Friday, July 31, 2009

Lower Cost Healthcare for Seniors Coming–Paid for by the Young

Charles Krauthammer points out some unintended consequences of the failing health care reform scheme.

1. It is now reduced to being health care insurance reform.

2. The reform will probably mean new rules for insurance companies: “no policy cancellations, no pre-existing condition requirements, perhaps even a cap on out-of-pocket expenses.”

3. How to pay for this? The 18 million 18 to 34 year olds who don’t currently buy health insurance will now have to. Since they don’t have the big medical bills that seniors have, their insurance rates will subsidize the insurance rates of the higher-cost seniors.
“There will be only one way to make this work: Impose an individual mandate. Force the 18 million Americans between 18 and 34 who (often quite rationally) forgo health insurance to buy it. This will create a huge new pool of customers who rarely get sick but will be paying premiums every month. And those premiums will subsidize nirvana health insurance for older folks.

“Net result? Another huge transfer of wealth from the young to the old, the now-routine specialty of the baby boomers . . . .”

Hmm. You think the young will wise up when they get the shaft? Experience is a tough teacher, but this age group seems to have unusual difficulty in putting 2 + 2 together.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Baby Boomer Legacy: Self-Indulgence

A Zogby poll this month gives the bad news about how baby boomers will be regarded by the future: self-indulgent consumers.
What will be the historic legacy of Baby Boomers?

Ushering in an era of consumerism and self-indulgence---42%
Helping to bring lasting change in social and cultural values and ending a war---27%
Nothing at all, nothing really special---11%
Not sure---13%

Baby Boomers are the generation born between 1946 and 1964. This is the generation brought up to show respect to others. Their parents taught them to address their elders as Mr. and Mrs. Their parents, rather than living it up, saved to send their Baby Boomer children to college. Not only that. Baby Boomer parents sacrificed on the battlefield or via stringent rationing and round the clock work shifts to save the world from Nazi and Japanese aggression in World War II. Baby Boomers were brought up by people who modeled a self-sacrifice that both cost them something significant and really did change the world for good.

In contrast, Baby Boomers may come to be seen as the most corrupt, self-indulgent generation in American history. They were given the world on a platter. Baby boomers were the best educated generation yet of Americans and were raised in a time of rampant economic growth. Though Baby Boomer elites who went to college saw themselves as championing political and social protest, drugs and free sex ended up tipping heavily towards material and personal self-indulgence. Even family was second to personal gratification. Baby Boomers have a divorce rate triple that of their parents.

Baby Boomers have ushered in and sustained the highest kill rate of any American generation–almost 50 million babies aborted since 1973. No other generation comes close to the blood spilled under the leadership of Baby Boomers.

The words of Abraham Lincoln echo:
The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope -- fervently do we pray -- that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said f[our] three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether"
[emphasis added]

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Associated Press Reporter D'Oro Has Trouble Googling

Again, paid reporters show incompetence in researching what an amateur can find out in five minutes of research on the internet. This time it's Rachel D'Oro of the Associated Press.

Steve Gilbert at Sweetness & Light found that D'Oro's "independent investigator" Thomas Daniel isn't all that independent having contributed thousands of dollars to Democrats--and that's just from online public information.

It turns out D'Oro didn't look at the report that well either. She reports that Daniel's thinks Governor Palin has an unjust advantage over regular citizens in getting contributions for a legal trust fund.

"In his report, Daniel said his interpretation of the ethics act is consistent with common sense.

"An ordinary citizen facing legal charges is not likely to be able to generate donations to a legal defense fund, he wrote. 'In contrast, Governor Palin is able to generate donations because of the fact that she is a public official and a public figure. Were it not for the fact that she is governor and a national political figure, it is unlikely that many citizens would donate money to her legal defense fund.'"

Apparently D'Oro didn't read the whole report. She leaves out a big hole in Daniel's "common sense" argument. Daniels thinks Alaskan tax payers should pay Governor Palin's legal bills.

"I also recommend that she seek reimbursement from the state for the cost of defending the ethics complaints that have been dismissed."

Can "ordinary citizens facing legal charges" seek reimbursement from Alaskan taxpayers to pay for their legal bills? Don't think so. Actually, Palin's access to Alaska public funds is precisely due to her position as a "public official and a public figure."

Lots of legal funds have been set up for "ordinary citizens" and gotten contributions because of the facts of the case not the political notoriety of those facing huge legal bills. In Oregon we recently had such a case with a family being forced by the nutball Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to spend huge sums in the case of Snowball the deer. But, as far as I know no one has suggested that they go to the state of Oregon to receive reimbursement from Oregon tax payers.

Poor Alaskans live in a state where a few fruitcake residents can run up millions of dollars of state debt easy as pie, an "independent investigator" thinks the state paying for legal bills for politicians is better than voluntary contributions, and no one in the legislature cares a twit to fix this. You get what you vote for.

H/T American Thinker and Conservatives4Palin

Monday, July 20, 2009

Goobledygook Perfected: Berkowitz on Levin

The Weekly Standard has published a long, hard to follow review of Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny by Peter Berkowitz, senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

I’m not going to deal with Liberty and Tyranny. But Berkowitz's review is as fine a piece of gobbledygook, if not double-speak, as I’ve read in a long time. It's important in showing the result of some conservative thought at university level and perhaps why conservatives do so poorly there.

Berkowitz’s thesis is that a real conservative needs to be moderate. Huh?

