Thursday, August 25, 2011

Barca 3 - Real Madrid 2

The Spanish Super Cup trophy is awarded to the victor of a head-to-head competition between the prior year's League winner (the equivalent of the pennant race in Baseball, especially before division play began in 1969) and the prior-year's winner of the King's Cup--a coterminous competition involving every team in Spain regardless of the division (level) it plays in.  It's a head-to-head competition.  (Imagine the San Francisco Giants playing the Toledo Mud Hens in Toledo, then San Francisco, with the highest combined-game scoring team moving on to play the winner of the series between the Baltimore Orioles and the Carolina Mud Cats.)  

This year's Supercopa competition featured F.C. Barcelona (last year's Spanish League winner and the undisputed king of contemporary soccer), and arch-rival Real (Royal) Madrid (winner of last year's King's Cup, and arguably the all-time king of club soccer).   These clubs also feature arguably the two greatest players in the sport today, Lionel Messi (the Lionel King) of Barca, and Cristian Ronaldo of Madrid.  Madrid and Barca are the Yankees and Red Sox of Spanish Football but with an even greater distance between them and the rest of the pack.  It's super if you root for one of them, as nearly everyone in their respective cities and regions of Spain does.  If you don't, it's like being a Kansas City Royals or Minnesota Timber Wolves fan; there is never any real hope of winning.

Nevertheless, when the two teams play, soccer fans the world over gather round the television for a spectacle of pseudo-nationalistic import and an exhibition of the game being played the way it was meant to be.  This year's first Supercopa match was a draw, setting up the second game as the decider in Barca's Camp Nou.  It was dramatic.  And in the end, the better team, Barca, won.  

If you don't understand what there is to get worked up about in soccer, Noman suggests investing 14 minutes in the following link, which features English-speaking announcers.  The clip below is a short summary in Spanish of the goals.

It seems to Noman that Madrid is a collection of spectacular players, especially Cristiano Ronaldo who is a thoroughbred of an athlete, a demigod among men.  But, Barca is a spectacular team comprised of superb players; it is better than the sum of its parts, as good as those are.  Moreover, for all of Ronaldo's talent, technique and physical attributes, he cannot hold a candle to Lionel Messi: as electrifying a player as exists in any sport.

You can tell the difference between the teams in the way they react when scoring a goal.  Ronaldo preens about the field in all his magnificence while his teammates hover round, apprehensive about touching him.  Barca hugs and kisses, mobs and exults together.  They love each other, and play like it.  They love their team, too, especially those players who have grown up in the Barca system and are inculcated in its spirit.  Note the way that Messi touches and kisses the Barca emblem on his jersey (before making the sign of the cross!) after scoring his first goal, Barca's second of the match.

Barca has got Madrid's number; it's got everyone's number. And, it is evident that Madrid's coach, Jose Mourinho, doesn't like it.  That is as it should be.  He's figured out what Manchester United's Alex Ferguson still hasn't; if you want to be in the same stadium with Barca when the game is over, you must contest their every movement and play them physically.  That converts them into crybabies.  They are simply too talented, too fast, too well coached and too elegant to let them run around and do their thing.

Unfortunately, as is evident from the asassin-like foul at the end of the game and his personal behavior when the benches cleared to remonstrate about it, Mourinho doesn't quite know where the line between professional pride and poor sportsmanship is.  Shame on him, and on Marcelo for his cheap shot on Fabregas, who played brilliantly and deserved a better fate than to have his tendons menaced.

The drama of the actual games is heightened by history.  There is more going on than futbol when these teams play.  Contention between the cities stretches as far back in time as the the late 15th century marriage of Prince Ferdinand of Aragon and Princess Isabella of Castile.  (Yes, that Ferdinand and Isabella.)  The Castilian princess was stronger than the Catalan prince, and reconquered Spain's center of gravity settled in Madrid, its center.  Things turned nasty when Barcelona sided with the Hapsburg claimant in the early 18th century War of the Spanish Succession, and Madrid supported the victorious French Bourbon's.  The 20th century's Spanish Civil War was ugly for Barcelona, the last stronghold of the Republic.  (In truth it was just ugly, for everyone, without exception.)  While the city was further industrialized under Franco and enjoyed explosive growth, the Catalan language was suppressed as were Catalonia's flag and culture.  A Catalan friend once explained to me in tears how during the dictator's interminable reign, the people embraced Barca's flag and anthem as a means of expressing nationalistic (the Catalan nation's) pride.

On pure soccer grounds the rivalry is also tortured.  Barca signed Argentine-Italian superstar Alfredo Di Stefano--a player as transcendent as Diego Maradona, Pele, or Messi himself.  Unfortunately for the Azulgrana (the blue and scarlet of Barca), the flight from Buenas Aires necessarily passed through Madrid.  When the plane landed, Franco was on the tarmac to make Di Stefano (the "blonde arrow") an offer he couldn't refuse.  He'd play for Real Madrid, the Caudillo's team, rather than Barca.  The rest is history as Di Stefano led Madrid to the first five European Cup championships (1956-1960), establishing its everlasting preeminence in the lore of European Soccer.  He is the all-time Golden Player of Spanish Football.

The teams will play again several times this year, with all the ghosts and skeletons pulling up a bench alongside more than 100,000 rabid fans packed into either stadium.  This is great stuff for sports fans that Noman hopes you'll enjoy.  Games are streamed on ESPN.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Big News in Catholic Education

The College of St. Mary Magdalen in Warner, NH announced the incorporation of the Erasmus Institute, also of New Hampshire, into the college.  The delicious irony here is that the Erasmus Institute's co-founder, Dr. Peter Sampo, also co-founded Magdalen College in 1973.  He was its inaugural President serving in that capacity from 1974 to 1978.  Thus, Monday's announcement signals a homecoming of sorts for Dr. Sampo (below on left), and a rededication of the college to it's founding principles.  It also allows the college to offer two tracks of liberal education: a traditional four year great books program on the one hand, and a more focused program in philosophy, literature or politics for upperclassmen on the other.  The college will also now provide the possibility of studying in Rome for a semester.  Sign Noman up--or, more likely, the Nochildren!

Dr. Sampo left Magdalen and founded a rival college in New Hampshire, the Thomas More Institute, in 1978.  Apparently he and Magdalen co-founder John Meehan held different and irreconcilable views of Catholic higher education.  Nowife is a graduate of Thomas More (now The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts) as are a number of Noman's in-laws.  So, most of what Noman knows about the Meehan-dominated Magdalen is hopelessly one-sided and contentious.  Magdalen developed a reputation for being a Catholic Moony sort of place where the accent was laid on teaching students to fold their clothes and order their books properly, and on counseling full-bodied girls to hide their figures, rather than on leading students to develop a life of the mind within the context of a Christian-friendly metaphysic.  Noman's sense of Magdalen's dispensation was that of a deformed Catholic morality that futilely attempted to instill virtue by eliminating personal freedom--rather than by drawing and gently instructing it--in order to smother every predilection before it broke out into sin.

