Thursday, December 27, 2007

On the death of Benazir Bhutto

Many details here. It appears it was the work of Al Qaeda. Another reminder, if another was needed, of Al Q's hatred for democracy.

Pervez Musharraf, and anyone from his circle, had better not have had anything to do with this. Thus far there is no evidence that Musharraf had anything to do with it. For his sake, that had better be so. Remember the Philippines? 1986? Suddenly then-President Ferdinand Marcos' most bitter political foe, Benigno Aquino, a champion of democracy, is gunned down as he steps off a plane. It led to Marcos' ouster in a democratic revolution.

We had better hope that Pakistan does not succumb to an anti-democratic revolution.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ron Paul flunks Civil War history

And makes you wonder about his version of libertarianism: [An excerpt from Paul's appearance on "Meet the Press"]:
Russert: I was intrigued by your comments about Abe Lincoln. "According to Paul, Abe Lincoln should never have gone to war; there were better ways of getting rid of slavery."

Paul: Absolutely. Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war. No, he shouldn't have gone, gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic. I mean, it was the--that iron, iron fist--

Russert: We'd still have slavery.

Paul: Oh, come on, Tim. Slavery was phased out in every other country of the world. And the way I'm advising that it should have been done is do like the British empire did. You, you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where it lingered for 100 years? I mean, the hatred and all that existed. So every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. I mean, that doesn't sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach.

As James Taranto comments: "It's an intriguing counterfactual, but what is most telling is that Paul blames Lincoln for the Civil War rather than blaming the South for starting a war to preserve slavery. Does he love liberty? Or does he merely loathe the federal government?"

Exactly. The Confederacy fired upon a federal fort, thus starting the war. There can be no doubt that slavery was central to the war--everything leads back to it. A slavery system enforced by a STATE government is still slavery enforced by government power; a true libertarian would be against such. It's too bad that Ron Paul isn't.

The silly season

That is, nearing the end of a campaign, when rival camps argue about the darndest things:
"The Clinton-Obama fight over foreign policy experience accelerated Wednesday afternoon as Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign released an expanded list of foreign policy specialists from Bill Clinton’s administration who are supporting her candidacy.
Mrs. Clinton’s new list stands as a new challenge to Senator Barack Obama, who started the fight last Friday over which one of them had more support from former Clinton diplomatic and military hands."

My list is longer than yours. Nyah!
There's been a lot of talk today in blogs and in the MSM about whether Iowans, given that it's the holiday season, are even listening to the campaigning. The above stuff will make them tune out for sure.

A holiday gift from the NFL

Pats/Giants on Saturday night to be on free TV: "The Saturday night game in which the New England Patriots will be trying to set an NFL record by finishing the regular season with an undefeated record, will be simulcast on CBS and NBC, the NFL has just announced.
Originally, the 8:15 p.m. game against the Giants in East Rutherford, N.J., was scheduled to be carried only on the NFL Network. Because of a dispute with Time Warner and Comcast, that network is available in fewer than 40 percent of the nation's homes that have televisions.
"We have taken this extraordinary step because it is in the best interest of our fans," Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement."

Well, yes, and because the NFL didn't want to look bad.
Key to this: this is in the ratings interest of both CBS and NBC. Even though the game will be available on another major network, both NBC and CBS figure to get higher ratings than they would have with yet more recycled episodes of "Dateline NBC" and "48 Hours Mystery."
Again, we see the power of the NFL--they offer this game, and TWO networks jump at it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Blogging over the next few days will be occasional, but will be light, as there will be traveling, holidays, etc etc. Merry Christmas to all! Here--to remind you of some of the important things about this season, read this piece by Laura Ingraham.

All the best to one and all!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The state of the Republican race

Things are getting heated in Iowa: "We're getting to the point in the campaign where the scrutiny is becoming so intense and the amount of dirt each camp is pushing on the other so thick that it's tough for any candidate to win a news cycle outright. Beyond this, there are are other complications in the increasingly ratched-up campaign."

Meanwhile, the Washington Post today runs a story suggesting that the lack of a front-runner in the GOP race means the party is "splintered" and "demoralized."

I'm not sure at all that "demoralized" is a good descriptor. Yes, it's unusual for there to be no front-runner, and for so many candidates to be in the mix, and yet to appear to have flaws. But someone WILL emerge; and once he does, the party will unite around him and gain morale, in order to gird up for the fight against the Democrats (and the Dems' candidate could still be Hillary). It always does.

Zero tolerance for zero tolerance dept

More details here. From a Tennessee public school: "According to the Williamson County School System, self defense is no defense when it comes to getting suspended for fighting. "


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Something a little different...

Some beautiful, holiday, haunting photographs.

NFL Picks

I was 7-9 last week. I'm 0-1 this week already. Gulp! But here we go...

Dallas 10.5 over CAROLINA. PICK: COWBOYS. Yes, Romo is a bit beat up; but the key injury tonight: no Julius Peppers for the Panthers. Dallas with too much firepower.

NY Giants 2.5 over BUFFALO. PICK: BILLS. They're 9-5 vs the spread, and at home in tough elements.

Green Bay 8.5 over CHICAGO. PICK: BEARS. Chicago to keep it close in cold conditions in a rivalry game.

Cleveland 3 over CINCINNATI. PICK: BROWNS. They need the game more; the Bengals just have never gained consistency.

DETROIT 4.5 over Kansas City. PICK: LIONS. Just a gut feeling--the Lions will play hard, and better at home, because they still respect Rod Marinelli.

INDIANAPOLIS 7 over Houston. PICK: COLTS. They're not resting a bunch of guys (save for those injured), and will play hard at home.

NEW ORLEANS 3 over Philadelphia. PICK: SAINTS. Drew Brees is hot (though the Eagles played well vs Romo last week), and don't forget--this is the Eagles' second straight tough road game.

JACKSONVILLE 13 over Oakland. PICK: JAGS. Just seems like a bad choice to go against these guys at home, given how they've played lately.

ARIZONA 10 over Atlanta. PICK: CARDINALS. The Falcons are beaten down; they want the season to be over.

Tampa Bay 5.5 over SAN FRANCISCO. PICK: BUCS. I see the Bucs winning by 7 or 8, and shutting down the Niners' inexperienced QB.

TENNESSEE 10 over NY Jets. PICK: TITANS. Vince Young played well last week; I see the Titans winning by, say, 10.

NEW ENGLAND 22 over Miami. PICK: PATRIOTS. I just can't see the Pats letting up or coming out flat, especially against these guys, the last franchise to go unbeaten.

SEATTLE 11 over Baltimore. PICK: SEAHAWKS. They're at home, the Ravens' hamburger offense is turning into chopped liver, and Boller--who suffered a concussion last week--will play anyway.

MINNESOTA 6.5 over Washington. PICK: REDSKINS. I think the Vikings will eke out a win at the end, but look for the Redskins to keep the game close with pressure on Jackson, 8 men in the box, and forced turnovers.

SAN DIEGO 8.5 over Denver. PICK: CHARGERS. They're on the upswing, and Denver is out of the playoffs and having a hard time stopping the run.

Friday, December 21, 2007

More Huckaworries

This reproduces a quote from a book Mike Huckabee wrote a few years ago, titled From Hope to Higher Ground. The quote has to do with Huckabee's view of how government can promote health. Its implication are a bit frightening: "History shows that we can, in fact, help Americans to change, not by force-feeding them government restrictions or requirements but by first changing the attitudes and atmosphere in which we live. Eventually, having shifted public opinion, we can solidify the attitude and atmospheric changes with government actions that define the will of the majority."

