April 3, 2012

Romney Takes MD, DC, WI; Underperforming As Usual (Updated Periodically)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:30 pm

RCP’s poll consensus (only two polls) predicted a 21-point win for Mitt Romney in Maryland. It’s 18 points with half the votes counted.

RCP’s poll consensus predicted a 7.5-point win for Mitt Romney in Wisconsin. It’s 4 points with about 27% of the votes counted, and the margin could be narrowing. Romney will probably win, but the nets’ call, especially if the non-urban, non-Madison areas haven’t reported their results, seems a bit premature.

The theme, again: Romney almost never does as well as expected. You can expect that in November too if he’s the GOP nominee.

Wisconsin Updates:

  • 10:30 p.m. — Romney’s lead is 4 points and 15,000 votes with about 30% counted.
  • 11:15 p.m. — With about 60% counted, Romney’s lead is 4 points and 20,000 votes.
  • 11:50 p.m. — Romney underachieving lead is insurmountable — 4% and 25,000 votes with about 80% counted.

Climate Skeptics Are Like Racists; Oregon Prof’s Looniness Not News Until UK Daily Mail Reports It

KariNorgaard2012For the umpteenth time, news unfavorable or embarrassing to the left comes from the UK instead of the USA.

In this instance, it was an unbylined item in Saturday’s Daily Mail. For years, Oregon University Sociology and environmental studies professor Kari Norgaard has been spewing forth bigoted characterizations of anyone who dares not surrender to the gospel of global warming. But her bizarre outlook didn’t get meaningful notice from the press all these years until she presented her, uh, work at the annual four-day ‘Planet Under Pressure’ international conference in London. Here is some of what the Daily Mail found, and which Rush Limbaugh for all practical purposes broke in the U.S. media. I hear echoes of the former Soviet Union’s serial abuse of psychiatry just around the bend (bolds are mine throughout this post):

‘If you don’t believe in climate change you must be sick’: Oregon professor likens skepticism to racism

An Oregon University professor has controversially compared skepticism of global warming to racism.

Sociology and environmental studies professor Kari Norgaard wrote a paper criticising non-believers, suggesting that doubters need to be have a ‘sickness’.

The professor, who holds a B.S. in biology and a master’s and PhD in sociology, argued that ‘cultural resistance’ to accepting humans as being responsible for climate change ‘must be recognised and treated’ as an aberrant sociological behaviour.

Resolving skepticism about climate change alarmists, she added, is a challenge equitable to overcoming ‘racism or slavery in the U.S. South’.

In the last 30 years, Norgaard said, climate change has been seen as either a hoax or fixable with minimal political or economic intervention.

‘This kind of cultural resistance to very significant social threat is something that we would expect in any society facing a massive threat’, she said.

Rush noted yesterday that Ms. Norgaard is not a harmless goofball:

Now, before you start laughing at this, understand that this woman is teaching impressionable young skulls full of mush this stuff, and they’re coming out of Oregon University believing this. And if they’re not challenged anywhere the rest of their life they’re going to believe this everywhere they go, and some of these students end up at the Environmental Protection Agency or end up in a Democrat administration either at the statehouse level or at the presidential level, this is the kind of person that Obama would hire. This the kind of person Obama has hired. This is the kind of thinking that Obama believes and sponsors. It’s what he believes. It’s what he was taught.

This is what has passed for science education for over ten years now, and it is not science. It’s pure politics. It’s pure politics disguised as science. This professor, if you read whole story, this Kari Norgaard, sociology and environmental studies professor, wants everybody packed into the cities so that we’re not strolling around nature and ruining it. She wants it something seen only in pictures, with accredited photographers allowed to go there and take pictures of nature, but the mass population should not be allowed.

This will shock absolutely no one, but a Google News Search on Ms. Norgaard’s first and last name (not in quotes; sorted by date with duplicates) returns seven items, none of which are establishment press news sources.

In another move which will shock absolutely no one, What’s Up With That reports, with supporting graphics, that Ms. Norgaard’s university is feverishly working to scrub information about her and her work from the web:

Rewriting history: “treatment” of climate sceptics disappears from University of Oregon press statement

Apparently, the maelstrom of embarrassment and public ridicule created by Kari Marie Norgaard, professor of sociology and environmental studies at the University of Oregon was too much for the University to bear. So, in the best Soviet style, they rewrote history, as if nobody would notice, without so much as an apology or update. I find it amazing in this day an age that University types still don’t understand the Internet and that disappearing things like this only makes it worse for you.

