Should I be sad that I’m getting old or happy that I get one day of wonderful attention from my wife and kids, perhaps the best part being my kids’ home-made birthday cards?
I think I’ll go with the latter.
I really am torn on my birthday: On the one hand, it’s nice to be treated especially well for a few hours. On the other hand, it’s hard to think of the occasion as particularly special, not least as it means I’ve moved one year closer to my eventual (but hopefully still distant) demise.
I’m glad that my wife and I have reached a sort-of agreement to keep our birthdays, gifts, etc., low-key and low-cost.
I’m sure the highlight of the day will be hearing my 6-year old daughter sing after three days of after-school “choir camp.” She simply loves singing, and I love hearing her. Here’s a lullaby, or rather a Lili-by, which she recorded of herself on her iPad about 10 months ago. If you listen to it, I’m sure you’ll agree that my best birthday present will be seeing and hearing her up on stage, singing with her first grade friends classmates.
Indeed, that reminds me of the really good thing about getting older: I get to watch my kids develop into (hopefully) quality, smart, funny, ethical, productive, fun human beings.
By the way, here’s a trivia question for you: How many (randomly selected) people do you have to have in a room to have a 50% chance that two (or more) of those people share a birthday (month/day, not year)? And how about to have a 99% chance?
The answers are perhaps surprisingly low:
You need 23 people in a room to have a 50% chance that two share a birthday, and 57 in a room to reach a 99% chance.
For those of you who want to dig into the nuts and bolts of the math, see this link.
Happy Birthday also to Brett Favre, David Lee Roth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., among many others, and I hope you’ll all offer a thought or prayer in memory of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl who was brutally murdered in Pakistan a decade ago for being (like me) an American Jew. Daniel Pearl would have been 49 years old today.
“The Dozen Most Overrated Black People": Can you imagine if I (or any other columnist) actually wrote an article with this title and subject?
Not only would I not write such a thing because it’s professional suicide, but more importantly I don’t view the world through a lens of race – and neither does any other non-leftist columnist whom I read or know, whether pasty white folks like me or black conservatives such as Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Deroy Murdock, or Star Parker.
For example, I might suggest that Barack Obama is the single most overrated person on the planet, but it has nothing whatever to do with his skin color. I might query: What can be more over-rated than winning a Nobel Peace Prize for offering a “vision” but not actually accomplishing anything? But nowhere does my critique include a mention – or even a thought – of Mr. Obama’s skin color, though I doubt the same can be said of the thinking of the 2009 Nobel Committee.
So what to make of Columbia University Associate Professor Marc Lamont Hill’s article for the Huffington Post entitled “The 15 Most Overrated White People” – apparently Hill’s way to celebrate Columbus Day. (I wonder if he was hanging out with Elizabeth “Fauxahontas” Warren.)
Although the article’s title sounds like something preceding a bit of faux-racist satire, Hill’s list, which includes politicians, entertainers, athletes, and “President Obama’s economic team” seems serious, almost bitter, right from its introduction which concludes: “Of course, this list is not exhaustive, as there are countless other White people who are equally underwhelming.”
Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:
H/T Rich S.
Many of us have long said that Barack Obama is a man completely devoid of ideas beyond what he is told to believe. An RNC ad from a month ago demonstrates that even those who program Obama’s teleprompter have no new ideas.
Actually, I find this video to be dramatic and effective. Please share with your electorally undecided friends if you have any.
To be sure, the fact that the last Pew poll showed women leaning toward President Obama over Governor Romney by 18% – a lead which was obviously impossible – shows that the poll is to be taken with several hundred grains of salt.
Nevertheless, the across the board enormous gains for Romney on issues as well as in personal favorability in the new Pew poll taken October 4-7 – with Romney topping Obama in favorability for the first time ever in this poll (or any poll that I’ve ever seen) – is remarkable. Every important measure in this poll showed an enormous move toward Rommey.
It shows the fundamental weakness of Barack Obama and how the public was just waiting for a reasonable indication that Mitt Romney is a plausible, acceptable alternative. Romney’s goal now must be to reinforce that view.
The lesson from this understanding of the poll results (if you agree with my interpretation) is that Romney was right during the debate to remain fundamentally positive about himself more than negative about the president, because voters already understand the negatives about the president. He needs to appear presidential, smart, wise, well-informed, and capable. And he needs to maintain an appearance (which I believe to be a reality) of caring about the economic well-being of all Americans (without making any obvious effort to appear likeable for its own sake) at least all those Americans who want to work (and are capable of working) in order to make a better life for themselves and their families.
