Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Obama 2014

Real Clear Politics brings us polling data on Americans' view of President Obama's performance

PollDateSampleApprove Disapprove Spread
RCP Average12/3 - 12/22--42.752.5 -9.8
CNN/Opinion Research12/18 - 12/211011 A4850 -2
Gallup12/20 - 12/221500 A4451 -7
Rasmussen Reports12/20 - 12/221500 LV4851 -3
The Economist/YouGov12/13 - 12/15698 RV4454 -10
ABC News/Wash Post12/11 - 12/14RV3957 -18
NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl12/10 - 12/141000 A4550 -5
Reuters/Ipsos12/10 - 12/142096 A3754 -17
GWU/Battleground12/7 - 12/111000 LV4350 -7
FOX News12/7 - 12/91043 RV4253 -11
Associated Press/GfK12/4 - 12/81010 A4158 -17
McClatchy/Marist12/3 - 12/9923 RV4352 -9
USA Today/Pew Research12/3 - 12/71507 A4251 -9
Bloomberg12/3 - 12/51001 A3952 -13

Recently, I would have put myself in the disapprove column, when I've been considering how many ways I've been disappointed by President Obama:  failure to address the crimes of the Bush administration, failure to push for a stronger stimulus to bring more people back in to the  work force (and giving college graduates the opportunity to start their careers), giving in to the counterproductive deficit reduction mania and supporting the damaging sequester, nominating Wall Street hacks to important policy positions....  I have a long list of disappointments..  

(Some believe that disapproval of the president's performance translates into support for the Republican Party.  No sir!  Mr. Obama may have disappointed me, but at least he hasn't been crazy damaging like the Republican Party has been and wants to be.)

And now Andrew Sullivan comes along to help restore some sense of proportion:
There has long been a pattern to Barack Obama’s political career on the national stage. There are moments of soaring moral clarity and inspiration; there are long periods of drift or laziness or passivity; and there are often very good fourth quarters. The 2008 campaign was an almost perfect coda: the sudden initial breakout, then a strange listlessness as he allowed the Clintons to come back in New Hampshire, turning the race into a long and grueling battle for delegates, then a final denouement when he made up with the Clintons and stormed into the White House. Or think of healthcare reform: a clear early gamble, followed by a truly languorous and protracted period of negotiation and posturing, and then a breakthrough. Or marriage equality: an excruciating period of ambivalence followed by a revolution. On climate: a failed cap and trade bill … followed by real tough fuel emissions standards, new carbon rules from the EPA and an agreement with China.
 When he was elected, I had hoped Mr. Obama would prove to be one of our great presidents like Lincoln and FDR.  I guess I have to settle for pretty good.

Update 12/24/2014      Yglesias weighs in as well
Update  1/12/2015        So does Chait
Update  6/4/2015        David Axelrod on Obama's thinking (after a classic Jon Stewart takedown of RWNJs):
I'll never forget, he said, "Look, I get all that [the many failures of previous administrations to pass universal health care, and the political minefield it would be to take it on], but what are we supposed to do, sit here for eight years, put our approval rating in the shelf, and just admire it?  Or are we going to draw it down and try to do some things that mean something." and he said. "If we don't do it now, we'll never get it done."

Republican Humor (Oxymoron Watch)

This reminds me of this - the "comedy" news show that had to add a laugh track.
And what about that set and audience briefly shown at the beginning?   It clearly wasn't where the program was actually recorded.  Misleading, you say?  Well, what did you expect?  It is Fox News, after all.....

Monday, December 15, 2014

Reverse This Requirement Now!

 From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Gov. John Kasich's $10 million plan to bring mentors into Ohio's schools for students now has a surprise religious requirement – one that goes beyond what is spelled out in the legislation authorizing it.
Any school district that wants a piece of that state money must partner with both a church and a business – or a faith-based organization and a non-profit set up by a business to do community service.
No business and no faith-based partner means no state dollars.
But in the meantime, from the comments on this story:

 We can only hope.....

Worth Reading In Full

A black judge responds to Josh Marshall on the recent publicity over police violence towards people of color.

 We supporters don’t “miss” the “deep wells of support and trust” police have in the majority population. They have always had such support and trust. It just doesn’t matter here. What you seem to miss is that the reason that such support and trust exists is due to the fact that what they are protecting the majority population from, in the minds of far too many in that population, is us!
I have seen the disparity in criminal charges and sentencing up close and personal. I have seen the biased perceptions of our police result in imprisonment, beatings, mistreatment and yes, even death. But it is not only the overt physical violence that minorities are subjected to, it is the presumption of guilt that we confront on a daily basis. 
But listen to the defenders of the police in these latest cases… do you really want to live in the world they are promoting? One where you must immediately acquiesce to any request/order give by anyone in a uniform, without question or complaint… under penalty of death if you don’t comply, or comply too slowly for them? Do you really mean to give people in uniform the power to kill, maim, imprison any person simply because they questioned why they were being confronted or resisted rough treatment? Is the uniformed officers word to be deemed absolute, without recourse… and his/her power to punish to be deemed limitless? 
So, we don’t miss the support and trust police have in the majority population… t’was always thus… we just don’t care to let that support and trust kill more of our sons and daughters. We are tired of letting their subjective “fears” be reason enough to make us bury another child. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Small Value Coins

The case for doing away with the penny (each of which costs 2.4 cents to produce) is strong.
Some object with the following observation:
But eliminating it would result in greater use of the five-cent coin, the nickel, which costs 11.2 cents to produce.
 The obvious step is to eliminate the nickel as well.  Consider: the real value of a dime today is just a little more than a cent was worth in 1920 i.e. 12 cents. If we got along with a minimum coin value of about today's dime then, why can't we now?

There was a half cent coin produced in the US until 1857, when it was discontinued as not being worth enough to continue in circulation.  Its value at that time in today's currency:  14 cents - or almost 1½ dimes. It's clear: making the dime our smallest value coin should be a no-brainer.

Some might argue that we should look to the future, as there will be more inflation, further eroding the value of our coinage.  I believe the quarter (worth less than one cent in 1857 values, about two cents in 1920 values) should be our smallest value coin.  Consider: in 1858 our smallest value coin was the penny - whose spending power was about 28 cents in today's currency.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Political Correctness Strikes Again

From the Houston Chronicle:
A third-grade HISD teacher accused of making profane and anti-Muslim remarks on a public access television show will resign immediately and receive three months' pay under a deal approved by the school board Thursday.    
In online clips, Box could be heard referring to "bacon-haters," using profanity in connection with Muslims and asking, "Can't Ebola just take one for the team and take out Obama?"
"District administrators recommended accepting Box's offer of resignation after determining it was in the best interest of the school and its students," HISD said in a statement Thursday.
 While Angela Box's opinions and the expression of them are clearly obnoxious, as long as she was not expressing them in the classroom, and they did not otherwise affect her job performance, it's hard to see the justification for removing her from her position.  It reminds me of the "Red scare" firing of teachers in the 1920's:
"Red hunting" became the national obsession.  Colleges were deemed to be hotbeds of Bolshevism, and professors were labeled as radicals.  The hunt reached down to public secondary schools where many teachers were fired for current or prior membership in even the most mildly of leftist organizations.
Political views (however ugly) expressed outside of the workplace should not be cause for dismissal.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Black Protest


reminds me of this:

Plus ├ža change and all that.