June 2012, Part 1

Jim Miller on Politics

Pseudo-Random Thoughts

Was Obama A Socialist?   Yes.
On the evening of January 11, 1996, while Mitt Romney was in the final years of his run as the head of Bain Capital, Barack Obama formally joined the New Party, which was deeply hostile to the mainstream of the Democratic party and even to American capitalism.   In 2008, candidate Obama deceived the American public about his potentially damaging tie to this third party.  The issue remains as fresh as today’s headlines, as Romney argues that Obama is trying to move the United States toward European-style social democracy, which was precisely the New Party’s goal.
Is Obama now a socialist, or to be precise, a social democrat?

That's harder to say.  Obama is, unquestionably, an Obamaist; he believes in himself more than he should.  But it is hard to tell what else he believes in.

And, of course, the definitions of socialist vary widely.  Obama would be comfortable in some of the parties that call themselves socialist, but not others.

But we can be certain that Obama was a socialist by American standards, and that he has tried to conceal that fact from the voters.

(Kurtz's book, Radical-in-Chief, has much more on Obama's past associations.  Incidentally, Kurtz begins the book by saying that he was not expecting to find that Obama was a socialist.)
- 8:24 AM, 8 June 2012   [link]

Nate Silver's First Prediction:  Last month, I said that I would bet on Romney if the odds favored Obama by close to 60 percent, as they did then at InTrade.  I was even willing to go down to 55 percent and still bet on Romney.

This month, I repeated that and again hedged, saying I wasn't sure how much lower I would go.  (And I am still not sure.)

Now, Nate Silver, who is pretty good with numbers for a Democrat, has issued his first prediction:  He would bet on Obama, right now, if the odds were 60 percent or less in favor of Obama.  To be precise, he gives Obama a 61.6 percent chance of winning.

He adds this caution:
One of the confusing aspects of this presidential race so far is that national polls have often shown a race that is nearly tied — or Mr. Romney sometimes leading — while Mr. Obama has more often had the lead in polls of crucial battleground states.  Sites that project the presidential outcome based on the state polls have thus seemed to show a tangible advantage for Mr. Obama, while those that look at the trend in national polls seem to imply that the race is too close to call.
(For an example, see Gallup's daily tracking poll, which currently gives Romney the edge, 47-45.)

This discrepancy doesn't bother me because I don't think the polls are very good predictors this early in the race.  (I do think pollsters should be interested in the discrepancy, since it shows that some of them are getting bad results.)

So, there you are, two competing estimates.  Each of us plan to update our estimates regularly, though I won't do the updates as frequently as Silver will.

And InTrade?  As I write, they are giving Obama a 53.8 per cent chance of winning.

(I do not plan to construct a formal model, as Silver has, since I don't think we know enough about voters' thinking to do so.  If I were to construct a model, I would want to do my own polling to test parts of it as I went along.)
- 7:39 AM, 8 June 2012   [link]

How Bad Was That NYT Piece On Romney's House In La Jolla?  So bad a columnist for the far-left Nation magazine said it shouldn't have run.
[Ari] Melber said he likes and reads the Times, but said that the paper used a campaign reporter to essentially publish a hit piece on Romney’s wealth and policy positions and disguised it as a human interest story in a non-political section.   Melber called it a “thin, silly story” and “an attempt — implicit or otherwise — to draw connection between [Romney's] personal wealth and his candidacy.”

(I thought the piece was silly, and took up far too much space — more than a page, all together.  But I did think the reporter, Michael Barbaro, was unintentionally revealing by giving us examples of leftist intolerance.)
- 7:15 PM, 7 June 2012   [link]

We Have A Suspect In Those NYT Security Leaks:   New York Times reporter David Sanger has had some striking stories on our anti-terrorism successes during the Obama presidency, stories with enough details so that even John Kerry wonders whether they should have been published.

John McCain, who knows a little bit about national security, is calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the leaks.
On CBS “This Morning,” McCain charged, “This is the most highly classified information and it’s now been leaked by the administration at the highest levels at the White House and that’s not acceptable.”  He intimated that the White House was “breaching national security” either by leaking the information or tacitly encouraging it.

