Social Security Polls Favorable When Topic is Understood

New polls out by John Zogby and the Cato Institute support President Bush’s proposal to let younger workers invest some of their Social Security payroll taxes through personal accounts. In what can only be described as laughable comes the following analysis of the polls. Laughable in the sense that one wonders exactly how most of the polls are given, who they are given to and how they are worded. Look what happens when people given the poll are informed.

The poll by independent pollster John Zogby for the Cato Institute, which is being released today, found that when voters understood the benefits of personal investment accounts, including a better financial rate of return than the current system, the Bush plan was supported by 52 percent of Americans and opposed by 40 percent.

What a novel concept; when people actually understand the benefits of personal accounts they are in favor of them. Go figure. What next when individuals under stand that running in front of on coming traffic may be dangerous they may stop doing that as well?

“The thing that is compelling in this poll is that this is the response you get when you use a positive approach on Social Security reform,” Mr. Zogby said. “If you use the ‘Chicken Little, sky-is-falling’ approach, then voters understand that something has to be done, but don’t see the connection between personal accounts and fundamental reform of Social Security.”

What should send shock waves through the Democratic Party is the fact that opposition to Social Security reform could be a colossal blunder of obstructionism for the 2006 and 2008 elections.

The survey also contained a warning for the Democrats about how their opposition to any reform of the Social Security system is playing with the electorate.

“By an overwhelming 70-22 percent margin, voters believe that opponents of President Bush’s proposals for Social Security reform have an obligation to put out their own plan for reforming the program,” including 55 percent of Democratic voters, Mr. Zogby said in a report of his findings.

So far Democrats have refused to put forth any plan and have only “nay sayed” the President’s one. Not only does this show no leadership on the topic, it flies in the face of what the people seem to want out of their politicians. Maybe this can explain why Congresses job approval ratings are in the tank? In other previous polls from the Rasmussen Reports, Fifty-one percent of American adults said that Social Security needs to be fixed while just 38% opposed the notion to fix Social Security.

Posted May 31, 2005 by
Politics, Polls | 2 comments

Ronald Brownstein gets it, why don’t Democrats?

Ronald Brownstein from the LA Times gives on honest and sobering assessment to the Democrats for 2006. Namely, even with the math that is taught in public schools today the Democrats do not have a chance of winning back the Senate.

Democrats are optimistic about their chances of ousting GOP senators in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, states that voted for Democratic presidential candidates John F. Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000. But the Democrats are unlikely to regain a Senate majority — in 2006 or soon thereafter — unless they can reverse the GOP consolidation of Senate seats in states that have supported Bush.

Since 2000, both parties have gained Senate seats in the states they typically carry in presidential campaigns. But this political partitioning provides a clear advantage for Republicans because so many more states backed Bush in his bids for the presidency.

If Democrats only gain in their part of the map, “it’s like saying, ‘We’re going to win more home games but never worry about road games,’ ” said Matthew Dowd, a political advisor to the Republican National Committee and senior strategist for Bush’s reelection campaign. “They could have a great home record but never win a majority.”

It is rather peculiar and actually stunning that the LA Times would write such an optimistic piece for Republicans. The fact that most intellectually honest people, notably the blogosphere, saw this trend on November 3, 2004. The numbers never were there for Democrats to gain the Senate back in 2006. Democrats had to win in too many Red states and defend in them as well. No matter where Senate seats are being contested; Republican’s must defend 15 seats while Democrat’s have 18.

Twenty-nine states voted for Bush in 2000 and in 2004. Republicans now hold 44 of the 58 Senate seats in those so-called red states. That’s a much higher percentage of in-party Senate seats than Presidents Reagan and Clinton were able to claim in states they carried twice.

More important, on the strength of those states alone, the GOP is on the brink of a majority in the 100-member Senate.

Democrats are just as strong in the states that voted for Kerry and Gore. But there are only 18 of those so-called blue states; Democrats hold 28 of those 36 Senate seats.

Republicans also hold four of the Senate seats in the three states that switched parties from 2000 to 2004 — New Mexico, New Hampshire and Iowa.

This division has reshaped the political landscape most profoundly in the South. Under Bush, the GOP has won the last nine open Southern Senate seats, including five seats vacated by retiring Democrats in 2004. In all, Republicans now control 18 of the 22 Senate seats in the 11 states of the old Confederacy, compared to just 10 of those seats after Reagan’s 1984 landslide.

One of the losing 2004 Southern Democratic Senate candidates, who asked not to be identified while criticizing his party, said today’s highly partisan atmosphere had undermined strategies that once let the region’s Democrats survive even as GOP presidential candidates carried their states.

Other than the fact that Democrats must defend more seats than Republicans in 2006 and Dem’s must defend in red states like FL, NE, NM and ND; Democrats also face another strike against them. Democratic hopes have been placed upon ousting RINO’s like Snowe in ME and Chafee in RI. However, there is a reason why they are called RINO’s. They pretty much follow the political liberal landscape of New England and is the electorate of their respective states willing to replace a Republican Senator who is in the majority with a Democrat who will have no power or influence? Not only would a Democrat be in the minority but would also be first term low on the totem pole minority Senators.

