Saturday, July 30, 2011

Will Palin's Going Rogue Remain Biggest Political Autobiography Seller of All Time?

As of the beginning of this year these are the all-time top sellers in political autobiography:

1. Sarah Palin, Going Rogue - 2.7 million copies; first week: 469,000; first calendar year of sales Nov. 17 - Dec. 31, 2009: 2.67 million copies

2. Bill Clinton, My Life - 2.2 million copies since 2004; first week: 606,000; no data for first calendar year

2. George W. Bush, Decision Points - 2 million copies; first week: 775,000; first calendar year of sales Nov. 9 - Dec. 31, 2010* 2 million copies

*numbers do not include last week and a half of 2010

Friday, July 29, 2011

Andrew McCarthy: Our Debt Is Already a Catastophe; Disruption Can't Be Avoided

In a long, precise, well thought out piece Andrew C. McCarthy explains our real options. Just a bit from his must read piece:
"The pass we are at is not an avoidable disruption. It is a disaster that has already begun to unfold, reversal of which cries out for bold action. The Boehner plan, or any other scheme that balks at forthrightly dealing with our financial straits, merely makes it more likely that our nation cannot survive as we have known it. In the shorter term, the Boehner plan ensures that, when serious steps are finally taken, the metastasizing debt disease will be trillions worse, if not terminal.

"Equally wrongheaded as imagining that an existential threat can be allowed to fester untreated is the insistence on seeing the threat in political rather than substantive terms."
One fact (of the many McCarthy presents) is somewhat well known, and it's easy to see looming consequences:
"The government now spends so much more than it takes in that 40 cents of every expended federal dollar is borrowed."
If your family was borrowing 40 cents out of every dollar it spends, would raising your debt limit help? Would there be any possible action to become solvent that would not turn out to require a massive change in lifestyle?

What is the responsibility of House representatives?
". . . First, the Republicans actually control the House. Second, the debt problem they confront is not just by dimensions more significant than the ideology of judicial nominees; it is precisely the matter they were elected to address.

"No, Republicans can’t govern from the House — if President Obama decided to pull out of Afghanistan tomorrow, there’s not much House Republicans could do about it except cavil. But just as the Constitution makes the president supreme in foreign affairs, it makes the Congress preeminent when it comes to federal borrowing and spending — and, in fact, reposes in the House of Representatives primary control over the raising of revenue. The Framers quite consciously structured things that way so that the spending of public dollars and incurring of public debt would be most closely overseen by the political officials most directly accountable to the people — the members of the House, who have to face the voters every two years."
[emphasis added]
Sign up for McCarthy's RSS feed. He's one of the most insightful commentators writing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Liberal Research Group Finds Big Hit to Middle Class in Jobs Added

There are difficulties in a $767 billion stimulus/"trickle up" economic plan. From the New York Times:
"The report by the National Employment Law Project, a liberal research and advocacy group, found that while 60 percent of the jobs lost during the downturn were in midwage occupations, 73 percent of the jobs added since the recession ended had been in lower-wage occupations, like cashier, stocking clerk or food preparation worker.

"According to the report, 'The Good Jobs Deficit,' the number of jobs in midwage and high-wage occupations remains significantly below the prerecession peak, while the number of jobs in lower-wage occupations has climbed back close to its former peak."

The report warns:
"Finally, we should emphasize that it is too early in the recovery to predict whether these trends will continue. But these findings do show a stark, disproportionate loss in mid-wage occupations during the Great Recession – putting a heavy burden on the recovery to replenish the stock of mid-wage jobs. And yet to date, it has been lower-wage occupations that have seen the strongest growth, suggesting that workers currently navigating the U.S. labor market are facing a good jobs deficit." (page 4)
One interesting fact is that registered nurses have seen a big drop in jobs by losing over 120,000 positions in the higher-wage job category. (see page 3 of the report) This is a warning indicator that healthcare has not seen and may not see a bump in service either from the stimulus or Obamacare.

H/T Jim Pethokoukis

Monday, July 25, 2011

14 Heroes Who Died July 15 to July 21, 2011, Fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq

July 15 - Spc. Daniel L. Elliott, 21, of Youngsville, N.C., died in Basra, Iraq, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
- Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero, 19, of Kailua Kona, Hawaii, died of wounds suffered July 6 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

July 16 -
Cpl. Raphael R. Arruda, 21, of Ogden, Utah, died in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

July 17 - Died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. Killed were:
- Master Sgt. Kenneth B. Elwell, 33, of Holland, Pa.; and
- Pfc. Tyler M. Springmann, 19, of Hartland, Maine.
- Lance Cpl. Jabari N. Thompson, 22, of Brooklyn, N.Y., died of wounds sustained July 13 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
- Sgt. Mark A. Cofield, 25, of Colorado Springs, Colo., died in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident.

