Here's a blast from the past. The New York Times, July 9, 2001, reports on George W. Bush's first summer vacation as president:
On Friday, as new unemployment figures painted a newly troubling portrait of the American economy, Mr. Bush placed himself in the same scenes--golfing and fishing in a New England paradise--that once caused his father electoral grief.
Simply amazing. Here's the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, dated July 6, that "painted a newly troubling portrait of the American economy":
The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.5 percent, five-tenths of a percentage point higher than the average for 2000.
As Barack Obama embarked on his first summer vacation as president last week--also in a "New England paradise," Martha's Vineyard--the most recent unemployment rate was 9.4%, more than double the summer 2001 figure. Covering the Obama jaunt, the Times offers no hint that there's anything wrong with a president taking a vacation during a time of genuine crisis. Indeed, it offers this justification:
Mr. Obama, whom aides described as being amused by all of the gloom-and-doom prognosticating over his health care agenda, did not even consider skipping his vacation. Last year, he talked about the importance of taking a break to avoid "making mistakes."
That makes sense--and in any case, it's not as if the president actually escapes his responsibilities when he goes on "vacation." But the Times's coverage of Obama is a useful contrast to the paper's petty partisan sniping against Bush.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Obama's Brick Wall: The American People
President Barack Obama has run into a brick wall: the American people, who cherish their liberty and revere their nation and do not want it remade in Obama's socialist image.
Obama's free-falling poll numbers are not the result of a misinformation campaign from a small sliver of unruly conservative opponents, as the administration wants you to believe. They are a reflection of the public's reaction to Obama's policies and his own comprehensive misinformation campaign to dupe the people into believing America is unsalvageable without fundamental change.
When Obama promised to bring fundamental change to America, most Americans, fortunately for him, did not take him literally. He offered them "hope" at a time when the economy was going south; political partisanship had reached new levels of acrimony, and people were weary of a protracted, albeit successful, war in Iraq. But most voters had no idea just how much change Obama had in mind.
But Obama was dead serious. If it wasn't obvious to trusting people then, it is abundantly so now. He doesn't share the majority's vision of America as the most wonderful experiment in constitutional governance in history. He sees it as a land of plenty, all right -- plenteous inequities, with maldistribution of resources, oppression and imperialism.
Surely people can now see that it is no accident that he sat at the feet of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright for 20 years, that his mother was a leftist activist and cultural Marxist, that his main early mentor was radical Frank Marshall Davis, that he was a member of the far-left New Party in Chicago, that his main vocation in life has been street organizing and agitation and that he didn't think the revolutionarily, transformative Warren court was liberal enough.
Since assuming office, Obama has been on a mission to fundamentally alter the social compact between the government and a once powerfully sovereign people.
The litany of his shocks to the system is too voluminous to detail in full, but just consider his calculated takeover of GM, his fraudulently marketed trillion-dollar spending schemes, his cap-and-trade boondoggle, his unilateral declaration of an end to the war on terror, his policy to Mirandize terrorists on the battlefield, his cavorting with terrorist dictators, his soft betrayal of Israel, his ceaseless foreign-soil apologies for America, and his crusade to subsume the health care industry.
These are not tweaks to a glorious constitutional republic, but a frantic effort to undo this republic brick by brick. And the American people have finally gotten wise to what's going on and are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore.
But probably not used to running into much adversity in his adult life, Obama's doubtlessly been thrown for a major psychological loop as he's run into the fierce grass-roots resistance to his radical agenda.
Based on what we can glean from his background, we have to assume he remains in that policy cocoon in which he has been surrounded mostly by radicals who see America through different lenses than most Americans do. He truly believes that America has to change in dramatic ways and that he is the only guy who can make it happen, i.e., "The One."
Obama admin attacks the CIA: "The Obama administration Monday appointed a special prosecutor to pursue criminal charges against CIA employees who interrogated some of al Qaeda's hardest core members, while releasing documents showing individuals subjected to the tactics provided life-saving intelligence that disrupted numerous terror plots ranging from an anthrax attack on Westerners to a massive bombing of U.S. troops in Africa. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. ordered the reopening of criminal investigations against CIA interrogators that the Justice Department had previously declined to prosecute under President Bush. He made the decision over the opposition of CIA Director Leon E. Panetta and despite the often-stated wishes of President Obama to "look forward" and not become entangled in a debate over the past practices of the war on terror. Mr. Holder ordered his special prosecutor to focus on cases in which interrogators used "inhumane" tactics" [This is going to castrate the CIA, which is no doubt the aim. The Left have always hated the CIA]
Netanyahu brings balancing act to Europe: “Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in Britain on Monday as a leader walking a tightrope. On one hand, the Israeli prime minister faces a firm international front demanding a full halt to his country’s four-decade-old settlement enterprise. Netanyahu has heard that demand and will almost certainly hear it again from all three of the key people he is slated to meet in Europe this week: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the representative of Israel’s closest ally, U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell.”
