Archive for July, 2009

26% Say Obama Response Good or Excellent on Cambridge Cop Question

Sunday, July 26th, 2009


Twenty-six percent (26%) of voters nationwide say President Obama did a good or excellent job answering a press conference question about an incident involving a white Cambridge, Massachusetts policeman and a black Harvard professor. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% rate the president’s response as poor.

But Americans are evenly divided as to whether or not the question – asked by Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times – was appropriate to ask at a presidential press conference. Forty-one percent (41%) say it was appropriate while 43% disagree.

The president was asked about the arrest of a prominent African-America professor at Harvard and the professor’s subsequent complaint of racial profiling. While admitting he did not know all the details and acknowledging that the professor was a personal friend, the president said the police acted “stupidly” when they arrested Henry Louis Gates.

Beneath the top line numbers is a huge gap between the way that white and black Americans view the situation.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of African-Americans say the president’s response was good or excellent, a view shared by just 22% of white Americans.

At the other extreme, 53% of white voters gave the president’s response a poor grade. Only five percent (5%) of black Americans offered such a negative response.

African-Americans, by a two-to-one margin, say the question was inappropriate. Whites are fairly evenly divided on the appropriateness of the question.

Seventy-three percent (73%) of African-American voters believe that most blacks receive unfair treatment from the police. Just 21% of white voters share that view (Premium Members can see full demographic crosstabs).

Thirty-two percent (32%) of black voters say that most policemen are racist, but 52% disagree.

31% Say Biden Will Be Obama’s Running Mate in 2012, 31% Disagree

Sunday, July 26th, 2009


Vice President Joe Biden has been plagued with gaffes since taking office, and voters are now evenly divided over whether he will be President Obama’s running mate again in 2012.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 31% believe Biden will be on the Democratic national ticket in the next presidential election, but the identical number (31%) say he will not be. However, a substantial number (38%) are not sure.

Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans – 44% to 22% – to think the longtime senator from Delaware will be running again with Obama. Only 24% of Democrats say he will not be, but nearly one-out-of-three Democrats (32%) are undecided. Biden, then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was chosen in 2008 in part to bring foreign policy experience which Obama lacked to the party’s ticket.

The Truth Behind a “Recovery” in GDP — Green Faucet

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Green Faucet:

Over the last week, a number of prominent companies have reported earnings, which have exceeded depressed expectations. Analysts have dismissed the conspicuous weakness in revenue from year ago levels. Here’s a short list: IBM -13.3%, Intel -15.3%, Cisco -16.6%, CSX -24.8%, GE -9.0%, Caterpillar -21.8%, Dupont -19.1%. Most of the companies were able to exceed earnings estimates by aggressively cutting costs, and in most cases, laying off thousands of employees. That’s like getting fat by eating your own leg. Most analysts are excited, since earnings are expected to soar in coming quarters, as revenue growth returns, with most of it dropping to the bottom line. If this was a normal recession, it would be reasonable to expect a normal recovery in demand. Although government stimulus spending will give the economy a lift into the first half of 2010, consumer spending will remain weak, as the unemployment rate breaches 10%, and the underemployment rate flirts with 20%. Business investment will be retarded by excess capacity, and a cost control mindset by executives. Spending by states is going to be weak certainly by historical standards. And the global nature of this recession is going to restrain export growth. Where’s the beef?

We’re going to get what looks like a V-shaped recovery in GDP, and it will pack the nutritional value of a Twinkee.

WSJ: Stocks Rally on Death of Health-Care Reform

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Last week I wrote that if “it gets rejected, then stocks could move a lot higher once they see that it’s still possible for the government of this country to do the right thing every once in a while.” That’s just what has happened.

Let me remind you what’s a stake here. It’s even worse than I wrote about last week. I said that the “surcharge” tax to finance this government takeover of private medicine would raise the top income tax rate to 45%. That’s bad enough, but what I didn’t mention is that the “surcharge” would affect capital gains taxes, too. The rate on long-term capital gains is now 15%. If Obama’s plan is enacted, it would jump to 25.6%.

I can’t think of a surer way to destroy the stock market – what’s left of it – than to raise taxes on capital gains. Isn’t it already hard enough to make money in stocks?

47% in California Favor Legalizing, Taxing Marijuana

Sunday, July 26th, 2009


As California looks for solutions to its ongoing budget problems, 47% of voters in the state say marijuana should be legalized and taxed.