News flash, Mr. Huckabee: government actions, even if you claim they're for good health, even if you claim they reflect the will of the majority and will merely "solidify" that will, will amount to "restrictions." (how silly to try to play word games with such.) And I don't care if you can get a majority to say, for example, that Twinkies are bad for you and harm our health, it's not the government's business to be levying Twinkie taxes and thus infringing on our freedom to eat---and yet that is increasingly exactly the kind of thinking that your philosophy would undergird.

Why isn't anyone paying attention to this?

So asked (rhetorically) Byron York today on The Corner.
And he's right---given all the hubbub over it not long ago, people should pay attention.
So let's do so here. The issue? Well, remember all the hoo-hah about Rudy Giuliani supposedly, as mayor, using secretive budgetary practices to hide the fact that he had a girlfriend? Turns out it likely isn't true:
The headlines have dogged Rudolph W. Giuliani's presidential campaign for weeks. "Security costs for trysts draw attention," said one. The articles questioned whether, as mayor, Mr. Giuliani tried to hide his visits to Judith Nathan in the Hamptons by burying the associated security costs in the budgets of obscure mayoral agencies like the Loft Board.The answer is not likely, according to a review of the city records originally cited as the basis for the assertion.All eight of Mr. Giuliani's trips to the Hamptons in 1999 and 2000, including the period when his relationship was a secret, were charged to his own mayoral expense account, according to the records.After his affair became public, the mayor's office in 2001 did charge several trips to the Hamptons to the Assigned Counsel Plan, which was designed to coordinate legal efforts for the poor.But the total cost of those trips, $2,474, represents less than 1 percent of the $281,338 in travel expenses that was charged to the obscure agencies.

We must never forget dept

One of the three known remaining U.S. World War I veterans has died.

World War I was a horrific event, lasting from 1914-1918, killing over 10 million people, started and fought for no good reason, really. The U.S. was lucky, in a way--we did not enter the war until April 1917, and it ended in November 1918. So the American involvement in the war lasted for some year and a half. American battle casualties were somewhat over 100,000--numbers overshadowed by the casualty counts of other wars, such as World War II or the Civil War. Yet those Americans who did their duty in World War I faced grueling, difficult combat in the trench warfare of the First World War, and for the most part did their jobs as best they could. They deserve our remembrance, and our thanks. (My grandfather, John Smant, was one of the doughboys who went "over there.")

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's just wrong

"Pat Buchanan's American Conservative plays the Nazi card this month with Rudy Giuliani colored in as a storm trooper on the cover."

Mr. Buchanan should know better.

NFL Pick

One game tonight:

Pittsburgh 7.5 over ST. LOUIS. PICK: RAMS. The Steelers have not been too solid on the road all year (losing to the Jets!); they've looked vulnerable lately. The Rams have Bulger and Jackson, which can keep the game close. Look for the Steelers to win this game, but by 7 pts or less.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Terrell Owens on what's wrong with the Dallas Cowboys

Easy--it's the quarterback's girlfriend! “Right now, Jessica Simpson is not a fan favorite — in this lockerroom, or in Texas Stadium,” Owens declared. Then he went on to make some more pronouncements as the Dallas Cowboys’ self-appointed version of Dana Perino, suggesting “a lot of people feel she has taken the focus away.”

The columnist has it exactly right--it was just a matter of time before TO started messing things up for the Cowboys. And his point is ridiculous and illogical on its face--nearly every player has friends, family, girlfriends, wives, etc attending every game! So it's okay for them to play with the pressure of performing before their significant others, but Romo can't? Please.

The continuing Huckasurge of interest

The rise of Mike Huckabee in the polls has certainly roiled the Republican presidential race, and it has conservatives really thinking. Check out The Corner on National Review Online--for the past several days it's been filled with Huck-related stuff. The majority on NRO are opposed to Huckabee. It's got some pro-Huck conservatives fearing NR has gone anti-evangelical. Today, the focus has been on rebutting this--here's a good example: "I am probably one of Huckabee's more strident critics here on the Corner, but let me stress that it is not because he is an evangelical, nor is it because I support another candidate (Fred Thompson). I happily support evangelical candidates (or candidates of whatever religion) who espouse sound policy views.
My inital complaint about Huckabee was that there was nothing particularly conservative about him other than his views on a handful of social issues (and even here his views were not particularly consistent). Neither his record nor his rhetoric suggested that he believed in limited government, economic liberty, federalism or personal responsibility. The more I looked, the more I found that was unnerving, from his indefensible call for an AIDS quarantine to his excessively forgiving approach to clemencies to his juevenile views of foreign policy. That he has a hard time acknowledging errors or changes in his views — as in his ridiculous claim that the "isolation" of AIDS victims is not a quarantine or his dissembling over the Wayne Dumond case — further soured me on him, and had even made me doubt the depth of his convictions. While he is a very effective politician, the sheer number of alleged ethical improprieties combined with the above makes we wonder whether he is as authentic as he appears."

The social significance of Jamie Lynn Spears

She's Britney's sister, you know; 16 years old, and pregnant (with a guy she met at church!).

John Derbyshire at NRO has the possible social significance: "This is another data point in support of Steve Sailer's theory that we are dividing into two tribes: (1) People who get married but put off having babies, and (2) People who have babies but put off getting married."

The immigration semantics debate

Howard Dean says, don't call 'em illegal--oops: "When Howard Dean complained recently about Republicans overheating the immigration debate, his top piece of evidence was their use of "outrageous phrases like 'illegal aliens.' " But the chairman of the Democratic National Committee might have turned his anger on his own party, including Sen. Barack Obama, who used the phrase twice in the Democrats' CNN debate last month."

This is actually a very point point. Language used can influence debates and drive policy. Many Democrats don't want to label illegal immigrants as "illegal", because they know many Hispanic activists don't like it, and they fear losing votes. They also claim the term is disparaging towards the immigrants, and supposedly "pollutes" the debate. Some may really believe that. I also suspect though that they realize that the American people are far more willing to sustain tougher measures against illegal immgrants than they might be against undocumented immigrants.

The fact remains, however, that sneaking into this country surreptitiously is in fact illegal. One can be arrested and deported for doing it. That is simply reality. Those wishing to play around with the language have a much harder time doing so when they bump up against reality.

And maybe it's worth it

A 700 year old copy of the Magna Carta sells for over $21 million. "The Magna Carta came into existence when a group of English barons demanded that King John affix his seal to a list of protections at Runnymede in 1215. Those edicts were not fulfilled, but subsequent versions of the document followed for the next 80 years, until 1297, when it was codified into law."

And that was the most important thing--that a king (who, up to that time, pretty much everywhere had absolute, untrammeled power believed to be granted him by God)--had to agree to a document that LIMITED his power. There were now things that even a king could not do. It remains one of the foundations of republican government. Worth preserving, and thus very valuable...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

“The mayor has no intention of imposing a fee on pizza.”

Just on sweet pop drinks: "In a move he says is necessary to trim the city’s waistline, the decidedly slim mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, has proposed charging big stores a fee when they sell sugar-sweet soda. The proposal, which was reported by The San Francisco Chronicle on Monday, would put an as yet-to-be-defined surcharge on all drinks with high-fructose corn syrup, which puts the sweet pop in most nondiet sodas and many other food products. The syrup also puts on the pounds, something city officials say strains the health care system."

