WILLIAM KATZ / URGENT AGENDA

Cheerful Resistance

HOME  ABOUT  /  ARCHIVE  /  DAILY SNIPPETS  /  SNIPPETS ARCHIVE AUDIO  / AUDIO ARCHIVE  CONTACT

 

WE'RE ON TWITTER, GO HERE       WE'RE ON FACEBOOK, GO HERE

 

 

 

THURSDAY,  DECEMBER 10,  2009

PENNSYLVANIA LEANING RED - AT 9:51 P.M. ET:  One of the great battlegrounds next year will be Pennsylvania, where a Senate seat, currently held by Republican turned Democrat Arlen Specter, will be up for grabs.  Thus far the news for Republicans is good.  From The Politico:

There’s good news all around for Republican Pat Toomey in a new poll released Thursday from Rasmussen, which shows him leading both of his potential Democratic rivals.

The telephone survey of 1,200 likely Pennsylvania voters finds Toomey leading incumbent Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter 46 percent to 42 percent in a prospective general election Senate matchup next year. Four percent said they would vote for another candidate, while 8 percent were unsure.

Specter, who has held the Senate seat since 1980, left the Republican Party to become a Democrat in April, just as he was facing a primary challenge from the more conservative Toomey, a former representative and president of the anti-tax Club for Growth.

COMMENT:  Early polls also show Republican Rob Portman leading for the Ohio Senate seat being vacated next year by George Voinovich, but the incumbent is also a Republican, so a GOP victory would amount to holding a seat, which is fine. 

And look at this, also from The Politico, regarding one of the bluest of the blue states:

The Cook Political Report’s Senate race analyst Jennifer Duffy doesn’t think much of Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) re-election prospects, in her latest update on the Connecticut Senate race.

And she’s moving the race rating to “Lean Republican” – a very rare instance where the political insider publication has put an incumbent's chances of winning in such dire territory.

We stress that the election won't be held until next November.

December 10, 2009   Permalink

THIS IS AWFUL - AT 7:49 P.M. ET:  The History Channel, which began well, has, in recent years, become something of a joke.  I don't know what shows like "Ice Road Truckers" have to do with history, but apparently History Channel does.  Nor do I understand how some JFK assassination conspiracy theories have made it onto THC in the form of programs presented as straight history. 

But nothing that the channel has done equals the sheer bias, corruption, and incompetence behind a new History Channel program based on the work of "historian" Howard Zinn, the radical Marxist of Boston University.  Big Hollywood reports:

Zinn has spent a lifetime teaching college students about the evils of capitalism, the promise of Marxism, and his version of American history – a history that has, in his view, been kept from students. His controversial 1980-book The People’s History of the United States paints traditional American history as a façade – one that has grotesquely immortalized flawed leaders and is based on principles that victimize the common man. In 2004, Zinn wrote a companion book entitled Voices Of A People’s History Of The United States, which includes speeches and writings from many of the people featured in The People’s History.

These two books have now become the basis for a new documentary, entitled The People Speak, to be aired December 13th at 8pm on the History Channel. The trailer portrays the documentary as a collage of compelling one-person readings, told through the words of “ordinary” people who have struggled throughout American history against oppression. Produced by Zinn, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and Chris Moore, the documentary appears to be cloaked, ironically (given Zinn’s admitted socialist agenda), in many of the traditional ideas that were behind our founding. The verdict is still out on the doc, but it is not for the books that inspired the film as well as the educational initiative associated with it.

What is frightening is that the program marks the launch of an educational campaign aimed at bringing Zinn's Communist teachings into American classrooms, down to the elementary-school level.  The clownish Hollywood actors involved in the production probably think they're performing a public service.  They don't realize that, if Zinn's preferred political system were ever adopted here, their artistic freedom would be out the window in a minute.

Please read the story.  Initiatives like this are being started around the country.  This one, because of the stars involved, gets a blast on the History Channel, which once had something to do with history.

December 10, 2009   Permalink 

TROUBLE WITH THE BASE - AT 6:59 P.M. ET:  Certainly one of the major political stories this week is the increasing tension between President Obama and "leaders" of the African American community.  Apparently, some of those "leaders" expected a bit more from the nation's first black president.  And they expected themselves to be in the spotlight.  From the Washington Post: 

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has joined black lawmakers in their push to get the White House to do more to directly help African American communities disproportionately hurt by the nation's severe economic recession.