Dr. Sampo (and Dr. Mary Mumbach) had a different view.  Noman remembers being stunned when Nowife told him she had been assigned 80 pages of the "City of God" for homework on her first day of college.   Augustine's reflections on time and eternity in the second part of the "Confessions" gave Noman the biggest headache of his non-life in his thirties.  80 pages of Augustine, overnight, for a freshman seemed incomprehensible!  Yet, that was the program.  If anything, Thomas More (or TMI) was going to take the life of the mind seriously.  The faith was important, too.  But, its practice was not forced on people.  The college was consequently rewarded with a number of non-Catholic students, many of whom converted due to their experience there.

Both schools produced their share of good, faithful Catholic graduates that became solid citizens and professionals, who formed strong marriages and families.  Both produced grumblers, probalby Magdalen more than Thomas More.  (Nowife says many more; not even close.) Each found its donors, though Magdalen encountered greater fortune in that regard.  It was able to erect a magnificent campus located on 135 acres of lush New Hampshire splendor at the foot of Mt. Kearsage. Its Meehan-era experience seems to be the reverse of most start-up colleges, which begin with ideas and faculty and only much later develop the infrastructure necessary to carry out its expanded activities.  The school has never been widely attended; but neither has Thomas More for that matter.

Something untoward happened at Thomas More after Dr. Sampo retired.  His hand-picked successors took the college in a different direction by reducing the curriculum's emphasis on secular landmarks in the western tradition, and increasing exposure to explicitly Christian authors.  There's a niche for that in Catholic education.  But, it wasn't the one carved out by Dr's Sampo and Mumbach.  The new administration indebted the college beyond its means to repay; a generous donor eventually bailed them out.  Dr. Mumbach who differed with the new regime was unceremoniously relieved of her duties.  All that is Thomas More's story, however.  That school is presently operating under new and apparently capable management.  For these purposes, this history's importance is simply to set the table for the co-founding by Drs. Sampo and Mumbach of yet another Catholic liberal arts college in New Hampshire, the Erasmaus Institute.  (Noman's remaining collegiate inlaws, including two God sons, transferred from Thomas More to Erasmus.)  A quote from its web page explains its view of Catholic education.
We need the radical thinking that formed Dante and Aquinas, both of whom helped the church weather the crisis of their times. By radical I mean getting to the root of things—the significance of the Incarnation, the basis and need for community, the meaning of suffering, death and resurrection, the historical consciousness—all those important matters that we talk about here at the Erasmus Institute of Liberal Arts.— Dr. Peter Sampo, Co-founder  
Meanwhile, in Warner, NH, Magdalen was engaged in a process of self-examination with soul-searching exactitude.  The school broached merger discussions with Thomas More, which ultimately fell apart on two separate occasions.  This experience, however, provoked a reformulation of the curriculum along a great books line, and was sufficient to encourage those desiring change to press for meaningful reform.  In the end, the reform movement gave birth to a re-founding and new leadership.  Dr. George Harne--a Princeton Ph.D and convert to the faith with a scholar's bent, a visionary's purpose, and an administrator's spine--was installed earlier this year as Magdalen's fourth President.  Undaunted by the disappointment of talks with Thomas More, he initiated discussions with Dr. Sampo to merge their respective institutions.  With the help of the heavenly host--special mention goes to St. Joseph, St. Josemaria and St. Mary Magdalen, naturally--those talks reached fruition and yielded the accord announced on Monday.

In business, this type of match made in heaven is referred to as a no-brainer.  In the academic world, where complicated brains quite often yield hair-splitting, deal-breaking distinctions, nothing comes easily.  The respective boards are to be commended for affirming their Presidents' vision.  Each institution gained something it lacked, and needed.  Both are stronger together than apart.  Borrowing a phrase from the social sciences, the merger is Pareto optimal: everyone is better off with no-one being worse off.

Noman had the pleasure this summer of spending a few days at Magdalen's glorious campus, and of enjoying Dr. Harne's generous hospitality.  Altogether, Noman was impressed with nearly everything he saw and everyone he met there.  Changes afoot in Warner are not to everyone's liking, including a sizable number of alumni.  Nobody likes being told that they lived through a mistake, especially one out of which God brought much good.  Noman's guess is that critics will be mollified and eventually won over once they see that a dedication to greater freedom is not tantamount to a retreat from serious Catholicism.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  It takes freedom to overcome the influence of sin, and to turn one's life toward God.  Good habit, without choice, is merely behavior, not virtue.  The traditional means of prayer, sacraments and intellectual activity dedicated to God will still be there--in some respects more so--as will an emphasis on developing a life-long relationship with Jesus Christ.

In sum, it is Noman's great joy to report his opinion that the re-founded College of St. Mary Magdalen is a fine institution of higher learning and Catholic fidelity, poised to become an even finer one: where the life of the mind is nurtured and cultivated in a faith-filled environment free of intellectual molestation, but not questioning.  Besides dedicated professors steeped in learning and an appreciation for the western canon, the campus boasts a church-sized chapel with daily mass, dorms with the eucharist reserved (everyone of them), and beautiful grounds to nurture the soul.  You can't beat that.  Noman suspects that a number of families will agree.  It's URL is

In Noman's opinion, parents and students would be well advised to give this college a very close look and serious consideration.  Magdalen has taken stock of what was noble in its tradition, publicly repudiated all it thought misguided or unfortunate, and embarked on a very bright future with substantive input from its founding President.

St. Mary Magdalen, please bless your school, and No-son #1 who is attending there, quite unexpectedly, as a Freshman.  God works in strange ways.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's the Combination That Will Matter

Republican candidates held their first debate in Iowa last Thursday.  Noman watched with rapt attention, and came away pretty pleased at the free-wheeling spectacle.  Newt Gingrich laid into the panel of journalists for asking "gotcha!" questions.  Michelle Bachmann absolutely pulled Tim Pawlenty's pants down around his ankles for laying into her.  He started out well by going after the President, but then got inexplicably nasty with Bachmann.  Scratch him.  Mitt Romney looked like a front-runner with very good handlers, who can take care of himself in a fight.  If only he wasn't so slick.  Ron Paul was absolutely delightful as the loose cannon who shares much with the left, though from the right.  Rick Santorum looked like a man Noman might differ with, but would trust with his life.  Herman Cain will make a great Treasury Secretary.  John Huntsman looked like a man with a secret, and not a conservative one.

