Official motto of the White House economic team: Those who can, do. Those who can't, fantasize in the classroom, fail in Washington and then return to the Ivy Tower to train the next generation of egghead economic saboteurs. Life is good for left-wing academics. Everyone else pays dearly.
Take Austan Goolsbee, please. President Obama's "fresh-faced" University of Chicago econ professor arrived in Washington in December 2008 to fill two slots: chief economist/staff director of the president's Economic Recovery Advisory Board and member of the Council of Economic Advisers. In September 2010, he replaced CEA head and fellow academic Christina Romer, who retreated to the University of California at Berkeley last August when unemployment hit 9.5 percent. (She infamously projected that the Obama stimulus would hold the jobless rate below 8 percent.)
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- The extinct political slogan "As Maine goes, so goes the nation," may be supplanted by what is happening in the United Kingdom. There is a form of functional political illiteracy here that does not bode well for the United States should it follow Britain's very bad example, particularly on matters involving immigration and health care.
For several years, the British media have been full of horror stories about failures in the National Health Service (NHS). "Thousands of Elderly at Risk in Care Crisis" screamed the front-page headline in the Times of London last week. This is nothing new, because a headline in The Daily Telegraph nearly two years ago warned, "Cruel and Neglectful Care of One Million NHS Patients Exposed." Is anyone listening?
The liberal media's most recent effort to turn Sarah Palin into a dolt over her version of Paul Revere, on which historians are now defending her, has prompted me to share with you some confusing points of European history I have recently re-encountered in my lay study of the subject.
With apologies in advance to professional and amateur historians, here are a few fun "facts."
In the classic movie "The Great Escape," a cluster of Hollywood manly men from yesteryear (including my friend Steve McQueen) played Allied POWs who escape from a German camp during World War II.
Today the great escape may be played out by more than 33,000 incarcerated inmates in California who don't escape the state's 33 prisons but are released by a computer error and the U.S. Supreme Court itself.
IF WE ALLOW GAY MARRIAGE NEXT THING U KNOW PEOPLE WILL BE MARRYING GOLD FISH, Miley Cyrus tweeted.
She was protesting news that the president of Urban Outfitters has contributed to former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, and taking some liberty with arguments Santorum's made about the importance of protecting traditional marriage.
Born blocks from the NBC soundstage in 1984 to parents in the entertainment industry, Ben Shapiro is a natural choice to write a book about Hollywood. For his new book "Primetime Propaganda," Shapiro has studied decades of television content and interviewed a bevy of powerful Hollywood producers to document the degree to which they have created a political and cultural revolution of permissive leftism.
The project gets off to a harsh start. In his introduction, Shapiro attacks "traditional" TV critics on the cultural right for being "worse than useless," suggesting some unnamed conservatives are insisting TV should not be watched. “When conservatives treat television as the Golden Calf, they leave no choice but to lay low the unbelievers -- and most of us continue to continue occasionally glancing at the offending cow."
The latest Social Security Trustees Report tells us that the program will be insolvent by the year 2037. The combined unfunded liability of Social Security and Medicare has reached nearly $107 trillion in today's dollars. That is about seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the national debt. Those entitlement programs, along with others, account for nearly 60 percent of federal spending. They are what Congress calls non-discretionary spending. About half of discretionary spending is for national defense. Each year, non-discretionary spending consumes a higher and higher percentage of the federal budget.
How long before Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner conducts his next meltdown press conference flanked by two adult-movie "goddesses" a la Charlie Sheen? Like the delusional bad-boy actor, Weiner actually thinks his self-destructive act is winning, too.
The tweetaholic congressman spent the week dodging and deflecting questions about what he called a "randy" image that appeared in his official, verified Twitter account last Friday. The Fruit of the Loom torso shot in his social-networking stream was addressed to a 21-year-old Seattle college student. She's an ardent fan of the cable TV-hopping lawmaker and a member of the fawning generation that unabashedly asks its political idols "boxers or briefs"?
