libertarians. The students were the answer to the leftist clubs on campus. I remember them as being a fun group but serious about free markets. We had bumper stickers that said “Taxation is Theft”. Mine got stolen off my Saab Sonnet. I tell people that I was young and na├»ve but now that I am matured I realize that taxation is expropriation. Today far from being happy warriors, libertarians have joined liberals as being never happy. Do you know a happy liberal? I don’t. They are usually bitter, cynical and intent on spreading their unhappiness upon the rest of us. Sadly, the same is now true of many of today's libertarians. They, too, are usually bitter and cynical. Their only saving grace is that they – true to their philosophy – aren’t in the least interested in spreading the misery but keep it to themselves. There are three propelling forces in modern libertarianism: free markets, railing against the Federal Reserve and non-intervention in foreign affairs. I am still strongly on board with the first. As I pointed out in my last posting (a Knoxville News- Sentinel article), today’s republicans and even Tea Party activists have not given serious consideration to privatizing federal spending. I believe that only the military would be exempt from privatization. I firmly believe that we could cut the federal budget in half and achieve more, rather than less, benefits from it. I have written before that I believe that the Federal Reserve has been brilliantly conceived although at times poorly executed and the changes recommended by its detractors would be suboptimal. As to foreign policy, although George Washington and Thomas Jefferson advocated no “entangling alliances” with foreign countries, I believe that it is not in the national interest to have a laissez faire stance with regard to foreign policy. Libertarians would argue that free trade would motivate nations due to increased economic well being. However, socialists have demonstrated that economic well being is not primary to them. More importantly, despots have demonstrated the same. A basic question is whether foreign alliances can minimize the potential harm done by those we consider as the bad guys. I think most of us looked askance at Ron Paul when he said that if we were libertarians, the victims of 9/11 would still be alive. Few of us would make this argument. One of the clearest examples of a bitter libertarian is found in Gary North’s Mises.org piece “If only D’Souza were right” http://mises.org/daily/6182/If-Only-DSouza-Were-Right. Here North virtually ignores D’Souza’s film and instead rails about what is not in the film – namely blaming Bush and the republican’s for the economic and deficit mess that we are in. North points out that congress could have stopped Bush and Obama but did not do it. He points out that D’Souza ignores the unfunded liabilities of the federal government and Bush’s prescription drug benefit. Of course North does chose to point out that politically Bush had little choice and his signing of the bill took the issue off the board. The democrats were pushing hard for the benefit in their upcoming campaign and Bush knew that in a close election, the vote of seniors was critical. Yes it was a budget buster, so it was enacted without funding leaving that responsibility to future generations. North then argues that Obama is doing nothing more than continuing Bush’s policies. Indeed, he calls Obama Bush in blackface and the “star of a 21-century minstrel show.” Pardon me if I join the crowd and say that such a characterization is unfortunate and frankly racist. So read North’s piece. Also go see the movie. What D’Souza wants the viewer to do is to get to know Barack Obama. If you read North, you wonder if he saw the movie, because what he reviews is something else entirely.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shift programs to the private sector

Knoxville News-Sentinel By Dr. Harold Black Sunday, September 2, 2012 In most areas, government has an unbroken record of failure. Yet we tolerate it. Over $16 trillion has been spent on the War on Poverty with no impact on the percentage of people in poverty. This past year welfare spending is $668 billion spread over 126 programs or about $14,000 per poor American. The question is how much of the money actually redounds to the benefit of the recipient or is used simply to support those who administer the money? Years ago when I reached the point where I was paying enough in income taxes to support a family of four above the poverty level, I said that I wouldn't mind paying the taxes if you just assigned me a family. I would send them the check every month — instead of to the IRS. That way I could get pictures of the kids, visit them at Christmas and take them to baseball games. There is an obvious disconnect between expenditures and results. Unlike the market, which punishes failure, the government rewards it. Just like the Department of Education has failed to increase educational achievement and the Department of Energy has failed to provide for energy independence, there is no doubt that the War on Poverty has been a failure. In 2009, President Obama stated that he "will use only one test when deciding what ideas to support with your precious tax dollars: It's not whether an idea is liberal or conservative, but whether it works." So what was his response to a major study which showed that Head Start has spent more than $100 billion without there being any difference after the first grade between children who were in Head Start and those that were not? The administration recommended an increase in Head Start funding. Currently, Head Start costs $22,600 per child versus the average cost of day care being $9,500. Don't you think we could do better? Of course we could. If bids were taken to fund Head Start at $10,000 per child, the market could produce results that would truly create a head start for those kids. Instead of the government collecting and doling out the money for programs, we should privatize most of government. If we wanted to get people out of poverty rather than keeping them impoverished, we should tie incentives to the receipt of funds. As Ben Franklin said "I am for doing good to the poor, but … I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed … that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer." If we put the various programs out for bid, we would get innovative solutions that would work. If the company that received the contract could not produce the results, then it would have to pay a hefty fine. The same could be done in education and in energy. Since the founding of the Department of Energy we have become less energy independent. Privatizing education would result in higher levels of achievement across the board. Do you know that there are programs that result in higher levels of reading proficiency in areas serving at-risk children than are achieved in even the "best" public schools in Knoxville? So instead of bemoaning the state of poverty, of education and of energy, privatization would produce the results that most of us should demand from our governments. To quote Alfred Jay Nock, "It is a curious anomaly. State power has an unbroken record of inability to do anything efficiently, economically, disinterestedly or honestly; yet when the slightest dissatisfaction arises over any exercise of social power, the aid of the agent least qualified to give aid is immediately called for."

