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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

It's Common Practice

We've long suspected that the mainstream press and Washington politicians were in bed together. Now we find out - from members of the mainstream press who still have some sense of obligation and respect for their profession - a dying breed - that it is the case and has been going on for a long time.

This ain't right.

And Dan Radmacher of the Roanoke Times agrees:
What were they thinking?

I was shocked by news that The Washington Post got caught attempting to sell access to public officials and high-level reporters by sponsoring dinners at Publisher Katherine Weymouth's home. I was thoroughly unconvinced by Weymouth's mia culpa.

Now Talking Points Memo is reporting that such efforts to sell access are hardly unique. The publisher of The Atlantic has been hosting such events since 2003.

I know revenues are tight, but some money-making schemes should never make it off the drawing board. Media credibility is in a precarious enough state without adding fuel to the fire. [link]
"Media credibility." Now there's an oxymoron if I ever read one.

Anyway, Dan's right. When the Washington Post sells influence ... what's the metaphor? Something about a ten dollar hooker.

The press.

Tsk. Tsk.

Are These People Nuts?

Most everyone agrees that Obama's stimulus plan has been a dismal failure. Intended to stop job losses that were sweeping the land, with the expenditure of $780,000,000,000 of our hard-earned money, we've instead seen over two million Americans lose their jobs since he came into office. And the unemployment rate continues to climb. And the economy worsens.

So how are his economic advisers advising our president now that their plan has gone down in flames?

You won't believe it:
Obama Adviser Says U.S. Should Mull Second Stimulus
By Shamim Adam, Bloomberg

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. should consider drafting a second stimulus package focusing on infrastructure projects because the $787 billion approved in February was “a bit too small,” said Laura Tyson, an outside adviser to President Barack Obama.

The current plan “will have a positive effect, but the real economy is a sicker patient,” Tyson said in a speech in Singapore today.

“The economy is worse than we forecast on which the stimulus program was based,” Tyson, who is a member of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory board, told the Nomura Equity Forum. “We probably have already 2.5 million more job losses than anticipated.” [link]
Which is a great reason to ignore these fools.

The stimulus didn't work. Let's do it again.

For the love of God.

A Soon-To-Be Train Wreck?

Are all of Obama's plans to spend us into oblivion soon to come to a halt?

Color me skeptical.

But Michael Gerson thinks it to be the case:
Obama's Iceberg
Washington Post

The jobs report last week opened a long gash beneath the waterline of President Obama's legislative agenda. Few realize it, but a scramble for lifeboats is about to begin.

On closer inspection, the economic news, which seemed bad, is even worse. Not only did unemployment rise to 9.5 percent but wages fell, undermining the consumption needed to revive a consumption-driven economy. Unemployment increased among "breadwinners" -- married men and women who head households -- also making major family purchases more difficult. Recent increases in unemployment benefits and food stamps have helped many Americans pay for food and rent. Jobs, however, are what lead to the purchase of furniture, cars and homes. Paired with a decline in business investment, these trends make a second-half recovery less likely.

There are political implications of a weak recovery -- none of them good for the president.

Obama's spending ambitions would have been jaw-dropping even in the best of economic times. Federal spending this year is about 28 percent of gross domestic product -- a figure exceeded only when Franklin Roosevelt was fighting a global war against Germany and Japan. Along the fiscal path Obama has chosen (according to the Congressional Budget Office) our national debt will more than double in 10 years and will amount to 82 percent of the entire economy.

Initially, Obama counted on an atmosphere of economic crisis to grease the passage of any legislation he pronounced an economic need. But it hasn't worked out that way. Whatever their virtues, restricting carbon emissions and expanding the health entitlement do not constitute a direct response to America's financial and economic failures. No economic theory suggests that a round of new federal regulations and entitlements would result in a burst of economic growth. [link]
Personally? I don't think any of this matters to the people who brought about this monumental fiasco (see this morning's weblog post on an Obama adviser's call for another stimulus package). And I really don't think Obama cares one whit about the debt or his role in ballooning it.

But I hope there is some modicum of sanity left in Washington. The Republicans? Do they still exist? Let's hope. Because this train is hurtling down the track and the bridge ahead is out.

Someone needs to apply the brakes. And soon.

* I know.

Shocked. Shocked!