Curiously, one of Weiner's non-deleted tweets made reference to the Seattle time zone the same night the junk photo turned up. Weiner wrinkled his nose at a question on Wednesday about that inconvenient allusion, dismissing it as "pure, pure coincidence." He refused to explain why he gave Seattle of all places a Twitter shout-out. Weiner, if I may helpfully point out, represents New York's 9th District, not Washington State's.
"Frankly" — (red flag!) — he protested, he had "no idea." He then segued into relentless self-promotion of his "feisty" Twitter messages and started braying about the debt limit and health care reform.
It worked on cowed CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. But did it work on his wife? Would it work on yours?
Sending creepy photos to another adult on Twitter is not a crime, of course. But it is abjectly embarrassing for Democrats to be caught with their double-standard pants down — especially given how liberals hyperventilated over former GOP New York Rep. Christopher Lee's shirtless Craigslist photo. As always, it's the cover-up that's worse than the original transgression.
Do you think it's conceivable that yet another round of dismal economic news might cause President Obama to finally dig deeply enough in his id to find some hidden humility and consider reversing course? Let's be serious.
Why should he do that when it's much easier — and more profitable politically — to just demonize Republicans?
The upheaval in Yemen and the possibility that al-Qaida might take over, turning that country into a stronger terrorist base than it already is, should give pause to American and European policy in the Arab world.
At its recently concluded G-8 meeting of industrial economies in Deauville, France, Western governments pledged $40 billion to "newly democratic" nations in North Africa and the Middle East. One might as well throw money at Chicago and hope for electoral reform so the dead are no longer allowed to vote on Election Day.
DUBLIN, Ireland -- Observing the start of Lord and Lady Obama's (aka president and Michelle) grand European tour and the fawning press coverage, one might conclude they were imbued with royal blood.
The normally reserved and thoughtful columnist for the London Times, William Rees-Mogg, gushed about the president's speech before members of Parliament, comparing him to Winston Churchill. Obama is to Winston Churchill as Lady Gaga is to Ella Fitzgerald. Both are singers, but that's where the comparison ends.
While Western media continue to rhapsodize about the "Arab Spring democratic revolutions" in the Middle East, it may be that the real democratic revolution is beginning to occur in the European Union and the United States. And if the timing is right, the crisis in the European Union may play a decisive part in tipping the American electorate against President Obama and the Democrats in our 2012 elections.
Both by their votes and their demonstrations, the semi-enfranchised citizens of nations under the rule of the European Union are beginning to fight back against both the social welfare/debt and immigration/border policies that have been imposed on them.
In the 1970s, "The Boys on the Bus" exposed how a clubby pack of male political reporters ruled the road to the White House and shaped the news. Four decades later, an outsider gal from Alaska has commandeered the 2012 media bus — and left Beltway journalism insiders eating her dust. We've come a long way, baby.
Amid frenzied speculation over her potential presidential campaign plans, former GOP Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin launched an all-American road trip with her family this Memorial Day weekend. Establishment media types didn't get reserved seats or advance notice of her itinerary. Palin rubbed the Washington media mob's institutional sense of entitlement right back in its face. "I don't think I owe anything to the mainstream media. I want them to have to do a little bit of work on a tour like this," she jabbed.
According to The Associated Press, Todd Weaver's idea of a romantic gift was not jewelry, roses or mushy cards. He preferred unique fancy gifts, for example, the time he celebrated the 21st birthday of his wife, Emma, by taking her skydiving.
The AP went on to say that Todd and Emma met in high school in Virginia. He was a popular baseball and football star. Right before leaving for a tour of duty in Iraq via his service in the National Guard, he ran outside in the rain in his socks to give Emma a kiss goodbye.
One part of the liberal media’s Obama re-election effort is well under way: trying to destroy the reputation of Fox News and its president, Roger Ailes. Two long new magazine “exposes” have attempted to demonize Ailes and his allegedly brain-dead minions as the antithesis of good journalism.