“It makes the president look very decisive; and it gives very little credit to the other men and women who make these things happen," the Arizona Senator stated.  "This puts American lives in danger, revealing our most highly classified operations both in cyberwar and in drones.”
. . .
McCain also called for a special counsel to investigate the matter.
Yesterday, in a New York Times review of David Sanger's Confront and Conceal, Thomas Ricks gives us a big hint on who a special prosecutor might want to question:
And throughout, Mr. Sanger clearly has enjoyed great access to senior administration officials, most notably Thomas Donilon, the national security adviser.

Mr. Donilon, in effect, is the hero of the book, as well as the commenter of record on events.
Is that evidence too indirect?  Well, consider this reprimand from Secretary Robert Gates, which is also found in Sanger's book.
“By Wednesday of that week, Gates went to see Donilon, offering up a barbed assessment of how the White House had handled the aftermath of the raid. [that took out bin Laden]

“‘I have a new strategic communications approach to recommend,’ Gates said in his trademark droll tones, according to an account later provided by his colleagues.

“What was that, Donilon asked?

“‘Shut the f@*k up,’ the defense secretary said.”
(Gates is not known for employing vulgarity.)

Donilon is, to say the least, an odd choice for National Security Advisor.  Morgenson and Rosner say he is one of those responsible for the Fannie Mae disaster — and he had little national security experience or education, before becoming a deputy to General James Jones (who doesn't think much of Donilon).
- 1:10 PM, 7 June 2012
Ken Allard, who knows something about leaks, agrees with me that Thomas Donilon is a likely suspect — and has much to say the possible costs of those leaks.
- 9:27 AM, 8 June 2012   [link]

Does Smoking Marijuana Increase The Risk Of Lung Cancer?   That's what the British Lung Foundation is saying.
Most people (88%) believe smoking cigarettes is worse than cannabis but in fact the risk of developing lung cancer is 20 times greater from a cannabis joint than a legal tobacco cigarette.

A new report from the British Lung Foundation (BLF) claims there is an alarming disconnect between the public perception of cannabis as a relatively safe drug, and the serious, even fatal impact it can have on the lungs of people who smoke it.
Is the BLF right?

To some extent, I suspect that they are, simply because inhaling smoke from any kind of burning leaves can't be good for the lungs.

But, as for the larger claim, the 20 times more dangerous, I would have to look very hard and long at the actual studies before I came to a firm opinion.  So, for now, I would describe the 20 times more dangerous claim as plausible, but unproven.

(I estimate that it would take, literally, weeks of digging before I could evaluate this claim, partly because the field is so politicized.  I did skim through the BLF report, and didn't see any obvious defects in their arguments.  The report includes some qualifiers that you won't find in their press release.

For similar reasons, I haven't looked into the claims that marijuana can trigger schizophrenia in vulnerable young people.)
- 8:20 AM, 7 June 2012   [link]

From "Survived" To "Narrow" To "Solid" To "Decisive"  I am amused by the way "mainstream" journalists slowly figured out how to describe Walker's win in the Wisconsin recall election.

On election night I saw a lot of "survived" or "narrow", but, by the morning after, the networks mostly seemed to have figured out that "solid" was more accurate, and by yesterday evening PBS was describing it as "decisive".

I think the journalists were fooled by their own exit poll, which did show a "narrow" result, and it took them some time to realize that the actual votes did not match the poll.

(For the record:  I still think "solid" is about right.  And I would remind my fellow Republicans that Obama did carry Wisconsin in 2008, 1,677,211 (56%) to McCain's 1,262,393 (42%).  As a well-known blogger keeps saying, "Don't get cocky.")
- 7:33 AM, 7 June 2012   [link]

D-Day And The Weathermen:  One reason D-Day succeeded, 68 years ago, is that the Allied weathermen gave our side a better prediction than the German weathermen gave their side.

Rough weather forced a one-day postponement, but our weathermen saw the break in the weather coming on 6 June, and the German weathermen didn't.

In fact, they predicted bad weather for enough days so that many of the German commanders took some time off.  Rommel, for instance, actually traveled to Germany.  Other generals left their posts for staff exercises.  As a result, there was no coordinated response to the Allied landings.

