Archive for May 29th, 2009

May 29, 2009

Sotomayer lies about her own biography


Sotomayor did not live her entire childhood in a housing project in the South Bronx — she spent most of her teenage years in a middle-class neighborhood, attending private school and winning scholarships to Princeton and then Yale. . . .
Sotomayor drew attention to cultural differences between Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans and between Puerto Ricans born in Puerto Rico and those born on the U.S. mainland, and narrowed her ethnicity beyond American, Hispanic and Puerto Rican to “Newyorkrican.”

(Via Instapundit.) So, we can’t trust her to tell us where she grew up, but we can trust her on the Supreme Court. More at Hot Air.

BTW, Jason “Big Sexy” Mattera is also “Newyorkrican,” so maybe Obama should nominate Jason to the court. A “wise Latino man with the richnesses of his experiences . . .” Empathy, and all that.

May 29, 2009

NASHVILLE: Muslim protestsshut down conservative conference

NewsMax reports:

The manager of a prominent Nashville hotel cancelled a contract with a conservative foundation to hold a conference this weekend on radical Islam, apparently after learning that the group would feature a keynote address by controversial Dutch parliamentarian and filmmaker, Geert Wilders. . . .
Thomas A. Negri, managing director of Loew’s Vanderbilt Hotel and Office complex in Nashville, told Newsmax on Wednesday that he had taken the extraordinary step of cancelling the conference at the last minute “for the health, safety and well-being of our guests and employees.”

Read the rest. Via Memeorandum, with commentary by the Blogprof, Pamela Geller and Eric Dondero.

May 29, 2009

Congratulations, Kennedy!

As I told you last weekend, my 19-year-old daughter just graduated from Hagerstown Community College. Today her diploma came in the mail:

The gold seal on the left is for Phi Theta Kappa, and the seal on the right is for high honors. She made one B her freshman year, and the rest all A’s.
May 29, 2009

Poll: NJ Gov. Corzine Losing

And it’s a Daily Kos poll, of all things:

Chris Christie (R) 46%
Jon Corzine (D) 39%
Undecided 15%

Steve Lonegan (R) 43%
Jon Corzine (D) 40%
Undecided 17%

(Research 2000 via Taegan Goddard.) Corzine is in a world of hurt. Any time the incumbent is below 50%, that’s trouble. If the challenger ever gets over 50%, the incumbent can kiss it good-bye.

This might be the first step in a GOP comeback. I keep telling these idiot “big picture” pundits that there is no such thing as a political “trend” apart from individual elections, individual candidates, and individual policies. Or to quote the Gipper:

I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.”

If any of the readers live in the Jersey area and can fill me in on what specific issues are hurting Corzine, please put the links in the comments. I’d also like to know more about the two Republican candidates. The latest Rasmussen poll shows Christie beating Longegan in the primary next week, but only by about 11 points, and there are still a lot of undecided voters.

May 29, 2009

Who wants a FREE Sarah Palin poster?

Young America’s Foundation has ’em — absolutely free! –although they will gladly accept contributions from grateful Sarah fans. Click the picture to order yours now.

May 29, 2009

What DealerGate Says About the Conservative ‘Message’ Problem

Congratulations to Doug Ross and Joey Smith for aggressive research and reporting — the kind Matthew Yglesias says conservatives don’t have the skills to do — on the scandal Michelle Malkin calls “DealerGate.”

Did the administration purposefully use its bailout-acquired influence to put the squeeze on Republican auto dealerships? It doesn’t actually matter what the answer to that question is.

The point is, there was evidence to suggest that the Obama administration may have been wielding its economic power — gained at future taxpayers’ expense — to punish political enemies. The accusation was serious enough to call for very thorough reporting, but the major media tried to dismiss the accusation before actually doing the reporting. Malkin says:

Some professional journalists, however, have shown obstinate unwillingness to get to the bottom of the decision-making process.

Ask any good reporter. You get a tip that, if true, would be a big story, and so you check it out. I once spent two days in the Library of Congress trying to research such a lead. It didn’t pan out, but until you’ve done the research, you don’t know whether it’s a story or not.

When auto dealers first claimed they were targeted for political payback by the Obama administration, the claim was a fact in its own right. Think about Valerie Plame’s claim that she was “targeted” by the Bush administration, “outed” as a CIA operative. To this day, there is no conclusive evidence that this was the case (Robert Novak says it was not, and no one has contradicted his account). Yet the media made such a stink about the Plame accusation that a grand jury was convened and Scooter Libby was convicted of a “process” crime for making false statements to a federal investigator.

If Barney Frank told a reporter that he and John Cornyn had once had a one-night stand, the accusation itself would be a headline, even if Frank couldn’t produce any evidence to support his accusation. If Frank then handed the reporter a Las Vegas hotel bill and suggested that this was the time and place of his rendezvous with Cornyn, don’t you think the reporter would at least check Cornyn’s schedule to see if he had been in Vegas on that date?