July 18 - Died in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their convoy with an improvised explosive device. Killed were:
- Staff Sgt. Kenneth R. Vangiesen, 30, of Erie, Pa.
- Sgt. Edward W. Koehler, 47, of Lebanon, Pa.
- Staff Sgt. Brian K. Mowery, 49, of Halifax, Pa.
- Sgt. Omar A. Jones, 28, of Crook, Colo., died in Balkh province, Afghanistan.

July 19 - Died in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Killed were:
- Staff Sgt. James M. Christen, 29, of Loomis, Calif.
- Sgt. Jacob Molina, 27, of Houston, Texas.

July 21 - Master Sgt. Benjamin A. Stevenson, 36, of Canyon Lake, Texas, died in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Some Rich Guys Who Need Better Judgement

Jim Geraghty says it all:
"There is a fascinating, if slightly disturbing, account in Mike Allen’s newsletter from Politico this morning:

. . .
"'[Ken] Langone backed Rudy Giuliani in 2008, and his guests came from both parties, although most were moderate Republicans. Most are uncommitted in the presidential race. Participants who rank on the Forbes list of richest Americans included Bernie Marcus, Paul Tudor Jones (hedge funds; $3.3 billion), Stan Druckenmiller (hedge funds; $2.5 billion) and Bernie Marcus (Home Depot; $1.9 billion). Several of them said: I’m Republican but I voted for President Obama, because I couldn’t live with Sarah Palin. Many said they were severely disappointed in the president. The biggest complaint was what several called “class warfare.” They said they didn’t understand what they had done to deserve that: If you want to have a conversation about taxation, have a conversation. But a president shouldn’t attack his constituents — he’s not the president of some people, he’s president of all the people. Someone mentioned Huey Long populism.'
"Dear wealthy moderate Republicans: I mean no disrespect, as you’ve made more money than I’ll probably ever earn and you’re quite accomplished in your fields. And like you, I find Chris Christie to be a bold and inspiring leader, who makes a very intriguing option at the national level someday.

"But not all of us are shocked and stunned about Obama’s class warfare and his demonization of you and the sense that he doesn’t think of himself as your president too. Some of us spent two years telling anyone who would listen that he was a lot more liberal than his bland, blank-slate rhetoric suggested. And was all of this worth it because you “couldn’t live” with Sarah Palin? Really? The prospect of having her living at the Naval Observatory was so epically offensive to your sensibilities that you really thought this, and all of the economic joy we’ve endured for the past 30 months, was the better option?

"By any chance, have you done any reexamination of all of that thinking in the past two and a half years?"
[emphasis added]

Monday, July 18, 2011

10 Heroes Who Died July 9 to July 16, 2011, Fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq

July 9 - Sgt. Christopher P. Soderlund, 23, of Pineville, La., died in Logar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with rocket-propelled grenade fire.

July 10 - Sgt. Steven L. Talamantez, 34, of Laredo, Texas, died in Al Amarah, Iraq, of injuries suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with indirect fire.
- Spc. Rafael A. Nieves Jr., 22, of Albany, N.Y., died in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fires.
- Lance Cpl. Norberto Mendez Hernandez, 22, of Logan, Utah, died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

July 12 - Lance Cpl. Robert S. Greniger, 21, of Greenfield, Minn., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
- Seaman Aaron D. Ullom, 20, of Midland, Mich., died while conducting a dismounted patrol in the Now Zad district, Helmand province, Afghanistan.

July 14 - Sgt. Jeremy R. Summers, 27, of Mount Olivet, Ky., died in Paktika province, Afghanistan, after enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire on July 13.

July 15 - Staff Sgt. Wyatt A. Goldsmith, 28, of Colville, Wash., died at Camp Bastion Hospital, Afghanistan of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with rocket-propelled grenade fire in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
- Sgt. Lex L. Lewis, 40, of Rapid City, S.D., died after injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire in Farah province, Afghanistan.

