Archive for October 2nd, 2009

The best solutions come from people who don’t understand what they’re talking about

I got a great kick out of this Public Service Announcement deriding the role that the uninformed are having on the healthcare debate in the US.

Thanks to Ciara Turns for the link.

Samuel

October 2nd, 2009 at 10:40pm

The Obama administration’s new trick: blackmail

The latest trick in the Obama Administration’s playbook appears to be a legalised version of blackmail.

New York based Democrat Senator Charles Schumer is blackmailing the states with an “adopt my text-driving reforms, or lose your highway funding” approach.

Other speakers at the two-day conference in Washington, D.C., included Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who called upon the administration and auto and phone industry associations to endorse his ALERT driving bill — Avoiding Life Endangering and Reckless Texting — which he introduced in July along with colleagues.

Schumer said Ford Motors and Verizon are backing the bill, which asks for states to ban texting while driving or risk losing a quarter of their annual federal highway funding.

But it’s not just the states who are being blackmailed, it’s Republican Senators too. Jim DeMint, Republican Senator from South Carolina, and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was due to fly out in a few hours, leading a delegation on a fact-finding mission to Honduras, to find out the details of their political unrest ahead of their November election. Democrat Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, blocked the trip at the last moment.

Mr. DeMint spoke to Mark Levin a short time after the news of Mr. Kerry’s decision broke, and made the startling revelation that he was blackmailed. A revelation which the media has ignored.

Mark Levin: Now Senator, if you had wanted to go to Copenhagen uh to lobby for the Olympics, would there have been any objection, yes or no?

Jim DeMint: Apparently not um, although I guess the President wants all the credit on that one but uh, no this Honduras thing has been something they’ve been trying to keep under wraps and, they’re telling me if I will just uh let a couple of their nominations go through without debate or vote, then they’ll let me go on the trip. But I have not…

Mark Levin: Wait a minute! Wait a minute, they’re blackmailing you!

Jim DeMint: Sure, I, I, uh…

Mark Levin: They’re insisting that you either vote for a couple more libs to go in to the state department or you can’t go. Is that what they’re saying?

Jim DeMint: That’s pretty much it. There are nominations for Latin America, deputy secretary there, as well ambassador to Bril…to Brazil. The both of these uh diplomats are, are on record agreeing with the Obama administration that this [the Honduras situation] is a military coup and we need to reinstate the President who was trying to overthrow the Constitution. I wish people in our country were as serious about the Constitution as the people of Honduras have tried to be.

Interview download:

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Audio courtesy Mark Levin Show and Citadel Radio Network.

Both cases are blackmail, pure and simple. In the former case, many states will cave either because they like the legislation or they want the money, while other states (and a smaller number) will resist, just like a handful of states rejected the stimulus money. As for the latter, good on Jim DeMint for not only not bowing to the pressure, but for having the guts to expose it on national radio. It’s good to see that some people in politics still have principles.

As for the Obama administration…can we really be surprised by any of their tactics any more?

Samuel

October 2nd, 2009 at 07:25pm

Guantanamo closure now even less likely

Barack Obama’s promised closure of Guantanamo Bay by January has been getting less and less likely ever since he promised to do it, and it has now hit a brick wall which might just have concrete reinforcement.

The House went on record Thursday against allowing detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba to be transferred to the United States, even to face trial or to be jailed in maximum-security prisons.

The 258-163 vote on a nonbinding recommendation put Democrats controlling the House in a difficult spot and prompted senior lawmakers to postpone unveiling a House-Senate agreement on a homeland security funding bill.

If such a ban were to become law, the Obama administration would be hard-pressed to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by January as Obama has promised.

Eighty-eight Democrats broke with Obama and House leaders on the nonbinding recommendation, an ominous sign for future votes. It would be difficult for lawmakers to change their positions without drawing withering criticism from political adversaries.

The administration has yet to reveal its plan for closing the prison. Supporters of the transfer ban say an overwhelming number of their constituents want to keep Guantanamo prisoners where they are.

“There is no reason these terrorists, who pose a serious and documented threat to our nation, cannot be brought to justice right where they are in Cuba,” said Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky. “I certainly think that is where the American people stand on this issue — they don’t want these terrorists in their hometowns.”

So, how long will it be until Obama stands up and announces his “great plan to bring justice to the inmates of Guantanamo Bay, right where they are, saving them the psychological terror of being moved to another location…for too long, our inmates have suffered from the knowledge that they will move before being tried…where previous administrations have failed them, we will give them fairness [..]” etc etc etc?