Since then, Michelle Bachman has won the Iowa straw poll (congratulations to her), Rick Perry has entered the race, and talk is bubbling that Paul Ryan might run.  The great unanswered question is what Sarah Palin's plans are.  This all strikes Noman as simply great, and reminds him of the Paul Tsongas class of '92 out of which President Clinton emerged.   Of course, that year, President George Bush the 1st was popular with the people, but not with the media.  This year, it's exactly the opposite.

It seems to Noman that the field contains quite a few combinations that will be stronger in tandem than any candidate standing alone.  For instance, front-runner Romney looks Presidential, but there's something untrustworthy about him.  How did RomenyCare win his approval?  Why does he lean leftward--Democrat--on the social issues? Will he just be another tool of big finance and the Fortune 500?  The Governor can ease all these concerns and others about his slickness by selecting Rick Santorum as his running mate.  What could provide better balance than an honest man of integrity and traditional values, and moreover one with Senate experience?

Or, say Sarah Palin gets into the fight to capture the nomination.  She could balance her principle and determination to help the little guy by choosing Newt Gingrich, a very smart man with a very fast mouth who makes up for what he lacks in scruples with experience and understanding of the legislative process.  Noman assumes that Newt can't win the nomination simply because conservatives will never trust anyone who backed Dede Scozzafava to the hilt; and liberals will never crossover to vote in primaries for the scourge of '94.

Noman likes Ron Paul's principle, but thinks he's a bit of a simpleton (Noman also thinks Rick Santorum  blemished an otherwise sterling performance by pointing that out).  While it may sound comforting to let states decide on the question of gay marriage, Mitt Romney capably articulated why the nation needs a unified law on the matter: people move, what happens if a gay spouse dies after a move to traditional marriage state, etc.  While it may be fine to say that America started hostilities in Iran by installing the Shah in the 1950's, it's a little too Carteresque to just pull out and let the chips fall where they may.  If Paul should win the nomination as a reaction to President Obama's statist preferences, he'd be reasonably well served by selecting a running mate like Michelle Bachmann, a principled conservative who doesn't shy away from a fight.

Anyway, Noman would vote for any of these people just to put the national nightmare of governance by Democrats behind us.  He hopes that the party will pick a champion of conservative principles--cultural, economic, traditional--to lead the nation, and was heartened by what he saw on the Iowa stage last week.

Chicago to Pay $30 Million, Hire 111 Black Firefighters

It's a great country, isn't it?  Where else in the world can 111 people be guaranteed a job on the basis of their skin color, and another 6,000 similarly situated people be eligible for $5,000 for not being given a job 16 years ago?  Only in America.  All this beneficence comes in Chicago, courtesy of federal judges, Mayor Rahm Emanuel (President Obama's former chief of staff), and attorney Joshua Karsh (pictured above).

Would-be firefighters who have moved on to other careers or choose to bypass the jobs lottery for other reasons will receive cash awards of at least $5,000 per person. Chicago taxpayers will also be on the hook for $10 million to $20 million in back pension contributions for those who get jobs. That means the total cost could approach $50 million. 
The Chicago Fire Department’s age limit for new hires is 38, but that will not apply to the 111 black firefighters because the discrimination occurred before the cut-off was established. 
“I don’t think we’ll have a problem coming up with 111 who still want the job and are fully qualified to have it,” said Joshua Karsh, another attorney representing the plaintiffs.
“Some of these people are older than 38. But, better than half the department is older than 38.”
When results from the 1995 entrance exam were disappointing for minorities, the city established a cut-off score of 89 and hired randomly from the top 1,800 “well-qualified” candidates. 
In 2005, a federal judge ruled that the city’s decision had the effect of perpetuating the predominantly white status quo, since 78 percent of those ‘“well-qualified’’ candidates were white. 
Currently 19 percent of Chicago’s 5,000 firefighters and paramedics are African-American. The force is 68 percent white and 11 percent Hispanic. 
“By comparison to the Police Department, African-Americans are dramatically under-represented. There will [now] be 111 additional African-Americans. That’s a very good thing,” Karsh said. 
He added, “This is the remedy for violating the law. Hopefully, this will deter the city from ever violating the law in this fashion again.”

Noman isn't clear on why it's a "very good thing" that there will be more people on the force solely on the basis of their skin color (or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc.) regardless of what that might be.  Noman is certain that it's not a very good thing, and might be a very bad thing for people whose buildings burn down, that 111 new firemen may be relatively old for the position.  Neither is Noman sure how the city violated the law.  It administered an exam, set a cutoff score, and chose candidates from above that cutoff score.  78% of the people above that score were white.  So what?

Certainly attorney Karsh is familiar with cutoff scores.  Noman notes from his profile that he earned his B.A. at Yale and his J.D. from Chicago.  Those are elite schools, so he's familiar with the concept of emoluments flowing to those who score highest.  (Incidentally, Attorney Karsh accepts VISA and MasterCard--a Godsend for those considering civil rights class action lawsuits.)

This kind of shakedown is possible because attorney's like Joshua Karsh need only establish a policy's disparate impact on a minority group, not demonstrate any discriminatory intent.  So, if the Chicago Fire Department truthfully argues that it wanted to hire the smartest fire fighters possible, that doesn't matter.  What matters to the law is that the largest pool of smart people were white, thereby diminishing the chances that a not-so-smart non-white will get the job.  That's discrimination on the basis of smarts, and therefore in hiring.

Maybe Noman has been asleep for the past few decades, but has anyone satisfactorily proposed a compelling rationale for enabling enterprising race hucksters in the Bar and on the bench to force these kinds of liabilities on citizens merely because the world doesn't randomly confer outcomes that appease their social consciences?  If so, Noman has missed it.

The article states that costs to the city may escalate to $50 million dollars.  It doesn't mention Attorney Karsh's take from the plunder, but at the standard 30% rate, it looks to be about $15 million.  (Perhaps he represented this amorphous class of inferior test takers on a pro bono basis.)  It looks like a great scam for Rahm Emanuel's cronies, attorneys like Joshua Karsh, and liberal judges who all share in the spoils at Standard Club soirees and fund raisers.  It looks like a really lousy deal for the people of the city of Chicago, however, even the ones who will receive the peanuts doled out to them by the political-legal establishment at the cost of resentment.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Global Warming Debate Heats Up

Scientific fraud?  Nonsense.  Wife peer reviews paper?  So what?.  And, who are you to ask?  That's the gist of an article by Audrey Hudson in Human Events entitled "Global Warming Link to Drowned Polar Bears Melts Under Searing Fed Probe."  What's the world coming to when lavish scientific claims are subject to scrutiny by the funders of research?

