Friday, December 2, 2011

Top 10 Reads of the Week – December 2, 2011

The Future of the Obama Coalition – Thomas B. Edsall [New York Times]

For decades, Democrats have suffered continuous and increasingly severe losses among white voters. But preparations by Democratic operatives for the 2012 election make it clear for the first time that the party will explicitly abandon the white working class.

All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic… Read the Rest

It’s the Numbers, Stupid – Charlie Cook [National Journal]

On Friday at 8:30 a.m., the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the November unemployment figures. Like many other economic statistics and poll numbers, their impact on 2012 may now seem theoretical or hypothetical. But with the general election less than 12 months away, they are becoming more and more relevant.  

Economists expect the November jobless rate to be around the same 9.0 percent rate it was in October, which was down one tick from 9.1 percent in the three previous months. Unemployment had been 8.9 percent in February and 8.8 percent in March. Otherwise, it has been 9.0 percent or higher since May of 2009, topping out at 10.1 percent in October 2009. Not so closely watched but more politically telling will be the U-6 rate. This is a measurement that adds the unemployment rate with the percentage of people working part-time but seeking full-time work, along with those who have given up looking all together.  For October, the U-6 rate was 16.2 percent, down three-tenths of a point from 16.5 percent in September… Read the Rest

The Great Global Warming Fizzle – Bret Stephens [Wall Street Journal]

How do religions die? Generally they don't, which probably explains why there's so little literature on the subject. Zoroastrianism, for instance, lost many of its sacred texts when Alexander sacked Persepolis in 330 B.C., and most Zoroastrians converted to Islam over 1,000 years ago. Yet today old Zoroaster still counts as many as 210,000 followers, including 11,000 in the U.S. Christopher Hitchens might say you can't kill what wasn't there to begin with.

Still, Zeus and Apollo are no longer with us, and neither are Odin and Thor. Among the secular gods, Marx is mostly dead and Freud is totally so. Something did away with them, and it's worth asking what.

Consider the case of global warming, another system of doomsaying prophecy and faith in things unseen… Read the Rest

Keep Fear Alive – Noemie Emery [Weekly Standard]

The tendency of liberals to define the Republican party, the conservative movement, and most recently the Tea Party movement as the latest iteration of the Old South has been persistent, if not always sane. It survived the failure to convince voters that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were political scions of Jefferson Davis, survived the appointment by George W. Bush of two black secretaries of state in succession (and the failure of his base to sulk or burn crosses), survived the Tea -Party’s electoral embrace of blacks, Latinos, and immigrants’ children. But will it survive the sight of the most right-wing branch of the right-wing party (no doubt clinging to God and to guns out of bitterness) not only adopting Col. Allen West as its favorite congressman but cheering itself hoarse for a black man running for president as the “anti-Obama” in 2012?… Read the Rest

A strangely desperate new Obama campaign speech: Urgent, dramatic, about him – Andrew Malcolm []

Suddenly, President Obama is inserting a stark new tone of drama and urgency into his campaign speeches to loyalists at political fundraisers.

After talking up his payroll tax cut in Pennsylvania Wednesday afternoon, Obama flew Air Force One to New York City for not one, not two, but three money gatherings from Gotham liberals… Read the Rest

First, they came for our 100-watt bulbs – Claudia Rosett [New York Post]

Include me among those crazed Americans who can’t walk into Home Depot, Target or my local grocery store right now without wanting to grab a king-sized shopping cart and stuff it to the gunwales with 100-watt incandescent light bulbs.

Maybe it’s the sheer thrill of buying bulbs that in just a month, as of Jan. 1, 2012, will be banned for sale in America. What fun, in this incandescent twilight, to acquire legally what the federal government will soon treat as contraband. Or maybe it’s that gut sense that with the dollar teetering, those beloved old 100-watt bulbs will at least provide a decent store of value, even if all I do is use them to read by for the rest of my life… Read the Rest

Rearranging the Deck Chairs in Europe – Warren Meyer [Forbes]

The profusion of plans and proposals to “solve” the European debt crisis certainly have me confused.  At first I thought this was simply because I am a financial neophyte and simply did not understand what was going on. But  clearly even experienced financial folks must be confused as well, as the US securities markets have been on a roller coaster over the past several months — up one day on news of a new plan, down the next as the holes in the plan become evident.

At the end of the day, the problem with the European debt crisis is not that the solutions are really complex, but that they are simple.  The confusion comes from a political desire to hide these stark choices and pretend there is some other low-pain option… Read the Rest

Reality Check of the Week


Mitt vs. Newt – Charles Krauthammer [Washington Post]

It’s Iowa minus 32 days, and barring yet another resurrection (or event of similar improbability), it’s Mitt Romney vs. Newt Gingrich. In a match race, here’s the scorecard:

Romney has managed to weather the debates unscathed. However, the brittleness he showed when confronted with the kind of informed follow-up questions that Bret Baier tossed his way Tuesday on Fox’s “Special Report” — the kind of scrutiny one doesn’t get in multiplayer debates — suggests that Romney may become increasingly vulnerable as the field narrows… Read the Rest

Romney’s the One – Ramesh Ponnuru [National Review Online]

Even though nobody has yet cast a vote in the primaries, Republicans are increasingly resigned to Gov. Mitt Romney’s winning the party’s presidential nomination. Every week he gets a few more endorsements from Republican officeholders. He has never had a commanding lead in the polls, but one by one the other candidates who have occupied the top tier with him — first Rep. Michele Bachmann, then Gov. Rick Perry, then Herman Cain — have fallen back out of it. The current surge for Newt Gingrich looks like one last fling before Republicans settle down with Romney.

Republicans should not be gloomy about this prospect. Romney isn’t merely the candidate who is likely to win the Republican primaries. He’s the candidate who should win them. That’s why he’s likely to win… Read the Rest

The new China Syndrome: Andy Stern writes one of the worst WSJ op-eds ever – James Pethokoukis [AEI Enterprise Blog]

Call it the China Syndrome. An American visits Rising China and is immediately gobsmacked by the place. Giant airport terminals, speedy bullet trains, ubiquitous construction cranes, the Shanghai skyline. Everywhere you look, Stuff is Happening. And it’s all shiny new. Compared to China and its seemingly perpetual 10-percent annual growth rate, New Normal America just doesn’t rate. Then the gobsmacked American comes to a realization: America Must Become More Like China. Free-market capitalism is out, state-managed capitalism in. I have seen the future and it works!… Read the Rest

The Funniest Thing I Saw This Week


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