Friday, August 31, 2012

The gutless RNC censors

Mia Love, The Haitian-American woman running for congress in Utah against a well-known entrenched democrat, spoke before the Republican National Convention. The Salt Lake Tribute reported that two of her remarks did not make it pass the republican censors – er editors. This is interesting because Mike Huckabee has been stating that he was given free rein in his speech. One wonders if any of his remarks were edited as well. What were the edits of Love’s speech? They were two references to race. First, here is the speech that Love gave at the RNC. “Let me tell you about the America I know. My parents immigrated to the U.S. with ten dollars in their pocket, believing that the America they had heard about really did exist. When times got tough they didn't look to Washington, they looked within. So the America I came to know was centered in personal responsibility and filled with the American dream. The America I know is grounded in the determination found in patriots and pioneers, in small business owners with big ideas, in the farmers who work in the beauty of our landscape, in our heroic military and Olympians. It's in every child who looks at the seemingly impossible and says, "I can do that." That is the America I know! President Obama's version of America is a divided one — pitting us against each other based on our income level, gender, and social status. His policies have failed! We are not better off than we were 4 years ago, and no rhetoric, bumper sticker, or campaign ad can change that. Mr. President I am here to tell you we are not buying what you are selling in 2012. The American Dream is our story. It is a story of human struggle, standing up and striving for more. It's been told for over 200 years with small steps and giant leaps; from a woman on a bus to a man with a dream; and the bravery of the greatest generation, to the entrepreneurs of today. This is our story. This is the America we know because we built it. With Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan we can restore the America we know and love. The world will know it, our children will tell it and our grandchildren will possess it for years to come! God bless America.” Now here is what the Salt Lake Tribune reports: In the draft of her speech leading up to the convention, Love had planned to say that Obama has "attempted to pit us against each other based on the color of our skin, our gender, income level, age and social status." Also gone was a later reference to race, where Love said: "The truth is that the president’s policies have made minorities and the most vulnerable in society more desperate and dependent on government, less self-reliant, less upwardly mobile and ultimately less free." Blast those weak-kneed republicans! Love would have said what needs to be said to all Americans but especially to those black Americans who still will vote for Obama strictly because he is a democrat and especially because he is black. What needs to be said by all republicans is that the policies of democrats have robbed the poor of incentives and have created a spiral of dependency. Coming from a black woman this message is particularly powerful. Too bad, the censors at the RNC are gutless.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Republican Bench

I think it was George Will who referred to the republicans as the “stupid party”. Sadly that has been historically true. The lasting vision of republicans has been the old white country clubber with the blue-haired wife embarrassed by fundamental Christians and conservatives. The Tea Party was certainly not welcomed with open arms by the mainstream republican establishment. But like them or not, the Tea Party fielded candidates under the republican label. The reason being that third party races would guarantee continued leadership by the congressional democrats. Now we have a conundrum. First, the republican platform committee is picking a fight with the conservatives seeking to dilute dissident voices. Of course, they are shortsighted because if those on the right get nominated then they could purge the moderates as well. Second, Mitt Romney who is touted as the candidate of the moderates, had to approve the list of speakers at the convention. Who did we get the first day? Va. Governor Bob McDonnell, Sen. John Hoeven (ND), Rep Marsha Blackburn (TN), Rick Santorum, Sen Kelly Ayotte (NH), Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Wis Gov. Scott Walker, Nev Gov. Brian Sandoval, Texas senatorial candidate Ted Cruz, Gov Nikki Haley (SC), former democratic Rep Artur Davis, Gov Chris Christie (NJ) and my favorite, Utah rep. candidate Mia Love. None of these are mainstream moderates. All are dedicated conservatives, young, mainly minorities and extremely bright. Look at who the dems will have speaking at their convention and see whose future looks brightest. The republicans and more importantly, the country.

Voting rates in 2008

I was always under the impression that less than 50 percent of eligible adults voted. This is because in elections around the world we hear of 90+ percent participation while it was significantly less in the US. So I went to the census bureau (www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p20-562.pdf) and found out the following. In the presidential election of 2008, 64 percent of voting age citizens voted which was not statistically different from the presidential elections of 2004. You would think that since this was an historic election with Barack Obama being the democratic nominee that there would be a higher percentage voting, but no. However, blacks voted at the higher levels since those statistics have been recorded. Nonetheless, the likelihood of blacks voting was still only 65 percent. One would have thought that voter participation among blacks would have been much higher. Non-Hispanic whites voted at 66 percent while Asians and Hispanics were only at a dismal 49 percent. I have no clue why the Asian participation rate is so low but you would have thought that given the dustups over immigration and Hispanics now constituting the largest minority group, that their voter participation would be greater. However, the number of minority voters did increase. There were 5 million more voters in 2008 than in 2004. Of that number 2 million were black, 2 million were Hispanic and 600,000 were Asian. The number of non-Hispanic white voters stayed about the same. Consequently, both the number of black voters increased along with black voter participation. Nonetheless, 65 percent participation is still surprisingly low. The census also reported that of the 225 million adults, 206 million were citizens and 146 million were registered and 131 million voted. This means that while only the voting rate for the total population was 58 percent. Of the adult population 64 percent were registered and 90 percent of those voted.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Obama beats the alternative?

