Friday, April 29, 2011

Top 10 Reads of the Week – April 29, 2011

Unionsdämmerung – Mark Hemingway [Weekly Standard']

One of the most widely circulated photographs during the Wisconsin union battle was of a protester in Madison holding up a sign that read: “Dear Barack, Please put on your comfortable shoes. Love, America.”

While that sign may not have meant anything to the rest of the country, those in the labor movement were all too aware that the president hadn’t lived up to one of his most explicit promises. “And understand this,” he told a union audience on the campaign trail in 2007. “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain, when I’m in the White House I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself​—​I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America.”… Read the Rest

Obama’s Permanent Spending Binge – John B. Taylor [Wall Street Journal]

Americans are clamoring for a fact-based debate about the budget, but the numbers they're hearing from Washington are terribly confusing. Here's an example: Speaking at a Facebook town hall meeting here on Wednesday, President Obama sometimes talked about saving $4 trillion, at other times $2 trillion, and he varied whether it was over 10 years or 12 years, never mentioning any one year… Read the Rest

The Embarrassed Superpower – Rich Lowry [National Review Online]

When Barack Obama said he’d conduct our affairs with more humility, little did we know he meant he’d humiliate us.

He is allowing a vicious little tin-pot dictator to fight us to a standstill in Libya without bestirring himself to do much of anything about it. His latest initiative is to fly two unmanned drones over Libya to send a signal to Moammar Qaddafi about our seriousness. He must have thought sending three unmanned drones — strong letter to follow — would have been unduly harsh… Read the Rest

President Obama’s Abuse of False ‘False Choices’ – Mary Kate Cary [US News]

Yesterday E.J. Dionne wrote about President Obama’s use of a rhetorical device, the “false choice,” and agreed with me that the “false choice” idea can be easily misused. (I had spoken about it on an NPR interview with White House correspondent Ari Shapiro, from which Dionne had quoted.)

Let me give an example of the “false choice” setup that President Obama uses in just about every speech these days, in the same language I used to explain it to my two teenagers:… Read the Rest

Ten years after 9/11, airport security still not getting it – Patrick Smith [Salon.com]

At the Bangkok airport they took my scissors. This was the second time they took my scissors in Bangkok. I should have learned my lesson.

They were safety scissors, the kind you'd give to a child, about two-and-a-half inches long with rounded tips. (The photo at the top of this column shows an identical pair that I bought as a replacement.) Highly dangerous -- at least as the BKK security staff saw it. My airline pilot credentials meant nothing to them… Read the Rest

The increasingly odd political optics of Barack Obama – Andrew Malcolm [Los Angeles Times]

In politics, what you're really doing is often much less important than what it looks like you're really doing.

And with only 560 days left until the voters' next verdict, President Obama is rapidly painting himself into a public-relations corner with an ongoing series of possibly accidental gaffes that are accumulating in the public mind.

And the biting humor repertoire of late-night comics: "Donald Trump says he's President Obama's worst nightmare," Jay Leno said last night. "No. Having to make a decision is President Obama's worst nightmare."… Read the Rest

The Gas Price Freakout – Editorial [Wall Street Journal]

Man-at-the-pump angst is harming President Obama politically almost as much as gas prices surging toward $4 are hurting the middle class economically, which explains the energy panic that Washington began in earnest this week. The 2011 debate isn't likely to be any more instructive than its 2000, 2005, 2006 or 2008 vintages, but maybe this time politicians can keep things in the general vicinity of planet earth.

They're off to a lousy start. Mr. Obama usually begins his gas price narrative, now a campaign trail staple, by explaining that there aren't easy solutions. That's true—there's not a lot the political class can do to change gas prices in the short run—but then the President goes on to mention that there happens to be one easy solution: raising taxes on the oil and gas industry. This is also his stock answer on the budget deficit, world hunger and everything else…. Read the Rest

Great Leap Backward – Nicholas Kristof [New York Times]

Since China is in the middle of its harshest crackdown on independent thought in two decades, I thought that on this visit I might write about a woman named Cheng Jianping who is imprisoned for tweeting.

Ms. Cheng was arrested on what was supposed to have been her wedding day last fall for sending a single sarcastic Twitter message that included the words “charge, angry youth.” The government, lacking a sense of humor, sentenced her to a year in labor camp… Read the Rest

‘Change’ via executive power grab – Michael Walsh [New York Post]

Having lost the House of Representatives in the last election, the Obama administration is now imposing "fun damental change" via executive order, regulatory fiat and political pressure. Talk about the unitary executive… Read the Rest

The Obama doctrine: Leading from behind – Charles Krauthammer [Washington Post]

To be precise, leading from behind is a style, not a doctrine. Doctrines involve ideas, but since there are no discernible ones that make sense of Obama foreign policy — Lizza’s painstaking two-year chronicle shows it to be as ad hoc, erratic and confused as it appears — this will have to do.

And it surely is an accurate description, from President Obama’s shocking passivity during Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution to his dithering on Libya, acting at the very last moment, then handing off to a bickering coalition, yielding the current bloody stalemate. It’s been a foreign policy of hesitation, delay and indecision, marked by plaintive appeals to the (fictional) “international community” to do what only America can… Read the Rest

… and finally, the funniest thing I saw this week (caution: language and disturbing imagery).

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