Biologist Charles Monnett, the lead author of a paper being investigated for scientific misconduct, was placed on administrative leave in July.  He manages $50 million in studies as part of his duties as a wildlife biologist with the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.  Dr. Monnett was eloquent in his own defense:
“I mean, that’s not—I mean, I mean, the level of criticism that they seem to have leveled here, scientific misconduct suggests that we did something deliberately to deceive or to change it,” Monnett said.

“I sure don’t see any indication of that in what you’re asking me about,” Monnett said.

The actual survey Monnett was conducting when he observed the dead bears in 2004 was the migration of bowhead whales.  Investigators questioned how he later obtained data for a table listing live and dead polar bear sightings from 1987 to 2004.

“So how could you make the statement that no dead polar bears were observed” during that time period? May asked.

“Because we talked to the people that had flown the flights, and they would remember whether they had seen any dead polar bears,” Monnett said.

Asked whether he had any documentation to back that up, Monnett said that he did not.

“Science is about making the best case you can to test your hypothesis,” Monnett said.  “You assemble your arguments and your data, you put it out there, and you see who’s going to knock it down.”

“And surprisingly, nobody, you know, knocked this down in any way.  Everybody was just kind of like, ‘Oh, yeah, four dead polar bears.  Okay, that’s kind of cool,’ ” Monnett said.

Dr. Rob Roy Ramey, a biologist who specializes in endangered species scientific issues for Wildlife Science International, Inc., reviewed Monnett’s paper as well as the inspector general's interviews for HUMAN EVENTS and said that the authors made unwarranted assumptions and large extrapolations based on a single event.

“They did not know if the polar bears actually drowned, they assumed that they had drowned.  There were no statistical tests, just extrapolations made with no accounting for measurement error,” Ramey said.

“The paper gives the appearance that rigorous surveying was done for polar bears, when it was not,” Ramey said.

“They were flying at 1,500 feet with the purpose of looking for bowhead whales, which are much larger and easier to spot.”

Ramey also says he sees a conflict of interest for Monnett’s wife to be part of the internal peer review, and questioned the awarding of a contract to Derocher, who also participated in the peer review.

“That’s not impartial,” Ramey said.  “It’s really important that peer review be truly independent.  If they can’t be, then everyone has to state their conflict right up front.”

“I think it’s very illustrative of the problems with government research on endangered species, and raises the question as to whether government should be in the business of science,” Ramey said.
Man made global warming--"climate change"-- may not be good science.  But, it sure is good business.  When the newly assembled super committee in Congress meets to find those trillions of dollars of cuts or taxes, they might want to look at the shenanigans in this government funded racket.

Doubling Down on Zero

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee announced that it will keep it's short term interest rate target near 0% for another 24 months.  That's in addition to the 32 months it has hovered at that level.  And they blame chairman Greenspan's decision to keep rates too low too long early last decade for fueling a fateful bubble in real estate.  Noman can't wait to see what happens in a few years.

The WSJ's editors have their doubts about the wisdom of inviting inflation, which is what the Fed is doing.

The larger error is to assume that monetary policy will save the economy from its current malaise. That's the latest mantra from the same economists who told us that $1 trillion in spending stimulus was the answer in 2009. Since that has failed, we are now told the economy needs a bout of extended inflation to reduce our debt burden. Harvard's Kenneth Rogoff says the Fed should allow a "sustained burst of moderate inflation, say, 4-6% for several years." 
There's no doubt that inflation can erode the value of money and debt. Argentina tries this every few years. Debtors and "millionaires and billionaires" (to borrow a phrase) do fine, but the middle class pays a huge price in a debased standard of living. Once you encourage more inflation, it's also hard to stop at 4%. In today's global economy with investors already suspicious of U.S. economic management, an overt declaration of such a policy might trigger a wholesale run on the dollar. 
Mr. Bernanke and his Fed majority haven't gone that far, despite doubling down on zero yesterday. But if monetary policy by itself could conjure growth, or compensate for bad fiscal and regulatory policy, we'd already be booming.
Noman also has his doubts, and worries for America's future.  Short of slashing tax rates and government spending, privatizing education and every aspect of government that can be done at levels closer to the problem, and encouraging people to care for their families, stay together, work together and pray for sustenance, Noman isn't sure what to do.

How Not To Address The Deficit

In an opinion piece entitled "How to Close the Skills Gap" Senators Mary Landrieu and Patty Murray illustrate why dealing with Democrats is impossible.  Their predictable response to financial crisis precipitated by out of control government spending is to provide more compelling reasons for more government spending.

Adding to the urgency of the situation is the reality that the U.S. competes in a global economy, and businesses today take stock of assets around the globe when they make investment decisions. The sad fact is that we spend considerably less than other developed countries on labor-market policies, including work-force training and job-search programs. At the individual level, the U.S. invested only $908 per labor-market participant—$84 dollars, or 9.2%, less than the average amount spent by other member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). 
We believe that the skills gap is a consequence of our failure to seriously invest in the education of America's work force. Without an educated pool of workers from which to hire, small businesses are bearing the financial burden of teaching these skills. 
John Russo, the president of Scientific Analytical Solutions in North Kingston, R.I., recently talked to the AP about the problem his small business faces: "It's very difficult to find the right person, and there's all walks of life trying to find jobs. I honestly think there's a large swath of unemployable. They don't have any skills at all."
That's right, we have a skills gap, and a surplus of unempolyables.  That wouldn't have anything to do with an education system that indoctrinates children on the primordial importance of learning to use a condom before being able to, gay marriage, abortion on demand, and voting Democrat, would it?

Notice also the statist presumption: people are not prepared; ergo it's government's fault for not preparing them, and government's responsibility to do something.  Noman wonders if people might bear any responsibility for preparing themselves, or families have a responsibility to prepare their members, or churches have a responsibility to prepare their faithful.  The great unspoken in all statist campaigns to fix the poll-tested problem de jour is this: money is to be siphoned away from individuals, families, the church, and all associations intermediate to the dependent individual and the capacitated state.  This was Rousseau's dream, and the French revolutionaries'.  It's a destructive dream contrary to human nature and to a sane political economy.

People don't need the federal government to fix all their problems.  People need to develop an ethos of fixing their own problems and their loved one's problems so that everyone else doesn't need to be burdened with them.  Then, they should look around to find those needing a hand.  Legend has it that this was the American ethos until sometime during the past century.  Perhaps we should revive it, and vote out people who are wrong-headedly dedicated to the statist ethos.

Mary Landrieu--she of the $300 million ObamaCare bribe--Patty Murray and their party don't see it that way, however.