Here’s how Berkowitz begins the discussion on what being a moderate means:
"In a May interview, talk show host Scott Hennen asked Dick Cheney whether Arlen Specter's defection to the Democrats proved that Colin Powell was correct, that "the Republican party needs to moderate." Cheney opined that "it would be a mistake for us to moderate," tantamount to betraying fundamental conservative commitment to "the Constitution and constitutional principles" and a craven embrace of Democratic positions and ideas."
. . .
"The moderation [Powell] commended was inclusiveness, or openness to a range of policy positions resting, presumably, on a shared sensibility and core convictions. But he also made a point about electoral politics: Without a determined effort to reach out to independents, conservatives and Republicans are doomed to long-term minority status because the number of those identifying as Republicans has plunged while the number of those identifying as independents has surged."

Berkowitz does an intellectual sleight of hand here. This discussion is not about Republicans. It is about conservatives and conservative principles. The number of those describing themselves as Republicans has gone down. But, the number of those describing themselves as conservatives has gone up. In fact conservatives are the largest ideological group in America. A recent Gallup poll shows that 40% of Americans consider themselves to be conservative. Moderates make up 35% and liberals only 21% of the American electorate. So, to be a majority conservatives only have to get 10% of voters to vote with them (less than 1/3rd of moderates). Not much moderation needed there.

Next Berkowitz asserts that Powell, though supporting liberal candidate Obama over moderate candidate McCain, should be listened to.
“Given his rejection last year of Republican John McCain, one of the Senate's most moderate members, and his endorsement of Democrat Barack Obama, one of the Senate's most progressive members, Powell may seem an unlikely source of counsel to Republicans on questions of moderation. His points, nonetheless, are well taken.”

If Powell has trouble identifying and supporting a conservative candidate for president, Berkowitz doesn't address why we should believe he is able to penetrate to the inner truths of conservative philosophy and find an important core missed by most everyone else.

But, along with the White Queen, let’s give trying to believe impossible things a whirl.
“Political moderation, which involves controlling passion so that reason can give proper weight to competing partisan claims, most of which contain some element of truth and some element of falsehood, is always valuable. In Cheney's and Limbaugh's repudiation of moderation one can hear echoes of Barry Goldwater's 1964 rallying cry: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice .  .  . and . .  . moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

“It is an inducement to moderation to recall that Goldwater's dramatic repudiation of moderation preceded one of the most lopsided drubbings in American presidential elections. At the same time, it is an inducement to moderation in praise of moderation to recognize that passion and partisanship have their place in democratic politics: Goldwater's 1964 defeat helped lay the groundwork for the Reagan Revolution which, in the 1980s, produced two, perhaps three, historic landslide victories.”

Got that? Being against moderation resulted in extreme political loss but then also resulted in extreme political victory. So, it is both bad and good at the same time. Here Berkowitz manages to toss in the wonderfully incomprehensible “it is an inducement to moderation in praise of moderation”. If you get what that means, you’re better than I am.

The entire review is pretty much phrased in these terms. Just when you think Berkowitz might be going to make an intelligible point, he dives back in to either hard to follow prose and logic or just plain contradictory assertions.

One somewhat funny and self-congratulatory paragraph is Berkowitz's put down of Levin (enthusiast) as compared with those involved in “dispassionate intellectual inquiry” at universities (Berkowitz).
"To be sure, there is a vital place in democratic politics for passionate partisans like Levin who rouse the base and adopt a take-no-prisoners approach to political argument. And better to have your enthusiasts on the airwaves where their principal job is to entertain than in the universities, which (officially, at least) remain devoted to dispassionate intellectual inquiry."

We all know how well conservatives like Berkowitz in the universities have done at winning converts among students and faculty--not to mention at the polls.

In this Berkowitz again inerringly chooses the already proven road to insignificance. Read it and weep that this is what some university conservatives are producing.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oregonian Unemployment Article Omits Key Facts

Oregonian reporter Richard Read explains Oregon's 3rd highest unemployment rate in the nation as follows:
"Economists cite multiple reasons for Oregon's high unemployment, chiefly the state's concentration on durable-goods manufacturing, which has been hard-hit during the recession. They say the state's rate may well increase further, exceeding 13 percent."

Durable-goods manufacturing? But, U.S. durable goods orders increased sharply in May matching a 1.8% rise in April.
"The Commerce Department said demand for durable goods rose 1.8 percent last month, far better than the 0.6 percent decline that economists expected. It matched the rise in April, with both months posting the best performance since December 2007, when the recession began."

What gives? Why do Oregon unnamed economists have a different story than the U.S. Department of Commerce?

Reporter Read doesn't cite the economists' names and seems to be unaware that the Commerce Department reported a sizable increase in demand for durable goods manufacturing nationally. Maybe Oregon's durable goods production had a significant decline while the national average was increasing. If so, why didn't the economists or the reporter mention that anomaly and give insight on why Oregon is so much different than the rest of the nation?

Going to the Oregon Employment Department site one finds that durable goods manufacturing did lose 400 jobs in June, but was not Oregon's biggest job loser by a long shot.

1. Wholesale trade lost a whopping 1,100 jobs in June--almost three times as many as durable goods manufacturing.
2. Professional and technical services lost 700 jobs in June--almost twice that of durable goods manufacturing.
3. Financial activities lost 600 jobs in June--one and a half times durable goods manufacturing.
4. Trade, transportation, and utilities lost 500 jobs in June--one a quarter times durable goods manufacturing.