I predict that the voters of ME and RI will not change in 2006 because they realize their state would lose any privilege of power and Committee Chairmanships that it presently has. I will go on record as saying baring any unforeseen major events Republicans will pick up a +3 or +4 Senate seats.

Posted May 31, 2005 by
Politics | no comments

Should Blogs Trust the FEC?

Ever since last Fall when the a court ruling required the FEC to include the Internet in its definition of public communications and to begin regulating activities on line, blogs have been very nervous and concerned exactly what outcome will prevail.

Web loggers, who pride themselves on freewheeling political activism, might face new federal rules on candidate endorsements, on-line fundraising and political ads, though bloggers who don’t take money from political groups would not be affected.

Are we supposed to believe this or is this another slippery slope of campaign finance reform? If a blogger posts for another blog that is funded by political action money what does it do to their own private blog that may be just as opinionated? Are we really supposed to believe after witnessing the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth that politicians on either side will allow blogs, people in their pajamas, to accomplish the same?

The FEC long has been reluctant to craft rules for the Internet, and it has exempted the on-line world from many regulations that apply to other media such as television and radio.

The FEC, which also is striving to clarify regulations about online volunteer campaign activity, is accepting public comments on the proposals until Friday. Hearings will be held June 28 and 29.

Here is a rather interesting dilemma. What if a politically influential blog who does not receive money is brought into court claiming they have been? The legal fees themselves would shut the free speech down as a blogger could never afford the cost to defend their freedom of speech.

The FEC also is considering whether to require Web loggers, called bloggers, to disclose whether they get money from a campaign committee or a candidate and to reveal whether they are being paid to write about certain candidates or solicit contributions on their behalf.

These rules would not affect citizens who don’t take money from political action committees or parties.

However, what if political ads are placed on a blog? What if no money is received for the ad being placed on a blog? Isn’t there an implicit benefit to the candidate for getting free advertising?

One wonders how the FEC is going to differentiate between even the large and small blog, let alone lump the blogosphere into the realm of old media.

Advocates for rules say they are necessary to prevent groups such as corporations and labor unions from exploiting loopholes.

“I think FEC needs to regulate ordinary people as lightly as possible,” said Carol Darr, director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.

But as Internet technology improves, she said, politicians, corporations and unions will “learn where to go to reach unconverted people. They will use Internet more and more. People like me who are worried about corporate and union abuse are less comfortable with that.”

Opponents of the regulations, including many bloggers, worry that freedom of speech would suffer and that the rules would have a chilling effect on the lively political discussions that occur online. FEC regulation, they say, would unfairly punish individuals, adding that nothing happened in the 2004 elections to warrant intervention.

As posted previously, The FEC Ticking Clock on Internet Freedoms, this is an issue that affects both sides on the blogosphere.

Others talking about this highly controversial topic:

Skeptic Eye says its the same old story and I would have to agree.

National Review Online, The Corner

Draft Russ Blog seems to think that there is no problem.

There is simply no reason – none – to think that the FEC should or intends to regulate blogs or other Internet communications by private citizens.

There is a fine line between private citizen and endorsing candidates on line these days. I wish things were as simple as they once were.

A pretty accurate and well shared opinion from vox populi

And the Denis DeKat’s Symposium will be heading offshore.

Update I: Mike Krempasky at Red State attempts to answer some important questions.

Update II: Love the ideas over at An American Mind

UPDATE III (6/1/05): Scared Monkeys on Connected Blogs: (VIDEO) via The Political Teen.

Posted May 31, 2005 by
Bloggers, Media, Politics | 23 comments

A Pimple On The Ass Of (the) Humanities

This is one of my favorite quotes from an old high school teacher, William Armstrong, fits Brooklyn College. They have promoted Timothy Shortell to a position where he can deny tenure to other professors.Now they have given him the tool to do so.

From the New York Sun

Brooklyn College’s School of Education has begun to base evaluations of aspiring teachers in part on their commitment to social justice, raising fears that the college is screening students for their political views.

The School of Education at the CUNY campus initiated last fall a new method of judging teacher candidates based on their “dispositions,” a vogue in teacher training across the country that focuses on evaluating teachers’ values, apart from their classroom performance.

So now, when they do not like a professors politics, god forbid he goes to church and is a member of the NRA, they can use this to make that professor lose their job.

Critics of the assessment policy warned that aspiring teachers are being judged on how closely their political views are aligned with their instructor’s. Ultimately, they said, teacher candidates could be ousted from the School of Education if they are found to have the wrong dispositions.

“All of these buzz words don’t seem to mean anything until you look and see how they’re being implemented,” a prominent history professor at Brooklyn College, Robert David Johnson, said. “Dispositions is an empty vessel that could be filled with any agenda you want,” he said.

But what is even more scarier about this, is that the this concept is sanctioned at the highest levels.