July 16 - Spc. Frank R. Gross, 25, of Oldsmar, Fla., died at Kandahar province, Afghanistan of wounds sustained at Khowst province, Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device caused a military vehicle roll-over.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another Side of Martin Bashir

Update (November, 2013): Martin Bashir has more commitment to vile language and bashing than truth telling. His judgement is worse than poor.  It's execrable and filled with personal hate.
On Friday’s show, Bashir responded to comments Palin made linking America’s debt to slavery, calling her a “dunce” and suggesting Palin might be a prime candidate for the same treatment slaves received from a plantation owner named Thomas Thistewood: being urinated and defecated on.
It took Bashir three days to apologize--or be forced to apologize. One wonders what punishment he would dish out to the Apostle Paul, not to mention Jesus, for their analogies to slavery.

Here's an interview with Martin Bashir in which he explains this interview and his commitment to truth telling (see bottom of post for audio links to interview).

UPDATE: Ten Mile Island comments that Bashir often has troubles of his own in getting source data right. This is underlined by Bashir's inability to correctly read Sarah Palin's latest facebook posting. Instead of linking "Sugar Daddy" to the American taxpayer, which Palin does, Bashir misrepresents her position as one of calling Barack Obama a "Sugar Daddy". And in the latest dust up, without even verifying source data, Bashir pooh-poohs the very possibility that Barack Obama could have walked out of the debt talks. Poor Martin Bashir seems to many more low points in truth telling to every high point.

H/T Ken Shepherd

Sunday, July 10, 2011

10 Heroes Who Died June 29 to July 9, 2011, Fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq

June 29 - Capt. Matthew G. Nielson, 27, of Jefferson, Iowa, died in Badrah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with indirect fire.

July 4 - Staff Sgt. Michael J. Garcia, 27, of Bossier City, La., died in Logar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

July 5 - Killed in Paktia province, Afghanistan of injuries suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device were:
Staff Sgt. Joshua A. Throckmorton, 28, of Battle Creek Mich.;
Spc. Jordan C. Schumann, 24, Port Saint Lucie, Fla.; and
Spc. Preston J. Suter, 22, Sandy, Utah.
- Sgt. Nicanor Amper IV, 36, of San Jose, Calif., died in Khowst, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade.

July 7 - Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Dodds Dudley, 29, of Tega Cay, S.C., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
- Killed in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked their convoy using an improvised explosive device were:
Spc. Nathan R. Beyers, 24, of Littleton, Colo. and
Spc. Nicholas W. Newby, 20, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

July 9 - Sgt. 1st Class Terryl L. Pasker, 39, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, died in Panjshir province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.

Sarah Palin and Foxglove

Newsweek has a surprisingly fair article on Governor Palin. Hardly any snark and seemingly nothing made up. That's one at Time, one at the New York Times, and now one at Newsweek. Hmm.

Newsweek's cover photo of Palin is boffo. But, my favorite is one of her standing in a field of wildflowers--foxglove. We have foxglove in our front yard taken from my great-great-grandparents' homestead (now vacant) here in Oregon. Not long ago there was wonderful lighting on them as the sun was setting. So, here are both the photos--highlighting the beauty and strength of wild foxglove and of Governor Palin.

A Conservatives4Palin poster tells me that Governor Palin is standing by fireweed, not foxglove. Sigh. The picture isn't high enough resolution to see the actual flowers, but she would look great in a field of foxglove too.

UPDATE 2: Here's photographer Emily Shur's account of the photo shoot. And more of the photos taken.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

How to Get Out of Debt

Governor Palin:
As we approach 2012, there are important lessons we can learn from all of this. First, we should never entrust the White House to a far-left ideologue who has no appreciation or even understanding of the free market and limited government principles that made this country economically strong. Second, the office of the presidency is too important for on-the-job training. It requires a strong chief executive who has been entrusted with real authority in the past and has achieved a proven track record of positive measurable accomplishments. Leaders are expected to give good speeches, but leadership is so much more than oratory. Real leadership requires deeds even more than words. It means taking on the problems no one else wants to tackle. It means providing vision and guidance, inspiring people to action, bringing everyone to the table, and with a servant's heart dedicating oneself to striking agreements that keep faith with our Constitution and with the ordinary citizens who entrusted you with power. It means bucking the status quo, fighting the corrupt powers that be, serving the common good, and leaving the country better than you found it. Most of us don’t see a lot of that real leadership in D.C., and it’s profoundly disappointing.

But let me tell you where real hope lies. It’s not the hopey-changey stuff we heard about in 2008. Real hope comes from realizing how God has blessed our exceptional nation, and then doing something about it. We have been blessed with natural resources, hardworking entrepreneurs, and a Constitution that preserves the greatest form of government ever devised by man. If we develop those natural resources, allow our entrepreneurs to keep and invest more of what they earn, and adhere to the time-tested truths of our Constitution, we will prosper and endure.

