Patterico's Pontifications


Obama’s Poll Numbers Keep Going Down

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 9:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]


As of September 1, 2009, Rasmussen shows 30% of Americans strongly approve of Obama and 41% strongly disapprove, while 45% approve and 53% disapprove. As the chart shows, these are Obama’s lowest levels to date.

And it’s not just Rasmussen. CNN shows Obama is running poorly with Republicans and is also losing Independents:

“A majority of independent voters disapprove of how Barack Obama’s handling his job as president, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-three percent of independents questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday say they disapprove of how Obama’s handling his duties in the White House, with 43 percent in approval. That result marks the first time in a CNN poll that a majority of independents give the president’s performance a thumbs-down.”

Americans are concerned about more than health care. CNN’s analyst notes Obama’s “standing on some other issues has taken an even bigger tumble”:

“Among all Americans, his rating on health care has dropped 13 points since March. Compare that to his 16 point drop on the deficit and 17 point dip on taxes and it looks like there is growing discontent with Obama’s overall domestic agenda — not just his health care policy.”

In addition, Obama’s rating on the war in Afghanistan reportedly fell 18 points since March. That could explain his advisers’ willingness to consider getting America out of Afghanistan, a war that Obama promised to fight.


Obama’s Speech to Students

Filed under: Education,Obama — DRJ @ 7:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Barack Obama will give a speech to America’s students on Monday Tuesday, September 8. The Department of Education has posted instructional materials to help teachers prepare for Obama’s speech and what Obama wants students to remember. Here is an excerpt from those materials to be used before Obama’s speech for students in grades 7-12 [emphasis supplied]:

“Short readings. Notable quotes excerpted (and posted in large print on board) from President Obama’s speeches about education. Teacher might ask students to think
alone, compare ideas with a partner, and share their collaborations with the class (Think/Pair/Share) about the following:

What are our interpretations of these excerpts?
Based on these excerpts, what can we infer the President believes is important to be successful educationally?”

I decided to do what Obama asked teachers and students to do, so I searched “Obama-speech-education-transcript” and the search returned Obama’s speech in Dayton, Ohio, on or about September 9, 2008. Here are the quotes I noticed and some questions for students to think about:

OBAMA: “Let me — let me be more specific. If we want to keep building the cars of the future here in America, then we can’t afford to see the number of Ph.D.s in engineering climbing in China, South Korea and Japan even as it’s dropped here in the United States. We can’t afford a future where our high school students rank near the bottom in — in math and science among industrialized countries, and our high school drop-out rate is one of the highest in the industrialized world.

If we want to build a 21st century infrastructure and repair our crumbling roads and bridges, we can’t afford a future where a third of all fourth graders and a fifth of all eighth graders can’t do basic math, and black and –black and Latino students are even further behind; a world where elementary school kids are only getting an average 25 minutes of science each day when over 80 percent of the fastest-growing jobs require some knowledge in math and science.”

Students, what are you doing to focus your educations on math and science? Art, music, and languages are fine but your first priorities should be math and science. So load up on those subjects and drop liberal arts and fine arts electives. Ignore Barack and Michelle Obama, neither of whom focused on math or science in their education. Forget about your GPAs and take as many math and science courses in high school and college as you can.

OBAMA: “But that’s not the leadership we’ve been getting from Washington. For decades, folks in Washington have been stuck in the same tired debates over education that have crippled our progress and left schools and parents to fend for themselves. It’s been Democrat versus Republican, vouchers versus the status quo, more money versus more reform. There’s partisanship and there’s bickering, but there’s no understanding that both sides have good ideas that we’ll need to implement if we hope to make the changes our children need. And we’ve fallen further and further behind as a result.”

Students, Obama said that “black and Latino children are even further behind,” so ask yourselves why his Secretary of Education helped to end the Opportunity Scholarship Program that provided vouchers to poor or underprivileged Washington, D.C., public school students to use for higher-performing schools. And why did Obama sign a law eliminating the Program? More important, why doesn’t the Obama Administration support the bipartisan bill (S. 1552) that would reinstate the Opportunity Scholarship Program in D.C.?