Sigh. What does it say when you can do a better job on the story yourself with just a few minutes of work (go to Bureau of Labor Statistics report, go to Oregon Employment Department report, do an internet search on durable goods manufacturing)?

One thing independent research doesn't do is bolster confidence that reading an article from a major US newspaper like the Oregonian gives real insight or that professional reporters do much questioning of the accuracy of unnamed sources.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Alaska in top 2 States with Good Employment Trend for 5th Month in a Row

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment report for June:
“Only North Dakota (+1.6 percent) reported an over-the-year percentage increase, while Alaska remained unchanged.”

Every other state saw an over the year rise in unemployment.

Again Republican Governors John Hoeven and Sarah Palin have proven best at leading their states in the right employment direction.

In May Alaska led the nation with a .9% monthly employment increase.

In April Alaska’s was one of two states posting an employment gain coming in behind North Dakota. (The District of Columbia also saw an employment gain).

In March Alaska had the best over-the-year employment increase (.7%) among the states. (The District of Columbia beat all the states with a .8% increase.)

In February Alaska had the smallest decrease in employment (-100) with only Louisiana posting an increase, and was third (with a .9% increase) among four states and the District of Columbia which all saw an over-the-year increase in employment.

Meanwhile, Oregon is also in the top 2–though on the negative side:
“Michigan reported the largest jobless rate increase from a year earlier (+7.1 percentage points), followed by Oregon (+6.3 points).”

The one speck of good news is that Oregon has lost its position as having the second worst jobless rate in the nation. Oregon is now number 3 with 12.2% unemployment. Rhode Island beat Oregon by 2/10ths of a percent coming in with 12.4%. Michigan is hands down worst with 15.2% unemployment.

Cross posted at The Next Right

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Linn County, Oregon 1885 census

I have had a chance to look at the original books of the 1885 Linn County census. There are four slim books with the heads of family names, general number of males and females under and over 18 with details on wool, stock, produce, fruit, fish, minerals and lumber owned by each family.

I'm including images of all the pages with surnames starting with "S" as well as a full set of one of the "L" pages. I hope this will help other researchers evaluate if the census can help them in family history research.

I had read about the census, but didn't know exactly what it included. It may be of help to researchers who have a family member listed in the 1880 census but not in the 1900 census (almost all the 1890 census forms were destroyed by a fire). For me, it gave some evidence that my great-great grandmother probably died between 1880 and 1885.

One of the L pages (click on the image for a bigger size copy):

The "S" pages (the full page was bigger than the 14x17 copy machine could make, so I have included a list of names on the pages not included in these images along with the number of males and females listed under each age category):

Saltmarsh, A. - 4 males 21 & up; 2 females 18 and up; 1 female over 10 and under 18; 1 female under 10
Saltmarsh, J. C. - 2 males 21 & up; 1 female 18 and up; 1 female under 10
Sawyer - 1 male 21 & up; 1 female 18 and up; 1 female under 10
Sawyer - 1 male 21 & up
Schmidt, Wm. - 3 males 21 & up; 1 female 18 and up
Scott, Matt - 1 male 21 & up; 3 males over 10 & under 21; 1 male under 10; 1 female 18 and up; 2 females under 10
Settle, J. M. - 1 male 21 & up; 1 female 18 and up; 2 females over 10 and under 18; 2 females under 10
Shea, J. - 1 male 21 & up; 3 males under 10; 1 female 18 and up; 1 female over 10 and under 18; 1 female under 10
Shelton, James - 1 male 21 & up; 1 female 18 and up
Shepherd, N. H. - nothing listed
Shidler, J. H. - 1 male 21 & up; 1 male under 10; 1 female 18 and up; 1 female under 10
Shields, W. H. H. - 1 male 21 & up
Shilling, Jacob - 1 male 21 & up; 2 males over 10 & under 21; 1 male under 10; 1 female 18 and up
Simpson, Geo. T. - 1 male 21 & up; 2 males over 10 & under 21; 1 female 18 and up; 2 females over 10 and under 18; 1 female under 10
Skelton - 1 male 21 & up; 2 male over 10 & under 21; 2 females 18 and up; 1 female over 10 and under 18
Skinner, Wm - 1 male 21 & up; 1 male over 10 & under 21; 1 male under 10; 1 female 18 and up
Smith, A. M. - 1 male 21 & up; 1 female 18 and up
Smith, F. M. - 2 male 21 & up; 1 male over 10 & under 21; 1 female 18 and up
Smith, J. K. - 1 male 21 & up; 2 males over 10 & under 21; 1 female 18 and up
Smith, Mrs. R. A. - 1 male 21 & up; 1 male over 10 & under 21; 1 female 18 and up
Smith, T. F. - 2 males 21 & up; 1 male over 10 & under 21; 1 male under 10; 1 female 18 and up; 3 females over 10 and under 18 (this may be 3 females under 10)
Smith, W. C. - 2 males 21 & up; 1 male over 10 & under 21; 2 males under 10; 1 female 18 and up; 1 female under 10
South, J. A. - 1 male 21 & up; 1 male under 10; 2 females 18 and up; 1 female over 10 and under 18; 1 female under 10
Soverns?, C. - 1 male 21 & up; 1 male over 10 & under 21; 1 male under 10; 3 females 18 and up; 1 female over 10 and under 18; 2 females under 10
Spicer, W. E. - 1 male 21 & up; 1 female 18 and up; 1 female under 10
Spink, E. B. - 1 male 21 & up; 1 female 18 and up; 1 female under 10
Stanard, A. N. - 3 males 21 & up; 2 males over 10 & under 21; 1 male under 10; 1 female 18 and up; 1 female over 10 and under 18; 1 female under 10
Stanard, C. E. - 1 male 21 & up; 1 male under 10; 1 female 18 and up
Standish, N. B. - 3 males 21 & up; 1 male under 10; 2 females 18 and up; 2 females under 10
Starr, J. W. - 1 male 21 & up; 1 male under 10; 1 female 18 and up
Staton, G. ? - 2 males 21 & up; 2 females 18 and up; 3 females over 10 and under 18
Stevenson - 1 male 21 & up; 1 male under 10; 1 female 18 and up
Sturtevant, M. B. - 1 male 21 & up; 1 male over 10 & under 21; 1 female 18 and up; 2 females under 10
Summer, Arnold - 2 males 21 & up; 2 males under 10; 2 females 18 and up; 1 female over 10 and under 18; 6 females under 10
Summer, J. C. - 1 male 21 & up; 1 male over 10 & under 21; 1 male under 10; 2 females 18 and up; 1 female under 10
Summerville, John - 2 males 21 & up; 1 female 18 and up
Susius?, Henry - 1 male 21 & up
Swank, J. H. - 1 male 21 & up
Swank, J. M. - 1 male 21 & up; 2 females over 10 and under 18
Swank, P. - 1 male 21 & up; 2 males over 10 & under 21; 1 female 18 and up; 2 females over 10 and under 18