Before January, I’ll bet.

Samuel

October 2nd, 2009 at 03:30pm

REDEX reduced to slightly more sane level

Back in April, Chief Turnip Jon Stanhope was very excited about his announcement of a new “express” bus which would go from Gungahlin to Tuggeranong via a convoluted and slow route encompassing many parts of Canberra. The idea was to get people in far out places to the employment hubs of Mitchell, Russell and the Parliamentary Triangle quickly…something which didn’t seem overly likely based on the planned routes.

This week Jon Stanhope announced an “improved” version of the REDEX express bus, although I have to dispute the appropriateness of using the word “improved” to describe something which hasn’t started. REDEX is no longer the express bus for Belconnen, Dickson, Woden, Erindale and Tuggeranong residents, as “improved” is Turnip-code for “reduced” and the bus will now only travel to Mitchell, Russell and the Parliamentary Triangle from Gungahlin.

The trial will now operate between Gungahlin to Canberra Railway Station, Kingston, travelling via Mitchell, the City, Russell and the Parliamentary Triangle.

The new service, REDEX – Rapid Express Direct – will operate on weekdays with an improved service frequency of 15 minutes from 7 am to 7 pm. To improve travel times it will stop only at specially marked stops.

The trial, which will cost $1 million, will commence on Monday 16 November and continue until the end of June 2010.

This bus makes more sense than the previous idea of sending it halfway around the world on its way to anywhere, but it also means that even more places miss out on an express bus to the employment hubs. Sure, we have the Xpresso buses, but they only operate during peak times. I fail to see why Gungahlin should get a 15-minutely 12-hour-a-day bus service to the employment hubs if everyone else has to miss out.

Admittedly, this is a trial, and Gungahlin is probably a good place to conduct a trial, so if it lives up to expectations, perhaps then we will see similar services replace the existing Xpresso services for the rest of Canberra.

The one other downside to the reduction of this service is that Gungahlin loses the psuedo-interchange bus it never had. REDEX would have provided Gungahlinites with a through-connection to every other major town centre in Canberra. In lieu of that, perhaps it is time that ACTION extended the interchange service from Belconnen to Gungahlin…I don’t understand why it didn’t happen years ago.

The most disappointing thing of all though, is that I won’t get the opportunity to drive from Gungahlin to Tuggeranong and back to Gungahlin and on to Tuggeranong again in the time it takes the bus to travel from Gungahlin to Tuggeranong via the rest of Canberra.

It is good to see the bus being cut down to a more sane length. Hopefully it will be replicated in other town centres soon. It could replace a lot of existing bus services quite easily, and be much more useful than many of them.

Samuel

1 comment October 2nd, 2009 at 01:03pm

Friday Funnies: Conspiracy Overload

OK, get those counting fingers…and toes…and shoulders…ah heck, just get an abacus ready, because you’re going to need it if you’re going to have any hope of counting Sonny’s conspiracy theories.

Sonny called Casey Hendrickson on KXNT on Saturday to, uh, well I don’t really know why he called. It did turn in to one of the most entertaining calls of the year though. Enjoy!

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(Audio courtesy of Casey Hendrickson and Newsradio 840 KXNT)

Now that I think about it, if you can comprehend Sonny’s theories well enough to count them, you might not want to use an abacus, because you’re probably on Sonny’s wavelength and believe that Abacuses are tools used by the Queen’s Presidential Illuminati to keep tabs on all of us, and using one would cause you to change the subject, ignore the questions and yell more loudly about stuff which makes even less sense.

Samuel

October 2nd, 2009 at 09:41am

Barack Obama’s Rasmussen approval ratings for August and September

I didn’t produce one of the updates at the end of August because I was in Deniliquin and didn’t find the time in the first week or so, and then couldn’t really see the point in producing one in the middle of the month. I know that I have produced these reports mid-month before, but it’s a fairly futile exercise…none of this stopped me from receiving an email from somebody who claimed that I was being “more biased than usual” by not producing the August report. They might have had a point if it weren’t for the fact that Obama suffered his lowest raw approval rating to that point on the last day of August.

Anyway, as I didn’t produce one of these reports at the end of last month, I’m consolidating the August and September reports in to this update.

As usual, the figures presented herein are taken from the Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll.