Jackson, who noted that he was not invited to President Obama's recent jobs summit, said he has requested a meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to talk about economic aid for depressed minority communities. No meeting has been set.

Hmm.  Not invited.  Which is what this is about.  You don't think Jackson wasn't invited because, during the campaign, he said he'd like to castrate Obama over something Obama said, do you?  You know, that could offend a guy. 

In recent days, Obama has pushed back at the idea that his administration should focus economic revitalization policies on specific ethnic and racial groups. In an interview with USA Today and the Detroit Free Press last week, the president said, "The most important thing I can do for the African American community is the same thing I can do for the American community, period, and that is get the economy going again and get people hiring again."

On that the president is right.  If only for political reasons, this president cannot be seen as favoring his own community.  In fact, no president can. 

When David Dinkins, a decent man, became New York City's first black mayor, he started, either because of pressure or instinct, to give special treatment to blacks.  The political results were catastrophic, and he was defeated for reelection by Rudy Giuliani.

December 10, 2009   Permalink

HEALTH PLAN HEAVILY OPPOSED BY PUBLIC  - AT 6:44 P.M. ET:  It is remarkable to see Congressional Democrats plunge ahead with health "reform" in the face of massive public opposition.  Just how opposed is the public?  Consider this:

The new CNN poll like many others finds greater support (53% to 46%) for a "public option" than for the Senate Health Care Bill which just 36% support, and 61% oppose. The smart conclusion is that the Senate Bill would be more popular if it included a Public Option. But an even smarter question would be to ask why the overall effort is so unpopular.

The worst statistic in the poll is the 22% that believe they or their family would be better off if Health Care Reform passes. Nearly half (46%) believe reform will help some people just not them. That less than 1 in 4 believe this effort is good for their family represents a colossal failure of reform proponents to design a plan that helps people and then explains what it will do for a typical family.

And yet, the Senate may well pass a bill, despite public opinion.  It would then have to be reconciled with the House version.  Theoretically, if that reconciliation succeeds, a final bill can be passed by both houses.

Will the public then get on board, something that sometimes happens when a bill become law?  Impossible to say, but the fact is that support for "reform" has consistently declined over the months.

December 10, 2009   Permalink

GRIM NUMBERS - AT 9:39 A.M. ET:  For the White House, I mean.  Public Policy Polling makes this point about its newest national poll:

Perhaps the greatest measure of Obama's declining support is that just 50% of voters now say they prefer having him as President to George W. Bush, with 44% saying they'd rather have his predecessor. Given the horrendous approval ratings Bush showed during his final term that's somewhat of a surprise and an indication that voters are increasingly placing the blame on Obama for the country's difficulties instead of giving him space because of the tough situation he inherited. The closeness in the Obama/Bush numbers also has implications for the 2010 elections. Using the Bush card may not be particularly effective for Democrats anymore, which is good news generally for Republicans and especially ones like Rob Portman who are running for office and have close ties to the former President.

COMMENT:  The president is aware of these numbers.  This is pure speculation, but I wonder whether they influenced his Nobel Prize speech, which was decidedly more centrist than anything he's said thus far in his term.  We hope the president, and those around him, are realizing that this isn't a far-left or far-right nation, and that presidents who want to survive politically come to understand that.

December 10, 2009   Permalink

A FIGHTING SARAH - AT 9:04 A.M. ET:  As readers know, I've been a bit skeptical about Sarah Palin.  Yes, she was treated unfairly during the campaign, but she didn't meet our expectations either.  Now, though, she seems to be coming into her own.  Her speeches have been sharp, her interviews delightful, and her appearance at the Gridiron dinner in Washington over the weekend was a home run.

What I especially like is that Sister Sarah is snapping back at her critics, and doing so in well-written essays at Facebook.  Okay, I can't guarantee that she's writing these herself, but virtually all political figures have writing staffs.  What she's saying makes sense, and makes it well.  From The Politico:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin hit back at former Vice President Al Gore on Wednesday for calling her a global warming “denier.”

Speaking to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday, Gore criticized an op-ed Palin wrote for the Washington Post calling on President Barack Obama to boycott the global climate change conference in Copenhagen.

“The deniers are persisting in an era of unreality. The entire North Polar ice cap is disappearing before our eyes,” Gore said. “What do they think is happening?”

“It's a principle in physics,” Gore said of climate change. “It's like gravity, it exists.”

Palin took to her Facebook page late Wednesday to respond to Gore.

