Friday, January 31, 2014

An Ignorant And Hard-Hearted Policy

Presidential Preferences

This is the latest survey to check on each party's preference for their presidential nominee in 2016. It is the Washington Post / ABC News Poll (taken between January 20th and 23rd of a random national sample of 1,003 adults, with an overall margin of error of 3.5 points).

Not a lot has changed with Democrats. If anything, Hillary Clinton has solidified her large lead. She currently has the support of 73% of Democrats -- a whopping 61 point lead over Joe Biden, who is in second place. Mr. Biden said a couple of days ago that his decision on whether to run or not would have nothing to do with whether Clinton decides to run. I suspect that was just a face-saving statement. If Clinton declares her candidacy, the nomination is hers -- and any opponent, including Joe Biden, would just be wasting their time and money to oppose her.

Things are far different for the Republicans. There is no real favorite, and five different candidates show supper between 10% and 20% (and even the high of 20% is far too little to label anyone as a favorite). The most interesting thing is the fall of Chris Christie. Many were starting to consider him the favorite to get the GOP nomination, but since his political troubles started in New Jersey (problems that are still gathering steam as new charges surface) he has lost support. He now just sits in third place -- several points behind Bush and Ryan, and within the margin of error to Cruz, Paul, and Rubio.

Normally, when there is no sitting president running for re-election, both parties have fairly exciting races to pick a nominee. 2016 will be different, since Clinton seems to have the same kind of advantage a sitting president would have. The only real race is among the Republicans -- and right now that is a race anyone could win.

Dictator ?

Political Cartoon is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.

A Couple Of Good Signs For Wendy Supporters

Greg Abbott started the governor's race in Texas far ahead of State Senator Wendy Davis (the most likely Democratic nominee). That's because he already had millions of dollars in his campaign chest before Wendy even declared her candidacy (and started to raise funds).

But there have been a couple of signs recently that this race may not be as lopsided as other recent campaigns for governor have been.

This first is the amount of money both candidates raised in the last six months of 2013. The totals were very equal, with Wendy topping Abbott by a few hundred thousand dollars. It is becoming clear that Wendy will not face the same handicap that other Democratic candidates have had to endure -- the lack of adequate funds to run a statewide and aggressive campaign.

The second regards small donors (those giving between $1 and $100 to a candidate). Wendy is winning the small donors over by a large margin. While Abbott got only $384,878 from small donors in the last half of 2013, Wendy pulled in $3,000,000 from small donors (meaning she has 10 times the number of small donors or more). And while the donations these small donors can afford is not in the class with a rich person, there are a lot more of them and their vote counts just as much.

Frankly, I'm buoyed by both of these signs, and I'm still thinking the Democrats might finally have a candidate that has a chance to be elected.


Political Cartoon is by Stuart Carlson at

Green Party Responds To State Of The Union Speeches

Here is the Green Party's response to the State of the Union speech by President Obama (and the Republican responses). It was written on January 29th by Green Party Shadow Cabinet member Ben Manski.

The Republicans are right when they they point to America’s 25+ million jobless and ask whether the President is serious in proposing job training as his primary remedy. The Democrats are right when they respond that the Republicans have proposed no real jobs alternatives of their own.
Five years after Obama’s historic mandate, the conditions of the great mass of Americans remains intolerable. And yet to hear his fifth State of Union address, an uninformed listener might think America’s problems are limited and manageable.
The reason for this dissonance is that this State of the Union was not delivered by the man elected in the mandate of 2008. This State of the Union might as well have been given by a robot, or an actor, or a media spokesperson. In fact, a media spokesman is what this President of the United States has long since become. His is a voice that modulates the reality experienced by an ever more disconnected political establishment for a polity that grows smaller by the year.
In this shriveled State of the Union, natural gas is a gateway to energy independence and climate justice. In this reality, student debt is to be solved with counseling and unemployment to be addressed with job training. In this United States, poverty can be overcome by a president who appeals to corporate executives to raise workers wages. In this America, equal pay for equal work is a promise the White House intends to fulfill before the next Clinton takes to the campaign trail.
So few are fooled by this State of the Union because so many have been betrayed by those who sat in that congressional chamber the other night.  When the President introduces a man horribly maimed after ten tours in Afghanistan, Washington wants us to understand that their plan requires our continued sacrifice. And they are right that it does.
There are policy alternatives with support outside of Washington and Wall Street. One is the Green New Deal brought forward by Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala in their 2012 presidential campaign. Putting 25 million people to work and reconstructing the economy from the bottom up . . . that is a significant alternative. And it would mean a different State of the Union delivered by and for a much larger section of the American people.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Political cartoon is by John Branch at