Several days ago I contacted three dear friends who are yellow dog democrats to have them educate me on why a rational thinking person would vote for Obama. One replied "I just love him". One replied it was because of mandatory universal health insurance (Obamacare). I had sent her a blog explaining how the problem could be solved at a fraction of the cost but she said that it did not matter, she was voting for him regardless. Both are white. My black friends who are dems - with two exceptions - are voting for him regardless and make excuses for him. The third (also white) friend replied thusly and reinforced my belief that some differences are simply intractable. Here is what she wrote. "Short answer: Obama beats the alternative. A more elaborate response: Romney is, and has always been, out of touch with the way the majority of Americans live their daily lives - as anyone who has been wealthy all of their lives generally tendsto be. And you can't govern well if you can't understand what your constituents needs are. Also, I think that, left to his own devices, Romney is as much (if not MORE) of a loose cannon as Joe Biden! Mainly because he seems to not understand one WHIT about how what he says will impact his listener. Example: his disastrous European "tour" after his visit to the Olympics. How many international leaders did he offend in the span of only one week?! Just think how much damage he could do to our world standing in four years!! As to your quandary: I feel that a "partisan believer" will never be able to see the "rationality" of another person's opposite viewpoint. And you qualify as a partisan believer, m'dear, BECAUSE you stated upfront that you think supporting Obama is irrational. Maybe support for a candidate you abhor seems irrational to you - and maybe it is to some non-sentient, unthinking Obama's supporters. But I base my preference on rational gathering and culling of TONS of information and a careful observance of each candidate's behavior, rhetoric, background and performance. Hope that answers your question."

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Are the Democrats making a big mistake having abortion front and center at their convention?

The Obama camp sure got huffy over Romney’s comment that no one has asked to see his birth certificate. Almost instantaneously, they released a comment with righteous indignation. And this is from the same bunch that has called Romney a felon, a tax cheat, an animal abuser and most famously a murderer. Compared to all that, Romney’s comments were timid and tame. I posted yesterday on Todd Akin and the dems reaction to it with NARAL, Planned Parenthood, Sandra Fluke and other pro-abortion speakers at their convention. A dear friend who is a yellow dog dem thinks this is a mistake. She says that abortion is one issue that should not be up front and in your face at the convention because even dems think that it is something that should be private and even unseemly. Since most Americans identify themselves as pro-life and even most dems find the act unsavory, to have it displayed so prominently at the convention is a mistake. Also, Obama still is very strong among Hispanics. She thinks that if the republicans have any smarts, they will through the super pacs and Ryan (who is catholic) blanket the Hispanic markets with the pro–abortionists' speeches. It should be interesting.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bill Clinton, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, Sandra Fluke and Todd Akin?

Todd Akin’s stupid comment on rape has caused the polls to flip. Akin’s lead has vanished and now McCaskill is leading by 10 points. Also Romney now trails Obama in Missouri by one point despite he and Ryan and all the republican honchos in Missouri denouncing Akin. Apparently the powers that be in the democratic hierarchy have decided to feature Akin, rape and abortion at their convention. Since the comment, the speakers at the democratic national convention have been announced. Among the speakers are Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the openly gay Democratic Senate candidate, Illinois congressional candidate and Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Eva Longoria, national co-chair of Obama's campaign, Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau, Lilly Ledbetter a women’s equality activist and Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the late president. But also speaking are Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, Nancy Keenan president of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) Pro-Choice America and Sandra Fluke who gained notoriety when Rush Limbaugh lampooned her wanted to have others pay for her birth control. Is there any doubt that these women will try to tie Romney and Ryan to Akin? Well there shouldn’t since Fluke previewed of her speech in an email released by the president's re-election campaign. Romney and Ryan, Fluke wrote "they're in lockstep with Akin on the major women's health issues of our time. There is a clear choice for women in this election." Really? Has the irony of also having Bill Clinton – an accused rapist and a widely recognized sexual predator – keynoting the same democratic convention been lost on the media, on the democrats or more importantly, on women? Maybe the republican superpacs can use the Clinton speech in an ad where they flash pictures of Kathleen Willey, Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky while the former president is speaking. For those who have forgotten the sordid escapades of Clinton see what one female democrat wrote: http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/archive/1998/05/williams199805.