When will they come after the Twinkies?
This is the kind of stuff, some Republicans fear, that Mike Huckabee favors; and these kind of proposals are an infringement upon peoples' freedom and are illogical to boot. Beware of the health nazis.

When will there be zero tolerance for zero tolerance?

Because idiocy like this is just remarkable: "A 10-year-old Florida girl faces felony weapons charges after bringing a small steak knife to school to cut up her lunch, according to a report on School officials say the Ocala 5th grader had brought a piece of steak for her lunch, and had brought a steak knife. According to the report, a couple of teachers took the utensil and called authorities, who arrested the girl and took her to the county’s juvenile assessment center.
"She did not use it inappropriately. She did not threaten anyone with it. She didn't pull it out and brandish it. Nothing of that nature," explained Marion County School Spokesman Kevin Christian, who added that it made no difference what the knife was being used for, they had no choice but to call police."

Is she still in chains? In handcuffs? Is she in maximum security lockdown?
Where did public school bureaucrats get the idea that rules with absolutely no flexibility are a good idea?

In Hollywood, the pill popping continues

Cuz it's all about how you look: "Madonna reportedly practices three hours of yoga a day, Gwyneth Paltrow swears by a macrobiotic diet consisting of mostly grains and uncooked vegetables and now Hilary Swank says she pops nearly 45 pills a day to maintain her celebrity physique. .."This is my Aloe C, which I dissolve in water," Swank told the magazine, reportedly wielding a large orange pill. "Here's my flax. This one's for my immune system, and this one is my BrainWave. It's great, like if I have a lot of lines to memorize."

Who helps her with this? "Garcia, a Manhattan-based self-described "life extension specialist" and often dubbed "nutritionist to the stars," says supplements are a necessity in today's high-pressure world, especially for his celebrity clients....Garcia, who talks about his clients as if they are delicately balanced engineering projects, says the purpose of his treatment is "stretching out the usable life of your body."

That's what worries you about Hollywood. People are not engineering projects. And they shouldn't be dumped and forgotten just because their abs aren't quite as tight as they used to be.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Global warming town criers who leave big carbon footprints dept

This time it's New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who's been loudly sounding the alarm concerning the danger of global warming lately: "Our correspondent notes Friedman's address and comments on his home outside Washington, D.C.: 'I lived within shouting distance of Friedman. Take a look at the carbon footprint this guy leaves. He lives on about seven acres -- it was once the home site of a prominent Washington attorney...The house sits on a hill with a great view and a western exposure. Friedman bought the house from the late lawyer's family about five years ago, tore down the huge older house and constructed an [over 11,000] square foot residence, with 7.5 bathrooms, on the hilltop. It is beautifully landscaped, as you can tell from the aerial/satellite photographs, and the foliage likely requires a lot of water. The property is listed on the tax rolls for [well over $9,000,000]. It makes me feel better that those who preach environmentalism practice such a modest intrusion on the environment itself.'
Of course, there's a lot of that going around these days. And we haven't yet had time yet to observe whether Friedman's raised consciousness will result in a reduction of his carbon footprint now that Friedman has been given to understand the end is nigh.

And don't forget how many writers on the other side of the aisle have complained about conservatives supposedly supporting a war in which they won't fight.

Where's Senator Clinton's Des Moines Register big mo?

Not much sign of it in New Hampshire today. A long-time supporter of hers: "What I've seen these past few months isn't the Hillary Clinton I remember from her campaign visits here in 1991, when I first met her, or her several visits since and prior to this year," Splaine wrote last week in a lengthy posting on the blog Blue Hampshire. "Where has the 'conversation' gone that she said she wanted to start with her announcement last January? It seems as if she is talking 'to' or 'at' us, even 'down' to us. She needs to talk 'with' us..."

Tonight, drink a toast to innocence, drink a toast to time

"Reliving in our eloquence...Another auld lang syne..."

Dan Fogelberg, dead of cancer at the age of 56.
RIP, leader of the band.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Baseball: The Mitchell Report

Okay--so we now know that, most likely, plenty of ballplayers in the '90s and beyond used steroids or HGH, and it's raised questions about the game, its integrity, and how we should view superstars like Roger Clemens.

My take: the Steroids Era happened. It can't be undone. Everyone will have to live with it, not wallow in it, and accept their share of the blame (Commissioner Selig for too often ignoring it, Don Fehr and the players union for fighting effective testing, the fans for not caring). Baseball now simply has to move forward. And that means protecting the integrity of the game through rigorous testing for steroids, and figuring out how to test and protect against HGH.

We should, further, make sure we understand just what happened here, and not whitewash it. I'm inspired to say this because--well, look at what we saw yesterday: Andy Pettite admits he used HGH. But he also claims that he only intended to use it to "heal", and not to gain an "edge." But Mr. Pettite, lookit, by using HGH in that way you ARE gaining an edge. You're wanting to heal from an injury FASTER than would someone who didn't use it. That's an edge. That's an advantage. Don't try to minimize what you did. I fear he won't be the only one--I've noted some fans, since the Mitchell Report broke, eager to condemn without reservation players from other teams who were named in the report, but..well...making excuses for the players named from their favorite teams. Don't go there. Be objective. And start cleaning up this mess, baseball.

The Des Moines Register endorsement

It goes to Hillary and McCain.

But seriously, does anyone really think newspaper endorsements matter much anymore???

If Oprah's endorsement only matters to 1% of voters (as a recent poll suggested), then surely newspaper endorsements don't affect the thinking of a lot of people either.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

NFL Picks

I was 9-6 last week.

Tonight's game:

Cincinnati 9 over SAN FRANCISCO. PICK: BENGALS. All reports indicate that the Niners are pretty beaten down, including emotionally. Meanwhile Carson Palmer looks good.

CLEVELAND 5.5 over Buffalo. PICK: BROWNS. Both teams have been very good against the spread. The Bills have really over-achieved. But I can't go against the Browns at home.

Tennessee 3.5 over KANSAS CITY. PICK: TITANS. They'll run it, and stuff the Chief's run game, just enough.

Green Bay 7.5 over ST. LOUIS. PICK: PACKERS. Favre and the Pack have done real well in this kind of game--they're 10-2 overall vs the spread. And they're hot.

Baltimore 3.5 over MIAMI. PICK: RAVENS. Sorry--I see no indication that anybody should get on the Dolphins' bandwagon (the wheels of which have fallen off).

NEW ENGLAND 21 over NY Jets. PICK: PATRIOTS. I think the Pats' slump is over, and you know they're motivated.

NEW ORLEANS 3.5 over Arizona. PICK: SAINTS. I liked the way Drew Brees played Monday night; meanwhile, the Cards always struggle on the road.

PITTSBURGH 3.5 over Jacksonville. PICK: STEELERS. They're 7-0 at home this year. The Jags are close to being an elite team. But I don't think they're quite there yet.

TAMPA BAY 12.5 over Atlanta. PICK: BUCS. I'm a little hesitant; they're giving a lot of points. But Garcia looks more likely to play, the Bucs are playing for a playoff spot, and Atlanta's D has a lot of holes.

Seattle 7.5 over CAROLINA. PICK: SEAHAWKS. Because now it looks like Vinny Testaverde won't play, meaning the unknown Matt Moore will start for the Panthers. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have Matt Hasselbeck.

Indianapolis 10 over OAKLAND. PICK: COLTS. They're getting healthy. Oakland is improving, but the Colts to pull away in the 2nd half.

