Friday, August 29, 2014

Three Speeches That Destroyed Presidencies

Andrew Johnson's speech on Washington's Birthday 1866.  He compares himself to Christ and his Radical Republican political opponents in Congress to the recently defeated Confederates.

Jimmy Carter's "Crisis of Confidence" or "Malaise" speech.  He lays out a laundry list of demoralizing American problems with no solutions and no real hope of success.

Barack Obama's stunning admission, after a summer full of golf and vacations that he has no strategy for ISIL revolutionaries.

CNN: Living Proof That Market Dominance Does Not Necessarily Last

People under 30 probably have no direct memory of it, but at one point, CNN equaled news.  And if you did not believe that, Darth Vader told you so.  This week, however, layoffs and "managerial changes" are convulsing the network.

When movies wanted to include realistic news references in the early 1990s, they cited CNN.  They were everywhere and showed everything.  Why wait for Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw's updates at the top of the hour or their full broadcast at 6:30?  You could see it now on CNN.

The era of CNN's ownership of modern news came only a little over a decade after the retirement of CBS' Walter Cronkite.  It also came in most major newspapers' most profitable years.

What happened?

Part of the problem emerged in the 1990s when a personal friend of President Bill Clinton's was chosen to lead CNN.  Regardless of the resulting coverage, this created at least the perception, if not the outcome, of a conflict of interest. 

A real or perceived liberal bias opened the market for competition.  This included the conservative leaning Fox News and (at the time) the even more conservative MSNBC.

Does anyone remember when MSNBC featured Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson?

Viewers latched onto Fox News, which eventually became the leading cable television news outlet.  Others turned away from television (and tangible newspapers) altogether and started using the internet as a primary news source.

CNN struggled to adapt while trying to maintain their image as the "real" news source.  A 2012 Pew survey praised CNN for keeping 55 percent of its broadcast focused on news (as opposed to 45 percent for Fox News and less than 10 percent for MSNBC.) 

Recent hires should have helped.  Jake Tapper headlines one of CNN's premiere spots.  He is one of the few media figures respected from all ideological points of view.

Problems, however, continued. Reports of extravagant overspending in times of declining ratings dog the news of layoffs.  And these layoffs and early retirements affect many of CNN's most senior, most experienced, and core personnel.

Whatever the problems are, clearly CNN has still not discovered the solution to its viewership and profitability woes in this competitive media age.  The network built its reputation and market dominance in an era of no competition. Only figuring out a way to regain competitive advantage can bring it back towards what it once was.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Has Republican Revival in West Virginia Brought Hope to State Residents?

Shelley Moore Capito is running away with her race for US Senate.  David McKinley has not seen any serious challenge.  Alex Mooney maintains a double digit lead in his race.  Evan Jenkins has the momentum against his opponent and is nearly statistically tied.  House Republicans anticipate taking over chamber leadership next year.

Republicans have ascended in West Virginia.  The only question now is whether the state will remain a two party or transform into a Republican dominated system by 2016.

A recent Gallup Poll shows that 36 percent of West Virginians see their state as one of the best to live in, well below the national average of 46 percent.  Nearly three-fourths would prefer to remain in state, much higher than the national average of nearly two-thirds.

Part of this comes from better government.  By necessity, state Democrats have had to (for the most part) adopt a quasi-Republican plan of governance.  Don't raise taxes, cut spending, reduce obligations.  Had they followed the bigger government ideals of their predecessors, voters would have switched parties long ago.

One way to interpret this is that people in the state have hope for the future.  Despite 80 years of Democratic policies that have prevented prosperity, despite the federal government's assaults on coal, farming, and other ways that West Virginians can better themselves, people want to stay.

West Virginia Republicans have ideas that are proven to bring more investment and jobs to the state.  Those running for the House of Representatives and Senate have vowed to roll back bad regulations that hurt the Mountain State.

Residents want to stay.  They are no longer satisfied with the same old leaders. What is coming next makes them want to stay.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ministry of "Truthy" Coming to a Federal Government Near You

Elizabeth Harrington of Washington Free Beacon gets an award for the creepiest federal government story of the week.

It has shades of 1984, George Orwell's masterpiece about a totalitarian society. Three ministries control the government under the watchful eye of Big Brother.  One of these is the Ministry of Truth.  This outfit tirelessly works to create the government's narrative while ruthlessly annihilating dissenting voices, or even history.  "We have always been at war with East Asia."

The Obama Administration gave a $1 million grant to a group led by an Organizing For America (Obama's old campaign organization that still exists for some reason) member.  The group is creating a program designed to spot "misinformation" and "suspicious memes" in campaigns and public discourse.

They call it "truthy" after a Stephen Colbert bit.  Referencing a comedian with a liberal agenda is hardly a good starting point.

Why is this problematic?

The New York Times recently called Obama and his minions the worst threat to press freedom in a generation.  No president has worked so hard to control the narrative about his policies, using spying, coercion, and any other tactic possible.  Few can compete with Obama and his team in the creating of "misinformation" and "suspicious memes."

Journalism school teaches about the marketplace of ideas.  The public can decide which are beneficial and which are not.  Certainly the federal government, as a player in that marketplace, cannot be trusted to referee.

A Useless and Contrived Study On Coal Meant to Support Obama's Coal Plant KIlling

Duke University recently released a study that has almost no use whatsoever.  The study indicates that if South Korea would stop using its own coal sources and start importing US coal, it could save America's coal industry.  They also guess that, even accounting for the long transit, that it could reduce the so-called "greenhouse gases" by 21 percent.

What they mean by "save" is interesting.  Although South Korea does rely heavily on imported gas, oi, and coal, the country is slightly smaller than the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  It currently ranks 11th in use of energy, but it utilizes a lot of imported gas and oil.

Do the Duke researchers mean that South Korea alone could preserve all US coal jobs?

Most likely, if US coal fired plants all go off line, the coal will go to the Third World and China.  Many backers of EPA regulations against coal fired plants in the US also back construction of unregulated plants in poor countries.

Tim Carney, currently with the Washington Examiner reported that this scheme was at the heart of Enron's demise.  When George W. Bush refused to sign on, it helped the company collapse.

In other words, EPA regulations kill relatively clean US coal plants.  Environmentalists rejoice.  World coal prices dip.  New coal plants open in developing countries with no regulations whatsoever.  World pollution gets worse thanks to the US EPA.

The Duke study, like many academic products, only posits what will happen if they waved a magic wand.  It has no real world use.