Patterico's Pontifications

7/26/2008

Astrology and Politics

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 9:27 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Nancy Reagan’s interest in astrology is probably the most famous modern-day example in which politics meets astrology. The Washington Post archives reflect 51 articles since 1987 that contain the search terms “Nancy,” “Reagan” and “astrology,” and I doubt these articles are complimentary.

Thus, I was surprised to find that the Washington Post’s summary of the Senate vote on the Allard Amendment (discussed here) breaks down the vote by party, state, region, boomer status, gender, and astrological sign.

I can’t imagine why the Washington Post would break down Congressional votes by astrological sign … but I’m not surprised to learn that Barack Obama is a Leo.

— DRJ

The Obamessiah’s World Tour, Part II (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election,Buffoons — DRJ @ 7:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to Gallup, Barack Obama’s world tour and in particular his Berlin speech led to a 6 point bounce in the polls. However, the Politico quotes Obama campaign manager David Plouffe as downplaying expectations of a bounce:

“We wouldn’t expect any sort of, I guess the term people use is ‘bounce,’” Plouffe said by phone from campaign headquarters in Chicago.

In London, Obama went further to lower expectations regarding the impact of his foreign travel on the polls:

“I wouldn’t even be surprised if in some polls we saw a little bit of a dip because we’ve been out of the country for a week.”

It’s fortunate that Obama and his staff are good at lowering expectations. They will have to do a lot of that if Obama is elected President.

UPDATE: The UK’s Evening Standard reports that Obama’s Kenyan relatives have experience with lowered expectations or, as they call it, “Obama’s lapse.”

— DRJ

The Obamessiah’s World Tour, Part I

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 6:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

“The Child ventured forth – for the first time – to bring the light unto all the world.”

Read and enjoy.

— DRJ

Great Ad for Downtown Penthouses

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:51 pm

I saw the greatest ad for downtown penthouses today. I’m very happy in my home, but reading stuff like this can’t help but make you think twice about downtown penthouse living — if you could afford it, that is (and I can’t):

They sit atop downtown buildings like beacons: Marble bathrooms glistening, glass wrap-around patios gazing out on the city and high-end ranges awaiting their first speck of gourmet food.

. . . .

At the Eastern Columbia building, $1.875 million will get you two entrances to Penthouse No. 5, nearly 2,500 square feet of concrete floors and old-fashioned windows looking down Broadway, to City Hall and the San Gabriel Mountains beyond. The kitchen is decked out with a Viking range and fridge, a bathroom is resplendent in mirrors and marble and a private outdoor landing has a view of the building’s much-photographed turquoise terra cotta clock.

The ad has a beautiful picture to go with it:

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan (if not a very knowledgeable one) of this sort of 1930s-era architecture, and this is obviously a stunning example of it.

More from the ad:

At 717 Olympic, penthouse units renting for as much as $20,000 a month feature picture windows, egg-shaped soaker tubs and his-and-her closets. Built-in wine chillers and access to a special subterranean level of parking are special perks reserved for those who rent one of the building’s five penthouse units.

But perhaps no unit downtown is as sprawling — or as hyped — as the biggest penthouse at the Biscuit Company Lofts. On the market for nearly $5 million, the penthouse unit has 3,500 square feet inside and nearly as much space outside, including a rooftop deck with 360-degree views. It boasts a private elevator; a sleek kitchen with Wolf appliances; and hardwood floors throughout.

The ad acknowledges that these properties are the subject of marketing campaigns, including rumors about who has bought the penthouses:

Did John Stamos really buy a penthouse unit in the Eastern Columbia? Were David and Victoria Beckham scoping out a luxury loft in Biscuit?

Nothing makes you drool like reading that the properties “ultimately are attainable for only a select group of buyers.” Well. Who doesn’t want to be among a select group of buyers?

It’s really a very interesting advertisement. You can read the whole thing here, at the L.A. Times web site.

UPDATE: In case I was too subtle, this isn’t really an advertisement. It’s an article in the L.A. Times. It just reads like an advertisement.

L.A. Times Thinks It’s OK to Blog Uncorroborated Tabloid Stories About Affairs by Famous Men . . . As Long As the Famous Man Is Not John Edwards . . .

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:32 pm

L.A. Times blogger Elizabeth Snead blogs an uncorroborated tabloid report about an affair involving a famous man.

John Edwards? No, silly — that’s not allowed. No, this uncorroborated tabloid report about an affair involving a famous man is about Matthew Broderick, and is therefore A-OK to report:

According to various reports, including this week’s Star magazine, always a reliable (satire alert) source, Matthew Broderick ‘s been getting himself a little extra “Sex in the City.”

Just not with his wife of 11 years, Sarah Jessica Parker.

The Star reports Broderick was sneaking around with a young redhead earlier this year. While SJP was busy being Carrie.

Ouch.

(H/t to the Media Blog.)

I think Snead’s blog post is just the way to handle it: you note the source, and if the major source is a tabloid (unlike the Edwards story, which has been corroborated by Fox News), you note that as well.

But if this post is OK, then why not a post about Edwards’s alleged affair?

The message is: it’s OK to run a story about a married man’s alleged affair based on a tabloid report . . . as long as that man is not John Edwards.

Does that make any sense?

I’ll e-mail Tony Pierce and Elizabeth Snead about this.