“Perhaps he’s right. Climate change is like gravity – a naturally occurring phenomenon that existed long before, and will exist long after, any governmental attempts to affect it,” Palin wrote. “However, he’s wrong in calling me a ‘denier.’ As I noted in my op-ed above and in my original Facebook post on Climategate, I have never denied the existence of climate change. I just don’t think we can primarily blame man’s activities for the earth’s cyclical weather changes.”

And then Sarah dealt with Climategate:

“Vice President Gore, the Climategate scandal exists,” she added. “You might even say that it’s sort of like gravity: you simply can’t deny it.”

COMMENT:  Good for Sarah.  Al Gore may soon be facing some inconvenient truths.

December 10, 2009   Permalink


THE SEEDY SIDE OF "CLIMATE" SCIENCE - AT 8:41 A.M. ET:  From the London Times, via Fox:

Britain's Met Office has embarked on an urgent exercise to bolster the reputation of climate-change science after the furor over leaked e-mails, referred to as "Climate-gate."

More than 1,700 scientists have agreed to sign a statement defending the "professional integrity" of global warming research. They were responding to a round-robin request from the Met Office, which has spent four days collecting signatures. The initiative is a sign of how worried it is that e-mails stolen from the University of East Anglia are fueling skepticism about man-made global warming at a critical moment in talks on carbon emissions.

Now get this:

One scientist said that he felt under pressure to sign the circular or risk losing work. The Met Office admitted that many of the signatories did not work on climate change.

If they're not in the field, why were they asked to sign?  This is another example of massing signatures to prove a "consensus" that may or may not exist.  This is science?  No, it's political science.

One scientist told The Times of London he felt pressure to sign. "The Met Office is a major employer of scientists and has long had a policy of only appointing and working with those who subscribe to their views on man-made global warming," he said.

President Eisenhower, in his 1961 farewell address to the American people, the so-called "industrial-military complex" speech, also said this:

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Right then, right now.

Be on guard.

December 10, 2009    Permalink


AND THE REALITY THAT WE FACE - AT 8:34 A.M. ET:  This is a follow-up to the final story we posted last night.  Once again, the words "terror" and "homegrown" are linked.  From Fox News:

ISLAMABAD — Five Americans arrested at a house linked to a militant group in eastern Pakistan have told investigators they came to the country to take part in "jihad" or holy war, police said Thursday.

U.S. officials believe the five are men who were reported missing more than a week ago by their families in the Washington, D.C., area. The families asked the FBI for help after finding a farewell video left by the men showing scenes of war and casualties and saying Muslims must be defended.

The men, ages 19 to 25, were picked up Wednesday at a house in the city of Sargodha that has been linked to the banned militant organization Jaish-e-Mohammed, officers said. Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based group, is alleged to have ties to Al Qaeda.

Police chief Javed Islam said authorities had shared findings of their probe with FBI officials who had arrived in Sargodha. The U.S. Embassy, however, would not confirm if the FBI had sent representatives to the area.

"These young Americans are in our custody," the police chief said. "They are telling us that they came to Pakistan for jihad."

COMMENT:  Let's now hope that our law enforcement authorities take this seriously, and don't engage in another embarrassing series of politically correct excuses or explanations.  There has been one incident after another in the last year involving American citizens.  Some law enforcement agencies have done a great job of nailing the would-be terrorists on our own soil, while others continue to spout the politically correct party line.  Americans have had it with that.

December 10, 2009   Permalink

AND THE WORDS - AT 8:08 A.M. ET:  Okay, our first post this morning was a little joke.  In fact, the president did say some things in his acceptance speech that were worthy and appropriate, and we're delighted by that.  We give credit where it's due here:

As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King’s life’s work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there is nothing weak –nothing passive – nothing naïve – in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King.

But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

Good.  Very good.  The California delegation to the House just fainted.

Yet the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions – not just treaties and declarations – that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.

Very, very good.  I like this.  Is the man learning? 

The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest – because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.

And...

First, in dealing with those nations that break rules and laws, I believe that we must develop alternatives to violence that are tough enough to change behavior – for if we want a lasting peace, then the words of the international community must mean something. Those regimes that break the rules must be held accountable. Sanctions must exact a real price. Intransigence must be met with increased pressure – and such pressure exists only when the world stands together as one.

And...