… It seems Norgaard herself has been “disappeared” from the University of Oregon web server.

… apparently her official uoregon.edu email address has been replaced on the Sociology Faculty page.

Of course, none of this possibly be news to those in the U.S. establishment press either. (/sarc)

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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BizzyBlog Update: The Watt’s Up With That Item was also highlighted at Climate Depot (it was the top headline there until late yesterday).

Apparently, when a purveyor of globaloney gets noticed at Climate Depot, he’s been Morano’d.

Former CEA Head: ‘Worst Economic Recovery in History’

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:50 pm

ReaganVsObamaGDP10QtrsTo4Q11A Wall Street Journal op-ed by Edward P. Lazear, “chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2006-2009, is a professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and a Hoover Institution fellow,” has inspired me to update the Reagan vs. Obama comparison seen at the right — partially because he makes great points, but also because he misses a bigger one (bolds are mine):

The Worst Economic Recovery in History
Since the second half of 2009, the U.S. economy has grown at a rate of 2.4%, a full percentage point below average long-term growth.

How many times have we heard that this was the worst recession since the Great Depression? That may be true—although the double-dip recession of the early 1980s was about comparable. Less publicized is that our current recovery pales in comparison with most other recoveries, including the one following the Great Depression.

The Great Depression started with major economic contractions in 1930, ’31, ’32 and ’33. In the three following years, the economy rebounded strongly with growth rates of 11%, 9% and 13%, respectively.

The current recovery began in the second half of 2009, but economic growth has been weak. Growth in 2010 was 3% and in 2011 it was 1.7%. Who knows what 2012 will bring, but the current growth rate looks to be about 2%, according to the consensus of economists recently polled by Blue Chip Economic Indicators. Sadly, we have never really recovered from the recession. The economy has not even returned to its long-term growth rate and is certainly not making up for lost ground. No doubt, there are favorable economic numbers to be found, but overall we continue to struggle.

During the postwar period up to the current recession (1947-2007), the average annual growth rate for the U.S. was 3.4%.

… Today, the economy is four percentage points further from the trend line than it was the first quarter of 2009 when this administration’s nearly $900 billion fiscal stimulus efforts began. If forecasts of around 2% growth turn out to be accurate, we will add to that gap this year.

Contrast this weak growth with the recovery that followed the other large recession of recent decades. In the early 1980s, the economy experienced a double-dip recession, with contractions in both 1980 and ’82. But growth rates in the subsequent two years averaged almost 6%. The high growth that persisted throughout the 1980s brought the economy quickly back to the trend line. Unlike the current period, from 1983 on, the economy was in rapid catch-up mode and eventually regained all that had been lost during the early ’80s.

Indeed, that was the expectation. As economist Victor Zarnowitz of the University of Chicago argued many years ago, the strength of the recovery is related to the depth of the recession. Big recessions are followed by robust recoveries, presumably because more idle resources are available to be tapped. Unfortunately, the current post-recession period has not followed the pattern.

That’s what the wrong policies, a possibly impending state-run healthcare system, and the economic uncertainty arising from regulatory and authoritarian overreach have caused.

The bigger point that Lazear almost makes is that virtually every recovery (I’m pretty sure it’s every one, but don’t have time to check at the moment), no matter how shallow the downturn which preceded it, has shown higher growth rates than the annualized 2.4% seen since the recession officially ended (noted by Lazear; calculable by taking 1 + .062 above to the four-tenths power — =1.062^.4 for Excel users).

I’d like to be wrong, but the gut instinct here is that GDP revisions coming up in a few months will bring the numbers down even further.

What an inexcusable mess.

Punk President Attacks the Supreme Court

Filed under: Activism,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:26 am

I figured I wouldn’t have to wait long before others confirmed my instinctive reactions to President Obama’s outrageous statements concerning the Supreme Court, which is in the midst of ObamaCare deliberations. Not long at all.

