August 13, 2011

AP’s Writeup on Castro’s 85th Birthday Tags Him As ‘Revolutionary Icon’

Tuesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yours truly noted an email from the Associated Press’s Images Group which encouraged subscribing outlets to use its “iconic images and videos” to promote the 85th birthday of Fidel Castro, the “Legendary Cuban revolutionary and longtime leader.”

Today, writing what may be the wire service’s last calendar-driven excuse to heap praise on him while he is still alive, the AP’s Peter Orsi described Cuban dictator Castro as a “revolutionary icon” with an “outsize persona,” who in his prime was “a gregarious public speaker,” and while in retirement remains a “prolific writer.”

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Reax to the Iowa Straws (Update: Pawlenty Out)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:56 pm

Iowa-Writers-GroupsPer this comment at Hot Air:

2011 Straw Poll Full Results (Votes, %):
1. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (4823, 28.55%)
2. Congressman Ron Paul (4671, 27.65%)
3. Governor Tim Pawlenty (2293, 13.57%)
4. Senator Rick Santorum (1657, 9.81%)
5. Herman Cain (1456, 8.62%)
6. Governor Rick Perry (718, 3.62%) write-in
7. Governor Mitt Romney (567, 3.36%)
8. Speaker Newt Gingrich (385, 2.28%)
9. Governor Jon Huntsman (69, 0.41%)
10. Congressman Thad McCotter (35, 0.21%)

Bachmann did what she had to do — but barely, which was win with a stacked deck in the state of her birth, and beat back what may be the last serious charge of the Ron Paul brigade.

Pawlenty is probably going to take his third place finish as an indicator of long-term viability, but I think he’s dreaming. He’s from adjacent Minnesota; a former two-term governor got doubled up by a third-term Congresswoman from the same state. He should have wiped the floor with her if he was really the candidate his supporters think he is. He’s not. (Update, August 14: Apparently, T-Paw read the tea leaves correctly and is “T-parting” from the race. Also, see the Update below.)

Santorum is the guy who gained the most in stature. I still don’t get why he brings anything important to the table, but he’s more than likely catching some of the social conservative vote.

Cain? His blocking and tackling is clearly making headway, as everyone else was in the dust (with Perry as a special case to be mentioned in a bit). The question is whether he has enough time to block and tackle his way to being in contention with Bachmann, Romney, and the others near the front (plus the just-declared Perry). I think he needs to work on his (pun intended) passing game.

Perry’s officially in, as of today. Yes, he was a write-in, but if he could only get less than 4% of the straws to vote for him, I don’t see how we’re supposed to be impressed.

We all knew Romney chickened out of Iowa six months ago. If he was hoping to have a “see how impressive I am when I’m not even trying?” moment, it didn’t happen.

Gingrich will not be our next president. He’s a usually brilliant ideas guy, as was apparently demonstrated in Thursday’s debate, but he has demonstrated that he can’t be allowed anywhere near anything resembling executive responsibility.

I think the Iowa caucuses are shaping up to be a situation where Bachmann, given her birthplace and current proximity, had better win very handily. If she doesn’t, her strength will be questioned, and it will dissipate from that point forward. Anyone who finishes a close second or maybe even a close third in Iowa will then become the one or ones to watch.

If Sarah Palin wants to enter the race, her time is running short. Other candidates are building organizations and momentum. The longer she delays, the harder it will be. Ask Fred Thompson about that. He entered the race on August 31, 2007. Given that the Iowa caucus and the primaries are a bit later this year, a new candidate might be able to get away with jumping in just after Labor Day, but that’s about as far as it goes.

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UPDATE: Scott at Powerline comments on T-Paw’s departure, and scores some accurate hits on Michele Bachmann’s conduct —

… she derailed Pawlenty’s aspirations.

Bachmann’s attacks on Pawlenty during the Republican presidential candidates’ debate this week were almost entirely false and demagogic. Those of us who admire her can’t help but think less of her as a result.

It is disappointing that Pawlenty proved unable to maintain his campaign all the way to the Iowa caucuses next year. If Bachmann is highly unlikely to secure the Republican presidential nomination, Ron Paul, the second place finisher, is even less so. Pawlenty’s chances with Iowa Republican caucus participants would have been better than they were in the straw poll event.

But it is too simple to attribute the end of Pawlenty’s campaign entirely to Bachmann and the straw poll. The Pawlenty campaign started its downward descent from the moment he refrained from confronting Mitt Romney — in the first candidates’ debate — with the assault he had leveled against “Obamneycare” on one of the Sunday morning shows when Romney wasn’t in the room. Pawlenty never recovered from that momentary failure of nerve, which is what it appeared to me at the time, though the calculation that went into it probably belies that characterization.

Republicans are looking for someone who can stand up to Barack Obama and go toe to toe with him on the national stage. The hunger among Republicans on this score is almost palpable. If Pawlenty couldn’t land a fair punch on Romney to his face — not the cheap shot on the size of Romney’s lawn that he deployed during last week’s debate — one had to doubt that Pawelenty was the guy to face down Obama.

I disagree that Bachmann’s outlook for victory is “highly unlikely,” but I agree that she has not covered herself in glory with T-Paw.

Far more importantly, I should also note (again) that Bachmann’s official position on the debt-ceiling debate — that the ceiling should not have been raised for any conceivable reason — was untenable and financially impossible. Given her tax accounting background, she knew better, and took a cynical position to corral the votes of less astute folks with Tea Party sympathies whose hearts are in the right place but who don’t fully appreciate how quickly the Obama administration has made the government’s financial situation nearly terminal.