Beltway Conservatives Flummoxed by Palin

It’s interesting (and, I have to admit, a bit entertaining) to see how many in the mainstream conservative media are ignoring Governor Palin.

The Weekly Standard is an exception. It published a long (4,800 word) article by Matthew Continetti on Palin’s resignation with indepth treatment of the major role the poisoned political atmosphere in Alaska played in Palin’s decision.

“Suddenly ‘people were confronted with policy differences with the governor,’ Alaska state senator and Palin ally Gene Therriault told me. ‘The call went out from the national Democratic party to take her down. Some of the Democrats who worked with her previously took their marching orders.’ Gridlock ensued. Bipartisan comity was no more.

“Anybody who had the opportunity to score political points against Palin took a shot. The Alaska judicial council, a body that recommends jurists to the governor, forced the pro-life Palin to appoint a pro-choice judge to the state supreme court. The legislature rejected Palin's choice for state attorney general. The governor and the legislature fought protracted battles over the replacement for Democratic state senator Kim Elton (appointed to the Obama administration) and stimulus money from the federal government. Civility with the legislature became untenable. John Coale, the Washington, D.C.-based Democratic lawyer who set up Palin's political action committee and legal defense fund, told me, ‘Something had to change.’”

But, National Review is flummoxed. So far there has been no official editorial or even an article on Palin’s resignation. There was Rich Lowry’s personal howl of distress (which is in line with the more emotional stance he takes–as when he was personally charmed by Palin’s wink at the VP debates). They also published comments from a mostly positive symposium on Palin’s political future. But, nothing really substantial about either the context or import of Palin’s resignation.

And there hasn’t been a peep out of NR on Palin’s op ed attack on Obama’s cap and trade plan published in the Washington Post. It showed clear thinking with a dash of wit thrown in. Palin pointed out the expected job losses (with $4.2 billion allocated for the unemployed which is actually part of the plan itself) and quoted Obama that energy costs will "necessarily skyrocket". It was masterful. Worthy of NR in its golden period.

Even my sweet baboo columnist Mark Steyn could only salvage the thought that Palin was “cutting bait” by her resignation. (Though it is encouraging that he fairly quickly took down the link to that posting from his SteynOnline site.)

Well, why the tiptoeing around? One can only guess.

Maybe they are following Thumper’s father’s advice. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

Maybe because 76% of Republicans (most of their readers) approve of Palin.

Maybe because they’ve seen the nose dive in the careers of people like Peggy Noonan. After Noonan’s strident criticism of Palin in October of 2008, the page views for her Wall Street Journal Declarations column have declined more than 40% (which counts the huge spike in views of the “Palin’s Failin’” column, but not the huge spike in her latest “A Farewell to Harms” column.) And her latest book on political civility did a massive nose dive after Noonan’s own political civility was tested and found wanting in the face of Palin’s popularity.

It’s a tough dilemma for anti-Palin conservative pundits. To speak your mind alienates your readers. A tough pill to swallow is admitting that your readers (who aren’t supposed to be as smart as you) have seen something important and substantial that you have missed.

The wisest course seems to be whistling through the graveyard and pretending Palin’s popularity will fall and the conservative base will come to its senses. Good luck with that.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Palin: Cap and Tax Dead End

From Governor Palin’s op ed in today’s Washington Post:
There is no shortage of threats to our economy. America's unemployment rate recently hit its highest mark in more than 25 years and is expected to continue climbing. Worries are widespread that even when the economy finally rebounds, the recovery won't bring jobs. Our nation's debt is unsustainable, and the federal government's reach into the private sector is unprecedented.
. . .

Job losses are so certain under this new cap-and-tax plan that it includes a provision accommodating newly unemployed workers from the resulting dried-up energy sector, to the tune of $4.2 billion over eight years. So much for creating jobs.
. . .
In addition to immediately increasing unemployment in the energy sector, even more American jobs will be threatened by the rising cost of doing business under the cap-and-tax plan. For example, the cost of farming will certainly increase, driving down farm incomes while driving up grocery prices. The costs of manufacturing, warehousing and transportation will also increase.