As we work to create jobs and get our economy back on track, closing this skills gap needs to be a top priority. A critical first step: reauthorizing and reforming the Workforce Investment Act, our nation's foundational federal work-force development policy. We also need to expand innovative approaches that have produced results, such as career pathways programs that provide labor-market information to students and job seekers about in-demand jobs, and the skills and education necessary to get them. 
Other important elements of tackling this problem include integrating education and work-based learning, and supporting strategies that allow learners to work while receiving training (also known as "earn and learn" strategies). We should also support public–private partnerships that draw on the expertise of successful members of the business community to help provide assistance and job-preparation advice to our work force. 
Building a bigger and more highly skilled work force will help our small businesses step up to global competition. There's no excuse to delay getting to work on the problem any longer.

There you have a pristine statement of the statist, Democratic party position.  First, we need to reauthorize a federal program.  Then we--the federal government, that is--need to expand innovative approaches.  Then we need to reinvent the apprenticeship system that education reformers unwisely threw away more than a century ago.  Then we need the federal government to work things out with the business community (which will undoubtedly be called upon to foot part of the bill, confer perks on pols and contribute to their campaigns).

Noman sees several excuses to "delay getting to work on the problem."  First, Noman isn't sure why the federal government is needed to do anything mentioned above except reauthorize federal legislation and the money it lards troughs with.  And, it shouldn't do that, for both economic and moral reasons.  All of the rest of their suggestions, and better ones, can be adopted without the interference of government.  Secondly, the nation just went through a nail-biting negotiation that resulted in a debt rating downgrade precisely because one of the two parties is still dedicated to the government's spending ever increasing amounts of borrowed or taxed money.  This party thinks that as long as there is a public problem somewhere, there is an imperative for a costly public solution. Noman disagrees.  What America needs more of is private, self-dependent solutions to what gets called a public problem when viewed in the aggregate.

Monday, August 15, 2011

S & P Introduces the Edsel, Some Say

Noman doesn't usually disagree with Holman Jenkins.  But, this time he makes an exception.
Three players—the House, Senate and White House—were required to give their consent to a debt-ceiling hike. All three, by definition, were holding the hike "hostage" to their concerns. The House tea party contingent "won" not because it was more ruthless—but because, with Venn diagram simplicity, it confined itself to a position that overlapped with the positions of the other players, who all agreed that, whatever else needs to be done, spending cuts must be part of the long-term solution. 
And look at the settlement that materialized: The parties agreed to agree on spending cuts at a later date—a remarkably consensual solution that imposed immediate pain on no one in our struggling economy. Even the White House achieved its non-negotiable: The debt-limit issue will now remain buried past next year's election. 
The debt-ceiling battle was the tiniest step on a long road, but it laid down a useful milestone: We're overspending. Not a bad day's work in our democracy. 
Alas, committees are often wisdom-impaired, and the S&P credit committee showed as much when it based its downgrade on the discovery of conflict, brinksmanship and hyperbole in the debt-ceiling fight, as if these aren't a standard accompaniment to political progress. This was to take the angry-idiot shouting of TV, which is epiphenomenon, and make it phenomenon. It was the opposite of insight. It was also instantly refuted by the markets, which understand all the reasons U.S. debt is virtually default-proof.

It may very well be true that U.S. debt is virtually default-proof. Noman, like all sane people, hopes that it is.  And, "conflict, brinksmanship and hyperbole" in DC is no more authentic than are painful grimaces in big-time wrestling or international soccer.

Noman's suspects, however, that the sentiments S&P's downgrade articulated were exasperation and disbelief that DC, media pundits, and all parties concerned played chicken when the country, and world, are fast approaching the precipice.  Context matters.  There is time and season for everything, but not always.  There's a time for politics as usual.  But, this is not one of them.

To use an analogy, imagine a friend whose wife walks out on him.  His initial reactions might be disbelief, intransigence, anger and stubbornness, even while he wants his wife back.  While that response might be unhelpful at first, it is downright stupid three years later when the wife is serving up divorce papers.  A friend will sympathize in the beginning.  By the end, however, disgust will likely have set in.  Analogously, S&P--the capital markets sometimes befuddled watchman--is disgusted.

S&P just emitted a Bronx cheer that America's Nero's are fiddling while DC burns.  President Obama eagerly stepped into a terrifyingly unenviable position in January of 2009, and immediately proceeded to take advantage of a perceived opportunity to transform the nation's institutions and role in the world.  Just think about that.  To an economy drowning in worthless debt and impossible burdens, he added trillions of dollars of debt--each year--and heaped the greatest entitlement burden imaginable onto the backs of traumatized taxpayers.  

A fun game of political chicken is neither fun nor a game under these circumstances.  America totters on the brink.  And, this is no time for self congratulations that useful milestones have been achieved.  S&P to its credit knows so, even if Holman Jenkins doesn't.

Noman refers readers to the chicken scene in "Rebel Without A Cause" to see what happens when the testosterone laden play dangerous games.

What Happened to Obama? Absolutely Nothing.

Norman Podhoretz weighs in on buyer's remorse on the left:
In short, the spell that Mr. Obama once cast—a spell so powerful that instead of ridiculing him when he boasted that he would cause "the oceans to stop rising and the planet to heal," all of liberaldom fell into a delirious swoon—has now been broken by its traumatic realization that he is neither the "god" Newsweek in all seriousness declared him to be nor even a messianic deliverer. 
Hence the question on every lip is—as the title of a much quoted article in the New York Times by Drew Westen of Emory University puts it— "What Happened to Obama?" Attacking from the left, Mr. Westen charges that President Obama has been conciliatory when he should have been aggressively pounding away at all the evildoers on the right. 
Of course, unlike Mr. Westen, we villainous conservatives do not see Mr. Obama as conciliatory or as "a president who either does not know what he believes or is willing to take whatever position he thinks will lead to his re-election." On the contrary, we see him as a president who knows all too well what he believes. Furthermore, what Mr. Westen regards as an opportunistic appeal to the center we interpret as a tactic calculated to obfuscate his unshakable strategic objective, which is to turn this country into a European-style social democracy while diminishing the leading role it has played in the world since the end of World War II. The Democrats have persistently denied that these are Mr. Obama's goals, but they have only been able to do so by ignoring or dismissing what Mr. Obama himself, in a rare moment of candor, promised at the tail end of his run for the presidency: "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America."
To Noman's mind, the article is most definitely worth a read, as is nearly everything Podhoretz writes.  There is nothing quite so clear-headed as a man of the left who migrates against the stream, and self-interest, to the right.

Putting Country First

Many readers will remember Cindy Sheehan, the mother of an Iraq casualty who became the public face of the anti-Iraq-war movement.   Cindy bedeviled President Bush, and seemingly had greater access to the media than he did.  Between 2004 and 2006, the left devoted itself entirely at home and abroad to denouncing US militarism; attributing the war to President Bush's psychological kinks, Vice President Cheney's Halliburton connections and the bogie-men neocons' paranoia regarding Israel; dissuading America's allies from the fight; whipping up protest from Washington DC to Madrid and beyond; and generally giving aid and comfort to America's enemies.

