Monday, September 29, 2008

Diplomatic Genius

In the midst of trying to arrive at a bipartisan plan to save our economy Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi decided to go to the well of the House and blame the Republicans for the entire mess. By choosing at this delicate moment to resort to partisan attacks against them, and accusing Republicans of being the cause of the crisis, she so angered GOP congressmen that a number of them recanted on their agreement to hold their nose and vote for the bailout. Consequently, it failed to pass 207-226.

I don't know what she was thinking, but it appears that she wasn't thinking at all. It should also be noted that, as the following post makes clear, any attempt to blame this crisis on Republicans reflects either ignorance, stupidity or dishonesty. No one who occupies the Speaker's chair could possibly be ignorant of the facts so we're left with some rather unfortunate alternatives regarding Nancy Pelosi.


Where the Blame Lies

Anyone following the news this past week will probably have heard Democrats and other liberals repeatedly blaming the Republicans for the current financial crisis. The historical fact is, however, that Republicans have tried on several occasions to rein in these institutions and have been forcefully resisted by Democrats who wanted banks to be forced to give mortgages to people who couldn't afford them and for taxpayers to essentially guarantee those loans.

This video is from a 2004 congressional hearing in front of the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets. It leaves no doubt that the Democratic members chose to attack the credibility of the regulator rather than take any action against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or their CEO's whom they chose to defend.

Watch the whole thing and the next time you hear someone try to blame the current mess on the Bush administration dare them to watch it as well:

Here's a rich irony. The very same people who preferred to beat up on the regulating agency at this hearing, Barney Frank and his fellow Democrats, now run the committee and are the same people to whom is entrusted the task of designing legislation to solve the problem.

Here's another irony. More people trust Barack Obama to fix this crisis than trust John McCain despite the fact that Obama has accepted more money in the last two and a half years from Freddie and Fannie than any other politician except Democrat senator Chris Dodd and despite the fact that he numbers among his economic advisers the two men most responsible for the corruption at these two institutions, Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson. It's hard not to be cynical about the intelligence of the American voter.

For more background on this video go here.


Palin's Qualifications

There's lots of concern that Sarah Palin's inexperience and lack of intellectual polish disqualify her from being just a heartbeat away from the presidency. A common rejoinder to this is to point out that Obama has even less relevant experience than does Palin, but there's another comparison I've never seen called to our attention that should be. Nancy Pelosi is only two heartbeats away from the presidency and there are probably few people in government less qualified for the Oval Office than she. Those who complain that it's painful to listen to Palin stumble through her interviews with Katie Couric and Charles Gibson ought to be made to sit and listen to Nancy Pelosi's brutal assaults on both logic and veracity.

If the woman who appears in this video is qualified to be Speaker of the House then Sarah Palin is eminently qualified to be vice-president:

What Pelosi said about Republicans being opposed to contraception is nonsense, of course, but her statements about the teaching of the Catholic Church are even worse. See here for the Church's response:

This video also has some interesting discussion of Obama's claim that pro-lifers are lying about him having voted against a bill that would have protected children from infanticide. It's old news, I know, but it's good to be reminded of this stuff now and then.


Above His Pay Grade

The science journal Nature worries that a creationist may inveigle her way into the White House and then all will be lost:

The most worrying thing about a McCain presidency is not so much a President McCain as a Vice-President Palin. Sarah Palin, Alaska's governor and McCain's running mate, opposes all research into human embryonic stem cells. She is a creationist....

But there's still hope. Barack Obama may ride to our aid and rescue us from the calamity of having a vice-president who thinks that students should be able to discuss the issues involved in the debate and decide for themselves what to believe rather than being told what to believe. Nature interviewed Barack Obama on this issue. Here's what they said about his response:

Contrast that with Obama's statement on page 448, in which Nature asked him about the teaching of intelligent design in science classes. It is not easy to address students' questions about evolution without falling prey to the false notion of 'teaching the controversy', as the Royal Society's director of education discovered last week in a public-relations meltdown (see 'Creation and classrooms'). But Obama could not be more clear: "I do not believe it is helpful to our students to cloud discussions of science with non-scientific theories like intelligent design that are not subject to experimental scrutiny," he wrote.

Isn't it odd that Barack Obama didn't think questions about the philosophy of science to be above his pay grade? Anyway, maybe someone will ask our science educator-in-chief whether he thinks ideas like string theory and the multiverse should be excluded from physics classes.