I believe that peace is unstable where citizens are denied the right to speak freely or worship as they please; choose their own leaders or assemble without fear. Pent up grievances fester, and the suppression of tribal and religious identity can lead to violence. We also know that the opposite is true. Only when Europe became free did it finally find peace. America has never fought a war against a democracy, and our closest friends are governments that protect the rights of their citizens. No matter how callously defined, neither America’s interests – nor the world’s –are served by the denial of human aspirations.

And get this:

Ronald Reagan’s efforts on arms control and embrace of perestroika not only improved relations with the Soviet Union, but empowered dissidents throughout Eastern Europe. There is no simple formula here. But we must try as best we can to balance isolation and engagement; pressure and incentives, so that human rights and dignity are advanced over time.

COMMENT: The entire text is available here, through the courtesy of Andrew Malcolm at the L.A. Times's Top of the Ticket blog.

This is the best speech Barack Obama has given as president, vastly superior to his minor effort at West Point last week.  In this speech he begins to confront the inanities of his political left.  Is it the start of some desirable change in the Obama administration?  Or is it just a ploy to boost poll ratings?  We cannot yet say.  But, on balance, this is a very worthy speech.  Many of the quotes could have come from Jack Kennedy or George W. Bush. 

For the first time, Barack Obama has gone to a foreign country and given a speech we can be proud of.  I hope it marks change we can believe in.  We'll look carefully, and judge sternly.

December 10, 2009    Permalink


THE MOMENT - AT 8:02 A.M. ET:  Barack Hussein Obama Jr. has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

And now on to the grown-up news.

December 10,  2009   Permalink

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY,  DECEMBER 9,  2009

AND AGAIN - AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN - AT 10:58 P.M. ET:  From the Washington Post:

Five young men from Northern Virginia have been arrested in Pakistan at the home of a man linked to a radical jihadist group, and Pakistani authorities are questioning them about any possible links to terrorism, diplomatic and law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

Any possible links to terrorism?  What other reason could they be there, except of course for the fine shopping and world-class restaurants?

The men, all Muslims from the Alexandria area, were reported missing by their families last week and taken into custody near Lahore on Monday. One of them left behind a video that quoted Koranic verses, cited conflicts between Western and Muslim nations and showed wartime footage. A Muslim leader described it Wednesday as a farewell statement. Law enforcement sources said the video had jihadist overtones but cautioned that they have no evidence it was intended as a farewell. They said they have no information about the men's intentions.

So a guy makes a video with Koranic verses, and even a Muslim leader says it's a bye-bye statement.  And our law enforcement?  Why, there's no evidence.  Maybe it was a little film for a class.

Law enforcement officials also said they have no evidence that the men had been trained at terror camps or were planning an attack. But the arrests came at a time of growing concern about homegrown terrorism after the recent shootings at the Fort Hood, Tex., military base and charges filed this week against a Chicago man accused of playing a role in last year's terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.

The men were taken into custody at the home of an activist affiliated with a radical group that has been banned by the Pakistani government, an official at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington said.

COMMENT:  I know, I know - you have to have evidence, and law enforcement must proceed carefully.  But I wish some of the guys with badges would exhibit a bit more public spine, and some sense of urgency.

We've had incident after incident in the last year, and still not a single comment from the president.  Far from expressions of public concern, we get a decision to try the mastermind of 9-11 in a New York civilian court, as if he'd stolen a pencil sharpener.

December 9, 2009   Permalink

WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL - AT 7:32 P.M. ET:  We love stories about language here, but don't do enough of them.  This one, from Britain, in defense of English (remember English?) is just terrific:

LONDON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Britain's Plain English Campaign awarded its "Foot in Mouth" prize to an official who said people should look "round corners more thoroughly."

Business Secretary Peter Mandelson was given the campaign's satirical "award" for his use of language while discussing lawmakers' expenses, Politics.co.uk reported Tuesday.

"Perhaps we need not more people looking round more corners, but the same people looking round more corners more thoroughly to avoid the small things detracting from the big things the prime minister is getting right," Mandelson said.

The Plain English Campaign also awarded a Golden Bull to the Department for Health for a statement reading: "Primary prevention includes health promotion and requires action on the determinants of health to present disease occurring. It has been described as refocusing upstream to stop people falling in the waters of disease."

COMMENT:  The people who are writing the health "reform" bill in the Senate might be eligible for one of these commendations.  I'd love to hear other nominations from readers. 

And what about those warning labels on prescription drugs?  "There's a slight chance of death..."

