Monthly Archives: June 2010

Who Pays the Taxes

The Congressional Budget Office has analyzed tax data for the year 2007; once again, the bottom line is that upper-income taxpayers pay much more than their fair share. This graph shows the percentage of household income paid in federal taxes (payroll, income, etc.) by each income quintile; click to enlarge: That extreme progressivity comes mostly from the income tax, of course. This graph shows what percentage of household income is »

She spent two decades in the upper reaches of legal academia to say this?

Here is my initial take on Elena Kagan’s opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, which I will cross-post at the Federalist Society’s online debate over Kagan’s confirmation: I opened this debate by predicting that, during her confirmation hearing, Elena Kagan would more or less “follow Sonia Sotomayor’s example and articulate a traditional, reasonably conservative vision” of the Supreme Court’s role. In her opening statement today, Kagan followed that »

Youth and cohesion have their say

The less said about England’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of Germany, and of the refereeing in that match and the Argentina-Mexico match, the better. Instead, I’ll make two general observations prompted by the weekend’s matches. The kids are alright. I should pay closer attention to youth competitions and Olympic soccer. I follow them a bit, and recognize that they can help identify teams to watch down the road. But »

Countdown to kick-off on the Kagan hearings

Hearings on Elena Kagan’s nomination will begin this afternoon. The festivities will probably consist only of opening statements by Kagan and the Judiciary Committee’s 18 Senators. Not exactly must-see tv. The Federalist Society’s online debate on the subject, in which I’m participating, began last week and no doubt will heat up once the hearings pick up steam. »

Robert Byrd, RIP

Before his death early this morning at the age of 92, I placed the legendary West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd in the category of “only the wrong survive” along with Fidel Castro and Pete Seeger. I was not a fan. In 2005 the New York Times published a predictably fawning profile of Senator Byrd by Sheryl Stolberg in “A master of Senate’s ways is still parrying in his twilight.” Around »

The tea leaves in last week’s primaries

My old friend Jon Lerner is the Republican campaign consultant who operates Red Sea and Basswood Research. This year he is working for some great candidates including Nikki Haley for governor and Tim Scott for Congress in South Carolina and Mike Lee for United States Senate in Utah. Red Sea produced the television ads for these campaigns while Basswood Research conducted the polling. In South Carolina, Nikki Haley became the »

Destination: Hamas?

There’s an internal logic to the trajectory of Obama administration foreign policy that makes this brief Ynetnews article all too plausible: “Hamas says asked by US to remain silent on talks.” The article reports: A senior Hamas figure said Friday that official and unofficial US sources have asked the Islamist group to refrain from making any statements regarding contacts with Washington, this following reports that a senior American official is »

Martin O’Malley takes the low road in Maryland

The race for governor of Maryland between incumbent Martin O’Malley (the Democrat) and his predecessor Robert Ehrlich is heating up. A few months ago, the Washington Post attempted to paint Ehrlich as a no-hoper who is just going through the motions of a campaign. But the polls tell a different tale, one in which the race may well be a dead heat. O’Malley certainly understands that he’s in a horse »

How Unpopular is the Obama Administration?

President Obama’s approval ratings have declined steadily since he took office. Among likely voters, those who disapprove of his performance consistently outnumber those who approve by eight points or so. The margin between those who strongly disapprove and those who strongly approve is even greater. I suspect, however, that those numbers actually overstate the popularity of the Obama administration. Many voters are reluctant to give up on a president they »

Why Do We Have Police Forces?

I mean, really? The question is prompted by the riots going on in Toronto, in connection with the G-20 meeting. The same crowd of knaves and fools that always turns out for such events has descended on Toronto and has run riot through much of the city. The criminals have burned a number of vehicles (maybe some of them are from France), as shown in this photo: Strangest of all »

Barack Obama, facilitator-in-chief

Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, has returned from Afghanistan having found “reasons for hope” in the war there. O’Hanlon is, I believe, a somewhat left-of-center analyst. As such, he was able, along with Kenneth Pollack, to provide credibility to administration claims that the Iraq surge was making major headway, when he returned from Iraq three years ago. This time, O’Hanlon’s report is more guarded, arguing mainly »

Is it possible to be betrayed by Rolling Stone?

Supporters of Gen. Stanley McChrystal are claiming that the author of the infamous Rolling Stone piece, Michael Hastings, quoted McChrystal and his staff in conversations that he was allowed to witness but not report. Rolling Stone’s executive editor denies this, and states that the magazine thoroughly reviewed the story with the general’s staff ahead of publication. Rolling Stone appears less than fully honest about this. For example, emails given to »

Poor tactics and player selections see U.S. out of World Cup

Last night, in previewing the U.S./Ghana match, I suggested that the U.S. could overcome its shaky back four and defeat Ghana if goal-keeper Tim Howard came up big and “coach Bradley get[s] his central midfield pairing right before halftime, for a change.” Unfortunately, Howard did not come up particularly big and, more importantly, it again took Bradley until half time to get his midfield right. Consequently, Ghana defeated the U.S. »

Kopp the Custard Man

It doesn’t have quite the snappy ring of “Joe the Plumber,” but it will do. Earlier today Joe Biden was in Wisconsin, trying to help Russ Feingold salvage his Senate run, and he stopped at a frozen custard stand. When he asked the proprietor how much the custard cost, the proprietor answered, “Nothing, just lower our taxes.” Here is the exchange: Biden, of course, had no response. The last thing »

Sweeping Financial Reform?

The Democrats’ financial reform bill is another one of those 2,000-page monstrosities that no one has read, and hardly anyone knows what is in it. Channeling Nancy Pelosi, Chris Dodd says that “No one will know until this is actually in place how it works.” That’s partly because, as happens so often with legislation of this type, the details are left mostly to either newly-created or existing government agencies (e.g., »

Iran Stands Down

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has been equipping “aid ships” to sail to Gaza, and announced that it would try to break Israel’s naval blockade by sending war ships to accompany the “aid” vessels. That drew a strong response from Israel, which said that it would treat any such conduct as an act of war–which, of course, it is. Michael Ledeen explains what happened next: Iran has cancelled sending an aid ship »

Tune In to the Northern Alliance

Brian Ward and I will be on the radio today from 11 to 1, central time. At noon central we will talk with Andy McCarthy about his new book The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. We will also touch on the issues of the day, including the McChrystal firing, the latest from Iran, and perhaps the coming of sharia to Michigan. It promises to be an »