It's The Governments - Not The People

I believe what she says is true. People are the same all over the world, and there is no reason why the people of the United States and the people of Iran should hate each other. Governments are a different matter though. And both countries have too many politicians who, if not evil, are at the very least incredibly stupid -- because they take advantage of the few fundamentalist fools in each nation to promote hate and endanger the entire world.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Eugene V. Debs

Obama Takes First Step - Congress Needs to Act Now

The chart above was not made from some leftist group's information, but from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service -- the organization that provides both parties in Congress with reliable information on which to base future policies. The chart illustrates the real buying power of the minimum wage in 2013 dollars. Note that the high point of minimum wage buying power was in 1968 (when it was worth $10.77 an hour), but from the 1950's to 1980 the wage was pretty steady.

It was not until after 1980 that the buying power of the minimum wage took a real nose-dive -- when the Republicans began to institute their "trickle-down" economic policy (a policy that tilted the economic playing field to benefit Wall Street and the corporations, while suppressing any economic benefits going to workers). While the rich got much richer due to this policy, workers began to lose buying power, thanks to inflation and wage stagnation -- and this was especially true of minimum wage workers. Currently the minimum wage has 32.6% less buying power than it did in 1968 -- the equivalent to a pay cut of a whopping 1/3 of a worker's check.

The current minimum wage in the United States looks even worse when compared to the minimum wage in other countries. The chart above is from Mother Jones, and shows the minimum wage in 26 developed nations as a percentage of the median wage in those countries. Note that the United States is on the low end of this scale -- with only the Czech Republic and Estonia have a lower minimum wage, and most countries having a significantly higher minimum wage.

The Republicans like to say they think it is better for people to work than to receive government benefits -- and Democrats agree with that. The problem is that the Republican economic policies (still in effect since they have successfully blocked all efforts to change those policies) have thrown millions of hard-working Americans into poverty. These people have jobs and work full-time, but aren't paid enough to rise above the poverty line. Sadly, the only solution to this that Republicans have is to cut taxes more for rich people and corporations.

Democrats would also like to get these hard-working Americans off government benefit rolls, but they have a much more viable solution. They want to raise the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour (and tie that wage to the rate of inflation so workers don't immediately start losing buying power again).

This would immediately lift millions of Americans out of poverty (and take them off the rolls of government social programs, reducing the deficit). It would also have another effect. It would boost the economy. These low-wage workers would spend that new money, creating an increased demand for goods/services. That increased demand would increase business profits and create new jobs -- both of which would again boost the economy, and put it on the road to a real recovery.

President Obama has taken the first step. In his State of the Union speech, he announced he will be issuing a presidential directive raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for companies that contact to build projects for the federal government or operate businesses on federal government property. This is a good start, but it will only apply to a few hundred thousand workers. Many millions of U.S. workers will still be working full-time for a poverty level wage.

It is now time for Congress to act. Any American willing to work hard at a full-time job should be paid a wage that lifts them above the poverty level. A $10.10 an hour wage would not be an outrageously high wage for businesses to pay. It would only amount to about $21,008 a year (before taxes), which would still be less than half of the median wage in the United States.

Unfortunately, even though polls have shown most Americans support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, the congressional Republicans have indicated they will block any attempt to raise it any amount at all. In fact, many of them would like to abolish the minimum wage, and let employers pay less than the current $7.25 an hour. This is just one more reason (among many) why the Republicans must be booted out of power in the coming election.

Citizen Response

Political Cartoon is by Joe Heller in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Congress Doesn't Care About Poor & Hurting Americans

(The cartoon image above is by Tom Toles in The Washington Post.)

