Tuesday, September 27, 2011

C. Krauthammer: the governance phase of the Obama presidency is over

On President Obama attacking politicians for being “so focused on the next election” and ridiculing Rick Perry as “a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change”:

Well, it’s hard to know where to start. I’ll start with the global warming part. This is just an example of how much of a religion the climate change stuff has become. Whether or not you believe that global warming is real, the idea that there’s some direct connection between global warming … and the fires in Texas is the worst of pseudoscience, which is exactly what Democrats accuse Republicans of.

And this idea in the earlier clip you showed where he said – Obama’s complaining about people who are so focused on the next election. How can he say that with a straight face? He’s gone 3,000 miles to do a whole bunch of fundraisers. He’s focused entirely on the election. He gives a speech to a joint session of Congress proposing legislation that he knows doesn’t have a chance of being actually enacted into law – it’s only a premise for the upcoming election. And, a week later, he proposes a debt plan that he knows also is not going to be enacted.

He’s given up – he’s essentially announced that the governance phase of the Obama presidency is over. And he’s now fully campaigning, with a year and two months to go. That’s some kind of indoor record.

Obama’s jobs plan isn’t top priority for Reid

Reid is ignoring Obama's priority?
President Obama still is pressing Congress to pass his jobs stimulus bill immediately, but his own party leaders in the Senate, where Democrats have a majority, have pushed that vote off yet again.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said Monday night that when the Senate returns from a weeklong vacation, the chamber will work instead on a bill that would push to label China a currency manipulator, which would make retaliatory steps in order.

“I don’t think there’s anything more important for a jobs measure than China trade,” Mr. Reid said.

The Maltese Falcon

One of the largest privately owned sailing yachts in the world. I thought somebody out there might like seeing a beautiful boat nicely making waves.

End of an era

Andy Rooney to step down from his "60 Minutes" role


(CBS News)

Andy Rooney will announce on this Sunday's "60 Minutes" that it will be his last regular appearance on the broadcast. Rooney, 92, has been featured on "60 Minutes" since 1978.

He will make the announcement in his regular essay at the end of the program, his 1097th original essay for "60 Minutes". It will be preceded by a segment in which Rooney looks back on his career in an interview with Morley Safer.

"There's nobody like Andy and there never will be. He'll hate hearing this, but he's an American original," said Jeff Fager, chairman CBS News and the executive producer of "60 Minutes". "His contributions to '60 Minutes' are immeasurable; he's also a great friend. It's harder for him to do it every week, but he will always have the ability to speak his mind on '60 Minutes' when the urge hits him."


Cain Says Obama Surrogates Play Race Card

Washington Whispers got an early copy of Herman Cain's new book, This is Herman Cain!, and reports he charges that President Obama's surrogates often use the race card to cover for the president's failings.

Writes Cain: "While I don't believe that Barack Obama used racial issues to get elected, I do believe that many of his supporters selectively use race to cover up some of his failures. Whenever President Obama is criticized over policy mistakes, his surrogates tend to play the race card, as if there's supposed to be something inherently morally wrong in such criticism."

The book is due out next week.

Coffee may prevent depression

WHO KNEW?Coffee May Prevent DepressionPaul Webster / Getty Images

Women who drink two or more cups of coffee each day are less at risk of depression, according to a team of researchers at the Harvard Medical School. The study analyzed data from 51,000 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study from 1996 to 2006. During that period, 2,607 cases of depression were diagnosed; women who drank two or more cups of coffee a day, however, reported 20 percent fewer cases of depression—and the risk fell with each additional cup of coffee they drank. Still, the study’s author advises women to not begin drinking more caffeine: more study is needed, he says, and very high caffeine levels can increase anxiety.

Health insurance costs continue steep rise

EXPENSIVEU.S. Health-Insurance Costs SkyrocketBRADLEY C BOWER / Landov

6. U.S. Health-Insurance Costs Skyrocket

Health-insurance prices are rising at a steeper rate than ever before. A new Kaiser Family Foundation study found that the cost of an average family premium has increased 9 percent in the past year. Rising fees are discouraging businesses from hiring more employees that they’ll have to insure, and discouraging many Americans from purchasing their own insurance. President Obama’s health-care law may be driving some unforeseen costs as insurers are hiking prices before new rules regulating such hikes take effect in 2012, and provisions such as coverage for adult children under 26 and for mammograms are forcing employers to incur some serious expenses.

Read it at New York Times

September 27, 2011 12:45 PM

Could have been a black & white photo, really

Where's my teddy bear, mum? Giant Panda cubs snuggle up for a snooze in their nursery

I'm awake! One of the Giant Panda cubs raises his head while his 11 siblings sleep soundly in their nursery at the Giant Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu, southwest China

These 12 cubs would make anyone say 'aah'. But the adorable bears, napping peacefully in their nursery, have a far more important role to play. They have been born and raised in the research base of the Giant Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu, China, which is attempting to preserve the notoriously sex-shy species.

