Archive for June 22nd, 2011

June 22, 2011

Should we trust the Job records for 2012 GOP Candidates?

by Vince

Some of the GOP candidates running in 2012 have executive experience (Johnson, Pawlenty, Huntsman). Conor Friedersdorf gives a good case for not trusting the job creating records these former exec’s had in their given state (New Mexico, Minnesota, and Utah, respectively). Conor even hones in on Gary Johnson, a candidate he most likely would endorse:

Every state has its confounding variables. And it’s unlikely that journalists or voters are going to accurately assign credit or blame for them, especially since a useful comparison requires attributing the appropriate credit to everyone. Plus there’s a huge time horizon problem. What if the best policy doesn’t produce jobs immediately, but does produce them eventually, and in much greater numbers than a shorter term fix? It isn’t as if it’s uncommon for a politician to inherit the consequences of a predecessor’s decision, or to saddle a successor with a problem that is more dire than it seemed when he left office.

Another problem with the jobs metric: success as a governor depends largely upon legislation signed or vetoed during one’s tenure. What if a governor has an intransigent legislature through no fault of his own? What if he owes his tremendous success to personal relationships in the state that he can’t rely on in Washington, D.C.? What if, like Gary Johnson, he vetoes bills aplenty when they’re passed by the other political party? Love or hate Johnson’s record, he amassed it largely through the veto mechanism. Elevated to the White House, but given a Republican rather than a Democratic legislature, would he be able to govern as successfully? Hard to say. A man’s success operating in one political context isn’t a reliable predictor of how he’ll perform in another. See all the successful governors who performed poorly after attaining higher office.

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June 22, 2011

Quote of the Day II

by Vince

“There’s very little Christ, very little Jesus, in these people who are fighting Rob Bell.” -Eugene Peterson, explaining why he endorsed Bell’s new book, Love Wins.

June 22, 2011

Lunch Video

by Vince

The White House presents:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg announce new graphic warning labels for tobacco products designed to encourage people to quit and young people to not acquire this dangerous habit. June 21, 2011.

June 22, 2011

Bagram, not Guantanamo, has most U.S. terror detainees

by Vince

Allgov tells:

While the number held at Guantánamo is currently estimated to be about 170, the total imprisoned at Bagram is about 1,700. The two prisons have been moving in opposite directions in terms of their detainee numbers, with Guantánamo shrinking from a high of more than 700 to its present count.
Bagram, though, has been growing in recent years. Its detainee total has tripled in size since 2008, with more than 1,300 suspects arrested and imprisoned in 2010 alone.
Another distinction between the two facilities is that detainees at the Afghanistan prison have fewer rights than their counterparts at Guantánamo.
Guantanamo, also know as “Gitmo”, grabbed the national spotlight when it came time to shine light on how we have treated detained terror suspects. It could be that Gitmo was much closer than Bagram (located in Afghanistan) so in essence Bagram was even more out of sight and mind.
June 22, 2011

Parsing the Obama Withdraw from Afghanistan

by Vince

Glenn Greenwald analyzes in light of the headlines everywhere (most notably in the NY Times):

President Obama plans to announce his decision on the scale and pace of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan in a speech on Wednesday evening . . . Mr. Obama is considering options that range from a Pentagon-backed proposal to pull out only 5,000 troops this year to an aggressive plan to withdraw within 12 months all 30,000 troops the United States deployed to Afghanistan as part of the surge in December 2009.. . . .

Even after all 30,000 troops are withdrawn, roughly 68,000 troops will remain in Afghanistan, twice the number as when Mr. Obama assumed office.

Emphasis by G.G. His remarks:

So even under the most “aggressive” withdrawal plan the President is considering — one that he and media outlets will undoubtedly tout as a “withdrawal plan” (the headline on the NYT front page today: “Obama to Announce Plans for Afghan Pullout”) — there will still be “twice the number” of American troops in that country as there were when George Bush left office and Obama was inaugurated.  That’s what “withdrawal” means in American political parlance: doubling the number of troops fighting a foreign war over the course of four years.

Many people on the left have debated the speed of which Obama should pull out of Afghanistan. This is in light of almost all lawmakers siding with withdrawing troops and top military officials opposing a swift withdraw.

June 22, 2011

Picture of the Day

by Vince

Picture by Sungjin Kim: Calm and serene view of a misty fishing place around dawn, located at Hwacheon, Korea.

