Archive for February, 2010
As I have stated previously, that some of our elected officials can manage to tie their shoes in the morning really is a miraculous thing. Rachel Maddow recently made light of a few examples. And here they are:
And the coup de grace:
Astonishing. No? About the South Dakota House measure, to reiterate, a lot of folks have the idea of a scientific theory misconstrued. Gravity, as we all know, prevents us from floating off into space. Literally, it keeps us grounded. Too much of it and our bones can’t hold up under the weight. Not enough of it, and we’re heavenward. Our planet has just enough of it. Yet, gravity is still yet a theory. This site explains it well:
In popular usage, a theory is just a vague and fuzzy sort of fact.
But to a scientist a theory is a conceptual framework that *explains*
existing facts and predicts new ones. For instance, today I saw the
Sun rise. This is a fact. This fact is explained by the theory that
the Earth is round and spins on its axis while orbiting the sun. This
theory also explains other facts, such as the seasons and the phases
of the moon, and allows me to make predictions about what will happen
This means that in some ways the words “fact” and “theory” are
interchangeable. The organisation of the solar system, which I used as
a simple example of a theory, is normally considered to be a fact that
is explained by Newton’s theory of gravity. And so on.
A hypothesis is a tentative theory that has not yet been tested.
Typically, a scientist devises a hypothesis and then sees if it “holds
water” by testing it against available data. If the hypothesis does
hold water, the scientist declares it to be a theory.
An important characteristic of a scientific theory or hypotheis is
that it be “falsifiable”. This means that there must be some
experiment or possible discovery that could prove the theory untrue.
For example, Einstein’s theory of Relativity made predictions about
the results of experiments. These experiments could have produced
results that contradicted Einstein, so the theory was (and still is)
So, nearly all that we know about the world, from gravity to climate change to evolution are still theories, but as it regards the scientific method, it’s as good as fact. No one disputes that existence of gravity, as we have come to define it.
Thus, the South Dakota’s House’s bill, stating
That global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact;
doesn’t make much sense. One has to go no further than the Merriam-Webster to grasp the validity of scientific theories. The scientific definition of the word is:
a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena
And briefly on Rep. Franks’ comments on slavery. First, black folks weren’t counted as humans in the Antebellum South, were they? So, right off the bat, Franks’ idea of aborted fetuses are afforded an advantage over slave children. Rightly or not, Franks considers embryos right up to birth to be fully human. Slaves weren’t granted that designation no matter how old or young.
He also noted that slavery was a “crushing mark on America’s soul,” but nevertheless, “far more black children are being devastated by the policies of today (noting, supposedly, that 50 percent of all black fetuses are aborted) than were being devastated by the policies of slavery.”
As I recall, children today aren’t tortured, humiliated, raped (females), separated from their parents and sold as cattle in America today, and abortion by no means can be equated to tragedies befallen to living human beings, children nonetheless. Even if one takes a Christian worldview, the aborted fetuses find a new home in heaven. I’m not going to lay out my view of abortion here, but suffice it to say that it’s egregiously wrong and horrifying that an elected official would attempt to make a political point at the expense of those who suffered under the tyrannical and stupified slave system of the 18th and 17th centuries in this country (much of which folks justified biblically), not to mention the millions who suffered worldwide.
If you haven’t heard of radio host Michael Savage, he’s another in the long line of neocon talking heads who wrap their heads in the American flag, while attempting to make readers tremble in their boots about the socialist spiral in which we are apparently unequivocally headed — at least for the next three years.
On Tuesday, he devoted most or all (I didn’t get to listen to the whole thing because I was traveling away from the radio signal) of his show to theories that tie President Obama (He calls him Barack Hussein Obama, and for reasons that escape me, he insultingly pronounces the second syllable in “Barack” with a short-A sound) with the Red Army Faction, Herbert Marcuse, Frankfurt School and even more wrongly, Mao Zedong.
Here’s a clip (apologies for the poor quality):
He said last night that unlike the Red Army Faction, Obama is not seeking a violent revolution toward a socialist “takeover,” but a nonviolent one, more along the lines of Marcuse’s line of thinking and others. Savage calls it a “quiet revolution:”
I realize it’s not the meat and potatoes that you’ve come to expect from talk radio, but we have to do it. We have to do it so you understand the danger we’re in. You have to do it until you understand how little time is left before there’s a total takeover of every aspect of your life from cradle to grave, which starts with health care reform.
