Archive for September, 2011

This weekend, the ‘honey-do’ list beckons

Fall has come. And with the cooler weather, my wife has put together a long list of things I need to get accomplished this weekend. Rotting wood to replace. Shrubs to plant. A slow-draining kitchen sink. Alas, a handyman’s work is never finished.

On the other hand, as the lovely Alberta Hunter slyly points out, there are compensations.

– Jay Bookman

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Comedy gold discovered in Iowa

I see where Newt Gingrich, campaigning in Iowa, calls gay marriage “a temporary aberration that will dissipate.”

Oh man.

Marriage. Gingrich. And “temporary aberration”?

– Jay Bookman

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Perry doesn’t exactly set the crowd afire

UPDATE: Rick Perry’s speaking style proves to be no more dynamic than his debating style, which surprises me. Even from a prepared script, his delivery was flat and awkward and didn’t exactly light the conservative audience at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center afire.

According to officials with the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Perry had agreed to use the podium to discuss policy issues and not as a forum for attacking fellow Republicans. The Texas governor did not abide by that agreement, taking several shots at fellow frontrunner Mitt Romney.

Without actually naming Romney, Perry took issue with a certain governor from Massachusetts whose health-care plan “paved the way for ObamaCare” and who signed into law a regional cap-and-trade system to address climate change.

“I knew when I got into this race that I’d have my hands full fighting President Obama’s big-government agenda,” he said. “I just didn’t think it would be in the Republican primary.”

Perry also cited …

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Is GOP field about to get a major new entrant?

Under the headline “Chris Christie seriously considering run for president in 2012,” the Star Ledger in New Jersey reports:


BATON ROUGE — Gov. Chris Christie is seriously rethinking his months of denials and may launch a campaign for the White House after all, a source close to the governor said tonight.

In the last week, Christie has been swayed away from his earlier refusals to run by an aggressive draft effort from a cadre of Republicans and donors unhappy with the GOP field, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity….

At a campaign rally here today for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Christie continued to criticize Obama’s leadership, but ignored several questions from reporters about whether he would seek the White House.

“If you’re looking for leadership in America you’re not going to find it in the Oval Office,” Christie said today in Baton Rouge.

The rally and a fundraiser afterward capped off a cross-country tour by …

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Romney: ‘Individual mandate seen as conservative idea’

Mitt Romney on the individual mandate, a core concept in both RomneyCare and ObamaCare:

“The idea for the health care plan was not mine alone. The Heritage Foundation, a great conservative think tank, helped on that. I’m told that Newt Gingrich was one of the very first people to come up with idea of the individual mandate — did that years and years ago.  It was conceived — it was seen as a conservative idea to say, you know what, people have a responsibility to care for themselves if they can.”

All of which is true, of course. Every last word of it.

It was a conservative idea, right up until the time that Barack Obama decided to incorporate it into his own health-care plan, at which point it became the greatest horror ever imposed upon a free people by a Marxist Kenyan usurper. And the shamelessness of that ideological flip still astounds.

– Jay Bookman

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Early returns are in for Ga.-Oregon economic test case

Back in January 2010, I proposed an imperfect if interesting little test.

The states of Oregon and Georgia, I noted, had a lot in common economically.

“… median household incomes in Georgia ($50,861) and Oregon ($50,169) are quite similar. They start from a similar base on taxes as well, since Oregon voters have a tradition of fiscal conservatism equal to that of Georgia. In 2005, Oregon ranked 41st in per capita state taxes ($1,791) while Georgia ranked 42nd ($1,726), according to the Census Bureau.”

However, the two states were taking quite different approaches to the economic challenges of the recession. While Oregon, like most states, had already been forced to slash its budget, voters in that state had also just approved ballot measures that increased taxes on businesses and on households with incomes higher than $250,000. The new revenue allowed Oregon to close its remaining budget gap of $727 million and fend off further cuts in education and other public …

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Atlanta’s great collapse — and no, it’s not the Braves

I hate to bring this up on the morning after the Braves completed their monumental collapse, but ….

From Dan Chapman at the AJC:

“The Atlanta region lost more jobs the last year than any other metro area, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday, further evidence that the post-recessionary slump here shows little sign of abating.

Metro Atlanta shed 30,800 jobs since August 2010. Kansas City — 12,800 positions erased — was the closest competitor in job-losses. Nearly all of Atlanta’s peer metro areas added at least some jobs amid the slow economic recovery.”

… “Out of almost 400 metropolitan areas, we’re dead last and nobody is competing with us for that distinction,” said Chris Cunningham, a BLS statistician in Atlanta. “It’s pretty bad and it has been the same story for the last two, three years.”

I don’t get it.

You mean that a strategy of cutting taxes lower and lower, of refusing to spend money to modernize the transportation system that made …

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Rasmussen: Georgia’s Herman Cain within 5 points of Obama

Rasmussen reports that Georgia’s own Herman Cain has drawn to within five points of President Obama in a head-to-head matchup.

That sounds too crazy to be true, and of course in a practical sense it is. According to Rasmussen, Obama draws 39 percent of the vote and Cain 34 percent, which makes it hard to take seriously as a true head-to-head poll. That 34 percent isn’t a measure of Cain’s support, it’s a measure of the number of Americans who will vote for anybody against Obama.

In fact, only 61 percent of REPUBLICAN voters told Rasmussen they would vote for Cain over Obama. (The Daily Caller reports that Cain gets 3 percent of the black vote in the poll, while Obama gets 76 percent, but that information is missing from the Rasmussen site.) Rasmussen also acknowledges that in all of its polls, Obama leads every announced Republican candidate.

As a more telling measure of Cain’s strength, he draws 9 percent nationwide among Republicans, according to a CNN poll. In Florida, …

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Does Rick Perry ‘heart’ illegal immigrants?

In his most recent disastrous debate performance, Texas Gov. Rick Perry did say one thing that made sense. And of course, that one statement proved to be his most disastrous of the evening.

The topic was a Texas law signed by Perry that allows illegal immigrants brought to Texas as children by their parents to pay in-state tuition rates in Texas colleges and universities.

“If you say that we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason than that they’ve been brought there through no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart,” Perry said. “We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.”

As a rule, you don’t win the Republican presidential nomination by accusing Republican voters of being heartless. In a new, videotaped interview with Newsmax — an outlet I don’t usually cite for accuracy reasons — Perry tried to soft-pedal if not back-paddle on that statement.

“I probably chose a poor word to explain …

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Health-care costs soar at an unsustainable pace

Health-care cost trends in this country are unsustainable and are driving a whole range of major challenges, from our growing federal and state budget problems to the competitiveness of U.S. business in international markets to the decline in the economic power of the middle and working classes.

Take a look. The first chart, below, comes from a Kaiser Foundation report just released today. It found that health-insurance premiums had risen 113 percent between 2001 and 2011, and worker contributions to health insurance had risen by 131 percent. Family health-insurance premiums rose by 9 percent alone in 2011.


The second chart, based on the most recent data from the 34-nation Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, documents the disadvantage this country faces internationally. We do not, by most measures, have the world’s greatest health-care system, but we undoubtedly have the most expensive. These trends constitute a major “tax” on our nation’s productivity, …

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