OBAMA: “When I’m president, we’ll fight to make sure we’re once again first in the world when it comes to high school graduation rates. We’re going to push our children to study harder and aim higher. I’ve worked with Republican Senator Jim DeMint on a bill that would challenge high school students to take college-level courses and make sure low-income neighborhoods and rural communities have access to those courses, and I’ll make it the law of the land when I’m president. And we’re also going to set a goal of increasing the number of high school students taking college-level or AP courses by 50 percent in the coming years because I believe that when we challenge our kids to succeed, they will succeed.”

Students, how many hours do you study a night and how many AP courses have you signed up for this semester? Whatever those numbers are, each one of you should study harder and sign up for at least 50% more AP courses before you graduate. If you don’t study or you aren’t signed up for any AP courses, then find a fellow student and tell him or her to study twice as hard and sign up for twice as many AP classes. Just remind them, “Yes, We Can.”

OBAMA: “Now, I know this sounds like a lot, but we can do it all. We can increase the number of students taking college-level courses. We can expand innovation and school choice. We can invest in the schools of tomorrow. And we can put a quality teacher in every classroom. And you know what? We can do all of this for the cost of just a few days in Iraq. We can do it. We’ll pay for that cost by carefully winding down the war in Iraq, by ending no-bid contracts, by eliminating wasteful spending. So we’ll make these investments, but we’ll do it without mortgaging our children’s future on an even larger amount of debt. We’ll do it responsibly.”

Students, here’s a two-part question: Do you think we can re-invent America’s educational system and do all President Obama promises for “the cost of just a few days in Iraq”? (Bonus points for any student who notes that America is still in Iraq.) More important, what role does Obama’s projected $9T deficit play in “mortgaging our children’s future” and why is Obama acting “responsibly” when he facilitates that kind of long-term burden?

Finally, in his speech last year, Obama talked about giving every American the same chance at a great college education that he and his wife had. Would that be a merit-based education or an affirmative action-based education? Today’s news includes one short-sighted college that decided to eliminate its National Merit Scholarship program because it costs too much and frees up money for needy students. Then again, I wonder how many American leaders and colleges care about merit anymore.


Cash-for-Clunkers Sales Numbers

Filed under: Economics,Government — DRJ @ 11:36 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The numbers are in on car sales for the period covering Cash-for-Clunkers. Congratulations go to the Asian automakers and Ford:

“More than 690,000 vehicles were scrapped in the United States for taxpayer-funded credits of up to $4,500 as consumers took advantage to drop gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs.

The biggest winners in the U.S. sales bonanza were major Asian automakers and Ford Motor Co, which benefited from a stronger lineup of smaller cars and crossover vehicles.”

Ford’s sales were up over 17% from August 2008. Meanwhile, a FoxBusiness TV report says Hyundai’s sales were up 47%, although I can’t find anything online that confirms that report.

Notice who’s missing? The same TV report (also unconfirmed) says GM saw a 20% drop in sales since the same time period last year. In addition, the linked article reports Chrysler’s sales were also down:

“Chrysler, the first major automaker to report U.S. sales, saw a 15 percent fall in August. The company, now under control of Italy’s Fiat, lost potential sales when dealers ran short on some models after it shut down all of its production during a bankruptcy process that ended in June.”

Chrysler attributes the sales decline to low inventories on fuel-efficient models and is boosting its production through the end of the year:

“Going into August, five of Chrysler’s most efficient vehicles were already at low inventory levels. Those vehicles — the Dodge Caliber, the Chrysler Sebring, the Jeep Patriot, the Jeep Compass and the Dodge Avenger — all qualified as Cash for Clunkers purchases.

To make up for the shortfalls, Chrysler is boosting production by 50,000 vehicles of most of its vehicles through the end of the year.

Consumers are expected to steer clear of dealers this autumn now that the clunker rebates are no longer available.”

Classic government: Increase production after the incentive program ends.


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