Vets wrongly told they have fatal disease: “Former Air Force reservist Gale Reid received a letter from the Veterans Affairs Department that told her she had Lou Gehrig’s disease, and she immediately put herself through a battery of painful, expensive tests. Five days later, the VA said its ‘diagnosis’ was a mistake. Letters were sent to 1,864 veterans about disability benefits for those with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and a ’small number’ have contacted the VA indicating they received the letters in error, VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts said Monday night.”
It’s the big government, stupid: “It’s been a hilarious August, watching media supporters of President Obama’s health care package puzzle over the obscure motivations of the noncompliant Americans rallying against it. ‘Racial anxiety,’ guessed New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. ‘Nihilism,’ theorized Time’s Joe Klein. ‘The crazy tree blooms in every moment of liberal ascendancy,’ historian Rick Perlstein proclaimed in the Washington Post. While the commentariat’s condescension is almost comical, the whole evil-or-stupid explanation misses the elephant in Obama’s room: Americans of all stripes, it turns out, aren’t very keen about the government barging into their lives.”
Some reasons why U.S. infant mortality is high: "Infant mortality is a function of many factors. The more you look at the problem, the less it seems to be correctable by a big new federal role in medical insurance—and, in fact, the less it seems to be mainly a medical issue at all. No one denies the problem. Our infant mortality rate is double that of Japan or Sweden. But we live different lives, on average, than people in those places. We suffer more obesity (about 10 times as much as the Japanese), and we have more births to teenagers (seven times more than the Swedes). Nearly 40 percent of American babies are born to unwed mothers. Factors like these are linked to low birth weight in babies, which is a dangerous thing. In a 2007 study for the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists June O'Neill and Dave O'Neill noted that "a multitude of behaviors unrelated to the health care system such as substance abuse, smoking and obesity" are connected "to the low birth weight and preterm births that underlie the infant death syndrome." Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, also attributes the gap largely to conduct. Comparing white Americans to Norwegians in his 1995 book, The Tyranny of Numbers, Eberstadt concluded that "white America's higher rates of infant mortality are explained not by poverty (as conventionally construed) or by medical care but rather by the habits, actions, and indeed lifestyles of a critical portion of its parents." But underweight babies don't fare worse here than in Canada—quite the contrary. The NBER paper points out that among the smallest infants, survival rates are better on this side of the border. What that suggests is that if we lived under the Canadian health care system, we would not have a lower rate of infant mortality. We would have a higher one."
Canadians confiscate prescription drugs: “A few years ago, stories of Americans going to Canada to buy cheaper drugs were all the rage. Here’s a twist on that: Canadians going to Mexico to get cheaper drugs. The Canadian government has been intercepting shipments and travelers at the border and confiscating the drugs. The drug in question is Thalidomide. You no doubt remember this drug for its horrific side-effects, in babies. But it is still used — by people who won’t get pregnant — to treat a rare form of cancer. It turns out that it’s one of the better drugs on the market, extending the lives of sufferers from myeloma. Trouble is, only one province pays for one version of the drug. Other versions are illegal.” [Thalidomide is also a powerful anti-leprosy drug and is legal in some countries for that reason]
Book review of Jonah: "I owe Jonah Goldberg an apology. When his book “Liberal Fascism” came out last year, I didn’t buy it because for some reason – maybe the smiley face with the Hitler moustache as the cover art, maybe the very provocative title – I assumed, despite knowing that Goldberg is a talented and intellectual writer, that the book was a conservative preaching – semi-hysterically ala Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity – to the converted. I could hardly have been more wrong. “Liberal Fascism” is a remarkable book. Far from rambling hyperbole, it is a highly researched work, suitable for anyone studying political science or 20th century political history. It makes you think. It makes you realize that your gut suspicion is correct: Much of the policy, philosophy, and political tactics and strategy which emanate from America’s “Progressive” movement have striking parallels in of some of the worst dictatorships of modern times."