Thus, Savage isn’t unlike any of the other right wingers out there attempting to frighten folks into thinking the Obama administration is up to some big conspiracy to bedazzle us into socialism. For one, the lawmakers, even Democrats, who very much benefit from this capitalistic free-for-all era corporate lobbying wouldn’t stand for it. Second, Obama’s only got four more years, eight at the most. What does Savage think is going to happen in that time? Health care reform doesn’t bring any new far left agendas to the table. We’ve already passed bills in this country that could, like health care, be called socialist, and numerous presidents prior to Obama were charged with the same crime.
So, we hear the same old claptrap over and over, and it’s tiring. You don’t want a few seeds of socialism (an economic system) or communism (a political system … Savage seems to use the two interchangeably.) in this country? Good. Call your lawmakers or state lawmakers and tell them you want to abolish your local police station and your local sheriff’s office. Tell them to do away with county-maintained fire departments. Tell them to stop working on the roads. Tell them to shutter the Federal Reserve so we can go back to trading in gold and silver and bartering. Tell them to do away with Medicaid, which helps children and disabled people, and Medicare, which helps the elderly. Tell them to offer up all Forest Service land to speculators, since that worked so well the last time. Public schools? Closed. Everyone will be home schooled from now on. Public colleges? Unnecessary and filled with folks who think too much.
Obama will either be our president in 2012 or he won’t. The propogators of such nonsense will either continue the frenetic push to get people infused with fear and loathing for the administration, or they will tone their rhetoric back if a Republican gets in office and level the vitriol at whichever Congressman or woman seems the most progressive. The country will move on just like it did after FDR enacted his giant New Deal.
By the way, the Red Army Faction was actually an anti-imperialistic organization responding to the Vietnam war, German capitalism at the time and Germany’s concealment that high-ranking officials were former Nazis. While it by no way excuses the violence and death caused by the organization, Savage fails to mention much in his incendiary, fear-mongering rhetoric.
And one final thought: Savage actually said that Obama’s policy on economics was to take from the middle class and give to the rich. He calls it “reverse” Robin Hood. Has he even been paying attention? Has he heard the $250,000 figure tossed around … reversing Bush’s policy of giving tax breaks to the rich? I don’t know about Savage, but I don’t consider someone who makes more than 250k middle class at all. Maybe he has a different income gauge than I do. But I’m sorry to break the news: 250k is not a middle class wage level by any stretch. See here.
If you’re looking for more nonsense from this politically correct, hyper sensitive, be-fearful-of-everything-from-what’s-on-TV-to-video-games era of child rearing in which we are living, look no further than the American Academy of Pediatrics‘s proposal to redesign the hot dog, citing choking hazards. In this article, Dr. Gary Smith, lead author of the AAP policy statement, said:
If you were to find the best engineers in the world and ask them to design the perfect plug for a child’s airway, you couldn’t do much better than the hot dog. It is the right shape and the right size to wedge itself in and completely block a child’s airway. It’s only a matter of minutes before permanent brain damage and death occur.
If this is the case, logic would suggest that a good parent wouldn’t let their child eat hot dogs under any circumstance unless they were cut up into small pieces. But why bother with such a pesky thing as logic when we can add choking hazard labels and resign an American tradition. In fact, if we took the latter approach, it would cease to be a hot dog, and according to Eric Hummel, director of marketing for Hummel Brothers Meat Products, such a reinvention wouldn’t even be possible. I was actually driving when I caught this interview with Robert Siegel on NPR. Hummel indicated that
… we’re at a loss on a redesign. You know, when my kids were little, even though I make hot dogs, I would always cut them up into bite-size pieces for them.
SIEGEL: So, that is one way to take an otherwise potentially fatal hot dog and turn it into a benign food for the smallest child.
Mr. HUMMEL: That’s right, that’s right. And, you know, the way we make a hot dog, it would be virtually impossible to make it in really any other shape. And I don’t know if that’s what the pediatricians were getting at, to change the shape. But the recommendation that we always give families with young children is to make sure that the hot dog itself is a skinless hot dog and you try to buy the skinniest ones that we make.