August saw the numbers stay roughly where they left off in July, with almost two thirds of the month being spent with a lower than 50% approval rating. There weren’t any noticeably good periods in there, but there was a period of about a week in the middle of the month where Obama’s approval fell in a hole, but recovered, only to suffer its worst drop ever at the end of the month, finishing on a record low of 46%

Barack Obama's approval rating during August 2009
Data courtesy Rasmussen Reports, LLC

The Rasmussen Approval Index which measures the “strongly approve” vote against the “strongly disapprove” is often regarded as an indicator of where the raw approval and disapproval numbers will go, as people with strong views are likely to try to influence the views of others. In August, it did just this, hitting a record low of -14 on the 23rd, before recovering and echoing the raw approval dive at the end of the month.

Barack Obama's Rasmussen Approval Index during August 2009
Data courtesy Rasmussen Reports, LLC

September is one day shorter than August and saw Obama’s approval sit under 50% for one more day (20) than it did in August, starting at a new record low of 45%. It did have a good recovery though, spending much of the month around the 50% mark.

Barack Obama's approval rating during September 2009
Data courtesy Rasmussen Reports, LLC

The Rasmussen Approval Index mirrored the recovery in the first half of September, getting up to -3, but then quickly fell back to around the -8 and -9 mark. It finished the month with a dive to -11, but if the recent pattern is anything to go by, that’s probably the low end of the cycle. It will most likely come up again in the next few days before going down again. It’s the trend of the numbers in the middle of the cycle that count.

Barack Obama's Rasmussen Approval Index during September 2009
Data courtesy Rasmussen Reports, LLC

And as usual, to put this in context, here are the graphs for all of 2009.
Barack Obama's approval rating during 2009 until the end of September
Data courtesy Rasmussen Reports, LLC

Barack Obama's Rasmussen Approval Index during 2009 until the end of July
Data courtesy Rasmussen Reports, LLC

The approval numbers seem to have stopped their dive for now, sitting just under 50% most of the time, but the interesting thing is that it looks like the Rasmussen Approval Index is starting to go down again. It will take another week or so to see a clear trend on that, but it’s worth watching, as it tends to be a bit ahead of the raw approval numbers when it comes to the overall trend.

Samuel

October 2nd, 2009 at 07:07am

KXNT Jerk Of The Week nomination for October 2, 2009

Your “Jerk of the Week” submission
Malkin Holdings (the people in charge of the Empire State Building)

Why should this person be the “Jerk of the Week”?
For celebrating the 60th anniversary of China’s communist revolution, and the subsequent deaths of millions and millions of people, by bathing the Empire State Building in red and yellow light.

Your Name (Optional)
Samuel Gordon-Stewart

Casey Hendrickson and Heather Kydd’s Jerk Of The Week airs at 6:09pm Thursdays on Newsradio 840 KXNT in Las Vegas. As Canberra will enter daylight saving on Sunday, today is the last time that Jerk Of The Week will air at 11:09am Friday for a few months. Next week it will air at 12:09pm on Friday.

As usual, you can nominate your Jerk Of The Week via the KXNT website.

Samuel

October 2nd, 2009 at 03:26am

Sarah Palin’s book a best-seller, and it’s not even shipping yet

Not long ago it was Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny which was at the top of the best-sellers list, holding the position for 12 of 18 weeks, now it’s Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue at the top of the list…and you can’t even get a copy yet!

Just two days after HarperCollins announced that Palin’s “Going Rogue” had been moved up from the spring to Nov. 17, preorders Wednesday night for the former Alaska governor’s memoir made it No. 1 on both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

Among the books “Going Rogue” is outselling: Sen. Ted Kennedy’s “True Compass,” Mitch Albom’s “Have a Little Faith” and Brown’s “The Lost Symbol,” his first novel since “The Da Vinci Code” and, perhaps until now, the year’s most anticipated release.

Palin, in collaboration with author Lynn Vincent, completed her 400-page book just four months after agreeing to terms with HarperCollins, which plans a first printing of 1.5 million copies. It’s the first book by Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor until suddenly resigning last summer.

She is regarded as a possible 2012 contender for the presidency. Past candidates, notably Barack Obama, have been helped by writing best-selling books, invaluable platforms for politicians to tell their story.

There is clearly a strong interest in conservative books at the moment, despite them receiving minimal-if-any mainstream media coverage for the most part, and with Barack Obama’s approval rating sitting under 50% for most of the last two months (the poll update will be online later today), one wonders if this is the start of Sarah Palin preparing herself for a run for president in 2012?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…I certainly hope it is.

Samuel

2 comments October 2nd, 2009 at 12:26am


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