Noman recalls a NY Times editorial sternly lecturing Al Qaeda after one of its casual atrocities--the beheading of Daniel Pearl perhaps--that this was not going to help it win the propaganda war against the great satan.  Even before that, the Times had tipped off Osama Bin Laden that the military had tracked his cell phone to locate him at Tora Bora.  He escaped by giving his phone to an aide and sending him in the opposite direction to draw away fire.  All this, we were told, was the purist sort of patriotism, which, despite looking like treason, was actually the highest form of serving one's country in its time of need.

One hears a great deal about unpatriotic Americans these days, who put their own selfish interests before their country's.  The issue isn't life and death, victory or defeat anymore.  It's much more dire than that.  This time around its about providing an endless supply of bureaucratic jobs to liberal college graduates and other unemployables, an endless stream of benefits to an increasing number of government dependents, and larding a bottomless trough for Democrat constituencies and corporatist quislings.  In short, the issue is whether you are a patriotic American insisting that others pay higher taxes to fuel the continued hyper growth of burgeoning government at all levels or, conversely, you are a selfish and treacherous... gasp... tea partier.

Good and noble President Obama is vulnerable only because he is vexed by something apparently never-ever-ever seen in this country: a disloyal opposition that just wants him to fail.  Moreover, these traitors are apparently all racists.

Those who live on the planet earth might want to know what happened to patriotic dissent and Cindy Sheehan after the Democrats won Congress in 2006.  The Iraq war fell off the front pages, and the spending binge commenced.  In the 2008 election, Cindy challenged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's seat for not impeaching George Bush.  She'd already become a bore, but was now persona non grata.  America is still fighting in Iraq, and even more so in Afghanistan.  We're now even fighting in Libya.  When was the last time you heard about an anti-war protest?

Speaking of Iraq, American troops are scheduled to depart in December, though complete withdrawal looks an unlikely event.  One of today's headlines was "Iraq Erupts: Bombings in a Dozen Cities Kill at Least 60 on Monday":
"Where is the government with all these explosions across the country? Where is al-Maliki? Why doesn't he come to see?" said Ali Jumaa Ziad, a shopowner in Kut, where the worst of the violence occurred. Ziad was brushing pieces of human flesh from the floor and off equipment in his shop... 

As for patriotic dissent, it no longer exists.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Black on White Flash Mobs Mystify Beauraucrats

Three cheers for Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  Calling a spade a spade, the mayor hectored black teenagers for damaging their own race.  Tough talk that, and 40 years overdue.
“If you walk into somebody’s office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won’t hire you? They don’t hire you ‘cause you look like you’re crazy,” the mayor said. “You have damaged your own race.” ... 
“The Immaculate Conception of our Lord Jesus Christ took place a long time ago, and it didn’t happen here in Philadelphia,” Mr. Nutter said. “So every one of these kids has two parents who were around and participating at the time. They need to be around now.”
The mayor told parents, “If you’re just hanging out out there, maybe you’re sending them a check or bringing some cash by. That’s not being a father. You’re just a human ATM. … And if you’re not providing the guidance and you’re not sending any money, you’re just a sperm donor.” 
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials are not certain that a pattern of black mobs mugging innocent white bystanders reflects any racial animus.  Some are not willing to apply the nation's noxious hate crime laws with stiffer penalties in these cases.  Thankfully, some are.

Such reticence evinces the double standard that innocent people--what used to be called decent people until decades of Hollywood brainwashing reversed the presumption--suffer under in liberal-dominated America.  It's the Major Hasan standard.  When a jihadist traitor whips out a firearm and screams "Allahu Akbar!" before unleashing mayhem on a military base, we are counseled by the President himself to not rush to judgement.  Conversely, when a drug-addled, Communist-Manifesto-reading media junkie opens fire on a Democratic Congresswoman, it's Sarah Palin and Rush Limbuagh's fault.  Throw the book at him.

Let's see, if a pack of 20 white teenagers singles out a black man for a beating, will race be considered a factor?  Hmm.  If a pack of 20 heterosexuals singles out a gay man for a beating, will hate-crime laws be applied?  Hmm.  What's amazing is how infrequent stories like that are.  What's appalling is how unsurprising reports of black mob violence are.  And, what it shows when law enforcement officials are reluctant to apply hate crime laws for flash mob violence is that those laws were primarily put in place to bedevil one demographic group, straight white males.

Hate crime laws are odious to Noman, and wreak of liberal self-righteousness.  However, if the noxious things are on the books, then they should be applied equally under the same presumptions, even when politically correct sacred cows are the predators, as they too frequently are.

Friday, August 12, 2011

George Orwell's Chicago

A funny thing happened in Chicago at Illinois Senator Dick Durbin's press conference.  It was held to cast aspersions on the Tea Party for S&P's downgrade of Uncle Sam's credit rating, and everyone assembled was there to help him spread the narrative.  Everyone but William J. Kelley that is, an independent voice who's published at The American Spectator,, and the Washington Times Communities.  Kelley likes to raise the important question of who deserves to be the intermediary between events that happen and the public that is subsequently informed, or not informed, about them.  On this occasion he asked Durbin--tried to ask him, Noman should clarify--whether since he'd blamed everyone else for the debacle, the Senator himself bore any responsibility (video of the incident included in the article).   The nerve.  Well that was too much for the good Senator and the liberal flaks coddling him who pass for journalists in Chicago, and all major cities.  The questioner was summarily dismissed, intimidated and removed from the conference by law enforcement.  He was a non-person--a Noman, so to speak--who didn't deserve recognition, or an answer.  Kelley seems to be used to this kind of treatment.
Of course, I’ve been accused of being uncivil before. I’ve also been threatened by other journalists beforeBut this isn’t about civility; it’s about control. 

The Democrats and their media cronies want to control the news and information. They want to control the political system and its system of punishments and rewards. This system is fundamentally anti-freedom and they – the powers that be - are “OK” with that. 
I was held to a different standard because I write for conservative news outlets and Sen. Durbin didn’t like my question. The mainstream media are merely an adjunct to the Obama campaign and the Democrat National Committee. Not one of them reported this incident. 
The economic crisis is not helped by a compliant, subservient media that tampers with news to help their candidates and causes. In the abscessed cavity of newsrooms around Chicago, this exchange and the remarks Sen. Durbin made to the media’s microphones exists. In Chicago, NBC, CBS, ABC, the Chicago Sun-Times, and every other news outlet, have shown their true colors. They weren’t red, white, and blue.  
And neither are Durbin’s.
The reader can discern for himself whether the question was legitimate.  Noman thinks it was an elementary one of the type that politicians in both parties should be asked, not just the Republican.   Kelley gave Senator Durbin a golden opportunity to demonstrate to the public that he is a thinking man, and not merely an emoting partisan.  Durbin failed, which is not surprising given that he is never tested.  And the establishment journalists who turned on Kelley to shelter the Senator from scrutiny should be prosecuted for perpetrating a criminal fraud on the public, and for impersonating newsmen.