Hummel went on to say:
… when a hot dog is made, the meat is ground up and then it’s put through an emulsifier, which has small little pinholes on it. So, all the meat is pushed through there. So, it comes out the emulsion as more like a dough. And then that dough is put into a casing whether it be a natural casing, a collagen casing or a cellulose casing … So, there’s really no way to stuff that emulsion or dough into anything other than sort of a long narrow casing. There’s no way to make a hot dog in say like a hamburger patty form.
Janet Riley, president of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, got it right when she told USA Today:
As a mother who has fed toddlers cylindrical foods like grapes, bananas, hot dogs and carrots, I ‘redesigned’ them in my kitchen by cutting them with a paring knife until my children were old enough to manage on their own.
So, what’s next? People choke on steak all the time. I could easily go down for the three-count on my next ribeye, but enough chews and a nearby drink have, thus far, prevented catastrophe. Are we to target butchers now and harangue them into producing even more tender, delicatable steak? Or maybe the cows are at fault …?
Sorry friends, loved ones and other readers: if the following happens, I’m taking the first bus and/or RAV4 to Toronto:
CPAC Convention, Washington — Former Vice President Dick Cheney made a surprise appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, rallying a crowd already optimistic about their chances for success in the 2010 midterm elections.
“I think the developments we’ve seen over the last several months are enormously encouraging,” Cheney told the audience of conservatives, pointing to Republican victories in recent elections in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
“I think 2010 is going to be a phenomenal year, and I think Barack Obama is a one-term president,” he added, to huge cheers.
The audience, who had come to the conference to network and see both established and up-and-coming stars of the Republican Party, went wild when the former vice president came on stage. One young man started screaming, “Oh my f*%#@ing God!” A few people tried to start a chant of “run, Dick, run!,” though it did not catch on.
“A welcome like that is almost enough to make me want to run for office,” Cheney said. But before anyone could get any ideas, he assured the crowd he would not be running. … — CBS News Political Hotseat
Apparently on the good advice of our good friend, Glenn Beck, who’s pirate-eyed obsession with gold is bizarre to say the least — gold marketeers are about the only sponsors he has left, after all, given his maniacal rants night in and night out — my home state’s own, South Carolina Rep. Mike Pitts, has introduced a bill to have gold and silver coins replace the federal dollar as legal tender in his state, a move that is soooooo 17th century.
It’s also soooooo unconstitutional since one of the listed powers of Congress, not the states, in the Constitution is to “coin,” or make, money.
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility. — U.S. Constitution
Thus, states can’t coin money or issue it, but they can technically use gold or silver to pay debts (state debts, not issue gold and silver to residents for paying individual debts), which would be an anachronistic idea in modern times. Yet, Pitts is still, yes, 250 years after the fact, playing the stupifying states’ rights card:
But Pitts maintains that his state is better off with something he can hold in his hand and barter with as opposed to federal currency, which he described to the Scoop as “paper with ink on it.” He says he resents what he considers the federal government’s intrusions on states’ rights.
We’re still talking about states’ rights? Really?!?
Regardless, South Carolina has an unfaithful governor who seemingly using state resources to foster his extra-marital affair and then, representatives who want to send us back to the 17th century, or at the least, the mid-19th century. That’s all this state needs.
How common might Earth-like planets be in the universe? Even if only 1 percent of all stars were circled by a planet like our own, that would still mean there are billions of other earths waiting to be discovered.
And according to this article and Alan Boss, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution and author of the book “The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets,” he indicated:
There may be 100 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, or one for every sun-type star in the galaxy.
And to quote the article:
Boss said that if any of the billions of Earth-like worlds he believes exist in the Milky Way have liquid water, they are likely to be home to some type of life.
“Now that’s not saying that they’re all going to be crawling with intelligent human beings or even dinosaurs,” he said.
“But I would suspect that the great majority of them at least will have some sort of primitive life, like bacteria or some of the multicellular creatures that populated our Earth for the first 3 billion years of its existence.”
So, notwithstanding basic organisms, what about intelligent life?
