Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Murkowski Concedes

Lisa Murkowski (by Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News)
From the Anchorage Daily News:
"Incumbent Lisa Murkowski has conceded to challenger Joe Miller in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

"Speaking to reporters at her campaign headquarters in Anchorage, Murkowski said 'based on where we are right now, I don't see a scenario where the primary will turn out in my favor.'"
Chalk up a huge political win for Joe Miller as well as former Governor Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.

One wonders if soon to be former Senator Lisa Murkowski wishes she hadn't been so snarky to Palin these last two years. Oh, the slings and arrows of political pride.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Palin's Political Genius and 2012

Of 30 endorsements in elections held to date, Sarah Palin has picked winners in 20 of the political contests. That's a 66% win rate for candidates many of whom were very unlikely winners.

What's interesting is that the Washington Post, which is tracking Palin's endorsements with high profile graphics, is not similarly tracking President Obama's endorsements. Could it be because the President has such a dismal record*? Not even close to blind chance of 50/50. And there are no long shot endorsements as most of Palin's picks are.

Then there's Palin's game changing framing of issues. Jennifer Rubin:
"And it’s not simply candidates that she gets right. Her death-panel zinger not only revealed an underlying truth about ObamaCare’s plans to ration care; she also managed, with a hot button phrase, to electrify critics and infuriate defenders of the bill. Her populist appeal, and sometimes overdone criticism of elite media, was in 2008 a precursor of the Tea Party movement — conservatism that is anti-establishment, small-government-minded, and celebrates individual responsibility."
What could this mean to 2012? That Palin's special understanding of the American people is the key to guiding the U.S. out of its current problems? Both Rubin and John Dickerson think it possible.
"Now, being a political soothsayer and a superb judge of talent (she plucked Nikki Haley out of obscurity by watching a single video) doesn’t ensure a successful candidacy or an effective presidency. But it’s not nothing. And having experienced an over-credentialed pseudo-intellectual president who lacks a basic understanding of the American people, the public may find something refreshing about someone who 'gets' what the country is about. Palin knows what to look for in candidates because she is in sync with the center-right zeitgeist. If she knows what the country is about and what makes it successful, the argument would go, she might possess, as [John] Dickerson explains, 'a special light to guide the country out of the muck.' (This was the secret to Ronald Reagan, by the way. It didn’t matter what the issue was — he would get it 'right' because he instinctively understood the superiority of free markets, the destiny of America, and the character of his fellow citizens. Yes, all caveats apply, and Palin is not Reagan.)"
*There are the high profile losses in Massachusetts (Coakley), Pennsylvania (Specter), New Jersey (Corzine), Virginia (Deeds). There were a couple of wins in Colorado (Bennet) and Arkansas (Lincoln), but Lincoln is 28 points behind her Republican challenger, and Bennet is iffy at nearly 3 points behind in his race.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jews Leaning Republican Up More Than 50% In Two Years

Pew Poll Chart
A recent Pew Research Center Poll shows a growth from 20% of Jews who were Republicans or leaned Republican in 2008 to 33% in 2010.

Republican or Republican leaning Jews
2006 - 26%
2008 - 20%
2010 - 33%

Democrat or Democrat leaning Jews
2006 - 68%
2008 - 72%
2010 - 60%

This seems to indicate not only a disaffection with the Democratic Party, but particularly in terms of high hopes Jewish voters had for Barack Obama. The percentage of Republican or Republican leaning Jews in 2006 was 26%. Six percent left the Republican side in 2008, but 6% have come back in just two years joined by 7% more.

Certainly the coolness of Obama administration policy toward Israel and courting of the Muslim block has had an impact on a group that used to be solidly Democrat and liberal.

With 60% of Jews still leaning Democrat and left, there's no imminent danger of Jews turning conservative or Republican, but it is a warning sign when a third of Jews now identify more with Republicans than Democrats. It's possible that this is the start of the same sort of shift that turned the majority of blacks from being Republicans to being Democrats in the 1960's after nearly a century of being solidly Republican.

H/T David Kaplan of NewRealBlog

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Resurrection Sunday Dance - Hungary Leads the Way

Get involved in the 2011 Resurrection Sunday dance:
Dear Friends,

As you may already know, we are in the process of organizing a worldwide dance on Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011. If you would like to join us in this exciting event register your group by email at info@uptofaith.com . In the email please provide your church’s name, home page address and number of expected participants.