But nearly as many (42%) oppose the state legalizing and taxing the drug to help fix the state’s budget problems, according to a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of California voters. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure which course to follow.

Nationally, 41% of voters think the United States should legalize and tax marijuana to help solve the nation’s fiscal problems, but 49% are opposed.

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A majority of California voters ages 18 to 29 and of those 40 to 64 favor legalization and taxation of pot.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of Democrats in the state think it’s a good idea, but 54% of Republicans and 50% of voters not affiliated with either party disagree and oppose such a move.

Rasmussen: 54% Still Blame Bush for Nation’s Economic Woes

Sunday, July 26th, 2009


Most Americans-54%–still blame President George W. Bush for the nation’s economic woes. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 39% say the policies of President Barack Obama are to blame.

Those top-line figures are unchanged from a month ago. Two months ago, 62% blamed Bush.

By a two-to-one margin,voters trust their own economic judgment more than the President’s. That, too, is little changed over the past month. However, in February, just 49% trusted their own economic judgment more than the president’s.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of women still blame Bush for the economic problems. That view is shared by 50% of men.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Democrats point the finger at Bush while 65% of Republicans say Obama now bears responsibility. Those not affiliated with either major party are more evenly divided-51% blame Bush and 43% say Obama.

Debra Saunders on health care: It Won’t Cost Anything! — And It Won’t Change Anything

Sunday, July 26th, 2009


In May, President Obama touted $17 billion in cuts he had planned for a budget of more than $3 trillion. Obama was quite proud of these cuts. Really. He told reporters that while $17 billion in cuts was considered “trivial” inside the beltway, “outside of Washington, that’s still considered a lot of money.”

So forgive me if I am skeptical when Obama — who called it “painful” to squeeze one half of 1 percent from the gargantuan federal machine — claims, as he did at Wednesday night’s news conference, that two-thirds of his plan to provide universal access to health care for Americans “can be paid for by reallocating money that is simply being wasted in federal health care programs.”

What shocks me is how smart people actually buy into the notion that the administration can expand health coverage and that it will not — indeed, should not — cost most taxpayers a dime.

Another record low for Obama in Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

Sunday, July 26th, 2009


The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 29% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -11. That’s the first time his ratings have reached double digits in negative territory (see trends).

Macleans: What we’re seeing now is not really deflation . . . at least, not yet.

Sunday, July 26th, 2009


Deflation is the word that strikes fear into the hearts of economists more than any other, and this week it was the one on everybody’s lips. Both Canada and the United States reported that consumer prices slipped into reverse in June. The 0.3 per cent decline in Canada’s consumer prices was the biggest since the 1950s, and the first time the cost of living has dropped from a year earlier since 1994.

The news sent many observers into an anxiety attack. But there are two critically important things you need to know about this.

First: deflation is indeed a nasty, frightening business. Second: what we’re seeing now is not really deflation . . . at least, not yet.

Peter Robinson, Forbes: The Summer’s One Must-Read Article, In which the National Review’s Mark Steyn critiques Obama’s health care legislation.

Sunday, July 26th, 2009


Mark Steyn has just published the most important journalism of the summer.

In an article in National Review, Steyn evaluates President Barack Obama’s health care legislation. (Steyn’s article, “Dependence Day,” is only available to National Review subscribers. You can buy an online subscription to National Review online or purchase the magazine’s latest issue.) Steyn marshals statistics (one-fifth of the uninsured Obama claims need our help aren’t American citizens), history (so sacrosanct is the National Health Service in Britain that even Mrs. Thatcher never considered privatizing it) and political philosophy (the belief that health care can only be run by bureaucrats is incompatible with belief in self-government).

40% Say Obama Has Too Many Press Conferences, 47% Say Number Is Right

Sunday, July 26th, 2009


Forty percent (40%) of U.S. voters say President Obama – just six months into his presidency – has held too many televised press conferences. But 47% say the president has had about the right number of them.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only eight percent (8%) say Obama has not held enough press conferences so far.

The partisan breakdown is predictable. Seventy-three percent (73%) of Democrats say the president has had about the right number of press conferences, but 63% of Republicans say he’s had too many.

Among voters not affiliated with either party, 53% say Obama’s had too many press conferences, while 35% say the number’s been about right.

However, 74% of all voters say they are at least somewhat likely to watch a presidential press conference. Forty-one percent (41%) say they are very likely to do so. Just 10% say they are not at all likely to watch one.

