August 30, 2010

Another Blogosphere Bleg Submitted For Your Approval
— Russ from Winterset

If you've been around the net for any amount of time, you've run into baldilocks. Either you've seen her comments here at the HQ, you've followed a link to one of her essays from another site, or you've read hit pieces where "all the right people" on the other side call her a House Negro for Conservatism.

Now, due to unforseen circumstances, she needs to move some books. Go here, read and consider making a purchase.

If she's half as good at fiction as she is at blogging, this will be a good book. Plus, since she IS a moron, maybe if she moves enough books, she will consider writing another book about an intrepid milblogger Ewok who runs for President as a joke, but due to a freakish contamination of the nation's Val-U-Rite supply with psilocybin mushrooms......actually WINS! I know I'd buy that book.

Well, I'd buy the paperback.

OK, I'd give Gabe $3 for his paperback when he's done with it...but I would watch the movie.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at 05:29 PM | Comments (61)
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Overnight Open Thread
— Maetenloch

Welcome to the Monday.

Navy Recruitment Commercials: USA vs Japan

Japan is really into cuteness - even when it comes to their military recruiting ads. And apparently snappy uniforms, choreography and a catchy tune is what it takes to fill the ships of the JSDF. Meanwhile the US sells the Navy as an adventure with a rockin' soundtrack.

But notice what happens when you switch the music around. Even the SEALSs seem well, a bit more light hearted.

more...

Posted by: Maetenloch at 04:23 PM | Comments (819)
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Alaska Election Officials Respond To Miller's Vote Tampering Allegations
— DrewM

Earlier today the Miller campaign released a letter alleging that a Murkowski election observer had access to the state's voter computer system and could have had access to voter information but more importantly the ability to tamper with the vote totals.

The state has now responded to the Miller campaign's letter.

(The director of the Election Division Gail)Fenumiai said Murkowski observer Mike) Roman would not have been able compromise the state’s election management system regardless. “There is no GEMS* server in the Wasilla office so there’s no way the state ballot tabulation system was compromised,” Fenumiai said.

It's still possible that Roman violated rules by texting from within the ballot rule and possible taking unauthorized notes. While any violation of the rules can be serious, it seems the integrity of the count hasn't been compromised.


*GEMS (Global Election Management System) appears to be the name of the electronic voting/tabulation system they use in Alaska. It's made by....DIEBOLD insert scary music here.

Posted by: DrewM at 03:35 PM | Comments (144)
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Two Terrorist Suspects Arrested in Amsterdam... After Taking Flight There Out of Chicago
— Ace

At Hot Air.

A cynical reader who I don't think would want the h/t wonders: Was this a screw-up? Or was it planned?

Bear in mind the political firestorm that erupted after the Christmas Day bomber was read his rights right away. Now, Obama and Holder is committed to that -- but they might not want the political fallout resulting from their intransigent punitive liberalism.

So... maybe they knew. Maybe they let these guys fly off to a country where they knew no one could squawk about them using kid gloves.

Hmmm... Actually, the fallout from letting this pair fly out of Chicago will probably exceed the fallout from lawfare, so that conspiracy theory may not make the greatest amount of sense.

Because, reading Allah, it seems these guys were almost determined to raise red flags... and yet had trouble getting the attention of our vigilant TSA.

Posted by: Ace at 02:36 PM | Comments (211)
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Rick Sanchez: Obama Is "The Cotton-Picking President of the United States"
— Ace

In his spare time, Rick Sanchez enjoys colorin' books, picking his feet, and drooling.

But during the day, he's an esteemed member of CNN's Very Special Broadcasting Team.

So here he is, splitting atoms... with his mind.

Thanks to Exurban League (ExLg).


Posted by: Ace at 12:06 PM | Comments (457)
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Obama: Hey Small Businesses!! Don't Need Credit? I'll Give You More!!
— Geoff

Our beloved but spacetime-challenged President spent some of this afternoon talking about the heinous Republicans and the harm their contrary attitude brings to small businesses (paraphrased by Tapper & Miller):

..Republicans need to stop obstructing a initiative he proposed to cut taxes that will encourage small businesses to hire and expand, as well as a $30 billion small business lending initiative.