Here are excerpts from a New York Sun editorial (HT Instapundit):

It was an attack on the court’s standing and even its integrity in a backhanded way that is typically Obamanian. For starters the president expressed confidence that the Court would “not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

… It is outrageous enough that the president’s protest was inaccurate. What in the world is he talking about when he asserts the law was passed by “a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress”? The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act barely squeaked through the Congress. In the Senate it escaped a filibuster by but a hair. The vote was so tight in the house — 219 to 212 — that the leadership went through byzantine maneuvers to get the measure to the president’s desk. No Republicans voted for it when it came up in the House, and the drive to repeal the measure began the day after Mr. Obama signed the measure.

It is the aspersions the President cast on the Supreme Court, though, that take the cake. We speak of the libel about the court being an “unelected group of people” who might “somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.” This libel was dealt with more than two centuries ago …

… The idea of separated powers was first put down in plain language in our laws in the constitution of Massachusetts, which noted that the aim was to have a government of laws rather than of men. It is a mark of our cynical age that Mr. Obama would challenge these assumptions. One can attribute the error of judgment to the fear that once the Court gets its back up and decides to hold the Congress to the powers that are enumerated in the Constitution, it’s not just Obamacare that is in danger but the whole regime of runaway power in Washington.

At the Wall Street Journal:

Obama vs. Marbury v. Madison
The President needs a remedial course in judicial review

Presidents are paid to be confident about their own laws, but what’s up with that “unprecedented”? In Marbury in 1803, Chief Justice John Marshall laid down the doctrine of judicial review. In the 209 years since, the Supreme Court has invalidated part or all of countless laws on grounds that they violated the Constitution. All of those laws were passed by a “democratically elected” legislature of some kind, either Congress or in one of the states. And no doubt many of them were passed by “strong” majorities.

As it happens, probably stronger majorities than passed the Affordable Care Act. Readers may recall that the law was dragooned through a reluctant Senate without a single GOP vote and barely the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster. Despite a huge Democratic majority in the House, it passed by only 219-212.

… Mr. Obama’s remarks suggest he is joining others on the left in warning the Justices that they will pay a political price if they dare to overturn even part of the law. As he runs for re-election, Mr. Obama’s inner community organizer seems to be winning out over the law professor.

About the only thing Obama didn’t stealthily threaten to do is try to pack the Supreme Court with six new justices.

Leon Wolf at RedState (internal links were in original):

… is it President Obama’s contention that the Supreme Court’s only role in reviewing legislation is to double-check the count on the roll call vote to make sure that a majority in fact voted for the law and to check the President’s signature for possible forgery? Because, I mean, if that’s what we’re going to go back to, I’m open to having that discussion but we are going to have to figure out what to do with several hundred SCOTUS decisions that have taken a decidedly different view.

Of course, in making these comments Obama is exposing himself yet again as a cynical hack who is devoid of anything resembling shame. In 2003, the United States Congress passed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 by substantially larger margins than Obamacare. When the Supreme Court refused to strike down this law, which was passed by a “democratically elected Congress,” then-Senator Obama threw an absolute hissy fit about the fact that the Supreme Court had upheld the clear will of Congress (and the vast majority of the American people).

However, when it’s his own legislation at stake, Obama seems suddenly ready to go back and undo pretty much every Supreme Court precedent over the last 200 years in order to strip the Court of their power to rule on any question other than whether the roll call was tallied properly. The most galling thing of all is that if any Republican had said this, the media would be busily trying to paint them as an uneducated rube who was unaware of Marbury v. Madison - when Obama says it, it’s presented as a thoughtful defense of his brilliant law.

It’s also in sync with Obama’s objection, aired in audio which appeared in late October 2008, to the our founding documents’ supposed “failure” to address flawed notions like “economic justice” and the supposed rights of classes of people as opposed to individuals.

Can anyone name another president (not his advisers or campaigners) who has attacked the integrity of the Court before a decision, let alone after it?

Once again, yours truly’s “Punk President” appellation dating to Election Day 2008 is vindicated.

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (040312)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 11:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

Sorry for the delay; this was originally and inadvertently posted to the wrong day.

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Positivity: 86-Yr-Old Rocks Parallel Bars

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

I almost wish the age wasn’t in the YouTube title so we could have played “guess her age” (HT Daryn Kagan):