Noman is witnessing a seismic cultural shift for the second time in his life.  The first was when enterprising outsiders like Kelley wrote for Rolling Stone, or Ramparts.  Kelley is Gonzo without the drugs.  Andrew Breitbart is Jann Wenner with scruples.

Over the decades, the counter culture of the 60's became the status quo, and men like Durbin, Jim Anderson and Jay Levine (Anderson and Levine can be seen in the various links) swept into establishment positions with all of the moral smugness of 60's activists, and all of the vices, plus some, of the people they castigated, overran and replaced.  Their predecessors had more capacity for self-reflection, were less blind to their own deficiencies, and possessed moral conscience rather than social conscience.  Durbin et al. are this era's reactionaries checking for tea-partiers under every bed.  If they don't like upstart behavior, that's too bad.  But for it, they wouldn't have their positions.  They set the ground rules; now they have to play by them.

People like Kelley, and the existence of alternative media that enable you to become aware of them lead Noman to think that we are on the brink of a cultural revolution that will flush pharisees like Dick Durbin and his media cronies into the sewer where they belong.  He doesn't know when the tipping point will come.  But, come it will, and sooner rather than later.

For now, Noman wishes everyone to know--especially those readers outside of the United States--how liberal tyranny and oppression of thought and information work in America.  And he wants everyone to see how hostile and uncivil the guardians of public discourse get when their mind-control prerogatives are threatened.  Remember it next time the talking heads drone on about civility.

Buyer's Remorse On The Left?

Noman is having a what-planet-does-this-guy-live-on?-moment.  Alex Spillius of the Telegraph--whose name unfortunately looks like a blend of Syphilis and Silly--reports on the left's disenchantment with President Obama because his cojones aren't as large as Hilary Clinton's.
Mr Obama's capitulation to Republicans in the recent tussle over deficit reduction is being seen as the lowest point of his presidency and the latest in a series of blows to the liberal agenda. 
Faced with the staunch opposition of the Tea Party contingent of the Republican Party, he agreed to widespread cuts in government spending without winning any revenue increases in exchange.
Come again?  Capitulation in the recent tussle over deficit reduction?  The question doesn't come up again until after the 2012 election.  Advantage Obama.  $2.6 trillion of supposed deficit reductions will be negotiated by a super committee of politicians dealing in back rooms that will consider tax increases and reductions in military outlays.  Advantage Obama.  After doubling the national debt since the Democratic legislative takeover in 2006, and running $ trillion-plus deficits for every year of the Obama presidency, the deal yielded $21 billion dollars in illusory cuts.  Advantage Obama.

Series of blows to the liberal agenda?  Let's see.  Financial reform that reforms nothing that led to the crisis of 2008, but creates a super regulator that answers only to the White House.  Victory for the left.  $1 trillion of stimulus that stimulated nothing but Democratic constituencies and big government.  Victory for the left.  Cap and trade being enacted by regulatory subterfuge.  Victory for the left.  America's influence throughout the world, and especially in the middle east, frittered away.  Victory for the left.  Unconfirmed left-wing Czars running roughshod through the American government, doing the whacky left's bidding without interference.  Victory for the left.  Bond holders of two of the Big Three Auto makers stiffed, while the United Auto Workers union that killed them are given equity in the reborn enterprises courtesy of the American taxpayer.  Victory for the left.  Don't ask don't tell eliminated, and the Defense of Marriage Act ignored.  Victory for the left.  America's borders left undefended, and pro-abortion orthodoxy run amok throughout the Department of Health and Human Services.  Victory for the left.  Two leftist, feminist jurists of dubious sexual orientation on the Supreme Court.  Big victory for the left.  And, the grandaddy of them all, ObamaCare, which puts the government's paws all over 16% of the American economy while it creates thousands of premium government jobs for liberal-voting Democrats.  Victory for the left.

When the history of this epoch is written, Barack Obama's first two years in the White House will be viewed as the most wildly successful period of time that the left--or any political impulse--has ever had in this country.  And all of it accomplished without firing a shot on the populace--just a few tea-partiers roughed up by SEIU goons, and the media's unremitting complicity and cooperation.  All the President has got to do is to hang onto power for another four years in order to consolidate and preserve his statist triumphs between 2008 and 2010.  But, even if he accomplished nothing more than what he's already achieved, and lost the 2012 election, his Presidency would still mark the  high water mark of statism in America, rivaled only by FDR's much longer reign.

For a more sober look at liberal fretting over the public's buyer's remorse, Noman suggests James Taranto's piece in the Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Clinton was ideologically flexible, whereas Mr. Obama is rigid. Yet the left stuck with Mr. Clinton even through his impeachment. Everyone loves a winner, and progressives are angry and disconsolate with Mr. Obama because they increasingly see him as a loser. But if the president is a loser, it is precisely because he is one of them.
If the left is not happy, it's because the left is on drugs.    Lefties should be building monuments to Barack Obama, something to go along with his Nobel Peace Prize, which they will do once its safe to quit posturing for political purposes.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Obama's No Good, Very Bad Week

Karl Rove tees off on President Obama's shortcomings-related woes, and suggests a number of things that the President could have, and could still, do to get his interlocutors in a more cooperative mood.

Rather than holding out for a "grand bargain" on entitlements, Mr. Obama could have proposed passing reforms one or two at a time, building confidence inside Congress for even more difficult actions. As his own outgoing Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee said Sunday, "Can't we wait on the things that we're going to yell at each other about and start on the things that we agree on?" 
The president could have pledged to reform the tax code to produce more robust growth that will create jobs and raise more revenue without hiking rates. Everyone knows Mr. Obama wants higher tax rates. Everyone knows the Republican House won't pass them. So why not focus on what is possible? 
Off-camera, Mr. Obama could have taken two other important steps. First, stop teeing off on congressional Republicans whose help he needs to accomplish anything this year. And second, attend far fewer fundraisers until Congress goes out in December. He must rescue his presidency by spending more time on his job, not his politics. These steps, however, are probably beyond the president. This West Wing is almost completely focused on the president's re-election, not on policy. 
Because they cannot defend his record, Team Obama will attempt to "kill" their political opponents, as one Democratic strategist told this week. These are difficult days for our president. Buffeted by events, he looks weak, dazed and over his head. And in 15 months, unless he finds some way to turn things around, he will be voted out of office.
That's well put about the President's needing to tend more to his office job and less to his politics.  Everyone knows that BO is still king of the fund-raising banquet circuit.  It's a pity for the President that Saul Alinsky didn't write a book about how the practical revolutionary might govern after taking power by convincing people that they wanted change.  It's a pity for the country that Alinsky did write a book about how practical revolutionaries might take power, and even more of a pity that America elected a President who was so well versed in it.