“Drop the blockade,” he said to Senate Republicans, whom he said were “holding this bill hostage,” damaging economic growth.

Ignoring the obvious partisan blather, I'm troubled by the lending portion of the bill. Not that it's bad to improve small business's access to credit, but it appears to me that right now, in this economy, this is not going to have a significant effect.

When the economy is doing well and businesses want to grow, problems with access to credit can hinder their expansion. But when the economy is sputtering and businesses are uncertain about the future, their need for credit is more as a lifeline to keep paying the bills. Most businesses won't borrow. Businesses who do will do so reluctantly. And they won't use the money to "hire and expand," they'll use it to make payments on old debt and pay for (hopefully temporarily) idled workers.

But don't believe me - believe the recent poll results from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, who found that:

Overall, 91 percent of the owners reported all their credit needs met or they did not want to borrow, up one point. Credit may be harder to get compared to the bubble period (as it should be) and is always harder to arrange in a recession. But credit availability does not appear to be the cause of slow growth as many allege.
The Obama administration, in typical "I've got the car in 'D'" fashion, is wasting time and money pushing a program that is solving the wrong problem. And taking cheap shots at the GOP as they blithely drive toward economic oblivion.

Posted by: Geoff at 11:36 AM | Comments (100)
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Unprecedented: GOP Takes 10 Point Lead In Gallup For First Time In History
— Ace

1994, Democrats?

You wish.

Republicans at over 50-- 51%. Democrats 41%. Plus: a 25 point advantage in enthusiasms.

Enthusiasms. Enthusiasms.

Thanks to curious. more...

Posted by: Ace at 11:22 AM | Comments (143)
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Interview: Ladd Ehlinger, Jr.
— Ace

Ladd Ehlinger, Jr., is a filmmaker who recently directed this ad which I'm pretty sure you've seen:

...which vaulted Dale Peterson from a barely-noticeable 5% up to 28%, and knocked out the front-runner (who Peterson especially opposed).

He also just directed the Young Mattie Fein ad.

This past Tuesday I interviewed him by chat. I have made a few minor changes to the chat, such as when I am unclear about what Ladd means and prompt him to explain. Like, in that case, I delete out my prompt and just include his fuller explanation. There was also cross-talk, him answering one earlier question while I was on to another one; in these cases I've separated out the conversations and put stray sentences into the answer where they should have been. I also deleted a couple of digressions. And of course I've added some links and stuff.

Otherwise, this is pretty much how the chat went. more...

Posted by: Ace at 11:00 AM | Comments (64)
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Rasmussen: WV Senate Moved From "Solid Dem" to "Leans Dem"
— Ace

Manchin 48%, Raese 42%.

But isn't Manchin more popular than that?

Perhaps one explanation for this divide is that among those voters who Somewhat Approve of Manchin’s performance, 64% Strongly Disapprove of President Obama’s performance.

Powerline is writing that "Toss Up" is the new "Leans Republican," so maybe "Leans Democrat" is the new "Toss Up," too.

Thanks to Herr Morgenholz, Jean, and DrewM.

Posted by: Ace at 09:16 AM | Comments (151)
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Libertarian Party To Lisa Murkowski: Drop Dead
— Ace

Wow. So it's recount or bust, eh?

Yesterday, the 5-member Executive Committee of the Board of the Libertarian State Party meet in an emergency session to consider Sen. Murkowski’s bid for the party’s nod. After a contentious three-hour meeting, the Board voted unanimously to deny Sen. Murkowski the party’s nomination.

Thanks to someone, who noted that old/dirty/b_tard had linked it in comments.

Posted by: Ace at 08:11 AM | Comments (180)
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Newsweek: Our Poll Says That Democrats Will Do Fine This November, Tied Up With Republicans
PS: America Is Back!!!

— Ace

Newsweek. What can you say.

As Democrats prepare for considerable losses in the November elections, there’s reason to believe the party in power may not be headed for the bloodbath it might expect. According to a new NEWSWEEK Poll, President Obama’s approval rating—47 percent—indicates that the party is better off this year than Republicans were in 2006, when the GOP lost 30 House seats, and than the Democrats were in 1994, when they lost 52 House seats.

