Tuesday, April 28, 2009

100 Days Press Conference

While his approval numbers remain relatively stable at around 62%, President Obama is again taking to the airwaves this week to mark his first 100 "historic" days in office.  Certainly more than his predecessor, Obama has taken to using the primetime presser as a means of dictating the narrative of his efforts.  His approval numbers are important in understanding why it's still useful.  If 62% of Americans still think he's doing well, the intrusion into our regularly scheduled program should prompt little backlash.  And, as opposed to President Bush, Obama's strength is his speaking (off teleprompter).  Two predictions, One: the viewer numbers will plummet from his previous primetime appearances.  Two, following Emanuel's Doctrine of "not letting a crisis go to waste", Obama will attempt to pair the swine flu scare with healthcare reform.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Indianapolis Tea Party

For my limited readership, I wanted to pass along the details for the Indianapolis Tea Party.  It's coming up April 15 from 4:30pm - 6:30pm on the South Lawn of the State Capitol.  More here

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Need for Transcendance in the Postmodern World

This speech given by former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel on July 4, 1994 speaks to the timeless reality that we ignore God at our peril. The value in this can be seen in that it is nearly 15 years old, yet it speaks directly to the current state of affairs in America and around the globe.
And thus today we find ourselves in a paradoxical situation. We enjoy all the achievements of modern civilization that have made our physical existence on this earth easier so in many important ways. Yet we do not know exactly what to do with ourselves, where to turn. The world of our experiences seems chaotic, disconnected, confusing. There appear to be no integrating forces, no unified meaning, no true inner understanding of phenomena in our experience of the world. Experts can explain anything in the objective world to us, yet we understand our own lives less and less. In short, we live in the postmodern world, where everything is possible and almost nothing is certain.

Mitch touted for 2012 on National Review

David Freddoso mentions Gov. Daniels high approval rating on NR's The Corner blog.

Amid all the talk about presidential candidates, perhaps this guy should get a few more mentions.

A recent Public Opinion Strategies Poll conducted on behalf of Indiana Realtors puts Gov. Mitch Daniels' (R) approval rating at 69 percent with 29 percent disapproving. The poll comes on Daniels’ 60th birthday today. The right/wrong track numbers for Indiana stood at 50-42%...Gov. Daniel’s image has improved a net-13 points sincelate September, 2008...

My fellow Hoosiers even appear to have gotten over his decision to place us under the tyranny of Daylight Saving Time. (Mind you, we haven't had a president from Indiana since "Little Ben" Harrison.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

"Don't think we're not keeping score, brother"

As we learn the details about how former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich sought to trade influence for money, Karl Rove's OP ED about Obama's Chicago roots is well timed. While Obama may be keeping score of votes (ironic for a career littered with present votes), he's asleep at the wheel in counting debt.

From Rove's piece:

"White House Budget Director Peter Orszag's bewildering response when asked by a reporter last week about increasing federal debt. He said, "I don't know what spiraling debt you're referring to."

The clinical term is cognitive dissonance. Apparently, Messrs. Obama, Orszag and Co. have actually convinced themselves that every other financial projection is wrong.

Sounds familiar. If you'll recall, the Flobee trimmed former governor in December:

"I will fight this thing every step of the way," Blagojevich announced at a raucous press conference this afternoon in Chicago. "I will fight. I will fight. I will fight."

Blagojevich added that he had "done nothing wrong" and said he had no plans to step aside from his post simply due to "false accusations and a political lynch mob."

No matter taped phone conversations, Blago was playing by Chicago rules, quoting Kipling and ignoring that the train was completely off the tracks. In Chicago, they keep score of favors, and Blago had IOU's to cash in.

Meanwhile in D.C., Obama may have a better haircut, but he still plays by the same rules. Spoiler alert, in a Cabinet full of tax cheats and Chicago pols they're not going to make it 4 years without someone going to jail.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

And the Word became... words

This New York Times piece by Peter Baker gives a great summary of the rhetorical nuances embraced by the Obama administration, while maintaining Bush policies.
Indeed, for all the shifting words, Mr. Obama has left the bulk of Mr. Bush’s national security architecture intact so far. He has made no move to revise the Patriot Act or the eavesdropping program. He has ordered Guantánamo to be closed in a year but has not turned loose all the prisoners. The troop buildup in Afghanistan resembles the one Mr. Bush ordered in Iraq two years ago.
Every administration chooses words wisely, which is understandable. Also understandable, is the relative pacifistic tone considering a campaign propelled by his opposition to the Iraq War. However politically understandable it is, the free pass he's been given for embracing Bush's policies is incredible. I mean, Obama's viability as a candidate was driven by the majority disapproval of Bush's policies, mostly of his foreign policy. Hope and Change resonated, because of the sentiment of hopelessness, right or wrong, was prominent in the cultural zeitgeist.

He's been relatively pragmatic so far overseas. The best decision's been not letting his "foreign policy guru" VP Biden into the mix. While Russian "button-gate" and DVD's for Gordon Brown show Obama's underlying disinterest in foreign policy, I'll take protocol gaffe's if it means maintaining a strong position abroad - regardless if it's a War on Terror or an Overseas Contingency Operations.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Could I Actually Like Country Music?