Color coming to the Kindle

Amazon unveils colour Kindle - will it be the first tablet to bruise Apple?

Amazon's Kindle tablet is rumoured to be called Kindle Fire - and the seven-inch Android tablet will cost as little as half the price of iPad 2

Amazon is holding a press conference this week where it's widely expected that the media giant behind the Kindle will unveil a new colour version that puts it on collision course with Apple. Amazon is expected to unveil a seven-inch colour Kindle tablet - a direct rival to iPad 2, and half the price.

For some, this continues to be a controversy to this day


On Sept. 27, 1964, the Warren Commission issued a report concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating President John F. Kennedy.

More evidence of unique cancer treatments from overseas

Fighting Cervical Cancer With Vinegar and Ingenuity


A simple, short and inexpensive procedure holds the promise of preventing many cases of cervical cancer, saving the lives of thousands of women worldwide.

    Double Dip personified

    Consumers earned less and spent less for a second straight year in 2010. The government data shows how Americans are struggling after the worst recession since the Great Depression.

    The Labor Department says in its annual survey of consumer behavior that spending fell 2 percent last year, only the second decrease since the government began the survey in 1984.

    People spent less last year on food, cut back on entertainment and eating in restaurants and gave less to charity. At the same time, they paid more for gas and health care -- trends that have continued this year.

    Incomes fell 0.6 percent in 2010 after a 1.1 percent drop in 2009.

    Consumer spending and income have increased only modestly this year.


    Obama fundraising netting fewer Benjamins

    President Obama will raise substantially less in the second quarter of his campaign than the first, according to the New York Times.

    The paper writes that Obama campaign manager Jim Messina has told Democratic officials that the president will raise about $55 million in the quarter that ends Sept. 30, about $30 million less than he raised the first quarter of his campaign – which was the second quarter of the year, ending June 30.

    Biting the hand that feeds him seems to be taking its toll.

    A Brit gives his view of Obama's 'imperious' presidency

    Nile Gardiner writing in the UK Telegraph:

    The United States is undergoing one of the biggest political revolutions in its post-war history, and perhaps the most important since Ronald Reagan, with an emphatic rejection of the idea that government knows best when it comes to handling key domestic issues, especially relating to the economy. President Obama, whose administration has practically worshipped at the trough of big government, looks spectacularly out of touch with a clear majority of the American people. The highly interventionist liberal experiment of the last two and a half years has been a spectacular failure, with 14 million Americans out of work, sliding consumer confidence, collapsing house prices, and falling stock markets.

    This is why Barack Obama could well end up being the last big government president of the United States, a nation that simply cannot afford the lavish excesses of an imperious presidency that drains the pay-checks of hard-working Americans with impunity and reckless abandon. The historic loss of faith in the federal government under Obama has combined with growing support across America for a return to the limited government ideals of the Founding Fathers.


    The wife of Mexico's most wanted drug lord gives birth in California

    The young wife of Mexico's most wanted drug lord has given birth to twin girls at a hospital in California, according to a newspaper report.

    Emma Coronel, the 22-year-old wife of Joaquin Guzman, crossed the border in mid-July and delivered her daughters at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster on Aug. 15, the Los Angeles Times reported on its website Monday.

    Coronel, a former beauty queen who holds U.S. citizenship, returned to Mexico after they were born. Because they were born in the U.S., her children also qualify for American citizenship.


    POTUS needs a reality check...on himself.

    Peter Wehner writing at CommentaryMagazine.com:

    At a speech before the Congressional Black Caucus this weekend, President Obama told the crowd, “I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain.” He also told the CBC to “take off your bedroom slippers” and “put on your marching shoes.” And he scolded them to “stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying.”

    I have written before about Obama’s deep, almost desperate, need to portray himself as the opposite of what he is, to conceive of himself in a way that is at odds with reality. We have seen it in all sorts of areas, including claiming himself to be a voice of civility, portraying himself as a champion of bi-partisanship, lecturing others about profligate spending, and saying he is the only responsible “adult” in Washington. Now we see this habit in a new arena – this time, the president as Obama the Stoic, a man so committed to “pressing on” for the cause of social justice he just doesn’t have time to feel sorry for himself. Indeed, he has now decided to sermonize to others not to complain, not to grumble, and to “stop crying.”

    This is akin to John Edwards hosting a weekend seminar on the importance of marital fidelity.

    If there has been a president in my lifetime who has felt more sorry for himself – who has laid the blame for his failures on more people (George W. Bush, the Congressional GOP, the Tea Party, conservative talk radio hosts, millionaires and billionaires) and more things (ATMs, Japanese tsunamis, the Arab Spring, Fox News, Wall Street, et cetera) – I can’t think of who that might be. As the wheels on the Obama presidency come off, as his record of ineptness becomes more indisputable, Obama is becoming more intemperate, more aggrieved, more prickly, and more detached from reality.