Obama’s approval has fallen 1 percentage point since the last NEWSWEEK survey in June, but the White House has gained ground on several specific issues, specifically his handling of the economy, which has risen to 40 percent (from 38 percent) over the past two months. Voters also generally approve of Obama’s response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the administration’s handling of the war in Iraq, which Obama is expected to address next week from the Oval Office.

Gallup puts Obama's approval rate at 43% today.

Geraghty puts Newsweek's polling prognostication into historical perspective.

Posted by: Ace at 08:10 AM | Comments (88)
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Bumped: The Abilene Paradox [rdbrewer]
— Open Blogger

Pet theories department.

An "Abilene paradox" occurs when a group of people decide on a course of action that is contrary to the preferences of any individual in the group. Each member mistakenly believes that his or her beliefs are counter to those of the group, so no one objects. The concept was created by Jerry B. Harvey, a business management expert, to explain the damage caused by a particular type of groupthink involving assumed agreement. The video below, a promo, is a nicely produced, humorous enactment of the Abilene paradox.

The family finds out no one really wanted to go to Abilene. While Harvey used the Abilene paradox within the context of business decision making, I think it can be applied on larger scales to any group--like, say, the Obama administration, Media, ReidPelosiCongress, and the Democrats generally.

Ace has mentioned "preference cascade" on a few occasions. Here, he calls it a pet obsession, introduced to him by Instapundit. From that article:

This illustrates, in a mild way, the reason why totalitarian regimes collapse so suddenly. . . . Such regimes have little legitimacy, but they spend a lot of effort making sure that citizens don't realize the extent to which their fellow-citizens dislike the regime. If the secret police and the censors are doing their job, 99% of the populace can hate the regime and be ready to revolt against it - but no revolt will occur because no one realizes that everyone else feels the same way.

This works until something breaks the spell, and the discontented realize that their feelings are widely shared, at which point the collapse of the regime may seem very sudden to outside observers - or even to the citizens themselves. Claims after the fact that many people who seemed like loyal apparatchiks really loathed the regime are often self-serving, of course. But they're also often true: Even if one loathes the regime, few people have the force of will to stage one-man revolutions, and when preferences are sufficiently falsified, each dissident may feel that he or she is the only one, or at least part of a minority too small to make any difference.

"Until something breaks the spell." The spell, I would assert, is the Abilene paradox. In fact, the two appear to be parts of the same creature at different points in its evolution. A preference cascade occurs when an Abilene paradox breaks down. And, while every preference cascade would necessarily involve an Abilene paradox, the Abilene paradox can exist alone and undiscovered.

I think the Democrat Abilene paradox is just beginning to break down, with people like Mort Zuckerman beginning to speak out. (Note that Republican--out group--opposition did nothing to sway these people.) Democrats are starting to realize most individuals did not want to go this far--to Abilene, as it were--with change. I wonder if any of them will be relieved the ride is over.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 07:39 AM | Comments (380)
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Joe Miller: Cornyn Pulling His Team Out of Alaska
More: NRSC To Remain "Neutral," Will Support Whoever Wins

— Ace

Saw this at NRO.

Joe Miller on TopLine: "I talked to Sen. Cornyn on Saturday and he gave me his word that he is pulling his team out."

Sanity?

But there are 25,000 uncounted ballots.

Officials at the Alaska Division of Elections tell CNN that as of Sunday 15,720 absentee ballots have been returned. Absentee ballots continue to arrive by mail. Also waiting to be counted are 663 early votes, ballots which were cast in pre-primary day voting. Add to that 9,117 "questioned" ballots, which may or may not be counted. Some may be disqualified by a panel of election officials for irregularities. Most of these votes are expected to be cast in the Republican primary, but some may be intended for the Democratic contest.

Election officials say they will determine Monday how many votes will be included in Tuesday's initial count.

More: A full article from CQ Politics.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) spoke with Joe Miller over the weekend and assured him that the NRSC will stay neutral in the Alaska GOP Senate primary and support whoever wins, according to Republican sources.

...

NRSC chief counsel Sean Cairncross was on the ground in Alaska for three days last week, but has since returned to Washington, D.C. He traveled at Murkowski’s request, and offered her campaign team general advice. But sources say the NRSC is not coordinating with her. It also isn’t participating in the vote count or in any future recounts.