The ironic beauty in this plan? Soon, even the most ardent liberal will understand supply-side economics.

The Americans hit hardest will be those already struggling to make ends meet. As the president eloquently puts it, their electricity bills will "necessarily skyrocket." So much for not raising taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year.

Even Warren Buffett, an ardent Obama supporter, admitted that under the cap-and-tax scheme, "poor people are going to pay a lot more for electricity."
. . .

We must move in a new direction. We are ripe for economic growth and energy independence if we responsibly tap the resources that God created right underfoot on American soil. Just as important, we have more desire and ability to protect the environment than any foreign nation from which we purchase energy today.
. . .

Of course, Alaska is not the sole source of American energy. Many states have abundant coal, whose technology is continuously making it into a cleaner energy source. Westerners literally sit on mountains of oil and gas, and every state can consider the possibility of nuclear energy.

We have an important choice to make. Do we want to control our energy supply and its environmental impact? Or, do we want to outsource it to China, Russia and Saudi Arabia? Make no mistake: President Obama's plan will result in the latter.

For so many reasons, we can't afford to kill responsible domestic energy production or clobber every American consumer with higher prices.

Can America produce more of its own energy through strategic investments that protect the environment, revive our economy and secure our nation?

Yes, we can. Just not with Barack Obama's energy cap-and-tax plan.

Cross posted at The Next Right

Monday, July 13, 2009

Oregon Unemployment Rate Doubles in a Year

Oregon’s 12.2% unemployment rate for June, 2009, is more than double the 5.9% rate for June, 2008. It's also almost 30% higher than the 9.5% June national average.

A year ago Oregon's rate was very close to the 5.5% national average. Why has Oregon's unemployment rate grown so much faster than the national average?

The Oregonian doesn’t seem to have noticed the report that came out today from economist David Cooke of the Oregon Employment Department. Nothing so far about the report on the OregonLive web site.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Sad Decline of Peggy Noonan

Peggy Noonan is consumed by hatred of Sarah Palin. Why? Who knows.

Her current column is not only full of anti-Palin opinion, but Noonan doesn't even get basic facts right.

Some easy to fact check Noonan wrong assertions:

1. Sarah Palin is middle class not working class.

"To wit, 'I love her because she's so working-class.' This is a favorite of some party intellectuals. She is not working class, never was, and even she, avid claimer of advantage that she is, never claimed to be and just lets others say it. Her father was a teacher and school track coach, her mother the school secretary. They were middle-class figures of respect, stability and local status. I think intellectuals call her working-class because they see the makeup, the hair, the heels and the sleds and think they're working class 'tropes.' Because, you know, that's what they teach in 'Ways of the Working Class' at Yale and Dartmouth."

I don't know what they taught Noonan at Fairleigh Dickinson about the working class, but Sarah Palin hasn't lived with her parents for a long, long time. She married Todd Palin over two decades ago. He is a working class union member laboring in the Alaskan oil fields. He, like other Eskimo ancestry working class people, adds to his family's living by commercial fishing. Not by "supervising" employees, but by doing the manual labor himself.

And Sarah has been working right along side him. Not as secretary and bookkeeper, but actually doing the backbreaking work of catching the fish, hauling them in and getting them ready for processing.

As governor and first dude of Alaska, they also have a foot in middle class family life. But the Palin family has made a good chunk of its living for the vast majority of the past two decades as a working class family.

To say that the Palins are not working class because Sarah's father was a teacher, is like saying the John Edwards family is working class, though John works as a lawyer, has made mega-bucks and lives in a mansion, because his father was working class. I would hope that even Noonan would admit that an assertion that John Edwards is really working class because his father was is ridiculous and bone-headed.

2. Sarah doesn't read.
"She couldn't say what she read because she didn't read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity."

Peggy has a hard time with research. Here's a a clip from the Charlie Rose show done in early September, 2008, where Palin talks easily and at some length in the short answer format about some of her favorite authors--before the Couric interview*.

3. Palin polls high among only "some members" of the Republican base.
"McCain-Palin lost. Mrs. Palin has now stepped down, but she continues to poll high among some members of the Republican base, some of whom have taken to telling themselves Palin myths."

If you call 76% (45% very favorable and 31% somewhat favorable) "some", I guess Noonan is right. More truthful would be for Noonan to identify her own group as "some" members of the Republican base, since only 21% of Republicans share her view and they don't even equal the minority faction of Palin's favorable ratings. That's what the latest Rasmussen poll shows.

Maybe Noonan doesn't know how to do internet research and Rasmussen and Charlie Rose are beyond her abilities. More likely Noonan's hatred has blinded not only her judgment, but her ability to present the truth. Sad that Noonan's talent is now being used to such ends.

[*Not to mention that Couric's question was a doofus question in the internet era. Anyone who says they have two or three main sources of information doesn't do internet research well. They're Yahoo news types who get their information from headlines and news crawls at the bottom of cable news screens. It's like saying after the invention of the printing press that you have two or three books that are your main sources of information. I'm not even a professional in the news or commentary business, and I have a sidebar with 60 sources I consider important--and that doesn't count the hundreds of others I've linked to in my posts and used in my research. Get real.]

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Bankruptcy of the Conservative Media

John Ziegler has a piece on the media and Sarah Palin. Most of it is focused on the bias in the media as well as how ignorant reporters/commentators are about her and her accomplishments. A key point: the lack of comment on how a previous mid-term resignation was the key to understanding her political values as well as her future political success.