Monday, August 20, 2012

More Random Thoughts

The Obama campaign has released the stand-ins for the debate. While the republicans say that no stand-in is needed for Romney and Ryan, the democrats have announced that John Kerry is the stand-in for Romney and Chris Von Holen is Ryan’s stand-in. There is no truth to the rumor that Goofy was being considered as the stand-in for Biden. Romney congratulated Condelezza Rice for her membership in Augusta National. Do you think Obama will congratulate either her or the other new female member, Darla Moore, also a republican? So who is having a war on women? Why is it that there are no success stories in welfare? Namely, there must be someone who has used welfare to spring into the mainstream and from there into prosperity. Surely with all the trillions spent there must be evidence of success - or is success defined as staying on welfare? Didn’t Obama say he was going to evaluate every federal program and if it wasn’t working to get rid of it? I guess he concluded that they all were working.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Stunning

Isn’t it stunning that because of the drought and its impact on the US corn crop that the UN has asked the US to suspend its ethanol requirements and use the corn for food and feed rather than for fuel. The UN? Of course, it is dumb to burn up your food and feed in the first place. Again, if Iowa didn’t have that first presidential caucus we would have cheaper food. What happened to switchgrass? Isn’t it also stunning that the dems are actually saying with a straight face that cutting $700+ billion from medicare will not have any impact on benefits? Rather they are saying that the cuts will come from increased efficiency and reduction of fraud. So is there any evidence of increased efficiency in any government activity? And there is $700+b in fraud in the medicare program? Shouldn’t somebody go to jail? And people actually believe this? If so, I bet they own swamp land in Florida and a couple of bridges. What isn’t stunning is that the dems have not been pilloried by the media. What is also not surprising is the lack of media scrutiny over Obama’s not going to speak at the NAACP convention, Obama’s not offering an apology over Biden’s “put ya’ll back in chains” remark but what about Obama’s remark when he was asked why has he done so little for his black constituents and his answer that he isn’t just the president of black people but the president of the United States of America. You would have thought that at least the black sycophants could be up in arms and the press would have shouted the last remark to the heavens. But no. Just silence. How about Joe Biden’s week? There was the chains comment, thinking he was in North Carolina when he was in Virginia (actually that reminded me of the Southwest Airlines commercial when the singer thank the crowd using the wrong city – “want to get away?”) and not knowing what century is this. Biden has always been a gaffe machine but as Jim Geraghty at National Review says Biden is “an ill-informed, tactless, often obnoxious, loudmouthed, bloviating rhetorical time-bomb”. Wow. Wish I had said that. But isn’t it stunning that we have not seen the media comparing Paul Ryan with Biden saying “who do you want a heartbeat away from the president?” No. Not stunning at all. But this may be one of the few elections where the vice presidential candidate may actually make an impact on the election and push the few undecided to vote one way rather than another.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Random thoughts (inc. Is Paul Ryan hot?)

Why are idiots on the left immune from derision? What would the press say if Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Joe Biden were republicans? When Paul Ryan was announced as Mitt Romney’s running mate I was wondering if the democrats (of all people) would start running ads wondering if Ryan was a closet atheist in an effort to suppress the vote from the Christian right. That is because of Ryan’s professed love for Ayn Ryan who was a free market atheist. Well in an interview with Fox’s Britt Hume Paul Ryan was asked about his affection for Ayn Rand. He answered that Atlas Shrugged triggered his interest in economics and "she showed how the pitfalls of socialism can hurt the economy." (Note: Ryan has also said in the past that the works of Ludwig Von Mises and Freidrich Hayek, were “required reading" for his staff and interns.) Then Ryan said to Hume "I later in life learned about what her philosophy was," Ryan said, "It's called objectivism. It's something I completely disagree with. It's an atheistic philosophy." I think what really attracted Ryan to Rand is that the first four letters of her name are r-y-a-n. And I am sure you have noticed that Ron Paul’s son, the senator from Kentucky, is named Rand. Another in the continuing saga of the differences between men and women. Watching the rally in Norfolk my girlfriend said of Paul Ryan: “Well. He’s going to get the women vote.” I said “huh?” She said “Oh he is so good looking.” I said “Him? Good looking? I think he looks like a nerd.” Obviously she was right. The press has blown up over Ryan’s looks. Here is an article from Politico “Forget the budget: Paul Ryan is hot!” http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79632.html. Isn’t it interesting that in the hero worship that conservatives have for Reagan no one ever mentions his single biggest mistake – that of picking Bush rather than Jack Kemp as his vice president. If Kemp had been picked, he would have solidified the Reagan agenda, served for two terms, brought blacks back into the republican party. Instead by picking Bush, we got Clinton (who was not half bad as a president while being a lousy human being). The second Bush gave us Obama. Former Georgia football coach Jim Donnan has ben charged by the SEC as being in a ponzi scheme that took in $80 million mostly from football coaches and players and only returned $12 million. When the local newsperson in Knoxville read the needs, she felt the need to define “ponzi scheme” to the listeners. Her definition was straight from Wikipedia. She said a ponzi scheme was a fraudulent investment vehicle that pays returns to its investors from their own money or money from subsequent investors. Hum. Sounds like social security to me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Joe Biden: Racist?