This NYT piece on John Rich's new song, "Shuttin' Detroit Down", makes me think it's a distinct possibility. That's apolcalyptic in itself.

A choice cut:

I see all these big shots whining on my evening news
About how they’re
losing billions and it’s up to me and you
To come running to

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Great showing by Governor Daniels on Fox News Sunday.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Christopher Hitchens vs. Mos Def

While I have my issues with Christopher Hitchens, I can't help but appreciate his composed use of reason in the face of the asinine rantings of Mos Def - who after watching this might actually be somewhat deaf.

Deconstructing the Auto Industry Bailout

The following are excerpts from President Obama's speech today on auto industry restructuring.

While GM has made a good faith effort to restructure over the past several months, the plan they have put forward is, in its current form, not strong enough.

Fiat is prepared to transfer its cutting-edge technology to Chrysler and,after working closely with my team, has committed to building new fuel-efficient cars and engines here in America.

First point, he and his team have determined that GM's plan is "not strong enough". Based upon what? Must have learned the nuances of the auto industry structuring while organizing communities in Chicago, or perpetually campaigning. And, there's a great way to actually determine if the plan is strong enough, that is to let them try it. So to reward them on their good faith effort, that wasn't up to the Obama standards, they get 60 days of working capital, and more help from the Obama Brain Trust.

To Chrysler, he illuminates what may have been missing from GM's plan. Chrysler will get "cutting-edge technology... to build new fuel-efficient cars and engines here in America." Ok. Again, is this some assurance of success? I'm not saying fuel efficiency or cutting-edge technology are bad, but who is the President to decide that issue?

That is why we will give Chrysler and Fiat 30 days to overcome these hurdles and reach a final agreement -- and we will provide Chrysler with adequate capital to continue operating during that time. If they are able to come to a sound agreement that protects American taxpayers, we will consider lending up to $6 billion to help their plan succeed. But if they and their stakeholders are unable to reach such an agreement, and in the absence of any other viable partnership, we will not be able to justify investing additional tax dollar to keep Chrysler in business.

Translated: "I have arbitrarily determined that about a month from now when Fiat decides that it doesn't want to put up with government intervention and Union bosses, I will give Chrysler another $6 billion, again arbitrarily, because I have no idea how to run anything other than a campaign, which full disclosure someone else runs and tells me what to say."

What I am talking about is using our existing legal structure as a tool that, with the backing of the U.S. government, can make it easier for General Motors and Chrysler to quickly clear away old debts that are weighing them down so they can get back on their feet and onto a path to success; a tool that we can use, even as workers are staying on the job building cars that are being sold.

What I am not talking about is a process where a company is broken up, sold off, and no longer exists. And what I am not talking about is having a company stuck in court for years, unable to get out.

So, based upon this, he's not really talking about bankruptcy. He's again, talking about arbitrarily wiping off debt. I wonder if he thinks that's what he can do with the national debt?

In fact, it will be safer than it's ever been. Because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warrantee.

Well, in that case, I'm sold. If the government backs it, then, give me three.

Finally, several members of Congress have proposed an even more ambitious incentive program to increase car sales while modernizing our auto fleet.

"Ambitious incentive program" that sounds scary. Brought to you by the same minds who crafted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

I am designating a new Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers to cut through red tape and ensure that the full resources of our federal government are leveraged to assist the workers, communities, and regions that rely on our auto industry.

Edward Montgomery, a former Deputy Labour Secretary, has agreed to serve in this role. Together with Labour Secretary Solis and my Auto Task Force, Ed will help provide support to auto workers and their families, and open up opportunity in manufacturing communities. Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and every other state that relies on the auto industry will have a strong advocate in Ed.

Another Czar of something? I suppose "Nobody messes with Ed" too.

NYT on Glenn Beck

A fairly reasonable story on the "rising star" at Fox News.

"With a mix of moral lessons, outrage and an apocalyptic view of the future, Mr. Beck, a longtime radio host who jumped to Fox from CNN’s Headline News channel this year, is capturing the feelings of an alienated class of Americans."

Harvard Professor on Rick Wagoner


My response to the Professor:

Professor Kanter,

While agreeing with you on the failure of Wagoner, I echo the points above on the issue of government control, and it's biased approach of determining winners and losers, being a far greater threat than Chrysler failing. With all its faults, there once existed a mechanism to reward or penalize the decisions of company leadership, it was called the market. Millions of people make millions of evaluations on the performance of companies. We now have a neo-Brain Trust, lead by someone who's never run anything for profit, guiding the ship.

If we apply your thinking above toward Wagoner, and replace it with Obama, it will give a window into a forthcoming article in November of 2012.

"Even when Presidents who presided over a period of decline admit mistakes, it is nearly impossible for them to stir up the national energy needed for a turnaround. Those failed leaders symbolize the weight of past losses. People tend to interpret their actions as self-justifying, chosen to rewrite past history. After all, if the President had wrong ideas in the past, why should people believe he or she has the right idea now? For Obama, as the problems got worse, the loss figures got bigger, and little else appeared to change, his credibility slipped into the negative zone too."

Saying A Little

"No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."
- Sir Edmund Burke

I begin this blog with no expectations of grand impact. Simply to give an outlet for my thoughts on current events, and perhaps, provide to those who read it reason to pause and consider an alternate view than their own.