But, to me the most interesting part of Ziegler’s piece is pointing out the current moral bankruptcy in conservative media. Though conservative pundits admit that Palin has been savaged unfairly by the media and hit with numerous groundless ethical complaints, they are not outraged at media hit pieces or groundless and costly ethical complaints from political enemies (the perps) but criticize Palin (the victim) for any fighting back. They call it whining.

Apparently they have no problem with the half a million dollars Palin is having to pay out of her own pocket* (a working class pocket–unlike their upper middle class media elite pocket) or that her children are being mercilessly slimed and lampooned. One wonders how their media outlets (not to mention each of them personally even with their media salaries) would react to half million dollar hits. National Review has donation drives at least annually. How would it do with a half a million in legal bills this year and maybe double or triple that in the next year and a half?

“There’s a lot of blame to go around for how and why this has been allowed to happen, but I want to make special mention of some my conservative media “friends” (that is just an expression, I don’t really have many friends in the media) who have once again revealed just how weak, shortsighted and willing to sell out they really are. Regardless of what you think of Sarah Palin, every single conservative who attacks her by buying into media-created falsehoods so they can curry favor with the media elite should be seen as traitors to the movement. You have been duped and used as cover for a public lynching.”
. . .

“Could someone PLEASE show me just ONE legitimate example (no one making the claim has even bothered to try) of where Palin has “whined” about something that has been said about her publicly?! Are these people saying you can’t set the record straight about lies? Are you not supposed to fight back against illegitimate attacks? Gee, that strategy worked so well for President Bush. And these are the so called leaders of the movement? No wonder we are where we are.”

How many times did conservative commentators “whine” about how President Bush didn’t stand up to his critics? That they were the ones who had to defend him. When Sarah Palin from time to time defends her family and herself, she is a whiner. Well, what is the right strategy? Respond? Don’t respond? The bankruptcy of conservative media is in this as well. No ideas on what to do. Only criticism for the paths chosen by those who are actually on the firing line.

Interesting that a political outsider from Alaska could show not only the bankruptcy of the left but of elites on the right as well.

*not to mention the millions of dollars it's costing Alaskan taxpayers

H/T Conservatives4Palin

UPDATE: Case in point is Anthony Dick at National Review Online's The Corner:
". . .[John Fund] offers a few lines on the unfair treatment Palin has received from the national media: 'She made many mistakes after suddenly being thrust into the national spotlight last year, but hasn’t merited the sneering contempt visited upon her by national reporters. She simply was not their kind of feminist — and they disdained the politically incorrect life choices she had made.'

"But it wasn’t just the choices she made; it was the way she presented herself in conformance with the stereotype of the red-state simpleton. The fact that this stereotype is unfair does not justify conservative politicians in ignoring its power."
. . .
"Overcoming these prejudices is, if not a prerequisite, at least a very helpful vehicle for receiving a fair hearing on the merits. Bill Buckley was, of course, a master at this project. Sarah Palin seems either completely oblivious to it, or else too indignant to play that game."

No, it's Anthony Dick and his buddies who won't play the game. Bill Buckley was a master at disarming the left, but he didn't just stand up for himself. That was one of the purposes of NR--to stand up for conservative principles and conservative candidates and do heavy lifting in the public forum on their behalf.

John Fund is doing the heavy lifting while Anthony Dick is saying "It ain't my job."

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Palin Resignation = Quitting. A Guy/Power Thing?

It has been interesting to see reactions from some conservative male leaders. Rich Lowry, previously charmed by a wink from Palin, is angry about her resignation. Lowry calls her reasoning disingenuous and thinks the resignation is purely the result of self-interest. On the local level Lars Larson thinks she’s a quitter. Even normally good sense Mark Steyn thinks she’s “cutting bait”. (Though I note that he doesn’t have the “cutting bait” posting linked at his steynonline site anymore.)

Could this be a “guy” thing? Men are used to plunging straight forward come what may. That’s part of masculine heroics–at least for those who have a foot in the power structure. But women, down through the centuries, know that many times the best way through is going around because if you aren’t as physically strong or don’t have the good old boys network and legal system on your side, a frontal assault is a losing assault. You end up worse off than you started.

Actually, most people out of power know that. So do people who are out gunned. Consider the American revolution. The British fought straight up in lines–-like real men. They had the men, equipment and supplies to win. The Americans fought by using cover, striking when it looked like they could do damage and retreating when necessary–which was more often than not. Were they quitters? Cowards? The British thought so. Still, they did risk their lives, fortunes and sacred honor in fighting for political freedom against the odds.

Unconventional tactics are sometimes the result of true courage as well as being the best way to achieve victory.

Bloggers 69% Positive about Palin after Announcement

According to U.S. News and World Report blogger response to Governor Palin after her resignation statement has become strongly positive. Zeta Interactive found that posts on Palin have swung to 69% positive after her resignation announcement compared to 54% negative before.

H/T Conservatives4Palin

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Palin: 76% of Republicans Still Favorable

The latest Rasmussen poll, taken after Palin's announcement of resignation, shows she is still viewed favorably by 3/4ths of Republicans. Palin leads among Republicans in the very favorable category (45%), and is only beaten out by Mike Huckabee when "very favorable" and "somewhat favorable" categories are combined (78% Huckabee and 76% Palin). Only 21% have an unfavorable opinion of Palin.

Considering that 66% of Republicans identify themselves as conservatives (and 27% moderates and 5% liberals), Palin seems to have won almost all the conservatives with liberals and most of the moderates being those unhappy with her.