Other scientists are taking another approach: an analysis that suggests there could be hundreds, even thousands, of intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland constructed a computer model to create a synthetic galaxy with billions of stars and planets. They then studied how life evolved under various conditions in this virtual world, using a supercomputer to crunch the results.
In a paper published recently in the International Journal of Astrobiology, the researchers concluded that based on what they saw, at least 361 intelligent civilizations have emerged in the Milky Way since its creation, and as many as 38,000 may have formed.
That’s just in our own galaxy. The picture to the right shows 10,000 more.
As I’ve said before, the discovery of life elsewhere in the universe would seemingly create huge problems for young Earth (Actually, astronomy and astrophysics has already disproved young Earth theories) creationist theories about how life began here and, indeed, about existence in general, since the book of Genesis seems to indicate that there is only one planet on which life exists and its at the center of, well, everything that’s relevant.
The following blogger and other apologists suggest that the discovery of life on other planets would not shoot holes in the creation theory.
The discovery of alien life would not disprove Christianity anymore than it would prove evolution. In his book Darwin’s Black Box, Bio-Chemist Michael Behe astutely pointed out that understanding how something works or exists now does not prove we know how that came to be the way it is. Applying that to this discussion, it is reasonable to say that even if evolutionary scientists announce the presence of alien life in a far corner of the cosmos, this does not prove that evolution was the means by which it got there. God could just as well have supernaturally created that life apart from earth according to his divine will. So Christians need not fear any negative implications regarding how their Creationist position might be affected by the discovery of alien life. They must simply be ready to say that God can choose to create life where he chooses. — astuteness.wordpress.com
This apologist site attempts to clarify matters for us, suggesting that any extraterrestrial life that exists cannot be intelligent because the only intelligent beings God created were animals, man and angels (Of course, since the word “animals” includes both multi-and single-celled organisms, they may or may not be “intelligent.”) But looking outside of pages written in Bronze-age Palestine, what are the chances that no intelligent life exists anywhere in the universe? Given the number of possible galaxies (not to mention the number of possible Earths inside those galaxies), the chances would be infinitesimally small. And this question only assumes that intelligent life needs Earth-like conditions to exist. In fact, no rule says that intelligent life absolutely needs human conditions (oxygen, ideal climates) to exist. Who’s to say that a civilization can’t exist given a totally different set of parameters? So, take “infinitesimal” and multiply it by two, and that’s more like the actual chance that intelligent life doesn’t exist somewhere else.
As per its biblical charter, the same site says that the future of the universe is “forever linked to God’s timetable for mankind and the Earth.” And what bearing does this plan have on any potential life elsewhere?
If God had created intelligent life on other worlds, it is hard to imagine that their lives would be calibrated by the failures of Earth’s inhabitants. It seems unlikely and unfair that their distant planets would be destroyed by God because of His plan for Earth [If so, I guess that would make them doomed to eternal fire by proxy]. The implication of Scripture is that there are no other intelligent beings besides man, animals, and the angels.
It’s also hard to imagine that adults in Africa, who may have never heard about Jesus, will go to hell simply because of their ignorance of scripture, so we don’t have to look beyond our atmosphere for instances of unfairness. But these types of arguments are really the only way apologists can right the ship: to subvert what we know about the universe and to claim that any theory (evolution, the big bang, gravity!, etc.) doesn’t square with scripture and should, thus, be discarded. And when things don’t make any sense at all (For instance, the problem of extreme suffering and/or the fall of man under the auspices of an omnibenevolent, omnipotent god who knew about the whole tragic scenario before he set it in motion)? Just tout our lowly ignorance versus God’s omniscience.
I saw a bumper sticker that said this a few days ago, so I figured I would try to find the source. I don’t know if Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is the original source, but he’s at least one. Here’s a video of Grayson making a speech Sept. 29 on the House floor:
The second part of the “plan,” “die quickly,” is probably a bit over the top, but the basic logic is that, if you do get sick, with or without insurance, you should hope to be summoned by the Grim Reaper as soon as possible so as to not send your entire family into financial ruin.
By the way, I just glanced over a couple of the You Tube comments below this video and one reads:
Wow Grayson really treats his audience like they are very intelligent and capable of understanding complex issues.