For those who'd like to read a little something about the President's playbook, please see Noman's March 13, 2011 post entitled "Rules for Radicals," and March 17, 2011 post entitled "Putting Alinsky's Lessons to Work."

Amen to That

Senator Jim DeMint has called the Obama Administration the most "anti-business" and "anti-American" of his lifetime.  I can just hear the pundits sniggering now at the sport they're about to have with him for such direct and intemperate remarks.  It's a short outburst that puts its finger on the crucial spot:
Things that are just so anathema to the principles of freedom, and everything he has come up with centralizes more power in Washington, creates more socialist-style, collectivist policies. 
Ay, there's the rub.  Under President Obama, government at all levels grows; the private sector suffers except for the Fortune 500 Quislings like Jeff Immelt's GE which prosper by getting in bed with the government; people are told what kind of lightbulbs they will use and are exposed to liability for having a garage sale; government unions flourish while lesser-paid and less-protected private sector workers foot the bill; more and more people cannot find work and avail themselves of the government's inducements to become dependent.

Need Noman go on?  He doesn't know much about Senator DeMint except that whenever he hears the name, there's usually a lefty harangue invoking it.  Good job, Senator.

The Sun Never Sets On The British Welfare System

OK.  Noman admits it.  He loves reading Ann Coulter.   She's mostly right, funny, irreverent to liberal's sacred cows, outlandish, sarcastic, scandalously blunt, a copious documenter, and a really good writer.  She has a keen eye for spotting the insanity of contemporary culture, and a sharp pen for skewering it in print.  She's got a point, as she most often does, with this one.
Those of you following the barbaric rioting in Britain will not have failed to notice that a sizable proportion of the thugs are white, something not often seen in this country.  
Not only that, but in a triumph of feminism, a lot of them are girls. Even the "disabled" (according to the British benefits system) seem to have miraculously overcome their infirmities to dash out and steal a few TVs.  
Congratulations, Britain! You've barbarized your citizenry, without regard to race, gender or physical handicap! 
To Noman's mind, that's just about the right touch.  He's not so thrilled about Anne's TV and radio persona, which is a bit too coquettish at the same time as it's smug to the point of snobbishness.  But, at least she's out there crossing swords with lefties on the big stage.  Thank God, as somebody has got to do it.  And, she normally acquits herself favorably in debate.

Anne is one of those people that droves of media lefties love to hate.  So, it's understandable if the reader is reticent about giving her a chance.  That's the point of singling her out for special treatment.  Get over your aversion, and rifle through her archives.  You might find that these arch-arch-arch-whacko-right wing nut jobs have a point.

Wisconsin Postscript

Noman has taken great interest in political developments in Wisconsin, a ridiculously liberal state north of Illinois, an even more ridiculously liberal, and crooked, state.  Apparently, something happened to the water in Lake Michigan because, except for Chicago, there has been a conservative tilt in recent elections on both sides of that great lake.  Yesterday featured the latest endorsement of sensible and fiscally responsible governance in the cheesehead state.  Disaffected public unions threatened by Governor Scott Walker's legislative initiatives earlier this year attempted to tilt the balance of the state senate by recalling six Republican senators in order to deprive the Governor of a necessary legislative majority.  Things didn't quite work out for Democrats, union thugs, community organizers and horrified liberals from New York to Los Angeles.

Union forces in Wisconsin and beyond were dealt a blow Tuesday night after Republicans held onto four of the six state Senate seats in recall races and kept majority control of the chamber.  While thousands marched on the Madison statehouse in February over a new law promoted by Republican Gov. Scott Walker that limits collective bargaining rights for public workers, voters in the Badger State turned out in record numbers and sent a message that economic reform trumps the heated power of organized labor.  “The outcome yesterday is a win for Republicans, but it’s especially a weakness for Democrats and the union groups because they fell short of their goal,” said Charles Franklin, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  “Maybe we could talk about the shows of strength, mobilization and closeness that came from this. But at best what it says is unions will be in for very tough fights wherever they take this issue. It is not going to be one that can easily win.”
 Noman hopes that Professor Franklin's grip on reality is firm.  And, he is very happy with this result, not because he holds any special animus towards unions, but because Governor Walker's policies seem the only feasible alternative to the capital market meltdowns suffered by Greece, Ireland, Portugal, the EU generally, and the USA recently, indeed as Noman writes this sentence.   Unions, and Democrats generally don't seem to understand, or care about, the peril America is in because of impossible entitlement promises and cushy deals for government employees.  The present course is simply not sustainable.

Note how the Washington Post handles the same story, even going so far as to intimate that Republicans are cheating.

Democrats’ chances came down to Darling’s race against state Rep.Sandy Pasch (D), which was not decided until early Wednesday morning.  Democrats have questioned the results given that Waukesha County was one of the last to finish reporting. In April’s Supreme Court election — also seen as a referendum on collective bargaining — challengerJoAnne Kloppenburg appeared to have beaten Judge David Prosser, before thousands of lost ballots were found in Waukesha.
Actually, "thousands of lost ballots" were not found in Judge Prosser's successful election.  The Post writers must have gotten confused with Democratic Senator Al Franken's stolen victory in Minnesota, which did entail discovery of lost ballots in the trunk of a Democratic campaign worker's car.  As the Wall Street Journal pointed out after the Wisconsin judicial election.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus told reporters she discovered an error Wednesday afternoon when she was importing the election numbers into a computer file and realized that 10,859 votes for Mr. Prosser and 3,456 for Ms. Kloppenburg had not been counted.  "This is not a case of extra votes or extra ballots being found," Ms. Nickolaus said, her voice wavering with emotion. "This is human error, which I apologize for." Ms. Nickolaus is a former staff member for the Assembly Republican caucus and was elected to a four-year term.

Noman linked the article in his 4/7/11 blog entry entitled "Cheese Heads Hanging In The Balance."  The Post's professional writers must have been too busy under tight deadlines to dig up the facts.

For those interested in reviewing recent political events in Wisconsin, please refer to Noman's posts "Unions Turn To The Bible" (April 6, 2011); "Making An Offer They Can't Refuse" (April 1, 2001); "Those Mean and Stupid Republicans" (March 10, 2011); and "Public Unions Under Water" (March 7, 2011).