On May 12 I posted that Joe Biden was the gift that keeps on giving and that “If Joe Biden were a republican he would be ridiculed and lampooned and make Dan Quale look like Einstein.” That comment could not be more true. Biden is a gaffe machine. During the first campaign when addressing a black group he said that the only time that many blacks would be together at a republican gathering, they would be wearing white coats. He also referred to Obama as "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." Just in case you do know it, blacks are offended if referred to as “articulate” as Biden implies when he says its “storybook”. Of course, he apologized. The implication is that the condition is rare amongst blacks. Remember when he said "you cannot go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. Oh I'm not kidding!" In 2007 in an interview with the Washington Post, Biden opined why the schools in Iowa perform better than those in Washington D.C. saying "There's less than 1% of the population in Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than 4 or 5% that are minorities. What is in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you're dealing with." Then yesterday, before a mixed group Biden said “We got a real clear picture of what they all value,” Biden said. “Every Republican’s voted for it. Look at what they value and look at their budget and what they’re proposing. Romney wants to let the — he said in the first hundred days he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, ‘unchain Wall Street.’ They’re going to put y’all back in chains.” Now can you imagine what the outrage would be if he had been a republican? If you add up all the comments, a republican would be called a racist for uttering only one of them. So is Biden a racist?

Is Ryan's medicare plan the same as that of the Congress? Rush Limbaugh got it wrong

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh today when he got a call from a woman who said that the republicans need to counter the democrat claims that Ryan's medicare plan is radical by pointing out that it is the same plan used by the congress. Rush said he didn't know that but after the break came back and said that it was true and cited an article in the New York Times. I then sent him an email saying that it was not the same plan. But just like in the earlier email I sent him telling him that the great recession was not caused by subprime mortgages and the government forcing the banks to make loans to people who couldn't repay, he will probably ignore this one as well (see http://www.adisgruntledrepublican.com/2009/03/are-cra-clinton-and-carter-really-to.html). What Ryan said in his Wall Street Journal op ed piece on April 5, 2011 was that his plan was similar as that of the congress (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703806304576242612172357504.html). However it is not identical. Ryan's plan calls for people to opt either for the current medicare plan or for a voucher of a fixed initial amount that grows with the CPI. The plan for the congress is not indexed to the CPI but rather to the average change in private insurance premiums (see http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/18/comparing-ryans-medicare-plan-to-what-congress-gets/). This is an important distinction. Much like college tuitions growing faster than the CPI because of increases in federal funding, Ryan's plan would spiral out of control as insurers would be able to jack up their rates with impunity. Of course, it would make sense if everyone were placed under the same plan adjusted to either the CPI or the wholesale price index. The reason why it would not be linked to the insurance average is that the government would then be motivated to place some sort of price control mechanism on the insurance companies. As has been shown repeatedly, this type of government interference in the market will result in distortions that do more harm than good. The question is whether even the republican dominated House would enact a change to their program to conform to that which Ryan wants to give the public as one of its choices?

Stop and Frisk: Part 2

In an effort to ward off charges of racial profiling the TSA has adopted a policy of randomly searching anyone, regardless of the likelihood of that person being a terrorist. Although virtually all of the terrorists have been young muslim males, the TSA has famously search old people, people in wheelchairs and beauty queens. Therefore, somewhat like New York's stop and frisk, the TSA should explicitly target young muslim males. I think it is interesting that I have never once been targeted by the TSA even when I was flying almost 100,000 a year. Now most times when I fly I am with my girlfriend who has been targeted every time we have flown out of Knoxville. She has been humiliated and infuriated. Now when we fly together, we fly out of her home town of Kingsport where she is waved on through. Obviously the TSA feels that it is better to tick off everyone rather than one particular group, although I think that they are just gropers and voyeurs. I am against racial profiling, mainly because I belong to a group that is routinely profiled. I have been pulled over several times by the cops for DWB (driving while black). My son while living in Knoxville was stopped, told to assume the position and "asked" if they could search his car - perhaps blacks who drive expensive foreign convertibles are all drug dealers. Since I have a fairly high profile in the city, I got apologies from each of the cops and had the one citation I received thrown out of court. I also got targeted at the Johannesburg airport - as a tourist. One of the airport security people place a 375 H&H shell in my bag. I said I don't own that caliber and anyway, I am bow hunting. To avoid getting carted off to an interrogation room and missing my connecting flight, I had to pay a $50 bribe. As a consequence, the vast majority of those who favor profiling don't belong to a group that is likely to be profiled. I know, you will say that whites in particular old whites are not likely to be bombers. But what about Bernadine Dorn or William Ayres? Believe me, if the TSA started profiling muslims then al-Quaeda would start recruiting blond blue eye bombers. So what can be done. There are those civil libertarians and many on the right and left who argue that the TSA impinges on our liberties. Many cite Ben Franklin who famously said "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety." Yet must you choose less freedom in order to be safe and secure? This seems to be a Hobson's choice - which is one or the other. (Note: I know some say Hobbesian choice after the philosopher but its really Hobson after the livery owner). I do not believe the two are conflicting at all. Rather, the TSA could adopt a policy much like that of El Al, the Israeli airline that is considered the world's safest against terrorism. It is said that El Al does not search passengers randomly nor does it profile. In Israel, 15 percent of the citizens are muslim but instead of profiling El Al watches for suspicious behavior. This can pay dividends for it apprehended several blonde women from Scandinavia who had bombs placed (unknowing to them) in their belongings by their muslim boyfriends. However, the truth is different. El Al profiles. In 2010 two brothers who were Palestinian Israelis sued and were awarded damages from EL Al for their treatment at a New York airport. The two were part of a group of 17 Israeli insurance agents on a business trip. At the airport, El Al security assigned a female security guard to watch them until their plane departed. The 15 Jews went through security with no problem but the two brothers were questioned, searched, had their baggage and carry-ons searched. Then they were told to have the security guard see them at all times. When one of the brothers went to the bathroom without permission, an argument ensued. He was told to either apologize to the guard or not board the flight. He apologized. In court, El Al admitted that the brothers did not pose a security threat but was acting under Israeli security guidelines. The Arab Association for Human Rights says that El Al which conducts its own security at foreign airports regularly subjects its Arab passengers regularly subjected to body and strip searches, had items including computers confiscated, kept in holding areas, escorted directly on to the plane and had their luggage tagged with colored stickers (see http://electronicintifada.net/content/el-al-sued-racial-profiling/8793). Therefore, it seems to me that what should be done is to do what El Al is said to do rather than what it does. Rather than profile, watch for suspicious behavior. Although TSA may actually have prevented some terrorism just by being there, the high profile cases where terrorism has been prevented have been where the terrorist got on the plane and the passengers thwarted the attack. As some wag has said, if TSA changes its policy, instead of being evil and useless it will only be useless.

