Michael Reagan and me on the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Obama the Gaf Machine

* Marking the anniversary of the March 1965 "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, Ala., Obama, speaking at a church, said his parents got together "because of what happened in Selma." Obama was born in 1961.

* Obama told Larry King on CNN -- asked about that anti-Hillary Rodham Clinton YouTube ad, a doctored version of a spot created for Apple computers -- "We don't have the technical capacity to create something like that."
Obama did not know what he was talking about. Any professional media consultant can manipulate images on video. Turns out the creator -- unmasked later as a political operative who worked for a firm overseeing the technical side of Obama's Web site -- made it at home on a Mac.

* Obama, asked if homosexuality was immoral, in the wake of comments by Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Peter Pace, sidestepped the question. After pressure from gay groups, Obama issued a statement stating he did not agree with Pace "that homosexuality is immoral."

* Cynicism is like terrorism? One of Obama's stump lines is that the biggest obstacle he fights is not any of his rivals, it is cynicism. He used a variation of it during a reception he hosted at a conference here sponsored by AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Displaying a tin ear, Obama said that one of the enemies is not "just terrorists" or "just Hezbollah" or "just Hamas" -- "it's also cynicism."

* The Tribune dug this up: Obama, in his memoir, Dreams of My Father, writes of a story in Life magazine that influenced him -- about a black man trying to bleach his skin white. No such article could be found in Life or Ebony.

* Insider or outsider? Another Obama stump line -- he's said again and again to the Communications Workers of America here -- is that "I've been long enough in Washington to know that Washington needs to change." He is running against Washington yet his campaign is populated with political professionals who are Washington insiders.

* Obama's embrace of some rhetoric used by rival John Edwards is getting attention. Edwards, in a 2003 speech made for his first presidential run said, "I've spent enough time in Washington to know how much we need to change Washington."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Why Conservatives Are Happier Than Liberals

Individuals with conservative ideologies are happier than liberal-leaners, and new research pinpoints the reason: Conservatives rationalize social and economic inequalities.

Regardless of marital status, income or church attendance, right-wing individuals reported greater life satisfaction and well-being than left-wingers, the new study found.Conservatives also scored highest on measures of rationalization, which gauge a person's tendency to justify, or explain away, inequalities.

The rationalization measure included statements such as: "It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others," and "This country would be better off if we worried less about how equal people are."

To justify economic inequalities, a person could support the idea of meritocracy, in which people supposedly move up their economic status in society based on hard work and good performance.

In that way, one's social class attainment, whether upper, middle or lower, would be perceived as totally fair and justified.

If your beliefs don't justify gaps in status, you could be left frustrated and disheartened, according to the researchers, Jaime Napier and John Jost of New York University. They conducted both a U.S.-centric survey and a more internationally focused one to arrive at the findings.

"Our research suggests that inequality takes a greater psychological toll on liberals than on conservatives," the researchers write in the June issue of the journal Psychological Science, "apparently because liberals lack ideological rationalizations that would help them frame inequality in a positive (or at least neutral) light."

The results support and further explain a Pew Research Center survey from 2006, in which 47 percent of conservative Republicans in the U.S. described themselves as "very happy," while only 28 percent of liberal Democrats indicated such cheer.

The same rationalizing phenomena could apply to personal situations as well.

"There is no reason to think that the effects we have identified here are unique to economic forms of inequality," the researchers write. "Research suggests that highly egalitarian women are less happy in their marriages compared with their more traditional counterparts, apparently because they are more troubled by disparities in domestic labor."

The current study was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Well, that just about sums it up!