Labeling won’t make bottled water safer: “The news is depressing these days as people fear losing their homes or jobs and worry about family members deployed in military operations overseas. So what are members of Congress worried about? They fear the ‘grave’ threats posed by — bottled water. Now that’s crazy. Supposedly consumers are at risk from, or are being duped about, bottled water quality. Lawmakers think the solution is more detailed labeling mandates that include listing the traces of chemicals that water might contain.”
A bureaucracy impervious to evidence : "The UK’s Daily Mail wanted to prove that the unforgeable National Identity Cards already being issued to foreign nationals were easily forgeable, so they brought in a pair of cyber-savants, master hacker Adam Laurie and Dutch computer security sage Jeroen van Beek. Within a few minutes, using little more than a cell phone and a laptop, the duo duped all the data from an official ID card’s microchip and created a clone. From there they could change any info they wanted; facial image, name, fingerprints, and even add data such as ‘entitled to benefits’ which gets the unqualified cardholder ‘free’ healthcare from the Brit National Health Service. And just for fun, they added an entry that can be read by any card scanner, ‘I am a terrorist — shoot on sight.’ When confronted with the evidence, a faceless functionary (of a Monty Pythonish Ministry of Priggish Denial?) proclaimed, ‘We are satisfied the personal data on the chip cannot be changed or modified and there is no evidence this has happened.’”
Reality begins to dawn in America: “For the first time since 1975, Social Security recipients will not get a cost of living allowance increase in their Social Security check. Another in a long line of ominous indicators that, to quote President Obama’s favorite disavowed preacher, the fiscal ‘chickens are coming home to roost.’ We seem to have been living in a dream world for the last few decades where the majority of Americans ignored the reality and believed we could continue to increase the size of the welfare state forever with no ill consequences. The small coterie of realists claiming that it was indeed a fantasy world we were living in were declared alarmists who were using scare tactics and dismissed by the politicians.”
Avoid Adobe: "Phantom customer support and selling corrupted software have swiftly turned into a comedy of errors for Adobe, and its customers are not laughing. The latest meltdown, which affects customers globally, comes after last month's call centre problems that resulted in clients being on hold for up to 40minutes. Now customers are claiming to have been in the phone queue for two hours. Adobe yesterday admitted that the mistakes and the poor customer service were unacceptable. "Adobe is currently transitioning to a new global service provider in order to scale up and improve the quality of our technical support and customer service. "While some temporary disruption is inevitable in a global transition of this scale, a cross-functional team is working to improve our services, while resolving specific problems that arise," he said. There is no end in sight, but the spokesman said the company appreciated customers' patience and understanding as it went through its transition." [The people who use pirated copies must be laughing]
Solving the bee death mystery: "A mysterious disease that has reduced honeybee populations in Europe and the United States could be caused in part by a virus, according to research. Scientists have discovered a characteristic pattern of cell damage in bees affected by colony collapse disorder (CCD), which suggests that a virus contributes to a condition that killed off more than a third of American honeybees in 2007-08. CCD, in which worker bees suddenly disappear from their hive, was first reported in the US in 2006, and has since affected at least 24 states and parts of Canada. There have also been cases in continental Europe, and a few cases have been suspected in Britain though not confirmed. The cause of the syndrome remains unknown. Potential triggers that have been advanced have included viruses, mites, fungal infections, pesticides, nutrient deficiencies and even mobile phone signals." [Don't forget global warming!]
Another Airbus systems failure: "The pilots of a holiday jet which suffered a potentially catastrophic electrical fault refused to divert to a nearer landing spot because they feared they would be shot down by military craft. The easyJet Airbus A319 lost all radio contact with the ground when its systems failed, an official report concluded yesterday. The captain was forced to fly manually after the instrument screens in the cockpit went blank. But the crew feared if they deviated from their flight plan without approval from Air Traffic Control the authorities might conclude the jet been hijacked by terrorists. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch stated the pilots thought it 'might be considered a hostile action' which could have led to 'offensive measures being taken against their aircraft'. The plane, which was heading from Alicante in Spain to Bristol in September 2006, also lost its transponder signal, which alerts the pilot if the jet is too close to other craft. However, the captain continued safely to Bristol, where he landed the craft, which was carrying 138 passengers.
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