UPDATE 2, August 15, 1:00 a.m.: Prof. Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection (HT commenter dscott) also notes Bachmann’s whisper campaign against Sarah Palin, wherein the candidate’s peeps are in, per RCP, “a concerted effort from the Bachmann camp to spread rumors that Palin has already decided not to run and will eventually endorse the Minnesotan.”

Obamacare and NLRB v. Boeing as Economy-Killers

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:45 am

In separate editorials today, the Wall Street Journal addresses yesterday’s 11th Circuit Court ruling declaring Obamacare’s individual mandate unconstitutional and the ongoing fallout from the National Labor Relations Board’s ruling (originally addressed here at BizzyBlog) that Boeing can’t open an already-constructed plant in South Carolina.

In the latter instance (“The NLRB Fear Factor”), it directly addresses how the NLRB’s authoritarian ruling is hurting the economy:

Some 60% (of those surveyed by the National Association of Manufacturers) said the government’s case already has—or could—hurt hiring. Sixty-nine percent said the case would damage job growth. And 49% said capital expenditure plans “have been or may be impacted by the NLRB’s complaint.” Around 1,000 of the association’s 11,000 members contributed to the survey. That’s a lot of lost jobs.

Some might dismiss these results as self-interested, or predictable given the general business distaste for regulation. But that ignores the role that confidence plays in reviving the animal spirits essential for economic growth. When CEOs or entrepreneurs fear political intervention that might impose higher costs, they are more reluctant to invest or to hire new employees. That’s especially true when the economy is already growing slowly, or emerging from recession.

… President Obama has refused to say a word of reproach to the agency. This is how you get economic growth of 0.8%.

As noted yesterday (first item at link), we’ll be very lucky if first-half growth is as “high” as 0.8% by the time the revisions come in. If President Obama was really interested in economic growth, he as Chief Executive would at a very minimum insist that the matter get resolved as quickly as possible; at a max, he’d haul out one of those Executive Order memo pads and resolve it himself. He’s done neither. The only reasonable conclusion to reach is that he doesn’t care about NLRB v. Boeing’s clearly damaging impact on the economy.

The other Journal editorial quotes yesterday’s Obamacare ruling (“Breathtaking in its Expansive Scope”), and only hints at the impact the legislation is having on the economy right here, right now:

Though the commerce power “has since come to dominate federal legislation,” as Judges Hall and Dubina note, the Court has always maintained that it “is subject to outer limits,” as the 1995 Lopez decision affirmed.

It is a measure of ObamaCare’s overreach that throughout this history, the government has never claimed a power like the individual mandate. “Even in the face of a Great Depression, a World War, a Cold War, recessions, oil shocks, inflation, and unemployment, Congress never sought to require the purchase of wheat or war bonds, force a higher savings rate or greater consumption of American goods, or require every American to purchase a more fuel efficient vehicle,” the majority writes.

Judge Hall (a Bill Clinton nominee) and Judge Dubina (a George H.W. Bush nominee) have delivered one of the most persuasive and tightly reasoned deconstructions of the mandate’s supposed constitutional logic, though of course the fate of the mandate lies with the Supreme Court. The new split among the appellate circuits ensures that one case or another will land in Washington—perhaps as soon as next spring.

“Perhaps as soon as next spring”?

Businesses considering expansion and the hiring that might go with it don’t have 8-10 months, “perhaps” more, to live in uncertainty as to what their costs of employment will be. Many if not most of them are pulling backin RIGHT NOW, as a result.

As with the NLRB situation, if President Obama and his administration really cared about growing the economy economy, he would ensure that Supreme Court review of Obamacare gets expedited and resolved. Again, the only reasonable conclusion to reach is that the Obama administration doesn’t care about NLRB v. Boeing’s clearly damaging impact on the economy.

The Journal today identified just two of a myriad of matters (add EPA regs on cars, trucks, power-plant emissions, unnecessary withholding of drilling permits, pervasive overregulation in general, etc.) which make it a wonder that businesses are hiring anyone at all. We’re condemned to a mediocre economy if these authoritarian barriers aren’t removed. If they’re not, only one administration will be to blame, and it’s not that of George W. Bush.

Positivity: Man Grateful For Samaritan Who Saved Him From Fire

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Atlanta:

Posted: 5:27 pm EDT August 5, 2011
Updated: 7:15 pm EDT August 5, 2011

A man rescued from a burning car at a DeKalb County gas station is back home and speaking out about his ordeal and the man who saved him.

A crash at the intersection of Briarcliff and Clairmont Thursday morning sent John Catana’s car spinning out of control.

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Aaron Diamant spent Friday working the phones trying to track down Catana. Diamant found Catana grateful for the man who saved his life.

“I couldn’t control my wheel,” Catana said Friday at his Gwinnett County home. “I couldn’t control my brakes.”
Catana said he remembers the impact and the explosion.

“I was scared to death,” Catana said.

Catana’s burning car became pinned against the Chevron station’s gas pumps. He had no way out as the fire raged.

“When I was 20 [years old], I gave my life to the Lord,” Catana said. “I knew that in every situation, He will control my life.”

That’s when bystander Eddie Evans rushed in to help.

“I seen the guy struggling and realized his door was jammed,” said Evans in an interview shortly after the crash. “I ran to try to get him out, and his seat belt was holding him.”

Evans eventually pulled Catana to safety through a blown-out window.

“Without his help, [there] was no way to be alive today,” Catana said.

Catana and his daughter, Andrea Gruian, now call Evans their angel.

“To me, it says a lot about him as a person, so it’s pretty amazing,” Gruian said.

However, Evans says he’s no hero.

“I would hope that somebody else did the same for me if I was in the same situation,” Evans said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.