The funnier one came from Rolling Stone magazine, which ran the title “How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory.” How little does this rag understand good journalism? It took only a few lines before staff writer/fantasist Tim Dickinson fell on his face. After painting a picture of employees loyally cheering the boss at a holiday party, Dickinson entertained comparisons to...Mao Zedong.
Seventeen-year-old Scotty McCreery may have won "American Idol" singing wholesome country ditties, but playing in the background was a blues song older than the fresh-faced singer.
On lead vocals of this heart-wrenching ballad was Aerosmith frontman and Idol judge Steven Tyler. In his new autobiography, Tyler recalls an abortion he made his 16-year-old girlfriend have. He recalls: "It was a big crisis. It's a major thing when you're growing something with a woman, but they convinced us that it would never work out and would ruin our lives ... You go to the doctor and they put the needle in her belly and they squeeze the stuff in and you watch. And it comes out dead. I was pretty devastated. In my mind, I'm going, Jesus, what have I done?"
If you want to watch a corruptocrat start sputtering like Porky Pig with allergies, confront him with three simple words: conflict of interest. Asked this week about his role in securing an ex-lover's highly coveted job at government mortgage giant Fannie Mae, Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank retorted:
"Aba-dee aba-dee aba-dee aba-dee."
Or that's what it sounded like, anyway. Frank was rather miffed about the recent disclosure that he helped former lover Herb Moses land a job with the behemoth lender while sitting on a House committee that regulates lenders a decade ago. The Boston Herald reported Thursday that Frank immediately invoked the Everybody Does It card: "It is a common thing in Washington for members of Congress to have spouses work for the federal government. There is no rule against it at all."
My advice for the GOP: No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more putting the pretense of civility above the best interests of the nation. Democrats are playing cynical games with our national debt crisis, and it?s time they were called out on them — directly, volubly and repeatedly. Senate Democrats haven?t passed their own budget plan in more than two years, despite having strong control of that body. Meanwhile, the nation is teetering on bankruptcy.
I don?t make that statement lightly. Our national debt is $14.3 trillion, and our federal deficit is $1.65 trillion. This might be less shocking but for the facts that our projected annual deficits as long as Obama is in charge average $1 trillion, and our unfunded entitlements exceed $88 trillion.
Perhaps you've heard of him, perhaps not. Louis Zamperini has had fame, lost it and seen it restored more than once. That happens when you are 94 years old and must be re-introduced to succeeding generations.
Zamperini was a juvenile delinquent, then an Olympic distance runner who competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany (he met Adolf Hitler and his chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels), then an Army Air Corps enlistee.
How did so flawed a man as Newt Gingrich get to the top of his party in the 1990s? For that matter, how did so flawed a man as Bill Clinton get to the top of our government in the 1990s? And — here I am giving you a hint to the answer for the above questions — how did so flawed a man as Dominique Strauss-Kahn get to the top of the International Monetary Fund and of French politics? All are about the same age. All have similar, shall we say, recreations. The answer is that they came from what is called the 1960s generation. Now they are gone. There will be temporary reprises — more court appearances for DSK, an occasional public appearance for Bill, some more catastrophic missteps on the campaign trail for Newt — but for all intents and purposes, they are history.
William J. McGee, the consumer advocate on the Department of Transportation's Future of Aviation Advisory Committee wrote "Forcing the F.A.A. to Fly Blind" in The New York Times (April 9, 2011), where he laments Congress' cut in the FAA budget, saying, "A $4 billion cut will necessarily reduce the work force further. And it's hard to imagine this will not diminish safety." Mr. McGee suggests there will be shortcuts in aircraft maintenance.
Here are a few facts and then a question. Each Boeing 747 costs $317 million, its 777 goes for $284 million and its 737 sells for $80 million. Airbus' giant 555-plus passenger A380 sells for $375 million. Here's a true or false statement: If it weren't for the FAA, airline company CEOs would not take the necessary measures to ensure that their aircraft took off and landed safely.