Stop and Frisk: Part I

I was watching the news the other day and there was a story on the number of killings in Chicago. The numbers are truly horrific with 259 murders in the first six months of 2012. There was a call by some for Chicago to enact a stop and frisk procedure like New York. Chicago is only one third the size of New York but New York has had "only" 193 murders during the same period. However, Chicago mayor Raum Emanuel has resisted calls for stop and frisk and New York's may vigorous defends the policy while currently being sued for racial profiling. Is it racial profiling? In Chicago. even though only 33 percent of the population is black 201 of the 259 killed were black. Moreover, 75 percent of those killed were males between 15-35, 143 were gang members and 133 of those had criminal records (see http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/12217-chicago’s-murders-for-2012-likely-to-exceed-2011). As to New York, last year there were 686,000 stops and 80 percent were black or Latino. In May, a federal judge granted class-action status to a civil suit filed on behalf of people who were frisked on the streets and released. The judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, condemned what she called the city’s “deeply troubling apathy towards New Yorkers’ most fundamental constitutional rights” (see http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/judge-allows-class-action-status-in-stop-and-frisk-lawsuit/). New York's Mayor Bloomberg has justified the stops saying that it takes guns off the street and reduces crime. On the one hand, there seems to be an inverse relation between stops and gun seizures. In 2002, 4,069 guns were taken in 96,000 stops. During the first six months of this year 1,613 guns were seized on 337,434 stops (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/13/stop-and-frisks-arent-pulling-more-guns-off-new-york-city-streets-nypd-data-shows_n_1772197.html?utm_hp_ref=new-york). Yet on the other hand, the decrease in New York's murder rate actually ranks it as one of the safest American cities. Again, as in Chicago must of the murders were minority on minority with most killed being young males with gang affiliation. Thus, it is no surprise that the vast majority of those being stopped are minorities. The usual activists have charged racial profiling and can be ignored. What is important is to see what the black community thinks of the practice. Does it consider itself safer or does it feel targeted. Indeed, although there are always cases of innocent people dying in the shootings, more times than not it is some bad guy. Residents could even argue that they would be less safe if those 10,000 people had lived. What is instructive is that when there was a protest march against stop and frisk in New York in June, along with the usual suspects were religious groups and ordinary citizens. It is interesting that both New York and Chicago have very restrictive gun laws. In both cities, very few applicants can get a license and those that do have to go through a long, tedious and expensive procedure. The murder rates in the two cities show the futility of such restrictions. Again the bad guys get the guns but fortunately use them mainly on each other. The question is whether less restrictive gun laws will result in fewer murders. The answer is probably not however it may result in less crime. How is that? Well lawbiding citizens would be able to protect themselves against burglars and other criminal activities. However, it is doubtful if this would have any impact on the gang related violence. Nevertheless, the racial profile argument has some merit. Of the 686,000 stopped 93% of whom were males -- 54% were African-American, 33% were Hispanic, 9% were white and 3% were Asian. This is not surprising since most of the stops occur in minority neighborhoods. But note that only 5 percent were arrested. Thus it seems to me that New York should state that it is implementing a policy that will only stop those who exhibit suspicious behavior. This is similar to what El Al is said to do in the screening of passengers. Hum? Isn't this starting to sound like what some say should be the policy of the TSA?