But first and foremost we must tackle our debt. We don’t have the luxury of playing politics as usual. We need real leaders who will put aside their own political self-interest to do what is right for the nation. And if they don’t emerge… well, America has a do-over in November 2012.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Jim Geraghty: Drop in Civilian Workforce Result of Alien Abductions?

From Jim Geraghty, one of my favorite commentators who couples insight with humor.

Walters Embarrasses Bristol?

Interesting headline. An 81 year old with no embarrassment about her own, uh, checkered romantic and marital history, embarrasses a 20 year old who has made one mistake?

Someone should be embarrassed, and it isn't Bristol. Though, maybe it's the crew which writes the often false Xfinity headlines. True buzzards.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Value of Dollar in Brazil Falls 72.8% in 8-1/2 Years

A measure of the dollar's loss of value comes via recent stats from South America and Mexico. From O Estado de S. Paulo (translation by Google):

"The U.S. dollar's purchasing power in Brazil had the largest drop in the last eight and half years from seven Latin American countries (see table [to the left]). One of the consequences of the result, for example, is the fact that on December 31, 2002, in Brazil, it was possible to buy a basket* with $ 100.00 and on last Tuesday, five days, the same U.S. $ 100.00 would buy only a quarter of the basket."


*A basic "basket":
". . . is defined as a set of products that an average family of four persons (two adults and two children) usually needs for a month, the Cesta Básica is designed to meet the basic nutritional requirements of the country's long-estabilished diet which starts with rice and beans and almost anything else is extra."
Here's a list of what is in one version. [They vary a bit by region. A kilo = about 2.2 pounds.]

"10 kilos of Rice
5 Kilos of Beans
5 Kilos of Sugar
4 Cans of Oil [basic vegetable cooking oil]
2 Kilos Flour
1 Kilo Corn Flour
1 Kilo Manioc Flour
2 Cans of Sardine
1 Can of Instant Milk Powder
1 Kilo Spaghetti Noodles
1 Tomato Paste
1 Can of Peas
2 Kilos of Salt
1 Kilo Coffee
1 Package of BOMBRIL [steel wool]
250 Grams of Margarine
1 Can of Guava Paste [like jam]
5 Bars of Washing soap
1 Dish Detergent"

Monday, July 04, 2011

Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Faces Death Sentence

Please pray for Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. His death sentence was upheld on June 28 by the Iranian Supreme Court. David French explains:
"His crimes? Apostasy and evangelism. Pastor Nadarkhani had publicly opposed an Iranian practice requiring that all children, regardless of faith, receive Islamic instruction. In spite of alleged religious-freedom guarantees under the Iranian constitution, he now faces death — a sentence that could literally be carried out at any time."

Declaration of Independence - 235 Years and Still Beautiful

High resolution image and transcript available here.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

14 Heroes Who Died June 25 to July 1, 2011, Fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq

June 25 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries suffered June 22 in Kherwar, Afghanistan: Spc. Nicholas P. Bernier, 21, of East Kingston, N.H.

June 26 on the border of the Nad 'Ali district of Helmand province, Afghanistan: Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Douville, 33, of Harvey, La.

June 26 in Wasit province, Iraq: Spc. Matthew R. Gallagher, 22, of North Falmouth, Mass.

June 26 in Diyala province, Iraq, killed were:
- Staff Sgt. Russell J. Proctor, 25, of Oroville, Calif.; and
- Pfc. Dylan J. Johnson, 20, of Tulsa, Okla.

June 27 in Helmand province, Afghanistan: Cpl. Michael C. Nolen, 22, of Spring Valley, Wis.

June 28 in Kandahar, Afghanistan: Staff Sgt. Donald V. Stacy, 23, of Avondale, Ariz.

June 28 in Helmand province, Afghanistan: Lance Cpl. John F. Farias, 20, of New Braunfels, Texas.

June 28 in Helmand province, Afghanistan: Lance Cpl. Mark R. Goyet, 22, of Sinton, Texas.

June 30 in Helmand province, Afghanistan: Cpl. Kyle R. Schneider, 23, of Phoenix, N.Y.

June 30 in Helmand province, Afghanistan: Sgt. Chad D. Frokjer, 27, of Maplewood, Minn.

June 29 in Badrah, Iraq:
Capt. David E. Van Camp, 29, of Wheeling, W.Va.; and
Spc. Robert G. Tenney Jr., 29, Warner Robins, Ga.

July 1 at Kandahar province, Afghanistan: Pfc. James A. Waters, 21, of Cloverdale, Ind.