DALLAS 10 over Philadelphia. PICK: COWBOYS. They have more motivation, and they tend to play well--and score--at home. The Eagles meanwhile have lost 3 in a row and are out of the playoffs.

SAN DIEGO 10 over Detroit. PICK: CHARGERS. The Lions surprised me last week, but they really don't do well against the spread on the road. The Chargers are improving.

NY GIANTS 4.5 over Washington. PICK: GIANTS. It's kind of asking a lot to expect Todd Collins to do it again; the Giants will get pressure on him.

MINNESOTA 10 over Chicago. PICK: VIKINGS. They're hot; and I can't see Kyle Orton getting all that much done, especially since it's unlikely the Bears will be able to establish a run game. Meanwhile, look for Adrian Peterson to get something done.

It's a miracle!

Bill Clinton, on his wife's chances in Iowa: "So my view of this is that I never thought she had a big lead in Iowa and never thought she could have one. Now Iowa people have been really fair to her. They've listened to her," Bill Clinton said. "But I think it's a miracle that Hillary's got a chance to win. She might win this thing in Iowa. And I'm not low-balling it. You can look at the facts here. I think it's a miracle, because of the way the thing has played out."

Could even the most devoted Democrat, with the fondest memories of the Clinton years, take this obvious spin seriously???

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cell phones, and their uses for famous folks

How to avoid a crowd: "I do what I normally do when I approach a group of people, I take out my BlackBerry and pretend to talk on the phone because ... I don't want to actually have to talk to them." — Anderson Cooper, explaining what he does to avoid running into strangers on the street in NYC, on "Regis and Kelly."

But next time, people will see through that trick...

The continuing Huckaboom

Meanwhile, besides Hillary's continued slippage, another political trend showing itself today is Mike Huckabee's continuing polling surge in the Republican race. Captain Ed rounds it up well here.

Perhaps the Huckabee surge is a case of evangelical conservatives in the Republican Party believing they've found their candidate.

If so, as the Captain also notes, I think these Republicans should think again. No question, Mr. Huckabee's an evangelical. But is he also a conservative? His past views on taxes, spending, and immigration raise questions.

Al Qaeda's Christmas video

Its leader is mad about the Annapolis summit or some such.
But the best part is Michelle Malkin's one-liner on it:

"Jihad bells, jihad bells, jihad all the way."

Interesting prediction

On the 2008 presidential race--from Michael Novak on NRO: "Let the record show that in the Iowa debate of December 13, 2007, the Democrats crossed the Rubicon into defeat in November, 2008. For on this day candidate Hillary Clinton announced that as President she would repeal all the tax cuts made since her husband was president, and return taxpayers to the tax rates they were paying during the 1990s. And Candidates Obama and Edwards competed to see who could be even more emphatic about raising taxes, when he became President.Perhaps blinded by the sunset brilliance of their own left wing, the Democrats chose on that day to abandon all taxpayers who are grateful for the child deduction and the other cuts in tax rates (at every level) that they enjoyed after the Clintons left office in January, 2000."

Naturally we conservatives support tax cuts. We believe your private property (which includes your earnings) should be protected. But I don't think our bias is showing when we suspect that a lot of Americans agree with us on taxes. I've seen no evidence that Americans want taxes significantly raised, even on the rich.

You know a team is in trouble when...

...they threaten fans with ejection who (non-profanely) heckle their coach.

I agree it's not a First Amendment issue. Fans at Madison Square Garden don't have a right to heckle Isiah.

But do the Knicks (6 wins, 15 losses so far this year) really need to be alienating their fans in this way?

More trouble for Senator Clinton

Who would have thought it would get this bad for her this quickly.
The chairman of the Democratic Party in Wyoming says her nomination would harm all Democratic candidates in the west.

The Concord Monitor now shows Barack Obama with a slim lead in New Hampshire.

A new poll also shows Obama leading by 9 points in Iowa.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

NFL Pick

There's a game tonight:

HOUSTON 2.5 over Denver. PICK: TEXANS. I was impressed with Sage Rosenfels' performance last week for the Texans. And they're at home.

Looking for a job?

Employment, Washington D.C.-style: "Monday this notice appeared in employment listings: “Senior Democratic Senate office is currently seeking a daily driver for the senator. Individuals must have their own appropriate vehicle, impeccable driving skills and a familiarity with Washington. Additionally, attention to detail, a strong sense of responsibility and a natural discretion are all essential. Successful candidate will also have superior interpersonal skills, strong oral and written communication abilities, and an ability to prioritize tasks and follow through while working in a high-pressure environment.” One Senate aide had a question. “What the hell is an ‘appropriate vehicle’? Are they implying that a pimped-out white Caddy with zebra-striped interior and fuzzy dashboard dice (with a black light, naturally, to make them glow) just doesn’t cut it when you need a quick lift to the White House, Pentagon, the Capitol?”
And, more importantly: “Which Democratic member of the United States Senate” — which has a slew of millionaires in its midst, mind you — “can’t afford their own car and would make some poor staffer schlep them around in their Honda Accord that they bought in college?” A big no-no. Why? Sniffs our spy: “That is so House of Representatives.”

It's also why some folks out in the hinterlands kinda resent these slick, elite, pampered politicians...

Pelosi on Repubs

Today: "They like this war. They want this war to continue. We thought that they shared the view of so many people in our country that we need a new direction in Iraq. To affect that we need redeployment of our troops with a goal of a year to do that. But the Republicans have made it very clear that this is just not George Bush's war, this is the war of the Republicans in Congress."

Don't be surprised. This has long been the line of attack used by the other side against conservatives and Republicans. Remember? Barry Goldwater in 1964 was supposedly going to blow up the world. Ronald "Ray-gun" (as some liberals called him) was going to lead us into nuclear holocaust. Republicans-as-warmongers---very old.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Afternoon debate...

Republicans, that is, in Iowa--but not much happens: "I'm with Fred Barnes. We got a series of campaign slogans, not a debate. He called Carolyn Washburn "Nurse Ratchet," and Mort Kondracke echoed my depiction of Washburn as a schoolmarm. Nothing much happened in 73 minutes..."

Several who watched it (I wasn't able to) thought Mitt Romney did best.

Senator Clinton's fading campaign?

Yet another poll, this time in New Hampshire, shows her lead disappearing--it's now a dead heat in the Granite state too, as it is in Iowa.

Re: NR endorses Romney

Some e-mailers, in response to my post of yesterday, point out that NR has endorsed candidates in the Republican primaries before--including Pat Buchanan in New Hampshire in 1992, and Phil Gramm in 1996. And of course the editors would never have made this endorsement unless they believed Romney was conservatives' best choice.

I'm not sure NR is correct that Romney is the best choice; I (and I noted that Ed Morrissey at Captains Quarters yesterday indicated he'd agree) am not sure that a nomination of Rudy Giuliani would necessarily tear apart the conservative coalition. BUT...

As NR pointed out in its editorial, good conservatives can disagree with each other, and remain good conservatives. And if Mitt Romney does in fact win the GOP nomination, I would certainly support him over Hillary Clinton in a heartbeat, and I think all good conservatives should do the same. We'll see how this plays out.

More on the thought of Ron Paul

Here I think he has a point, and here conservatives can find common ground with him:
"Paul, R-Texas, strongly opposes granting "amnesty" to the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States today. So I asked him what he'd do with all those immigrants. Would he try to arrest all of them? "I don't think anybody could find 'em. I don't think anybody knows where they are," he said. "But if they come for welfare benefits, and you know they're illegal, deny them the benefits." That's the crux of Paul's approach: deny the immigrants the welfare and social services that many of them now receive. "Get rid of the subsidies," he said. "You subsidize illegal immigration, you get more of it."