    Granholm's Folly

    William McGurn in the WSJ:

    Some politicians give us failure. Some politicians give us failure mixed with spectacle. Once in a generation, a politician gives us failure and misunderstanding so colossal that his or her bad example rises to the level of public service.

    To this elite few belongs Jennifer Granholm.

    In the Michigan she governed for eight long years, the roll call of despair is not in dispute. On her watch, the state's ranking in per capita GDP plummeted to 41st place from 24th, Detroit's population shriveled to its lowest level since 1910, and Michigan earned the dubious distinction of being the only state to suffer a net out-migration this past decade.

    These refugees now include Ms. Granholm herself. Apparently her "Cool Cities" initiative—one of her many efforts that was supposed to halt Michigan's brain drain—wasn't cool enough. She and her husband have moved to Berkeley, where they are both teaching.

    With this kind of record, most politicos might take refuge in prudence. Not Ms. Granholm. Today she is running around the nation selling a book and a message. The book is called "A Governor's Story: The Fight for Jobs and America's Economic Future." Her message—that Granholm's Michigan shows the way forward—has been taken seriously in all the places you might expect: the New York Times and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."

    Pot users seem to have a lot of time to petition the government

    When the White House announced “We the People,” an online system for petitioning the government, they no doubt hoped it would become a high-minded way for citizens to interact with their political leaders.

    And so, now that the system is live, how’s that working?

    More than 77,000 people have signed petitions urging the Obama administration to legalize marijuana.

    Obama was warned about the risks of loans to companies like Solyndra

    Long before the politically connected California solar firm Solyndra went bankrupt, President Obama was warned by his top economic advisors about the financial and political risks of the Energy Department loan guarantee program that boosted the company's rapid ascent.

    At a White House meeting in late October, Lawrence H. Summers, then director of the National Economic Council, and Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, expressed concerns that the selection process for federal loan guarantees wasn't rigorous enough and raised the risk that funds could be going to the wrong companies, including ones that didn't need the help.

    Energy Secretary Steven Chu, also at the meeting, had a different view. Under pressure from Congress to speed up the loans, he wanted less scrutiny from the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB.

    The divisions foreshadowed a question that has emerged since Solyndra's bankruptcy: Was the program's vetting process thorough enough? The disagreements also spotlighted an issue that has confronted Obama since he took office: What is the appropriate role of the government in stimulating the private marketplace?

    Skeptics, noting that taxpayers could now be on the hook for $527 million the federal government loaned Solyndra, said the administration would have been better off making greater use of market incentives, not individual company loan guarantees.


    The public sector is bleeding the private sector dry.

    No real surprise here, the government is very good at creating more government jobs. Private sector jobs are another story. Public sector jobs are paid for by taking money from the private sector. We're way beyond any sort of balance and now the public sector is bleeding the private sector dry.

    New EPA regulations would require 230,000 new bureaucrats

    Matthew Boyle writing at the DailyCaller:

    The Environmental Protection Agency has said new greenhouse gas regulations, as proposed, may be “absurd” in application and “impossible to administer” by its self-imposed 2016 deadline. But the agency is still asking for taxpayers to shoulder the burden of up to 230,000 new bureaucrats — at a cost of $21 billion — to attempt to implement the rules.

    The EPA aims to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through the Clean Air Act, even though the law doesn’t give the EPA explicit power to do so. The agency’s authority to move forward is being challenged in court by petitioners who argue that such a decision should be left for Congress to make.

    The proposed regulations would set greenhouse gas emission thresholds above which businesses must file for an EPA permit and complete extra paperwork in order to continue operating. If the EPA wins its court battle and fully rolls out the greenhouse gas regulations, the number of businesses forced into this regulatory regime would grow tremendously — from approximately 14,000 now to as many as 6.1 million.


    Pakistanis Tied to 2007 Border Ambush on Americans

    Carlotta Gall reporting in the NYTimes:

    A group of American military officers and Afghan officials had just finished a five-hour meeting with their Pakistani hosts in a village schoolhouse settling a border dispute when they were ambushed — by the Pakistanis.

    An American major was killed and three American officers were wounded, along with their Afghan interpreter, in what fresh accounts from the Afghan and American officers who were there reveal was a complex, calculated assault by a nominal ally. The Pakistanis opened fire on the Americans, who returned fire before escaping in a blood-soaked Black Hawk helicopter.

    The attack, in Teri Mangal on May 14, 2007, was kept quiet by Washington, which for much of a decade has seemed to play down or ignore signals that Pakistan would pursue its own interests, or even sometimes behave as an enemy.