When considering participation please keep in mind the following requirements:

* The date of the event will be April 24, 2011
* Participation is restricted to Christian churches
* Minimum number of participants is 200 persons per registered group (if you are a small church desiring to take part, we encourage you to team up with other churches in your area)
* When applying it is understood that you accept the mission Statement of this event
* Your performance must be recorded with multiple HD cameras. The UptoFaith team will create a video from the clips received.

Join us as we “go tell the world” that Jesus Christ and the Church are alive and making a difference!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jim Wallis: Social Justice Fat Cat?

UPDATE: Wallis' 2011 salary grew to $197,000. His 2013 compensation increased to $218,000.

Rev. Jim Wallis, executive director of the non-profit Sojourners, preaches social justice. But, apparently he doesn't mind receiving a wage (from a non-profit organization) that puts him and his family in the top 7% of American families.

The 2006 data on U S family income breaks down as follows:

25% of US families earn under $25,000 per year (28 million families)
26% of US families earn from $25,000 to $49,999 per year (29 million families)
19% of US families earn from $50,000 to $74,999 per year (21 million families)
12% of US families earn from $75,000 to $99,999 per year (13 million families)
11% of US families earn from $100,000 to $149,999 per year (12 million families)
3.5% of US families earn from $150,000 to $199,999 per year (4 million families)
3.5% of US families earn $200,000 or more a year (4 million families)

Wallis' 2009 compensation from Sojourners was $161,835 (not including $15,133 from related organizations). That's just his income from Sojourners. That doesn't include income from other sources or income from other family members.

Wallis' $161,835 Sojourners' salary puts him and his family ahead of 93% of American families, and way ahead of the bottom 50% of families. Wallis makes three times as much as half of American families. He makes more than six times as much as the bottom quarter of American families--the families arguably most in need of social justice.

A salary way out of line with what most American families get may not be inappropriate for someone running a $7 million dollar profit making business. But, how about for someone heading a non-profit, non-tax paying organization dedicated to "articulate the biblical call to social justice" and who regularly condemns others for their non-social justice views and lifestyles?

UPDATE: Here are worldwide per capita income estimates.

H/T Jay Richards [even though about a different Wallis issue]

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Adult Stem Cells Show Promise in Treating Parkinson's

From research at the Buck Institute for Age Research:
"Researchers transplanted the iPSC [human induced pluripotent stem cells]-derived neurons into rats that had mid-brain injury similar to that found in human PD. The cells became functional and the rats showed improvement in their motor skills. Zeng said this is the first time iPSC-derived cells have been shown to engraft and ameliorate behavioral deficits in animals with PD. Dopamine-producing neurons derived from hESCs [human embryonic stem cells] have been demonstrated to survive and correct behavioral deficits in PD in the past."
. . .
"'These cells are reprogrammed from existing cells and represent a promising unlimited source for generating patient-specific cells for biomedical research and personalized medicine,' said Zeng, who is lead author of the study. 'Human iPSCs may provide an end-run around immuno-rejection issues surrounding the use of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to treat disease,' said Zeng. 'They may also solve bioethical issues surrounding hESCs.'"

H/T Kathryn Jean Lopez

"In U.S., Confidence in Newspapers, TV News Remains a Rarity"

That's the headline for the Gallup finding that only 25% of Americans have "a 'great deal' or 'quite a lot' of confidence" in newspapers and TV news. Already anemic trust dropped 10% between 2003 to 2007 to the current 25% level.

Even Democrats and liberals are skeptical of newspaper and TV news. Only 33% of Democrats and 35% of liberals have significant confidence in newspaper news. For television news that rate fell to 31% for Democrats and 24% for liberals.

The one silver lining in this stormy picture is that nearly half (49%) of 18 to 29 year olds express confidence in newspapers. However, that confidence doesn't play out in practical terms since fewer 18 to 29 year olds read newspapers than any other age group. In a 2008 Gallup poll, only 22% of 18 to 29 year olds said they read local newspapers. This compared to 34% of 30 to 49 year olds, 42% of 50 to 64 year olds, and 68% of those 65 years and older.

H/T Jennifer Rubin

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Each Oregonian Owes $1,859 in State Debt

According to CNN each Oregonian owes $1,859 in state debt. The best state is Nebraska with only $15 per person of state debt. The worst is Connecticut with $4,589 per person. Of interest:

California $2,362
Washington $2,226
Idaho $538

Of course, this doesn't include our individual share of the national debt which is at this moment $42,851 per person.

So, fellow Oregonian, each of us owes $44,710 in state and national debt. Sell your house.