June 22, 2011

Recession Chart of the Day

by Vince

Felix Salmon narrates:

…the US increase in unemployment over the course of the recession was more than double the increase anywhere else.

June 22, 2011

Quote of the Day

by Vince

“Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution is pretty simple. It says, ‘Raise an army.’ It says absolutely nothing about race, color, creed, sexual orientation. … Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines,” –Sgt. Maj. Michael Barrett, the top non-commissioned officer of the Marine Corps, on the repeal of DADT.

H/T: Andrew Sullivan

June 22, 2011

What you should know about Jon Huntsman

by Vince

Believe it or not, but Jon Huntsman could possibly be someone I’d vote for over Obama in 2012. Huntsman has a great track record as an executive (two-term governor of Utah),which Obama in retrospect may have needed more than he thought, and is focused on two very important things: job creation and returning civility to our public debate. First, the economy:

We must reignite the powerful job creating engine of our economy – the industry, innovation, reliability, and trailblazing genius of Americans and their enterprises — and restore confidence in our people.

We did many of these things in Utah when I was governor. We cut taxes and flattened rates. We balanced our budget. Worked to maintain our AAA bond rating. When the economic crisis hit, we were ready. And by many accounts we became the best state for business and the best managed state in America. We proved government doesn’t have to choose between fiscal responsibility and economic growth. I learned something very important as Governor. For the average American family there is nothing more important than a job.

Second, civility. When was the last time you honestly heard a Republican candidate speak like this?

I don’t think you need to run down anyone’s reputation to run for President. Of course we’ll have our disagreements. I respect my fellow Republican candidates. And I respect the President. He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love. But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better President; not who’s the better American.

Jonathan Chait sees the divide between Huntsman and the GOP that may hold him back from succeeding:

The posture of maximal opposition to Obama is the one single thing upon which the entire party agrees. The notion that a dissenter against that consensus might win the presidential nomination is not merely a longshot but totally absurd.

Then there is matching him, his resume, and his message up with the GOP pack:

Huntsman will continue to get a good press (hiring John Weaver, John McCain’s image-guy/strategist was a smart move) and that press won’t be enough. Nor will many people vote for Huntsman because of his foreign policy credentials: as Spencer Ackerman says, being a diplomat don’t give you much suction or juice these days. Anyway, when the C-word comes up we know that Huntsman is going to say something sensible about how America shouldn’t be too worried too soon by too much of anything that China might do. Most of the other “leading” contenders will advise Americans to press the panic button and this, I am afraid, will be more effective than anything Huntsman can say.

Huntsman also comments on the New York state bill to legalize same-sex marriage:

… Huntsman was asked specifically about the growing likelihood of a same-sex marriage bill being passed in New York. Would he seek to overrule Empire State lawmakers should he end up in the Oval Office? “I would respect the state’s decision on that,” he replied.

The answer, while brisk, nevertheless sets Huntsman apart from his fellow Republican presidential candidates. Other members of the field have offered sympathy for state sovereignty on matters of marriage. But they have usually couched that by saying they would support a federal ban on same-sex marriage as well.

(Photo: Republican Jon Huntsman speaks during a press conference to announce his bid for the presidency at Liberty State Park June 21, 2011 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Huntsman, until recently the U.S. ambassador to China under President Obama, emphasized his record as a two-term governor of Utah. By Spencer Platt/Getty Images.)

June 22, 2011

100 Greatest Non-Fiction Books

by Vince

This isn’t an exhaustive list (and many would argue over which books made it or didn’t) but enjoy. It is organized by category (which is helpful). I thought the memoirs looked good.

June 22, 2011

How Free Is Your State?

by Vince


Reason conducted an interview with Political scientists Jason Sorens (University at Buffalo) and William P Ruger (Texas State). How they measured which states were more or less free was through looking at everything from drug policy to civil union statutes to business regulations and tax rates. Essentially, they ranke each state across multiple dimensions (personal, social, and economic issues). A general sum of what they found:

At the top of the list are a lot of states where almost nobody lives and at the bottom are states where just about everybody lives.

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June 22, 2011

Miss USA 2011 on if Evolution should be taught in schools

by Vince

There is such a difference not only in substance but in attitude between contestants from blue and red states. Miss USA from Pennsylvania comes in at 11:27.

You can also view other questions that were asked on the right hand suggestions bar.