December 9, 2009   Permalink

OH DEAR, OH DEAR, WHAT CAN THE MATTER BE? - AT 5:54 P.M. ET:  A new Quinnipiac poll out today provides no relief for the politically oppressed White House.  The president is hurting in the polls, and the trend, in the last month or two, has been relentless:

American voters give President Barack Obama a split 46 - 44 percent job approval, his lowest ever, and both the health care reform package that he wants Congress to pass and his personal rating on handling health care now win support from less than four in 10 Americans, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Voters disapprove 52 - 38 percent of the health care reform proposal under consideration in Congress, and they disapprove 56 - 38 percent of President Obama's handling of health care, down from 53 - 41 percent in a November 19 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh- pe-ack) University.

But Republicans must beware.  The news isn't all good:

American voters trust Obama more than Republicans in Congress to handle health care 44 - 37 percent, down from 45 - 36 percent three weeks ago. Voters disapprove 58 - 30 percent of the way Republicans in Congress are doing their job, and disapprove 56 - 33 percent of Democrats in Congress.

So Obama's poor numbers appear to reflect Obama.  They do not appear to reflect any sudden great love for Republicans.

More on the president's decline:

American voters disapprove 54 - 41 percent of Obama's handling of the economy, down from a 52 - 43 percent disapproval November 18 and his worst score ever on this issue. The biggest shift is among Democrats who approve 71 - 24 percent, down from 77 - 18 percent three weeks ago.

The biggest drop in Obama's overall approval is among independent voters, who disapprove 51 - 37 percent, down from 46 - 43 percent disapproval.

The President's support declines as one goes up the age and income scale. Analyzed by religion, Obama gets a thumbs up from 32 percent of white Protestants, 42 percent of white Roman Catholics and 52 percent of Jews.

These are the people who turn out on election day in greater proportions than, say, young voters.

It will still be a fight for Republicans, with nothing certain.  Americans are catching on to Barack Obama, but it doesn't mean they'll automatically latch on to the GOP.

December 9, 2009   Permalink

TRANSITION - AT 5:26 P.M. ET:  This may not seem to be an important story, but it is, and I will explain why.  From The New York Times:

Procter & Gamble, the company that invented the soap opera and gave the genre its name, is no longer in the soap opera business.

CBS announced on Tuesday that it was canceling “As the World Turns,” the 54-year-old soap that is the last daytime serial owned by Procter & Gamble. The show chronicled generations of characters in fictional Oakdale, Ill., as they survived love and loss, but they couldn’t survive the harsh realities of modern television, where scripted dramas have become too expensive to justify dwindling ratings.

The demise of “ATWT,” as it is known to soap fans, means that the two most venerable examples of the genre have been given cancellation notices in the same year. “Guiding Light,” a CBS daytime staple, had been on the air through radio and television for 72 years. CBS informed Procter & Gamble of the cancellation “a couple of days ago,” according to Jeannie Tharrington, a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble.

“It’s a part of our business that we will miss, and it’ll be hard for us to say goodbye to the show,” Ms. Tharrington said. Procter & Gamble said it would try to find a new home for the series. Given the current economic climate, though, that is considered unlikely.

COMMENT:  Why is this story important?  Well, to fans of ATWT, that's obvious.  But there are other reasons.  First, actors and writers are thrown out of work, and a great training ground is being eliminated.  Soap operas have traditionally provided employment for up-and-coming actors, writers, and directors.  Many of the biggest names you know got their start in "soaps."  They learned their craft while setting their sights on higher things. 

Further, soaps appeal to older women, and they are simply not wanted by advertisers, another example of the marginalization of older groups in the society. 

But perhaps most important, soaps are usually "client-owned" shows - shows that were originally brought in by advertisers, rather than developed "internally" by network programming departments.   In the early decades of television, that was the norm - one sponsor for each show.  Dinah Shore was Chevrolet.  Milton Berle was Texaco, and then later Buick.  Jack Benny was Lucky Strike, in the days when cigarette ads were accepted.  The result was, often, a kind of diversity.  Today, what you often see on TV are the values of Los Angeles and New York.  There was, in the earlier days, a greater attention to the standards and tastes of middle America.

That doesn't mean it was all wonderful.  It wasn't.  There was plenty of mediocrity and blandness, and copycat programming.  And yes, there was a blacklist, unacceptable in a free society.  But there was also Philco Playhouse, Studio One, and The Twilight Zone.  The gold may have been tarnished, but it was a golden age.