...

In fact, one reason Cairncross returned to Washington so quickly was to ensure that the NRSC’s actions would not be misinterpreted.

Thanks to DrewM. for that.

Posted by: Ace at 07:13 AM | Comments (113)
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Tunku Varadarajan: Release the Palin
— Ace

Moderate the message? Tunku cautions against such a dangerous approach. (Mostly.)

But what about “independents”—won’t Palin make the GOP much less attractive to them? I put the question to John Zogby, the pollster, who told me: “It is important to be reminded just who the ‘independents’ are. Almost half of them describe themselves as politically moderate and lean heavily toward President Obama and the Democrats.” So this group, it would seem, would spurn the GOP in November, with or without a Palin thrust.

“Of the remaining 52 percent,” Zogby continued, “two in three describe themselves as politically ‘conservative’ but weary of Republicans on issues like spending, civil liberties, and the war in Iraq during the Bush and Republican congressional years. So a conservative message can win their support except they don’t trust the Republicans.”

That would, of course, be the Republican Establishment; and here, precisely, is where Palin can make a difference: I am prepared to wager that many of these “conservative independents” have some inclination toward the Tea Party and its small-government message. So staying “on message”—especially on the need for fiscal conservatism—is more likely to win their vote than a Republican lurch to the center. And since any such lurch will have the inevitable effect of driving the base to distraction, I see the GOP embracing a version of the Palin-Tea Party message.

The Palin Primaries are now behind us. Make way for the Palin Midterms.

At the New York Times, feminster writers wonder where their Palin is.

It’s easy of course, for liberals to laugh off Ms. Palin’s “you go, girl!” ethos and increasingly aggressive co-optation of feminist symbols. We progressives discount her references to the women’s movement — not to mention her validity as a candidate — by looking down on her as a dim, opportunistic, mean-girl prom queen, all spunk and no policy muscle.

But the sad truth is that Democrats often prefer their women fulfilling similarly diminutive models for behavior. Consider how Hillary Clinton has been treated, at times, by those in her own party: Democratic leaders never really celebrated Mrs. Clinton’s nation-altering place in history as the first female candidate to get so close to a major party’s presidential nomination. Indeed, she is most appreciated when she plays well with others in the Senate or the State Department; when she behaves like a fierce competitor, she is compared to Glenn Close’s bunny-boiling virago from “Fatal Attraction.”
Related

The left’s failure to nurture and celebrate female politicians has had a significant effect on its policies.....

An older generation of female Democrats, including Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Pelosi, are about as eager to mount a Palin-style girl-powered campaign as they are to wear a miniskirt on the House floor. For them, proudly or aggressively touting one’s feminist credentials (if you’re actually a feminist, that is) is taboo. It’s considered too, well, female.

But as women of a different generation — of, gulp, Sarah Palin’s generation — we wonder if Democrats shouldn’t look to her for twisted inspiration, and recognize that the future of women in politics will be about coming to terms with (and inventing) new models....

If Sarah Palin and her acolytes successfully redefine what it means to be a groundbreaking political woman, it will be because progressives let it happen — and in doing so, ensured that when it comes to making history, there will be no one but Mama Grizzlies to do the job.

What the writers seem to lament, without realizing it, is that there are no brash female liberal leaders. They are safe, drab, and gray, the female counterparts to their male technocrats that fill the party.

Sarah Palin is attractive partly because she lives such a dangerous life -- flying solo, taking fire. Female liberals can't ever live dangerous lives like this in their cushy think-tanks and nicely taken care of by the still-mostly-male establishment that will see to it they always have a job, somewhere.

Risk-taking is usually called a male behavior; females have it, too, of course, but women are usually considered more risk-averse. As the establishment has become more feminized, it has also become risk-averse, to the point where no one working within it can really be any kind of gutsy maverick. The establishment -- both wings of it -- attacked Palin ferociously and drove her as far as possible out of any sort of safe career trajectory.

Ironically, though, this now puts Palin in the position of an Amelia Earhart, a Teddy Roosevelt -- someone living the vigorous, dangerous life. Which makes her all the more attractive to a public which can't help but notice that most of the vitality, most of the blood seems drained from public life and public ambition.