Unfortunately National Review's editor Rich Lowry has decided to lead conservatives by slamming Palin for being disingenuous and self-interested. Here’s Lowry on Palin’s resignation:

"It’s just too absurd. Palin mentioned Alaska or Alaskans 34 times in a 17-minute statement that must be a new record in the history of protesting too much. Palin says she hates politics as usual, and true to her word, on July 3 she staged a spectacle in politics as unusual. But she still proved adept at the traditional political art of extreme disingenuousness." [How many times did Reagan refer to California or Californians in his gubernatorial speeches or to America or Americans in his presidential speeches?–Protested too much?]

"She didn’t want to put Alaska through the hell of a lame-duck governor who would “hit the road, draw the paycheck, and ‘milk it.’” Never mind that if she feared becoming a lame duck, she could run for re-election — especially if “serving [Alaska’s] people is the greatest honor I could imagine.” Or that she could endeavor to work her hardest at her job until her last day in office. That may sound outlandish, but it’s been done before." [If serving the people of California was such a great honor for Ronald Reagan, why didn’t he run for senator or representative from California after being governor?]

"Sarah Palin’s words served only to throw a tissue of rationalization over a calculated choice made in her personal self-interest. In all likelihood, Palin is going to embrace her political celebrity with gusto, freed from the burdens of the geographic isolation of the Alaska governorship and its (relative to national politics) petty distractions. Her decision wasn’t particularly public-spirited, but neither was it crazy. She has seen her opportunities, and she’s going to take them." [Just as Reagan’s words only threw a “tissue of rationalization over a calculated choice” made in his personal self-interest. Reagan embraced political celebrity with gusto, freed from the burdens of the California governorship and its petty distractions. Reagan’s decision wasn’t particularly public-spirited, but neither was it crazy. He had seen his opportunities, and he took them.]

This may be Lowry's honest venting, but it’s not too smart either in political terms of getting a conservative elected president–-or for National Review. When you rely on conservative readers and spit in the eye of 76% of the party that is mostly made up of conservatives, that's like spitting into the wind. Good luck on that.

Poor National Review seems less and less to be leading conservatives than defying them.

Cross posted at The Next Right

Time's Interview with Palin

Pretty good interview Time did with Governor Palin. She’s articulate and to the point, as usual.

Why the resignation?
“It is meaningful to be able to say, 'Look, there needs to be freedom all the way around here to progress. Alaska, we're going to continue to waste resources and time if this political game continues, and it will only continue, because it's a game of political, personal destruction is what the attempt is. But for me personally, it doesn't affect me like the way some people would assume, personally. Anybody growing up in Alaska is pretty tough and rugged. And, you know, I've been in politics since 1992. Local politics is really tough, too, so on a local level, on the state, jumping on an international stage, I've got those years under my belt and I expect and even invite the constructive criticism and those things that hold a public servant accountable, and I invite that. But, the circumstances have changed, where we have seen this allowance of critics who lie, who stymie progress and who try to paralyze an administration. That hurts a state. That's not fair to the people of the state. And that's why I said circumstances — my choice is to react to the circumstances, maybe unconventionally, but wisely and fairly to Alaskans.”

Future plans:
“I will work extremely hard for Alaska, continuing to work for Alaska, but helping other people who can effect this change, whether they're in office or out of office. . . . But I'd like to work for other people who'd like to effect change, and Alaska's going to play a big part in the effectiveness of America.”

The Problem with Obamanomics:
“President Obama is growing government outrageously, and it's immoral and it's uneconomic, his plan that he tries to sell America. His plan to "put America on the right track" economically, incurring the debt that our nation is incurring, trillions of dollars that we're passing on to our kids, expecting them to pay off for us, is immoral and doesn't even make economic sense. So, his growth of government agenda needs to be ratcheted back, and it's going to take good people who have the guts to stand up to him, stand up to him and debate policy, not personalities, not partisan politics, but policy to effect the change that we need there.”

One curious sidelight was the extensive “color” commentary leading up to the print out of the interview. There were references to Palin’s inlaws and their orange garage doors and two octagonal house windows. But, Time wasn’t interested in exploring anything about the impact on the first native Alaskan family in American history to be involved in high level national politics. Like having a chance to interview Abraham Lincoln’s family, but focusing on their kitchen curtains instead. A little bizarre.

Cross posted at The Next Right

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hillary vs. Sarah

Three days after Governor Palin’s resignation announcement, the news cycle is still transfixed. All sorts of speculation and commentary on Sarah Palin’s political future. The media and pundit interest is so enormous that the news is driven not by facts or new information but by speculation and “commentary”. And not even on the basis of interviews with Palin herself or anyone close to her.

Compare that with the attention paid to Hillary Clinton the most popular and charismatic woman (and second most popular and charismatic person) in the Democratic party. Remember that she won the most populous states in the primaries and came within two-tenths of a percent of beating Obama in the (estimated) popular vote.

In December President Obama announced Clinton as his pick for secretary of state. The most popular, powerful woman in the Democratic party resigned her senate seat in midterm. A senate seat not from a small population state like Alaska, but the third most populous state in the Union. And Clinton is heir to the Clinton political dynasty to boot.

How much coverage was given to Clinton’s political future and what giving up her senate position and becoming secretary of state would mean for her presidential aspirations? Did it drive the news cycle for even one day–let alone three days? There were comments, but they quickly died away in the excitement of Obama and Clinton teaming up to make the Obama administration a success.