About eight years ago I ran into a representative of the advertising industry while waiting for a meeting at CBS, Hollywood.  He told me he was trying to interest the network in trying, once more, to have sponsors bring in shows that reflected the family values of most Americans.  I don't think he got very far.  One problem, of course, is that, since the early sixties, it's been virtually impossible for a single sponsor to finance an entire show, the cost of programming having risen dramatically.  What you see today, as you know, is a commercial "block" filled with many sponsors in back-to-back commercials.  When the block comes on, you know you have time to do something else. 

So, another icon falls, and with it memories of another television age.  Was it better?  Not necessarily, but it was more interesting, and, in an odd way, more diverse.

December 9, 2009   Permalink


RESPECT FOR CONGRESS DIVES - AT 9:49 A.M. ET:  More polling fun.  From Gallup:

PRINCETON, NJ -- For the first time in Gallup's annual Honesty and Ethics of Professions poll, a majority of Americans -- 55% -- say the honesty and ethical standards of "members of Congress" are low or very low -- slightly worse than "senators," whose ethics are rated low by 49%. By contrast, 83% of Americans say nurses have either very high or high ethical standards, positioning them at the top of Gallup's 2009 ranking of various professions.

Maybe we should have the nurses write the health reform bill.

The percentage of Americans now believing that members of Congress have low ethics is up from 46% in 2008 and 45% in 2007, and has more than doubled since the start of the decade -- rising from 21% in November 2000 to 55% today.

Ah, what Democratic victories bring.

But, you ask, what about other professions like...journalists?

Did you have to ask?

Journalists rank in the middle of the ethics chart, with nurses and pharmacists at the top and car salesmen and HMO managers at the bottom.  Some 23% of those polled thought journalists had high or very high ethics, 45% said average, and 31% said low or very low.  Journalists were grouped in with psychiatrists and bankers.  Figure that one out.

December 9, 2009   Permalink

PUBLIC OPTION GOES - OR DOES IT? - AT 9:16 A.M. ET:  From Fox News:

WASHINGTON -- After days of secret talks, Senate Democrats tentatively agreed Tuesday night to drop a full-blown government-run insurance option from sweeping health care legislation, several officials said, a concession to party moderates whose votes are critical to passage of President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.

In its place, officials said Democrats had tentatively settled on a private insurance arrangement to be supervised by the federal agency that oversees the system through which lawmakers purchase coverage, with the possibility of greater government involvement if needed to ensure consumers of sufficient choices in coverage.

COMMENT:  I'd look at that with two eyes.  This is only a tentative agreement on the Senate version.  That would have to be reconciled with the House version, which contains a strong public option.  And then there is the abortion issue, with Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska threatening to filibuster the whole thing if the bill contains federal funding for abortion.

Health "reform" is not a done deal, which is good news.  The public is against the current bills.  The whole subject requires further study, journalistic examination (hah), and discussion with patients and physicians.

December 9, 2009   Permalink

I LOVE THIS STORY, JUST LOVE IT - AT 8:50 A.M. ET:  Sometimes, the best way to fight political correctness is to enlist the people it's designed to protect.  A delightful story from - I have to give them credit - The politically correct New York Times:

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Sometime soon, the Fighting Sioux of the University of North Dakota were to be no more, another collegiate nickname dropped after being deemed hostile and abusive to American Indians.

Except that some members of the Spirit Lake Tribe, one of two groups of Sioux in the state, say they consider the nickname an honor and worry that abandoning it would send them one step closer to obscurity.

“When you hear them announce the name at the start of a hockey game, it gives you goose bumps,” said Frank Black Cloud, a tribal member. “They are putting us up on a pinnacle.”

Well, well, well, someone finally got it.  Yes, you toiling members of the nation's delicate intellectual elite, when a team names itself after a tribe, it is honoring that tribe. 

Now the question is, does the state of North Dakota get it?  You won't believe this:

And so, in a legal standoff that has turned some preconceptions upside down, North Dakota’s top state lawyers will be in court on Wednesday to oppose members of the Spirit Lake Tribe who have sued to preserve the Fighting Sioux name and logo, an image of an Indian in profile, feathers draping down.

COMMENT:  The absurdity of it all.  I remember, some years ago, when some leftist Asian-Americans, learning the tradecraft of radicalism, protested the "stereotype" that Asian kids are good at math.  Doesn't the PC crowd know a compliment when they see it?