Random Thoughts

• The moderators of the three presidential and the one vice presidential debates have been announced. The moderators are from Jim Lehrer of PBS, Bob Schieffer from CBS, and Candy Crowley from CNN with ABC's Martha Raddatz moderating the vice presidential debate. Surely, NBC cannot be pleased from being omitted but the glaring omission is Fox which has higher viewer ratings than CNN. Indeed, in the week of July 30, CNN attracted only 318,000 viewers to its primetime shows. It is also striking that Candy Crowley - who is perhaps the more open minded of the four - made the comment that "some party members" were concerned that the pick of Ryan was an overly doctrinaire "ticket death wish". Although the comment may be true given the wobbliness of moderate republicans, citing unidentified sources is often a cover up of just making things up. • Who is David Axelrod and why is he the democratic attack dog in chief? • I saw a democratic commercial with seniors talking about how Ryan's medicare plan scares them, because they will become worse off. Obviously no one told them that those 55 and older would be exempt from the changes. It reminds me of my late father once telling me to let him know when he became a fool. He said that he was getting all these solicitations seeking to scare him into taking some action since he was 85. Dad said "they must think that I am a fool." But since obviously the solicitations were successful, then there must be a lot of old fools out there so "please tell me when I become a fool." • The scurrilous democratic commercial of the steelworker who blames Romney for his wife's death from cancer has been well documented as being false - even by the Washington Post. One wishes that the republican superPACs would run a commercial with interviews from auto dealers and employees who were shut down by Obama's takeover of Chrysler and General Motors or even better of Delphi whose 20,000 nonunion workers lost their pensions as part of the bail out. • Does anyone really believe Obama anymore? I heard him say in a speech that GM was again number one and was profitable? Really? Toyota is number one. As to profitability, doesn't GM still owe us the taxpayers $25 billion and Ally (GMAC) owes $14.5 billion. Also, GM's stock is trading at $20.40. The government owns 500 million shares of GM. In order to recover just what GM owes us, the stock would have to rise to $53. . Lastly, why is it that only the republicans can tick off the independents? If the republicans ran an "Obama killed my wife" or "Obama is a felon" or "Obama is a tax cheat" commercial they would be vilified for "losing the independents". So why is it that the democrats don't alienate the independents with their attack ads?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Greatest Olympic athlete?

The Summer Olympics are now on. I generally split the screen and watch the Braves or the Reds play and swap over the Olympics if there is something on of interest (thus far women's gymnastics and track and field). Otherwise I stick with baseball. Several questions come to mind. First, When they do the medal count, do they count just one event or all the medals earned in that event (1 gold for women's soccer or 10 golds for the team)? Second, some have touted Michael Phelps as the greatest Olympic athlete of all time. There is no doubt that he has displaced Mark Spitz as the greatest swimmer but greatest athlete of all time? Swimming and gymnastics are sports with multiple opportunities to win medals with team and individual sports. If you just look at Phelps' individual gold medals he has the same as Carl Lewis (sprints and long jump). Lewis medaled in the 100, 200, 4x100 relay and the long jump in two separate Olympics. The great Jesse Owens did the same with golds in the same four events in the Berlin Olympics. By going back to back, Lewis displaced Owens as the greatest track athlete but his eight golds keep him in the argument for greatest Olympic athlete of all time. I know that some will argue Usain Bolt. But Bolt may be the greatest runner - he does only track and not field events. Speaking of Jesse Owens - whose name is actually James Cleveland (J.C.) Owens. Much is made of the fact that Adolf Hitler refused to shake his hand. But I thought that Hitler only shook the hand of German winners - so he would not have shaken Owens' hand even if he were white. You can understand the snub - if there was one but can you explain why FDR snubbed him? There was no commendation, no visit to the White House, no acknowledgement at all. Truman ignored him as well and it was left up to a Republican, Dwight Eisenhower, to finally honor him. This is just another long line in the irony of American politics where the democrats are the racists and the republicans (Lincoln, Eisenhower, Reagan (MLK birthday), civil rights votes) are not and yet the republicans are branded as racists. Go figure.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Random Thoughts

RJ III is in a ton of commercials. Where is Andrew Luck? If it were reversed, would we be hearing charges of racism? Obama has not apologized to Mitt Romney even though either Obama or his surrogates have accused Romney of being a felon, a tax cheat, a racist, a bully and lately a murderer. Romney’s wife has also been assailed for her wardrobe, for owning a horse, and for being a home maker. Of course, Obama has admitted to drug use, associations with known felons and will not release information regarding his past. So what has Romney or the Romney camp called Obama? Nothing to my knowledge, not even incompetent. Why? Do you think his color makes him unassailable? What happened to Obama's call for civility? Can you imagine the ridicule that the press would heap on the republicans if their spokesmen were Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Obama has often referred to himself as a constitutional scholar having served on the University of Chicago faculty. He has also referred to himself as a law professor. If so, then he is one of the few professors with no evidence of scholarly work. In reality he held the position of senior lecturer which is given to part-time faculty. This is not a trivial position or a trivial university. However, I have seen some defenders cite that Judge Richard Posner also holds the position of senior lecturer. Bad comparison. Prior to being elevated to the federal bench, Posner was an established scholar with a chaired full professorship at Chicago.Posner has also been a prolific scholar with over 40 books and the founding editor of the Journal of Legal Studies.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Romney vs Obama's secrets: Part 2