(The German weathermen were not at fault for their incorrect prediction.  They no longer had the weather stations in the Atlantic that might have seen the high moving east that the Allied weathermen saw.  Earlier in the war, the Germans had deployed small ships, often converted trawlers, in the Atlantic to gather weather information, but those ships were all gone by D-Day.  Partly because the British liked to capture them for their code machines and books, a story told in Seizing the Enigma.)
- 5:44 PM, 6 June 2012   [link]

What Happens If You Correct The Wisconsin Exit Poll?   As almost everyone knows by now, the exit poll in Wisconsin was biased toward the Democrats.  Michael Barone couldn't wait for the final returns to come in to make a quick estimate of what would happen if you corrected for that bias.
The Wisconsin exit poll evidently reported the race for governor in the recall ballot as 50%-50%.  With 92% of the vote in, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s excellent website reports the score as 54%-46% Walker.  Let’s say that’s the final results: only 13% of precincts from Milwaukee County and 3% of precincts from Madison’s Dane County—the Democrats’ two reservoirs of big majorities—remain uncounted.  It has been emblazoned on mainstream media that the exit poll also showed Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney in the state 51%-45%.  But if you think the exit poll was 4% too Democratic—and that’s in line with exit poll discrepancies with actual vote results over the last decade, as documented by the exit poll pioneer, the late Warren Mitofsky*—that result looks more like 49%-47% Romney.  Or assume the remaining Milwaukee County precincts whittle Republican Governor Scott Walker’s margin over Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to 53%-47%, which looks likely, the Obama-Romney numbers would look like 48%-48%.
Which, as Barone reminds us, is very close to the results in 2000 and 2004 in Wisconsin.   Bush lost to Gore in 2000 by 5,708 votes, and to Kerry in 2004 by 11,384 votes, so there is good reason to think that a Republican presidential candidate can win Wisconsin, even though it hasn't happened since 1984.

He concludes, as I would, that the exit poll is not good news for the Obama campaign.

(Barone can't resist adding that Mitofsky found that the biggest errors came in precincts polled by "female graduate students".  That reminds me of a story told by George Gallup.  He had found that he had two biased interviewers, one a partisan Democrat, who almost always found more Democrats than anyone else, and the other a partisan Republican, who almost always found more Republicans than anyone else.  He thought the two balanced each other out.)
- 2:52 PM, 6 June 2012   [link]

Pictures Of The Transit Of Venus from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

It's a very pretty three-minute video, but I should warn you that NASA put a music track on it, rather than an explanation of what you are seeing.  (Mostly views at different wave lengths, I believe.)

(Here's background from the usual Wikipedia article.)
- 9:38 AM, 6 June 2012   [link]

Kudos to Professor Volokh.
I’m pleased to say that I’ll be consulting with Aaron Walker’s defense lawyer in the case I discussed last week, in which a Maryland judge issued a “peace order” — in other states, generally called a “restraining order” — that the judge seemed to interpret as limiting Aaron Walker’s blogging about Brett Kimberlin.
And Volokh is doing for free.

I wouldn't say that freedom of speech always belongs only to those who can afford legal protection — but it sometimes does, so we should respect those lawyers who defend that essential freedom, without charging the usual hourly rates.

(If you are not familiar with Brett Kimberlin, take a look at some of the recent posts about him by Patrick Frey.)
- 8:48 AM, 6 June 2012   [link]

Vice President Biden Insults Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Himself, and his wife, Jill Biden.
I know, literally, Barack and I talk about it.  Neither one of us would have had any shot,” Biden said.  “The same with our wives.  Both wives are smarter than both of us.   Literally, these very accomplished women would not have any chance without some help.
No chance at all, without government help?

As I've said before, I think Michelle Obama could have become a successful gym teacher and, perhaps, a coach, without any government help.   Jill Biden earned a Ph.D. in English and has had a modestly successful career as an educator.
- 7:38 AM, 6 June 2012   [link]

The Basic Wisconsin Recall Numbers:  Governor Scott Walker increased his vote from 1,128,941 in 2010 to 1,332,692.  Challenger Tom Barrett increased his vote from 1,004,303 to 1,160,247.

So Walkers's margin increased from 124,638 to 172,445.  In 2010, he won by 6 percent; this year he won by 7 percent.  (Which, coincidentally, is about the same popular vote margin that Obama had, nationally, in 2008.)

That's another solid win for Walker.  Nonetheless, news organizations are saying, not that Walker gained over two years ago, but that he "survived".   For example.

As they say, denial is not just a river in Egypt.