Obama and JFK (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama has been compared to President John F. Kennedy for his style, cool demeanor, and oratory. Obama was endorsed by Ted, Patrick and Caroline Kennedy who compared his ability to inspire to her father’s. Like JFK, Obama calls on young Americans to embrace public service and his wife Michelle has been compared to Jackie Kennedy. Finally, Obama used JFK’s template to turn concerns about his race into a positive, just as JFK arguably turned his Catholic religion from a liability into an asset.

But it looks like Obama isn’t like JFK when it comes to taxes and foreign policy. On the latter, Time Magazine notes that during his visit to Berlin, Barack Obama “used the symbolism of the Berlin Wall to articulate the importance of destroying the barriers that separate countries and cultures.”

No doubt Obama is counting on symbolism and the limited historical knowledge of his supporters. After all, within months after it was built, President John F. Kennedy accepted the Berlin Wall as “a fact of international life” that he would not challenge with force.

As for tax cuts, JFK startled the nation when he called for permanent tax cuts that were ultimately implemented by LBJ after JFK’s death:

“In the end it was Lyndon Johnson who, after Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, pushed through the permanent tax reductions. Johnson and Congress reduced the top rate to 77 percent in 1964 and then 70 percent in 1965. In his first State of the Union address, Johnson argued for the lower permanent rates, saying “every individual American taxpayer, and every corporate taxpayer will benefit” – none of the modern anxiety about appearing to help the rich there.

Some would argue that 70 percent is so high that to call it a cut is risible. But as today, what mattered wasn’t just the rate but the direction. Today, investors generally understand that Europe, especially France, is trying to help the private sector more than before. Taxes may come down there, whereas in the United States taxes are clearly going up. This relative shift has contributed to the strength of the euro, even though Europe’s taxes are far higher than ours.

In Kennedy’s time, the dynamic was the opposite. The U.S. cuts were followed by years of strong growth, declining unemployment and a leaping stock market.”

Amity Shlaes wrote those words in February 2008 as she urged Barack Obama to adopt tax cutting policies similar to JFK’s. I’m sure she was disappointed when, just one month later, Obama pledged to almost double the top capital gains rate. In addition, Obama has endorsed $1.4 trillion (or more) in new government spending over just 5 years, most of which must be paid for with new taxes.

To illustrate the enormity of this amount, in March 2008 Senator Wayne Allard introduced a Senate budget amendment that included 111 of Obama’s 188 new spending proposals. Allard called his amendment Obama’s Spend-O-Rama and here’s an overview of how the new programs will affect the US budget:

“• This new spending, if enacted, would represent an almost 10% increase over the President’s FY 2009 budget.

• This $300 billion spending proposal would cost more than 42 states’ budgets combined (general fund expenditures).

• It is more than the United States spent last year on imported oil ($294 billion net).

• It is more than 60% larger than any one-year federal spending increase, ever.”

What does this mean for the average taxpayer?

“Obama claims to want to “balance the budget and stop spending the Social Security Surplus.” Combining that laudable goal with Obama’s massive new spending would cause the tax bills of the average taxpayer earning $62,000 to rise $5,300, or 61%. For taxpayers earning $104,000, the increase would be over $12,000, or 74%, and for the top 1%, earning over $365,000, “their income tax bill rise by an astounding $93,500 (132%)!”

Obama believes in Tax and Spend and that will leave Americans with far less Change. It’s odd, though, because the Obamas should be aware of how difficult it can be to work out from under a huge debt. After all, it was only with the help of a windfall from two book deals that the Obamas were able to pay off their large student loans.

UPDATE: By the way, the Allard Amendment – with 111 of Obama’s 188 spending proposals and the tax hikes needed to pay for them – was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 97-0. Even Barack Obama voted against it.

— DRJ

The Truth About ANWR

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 11:06 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Living in West Texas in the middle of oil country, I get a lot of emails from friends and family about energy. I was surprised to learn that Snopes.com has written an article about one of those emails entitled The Truth About ANWR.

The email uses photos and maps to show where proposed ANWR drilling is and what it looks like. It compares the barren Coastal Plain area that supporters want opened for exploration and drilling with the beautiful Alaskan wilderness that is not designated for drilling.

Without elaborating, the Snopes.com article labels the conclusions in the email “scant and one-sided” and links to websites with opposing views on ANWR drilling. However, Snopes.com apparently concedes that the ANWR photos contained in the email are accurate.

ANWR photos and references are at the link. Take a look and decide for yourself.

— DRJ

FLDS Cases Severed into 234 Separate Cases

Filed under: Civil Liberties — DRJ @ 11:03 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Texas District Court Judge Barbara Walther Friday ordered that the original two FLDS child custody cases and the additional 115 cases filed since the original raid will be further severed into 234 separate child custody cases covering 440 children. As a result, there will be one child custody case for every FLDS mother. The divisions were determined by use of court-ordered DNA results.

I think this is what should have been done from the start but, in fairness, the FLDS adults were not forthcoming about parentage and it would have been difficult or impossible to make accurate divisions when the case was filed.

In related news, 8-hour court-ordered parenting classes for FLDS parents start Saturday in Houston, Lubbock, San Angelo, Austin and San Antonio. The curriculum has been “composed specifically for FLDS members.”

— DRJ


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