Monthly Archives: December 2009

Rushed to hospital

Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh‘s website displays this message at the moment:

“ALERT: Rush was admitted to a Honolulu hospital today and is resting comfortably after suffering chest pains. Rush appreciates your prayers and well wishes. He will keep you updated via RushLimbaugh.com and on Thursday’s radio program.”

Let’s hope Rush is alright, as he appears to be. I’ve listened to Rush fairly regularly for nearly twenty years – that may even qualify me as a Ph.D. candidate at the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies. It would be hard to imagine radio without him.

Mark Davis guest hosted the program Wednesday. I don’t know whether that was planned or came as a result of the Rush’s health concerns today. In any event, it sounds like the Doctor of Democracy will be back on the air today. You can bet I’ll be tuning in – joining a large and especially rapt listening audience in doing so.

Thanks to Drudge for amplifying the alert.

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Filed under Conservative Movement, Media

Review session…

At a dinner party this evening, my conversation with several people ventured into the media’s treatment of Barack Obama during last year’s presidential election. One guest contrasted Obama’s skillfull and effective manipulation of the media with Sarah Palin’s seemingly far less effective approach in doing so.

It’s true that Obama used the media effectively during the primary and general election campaigns. It’s also true, as I noted, that 2008 was a Democratic year – any Democratic nomineee was destined to out-perform any Republican.

However, it’s also true that Barack Obama had a much friendlier media to work with than did John McCain or Sarah Palin, and a friendly press generally means, well, friendlier press. I cited the Pew study that documented the media’s favorable coverage of Barack Obama during the election. This study documented what most people already knew: that Barack Obama, a talented and historic candidate, received markedly more supportive coverage than other candidates.

Positive press did not deliver the election to Obama – voters did, acting in a given national political environment and reacting to the choice of the two given candidates and their messages. But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that the journalistic class lived up to its standards of neutrality and objectivity. The press was enthralled with young Obama, and the fact clearly came through in its collective coverage of the campaign – a fact clearly demonstrated by the independent, respected Pew Center.

Winning the Media Campaign: How the Press Reported the 2008 General Election.

The study indicates that coverage of Obama was slightly more positive than negative, and substantially more negative than positive for McCain. I believe this understates actual tone (which has been measured in different ways by different media effects scholars), but nonetheless the key finding does validate the notion that the media was relatively favorable towards Obama.

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Filed under General & Miscellaneous

California Dreamin’

As I’m in the Golden State for a few days, I thought it appropriate to post something on the state’s principal political issue, the state budget:  

California Begging, an editorial in the Investors Business Daily:

“The once-great state of California has been reduced to begging from the federal government. But no matter how much help the feds give, the state’s fiscal ills won’t end until its lawmakers stop spending money.”

The paper notes California’s impending $21 billion dollar deficit for the fiscal year – which comes on the heels of last year’s $12.5 billion tax increase and $6 billion in borrowing to pay the bills. This is not to speak of the accounting gimmicks that governments regularly use to balance the books. Gimmicks that can’t hide the truth forever – only obscure it temporarily.

Some other interesting facts from the editorial: California represents 13% of the nation’s population, but is home to one third of the country’s welfare recipients. The jobless rate is more than 12%, higher than the national average. The state ranks 48th in business-tax competitiveness. And businesses and entrepreneuers continue to leave the state, a trend that started several years ago. 

Now, Governor Schwarzenegger wants a bailout from the federal government. As absurd and offensive as the idea may seem, it makes sense from his perspective. There are few political allies to work with in an effort to cut state government spending. You can only raise taxes so much – something California has already been doing.  Why take more political heat attempting to do either one, when Uncle Sam has been bailing out everybody from banks to car companies?

The real problem, as IBD notes, is uncontrolled spending in Sacramento. Democrats have held the state legislature for years, and to a great degree have let government employee unions call the shots on public policy-making. That’s a recipe for disaster – bankruptcy, in this case – and that’s exactly what’s happening in California.

Calfironia Dreamin’ (the fantasy that you can operate according to anti-business, pro-welfare principles and still enjoy the good life) is turning into a nightmare. If anything good can come of this, perhaps it is that the nation at large, and Washington politicians in particular, will see what unfolds and take note of the lessons to be learned.

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Filed under Bailouts, Economy

Dr. Coburn on the health care vote

United States Senator and practicing physician, Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), on the Senate’s health care vote, in today’s lineup at Real Clear Politics:

Voting Against Government Run Health Care

Dr. Coburn has always been a man of principle and passion, and he pulls no punches as he starts this piece:

“This vote is indeed historic. This Congress will be remembered for its arrogance, corruption and stupidity. In the year of 2009, a Congress ignored the coming economic storm and impending bankruptcy of our entitlement programs and embarked on an ideological crusade to bring our nation as close to single-payer, government-run health care as possible. If this bill becomes law, future generations will rue this day and I will do everything in my power to work toward its repeal. This bill will ration care, cut Medicare, increase premiums, fund abortion and bury our children in debt.”

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Filed under Health Care, Statism

The Christmas Story

No, I’m not talking about the 1983 film classic that seems to run stop on TBS every holiday season. With Ralphie plotting and pining after his beloved would-be bb gun. (Though that is a classic….I couldn’t resist watching just a few minutes last night before going to bed).

In fact, I’m talking about the real Christmas story, the birth of Jesus. Here it is, from the gospel according to Luke, who was the earliest biographer of the man from Nazareth:

From the English Standard Version.

The Birth of Jesus Christ

2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when [1] Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, [2] who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” [3]

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

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Filed under Christianity

California, here I come!

Principally Political goes personal, with an update:

Firstly, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all friends and family who may be reading this. I look forward to connecting with you in person or over the phone in the coming next few days!

Secondly, I’m excited to be headed to Los Angeles, California! First and foremost I am eager to see my sister and her fiance, and secondly I can’t wait to enjoy the warm weather and take in some ocean side views.

Thirdly, I want to reflect for a moment on friendship and human connection. I’ve been fortunate to have had several rich conversations with friends over the last 36 hours. This includes a good friend whom I will not see for a while, as he is returning to his home country after studying in the United States. On another of these occasions I had the privilege of catching up and talking politics with an old friend, for a delightful three hours. It’s good to savor these moments, and I was especially grateful for them at this time of year.

Finally, upon celebration of the one year birthday of this site, I will let you on that I will be making an announcement concerning my future and the future of this site sometime on or before New Year’s Day, 2010. It entails enduring commitments and new horizons, simultaneously. And that’s all I’ll say for the moment.

P.S. Yes, I will be blogging while on vacation! Check in early and often!

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Filed under Personal Living, Principally Political

Krauthammer on health care gimmickry

Charles Krauthammer explains some of the budgetary buffoonery in the health care bill. On Special Report of Fox News Channel, via Real Clear Politics.

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Filed under Health Care