It's only been a few days since CBS News revealed that 20% of all United States households are in the SNAP program (getting food stamps). That's the largest percentage of households to ever be in the food stamp program. And we know there are many others who qualify for the program but haven't signed up to get the food stamps (either out of misplaced pride, or because they don't know they qualify).

These are not lazy people wanting to lay around and let the government support them. Most of them are either unemployed and would love to find work (but can't because of the poor economy), or they are working hard for a wage so low they can't provide for their family. And both groups are in this predicament not through their own efforts, but because of the misguided economic policies pursued by our government for the last few decades. Policies that resulted in a severe recession, the loss of millions of jobs, the outsourcing of more millions of jobs, a falling median wage and a disappearing middle class, and a minimum wage that has lost 1/3 of its buying power.

Now a reasonable person would expect those politicians who created this economic mess to realize the error of their ways, and change those policies to create jobs, raise wages, and more fairly distribute incomes in the country. But that hasn't happened, and it looks like it's unlikely to happen anytime soon.

In fact, just in the last few days, Congress has made it very clear that it doesn't care about those hurting Americans. They have just agreed to a new farm bill -- a bill that will reduce funding for food stamps by $9 billion. These congressional fat cats have evidently decided that those Americans needing food stamps are living too large, and that money is needed to protect tax cuts for the rich and subsidies for the corporations.

I think we're supposed to be grateful that the Republicans didn't get their wish to cut food stamps by $20-$40 billion, and have agreed to only cut the program by $9 billion. But I find it hard to be grateful for this vicious cut to food for the needy (by the same people who caused that need). And the Democrats are not blameless in this mess. They were perfectly willing to cut $4 billion from the food stamp program without any prodding from Republicans, and wound up agreeing to the $9 billion cut.

Frankly, this latest congressional action is disgusting. They need to be fixing our broken economy. Instead, they seem determined to make it worse. A pox on anyone who votes for this odious bill!


Political Cartoon is by David Fitzsimmons in the Arizona Daily Star.

American Workers Are Being Left Behind In This Economy

These charts (from Mother Jones) show what has been happening in the United States economy since the imposition of the Republican "trickle-down" economic policies. The top 1% have become much richer and the top 20% have increased their income a bit. But the income of the bottom 80% of all Americans has been stagnant, and has not climbed at all. Even after taxes, the rich have gotten richer (the top 1% by a lot and the top 20% by a little), but the bottom 80% has actually seen their income drop.

This second chart brings home what has happened to the American worker. It shows the buying power of the average American worker in the private sector (in 2013 dollars). This information was compiled by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. While the rich got much richer, note that the average American worker has barely been able to keep up with inflation. And that is before paying taxes.

This makes it obvious that the Republican policies favor the rich, and actually hurt working Americans. By weakening unions and encouraging the outsourcing of American jobs (even to the point of giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas), the Republican policies have encouraged employers to stop sharing any rise in productivity with workers -- and that is exactly what those employers have done. Since 1980, employers have gobbled up all of the rise in productivity, and shared none of it with the employees responsible for that rise in productivity.

In previous years, the rise in productivity was shared between owners and workers. That contributed to a healthy and growing middle class, since the rising productivity truly did "lift all boats". The Republicans had claimed that their policy of funneling more money to the rich would benefit everyone since much of that money would trickle down to the workers. But nothing trickled down. Employers kept all of the increase, and left workers drowning in stagnation and inflation. This has resulted in a falling median wage and a disappearing middle class -- both ominous signs of an economy in trouble.

State Of The Union

Political Cartoon is by Gary McCoy at

Simple Math

The math really is that simple. We could easily take enough money out of the defense budget to eliminate poverty in the United States -- and we would not hurt our ability to defend ourselves at all. In fact, we would still be spending more money on the military than any other nation in the world.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

America Has Lost Another Music Legend

(This photo of Pete Seeger was taken in 2007 by photographer Anthony Pepitone.)

The legendary folk singer and activist Pete Seeger has left us. He died on Monday at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. He was 94 years old. The New York Times wrote an excellent obituary, and I especially liked this part of it -- a very brief summary of the life of this great man:

Mr. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10, from college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama.

For Mr. Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action.