The feminist writers of the article (in parts I didn't excerpt) long for a ballsy sort of female liberal -- but how can one actually be ballsy in protective womb of establishment support?

Thanks to tmi3rd.

Posted by: Ace at 06:06 AM | Comments (237)
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Miller Campaign: Murkowski "Observers" Are Screwing With Vote-Counting Computer Servers
— Ace

Read the document; it's, as the Miller campaign says, "beyond troubling."

Then, Murkowski observer Mike insisted he had the right to access the Division of Election computer database and "check voter records." Over the Miller Campaign's objection, Mike was allowed to use the state computer for 20 minutes before Division Director Gail Fenumiai fortunately ordered him off the state computer. For 20 minutes this Murkowski observer was in the state's voter records viewing private information and, we are told, accessed the state's election managment system. Katrine explained to those present that allowing observers access to the Division of Election computers compromises voter privacy, since it displays Social Security numbers, dates of birth and drivers license numbers and other information. That is true, and bad enough.

But there is also another aspect of Mkie's use of the state's election computer. As you know, Alaska uses electronic voting. The Diebold software contains vulnerabilities that may allow someone to install malicious software to miscount votes. In an election security report to the Lt. Governor submitted in 2007, it was noted that someone could "alter[] election results" by installing software. Further, software installed into the election management system could lead, according to the report, "large scale election fraud."

...

This is a close election. Even just a few ballots illegally tampered with could alter the outcome. How can Joe Miller, and the thousands of honest voters in Alaska who voted for him, have confidence in the result if a Murkowski observer had 20 minutes of unfettered access to the State's GEMS server? And the state's own report states tampering can be accomplished within a minute.

Posted by: Ace at 05:21 AM | Comments (195)
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WaPo's Elegy for Environmentalism
— Gabriel Malor

Even with a sympathetic writer, the enviroweenies just come off as pathetic:

They put on what they called a "CarnivOil" - a fake carnival with a stilt-wearing barker, free "tar balls" (chocolate doughnuts), and a suit-wearing "oil executive" punching somebody dressed like a crab. It was supposed to be satire, but there was a bitter message underneath: When we fight the oil and gas industry, they win.

"We killed the clean-energy bill! There's still no cap on oil spills!" yelled Heather Brutz, the barker, who was pretending to speak for the industry. "And now, for our graaaaaaand finale, we're going to pass the diiiiiirty-air act!"

A year ago, these groups seemed to be at the peak of their influence, needing only the Senate's approval for a landmark climate-change bill. But they lost that fight, done in by the sluggish economy and opposition from business and fossil-fuel interests.

Now the groups are wondering how they can keep this loss from becoming a rout as their opponents press their advantage and try to undo the Obama administration's climate efforts. At two events last week in Wisconsin, environmental groups seemed to be trying two strategies: defiance and pleading for sympathy.

Neither one drew enough people to fill a high school gym.

The piece goes on, at length, to describe how demoralized environmentalists are that nobody takes them seriously. Really. After the guy in the crab suit, nobody's taking them seriously. Guy in a crab suit. Dude.

Instead, the blame for the fact that the strident, but heartfelt, cries of environmentalists have gone unheeded and mostly mocked has fallen on the usual suspect: the energy industry. Not the guy in a crab suit.

Every few minutes, there would be a fight. The person in the crab costume - said to be boxing on behalf of the environment - would take on the fake oil executive. Each bout followed the same script: The oil executive would bribe the referee, who would make the crab take off his boxing gloves.

Soon after, the crab would be lying on the mat, KO'd.

"Oh! The Earth is down! It's taken too many hits!" yelled "ref" Scott Thompson. "Remember, folks, just like in the real world, big oil always gets the upper hand!"

The event drew in scattered pedestrians, and afterward organizers said dozens had signed their petitions calling for action against climate change.

Remember, folks, just like in the real world, a human being dressed as a crab is a spectacle, not a persuasive case that we should hobble the economy to serve the interests of...well, I'm not even sure whose interests these enviroweenies purport to be defending. In their own words:

"What was revealed by the last year or two was that the energy industry hasn't even had to break a sweat yet in beating this stuff off. Our side did absolutely everything you're supposed to do . . . but got nowhere," whined author Bill McKibben, who co-founded the climate-focused group 350.org.