I continue to believe that Barack Obama will over-react to last week’s debate debacle by coming out extremely aggressive against Romney – further hurting Obama’s personal likeability, which was his most enduring and electable trait given his failure in almost every other aspect of his presidency.
Read it and weep, David Axelrod:
The VP debate on Thursday will give a hint as to how Obama will behave: If Obama’s team is planning for the president to try to rip Romney’s throat out, they will have given Joe Biden the same marching orders. I expect Paul Ryan to make Joe Biden look like the mental midget that he is, but then when you’re up against such a gaffe machine it is all but impossible to lower expectations. So if Ryan does not wipe the floor with Biden, the media will call it a loss for Ryan – and the public might too. Biden is an experienced debater even if being far from the sharpest knife in the drawer. Paul Ryan would make a huge mistake to underestimate Plugs Biden; fortunately, I’m confident that no such mistake will be made.
I’ll be attending tonight’s Liberty on the Rocks Flatirons event. The guest speaker will be Yaron Brook, President of the Ayn Rand Institute, and a proud radical for capitalism. If you’ve never heard Yaron speak, I highly recommend you attend the event if you can.
The event, which starts at 6 PM, will be at Miller’s Grille, 103 S. Public Rd., Lafayette, CO. (A few miles east of Boulder, straight out on Baseline Rd, if you’re coming frome the same direction I am.)
Since Wednesday’s debate spanking of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama by 45th President of the United States, Mitt Romney, the liberal establishment and their media allies have joined the Obama campaign team in furiously blaming everything but the man who lost. (One possible and unlikely exception was Bill Maher who said (on Twitter) that “Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter.”)
Following is a far from exhaustive list of Democrat excuses. You will notice certain themes. Those marked with an asterisk work for the Obama administration, the Obama campaign, or the Democratic National Committee.
Al Gore: It was the altitude.
David Plouffe*It was the media, secretly wanting a Romney win.
David Axelrod* (Obama adviser): It was just good acting by Romney. And Romney is a liar.
Stephanie Cutter* (Obama adviser): It was the moderator.
Bob Woodward: Obama was distracted, maybe by his personal life.
Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:
Readers of these pages won’t be surprised to hear non-leftists suggest that Mitt Romney won last night’s debate.
But let me tell you of a few early reactions you might not have heard about and which are perhaps more informative simply due to their objective or even anti-Romney fundamental nature, starting with the rabid Obamaphiles at MSNBC:
- MSNBC hosts this morning made a comparison between Buster Douglas and Mike Tyson, asking “Where did that come from?!?”
- More: “Performatively, the president of the United States did not show up last night…Obama really was passive, annoyed-looking, looking away. It really was dispiriting. It might have been the worst performance in a debate, not just the worst performace by Obama in a debate. He did not show up and he has to next time.”
- “It was one of the great debate performances that anyone has ever seen on Mitt Romney’s part last night. Barack Obama let Mitt Romney back in the game.”
- “The president’s weakest moments were when he was trying to defend his record…Rope-a-dope without the knockout punch.”
- Chuck Todd said “I was amazed how poorly (Obama) defended Dodd-Frank.”
- One point they made which also really struck me at the time: “Obama had a bad closing two minutes", with the commentators wondering aloud why Obama was not better prepared? “He knew his closing was coming, and it was just so flat.”
- They noted that he never mentioned women’s issues, “the 47 percent", or President Bush.
- This was a “stylistic disaster” “much worse” for Obama than the Republican convention was for the Republicans.
- “Mitt Romney was reasonable, compassionate, in touch with the middle class. He seemed like a guy who had a plan.”
Again, those were all on MSNBC. The fact that an outlet so biased against Romney had no choice but to make statements like these; the reality was that clear.
- BBC hosts said Obama looked tired and that Romney was far more energetic and in command. They also noted, as others have, that Obama kept looking down, or at the moderator, while Romney kept looking at Obama.
- It was interesting to hear BBC interviews of Democrats at a “debate watch party” in Washington, DC. Each of them said that Obama was better and clearer than Romney. They were obviously watching another debate, but the real take-away from those interviews is that Romney is wasting his time to go after urban Democrats. Obama, liberalism, and the Democratic Party are their religion.
Influential Democratic strategist James Carville said that Obama looked like he would rather have been somewhere else.
In terms of more objective measures of who won the debate:
- Stock index futures immediately rallied last night and are holding the gains into Thursday’s market opening.