In his hearty tenor, Mr. Seeger, a beanpole of a man who most often played 12-string guitar or five-string banjo, sang topical songs and children’s songs, humorous tunes and earnest anthems, always encouraging listeners to join in. His agenda paralleled the concerns of the American left: He sang for the labor movement in the 1940s and 1950s, for civil rights marches and anti-Vietnam War rallies in the 1960s, and for environmental and antiwar causes in the 1970s and beyond. “We Shall Overcome,” which Mr. Seeger adapted from old spirituals, became a civil rights anthem.

Mr. Seeger should be an inspiration and example for all of us. He never hesitated to put himself on the line to make this a better country for everyone, and he always did it in a gentle and non-violent way.

(This photo shows Pete Seeger singing for Eleanor Roosevelt and other guests at the opening of a labor canteen in Washington (DC) in 1944.)

Bayer CEO Thinks Poor People Don't Deserve To Live

The medication pictured at the left is Nexavar. It is made by Bayer, and is a promising new cancer drug (for late-stage liver and kidney cancer). The only problem with the drug is that it is very expensive. On the international market, a year's treatment with the drug costs about $69,000 (and in the United States it would cost about $96,000).

This cost is not a problem for the rich, or for those with good health insurance. But for many people worldwide, the drug is simply too expensive -- costing more than they would make in a year (even here in the United States, where the median yearly income is just slightly above $40,000).

In India, the $69,000 cost is 41 times the country's annual per capita income. That puts it out of reach for all but the wealthy in that country. But India, unlike the United States, has patent laws that allow another company to produce the drug at a more reasonable price if the drug is not available at a price most can afford -- and that is what has happened with Bayer's Nexavar. Indian patent courts are allowing another company to make the drug, and provide it for a cost of only $177 (which should give you some idea of the outrageous profit Bayer has built into their drug pricing).

This has upset Bayer, and they have been trying to appeal the patent court's decision -- so far unsuccessfully. Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers recently gave an interview to Bloomberg Businessweek, calling the Indian patent court decision "theft". Then he went further, and revealed his hard-hearted attitude toward his fellow humans. Dekkers said:

“We did not develop this medicine for Indians…we developed it for western patients who can afford it.”

I guess we should give him credit for his honesty. Like many other corporatists and right-wingers, he considers medicine and health care to just be products available for sale. And those products should only be available to those who can pay for them. For Dekkers (and other right-wingers) health care is not a right, and anyone who can't afford the inflated prices for it should just die. Although Dekkers targeted Indians in his statement, it is obvious that it would also apply to the millions in the United States who are without health insurance and too poor to purchase his product (thanks to his Republican buddies who refuse to expand Medicaid).

Most right-wingers aren't as honest as Dekkers. They also believe medicine and health care should only be provided to those who can afford to pay for it, but they hide that hideous attitude behind lies -- like no one goes without health care in the U.S., government cannot provide adequate health care, and we can't afford to provide health care for all its citizens. None of those aren't true, but they sound better than admitting you believe poor people should just die because they don't have the money to pay for expensive drugs and care.

Perhaps most amazing is that these right-wingers claim to be christians -- followers of Jesus, who commanded that the poor be provided for. But for them religion is just a cloak used to hide their real beliefs -- that their greed for money is more important than the lives of their fellow citizens (of both this country and the world). Dekkers is a vile person, but no more vile than the millions of other right-wingers willing to deny health care to others.

Right-Wing Reasoning

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

The Difference Between The Party Bases

I thought this survey was interesting. It is a Gallup Poll (done between January 5th and 8th of a random national sample of 1,018 adults, with the margin of error of the Democratic and Republican groups being 5 points).

The survey shows the issues that each party considers most important. And note, this is not the opinion of those in Congress, but the opinions of the base voters in each party. Surveying these results, it becomes obvious that the most important issue in both parties is the poor economy -- and that means that will probably be the overriding issue in this year's election.

Republicans will once again try to convince voters that the economy can be improved by cutting taxes more for the rich and the corporations, and by cutting government spending more (except for the military). It will be up to the Democrats to remind voters that this is a failed policy -- and the policy that got us into this economic mess in the first place.