If by "did absolutely everything you're supposed to do" he meant "whined a lot, but actually persuaded nobody" then I guess that quote is accurate. In fact, the Senate refused to touch the Democratic cap and tax plan because anyone who ever took a freshman economics class knows that it would raise the price of everything made, transported, or stored using electricity. And, of course, raise the price of electricity itself, a product (like gasoline) for which the poor and middle-class are least able to absorb price hikes.

Hmmm, environmentalism turns out to be bad for the poor, bad for the middle-class, and bad for the economy. Yeah, I just can't figure out why the environuts are getting no traction. No idea. (Guy in a crab suit!)

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 05:14 AM | Comments (86)
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Top Headline Comments 8-30-10
— Gabriel Malor


Brand Democrat™ from Slublog.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 04:36 AM | Comments (91)
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August 29, 2010

Overnight Open Thread
— Genghis

Happy Bunday! You know what awaits you below the fold….

Space Shuttle from hangar to liftoff:

This may have been posted before (or something similar was) but it’s still pretty incredible to watch. The part where the rail crane lifts the shuttle vertically through the shaft, on its way to be mated with the boosters/external fuel tank is kinda’ freaky. It looks so tiny compared with the vehicle assembly building. There may or may not be audio with the video.

Thanks to Pocono Joe

Movie review:

Over at RedLetterMedia (home of the 70 minute The Phantom Menace review) it appears they've decided to branch out beyond science fiction and now have a review of Baby's Day Out. Which begs the question: Why?!?

Eh, maybe you'll like it, but then you've always had questionable judgement. Otherwise, would you even be here? I'm thinking they should maybe stick with the adage "go with what you know."

Now comes the bunnehs: more...

Posted by: Genghis at 05:00 PM | Comments (804)
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Culture of Corruption: Dem Congresswoman Steers Scholarships to Family
— Gabriel Malor

Another ethics problem for the Congressional Black Caucus to cry racism over:

Longtime Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide's two children since 2005, using foundation funds set aside for black lawmakers' causes.

The recipients were ineligible under anti-nepotism rules of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provided the money. And all of the awards violated a foundation requirement that scholarship winners live or study in a caucus member's district.

In a statement, Johnson says she knew the scholarships were going to family [strike one], but "unknowingly" violated the ethics rules of the foundation for which she used to sit on the oversight board [strike two!]. She also defended herself by explaining that she did not "personally benefit" from the scholarships [STRIKE THREE!]

Talk about the lamest excuses ever. In total, she awarded 15 scholarships since 2005 to her grandsons and great-nephews and to children of an aide.

Definitely click the link up there for much, much more information. Dallas Morning News outdid itself with this investigation.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 11:01 AM | Comments (219)
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Economic Strategies: Obama vs. The People
— Geoff

Mort Zuckerman explains the public's perception of the economy:

There is an instinctive conclusion among the American public that President Obama's stimulus package has failed to create a sustained recovery. Unemployment has increased, not declined; consumers have retrenched; housing starts have crashed along with mortgage applications; and there is a fear that a double-dip recession may very well be in the pipeline. ...

There is another instinctive conclusion among the American people. It is that the national deficit, and the debts we have accumulated, are of critical political importance. On the national debt, the money the government has spent without the tax revenues to pay for it has produced mind-numbing numbers so large as to be disconnected from reality. Zeros from here to infinity. The sums are hard to describe; it is hard to describe an elephant, but you know one when you see one. The public knows that, shuffle the numbers as you may, the level of debt is unsustainable.

I personally think Zuckerman's done a man's work in capturing the mood of America. But is there any hard evidence that he's right? That the American people are truly skeptical of using increased debt to spend our way out of our woes?

Well, yes. Just compare what the American people are doing to what Obama is doing:

Consumers_vs_Obama_Small.gif

The public has hunkered down and reduced their debt. The Obama administration, in stark contrast, has increased the debt and projects its continued increase for at least another 5 years. It's no wonder he's polling so poorly on the economy.

Addendum: This post was inspired by the combination of this upbeat post from Calculated Risk, and this grim post from Political Calculations.

Posted by: Geoff at 10:14 AM | Comments (77)
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