Only 9% of Americans have Twitter account, but 52% of Twitter Users Concerned about Safety of Personal Information

Sunday, July 26th, 2009


Twitter is the latest social networking craze on the Internet, but a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52% of Twitter users are concerned about the safety of their personal information on the site. Twenty-six percent (26%) are very concerned.

Forty-five percent (45%) of Twitter users are not concerned about the safety of personal information, including 10% who are not at all worried.

Of course, only nine percent (9%) of Americans say they actually have a Twitter account. Seventy-one percent (71%) have read, seen or heard about, but an overwhelming majority (88%) of adults do not have an account.

Adults ages 18 to 39 are more likely to be Twitter users than those who are older. Those who earn $75,000 or more per year are more likely to have a Twitter account than those who earn less.

Editorial: Fallout from DA Steve Howe’s activism just beginning, and it will hit Brownback hard

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Steve Howe is Sam Brownback’s David Souter.

Over the coming days and weeks, Republican voters not just in Johnson County but in the entire state of Kansas will gradually learn about District Attorney Steve Howe’s recent laughable decision involving the adherance of Johnson County Community College’s elected board members to the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA).  To briefly review:

  • Howe said that unlimited serial meetings may take place, regarding any topic, and involving any number of elected officials, provided that the politicians never explicitly state, “This is how we’re going to vote in the future.”
  • Howe said that it’s acceptable to discuss (or distribute typed information about) the budget — in great length and in great detail — during a closed meeting involving the local government’s entire elected membership, provided that at least part of the closed meeting involves the “job performance evaluation” of a city manager or somebody else who plays a role in developing the budget.

District Attorney Howe is either unwilling or unable to provide substantive answers to the following questions:

  • Why, in the formal written statement of findings, he failed to mention the great length — 64 specific items — of the budget list distributed in executive session;
  • Whether he talked with any respected experts on open meetings laws outside of his office, such as Kansas Press Association counsel Mike Merriam, who has no doubt that JCCC violated the law (the unwillingness to comment can be interpreted here as a likely “no”);
  • Why his written findings rely significantly on statements similar to “JCCC President Calaway said…” when Calaway has clearly and repeatedly engaged in unethical, dishonest behaviors.

Howe says that his office did a thorough investigation — but that’s not true.  Not only does it appear unlikely that the DA spoke with any KOMA experts, but Howe also refused to make simple requests for Email communications from JCCC, under the Kansas Open Records Act.

In a short time, conservative voters state-wide will learn of these unprofessional actions by DA Howe.  Some voters will assume incompetence, but most will likely assume corruption manifesting itself through legal activism and through the selective enforcement of the law.

At the center of this is Sam Brownback, who provided Howe with a crucial endorsement over former Attorney General Phill Kline in the 2008 Republican primary for District Attorney.  Granted, if Kline had won the primary, he probably would not have won the general election in Johnson County, which voted for John McCain by a much smaller margin than any recent Republican presidential nominee.  But it’s now clear that Howe is unacceptable.

Brownback chose politics over principle, rolling the dice and losing.  In one of the few examples yet where Brownback unilaterally played a role in a law-enforcement appointment, we now know that Brownback didn’t do enough research.  Just as President George H.W. Bush unintentionally chose activist David Souter for the Supreme Court, Howe is a dud who brings more harm than good to his office.

In Steve Howe, Johnson County has an unqualified activist as its chief law enforcement official, and Brownback put him there.

July is deadliest for US-led forces in Afghanistan: AP

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


KABUL – July is shaping up as the deadliest month of the Afghan war for U.S.-led international forces, with the number killed already matching the highest full-month toll of the nearly eight-year conflict, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press.

As of Wednesday, at least 46 international troops, including 24 Americans, had been killed in Afghanistan this month, according to statements by the U.S. military and the NATO command. That matches the tolls for the two previous deadliest months – June and August of 2008.

44% of Baseball Fans Give Commissioner Bud Selig Positive Marks

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


As the 2009 Major League Baseball season enters its second half, the chief executive of the league earns positive reviews from the plurality of fans.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 44% of baseball fans say MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is doing a good or excellent job. Only 14% give the commissioner a poor rating.

The commissioner earns slightly higher ratings from fans who watch the game at least once a week than those who say they watch occasionally.

Selig, who has been the acting commissioner since 1994 and official commissioner since 1998, is credited with several major changes to the game, including revenue sharing and a strict crackdown on steroid use by players. He is held largely responsible for a financial turnaround in baseball through increased revenue and fan attendance.