Democrats need to run on raising the minimum wage, protecting Social Security and Medicare, providing help for the poor and the unemployed, funding education adequately, and making the rich & corporations pay their fair share of taxes. But most important, they need to explain how doing these things will help the economy (and it will).

Personally, I would much rather be trying to make the Democratic argument this year. I believe it is starting to resonate with the public.

The Truth

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Texas GOP Still Wants Creationism Taught As Science In The State's Public Schools

Texas government is dominated by teabagger/fundamentalist Republicans, and for years now we have been fighting to keep religion out of the science classes in our public schools. Recently we beat back an effort by right-wingers on the State Board of Education to require the teaching of creationism in schools. They were trying to include that religious concept in the state-approved science textbooks.

Unfortunately, that did not end the fight. We learned recently that several charter schools (private schools that receive state funding) are teaching creationism in their science classes. This is a clear violation of the Constitution, but it is happening nonetheless -- and it will probably require a herculean effort to get it stopped.

And if the recent debate among the Republican candidates for Lt. Governor are any indication, we won't be getting any help from the Republican-dominated state government. The four Republican candidates (current Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, State Senator Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples) were all asked during the debate whether creationism should be taught in public schools and included in school science textbooks. All four of them said yes -- they all thought creationism should be taught as science.

Obviously the battle against teaching religion as science in Texas public schools is far from over. This makes it more important than ever to see a Democratic slate of candidates is elected next November to head the state government -- Wendy Davis as governor, and Leticia Van de Putte as lt. governor.

Traffic Problems

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Drought In Texas Panhandle At Record Level

(This image of drought in the Texas Panhandle is from the website of News Channel 10 in Amarillo.)

The drought here in the Texas Panhandle has yet to end, but it now has been recognized as record-breaking. Texas State Climatologist John Nielson-Gammon says the previous three years of drought have been the driest three year period on record -- beating the previous record years of 1954-56 and 1933-35 (during the Dust Bowl years).

The current period hasn't lasted as long as the drought in the mid-1950's, but it has been more severe -- and it's not over yet (so it could capture the duration record before it's over). The area has only had about 34.5 inches of rain in the last three years. That's far short of the normal average of 61 inches, and the first year of this drought (2011) only had 7 inches of rain. Drought is becoming the normal thing here -- with the last drought ending in 2009 (only two years before this one started).

The hardest hit counties right now (the ones with extreme and exceptional drought) are Dallam, Hartley, Sherman, Moore, Oldham, Potter, Randall, Carson, and Deaf Smith. Amarillo (my home) straddles the county lines of Potter and Randall.

I know many right-wingers will deny it, but I am starting to believe this almost perpetual state of drought is a result of global climate change. While this climate change (brought on by human overuse of fossil fuels) has brought hurricanes, typhoons, flooding, tornados, and various other changes to many parts of the world, it is bringing drought to the Texas Panhandle -- and that is not good for this are because it depends on farming and ranching.

How much longer are we going to have to wait for government (actually all governments everywhere) to take action? Do we really want to leave our children and grandchildren a world worse than the one we inherited? Are we that poor a generation?

Olympic Mascot ?

Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A Pledge

I like this pledge better than any of the ones for individual countries. Whether we like it or not, all humans in all countries are in this thing together -- and the Earth is the only planet we have. We need to stop trying to destroy each other, and the planet.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Real Issue

One Out Of Five Households Receive Food Stamps In U.S.

While the rich and the corporations have fully recovered from the Bush recession, it's abundantly clear that most Americans haven't. Millions remain unemployed, the median income is falling, and the middle class is shrinking while poverty rolls continue to grow. That last is now verified by a new statistic from the Department of Agriculture -- that currently 20% of the households in the United States now receive assistance from the SNAP program (commonly called food stamps). That's an average of 23,052,388 households for the year of 2013 -- an increase of 722,675 over the average in 2012.

But that's not the end of the bad news. For the first time, a majority of those receiving food stamps are people between the age of 18 and 59 -- commonly called working age adults. In the past, the majority of those on food stamps were elderly people and children under 18. This shows just how bad our economy still is. Those working age adults aren't receiving food stamps because they are lazy, but because there is either no job for them to fill or the job they have does not pay enough to lift them out of poverty. Don't let this new statistic fool you though, since the number of children in food stamp families has not decreased (with more than 70% of food stamp households having at least one child).