Grayson was a bit scathing, but his frustration comes through I think. Why should House members be treated like they are intelligent and capable of understanding complex issues? They haven’t earned it. They haven’t acted in a bipartisan manner (and an argument can be made that, until recently, neither has President Obama), but it’s a well known fact that insurance companies carry a lot of weight on The Hill. The plain-as-day fact is that many lawmakers have a vested interest in keeping the status quo regarding health care and have neither the uninsured or insured in mind.
In a New York Times Magazine preview titled, “How Christian Were the Founders?,” Russell Shorto writes about members of the Texas State School Board’s attempts to paint a more Christian picture of the United States’ founding via changes to the state’s social studies curriculum guidelines, guidelines which the article contends,
will affect students around the country, from kindergarten to 12th grade, for the next 10 years.
because of that state board’s influence on how other states choose its curriculum material.
… Tom Barber, who worked as the head of social studies at the three biggest textbook publishers before running his own editorial company, says, “Texas was and still is the most important and most influential state in the country.” And James Kracht, a professor at Texas A&M’s college of education and a longtime player in the state’s textbook process, told me flatly, “Texas governs 46 or 47 states.”
In the article, Shorto speaks with numerous members of the Texas state board and with college professors and other experts. In fact, for the most part, the only non-experts to which Shorto speaks, are, you guessed it, the very ones who will have such a weighty influence over what students are taught for the next 10 years.
While some amendments the state board has considered — one which would ask students to study Americans who have contributed much to our history (Ed Kennedy was omitted, while Newt Gingrich was included, for instance. For the record, Hillary Clinton was included, but one could make a convincing case that Kennedy had far more influence in Washington in his 30 years of service) — drew seemingly along party lines, other amendments dabbled into religious territory.
The majority of the article dealt with this conundrum: Is America a Christian nation (or should it be) and should our textbooks present that case? Noted atheist Sam Harris in his, “Letter to a Christian Nation,” meant “Christian nation” in the more nebulous sense based on pure numbers: as of 2008, about 76 percent of Americans claim to be Christian in one way or another. Fifty-one percent are Protestants (Thus, reducing the number even farther of actual Evangelicals who might be in favor of more fervently merging government and religion).
Cynthia Dunbar, current visiting associate professor of law at Liberty University School of Law in Lynchburg, Va., is one member of the Texas State School Board who seems to think this is and should be a Christian nation in the second sense. Shorto visited one of her lectures, and in The Times article, he writes:
Her presence in both worlds — public schools and the courts — suggests the connection between them that Christian activists would like to deepen. The First Amendment class for third-year law students that I watched Dunbar lead neatly merged the two components of the school’s program: “lawyering skills” and “the integration of a Christian worldview.”
Dunbar began the lecture by discussing a national day of thanksgiving that Gen. George Washington called for after the defeat of the British at Saratoga in 1777 — showing, in her reckoning, a religious base in the thinking of the country’s founders. In developing a line of legal reasoning that the future lawyers in her class might use, she wove her way to two Supreme Court cases in the 1960s, in both of which the court ruled that prayer in public schools was unconstitutional. A student questioned the relevance of the 1777 event to the court rulings, because in 1777 the country did not yet have a Constitution. “And what did we have at that time?” Dunbar asked. Answer: “The Declaration of Independence.” She then discussed a legal practice called “incorporation by reference.” “When you have in one legal document reference to another, it pulls them together, so that they can’t be viewed as separate and distinct,” she said. “So you cannot read the Constitution distinct from the Declaration.” And the Declaration famously refers to a Creator and grounds itself in “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Therefore, she said, the religiosity of the founders is not only established and rooted in a foundational document but linked to the Constitution. From there she moved to “judicial construction and how you should go forward with that,” i.e., how these soon-to-be lawyers might work to overturn rulings like that against prayer in schools by using the founding documents.
Shorto correctly observes:
Besides the fact that incorporation by reference is usually used for technical purposes rather than for such grandiose purposes as the reinterpretation of foundational texts, there is an oddity to this tactic.