Changing life in these United States dept

"What was going through my mind at that point was that the security tape is either going to show me run away and hide in the office or whack this guy in the head, so I just grabbed the cup and clocked the guy pretty hard."

It's good that the robber was killed.
But actually, many in law enforcement and in the business world teach clerks and cashiers not to resist when thieves come along. Resisting can get you killed.
But YouTube offers instant fame, and everyone knows it...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

NR for Romney???

So the editors of National Review magazine have come out and given a full endorsement to Mitt Romney.

I have always been an NR reader and supporter. I still am. But I must say I'm surprised, and a little troubled. It's not that the editors do not make their usual reasonable conservative case. They always do. Indeed, Mitt Romney has said, in this current campaign, many things that conservatives like to hear, whether it be on abortion, families, or taxes/spending/the size of government. It's also true that, going back to his 1994 senate race against Ted Kennedy, Romney has been consistent in advocating at least some conservative ideas and principles.

However. Romney's adoption of socially liberal policy positions in his 2002 race to be governor of Massachusetts can't be denied. Nor can all the reports, from representatives of liberal advocacy groups in Massachusetts, laying out how Romney assured them in 2002 that he was actually one of them--only to change once the 2008 Republican presidential race approached, and he had made the decision to run in it. NR's editors believe that Mr. Romney is sincere enough when it comes to the conservative principles he is now advocating. Others of us aren't so sure. I don't know that such a divide can ever be resolved.

But I also have one other concern. In the past, when presidential campaigns loomed, and there was no single, clear, conservative choice in the primary season, NR had traditionally refrained from endorsing anyone in the Republican race. NR instead would stand back, and try to report evenhandedly on the statements and actions of all the candidates. This was the case for example in 1968, when the partisans of both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan tried to stake a claim to National Review's support. But NR endorsed no one, until the primaries were over and Nixon was the nominee. This was important. This way, no one could merely label NR as "belonging" to any particular candidate. It could be seen as no candidate's stooge, as no mere mouthpiece for a particular campaign. And NR's founders--William F. Buckley Jr., James Burnham, Frank S. Meyer, William Rusher, et. al.--were very aware of this, and pursued this policy for just that reason.

I realize that NR doesn't seek to be seen as in the hip pocket of any candidate. But unfortunately, this early endorsement of Romney, before any votes have been cast, will probably shadow nearly everything NR says about the Republican campaign from now on. Any criticism it makes of other Republican candidates, any positive statements it makes on Romney's behalf, will surely now be belittled with one simple statement: "Well, so what--everybody knows they've already endorsed Romney."

James Burnham especially always used to say that, while NR must be conservative, it must also maintain some independence. And that when it came to political campaigns, NR needed to report on the campaign, and not necessarily become an active participant in it. National Review is not merely a magazine. It is a part of the conservative movement, and has sought to speak to, speak for, and be accessible to, all conservatives. I fear NR has now forfeited some of its traditional independence and its historical role in the movement, and I think this is unfortunate.

A tortuous debate

Many say "waterboarding" is torture, including the former CIA agent discussed in this story.
Nor does he like torture. He wishes we wouldn't do it any more.
But he also says the use of waterboarding back in 2002 saved lives, and that it's use was probably necessary at the time.

Whether we should use forms of interrogation such as this, in this day and age, is not the easy question some unthinking moralists make it out to be.

NFL picks postmortem

With the Saints' victory over Atlanta last night (and I picked the Saints), I actually won 9, lost only 6 last week. Not bad!
Eventually I'll have to go back and total up my overall record. Stay tuned for this week's picks!

Monday, December 10, 2007


Australian version: "A WEST Australian medical expert wants families to pay a $5000-plus "baby levy" at birth and an annual carbon tax of up to $800 a child. Writing in today's Medical Journal of Australia, Associate Professor Barry Walters said every couple with more than two children should be taxed to pay for enough trees to offset the carbon emissions generated over each child's lifetime."

I wonder, if Prof. Walters has children of his own, is he offering to pay "back taxes" on them. Hmmmm....

Examining a piece of the thought of Ron Paul

Last night at the GOP Univision debate, Mr. Paul said: "We create the Chavezes of the world, we create the Castros of the world by interfering and creating chaos in their countries, and they respond by throwing out their leader."

You know, it's sad. When it comes to our domestic policies here in the United States, Ron Paul is a champion of Americans taking responsibility for themselves and for their own actions. He urges us to break our dependence upon the federal government. Great.

But then we come to his foreign policy. And suddenly, Castro isn't responsible for what Castro does, and Chavez isn't responsible for what Chavez does. Suddenly, Americans are--we "created" Castro and Chavez. Mr. Paul isn't thinking clearly when it comes to foreign policy--he's thinking too much like a liberal.

Whoopi Goldberg, conservative

Who would have thunk: "During a discussion of Republican Presidential candidates on ABC’s The View, which the comedian co-hosts, Ms. Goldberg said, “I’d like somebody to get rid of the death tax. That’s what I want. I don’t want to get taxed just because I died.” The studio audience started applauding, but she wasn’t done. “I just don't think it’s right,” she continued. “If I give something to my kid, I already paid the tax. Why should I have to pay it again because I died?” … When another co-host, Joy Behar, responded to Ms. Goldberg’s remarks by asserting, “Only people with a lot of money say that,” Ms. Goldberg shot back, “No, I don’t think so . . . It doesn’t matter if you have or don’t have money. Once you paid your taxes, it should be a done deal. You shouldn’t have to pay twice.”

And to that we say, amen!

"You need to apologize to the millions of young people who looked up to you."

Michael Vick gets 23 months.

And now, we need hear his name no more, until he gets out and until he can prove he's changed.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A day full of political happenings

And who knows what it all means...

Mike Huckabee's amazing surge continues--now he may even lead in South Carolina.

Even as he gets hammered for his 1992 views on AIDS and gays, and for helping to parole a rapist who killed after he got out.

Meanwhile, the Obama/Oprah campaign swing creates a huge buzz.

And a smiling, dapper Rudy Giuliani takes Tim Russert's best shots, and comes off all right, thanks.

Oprah as Reaganite

Oprah Winfrey yesterday, campaigning in Iowa on behalf of Barack Obama: "Oprah said, “Experience in the hallways of government isn’t as important to me as experience on the pathway to life. I challenge you to see through those people who try to tell you that experience in politics as usual is more valuable than wisdom outside the walls of Washington, D.C.”

Interestingly, this is the same kind of argument Ronald Reagan and his supporters made in 1980. Reagan too was criticized for a lack of experience; he'd never held a national political office (he'd been governor of California for two terms). He too suggested that he would change politics-as-usual in Washington.

Running against Washington is not a new idea; it's been done many times.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

NFL Picks: week 14

Let's not talk about last week.

BUFFALO 7 over Miami. PICK: Bills. I'm off the Dolphins bandwagon (especially after last week).

CINCINNATI 9.5 over St. Louis. UPDATE PICK: BENGALS. I've heard Bulger will NOT play today. Given that, and given the Bengals at home, I'll go with Cincy.

Dallas 10.5 over DETROIT. PICK: COWBOYS. The Lions are reeling; no Roy Williams. And the Cowboys are motivated, remembering how the Lions knocked them off last year.