I can see the day when a college will have a football team named "The Multicultural Engagers."  Obama will throw out the first ball...I mean, playing device.

December 9, 2009   Permalink

AND IT ISN'T ONLY NORWAY (SEE STORY JUST BELOW) - AT 8:15 A.M. ET:  When this president snubs, he goes all out.  And if you want to show that you can snub an ally, the obvious big-time choice is Britain.  You get extra credit on the left, and all that. 

Since his first day in office, President Obama has gone out of his way to snub Britain.  Silvio Canto Jr., on whose radio show I often appear, alerts us to a piece by Nile Gardiner, in London's Daily Mail, on the damage done by Obama's immature behavior:

Last week, when President Obama got to his feet at the U.S. Military Academy to outline his administration's plans for America's future in Afghanistan, one subject was conspicuous by its total absence from his 40-minute speech.

For while he made much of the surge in troop numbers and the controversial phased withdrawal planned for 18 months' time, there wasn't a single mention of America's main ally in the region, Britain.

It's typical.  This is the least gracious administration in memory.  Example:  This president spends a disturbing amount of his time attacking President Bush, and blaming him for everything, including the weather.

Never mind that we have 10,000 troops on active service there - far more than any other of America's so-called allies - and never mind that 237 of our brave soldiers have already lost their lives there, Great Britain wasn't even a footnote.

Given the level of sacrifice by British troops, it was the most extraordinary and insulting oversight...

...The only conclusion that can be drawn is that while the special relationship may not be dead yet, it's certainly dying, a fact that should be enormously worrying to politicians - and voters - on both sides of the Atlantic.

Once again a British writer nails Obama better than his American counterparts:

We cannot say, however, that we weren't warned.

This, after all, is a man who, within days of being sworn in as President, ordered that a bust of Winston Churchill - a gift from the British people to the U.S. in the dark days that followed 9/11 - be removed from the Oval Office...

...Nor have things improved since, with Obama apparently keener on sitting down with President Ahmadinejad of Iran, or cosying up to his new friends in France or Germany than he is on spending time with the Prime Minister. Indeed, he singularly failed to do just that when both men were in New York in September for the United Nations' General Assembly.

Once again, Obama's refusal to grasp that opportunity to stress the special relationship was seen as an insult to Britain.

Britain, meet Norway, and Israel, and Canada, and...

One of the greatest forces for good, liberty and freedom - not to mention the defence of the free world - is in very real danger of being banished to the history books for ever.

Obama, however, seems to be a president with no real grasp of history, as one of his first major acts on gaining office showed.

By withdrawing plans for a missile shield to be located in Eastern Europe, he not only appeased the Russians, he also betrayed the Poles and the Czechs, people who have only just been released from the yoke of Soviet control and have since become enthusiastic and valuable Western allies.

But he's such an intellectual, isn't he?  I mean, he lived in Hyde Park, in Chicago, where the leftist intellectuals meet.

Maybe that's the problem.

Obama must be made to realise what a dangerous diplomatic game he is playing. Time and again, history has shown - most recently, of course, in Iraq and Afghanistan - that when it comes to taking decisive military action, the only country the U.S. has ever been able to rely on is Britain.

When the U.S. marches in, it's only ever the British who can be depended on to march alongside them.

Well, let's add Australia and Canada, two other countries he's snubbed.

Britain needs America - of that there is no doubt. But recent history shows that America needs Britain, too. Barack Obama needs to wake up to that; before it's too late.

COMMENT:  He will not wake up.  Snubbing our allies is in his DNA.  It's part of his world view.  There is a reason why his popularity is plunging.  The American people are catching on that, while Barack Obama is president of us, he is not of us.

December 9, 2009   Permalink


TAKE THAT, NORWAY! - AT 7:46 A.M. ET:  Someone, in one of those Washington briefings, probably whispered to President Obama that Norway is, more or less, an ally.  How else could we explain his snobbish treatment of the country where he's about to receive the Nobel Prize?  Today Norway, tomorrow, oh, Italy? 

OSLO (AFP) – A majority of Norwegians consider "impolite" US President Barack Obama's decision to snub parts of the official Nobel Peace Prize programme in Oslo this week, a poll showed on Wednesday.

Obama, who will formally receive the award at a ceremony at Oslo's City Hall on Thursday, will limit his attendance at the normally-scheduled events to a strict minimum.