Has there been any real political focus on Clinton since she became secretary of state other than the odd story about her breaking her elbow or having to smile through the State Department’s reset button goof? Consider a low key piece in May by CNN’s Jonathan Mann who raises the question of Clinton’s presidential prospects and almost as quickly waves it away with a stunningly unjournalistic view that Obama is president now so there’s not much use in thinking about a presidency after his.

“And Hillary isn't the only Clinton who's gotten quieter. Bill Clinton remains one of the most popular figures in American politics, but these days, he's barely seen. He hasn't ceded the spotlight to Hillary; they have both backed away from it, in favor of Obama.

“Why? For nearly two decades, a Clinton was either running for president or holding the office. Now, neither of them is. Hillary Clinton tells reporters she loves her new job.

“And even if she still wants to be president, Obama has that job for the foreseeable future.”

But Obama’s current presidency doesn’t stop raging interest in and speculation about Sarah Palin’s presidential prospects.

The media is treating Clinton like it treated Nixon after 1960–ignoring her as a presidential prospect. And treating Palin like it treated Reagan after 1976–pooh-poohing and berating her as a presidential prospect. Will history repeat itself with a surprise similar to 1968 or 1980?

Cross posted at The Next Right

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Anchorage Daily News and Associated Press Miss Most Important Press Conference of Year

McClatchy Watch reports that the Anchorage Daily News and Associated Press reporters arrived late and didn't get to see Sarah Palin’s press conference announcing her coming resignation. Thus, missing the biggest Alaska story of the year.

Associated Press writer Rachel D’Oro, obliquely referred to her lack of attendance as “late-arriving media”:
“The former Republican vice presidential candidate hastily called a news conference Friday morning at her home in suburban Wasilla, giving such short notice that only a few reporters actually made it to the announcement. State troopers blocked late-arriving media outside her home, and her spokesman, Dave Murrow, finally emerged to confirm that Palin will step down July 26. He refused to give details about the governor's future plans.”

Also arriving late was Anchorage Daily News reporter Sean Cockerham. In fact, the Anchorage Daily News was stuck with no photos of their own and had to “borrow” their images as well as what Palin said from KTVA TV news footage–-whose news team managed to make it to the press conference on time. All nine of ADN’s posted photos are not good quality and noted as being “Screengrab from KTVA video”. Apparently the Anchorage Daily News isn’t savvy enough to check out the Alaska Governor’s site which posted two professional quality photos they could have used instead of “screengrabs”.

The official AP photograph of the event was taken by Robert DeBerry of The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman (a Wasilla semi-weekly newspaper) who, along with Frontiersman reporter Andrew Wellner, managed to be on time too.

Imagine the poor news organization whose White House reporters missed out on a “hastily called” Obama news conference that turned out to be the biggest story of the year because they arrived late. That rates right up there with other great excuses like “The dog ate my homework.”

Maybe being able to arrive on time is one of the differences between who gets assigned to the White House and who gets assigned to Alaska.

Cross posted at The Next Right

Flakiness Is All Around Us

Jennifer Rubin just can't help herself. She is (mostly) nice to other conservatives though mildly scolds David Brooks from time to time for his starry-eyed support of Barack Obama. But resigning from office is TOO MUCH!!!
"Some are debating whether [Palin's] critics “won” by chasing her off the stage. Well, she chased herself off the stage and chose not to even fulfill her responsibilities to the state that elected her and put her on the stage. (Really, you mean she couldn’t have finished her term and refused national appearances for the balance of her term to lessen the media scrutiny? Hmmm.)"

I don't remember the uproar when Barack Obama resigned in the middle of his term as senator and did not choose to fulfill his responsibilities to the state that elected him and put him on the stage. Or Joe Biden. Or governors Janet Napolitano and Kathleen Sebelius.

Flakiness is all around us, but some have only selective flakiness perception.

Cross posted at The Next Right

Friday, July 03, 2009

Leaving Alaska Going in the Right Direction

Governor Sarah Palin announced her resignation today because the media and political frenzy around her was taking up the majority of her time, her staff's time, millions in state funds and half a million of her family funds. All this was not about her policies, but about her personally and her family.

I've been in a somewhat similar position--except for the personal rancor. I left the position of CFO of a company after bringing it out of crippling debt because of internal fighting that was starting to hurt the company and bring undue pressure on employees who needed to be left alone to do their jobs.

Sarah Palin leaves Alaska in good shape. In terms of the state employment trend, in great shape. Alaska has had one of the best state employment trends for the last four months while my state of Oregon has been vying for, capturing and maintaining the second highest unemployment rate in the nation. (Alaska good news: February, March, April, May)

While many other states spent during the good times and are agonizing over budget cuts in the millions and even billions (and the Obama administration is deepening the national debt by the trillions), Alaska actually tripled its savings under Governor Palin. Alaska had about $2 billion in savings when she came into office, and now has about $6.5 billion in savings. Even with that substantial backup, she considered it to be good policy to cut almost $270 million from this year's original budget request.

This is a legacy that the people of Alaska feel every day.

If other governors had paid that kind of attention to their states, double digit unemployment, state IOU's and economic crisis management wouldn't be as common as it is. And if Presidents Bush and Obama had paid that kind of attention to the nation, we wouldn't have trillions in debt piling up and the national unemployment rate lapping at double digit shores.

Sarah Palin keeps showing good judgment not only in stabilizing the economy and employment in Alaska, but in underlining the fact that good political leadership is about the people being served not the leader's political position and perks.

Cross posted at The Next Right