The president's speech last week, which was described by the White House in advance as a speech intended to reach out to the Muslim world, will probably go down as one of the least well-understood major presidential speeches in modern memory. Confusion concerning the president's words and intent cut across the lines of Jews, Christians and Muslims, Democrats and Republicans, neocons and paleocons, friends and foes of Israel, and friends and foes of the president.
For many serious commentators, the confusion lies on what the president meant by his statement that "We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states." Was this a shift of policy, no shift or a critical increase in U.S. presidential pressure on Israel in future peace negotiations?
When Barack Obama replaced George Bush, there was unbridled joy among the elites. The days of "cowboy diplomacy" were over! Finally, we had a president who was a careful multi-lateralist, who wouldn't rudely impose his will, but would instead work with allies to build consensus.
But that's not what Obama delivered with Israel last week, is it? Obama went to the State Department and insisted Israel needed to stop its "unsustainable" policy toward the Palestinians and "boldly" retreat behind pre-1967 borders. A stunned Benjamin Netanyahu responded as any ally would if so roundly betrayed. He publicly – correctly – denounced Obama’s policy prescription.
Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic magazine (and website) posted an item on May 20 headlined: "Dear Mr. Netanyahu, Please Don't Speak to My President That Way." Netanyahu, he wrote, threw a "hissy fit." That pretty much encapsulated the American media’s reaction. "Cowboy diplomacy" is just fine from time to time – if the man in the saddle is Obama.
If the Wall Street Republicans and the conservative Republicans don't resolve their differences and work as a TEAM ("together everyone achieves more"), we will go back to having a Democratic majority in Congress and President Barack Obama will be re-elected for another four years.
Ripples began to form last year when then Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky spouted what some say were typical libertarian views but what to others sounded like criticisms of the fixed and firm Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Conservatives are worried that an ideal Reagan conservative has yet to emerge and lead the 2012 GOP presidential field. But are we allowing the liberal media (and establishment Republicans) to manipulate the narrative to prevent such a result?
Obviously, the liberal media do not have the best interests of Reagan conservatives in mind when they do their "reporting." So when they tell us certain GOP candidates are unelectable or electable, common sense would counsel us to take their advice with mounds of salt. But do we?
With friends like President Obama, who needs enemies? If you're Israel, you already have quite enough of those.
On May 14, 2011, the State of Israel observed the 63rd anniversary of its independence. But if the proposals made by President Obama in his State Department speech are implemented, that observance could be its last.
Welcome to the land of the freeloaders and the home of the depraved. No image captures America's regressive ethos better than that of 30-year-old Stanley Thornton Jr., self-proclaimed "Adult Baby." Profiled on a recent National Geographic reality television show, Thornton claims to suffer from a bizarre infantilism that leads him to wear diapers, lounge around in an oversized crib and seek constant coddling.
The nappies may be extreme, but let's face it: Thornton Jr. — let's just call him Junior — is a symptom of our Nanny State run amok, not an anomaly.
One of Dictionary.com's definitions of blackmail is "to extort money from (a person) by use of threats." Substitute "taxpayers" for "person" and you have what the White House and congressional Democrats are doing with the debt ceiling.
In case you weren't paying attention (and too few are) the United States officially reached the debt ceiling on Monday. Treasury Secretary Tim ("I forgot to pay my taxes") Geithner informed Congress of difficult decisions he was forced to make to keep the country solvent, which is a joke. How can a country be considered solvent when just the interest on the debt amounts to more than the entire gross national product of many countries?
This White House, like its predecessors, can take some comfort in the fact that the Middle East has been breaking the hearts of diplomats and foreign politicians for at least 2,000 years. Of course, some centuries have been worse than others (Pontius Pilate had a particularly difficult innings). But in modern times, the American voting public has become accustomed to seeing regular news from the Middle East feature wars, terrorism, mayhem, religious fanaticism and failed peace initiatives.
As a result, few presidents pay much of a price at election time for failing to deliver peace or other conspicuous diplomatic successes from that cradle of civilization and birthplace of the three great religions of the Book. I am certainly not prepared to predict that President Obama will lose many votes in 2012 based on his Middle East policy.