Maybe he understands just what that prize is worth.  How would you like to be on a list of "winners" that contains so many losers, like Al Gore, Jimmah Carter, Yasir Arafat, and the guy who ran the UN's nuclear watchdog agency?  What was his name again?

Faced with two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the fallout of the economic crisis, the US leader has declined the traditional lunch with the king of Norway, and, unlike previous laureates, will not hold a press conference nor attend the Nobel concert held in his honour the day after the prize ceremony.

Norway has a king?  How could Barack know?   How do you address him?  "Your blondeness?"

Press conference?  Too much chance for an embarrassing question like, "Do you really think you deserve this?"

Concert?  Yeah, right.  I'm sure Barack digs that kind of music. 

According to a poll conducted by the InFact institute and published in daily Verdens Gang (VG), 44 percent of 1,000 people surveyed said it was "impolite" of Obama to not lunch with the king, while 34 percent said it was okay.

More than half, 53 percent, said it was "impolite" not to attend the Nobel concert, while 27 percent disagreed.

Obama is due to arrive in Oslo on Thursday morning and will leave Friday morning, staying in the Norwegian capital less than 24 hours. The official Nobel programme is usually spread out over three days.

COMMENT:  Another country visited, another country snubbed.  The Obama outreach goes on.  If this were Tehran, he'd attend the concert.

December 9,  2009   Permalink

 

 
 

"What you see is news.  What you know is background.  What you feel is opinion."
    - Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
      of The New York Times.


"Councils of war breed timidity and defeatism."
   - Lt. Gen. Arthur MacArthur, to his
      son, Douglas.

 

THE ANGEL'S CORNER

Part I of this week's Angel's Corner was was sent late last night.

Part II will be sent late Friday night.

 

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Subscriptions to URGENT AGENDA are voluntary.  Why subscribe to something you're getting free?  To help guarantee that you'll continue to get it at all, and to get The Angel's Corner, which we now offer to subscribers and donators. 

Subscriptions sustain us.  Payments are through PayPal and are secure, but you do not have to sign up for a PayPal account.  Credit cards are fine.


FOR A ONE-YEAR ($48) SUBSCRIPTION, CLICK:

 

FOR A SIX-MONTH ($26)
SUBSCRIPTION, CLICK:


GREAT DEAL:  ONE-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION WITH ANOTHER SUBSCRIPTION SENT TO SOMEONE ELSE ($69) - PERFECT FOR A SON OR DAUGHTER AT SCHOOL. (TELL US AT service@urgentagenda.com WHERE YOU WANT THE SECOND SUBSCRIPTION SENT.)  CLICK:


IF YOU DON'T WISH A SET SUBSCRIPTION, BUT PREFER TO DONATE ANY OTHER AMOUNT TO SUSTAIN URGENT AGENDA, CLICK:



SEARCH URGENT AGENDA

Search For:
Match: 
Dated:
From: ,
To: ,
Within: 
Show:   results   summaries
Sort by: 

POWER LINE

It's a privilege for me to post periodic pieces at Power Line. To go to Power Line, click here. To link to my Power Line pieces, go here.

 

CONTACT:  YOU CAN E-MAIL US, AS FOLLOWS:

If you have wonderful things to say about this site, if it makes you a better person, please click:
applause@urgentagenda.com

If you have a general comment on anything you see here, or on anything else that's topical, please click:
comments@urgentagenda.com

If you must say something obnoxious, something that will embarrass you and disgrace your loving family, click:
despicable@urgentagenda.com

If you require subscription service, please click:
service@urgentagenda.com

 

SIZZLING SITES

Power Line
Top of the Ticket
Faster Please (Michael Ledeen)
OpinionJournal.com
Hudson New York

Bookworm Room
Bill Bennett
Red State
Pajamas Media
Michelle Malkin
Weekly Standard  
Real Clear Politics
The Corner

City Journal
Gateway Pundit
American Thinker
Legal Insurrection

Political Mavens
Silvio Canto Jr.
Planet Iran
Another Black
   Conservative





 
"The left needs two things to survive. It needs mediocrity, and it needs dependence. It nurtures mediocrity in the public schools and the universities. It nurtures dependence through its empire of government programs. A nation that embraces mediocrity and dependence betrays itself, and can only fade away, wondering all the time what might have been."
     - Urgent Agenda

 

 
 
 
 
````` ````````