February 21, 2011

This Unserious Administration

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:30 am

That is, unserious about dealing with the country’s problems and challenges.

From a column in today’s Wall Street Journal by Paul Gigot, who interviewed Paul Ryan:

Has the president ever called him to talk? “Never once,” he says, notwithstanding Mr. Obama’s many public statements that he wants “aggressive” conversations with Republicans, especially Mr. Ryan. “He keeps saying that,” says the Wisconsin native, but “they don’t talk to us. It just doesn’t really happen. I don’t know what else to say.”

So goes the reality of today’s Washington, especially after Mr. Obama dropped his budget this week that does almost nothing about everything. To call it a punt is unfair to the game of football. That abdication makes Mr. Ryan, by dint of his expertise and his influence with other Republicans, the most important fiscal voice in Washington. As supply-siders used to say—and Mr. Ryan came of political age as a protege of Jack Kemp—Mr. Ryan is now the man on the margin. He says he’s determined not to waste the opportunity, notwithstanding the huge political risks.

What’s the White House political calculation behind its budget? “The fiscal strategy is to hang on to all the government we’ve grown, and hopefully rhetoric will get us through the moment. It strikes me as a posture or position to keep the gains of the last two years in place—the bump up in discretionary spending, the creation of these new entitlements—to lock in their gains, bank their wins, and then hang on through the rest of this year. And they believe they have the flourishing rhetorical skills to navigate the politics in the meantime,” Mr. Ryan says.

He adds he was hoping for more, counting on at least some leadership on Social Security, but “we’ve seen triangulation in rhetoric, not in substance.”

But they’re quite serious about holding on to power. The case that they’re really serious about making the problems worse gets more convincing with each passing day.

If Obama is reelected, they have four more years of essentially unaccountable power. If you think the damage done thus far is severe, just wait.

____________________________________________

Related, at NewsBusters — “Newsweek’s Evan Thomas: Obama’s Budget a ‘Profile in Cowardice’” —

Only the President, only the President can break the logjam. His State of the Union was a profile in cowardice. His budget is a profile in cowardice. I hope there’s a secret plan he has here to come forward to lead us, but he hasn’t shown it yet.

Thomas asserted in 2004 that establishment press bias in favor of John Kerry and John Edwards “would be worth maybe 15 points” in that year’s presidential election. Bush won by 2.4%. So if you believe the press was as successful as Thomas predicted, Bush would have won by 17 in a fair fight.

When you’ve lost Evan Thomas ….

Lucid and Lickety-Split Links (022111, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Lucid Links:

_________________________________________________

From an Investors Business Daily editorial (“Obama And The Unions: A Lawless Alliance?”):

Last month the president called for civility in politics. Yet now he supports the Democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin who unlawfully refuse to do their elected jobs — and the union mobs backing them.

Democratic state politicians in Wisconsin are on the run. State troopers are searching from Bayfield to Kenosha for 14 Democratic state senators who in effect are fugitives.

But the state legislators promise they’ll stay outside the boundaries of the state, in hiding, for weeks — even if it means government paralysis.

This is the vicious way the left plays. They lose an election after spending a state into oblivion, then instead of submitting to the will of the people they collect their marbles, refuse to continue playing, and go home in a huff — or in this case go off to points unknown.

… In what dictionary is “civility” defined as “having your political machine bus in union mobs”?

There really is no need for the question mark at the end of the editorial’s title.

At the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin has related thoughts on who is really guilty of “overreach.”

_________________________________________________

In Venezuela, some students are on a hunger strike:

Venezuela Student Hunger Strike Gains Momentum …

What started off as a small hunger strike of Venezuelan students, is now growing as dozens of people have joined the protest demanding that the government let the Organization of American States investigate alleged human rights abuses under President Hugo Chávez.

The activists vow to press on with the protest until OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza or the OAS’s Inter-American Human Rights Commission are authorized to visit Venezuela. Protesters say Chávez uses judges and prosecutors to persecute his political adversaries.

According to El Nacional, the students have specifically referenced and asked for the release of 27 people they say are political prisoners.

While mentioning the hunger strike, the Associated Press does not mention the alleged political political prisoners, and frames the situation quite differently:

Venezuela’s allies tell OAS chief not to meddle

Latin American allies came to the defense of President Hugo Chavez’s government on Saturday, telling the head of the Organization of American States not to meddle in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.

