Waiting for Ed McMahon…

From CNN’s article on their poll:

“Two-thirds say that President Obama has a vision for the country’s future – so expect to hear more about ‘winning the future’ in the coming months,” adds Holland.

We’d better “win” the future, because we’re sure as hell not earning it.

Initial Unemployment Claims Data Gets Back on Track

[This continues an 18 month series of posts on the unemployment problem: previous posts can be found at Ace of Space HQ and Innocent Bystanders]

The DoL released the latest unemployment claims data this morning. The number dropped from 457K last week to 415K this week, which is much more line with the trend we’ve seen since last August (see the chart below). If that trend continues, we should see some real improvement in the jobs situation around the beginning of Fall (when the number of new claims gets to 300K to 350K).

If you’ve never seen this chart before, here’s a brief explanation:

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A Challenge to Sarah Palin’s Advocates

Here’s the real problem, Palin advocates. NiceDeb says she’s wondering whether Palin is truly electable: her fans are passionate, but so are her critics. Can she tip the balance?

Not without full-fledged support from the conservative base, she can’t. And she doesn’t have it yet. For instance, she doesn’t have my support. As I mentioned in the thread below, I like a lot of things about Sarah Palin. But I’m not convinced that she’s Presidential material, particularly with regard to her grasp of policy.

So, here’s your challenge. Convince me. Explain to me why she is in fact a qualified candidate for President – why her understanding of policy is strong and coherent, and why her vision for America is practical and promising. Or, if you’d rather, explain why it doesn’t matter. But don’t waste your time talking about how:

  • “She’s the only real conservative”
  • “She’s genuine and a straight shooter”
  • “She’s tough and strong”
  • “She gets things done”

I already know and appreciate these things. My concern lies with her handle on policy. I’ll give you an example.

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White House Admits That More Than 85% of Stimulus Projects Were Not ‘Shovel-Ready’ in 2009

At least that’s the way I read it. From the White House web site:

  • Highway Projects: There will be six times as many highway projects underway in July 2010 as in July 2009 – projects will surge from 1,750 last summer to over 10,000 this summer.
  • Clean and Drinking Water: This summer over 2,800 clean and drinking water projects will be underway versus just over 100 last summer – more than 20 times as many.
  • Home Weatherization: This summer, 82,000 homes will be weatherized versus 3,000 last summer – 27 times as many homes this summer as last.
  • National Parks: This July, nearly 800 projects will be underway at national parks versus just over 100 last July – 8 times as many this summer.

There you have it – by their own admission, six out of seven highway projects were not ‘shovel-ready’ in 2009. 28 out of 29 clean water projects, 27 out of 28 home weatherization projects, and 8 out of 9 parks projects were not ‘shovel-ready.’ Nice sense of urgency, guys.

Let’s not get too critical, though – after all, we only had to wait another year before the “real” Stimulus kicked into gear. Another year of grinding unemployment and crushing deficit spending. But wait – wasn’t that one of the complaints that Republicans had about the Stimulus package? That it was too slow?

Looks like the White House finally agrees.

[Update: ND tells me I should include a link to my latest post on initial unemployment claims over at Innocent Bystanders, wherein I discuss the administration’s failure to notice that the unemployment situation isn’t getting any better. Hotay, Boss, you got it.]

Rightwing Racist Haters? Not so Much.

First you read the title:

“Iraqi assaulted in Denver; suspects face hate-crime charges”

…and, after pitying the victim, you think: “Oh no, the libs will have a field day with this one.” Then you read the lede:

“Two Centennial men face hate crime charges for allegedly assaulting a hookah bar employee early Monday because he is from Iraq, according to the Denver District Attorney’s Office.”

…and you think: “Oh man, the libs are going to be calling all conservatives war-mongering racists for years hereafter.” But then you read this:

“The victim told police the men said they were from Saudi Arabia.”

Oh. Couldn’t they have mentioned that a little earlier? Almost seems like they wanted people to misinterpret it, or at least that they were so bound up in political correctitude that they were reluctant to specify the actual form of the hate crime.

In any case, I’m betting CAIR will keep this in their “hate crimes against Arabs” database, using it to complain about their persecution in this country.

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Barack Come Home!!

So here we are, what with our economic woes, staffing problems in the administration, huge domestic policy changes, and Congress running rampant and often contra to the wishes of the President. And where is President Obama? Planning more trips to foreign lands.

It’s usually the Republican presidents who neglect domestic policy, but at this point I think we can safely say that our current President has decided quite consciously to set his sights abroad. He sure does seem to like to get out of the US:

Presidential-Travel

And that’s not counting his domestic travel – in particular his ill-timed fund-raising trip for Harry Reid and the like. With unemployment scheduled to break 9% this month, I think I’d prefer that he keep his fanny in Washington and start giving us some of that oversight of government spending that he promised.

On the other hand, it will be fun to watch him visit the Saudi king again. He’ll be so stiff trying to avoid looking like he’s prostrating himself that it should make for great video footage.

And maybe his time abroad will slow down his poorly considered health care reform nonsense.

[NiceDeb was quite severe with me for never posting at her site, so here goes. This was cross-posted at Uncommon Misconceptions.]