I posted on Aug 3 that Romney should ignore Harry Reid and concentrate on Obama's secrets saying I will release my tax returns if you release all the documents that you have been hiding. Now comes Donald Trump saying the same thing and on August 6 comes the following from Wayne Ally Root. Root says that he was in Obama's class at Columbia but did not know him and none of his classmates knew him either. He postulates that the reason that Team Obama has worked so hard to keep all of his school records closed is that Obama matriculated at Occidental and Columbia as a foreign exchange student. Outlandish? Well prove him wrong. Here is the link http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/obama%E2%80%99s-college-classmate-the-obama-scandal-is-at-columbia/ Here is some of what Root says. If anyone should have questions about Obama’s record at Columbia University, it’s me. We both graduated (according to Obama) Columbia University, Class of ’83. We were both (according to Obama) Pre-Law and Political Science majors. And I thought I knew most everyone at Columbia. I certainly thought I’d heard of all of my fellow Political Science majors. But not Obama (or as he was known then- Barry Soetoro). I never met him. Never saw him. Never even heard of him. And none of the classmates that I knew at Columbia have ever met him, saw him, or heard of him. But don’t take my word for it. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2008 that Fox News randomly called 400 of our Columbia classmates and never found one who had ever met Obama. Now all of this mystery could be easily and instantly dismissed if Obama released his Columbia transcripts to the media. But even after serving as President for 3 1/2 years he refuses to unseal his college records. Shouldn’t the media be as relentless in pursuit of Obama’s records as Romney’s? Shouldn’t they be digging into Obama’s past–beyond what he has written about himself–with the same boundless enthusiasm as Mitt’s? The first question I’d ask is, if you had great grades, why would you seal your records? So let’s assume Obama got poor grades. Why not release the records? He’s president of the free world, for gosh sakes. He’s commander-in-chief of the U.S. military. Who’d care about some poor grades from three decades ago, right? So then what’s the problem? Doesn’t that make the media suspicious? Something doesn’t add up. Secondly, if he had poor grades at Occidental, how did he get admitted to an Ivy League university in the first place? And if his grades at Columbia were awful, how’d he ever get into Harvard Law School? So again those grades must have been great, right? So why spend millions to keep them sealed? Third, how did Obama pay for all these fancy schools without coming from a wealthy background? If he had student loans or scholarships, would he not have to maintain good grades? I can only think of one answer that would explain this mystery. Here’s my gut belief: Obama got a leg up by being admitted to both Occidental and Columbia as a foreign exchange student. He was raised as a young boy in Indonesia. But did his mother ever change him back to a U.S. citizen? When he returned to live with his grandparents in Hawaii or as he neared college-age preparing to apply to schools, did he ever change his citizenship back? I’m betting not. Then Root says It’s time for Mitt to go on the attack and call Obama’s bluff.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Is there actually a Fox News bias too?

Fox News reported that the state democratic committee in Ohio is suing the state to deny soldiers ability to vote and they were joined by the DNC. Of course I was incensed with visions of Florida – when the dems tried to get the absentee ballots of soldiers thrown out in the Gore-Bush contest. Well the truth is somewhat different. Yes it is true that the dems have sued the state over the change in its early voting laws. Two things are at play here. First, the republicans are obsessed over voter fraud and see two contributing factors: no picture ID and early voting. While I have been able to find justification linking no picture ID to fraud, I have yet to find evidence linking early voting and voter fraud. The Ohio legislature is republican dominated and passed a bill ending early voting three days before an election, except for active duty military and citizens living abroad. The state has said that since the elections are on Tuesday, that keeping the polls open through the weekend caused logistical problems such as adequate staffing. However, it appears that the polling places will still be open under the new law but with reduced staffs. The dems want no distinction to be made and the law applied equally to all. State attorney general Mike Dewine has said “I’m just outraged by this. I can’t believe that the Obama campaign [and] the state Democratic party, are actually saying there’s no rational basis for a distinction between someone who is in the military voting, and somebody not in the military. Our whole history in this country, we’ve made a distinction between the two, recognizing the difficulties, and the unique situation that people in the military are in.” The question to me as whether this was actually vote suppression in Ohio like it was in Florida? Of course it depends on the lawsuit so I read it. Does the lawsuit want the military to adhere to the Friday deadline or does want everyone else to vote until Monday? The suit calls for “restoring in-person early voting on the three days immediately preceding Election Day for all eligible Ohio voters.” Thus, if the suit fails, then the two deadlines remain (Monday for the military and Friday for everyone else). If, however, the suit succeeds, then the deadline is Monday for everybody. So there is no suppression of the military vote in either circumstance. This is sloppy reporting on the part of Fox but Fox News is not alone. I read several other sources and all implied vote suppression. Maybe it is because DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a statement in support of the Ohio suit. Normally if Wasserman Schultz opens her mouth it is reasonable to assume that she is on the wrong side of the issue. In this rare case, she is right.