At some point, you see this pattern of the media doing the Jedi mind trick — “This is not the scandal you were looking for” — often enough that you can no longer accept the protestations of good faith. When Steve Pearlstein of the Washington Post sneers “oh, please” at the DealerGate accusations, he forfeits the good-faith defense against conservative claims of bias.

This is why I grow weary of “conservatives” criticizing Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and other talk radio guys. If those guys weren’t out there pounding away every day, it would be much easier for the MSM to ignore stories like this.

And this is also why I don’t want to hear any lectures from Michael Goldfarb about a deficit of “online partisan reporting.” If there is such a deficit, it’s because (a) almost nobody in the GOP knows anything about the news business; and (b) conservative donors are either unwilling to pay for reporting or don’t know who to hire to get the job done.

There are aggressive, smart conservative reporters out there — Josiah Ryan at, for example, and Matthew Vadum, for another — and their work is routinely taken for granted by most Republican communications operatives. Instead, Nicolle Wallace shuts out conservative reporters and gives the first one-on-one exclusive interviews with Sarah Palin to Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric.

If I sound bitter about this, that’s because I am bitter about it. When I was at The Washington Times, one of my colleagues pointed out how the GOP and conservative organizations expected the newspaper to carry their water, but treated us like an ugly girlfriend they were ashamed to take to the prom.

Once, I wanted to cover a certain seminar hosted by a major conservative organization and one my bosses said, “Hell, no.” This kind of shocked me, and when I inquired why, this boss pointed to the line-up of speakers at the panel: A Washington Post columnist, a Weekly Standard editor, a National Review writer, and so on down the line.

“What? They couldn’t think to ask Tony Blankley or Don Lambro or Wes Pruden?” said this boss. “They’re not going to get jack from us, and if they ask, you tell ’em why.”

This is not an isolated incident, it’s a pattern that indicates a systemic flaw with the Right’s “message” operation. The major Republican Party committees — RNC, NRSC and NRCC — spent $792 million in the 2008 campaign cycle, much of it to pay salaries and fees to media/communications operatives. And what did they get for that money? (Crickets chirping.)

Personnel is policy, and the standard GOP policy is to entrust its media operation to party hack types who’ve never spent a day in a newsroom. And when the Coalition of the Clueless try to reverse-engineer what the Left is doing, you end up with a colossal waste of resources like Culture 11, which imploded like the Hindenburg at Lakehurst because it was entrusted to David Kuo, a Republican hack who couldn’t make a profit on the snowcone concession in Hell.

Like my grandma alway said, some people just got more money than they’ve got sense.

So Doug Ross and Joey Smith and guys like that do what they do, and Josiah Ryan and Matthew Vadum do what they do, and then one day it’s announced that the “Huffington Post of the Right” has been entrusted to an arrogant lightweight.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

May 29, 2009

Happy News for Weimar America

Silver linings everywhere, says MSNBC:

The data lend weight to the growing notion, supported by more than 90 percent of economists in a recent survey, that the deepest recession since the 1930s may be drawing to a close. . . .
“The developing trend signals this recession — the longest and deepest of the postwar era — is losing momentum,” Wachovia economic analyst Tim Quinlan said in a note to clients. . . .
In another mostly positive sign, the tally of newly laid-off people requesting jobless benefits fell this week, a sign that companies may be cutting fewer workers.
But the number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits rose to 6.78 million — the largest total on records dating back to 1967 and the 17th straight record week, according to data released Thursday.

Please note this Associated Press graphic that accompanied the MSNBC story. If, as the MSNBC headline says, that’s “Evidence . . . recession may be ending,” I’d hate to see evidence the recession was continuing. The economy is still shedding jobs at a rapid pace and the percentage of people who are unemployed is still rising.

MSNBC’s “90 percent of economists” consensus-mongering is offensive, as if economics were a popularity contest. Deb Cupples observes that Thursday, one top economist saw things much differently:

“One of eight U.S. households with a mortgage ended the first quarter late on loan payments or in the foreclosure process in a crisis that will persist for at least another year until unemployment peaks, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Thursday. . . .
“‘We clearly haven’t hit the top yet in terms of delinquencies or the bottom of the housing market,’ Jay Brinkmann, the association’s chief economist, said in an interview.

The Wall Street Journal tries to put a happy face on the bond-market jitters:

Federal Reserve officials believe the recent sharp rise in yields on U.S. Treasury bonds could reflect a mending economy and a receding risk of financial catastrophe, suggesting the central bank won’t rush to react — even though some investors see danger in the government’s rising cost of borrowing.
Bond markets continued to gyrate Thursday after a sharp run-up in 10-year Treasury yields the day before. The bond market pushed yields of 10-year Treasurys down to 3.674% from 3.70% Wednesday, but they remain well over mid-March’s 2.5% level. Yields on mortgage-backed securities continued to climb, pushing 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to 5.44%, the highest since early February.