GREEN BAY 10.5 over Oakland. PICK: PACKERS. Favre returns. Oakland meanwhile hasn't even determined a starter at QB.

TENNESSEE even vs San Diego. PICK: CHARGERS. LT gaining steam, Chargers finishing strong.

PHILADELPHIA 3 over NY Giants. PICK: EAGLES. McNabb returns. The Giants were rather fortunate to win last week; the Bears failed to get TDs in the red zone.

JACKSONVILLE 10.5 over Carolina. PICK: JAGUARS. Their ground game plus Garrard to gash Panthers, who are still having to start Vinny T.

Tampa Bay 3 over HOUSTON. PICK: BUCS. Jeff Garcia is questionable. But Luke McCown showed he can get it done. Houston meanwhile must go with Sage Rosenfels.

Minnesota 8.5 over SAN FRANCISCO. PICK: 49ERS. The Vikings will win, but they're due for a letdown, and I like the Niners to cover at home.

SEATTLE 7 over Arizona. PICK: SEAHAWKS. Because they're at home, and both Bolden and Fitzgerald are banged up for the Cardinals.

DENVER 7 over Kansas City. PICK: BRONCOS. The Chiefs are fading, and they're on the road.

NEW ENGLAND 10.5 over Pittsburgh. PICK: STEELERS. Two tough, physical teams have given the Patriots close games the last two weeks. The Steelers are tough and physical.

Cleveland 3 over NY JETS. PICK: BROWNS. Cleveland should have won last week. Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards to make sure of it this week.

Indianapolis 9 over BALTIMORE. PICK: COLTS. They're getting healthy. Ravens to have a letdown after last week.

New Orleand 3 over ATLANTA. PICK: SAINTS. Both teams struggling, but Drew Brees will help get the Saints over the hump in this one.

Campaign tactics watch

Oprah Winfrey, as we've known for some time, campaigns this weekend for Barack Obama in both Iowa and South Carolina. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, responds by bringing her daughter Chelsea, and her mother Dorothy, with her to Des Moines.

Suggestion: lately the Clinton campaign is responding to what Obama does. They're on the defensive--not where you want to be in a campaign. (for so long, Senator Clinton's opponents were the ones responding to Clinton.)

And in any case, Chelsea and Dorothy can't match up with Oprah.

Under the Huckascope

With Mike Huckabee's recent surge in support comes increased examination of everything he's ever written or said. So, today it comes out that back in 1992 he suggested that AIDS was getting too much federal funding, that AIDS patients be quarantined, and that he opposed homosexuality.

A big deal? It will be to some, especially in the news media. Thing is, I suspect most Republicans agree with him when it comes to gay issues and AIDS funding (funding for cancer, anyone?); and as for the quarantine, he said what he said in 1992. We know much more about AIDS now than we did then.

UPDATE: Here's Huckabee's response, and it echoed what I thought he'd say above.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A thought on both the Republican and Democratic presidential races...

One unknown is this: somebody is going to win the Iowa Democratic caucus. Somebody will win the Republican caucus in the Hawkeye state. Somebody (the same candidate? someone different?) will win the New Hampshire Democratic primary election. Same same for the New Hampshire Republican primary election.

Everyone's trying to figure out what effect that will have. Will the winning candidates in Iowa gain momentum ("big mo", as George Bush Sr. memorably put it in 1980) and thus win coming primaries? Many pundits and observers speculate about this. I have too. Concerning the Democrats, I've supposed that, even though Hillary Clinton is the favorite to win the nomination, if she loses Iowa, it's a "whole new ballgame." Others think that, if Mitt Romney wins both Iowa and New Hampshire (as he's spent millions to try to do), he would be the likely Republican nominee. But if he loses Iowa, he's in trouble.

But you know, we don't know that. Do people voting in primary elections REALLY vote for candidates because they have "momentum", because they won last week, because "oh, well, he/she's going to win the nomination anyway", because candidates get a lot of ink in the media, etc? Only on those bases? We don't know. A lot of things are different this year. The campaigns began earlier. A whole bunch of primaries are compressed into a short time period. Candidates, once we get past Iowa and New Hampshire, can't possibly be everywhere where there will be primaries and caucuses. So therefore won't money and organization and media coverage gain more importance? That would seem to bode better for Senator Clinton. On the other hand, how a campaign responds to poorer-than-expected showings will be important, too (remember Howard Dean's "scream" of 2004), and that doesn't augur well for Senator Clinton's campaign, which has thrashed about as of late in response to her recent troubles and slippages. The Huckabee campaign has taken off like a rocket in Iowa. But would a victory there and the resultant media coverage be all he needs in New Hampshire (he reportedly has little organization there.) We don't know. Can the Giuliani campaign, on the other hand, lose Iowa and New Hampshire and still be viable? Right now he's very popular in places like Florida. Could a later victory there save his campaign? That's something else we don't know. Rudy and his people have this strategy, though, and appear to be confidently sticking to it. Maybe they know something we don't. We'll see.

The GOP Univision debate this weekend

Tom Tancredo today makes a good point concerning why he won't take part:

"Can anyone imagine Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft having a Republican primary debate in German or Italian in 1912? Of course not."

"Most of my opponents are more than happy to throw out all their ideas."

From ABC's The Note: "This is the kind of contrast Obama has in mind: On Thursday, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., called it "a 'mistake' for her Democratic presidential opponents to outline specific plans to shore up the federal Social Security program. Any solution, she said, would come from bipartisan compromise," the Concord Monitor's Sarah Liebowitz writes.
Clinton: "Most of my opponents are more than happy to throw out all their ideas." (Proposing ideas as a presidential candidate? The horror!)"

That statement from Senator might just really, really come back to haunt her.
It reminds me of John Kerry's "I voted for it before I voted against it" line.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A bit more on Mitt Romney

Here's a full text of his speech. Like others, I have a problem with this: "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."

Sentence 1 I don't buy. I know personally atheists who are big enthusiasts of freedom, and who practice it. Indeed, Ben Franklin was pretty close to being an atheist, and he certainly promoted freedom.

Sentence 2 is well-put.
Sentence 3--well, maybe. I suppose this fits within Frank Meyer's old tried-and-true fusionist thesis: that we must seek the True and the Good. But the True and the Good is only worth anything if it is freely chosen; and freedom, without some sense of God and morality, can easily sink into libertinism. Maybe that's what Romney was getting at.

Still, suggesting that freedom REQUIRES religion is rather untenable ground.

The power and popularity of the National Football League

More evidence that it is our # 1 sport and now our national pastime: "More people watched the New England Patriots squeeze past the Baltimore Ravens on ESPN's "Monday Night Football" than viewed any other program in the history of cable TV. Game drew a total aud of 17.5 million viewers, besting the previous record of 17.2 million set in August by Disney Channel's "High School Musical 2."...ESPN's Monday cablecast of the Patriots-Ravens bout finished first for the night among programs on all broadcast and cable nets in total viewers and in all of the key adult demographics. Eleven of the 12 most-watched shows on cable TV in 2007 are "Monday Night Football" games on ESPN."

Another shooter

"He had said how much he loved his family and all his friends and how he was sorry he was a burden to everybody and his whole life he was a piece of (expletive) and now he'll be famous."

Yes, of course. The Virginia Tech shooter wanted to be famous, too.
And sadly, both are and will be...
Our hearts go out to those in Omaha who lost loved ones.