Driving the new policies at the college and similar ones at other education schools is a mandate set forth by the largest accrediting agency of teacher education programs in America, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. That 51-year-old agency, composed of 33 professional associations, says it accredits 600 colleges of education – about half the country’s total. Thirty-nine states have adopted or adapted the council’s standards as their own, according to the agency.

In 2000 the council introduced new standards for accrediting education schools. Those standards incorporated the concept of dispositions, which the agency maintains ought to be measured, to sort out teachers who are likeliest to be successful. In a glossary, the council says dispositions “are guided by beliefs and attitudes related to values such as caring, fairness, honesty, responsibility, and social justice.”

To drive home the notion that education schools ought to evaluate teacher candidates on such parameters as attitude toward social justice, the council issued a revision of its accrediting policies in 2002 in a Board of Examiners Update. It encouraged schools to tailor their assessments of dispositions to the schools’ guiding principles, which are known in the field as “conceptual frameworks.” The council’s policies say that if an education school “has described its vision for teacher preparation as ‘Teachers as agents of change’ and has indicated that a commitment to social justice is one disposition it expects of teachers who can become agents of change, then it is expected that unit assessments include some measure of a candidate’s commitment to social justice.”

This is truly scary, as it sets up a national criteria to be politically correct to be a professor, and those wishing to be professors that are not politically correct would find a formal avenue excluding them.

If this does happen, I think the time would be right to open a conservative college. I know that is where I would aim my children at.

But Brooklyn College, looking to be the leader in  the Leftward tilt of the campus, has embraced this philosophy on all levels. For this they earn the Pimple on the Ass of Humanity Award.

Posted May 31, 2005 by
General | no comments

Deep Throat is Mark Felt

The second of the FBI was the person who leaked the information.

From the AP

NEW YORK — A former FBI official claims he was “Deep Throat,” the long-anonymous source who leaked secrets about President Nixon’s Watergate coverup to The Washington Post, Vanity Fair reported Tuesday.

W. Mark Felt, 91, who was second-in-command at the FBI in the early 1970s, kept the secret even from his family until 2002, when he confided to a friend that he had been Post reporter Bob Woodward’s source, the magazine said.

“I’m the guy they used to call Deep Throat,” he told lawyer John D. O’Connor, the author of the Vanity Fair article, the magazine said in a news release.

Felt was initially adamant about remaining silent on the subject, thinking disclosures about his past somehow dishonorable.

“I don’t think (being Deep Throat) was anything to be proud of,” Felt indicated to his son, Mark Jr., at one point, according to the article. “You (should) not leak information to anyone.”

Felt is a retiree living in Santa Rosa, Calif., with his daughter, Joan, the magazine said. He could not immediately be reached for comment by The Associated Press. His family members disagreed with their father, feeling that he should receive accolades for his role in Watergate before his death.

The Washington Post had no immediate comment on the report.


W. Mark Felt, who retired from the FBI after rising to its second most senior position, has identified himself as the “Deep Throat” source quoted by The Washington Post to break the Watergate scandal that led to President Nixon’s resignation, Vanity Fair magazine said Tuesday.

I’m the guy they used to call Deep Throat,” he told John D. O’Connor, the author of Vanity Fair’s exclusive that appears in its July issue.

ABC News

Despite years of feelings of negativity and ambivalence, O’Connor said, Felt’s family has helped him realize that “he is a hero” and “that it is good what he did.”

In his 1979 book, “The FBI Pyramid: From the Inside,” Felt flat-out denied that he was the famous source.

“I would have done better,” Felt told The Hartford Courant in 1999. “I would have been more effective. Deep Throat didn’t exactly bring the White House crashing down, did he?”

Former Nixon adviser David Gergen, who was suspected as the confidential source himself, reacted in an e-mail to ABC News. “Yes, am pleased that Mark Felt has finally unmasked himself,” he wrote.

“[N]ot wholly surprising but still it is good to resolve … have always thought that it would be someone with (a) access to investigatory records and (b) a motive. Felt clearly had access; the question becomes one of motive.”

Hat Tip Joe V

If you are looking for the original article, here is the PDF file.

Update [21:55] The Washington Post Confirms Deep Throat is Felt. They figure they got scooped so badly by the rest of the world they had to come clean.

Orrin Kerr over at Volkokh hets a kick out of Bradlee’s quote “The thing that stuns me is that the goddamn secret has lasted this long.”

Update: Wizbang did some historical research.
Right Wing Nut House has the goods.
Captains Quarters has also done some good research. Captain Ed thought that Feld was a leading candidate.
Blagdaddy says BFD
Protein Wisdom finds the list of names not used for Deep Throat

Posted May 31, 2005 by
General | 8 comments

Next Page →

Support Scared Monkeys! make a donation.

  • NEWS (breaking news alerts or news tips)
  • Red (comments)
  • Dugga (technical issues)
  • Dana (radio show comments)
  • Klaasend (blog and forum issues)
E-mail It