And this situation may not improve much in the future. While the official unemployment rate is creeping down slowly, that is not because of substantial job creation. It is because millions have given up trying to find work, and are no longer being counted by the government as being unemployed (even though they would love to find a decent job).

And it is also because most of the few jobs being created are minimum wage (or near minimum wage) jobs -- jobs that serve only to keep a worker in poverty. In fact, the number of those working but still receiving food stamps has risen from 7% in 1980 to 17% currently -- and it is expected to continue to grow (because in just a few years, around 2020, it is expected that 25% of American jobs will be low-wage jobs).

In the past, education could be counted on to lift a person out of poverty. But that is starting to disappear also. An Associated Press study shows that high school grads getting food stamps has increased from 28% in 1980 to 37% in 2013. Other education levels are also rising among food stamp recipients -- with those having some college rising from 7% to 28%, and those having a college degree rising from 3% to 7%.

There is a way to reverse these trends. We need to raise worker wages, and a good start would be to raise the minimum wage (to at least $10.10 an hour). This would have the effect of driving up wages for most workers. We could also raise taxes a bit on the richest Americans, and use that money to help the unemployed and the poor. We could also strengthen worker unions and legislate a stop to job outsourcing -- and stop corporations from hiding profits overseas to avoid taxes. And finally, we could stimulate the economy with more spending and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

Taken together, those measures would cut food stamp rolls (and the rolls of other poverty programs), and create more taxpayers (which would help reduce our deficit and debt). The problem is that the Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, oppose all of those ideas -- and they would block them (as they have been doing for years now). The only thing they want to do is funnel more money to those who don't need it -- the rich and the corporations.

This is why the 2014 election is so important. We must vote the Republicans out of power, so we can return to a saner and fairer economy.


Political Cartoon is by Monte Wolverton at

The Republican Image Is Still Quite Tarnished

After the 2012 election, it became very apparent that the Republican "brand" was tarnished. This was even realized by the leadership of the Republican National Committee, who urged their members to moderate some of their policies to repair that image and garner more votes. Have they been successful in that effort? The obvious answer is NO. They have continued down the same path they were on before the 2012 election, seemingly convinced they just didn't adequately explain their policies (or had poor candidates).

Now a Pew Research Center survey (done between January 15th and 19th of a random national sample of 1,504 adults, with a margin of error of 2.9 points) shows that their party's brand is still tarnished. Instead of improving it, they may have even made it worse, and this could hurt them in the coming election (where losing only 17 seats out of 435 would cost them the House). The results of that survey are shown in the charts below.


Political Cartoon is by Jen Sorensen at

The President's Approval Ratings Numbers

With the president set to give the State of the Union speech tonight, I thought it would be a good time to look at the president's approval ratings. The current meme being circulated is that his ratings are in the toilet, and that he is in trouble because of that. At least, that's what the right-wing would like for Americans to believe.

But that's not quite the correct picture. The top chart shows the average approval rating for the year of 2013 (45.8%), and it's in the neighborhood of the ratings for the three previous years. The presidents number did fall a bit at the end of 2013, hurt primarily by the poor roll-out of the Obamacare program. But those glitches have been fixed and millions of Americans are buying insurance through the program -- and the polls show that the end of the year slide has been halted and his approval numbers are again climbing (with the RealClearPolitics average of all current polls showing his approval rating at 43.7%). I expect, as usual, his numbers will rise again after the State of the Union speech.

When these approval rating polls come out, they can give the impression that his approval is dropping across the country. That is simply not true. The lowest numbers are in the reddest states, and they drag the poll average down. There are many states where the president's numbers remain high (and many of these are the most populous states in the country). The chart below shows the states where the average approval rating for the president in 2013 did NOT show more disapproval than approval. In these states the approval rating was higher than the disapproval rating (except for Texas, where the two figure were the same).

My point is that the president is not doing nearly as poorly as the right-wing pundits want you to believe. And compared to the numbers of congressional Republicans, the president's numbers are astronomical.

Fulfilling Their Own Prophesy

Political Cartoon is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.


Mark Twain offers an interesting question here. Personally I lean toward the "imbecile" option.