Mitt Romney gives his speech

In which he urges voters not to reject him because of his Mormon faith, and stresses the areas of agreement he has with the mainstream of American voters: ""If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest. A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States," Romney said a crowd of 400 to 500 people at the George H.W. Bush Library at Texas A&M University.
With surveys suggesting up to half of likely voters have qualms about a Mormon president, Romney said he shares "moral convictions" with Americans of all faiths. "I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it," Romney said. "My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them and to my beliefs." Nonetheless, he said his faith doesn't define his candidacy. "A person should not be elected because of his faith, nor should he be rejected because of his faith." Romney said. "Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin," Romney said."

What jumped out at me immediately upon reading about the speech is that, although Romney's people had been saying earlier this week that this was NOT to be a reprise of John F. Kennedy's 1960 don't-reject-me-because-of-my-Catholicism did remind one of JFK's Houston moment.

On the other hand, as the Washington Post points out, Kennedy spoke out mainly for separation of church and state--while Romney does not seek to keep religion out of the public square.
"But he was equally emphatic in defending the idea that there is a place for religion in public life. Arguing that the doctrine of separation of church and state had been carried too far, Romney said some have pushed to remove "any acknowledgement of God" from the public domain. "Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life," he said. "It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America -- the religion of secularism. They are wrong."

But still, it does remind one of Kennedy in Houston. Only this time the faith is Mormonism. We'll see how it plays out.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Leavin', on a bunch of jet planes...

Jet-fuel-guzzling environmentalists are, that is, heading to their latest global warming conference: "Never before have so many people converged to try to save the planet from the catastrophic effects of global warming, with more than 10,000 jet-setting to Indonesia's resort island of Bali, from ministers to Nobel laureates to drought-stricken farmers."

As Instapundit said, you can't make this stuff up.

One problem with Huckabee

His tax plan--see what he once said about it: "Not given to rhetorical understatement, Huckabee says, “When the FairTax becomes law, it will be like waving a magic wand releasing us from pain and unfairness.”

A true conservative doesn't believe any governmental legislation can do that. We don't (or at least, shouldn't) believe in "magic wands."
Read the whole article linked above.

Presidential campaigns caught in the spin cycle

The Washington Post's Dan Balz makes a good point: "Has presidential campaign coverage become so lopsidedly tilted toward the instantaneous that reflection, deeper reporting, perspective and the purely informational are being squeezed into a smaller and smaller corner?... We are all focused on the now, and in this presidential cycle, that is measured in minutes rather than hours. There is no news cycle any longer, just a continuum along which information flows in bits and bites and then is recycled repeatedly in a circle that spins at a dizzying speed.Each new piece of information is treated as was the last -- something to chew on until the next piece arrives. A new ad -- good or bad? Another debate -- winners and losers? A charge about a candidates -- followed by an instant reply? An endorsement for one candidate -- trumped by an endorsement for another candidate? A new poll - who's up and who's down? All are part of the grist.All this is quickly absorbed and often soon forgotten. Does anyone remember why it seemed so important when Pat Robertson endorsed Rudy Giuliani? Or when Sam Brownback gave his support to John McCain. Iowa Republican voters certainly don't seem that impressed, based on the support that Giuliani and McCain have here. Yet the endorsements produced a flood of coverage."

And ideas and principles get lost.
I don't know what can be done about it, however.

Fred Thompson appeals to libertarian conservatives

And I'm glad he's doing so. The topic was food and government-led "preventative" care:
"Standing about 15 feet away from a mouth-watering steam tray buffet loaded with fried chicken, creamed corn and macaroni and cheese at Wade's Southern Cooking in Spartanburg, Thompson dismissed the idea that preventative care and wellness education should be central features of a government's health care system. "I'm telling you, I don’t think that it’s the primary responsibility of the federal government to tell you what to eat," Thompson said to applause when asked if his health care plan included any details on preventative care, a priority for Democratic candidates. "The fact of the matter is we got an awful lot of knowledge,” said the former Tennesse senator. “Sometimes we don’t have a whole lot of will power, and I don’t know of any government program that's going to instill that."

The legendary conservative thinker and writer Frank S. Meyer was even suspicious of zip codes. I don't know that we need to go that far, but moving a little bit back in that direction would be good.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Why is Senator Clinton struggling?

Captain Ed has a good analysis point: "Candidates tied to Clinton don't worry about her liberalism, they worry about her (other) negatives, not least of which is her incompetence on the campaign trail. Clinton has never had to campaign in a contested race before now. She had no primary competition for her first run at the Senate, and faced walkovers in both races. Hillary now has proven herself the antithesis of her husband, perhaps one of the best natural politicians in the last generation. She has become so desperate that her official website now criticizes her toughest opponent for essays he wrote in kindergarten and the third grade."

Indeed. Also, there's this: I never liked Bill Clinton. But I could see how others could (they had to overlook a lot, in my opinion, but...) He knew how to work a crowd, how to turn on the charm, how to appear to connect with people. I don't see any of that charm with Hillary. She's not all that likeable. And now people are realizing she's not inevitable. There are alternatives.

Mitt's Mormonism

Mitt Romney plans to make a major speech dealing with his Mormon faith--polls show his situation is dicey: "Not surprisingly, the survey documented that there is greater bias among voters toward a candidate who is a Mormon than there is to a candidate who is African American or female. "We clearly see that people are more reluctant to vote for Mormons than they are blacks or women," Geer said Tuesday morning in a telephone call."

Former Bush administration official Peter Wehner has an idea of what Romney will seek to do:
"I don't think he wants to focus his argument on either separation of church and state or demystifying the Mormon faith," Wehner wrote in a message Tuesday morning. "I'd be shocked if he gets into Mormon doctrine at all. Rather, he wants to argue that his fundamental values are the same as most Republicans and most Americans, and that should be the acid test."

Which, from a properly-understood conservative point of view, sounds like the kind of thing that might help Romney.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A celeb does good

We all take plenty of shots at the Hollywood socialite set, so we should note it when one of them done good: "Nicole Richie and Joel Madden are using their celebrity for good, and that’s always a wonderful thing. The parents-to-be launched their new Children’s Foundation on Monday afternoon. They held a press conference at the Los Angeles Free Clinic in Hollywood.
Nicole and Joel donated 100 Mom-to-Be kits to the Los Angeles Free Clinic."

The expectant Nicole Richie sure has a very tanned "glow" about her, doesn't she?

And we're handing out teddy bears as parting gifts

Good news: "A British school teacher jailed in Sudan for two weeks after allowing her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad was freed Monday following a pardon by the Sudanese president."

Good that the Sudanese leadership finally saw the light. I suspect they figured they'd done enough to pacify the radical crazies among them.

Iran: good news and bad news

From today's Washington Post: "Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 in response to international pressure, and while it continues to develop an enriched uranium program, it apparently has not resumed moving toward a nuclear capability, according to a consensus judgment of the U.S. intelligence community released today by Director of National Intelligence John M. McConnell."

That's the good news. Here's the bad news: "Intelligence officials noted that by ending the covert weapons program, Iran could continue trying to develop the capability to process uranium for use in power plants and remain within its treaty obligations, as long as its efforts were conducted openly. They added that gaining the capacity to enrich uranium could aid a future weapons program, should Iran want to resume one."

