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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 20, 2011

WAPO Obama Poll The Morning Flap: December 20, 2011

These are my links for December 15th through December 20th:

  • Obama’s job-approval rating is highest since summer – After a difficult summer and a contentious fall, President Obama’s job-approval ratings are showing signs of improvement — a crucial indicator of his reelection chances as he seeks to overcome voters’ doubts about his economic stewardship.A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that Americans are still broadly disapproving of Obama’s handling of the economy and jobs, the top issues, but that views of his overall performance have recovered among key groups, including independents, young adults and seniors.
  • Gingrich’s Lead Dries Up in National Polls – Newt Gingrich’s lead in the GOP presidential race is disappearing as the former House speaker comes under heavy attack from his rivals, according to three new national polls.Gingrich had surged to the top of the ballot in recent weeks, leading his fellow GOP candidates in several polls by double digits. But an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday finds him tied with Romney for first. They each receive 30 percent support from registered voters. The pair, though, holds a substantial lead over the rest of the field. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who has been running negative ads against Gingrich, has 15 percent. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann receives 7 percent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has 6 percent, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum garners 4 percent support. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman sits at the bottom of the poll with 2 percent.
  • Obama is the Fourth Best President? – President Obama told 60 Minutes — in a portion of the interview that did not air — that his accomplishments so far as president rank pretty high historically.Said Obama: “The issue here is not gonna be a list of accomplishments. As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln — just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we’ve got a lot more work to do. And we’re gonna keep on at it.”
  • What if Ron Paul wins Iowa? – If he should win, Iowa caucus goers will rightly be the target of widespread anger and disdain from the mainstream and conservative media as well as a great many in the party, both from establishment and Tea Party quarters. An Iowa state operative, rather defensively, insisted to me that it would be wrong to take a Ron Paul win out on Iowa or strip it of its first-in-the-nation status. “Ron Paul proves a point — if you run the three-pronged traditional caucus approach: advertise here, send mailers and visit often — anyone can do well — EVEN Ron Paul. Iowa isn’t a place that ‘wins’ the nomination it’s a place that ‘winnows’ the path to the nomination.” That’s just not going to fly when the flogging of Republicans begins, labeling Iowans as a bunch of racist loons. If Iowa can’t sniff out such characters, why put it in charge of the winnowing?As far as the race itself goes, it will certainly burst the Newt Gingrich bubble, suggesting that his 15 minutes (four or five weeks?) of fame are over and casting down on his organizational abilities. For the candidates who finish back in the back (e.g., Perry, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum), Iowa would be a reprieve, allowing them to argue, in essence, that the whole thing was an aberration, before they move on to “real” contests in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.
  • The Company Ron Paul Keeps – Yet a subsequent report by Reason found that Ron Paul & Associates, the defunct company that published the newsletters and which counted Paul and his wife as officers, reported an income of nearly $1 million in 1993 alone. If this figure is reliable, Paul must have earned multiple millions of dollars over the two decades plus of the newsletters’ existence. It is incredible that he had less than an active interest in what was being printed as part of a subscription newsletter enterprise that earned him and his family millions of dollars. Ed Crane, the president of the Cato Institute, said Paul told him that “his best source of congressional campaign donations was the mailing list for the Spotlight, the conspiracy-mongering, anti-Semitic tabloid run by the Holocaust denier Willis Carto.”This sordid history would not bear repeating but for the fact that the media love to portray Paul as a truth-telling, antiwar Republican standing up to the “hawkish” conservative establishment. Otherwise, the newsletters, and Paul’s continued failure to name their author, would be mentioned in every story about him, and he would be relegated to the fringe where he belongs. But Paul has escaped the sort of media scrutiny that would bury other political figures. A December 15 profile of Paul in the Washington Post, for instance, affectionately described his love of gardening and The Sound of Music and judged that “world events have conspired to make him look increasingly on point”—all without any mention of the newsletter controversy. Though present at nearly every Republican debate, he has yet to be asked about the newsletters. Had Paul’s persona and views changed significantly since 2008, this oversight might be understandable. But he continues to say and do things suggesting that, far from disowning the statements he has claimed “do not represent what I believe or have ever believed,” he still believes them.
  • Auto-insurance researchers: ‘Cell phone bans don’t help reduce crashes’ – All those fancy in-car docks and voice navigation? Utterly pointless. At least according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, who reckons that it’s not the phone that’s the issue, but “the full spectrum of things that distract.” The IIHS (funded by a group of car insurers) compared crash data between states that had instituted cell phone bans and those that hadn’t. According to its research, while the ban had reduced phone use (whoa, really?), it hadn’t helped reduce crash rates. The National Transportation Safety Board has presented several studies linking cell phone use to an increased chance of crashing and their latest proposals would ban most hands-free systems found in major car makers’ vehicles today. Hear that? That was the sound of hundreds of third-party accessory manufacturers recoiling in horror.

The 25 Best Social Media Books of 2011 – It seems like only yesterday that I was writing my review of the best social media books of 2010, a list that included only 15 selections. Time flies so fast and 2012 is just around the corner, so it’s time to reveal my picks for best books of 2011. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for you, I had a hard time narrowing down the list to 15 so I have increased the number to 25 books. There were simply too many great additions to literature that exists on social in 2011 to be limiting. This is certainly a reflection of both the maturity of social media in the marketplace as well as the importance that certain publishers (notably Wiley) have placed on releasing books with social media as their main subject matter.Before I start off with my recommended social media books of the year, we always must first begin with those classics that were updated and revised for 2011 that should be on anyone’s wish list for the holidays. These include:

  1. Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies [Expanded and Revised Edition] by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
  2. Engage! The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate and Measure Success in the New Web. Revised and Updated by Brian Solis
  3. The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly [3rd Edition] by David Meerman Scott
  4. The Social Media Survival Guide: Strategies, Tactics, and Tools for Succeeding in the Social Web by Deltina Hay
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 20, 2011
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