Now, compare those facts to the giddy light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel tone of the MSNBC story. Is it possible that somebody at MSNBC doesn’t get the significance of the upward trend in interest rates, and what it means for recovery of the housing market? As Instapundit noted Wednesday, Megan McArdle explains the inevitable impact of soaring deficits:

Eventually the treasury has to roll that debt or pay it off, and if interest rates spike, that can prove catastrophic — just ask Argentina . . .. If the longer-yield debt again registers weak demand, the administration is going to have to address this problem.

They’ll “address this problem” one way or another. Let’s just hope they don’t go the Mugabe route.

UPDATE: Over at the American Spectator, I tell this story:

In March 2008, I attended a panel discussion where an economist for a private investment firm explained that rising bankruptcy rates pointed toward an impending financial crisis — which was exactly what happened six months later. At last night’s annual gala for the America’s Future Foundation, I ran into the same economist, who shook his head and said of the current policy, “They’re trying to re-inflate the bubble!”

It’s insane.

May 29, 2009

Is Dick Morris the new Neville Chamberlain?

by Smitty (h/t The Dead Hand)

  J. over at The Dead Hand is unimpressed with Dick Morris’s latest on the subject of the (NSFW, double non-nucular f-bombs) Ronery One: “military action is off the table since [North Korea] already has the bomb.”

So odds are the North Koreans aren’t ready for nuclear war now, and if they are, it’s by the slimmest of margins. But the one thing we now know is that they will be ready… and soon!
And we know that, just as soon as the North Koreans are ready for nuclear war, so will be Al Qaeda and all the rest of them.

  I’m not so sure. It looks like the American public voted to ignore the problem. Or, if NK gets too uppity, we send Rahm Emmanuel galloping in on the unicorn to bury them with far more f-bombs than the Ronery One used at the beginning of the clip above.
  Less flippantly, His Oneness isn’t likely to get too adventurous. O’s superficial need not to appear like His predecessor (while substantially duplicating W’s foreign policy) makes the dovish path tactically cheaper. Also, let’s face it: while it’s fun and games to liquidate a bunch of matériel on the chess board, no one in the sane category, least of all BHO, actively seeks the butcher’s bill that military action will entail. You just about have to give NK the first strike, as unfortunately, W. used up the American taste for adventurism for a generation or two. The logic that the butcher’s bill would be lower to take NK out earlier is obvious. We also know that eliminating bugs earlier in a software project lowers the overall cost. That happens how often, exactly?
  Now, in terms of having the government seize totalitarian control of he economy to support a war effort, the idea of fisticuffs with NK has merit. Not that we’d, you know, declare war, or anything. We haven’t done that since WWII. Smacks too much of following the Constitution. It’s an interesting question, though: does BHO give sufficiently good speech to support a war? As a thought experiment, the idea of watching His mewling sycophants’ heads ‘splode as they try to reconcile their pacifism to their adoration of a newly minted war president is amusing…

May 29, 2009

When you refuse to fight

“The idea that you pull back from a fight because someone is from a different ethnic group is part of the mistake Republicans made and how we got President Obama in the first place.”
Ron Robinson, Young America’s Foundation

May 29, 2009

Up the Federal Reserve!

by Smitty (h/t zogger)

  Trust what works:

North Dakota boasts the only state-owned bank in the nation. The Bank of North Dakota (BND) was established by the state legislature in 1919 specifically to free farmers and small businessmen from the clutches of out-of-state bankers and railroad men. The bank’s stated mission is to deliver sound financial services that promote agriculture, commerce and industry in North Dakota. By law, the state must deposit all its funds in the bank, which pays a competitive interest rate to the state treasurer. The state rather than the FDIC guarantees the bank’s deposits, which are plowed back into the state in the form of loans. The bank’s return on equity is about 25%, and it pays a hefty dividend to the state, which is expected to exceed $60 million this year. In the last decade, the BND has turned back a third of a trillion dollars to the state’s general fund, offsetting taxes. The former president of the BND is now the state’s governor.
The BND avoids rivalry with private banks by partnering with them. Most lending is originated by a local bank. The BND then comes in to participate in the loan, share risk, and buy down the interest rate. The BND provides a secondary market for real estate loans, which it buys from local banks. Its residential loan portfolio is now $500 billion to $600 billion. Guarantees are also provided for entrepreneurial startups, and the BND has ample money to lend to students (over 184,000 outstanding loans). It purchases municipal bonds from public institutions, and it backs loans made to new farmers at 1% interest. The BND also has a well-funded disaster loan program, which helps explain how Fargo, when struck by a disastrous flood recently, managed to avoid the devastation suffered by New Orleans in similar circumstances.

  Having states reclaim some control over their economic destiny would help to liberate us from the Federal Reserve, that favorite whipping post of Ron Paul.