Hodge comments on DC Police Chief’s remarks toward anti-red-light camera iPhone and GPS applications

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Benjamin Hodge at

We learn from Drudge today of a Washington Examiner article about Washington, DC, Police Chief Cathy Lanier, who is no fan of “an iPhone application and other global positioning system devices that pinpoint the location of the cameras.”

The new technology streams to iPhones and global positioning system devices, sounding off an alarm as drivers approach speed or red-light cameras.

Lanier said the technology is a “cowardly tactic” and “people who overly rely on those and break the law anyway are going to get caught” in one way or another.

DC uses 290 traffic cameras, an estimated TEN PERCENT of all traffic cameras in the entire country!

This is my favorite part of the article:  Chief Lanier “promised her officers would pick up their game to counteract the devices, which can also help drivers dodge sobriety checkpoints.”

So tax money is going toward paying DC police offers to use iPhones, in order to keep up to date with what an application is telling its users?  Is this an elite unit of the police force?  Maybe this will develop into an early “crime”-fighting internship for teenagers, where they work part-time to monitor the applications during their study hall.

Lanier says about the technology, “It’s designed to circumvent law enforcement – law enforcement that is designed specifically to save lives.”

And it is all about safety, right?  Well, no.  The Examiner reports, “Photo radar tickets generated nearly $1 billion in revenues for D.C. during fiscal years 2005 to 2008.”

Opinion — Jack Cashill column: Did Gorelick Ride TWA 800 To Fannie Mae Millions?

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


Bloggers have taken to calling Jamie Gorelick “The Mistress of Disaster” and with good reason.

As Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton, she penned the infamous “wall” memo that prevented intelligence agencies from sharing information in the run-up to September 11.

After leaving the Justice Department, she headed over to Fannie Mae, where as vice-chair she helped wreck the American economy.

From Fannie Mae, Gorelick careened back to the less than useless 9-11 Commission, whose mission she did her best to subvert.

Few bloggers, however, have asked why Fannie Mae handed a middling bureaucrat with no financial or housing experience a sinecure that the Washington Monthly called “the equivalent of winning the lottery.”

Or why House Democrats invested one of their five 9-11 Commission slots in a mortgage executive with little or no intelligence experience.

Or why Gorelick gave up a $4 million a year on-average gig to join the 9-11 commission? (more…)

Boston Globe: Rice’s case for enshrinement was enhanced by steroid era

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


As best we know, Jim Rice never took banned substances, never secretly used a syringe, and never relied on performance-enhancers. Yet, when the definitive account of the steroids era is written, there may be no one remembered as a greater beneficiary.

James Edward Rice is making his official journey into Cooperstown this weekend, immortalizing a career that took far too long validate. As it turned out, the voters are the ones who needed the help of steroids this time. Rice was the most dominating hitter in baseball during the majority of a career that lasted 2,089 games and covered at least parts of 16 seasons, and we didn’t understand how good he was, how truly worthy of enshrinement, until his numbers were crystallized by those greedy, self-promoting body builders who all but engineered their careers in a test tube.

Oakland Tribune: Word play for A’s Henderson

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


Speech students at Laney Junior College received a rare experience the past two weeks. Not only have they been listening to the Hall of Fame induction speech Rickey Henderson will make on Sunday, but they also have been critiquing it.

Henderson essentially has gone back to school for much of this month to craft and polish the address he will give at Cooperstown, N.Y., when he is inducted.

This speech is much-anticipated by those who have become familiar with Henderson’s use of the language, which has affectionately come to be known as “Rickey-speak.” Henderson acknowledged this past week that formal public speaking frightens him.

“Speech and me don’t get along sometimes,” he said. “I’m not a doctor or professor, so for me to go and write a speech or read a speech, it’s kind of like putting a tie too tight around my neck.”

South Korean police: Hackers extracted data in attacks

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Hackers extracted lists of files from computers that they contaminated with the virus that triggered cyberattacks last week in the United States and South Korea, police in Seoul said Tuesday.

The attacks, in which floods of computers tried to connect to a single Web site at the same time to overwhelm the server, caused outages on prominent government-run sites in both countries.

The finding means that hackers not only used affected computers for Web attacks, but also attempted to steal information from them. That adds to concern that contaminated computers were ordered to damage their own hard disks or files after the Web assaults.