(The 2012 numbers are from the very useful, but unofficial, Ace of Spades spreadsheet.  I would expect that the official results will have some minor differences, when they are released.)
- 6:19 AM, 6 June 2012   [link]

So Far, I Haven't Seen Any Reason To Change My Mind On Wisconsin:  Walker has a 57-42 lead, and a disproportionate share of the votes have come from the Democratic stronghold of Dane County (Madison), which is not, so far, giving Barrett the margin he will need.

However, I repeat, so far.
- 6:36 PM, 5 June 2012
In most counties, Walker is currently doing better than he did in 2010.
- 6:49 PM, 5 June 2012
The networks are projecting a Walker win, some rather grumpily, I would say.  Given how early it is, the final result will not be especially close.
- 7:15 PM, 5 June 2012
Not only will Walker win, he will get more votes than he did in 2010 (1,128,941 votes).  He currently has 1,082,788 votes with just 84 percent of the precincts counted.
- 8:40 PM, 5 June 2012   [link]

"Très Brooklyn"  According to a front page article in yesterday's New York Times:
In France, there is still a widespread belief that the daily diet in the United States consists of grossly large servings of fast food.  But in Paris, American food is suddenly being seen as more than just restauration rapide.  Among young Parisians, there is currently no greater praise for cuisine than "très Brooklyn," a term that signifies a particularly cool combination of informality, creativity and quality.
So now Paris has a few American-style food trucks selling hamburgers and soft tacos.   Expensive hamburgers and soft tacos.

The article doesn't explain why they chose Brooklyn, rather than, say, Manhattan, San Francisco, or Los Angeles.  Although Brooklyn does have its share of food trucks.
- 4:12 PM, 5 June 2012   [link]

How Good Is Elizabeth Warren's Research?  Not very, according to a long review found by Breitbart, and discussed by Professor Jacobson.
In those 60 pages, Professor Shuchman demonstrates time and again how Warren and her co-authors jumped to conclusions, proclaimed new findings which were not new, and most importantly, ignored or did not accurately reflect data.
I was struck by the harsh language in the selections quoted from the review.  Generally, academics make their criticisms of other academics softly and indirectly, even if they think the other academics are fools.

Megan McArdle, who knows something about economics and data — even though she voted for Barack Obama — is softer in tone, but almost equally critical in this first of a pair of posts.
Does this persistent tendency to choose odd metrics that inflate the case for some left wing cause matter?  If Warren worked at a think tank, you'd say, "Ah, well, that's the genre."  On the other hand, you'd also tend to regard her stuff with a rather beady eye.  It's unlikely to have been splashed across the headline of every newspaper in the United States.  Her work gets so much attention because it comes from a Harvard professor.  And this isn't Harvard caliber material--not even Harvard undergraduate.
These critiques make it more likely, in my opinion, that Warren got her job at Harvard because she was claiming to be a Cherokee and because, as a woman, she was a "two-fer".

I'm not saying that whoever hired her knew about these apparent defects in her work, but I am saying that they might not have looked at her research as hard as they should have.

And she wouldn't be the first left-winger to get a faculty position in part because of her politically correct conclusions.
- 3:36 PM, 5 June 2012   [link]

Walker Will Win In Wisconsin:  So says almost everyone, including — according to Drudge — the exit polls.

I had planned to make a guesstimate on his margin, but don't think it fair to, now that the exit polls have, apparently, leaked.  But I will say that I expect the margin to be greater than the 5 percent that Drudge is reporting.
- 3:07 PM, 5 June 2012
In 2010, Walker defeated Barrett 1,128,941-1,004,303, or 6 percent (52-46).
- 5:23 PM, 5 June 2012   [link]

Obama's 4th Of July With Unrepentant Terrorist Bill Ayers?   Here's the Breitbart story.
As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama disavowed any connection with former domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, the Weather Underground radical who was one of Obama's early backers and his colleague on the board of the Woods Fund in Chicago.  We now have proof that Obama's association with Ayers continued even after Obama had been elected to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate--in the form of a now-scrubbed blog post placing Obama at the home of Ayers and his wife, fellow radical Bernardine Dohrn, on July 4, 2005.
Like Keith Koffler, I consider that blog post evidence, but not proof.  Which is why I put a question mark on that headline.
If true – I wouldn’t go so far to say that a 7-year old blog post is definitive evidence of anything – it would put Obama in Ayers’ backyard even after being elected Senator.

Some of the best evidence that Obama and Ayers had an enduring relationship beyond Ayers just being someone who lived neighborhood and oh-I-couldn’t-help-but-bump-into-the-dude, as Obama has suggested, is Obama and his campaign’s response to suggestions that it was something more.
And I agree with the second point that Koffler makes.  They do behave as if they have something to hide.

So I think it probable that Obama did attend that celebration, but not certain.

(And I can't help but wonder how Ayers and Dohrn celebrate the 4th.   By providing an American flag doormat for their guests?  By drinking toasts to the coming demise of the United States?)
- 1:14 PM, 5 June 2012   [link]

"Guilt By Existence"  Joe diGenova has a good line.
The Department of Justice may be engaged in a politically motivated attack on the state of Florida over efforts there to purge thousands of people who may be ineligible to vote from the state’s voter rolls.

“I don’t think there’s any question that in the Civil Rights Division there’s a mindset of guilt by existence.  It’s phenomenal,” conservative attorney Joe diGenova told  “If you exist and you’re in that jurisdiction and you happen to be of one party, that’s it.”
Is he right?  Probably.

After the disputed 2004 gubernatorial election, Washington state used similar methods to clean up our voting rolls, with no objection from the Justice Department and, as far as I know, not a single person losing their right to vote.

(You can find some background on diGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing here and here.)
- 8:23 AM, 5 June 2012   [link]

The Flying Cat:  Just in case you missed it.
Many animal lovers find it hard to part with their pets when they die.

So when cat Orville, named after the famous aviator Orville Wright, was run over by a car, his artist owner decided to turn him into a permanent piece of artwork as the ultimate tribute by transforming him into a flying helicopter.
I can't decide whether cat lovers or cat haters will like this recycled cat best.

Orville is now shaped just like a flying squirrel, which makes sense aerodynamically and, perhaps, artistically.
- 7:57 AM, 5 June 2012   [link]

Is Prime Minister Cameron An Alien?  Many think he might be.
At least, that's what a new survey shows.  Of the 1,089 respondents to the poll, which was released to accompany the launch of the new Men in Black video game, 10 percent said that British Prime Minister David Cameron could be an alien.  U.S. President Barack Obama also made the top five list of possible aliens among us.
And some, I learned from the Daily Star, think that would a good thing
And two in five think that if creatures from another planet did reach us, then it would be a positive thing that would help advance the human race.
Let's see.  The population of Great Britain is about 60 million.  Let's say 40 million are old enough and smart enough to understand that question.  Then we can guesstimate that about 4 million Britons think their prime minister may be an alien.

(I must say that Cameron doesn't look alienish to me — but maybe a smart alien wouldn't.)
- 2:36 PM, 4 June 2012   [link]

Elizabeth II, Truck Mechanic:  She's come a long way since World War II.
- 11:19 AM, 4 June 2012   [link]

Rattner On Entitlement Reform:  There was an instructive interchange between Chris Wallace and Obama spokesman Steven Rattner on yesterday's Fox News Sunday.
WALLACE: Well, about how specific has President Obama been on reform of entitlements?

RATTNER: He has not yet been specific.

WALLACE: In three and a half years?

RATTNER: No -- well, it has become a ripe issue in the last year or so since the Simpson/Bowles Commission and the super commission.

WALLACE: Steve, please, he came into office and people were talking. We have all known that Social Security and Medicare were ticking time bombs.

RATTNER: We have all known, but the Republicans haven't had a plan until recently neither.

WALLACE: Neither has the president.
Wallace was obviously exasperated by Rattner's claim that the entitlement reform issue wasn't "ripe", so exasperated that he forgot that in 2000 and 2004 George W. Bush campaigned for reform of social security, and even made it a top domestic priority after the 2004 election.  Congressional Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, refused to work with him.

(You could argue that Part D of Medicare, which provides drug benefits, is also entitlement reform, since it introduced more competition into Medicare.  I always assumed that the Bush administration hoped to use the success of Part D in controlling costs to extend similar reforms to the rest of Medicare, and, perhaps, Medicaid.

Whenever I see Rattner, I wonder about his New York Pension Fund scandal.  What he did may have been legal, but it sure doesn't look ethical.)
- 7:54 AM, 4 June 2012   [link]

Are "Mainstream" Journalists Beginning To Catch On To President Obama?  Fred Barnes thinks so.
Are the media beginning to catch on to President Obama?  The answer is a tentative yes.  This doesn’t mean the press is softening its hostility to Mitt Romney.  Heaven forbid!  But at least for now Obama is getting razzed by the very people who used to uphold and defend him.
A few are, but most aren't, in spite of patterns like this one:
That’s another mark of the Obama presidency with potential for media attention: repeating a claim after it’s been exposed as false, misleading, or flimflam.  Obama did this early in his presidency when he zapped House Republicans for rejecting his request to work with him on the economic stimulus.  In truth, the stimulus bill was already a done deal—crafted entirely by Democrats—when the president spoke to the House GOP conference.
Again, none of this would surprise those familiar with Chicago-style politicians.  (Or machine politicians, generally.  Nancy Pelosi, like Obama, has an infuriating indifference to mere facts.)

I'm less optimistic than Barnes about this progress, though I will agree that a few "mainstream" journalists are beginning to realize they have been played for fools.  But most of them will keep that to themselves — at least until the campaign is over.

(Similarly, Joe Klein knew much about Bill Clinton's reckless behavior, but chose not to share what he knew with readers, during the 1992 campaign.  Afterwards he tried to have both ways by publishing his novel, Primary Colors, without putting his name on it.  I have never trusted anything from him since then.)
- 6:45 AM, 4 June 2012   [link]

The Prada-Wearing Devil Campaigns For Barack Obama:   If you are as out of it as I am, you may need an introduction to Anna Wintour.
Anna Wintour, OBE (born 3 November 1949) is the English-born editor-in-chief of American Vogue, a position she has held since 1988.
. . .
A former personal assistant, Lauren Weisberger, wrote the 2003 best selling roman à clef The Devil Wears Prada, later made into a successful film starring Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly, a fashion editor believed to be based on Wintour.
So who did the Obama campaign use to headline a fund raiser?   Anna Wintour.

Here's what Juan Williams said about the Wintour video:
By the way, that was hilarious.

That looks like a parody.  It looked like the Romney campaign planted Dr. Evil in the House of Obama, and he said you know on the day the grim job numbers come out, let's have someone who reeks of ornamental excess announce that the peasants can have a place at the table.  It's just unbelievable.
Even the New York Times found it hard to believe, as they noted in a brief article in yesterday's newspaper.
- 4:12 PM, 3 June 2012   [link]

Congratulations To The Special Air Services:  For this successful rescue.
Defence sources said the “surgical” operation showed the “precision, skill and courage” of British special forces after they stormed the cave where Helen Johnston, 28, was held, and killed her kidnappers.

David Cameron spoke individually to the soldiers to thank them for an “extraordinarily brave” mission.

He warned that anyone who took British citizens hostage faced “a swift and brutal end”.

Miss Johnston, a committed Christian, along with Moragwa Oirere, a Kenyan colleague, and two Afghan women who worked for the same aid agency, were said to be physically well after their ordeal.
The Telegraph has more details in this article, and the Daily Mail has a map and pictures (naturally) in this article.

(And here's the Wikipedia article on the SAS, for background.)
- 3:39 PM, 3 June 2012   [link]

France Has Some Entertaining parliamentary candidates.  I especially liked the one from Pandora, and I can understand the appeal of Cindy Lee, who is running on the "Parti du Plaisir" (party of pleasure) ticket.  On the other hand, Mademoiselle Céline Bara goes too far for my tastes.

By way of Erik at ¡No-Pasarán!.
- 9:44 AM, 3 June 2012   [link]

It's Not Amazing To Anyone Familiar With Chicago-Style Politics:  In today's column in the New York Times, Joe Nocera criticizes the Justice Department for failing to go after the big mortgage fraud guys, and ends with this:
Think back to the last time the federal government went after corporate crooks.  It was after the Internet bubble.  Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay of Enron were prosecuted and found guilty.  Bernard Ebbers, the former chief executive of WorldCom, went to jail.  Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco was prosecuted and given a length prison sentence.  Now recall which Justice Department prosecuted those men.