Nations belonging to a left-leaning bloc led by Venezuela and Cuba accused OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza of being a pawn of the U.S. government, which has urged Chavez’s administration to allow an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses.

Left-”leaning”?

Fausta wonders if we might be seeing another Egypt. Maybe, but in this case the sympathies of the world press will remain with authoritarian Chavez unless he really, really, really screws up, and even then it might not matter.

_______________________________________________

John Kasich has his hands full right now, but the needs to get the following outrage on his team’s radar:

The Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO) released a study earlier this week that analyzed undergrad admissions data we had obtained from Ohio State and Miami University and concluded that heavy preferences are given to African American and, to a lesser extent, Latino applicants over white and, again to a lesser extent, Asian applicants. …

The universities’ response is that, while we considered test scores, grades, residency, and other variables in addition to race, we did not consider all the variables they consider. In other words, they are apparently claiming that the severe disparities we found can be explained away by the fact that African Americans write much, much more persuasive admission essays than do whites, for example, and that Latinos get much, much better letters of recommendation than do Asians. To which our response is … be serious.

From the Center’s web site (bolds are mine):

CEO Chairman Linda Chavez said Miami and Ohio State lower academic standards to admit students from diverse racial backgrounds.

… The study found at Miami median SAT scores differ between back and white students by between 110 to 166 points in what it calls the “black-white gap.”

… Chavez said in addition to accepting students with lower test scores, Miami accepts students with lower high school grades to amplify its racial diversity.

Claire Wagner, director of news and public information at Miami, said while Miami is dedicated to promoting diversity, both racial and otherwise, the university evaluates each student individually.

“(The study) is skewed because Miami has a very holistic and comprehensive review process,” Wagner said. “We use a set of 25 criteria that can be found on the admissions website, and of course racial and socioeconomic diversity falls into that.”

If Miami were a private university, it could do what it wants (though you could still make a case, since it relies on federal student loan funds, that it would have a social responsibility to maximize total educational value delivered). But it’s not. Taxpayers have a right to expect and should demand that their state-supported universities will accept the best and brightest, and not discriminate against more qualified students simply because they’re white.

The governor and his peeps should get on this quickly. The justification would probably be pretty easy. I’ll betcha, as has been found elsewhere, that underqualified kids who get admitted flunk out at a much higher rate. If so, this result would show that the named universities did them no favors by admitting them in the first place. Meanwhile, the university is unfairly shafting others who shoud have been accepted and would have had a much better chance of graduating.

_______________________________________________

Lickety-Split Links:

  • The public-sector unions have deep pockets. Investors Business Daily cartoonist Michael Ramirez shows us (HT Hot Air) that a certain U.S. president is inside one of them.
  • Every once in a while I catch a glimpse of a New York Times print edition front page, and marvel at the paper’s grim determination to make propaganda points with its layout and photo decisions. Gerard Van der leun at American Digest (HT Instapundit) details Sunday’s particularly odious example.
  • A wishful-thinking headline (“Republican House votes to defund Environmental Protection Agency”). We can’t possibly get that lucky.
  • Press reports would seem to indicate that the new “Badger 14″ blog may be busy for a while.

Positivity: Overboard Fisherman Survives Shark-Infested Waters, 7-Hour Swim

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

Off the Southern Gold Coast of Australia:

When you get knocked overboard without a life jacket five miles from land, you do what Australian fisherman Andy Wilson did Tuesday.

You think of your fiancée, tell yourself “I’m not dying out here,” and you start swimming.

That’s how Wilson survived a six- or seven-hour swim (depending on the source) through shark-infested waters off the Southern Gold Coast of Australia.

Authorities feared he had drowned.

The Sydney Morning Herald, The Courier-Mail and the Associated Press were among many covering the story.

A rogue wave knocked Wilson overboard. When authorities discovered his boat abandoned at sea, a massive search ensued. Wilson wasn’t about to wait for help. Strong currents were pushing him farther out to sea.

“I thought I’d be able to stop and be able to float and get some energy back, but if I stopped for 30 seconds it would take me straight back out to sea,” Wilson told the AP.

“There was only going to be one outcome — I wasn’t going to stop, so I just kept going. Adrenaline and just sheer determination.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.