A smile crossed my face yesterday when I heard on the radio that the American Bar Association bestowed upon Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor the highest rating it could possibly have given her. "Of course it did," I muttered to myself.

And smiled.

Everyone knows she's highly qualified.

Stop smiling.

Investor's Business Daily:
Valueless ABA Ratings
editorial

The media are treating the American Bar Association's top rating for Judge Sonia Sotomayor like a dispassionate report card. The record shows that the ABA applies a politicized double standard.

The ABA's Canons of Judicial Ethics have a lot of high-minded language. Such as: "To ensure impartiality and fairness to all parties, a judge must be objective and open-minded." And: "A judge shall not . . . by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice," including but not limited to "bias ... based upon race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity ... ."

And why not? Because "a judge who manifests bias or prejudice in a proceeding impairs the fairness of the proceeding and brings the judiciary into disrepute. A judge must avoid conduct that may reasonably be perceived as prejudiced or biased."

The very definition of "conduct that may reasonably be perceived as prejudiced or biased" can be found in Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's statements on race.

The unmistakable assertion: A "wise Latina woman" is morally superior to those of another race and the other sex.

The ABA further insists that "a judge shall not hold membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity or sexual orientation."

But Sotomayor violated that too, until recently holding membership in an all-female "old girls" club whose only purpose is networking to empower its already elitist members.

Yet in spite of that, the senators have forgotten those sentiments, and the ABA is ignoring its own precepts — all because a dependable liberal is on the verge of getting a lifetime Supreme Court seat.

In the past, outstanding jurists ranging from Robert Bork to Clarence Thomas were scored well below Sotomayor. That was especially outrageous in Bork's case since he never had a decision overturned by the high court; Sotomayor has had 60% of her rulings thrown out.

Politics, not competence, is the ABA's motivation. [link] [my emphasis]
Liberal politics guides the ABA's decisions? Say it ain't so!

Just smile. And file it where it belongs.

I Was In 'Test' Mode?

I regularly use a GMail account for email communication (fuhrman.jerry@gmail.com). It's worked flawlessly for me for at least a couple of years. Little did I know I was in beta testing:
After Five Years, Gmail Finally Sheds the ‘Beta’
By Miguel Helft, New York Times

San Francisco — What took Google so long?

Like many software products, Google’s Gmail service was first released with a “beta” label on it — meaning that while it was polished enough for public use, it was still in a testing phase, so any glitches were to be excused. Beta versions, which are sandwiched between internal “alpha” versions and final “release” versions, typically have a lifespan of weeks or months.

But Gmail was different. Released on April 1, 2004, it was still in beta five years and tens of millions of users later.

That changed on Tuesday, when Gmail finally shed the beta label, signaling that Google considered the product to be fully baked. [link]
Uh. OK.

Works fine, fellas. All you had to do was ask. Four years ago.

This Must Hurt

I wonder how a legend (in his own mind) takes it when he's treated like a mere mortal:
In Russia, Obama’s Star Power Does Not Translate
By Clifford J. Levy and Ellen Barry, New York Times

Moscow — Let other capitals go all weak-kneed when President Obama visits. Moscow has greeted Mr. Obama, who on Tuesday night concluded a two-day Russian-American summit meeting, as if he were just another dignitary passing through.

Crowds did not clamor for a glimpse of him. Headlines offered only glancing or flippant notice of his activities. Television programming was uninterrupted; devotees of the Russian Judge Judy had nothing to fear. Even many students and alumni of the Western-oriented business school where Mr. Obama gave the graduation address on Tuesday seemed merely respectful, but hardly enthralled.

“We don’t really understand why Obama is such a star,” said Kirill Zagorodnov, 25, one of the graduates. “It’s a question of trust, how he behaves, how he positions himself, that typical charisma, which in Russia is often parodied. Russians really are not accustomed to it. It is like he is trying to manipulate the public.” [link]
Who, Obama? Trying to manipulate the public?

Please.

He has the press for that. In the outside world anyway.

He just stands back and sucks in the accolades.

So the Russians aren't in awe of Mr. Wonderful. I now have have more respect for them.

Left Out In The Cold

I feel like I must be the only human being on the planet who didn't watch Michael Jackson's funeral ... celebration (?) yesterday.

And that I'm a lesser human being for it.