Though it was less erudite than Dunbar’s lecture probably was, I once read a letter to the editor in which the writer indicated that we are, indeed, a Christian nation based on The Declaration. But several problems exist with this line of reasoning. First, as the article notes:
“The founders deliberately left the word ‘God’ out of the Constitution — but not because they were a bunch of atheists and deists,” says Susan Jacoby, author of “Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism.” “To them, mixing religion and government meant trouble.” The curious thing is that in trying to bring God into the Constitution, the activists — who say their goal is to follow the original intent of the founders — are ignoring the fact that the founders explicitly avoided religious language in that document.
Another problem exists with Dunbar’s “incorporation by reference” case: The Declaration of Independence is just that. It’s a declaration. It’s not law. As Shorto’s article states, it’s undeniable that the early history of this country oozes with religious overtures, from the Pilgrims to Anglicans to Quakers Baptists and many others. And while one cannot study American history without encountering religion along the way, one can study the founding and the Constitutional Convention without injecting religion into the equation. As Shorto notes:
In fact, the founders were rooted in Christianity — they were inheritors of the entire European Christian tradition — and at the same time they were steeped in an Enlightenment rationalism that was, if not opposed to religion, determined to establish separate spheres for faith and reason. “I don’t think the founders would have said they were applying Christian principles to government,” says Richard Brookhiser, the conservative columnist and author of books on Alexander Hamilton, Gouverneur Morris and George Washington. “What they said was ‘the laws of nature and nature’s God.’ They didn’t say, ‘We put our faith in Jesus Christ.’ ” Martin Marty says: “They had to invent a new, broad way. Washington, in his writings, makes scores of different references to God, but not one is biblical. He talks instead about a ‘Grand Architect,’ deliberately avoiding the Christian terms, because it had to be a religious language that was accessible to all people.”
I am not opposed to religion courses with the sole purpose of studying the story of religious influence and growth in the country, and even history textbooks that include some discussion of religious groups if its relevant to a certain topic, like religious condemnations of slavery in the 19th-century, for instance.
But the Founders knew full well that at the time that the majority of the people in the country were and would be Christians. Heck, many who took part in the Constitutional Convention were Christians in some sense of the word. Here’s a full rundown. Many of the most notable ones (Jefferson, i.e.), however, were deists, and one can’t deny that. Many were products of the Enlightenment and rationalism. But the Founders, even those who believed in Jesus, were far ahead of their time and had the foresight to realize that a free society must both protect people’s right to worship … and their right not to worship. They were all-too familiar with a near-theocracy in Great Britain, in which the Church of England was (and still is) the official national church. The Founders sought to create a place more free from whence their ancestors came.
Unfortunately, the evangelical crowd is seeking to reverse that, and that should make anyone with an appreciation for the Constitution and this diverse country pretty ashamed. So, to reiterate, this isn’t a Christian nation in the sense that many evangelicals wish it were, nor should it be. If it was, it would be a theocracy, and I don’t think folks who are fighting to reinsert Jesus and the creation story into textbooks fully understand the implications of seeing their goals carried out to their fullest ends. If they did, they would view modern day Iran, the former Islamic caliphate in the Middle East, the Crusades or the current wave of Islamic nutcases who want to establish a modern caliphate, and they would shutter.
Mike Luckovich is a Pulitzer Prize-winning and longtime editorial cartoonist with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Today, I scanned through some of his more recent cartoons and found a few cartoons that represent topics with which I have dealt on this site in recent weeks. Here’s a sampling with the related post from this site.
This last one doesn’t have much to do with anything I’ve written recently, at least, but I thought it was quite poignant in this age of corporation ownership of our elected officials.
According to this tongue-in-cheek billboard
along Interstate 35 near Wyoming, Minn., we apparently are supposed to be tired of the new Obama administration in preference to the former administration, which waged an illegal war and, meanwhile, doubled the national debt between Jan. 20, 2001 ($5,727,776,738,304.64) and Jan. 20, 2009 ($10,626,877,048,913.08). Here’s a search tool to get those numbers. Bush, of course, served between 2001-2008, and the Republican Party controlled both the House and the Senate from 2001-2006.
So, are we collectively pining for The Decider to be back in the office? A new Gallup poll says no, and proof is borne out from data collected from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia, although the latter is, not surprisingly, less approving. Globally, 51 percent of the world approves of the work of the current administration in 2009, up from 34 percent in 2008. Here is the global graph plus the charts from four main regions of the world: