On a whole host of issues, Obama has placed politics before science. In his 2009 inaugural address, President Barack Obama promised to “restore science to its rightful place,” in addition to making the government more transparent and accountable. Millions rallied to his cause. Four years later, how has he done? Unfortunately, not well. On a whole host of issues, Obama has placed politics before science. We will examine just three of them: vaccines, the BP oil spill, and “Cash for Clunkers.” Headline corrected by staff. Author's name corrected by staff.
For everyone then alive, it remains a moment frozen in time. I was a 19-year-old Vanderbilt University sophomore having lunch in the Gold Room, Vanderbilt’s snack bar. I was sitting in an overstuffed leather chair and in the act of inserting a hot dog into my mouth when one of the ladies who worked the counter came in from another room where there was a television. In a voice as devoid of emotion as if she were announcing, “They say it’s going to rain this weekend,” she said, to no one in particular, “They say the president’s been shot.”
Whether it’s a second shooter on the grassy knoll, inconsistencies in the Warren Commission investigation, or the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby, Americans are still drawn to conspiracy theories surrounding the death of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago. But what contributes to the durability of these conspiracy theories? Certainly their plausibility has something to do with it. But like a good conspiracy theory itself, there’s more to it than the immediate explanation. In the days following President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, the National Opinion Research Center was in the field polling a stunned nation.
Anyone with a modicum of knowledge regarding public health will agree that the most important, devastating, and preventable issue facing America is the human toll of cigarettes. Yet our nation’s main health regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will issue regulations within the next few weeks that could harm our nation’s 45 million smokers. Smokers trying to quit have an extremely difficult time, yet a new technology which might ease their path — electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes — is facing relentless opposition from public health agencies like the FDA and CDC, and their antipathy is certainly not based on science.
“In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” This, I trust everyone knows, is the inscription on the back wall of the Lincoln Memorial in DC, visible above the awe-inspiring statue of our greatest president, greeting us and inducing reverence as we enter what is, in my opinion, the finest public building anywhere. On facing walls, to left and right, are carved in stone Lincoln’s two greatest speeches, the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address, Lincoln’s personal contributions to his enduring memory.
In the aftermath of last week´s elections in Virginia and New Jersey, much has been said about what the results portend for Republicans in the next election cycle. But let´s not lose sight of the lessons learned only last year. After the shellshock of the 2012 election abated, the Republican National Committee released their “Growth and Opportunity Project” report, which observed that “the perception that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party and its candidates on the federal level, especially in presidential years. It is a major deficiency that must be addressed.”
I recently wrote a brief summary critique of the Environmental Protection Agency’s “analysis” of the “social cost of carbon.” In a nutshell, I argued: (1) the EPA analysis fails to recognize that U.S. policies would have virtually no effect on temperatures or “climate” regardless of which climate model is assumed to be the most useful; and (2) the analysis is poor methodologically and inconsistent with analytic guidelines that have been imposed on executive agencies by the Office of Management and Budget. My observations elicited several comments, varying substantially in analytic quality, to which I respond below in this article.
Today, the phrase “social engineering” has fallen into disgrace. Yet the policy of social engineering, the idea of which goes back to Plato’s time, is still with us today, most conspicuously in the Affordable Care Act. Within the first few weeks of its rollout, Obamacare began to show the telltale signs of social engineering: nothing worked the way it was originally planned. Soon the words “debacle” and “fiasco” were being routinely employed by the media to describe Obamacare’s first month — the same words that have been so appropriately applied to the ill-fated social engineering ventures of the past.
Georgia’s recent presidential election was another milestone for democracy, but the small nation faces ongoing intimidation and illegal occupation of two of its territories by Russia. Whether Georgia integrates into the West or becomes annexed into President Putin’s greater Russia is critical for Georgians and consequential to the United States. Russia is seeking to strengthen its sphere of influence, especially in countries formerly part of the Soviet Union. Although some of Moscow’s tactics are brutish, outrageous, and unacceptable, it is understandable that it seeks to reclaim a central role on the world stage.
The ways in which changes to tax policy would redistribute wealth drives many of today’s debates in Washington. The fiscal cliff fight that ushered in the year hinged on whether the Bush tax cuts should be extended for all Americans or only the bottom 98 percent. Last year, a report on Mitt Romney’s tax proposal aroused intense controversy and scarred the Romney campaign when it claimed that “a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed … would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.”
"Wherever people discover that money is being spent, either privately or by public officials, they commonly develop opinions on how it ought to be spent ... each person thus becomes his own fantasy despot, disposing of others and their resources as he or she thinks desirable,” wrote Kenneth Minogue in The Servile Mind. Pundits are starting to realize that the problems with Healthcare.gov, the troubled Obamacare website, are not merely technical. High-level managerial issues have started to surface, particularly with this week’s publication by the Washington Post of a memorandum written in 2010 by health care economist David Cutler.
As Obamacare’s growing pains have occupied headlines for the last month, one key aspect of its rollout has fallen by the wayside: the ill-considered medical device excise tax that is used to help fund the ACA, the debate over which illustrates the importance of, and the many misconceptions about, the American medical device industry. As part of the 10-year, trillion-dollar-plus expansion of government-subsidized health care, Obamacare imposes a 2.3 percent levy on revenues from qualified medical devices, a tax that came into effect on January 1 and that is expected to raise about $30 billion over the next decade.
“Do not do unto others as you would they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same,” wrote George Bernard Shaw in “Man and Superman.” Economists often debate the implications of trends in the “median real wage.” There is no such thing. We have statistics on the hourly wages of workers, and we can compare the median in the year 1970 to the median in 2012. However, that only gives us the median nominal wage, not adjusted for inflation. To convert a nominal wage to a real wage, we need to apply a cost-of-living adjustment.
It´s no secret that Sarah Palin is mighty steamed at MSNBC and Martin Bashir over his despicable remarks about the abusive treatment he imagines for her. And now she´s doing something about it. The former Alaska governor and Fox News contributor was scheduled to sit down with Matt Lauer for a Christmas season interview. That´s now toast. Palin has now canceled Lauer´s scheduled trip to Wasilla, a source close to her tells me. It´s not because Palin is upset with Lauer or the "Today" show, but as a protest against NBC for not taking action against Bashir. In fact, Palin once sat
´´Knockout´´ attacks have been reported in several states around the country and now investigators believe three people have been attacked in our area. Police in Lower Merion are investigating two attacks in the area, and Philadelphia detectives are investigating an attack in Northeast Philadelphia. It’s a violent crime that in other parts of the country has proven fatal. Videos from cities around the country show people being punched and beaten at random.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on a conference call organized by Karl Rove’s Crossroads organization for large donors and their advisers on Oct. 30 that the Tea Party movement, in his view, is a “nothing but a bunch of bullies” that he plans to “punch … in the nose.” On the call, according to a donor who was on it, McConnell personally named Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) as Tea Party conservatives he views as problematic for him. “The bulk of it was an attack on the Tea Party in general, Cruz in particular,” the source, a
A teen playing the "Knockout Game" in Lansing, Michigan unwittingly targeted a concealed carry permit holder and was shot twice. He survived and is now in jail. As Breitbart News previously reported, the "Knockout Game" thrives in areas where victims are unarmed. In the "game," teens approach a stranger on the sidewalk or in an alley and punch the stranger in an attempt to knock him or her out. A punch that results in a knockout scores one point. WILX in Lansing reported that teenager Marvell Weaver, who is black, tried to knock out a father who was standing at
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid´s finger is hovering over the big red button that will launch the Democrats´ nuclear attack against the United States Senate. By which we mean that, having secured 51 votes, Reid reportedly plans to advance a change to the body´s voting rules that would facilitate the approval of presidential nominees. KABOOM. That rules change, the much-discussed "nuclear option," is not an insignificant move for Reid. It´s not as bad as what happened in, say, Hiroshima in 1945, but it upends a long-standing tradition in the chamber. The problem in the Democrats´ view, as we´ve noted before,
WASHINGTON -- Democrats quickly enjoyed the first fruits of a milestone Senate vote making it harder for the Republican minority to block President Barack Obama´s nominations: They swiftly ended a GOP filibuster against one of his top judicial selections and prepared to do the same for two others. Over the longer term, they might regret what they did and how they did it, Republicans and others are warning. When Democrats muscled the changes through Thursday over the opposition of every GOP senator, it helped heighten Congress´ already high level of partisan animosity. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., used a process that
Today, President Obama and the Democrats are faced with the opportunity to take a timeout – a timeout from ObamaCare. I believe that they should delay ObamaCare for six months to a year. America’s health care system isn’t something that can be pieced together on an ad-hoc basis amidst failing websites, party infighting, bickering insurers and a confused American public. Since the website launched last month, it has become increasingly clear that the policy – and indeed the mechanics – weren’t ready yet. And while I, along with the rest of the American people, would’ve preferred that it had worked
Joining the hosts of MSNBC’s The Cycle on Friday, legendary NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw previewed a special on the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination that will air on MSNBC that night. Recounting his experiences from that day, he said that the reaction to JFK’s assassination, “mostly in conservative states,” was encapsulated by his interaction with one man who expressed satisfaction over the president’s killing. “This was unusual but it was not unheard of,” Brokaw told the MSNBC hosts, prefacing a conservative’s reaction to JFK’s killing. “As I came running out of the announce booth, the chief engineer,
To the average American, ObamaCare is part web site disaster, part shattered campaign promise writ very, very large. Millions of Americans have already been forced out of their existing health care policies, a number that may skyrocket in the new year. Russell Simmons sees it differently. The hip-hop mogul says ObamaCare is already so successful it´s saved thousands, if not millions of lives. Yes, we initially wanted single payer, and we had to compromise back in 2009 for the Affordable Care Act. But, it is a damn good piece of legislation that has already saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives. So,
Appearing shell-shocked by the Harry Reid’s abrupt move to pass the “nuclear option” through the Senate, Republicans there issued ominous warnings to reporters outside the chamber. “When you start, it’s like wars — there’s no end to this. I don’t know where it goes,” says Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “In my view this is the most important and most dangerous restructuring of Senate rules since Thomas Jefferson wrote them at the beginning of our country,” Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee says. Democrats have been open about wanting the change so President Obama’s regulations, executive actions and other unilateral decisions enjoy a
“Congress is broken,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday before holding a party-line vote that disposed of rules that have guided and protected the chamber since 1789. If Congress wasn’t broken before, it certainly is now. What Reid (Nev.) and his fellow Democrats effectively did was take the chamber of Congress that still functioned at a modest level and turn it into a clone of the other chamber, which functions not at all. They turned the Senate into the House. Democrats were fully justified in stripping Republicans of their right to filibuster President Obama’s nominees — yet they will
For the White House, November has been the cruelest month, with increasing worry among Democrats that a year from now could mean another midterm electoral disaster, similar to the results in 2010 when Republicans picked up over 60 House seats to gain control and netted six Senate seats as well. Each day produces a new poll with terrible numbers for the president and his policies. The Obama approval level has dipped below 40% in several surveys in recent days, and yesterday hit an all-time low of 37% in a CBS poll — a survey that in the past has often