Amazing, isn't it?  George W. Bush has turned out to be tougher on corporate crooks than Barack Obama.
In fact, corporate crooks love Chicago-style politics.  For an example of why they do, consider the career of Alexi Giannoulias, a long-time ally of Barack Obama — and an officer at a bank that loaned millions to Michael "Jaws" Giorango.

Nor would anyone be surprised who saw just how much money Wall Streeters gave to Obama in 2008, or would anyone who was familiar with Eric Holder's dubious ethical record, including his part in the Marc Rich pardon.

This pattern of immunity for big crooks shouldn't have amazed Nocera — but we do have to give him some credit for noticing it.
- 2:34 PM, 2 June 2012   [link]

Here's Consumer Freedom's Nanny Bloomberg.  (Just in case you didn't see today's full-page ad in the New York Times.)

I think he'd look even better with a Mary Poppins hat.
- 2:08 PM, 2 June 2012   [link]

Today, President Obama Again Asked Congress To Act On His "To-Do" List:  (No word on whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded.)

So what else is on Obama's schedule today?  A campaign appearance at a Honeywell plant and six fundraisers.

I think we can conclude that he is doing everything he can to ensure that one particular American does not lose his job this November.  So he is fighting unemployment — in his own way.

(Technically, his appearance at the Honeywell plant may not have been an official campaign appearance.)
- 2:39 PM, 1 June 2012   [link]

The Lead Story At The BBC?  Right now, it's the lousy US jobs report.   They don't sugar coat the news.
The US jobless rate rose to 8.2% from 8.1% in April, the Labor Department said.

To make matters worse, the number of jobs added in March and April was revised down by 49,000.

There are five million fewer jobs in the US than there were when the recession began.
And they even follow that with a statement from Mitt Romney.

They are, probably, right to make that their lead story, since other economies depend so much on ours (as we do, to a lesser extent, on theirs).

(It's also the lead story at the Guardian and the Telegraph.)
- 10:35 AM, 1 June 2012   [link]

Chris Cilliza Tries To Protect Elizabeth Warren.
This could — and should — have been a minor nuisance for the campaign.  No one is alleging that Warren used her minority status to get her jobs and it’s hard to imagine that in a campaign where the economy, jobs and debt are the overriding issues that whether Warren is Native American or not matters at all to voters.
No one?

How about Professor Todd Zywicki?  Or Professor David Bernstein, who says:
In that spirit, it’s worth noting that when the 99% living in the Boston area claim minority status for employment purposes based on family lore, an old photograph, and other dubious bases, they get fired.  When the 1% do it, they get a bit of bad publicity.
Although it may not be possible to prove that Warren got her Harvard job in part by claiming minority status, it is, I think, the way a reasonable person would bet.  And I don't think it is coincidental that she dropped that claim soon after she got the job at Harvard.

It is true that there are more important issues in this campaign; it is also true that a candidate's character is always a legitimate issue.
- 9:20 AM, 1 June 2012   [link]

55% At InTrade:  As I write, the bettors are giving Obama a 55 per cent chance to be re-elected, or, to be precise, a 55.4 per cent chance.

As I said last month, at those odds I would bet on Romney.  And I am still deciding how much lower the odds would have to go before I would switch to Obama, assuming, of course, that I am just trying to make money on the bet.

(Why am I ignoring national polls?  I am not ignoring them entirely, but, like Larry Sabato, I recognize that they aren't very good predictors this early in a campaign.)
- 8:41 AM, 1 June 2012   [link]

Tim Flannery Is An Expert On Climate:  So much so that he is the Chief Commissioner of Australia's Climate Commission, "an independent body providing information on climate change to the Australian public".

So, why can't he get basic facts on climate, such as China's increasing use of coal, right?

Climate alarmists like Flannery, by refusing to be constrained by mere facts, discredit their own arguments with the public.  Few of us have the scientific background needed to evaluate climate change models; almost none of us have the time to do so, even if we have that background.  But we can evaluate the people making those arguments, if we see them saying things that aren't true.  And we are not wrong, if we decide not to trust what such "experts" say.

(You could argue that Flannery, as a mammalian paleontologist, has the wrong credentials to be a climate expert.  Put me down as undecided on that question, since some paleontologists are experts on climate.)
- 8:10 AM, 1 June 2012   [link]