- Betting odds at Intrade.com of Obama’s being re-elected plummeted from 74 percent to 66 percent (accelerating a slight downward drift from nearly 80 percent a week ago. 80 percent was the culmination of the GOP’s polling and betting weakness which began shortly after the Republican convention and took Obama’s odds from 58 percent to 80 percent over the course of three weeks. Most that month-long gain in Obama’s betting odds has now been erased.
The question is whether the debate performance moved voters, i.e. whether it moved undecided voters to Romney and whether it re-energized Republican voters, activists, and current or potential volunteers and donors. I expect it must.
In addition to Romney and his campaign, the most relieved people of the night must be Republican congressional candidates across the country. If Romney can win with coattails, or even if Romney loses but prevents Obama from having coattails, it’s a massive benefit for those candidates and for the nation. After all, Republican control of the Senate would make a tremendous difference no matter who is president.
In the wake of Todd Akin and other memories of Republicans who can fairly be portrayed as stupid or extreme, Romney needed to come across as intelligent, reasonable, and able to connect with people of all stripes. In addition to his serious but likeable demeanor, his repeated statements about how he was able to work with Democrats in the Massachusetts legislature to “get things done", in stark contrast to Obama’s “my way or the highway” approach, was very effective, in part thanks to Barack Obama’s failure to use any of his most aggressive talking points.
Between Romney giving the best debate performance of his life and Obama giving his worst, Wednesday’s debate was a huge win for Republican electoral hopes next month.
Keep an eye on tomorrow’s employment report where, if the trend continues, the unemployment rate may drop to 8% or even 7.9% but primarily because people are dropping out of the work force much faster than they are getting jobs. Since Obama took office, more than 8.4 million people have dropped out of the work force. If they were still in the work force, the reported unemployment rate would be over 11 percent. The final employment report before the election comes just 5 days before the November 6th election date.
In my view, the long-term damage done by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will be looked back on through history with equal scorn as that eventually heaped on Alan Greenspan. They each completely ignored the obvious negative consequences of holding interest rates too low for too long, with Greenspan having substantial responsibility for the housing bubble and Bernanke likely to have responsibility for inflation as well as for aiding and abetting out-of-control federal deficit spending.
No doubt that one problem is the Fed’s “dual mandate” in which they are required to focus not just on price stability (the proper role of a central bank) but also on employment (not a proper function of a central bank, not least because, as proven over the past couple of years, they have very little ability to influence employment, particularly in the presence of terrible fiscal and regulatory policy coming from the White House and Congress.) Congress should remove the Fed’s second mandate and either not replace it or else replace it with a mandate of focus on a stable currency.
In any case, the Fed has recently embarked on its third effort at “Quantitative Easing,” which is code for “we have nothing left to try because all our usual tools have failed, and we’re not at all sure this will work either – especially because we can’t prove the first two times did anything other than cause a bubble in the bond market.”
But let’s give the Fed the benefit of the doubt and judge them by their stated goal of boosting the economy and employment with their “nonstandard” (read “desperate") approach.
According to economist Brian Wesbury, the Fed deserves precious little credit on that score, though they have certainly planted a ticking time bomb beneath the American economy:
My good friend Craig Silverman is many things: He’s a Jewish Denver attorney who used to be Chief Deputy District Attorney for Denver, he’s a former Democrat, and until recently he and Dan Caplis co-hosted one of the top radio shows in Colorado. Over the years, he has moved from being a moderate Democrat to being an Independent to temporarily registering as a Republican to participate in the caucus process before returning to Independent status.
And over the last few years, he has moved from being a supporter of Barack Obama to being vehemently opposed to him, and thus supporting Mitt Romney (even while not being extremely enthusiastic about Romney, a feeling shared by many, in large part due to Romney’s inability to market himself as well as someone with his character and background should be marketed.)
In an article for Breitbart.com, Craig lays out his views regarding Obama’s many failures. I find it a compelling argument, especially for those in the political center.
I encourage you all to read Craig’s note, and share it with anyone you think might be persuaded by Craig’s intense buyer’s remorse:
While on the tour of college campuses and late-night talk shows that serves as his campaign trail (despite seeming more appropriate for an aging rock band trying to make a few bucks off its past glory), President Barack Obama has been railing against tax cuts.
Not just criticizing tax cuts but ridiculing them. Since he knows that Americans generally prefer tax cuts to the tax hikes which he supports, he’s resorting to childish attacks on Republican policy as “tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds, tax cuts to improve your love live. It will improve anything according to them.”
From the “even a broken clock” files, Obama may be on to something here.