Therefore, despite the spin the mainstream news media is putting on this, the Bush administration response is the right one: now isn't the time to take pressure off Iran. Rather, we should keep the pressure on.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Some responses to the radical Islam/Sudan/teddy bear incident

Good roundup here. Note especially: first, remember, the victim here is a British woman. So, National Organization of Women, where art thou? "When asked by FOX News for a comment about the situation, a National Organization for Women spokeswoman said they were "not putting out a statement or taking a position."

And then there was Whoopi Goldberg's blame-the-victim stance on "The View":
"WHOOPI GOLDBERG: You’d think if you’re going overseas, I mean, we had this discussion yesterday about people coming to America and learning the customs and knowing what is cool, and what isn’t cool. But I find that maybe we are not- and I say we just as European and American, we’re not as anxious to learn the customs before we go places. It’s just one of the reasons we’re called the ugly Americans."

Well, but of course, there is really no law or custom on what you can and cannot name teddy bears in the Sudan...and in any case, it wasn't this school teacher who named this bear anything! It was a presumably Muslim child in her class who named him!!


Poll watch

So today yet another poll, this time a Des Moines Register survey, has Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee leading in Iowa. No longer need we worry if such findings are legit; multiple polls now support them.

Bad news, obviously, for both Clinton and Romney.

Now, Captain Ed would disagree somewhat. He thinks especially that Hillary still has it locked up on the Democratic side, due to her lead among Dem "superdelegates" to the convention, her superior organization in other states, and in general her establishment support. But I dunno. If she loses Iowa, Obama gains more momentum. He's already within striking distance of her in New Hampshire; Senator Clinton's lead has been narrowing there for several days now. If Hillary blows both Iowa and New Hampshire...?

It's a whole new ballgame. Even the Democratic establishment, no matter how invested they are in her, cannot and will not continue to support a loser.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

NFL Picks; week 13

TENNESSEE 3.5 over Houston. PICK: TITANS. They're at home; Vince Young due for a breakout game.

INDIANAPOLIS 6.5 over Jacksonville. PICK: COLTS. They're getting healthy, and had a 10 day rest.

San Diego 6 over KANSAS CITY. PICK: CHIEFS. Not to win, but to cover. San Diego has struggled away from home.

ST. LOUIS 3 over Atlanta. PICK: RAMS. Mainly because Stephen Jackson is back.

MIAMI 1 over NY Jets. PICK: DOLPHINS. Miami appears to still be playing hard. The Jets offense is nowhere, especially on the road.

MINNESOTA 4 over Detroit. PICK: LIONS. The Vikings won last week; the Lions lost and have dropped 3 straight. So, easy pick? But Minnesota won last week almost solely because of Eli Manning's generosity. Look for the Lions to put up some big passing yards.

PHILADELPHIA 3 over Seattle. PICK: EAGLES. Philly sure looked tough last week. Even with the loss, they have momentum. Seattle is just not the same team on the road.

WASHINGTON 6 over Buffalo. PICK: BILLS. Watch out for the Redskins' mindset in the wake of Sean Taylor's death. And the Bills are actually 7-4 vs the spread this year.

CAROLINA 3 over San Francisco. PICK: PANTHERS. They're just due to win at home. Yes, the Niners won last week. They're also a 2-8 football team.

Denver 3.5 over OAKLAND. PICK: BRONCOS. Who knows? This one's a toss-up, given Denver's schizophrenic nature. But the Broncos should have won on the road last week; this week they'll get it done vs the still-weak Raider offense.

ARIZONA even vs Cleveland. PICK: BROWNS. It's another toss-up kind of game. But the Browns are 9-2 vs the spread; and the Cardinals have to still be mumbling to themselves after blowing last week's game.

NY Giants 1.5 over CHICAGO. PICK: BEARS. Not, I'm not a Grossman believer. But the Giants have to start Reuben Droughns at RB; and the Bears have Devin Hester.

NEW ORLEANS 3.5 over Tampa Bay. PICK: SAINTS. Key: Jeff Garcia is doubtful for the Bucs; that gives a big edge at QB to the Saints.

PITTSBURGH 7.5 over Cincinnati. PICK: BENGALS. Pittsburgh will win this game, but it will be closer than some think. The Bengals have some momentum, and the weather's not supposed to be too great (again). We saw on Monday what that can do to offenses at Heinz Field.

New England 20 over BALTIMORE. PICK: PATRIOTS. I'm betting the Pats got a wake-up call last week. And Kyle Boller not only isn't Tom Brady; he ain't even A.J. Feeley.

Clinton faces a "crisis"?

So Senator Clinton would have you believe, along with some in the news media, too.
Fortunately Ann Althouse destroys the argument:
Oh, good lord, she was not facing disorder. The hostage-taking was over, and even when it was going on, she was not facing it. She was waiting for law enforcement authorities to deal with a troubled man, which they did, without anyone suffering a physical injury. Did she do anything? Other than canceling her appearances — which she had to do to show decent sensitivity — she made a lot of ineffectual phone calls. For 5 hours, we're told, she "continued to call up and down the law enforcement food chain, from local to county to state to federal officials." She says, "I knew I was bugging a lot of these people."Afterwards, she used the occasion to make a show of her emotions (or did you think she was cold and mechanical?). She said:
"It affected me not only because they were my staff members and volunteers, but as a mother, it was just a horrible sense of bewilderment, confusion, outrage, frustration, anger, everything at the same time."Is that what you want in a President? Someone who feels extra confusion because she's a mother? But I don't believe that for one minute. I think that was just what was considered a good script. I don't happen to think it is a good script, because I don't want a President to roil into a mommyesque ball of emotion when a few people are in danger. Yet that's not Hillary. The only question is why she thought a statement like that was a good one. She probably wanted to make sure not to confirm the widely held belief that she's unemotional, and, while she was at it, delight all the ladies out there who lap up emotional drivel.

Some worried, mistaken conservatives

David Keene of the American Conservative Union and others are frantically mounting a "stop Rudy" movement within the GOP.

Again, they ignore the conservatism within Rudy's platform.
And where do they get the idea that Mitt Romney is now a conservative rock of Gibraltar? This is a guy who in 1994 and in 2002 in Massachusets ran for office as about as liberal a Republican as you can get. Then he thought about running for president, and only then did he change his tune. Does that score high on the sincerity meter?

That having been said, if it came down to Romney vs Senator Clinton, I'd vote for Romney in a heartbeat or less.

Friday, November 30, 2007

NFL update...

...I forgot to pick the Packers/Cowboys last night on this blog.
I was going to go with Dallas, being at home as they were and with all their firepower.
I realize that's easy to say now. Tony Romo really impressed me for the most part last night.
So did Green Bay's backup, Aaron Rogers. But the Cowboys do appear to have an edge on the Pack. By the way, it looks like Brett Favre will be okay.
Sunday's picks to appear here tomorrow.

Evel Knievel, RIP

The former daredevil Evel Knievel died today.
I remember him well from the 1970s--he was often on ABC's Wide World of Sports, attempting all kinds of challenging feats--jumping him motorcycle over buses, across gorges and canyons, etc.

It wasn't truly "sports." His leaps weren't even true "events"--they were manufactured for television and ratings. But they got them. Somehow we in the 1970s hungered for the something new, something supposed to be exciting and different, even if it was made-for-TV. In the '70s, most everyone knew Evel Knievel's name. He certainly had some guts, and it made him some money. Now he's made his final leap. RIP...

Excuse me, you forgot something

Today's installment for the Political Correctness Dept:
Every month, the Spokane (WA) School District sends out a parent/teacher newsletter.
For this December, the newsletter listed the important holidays for the month. But the public school bureaucrats who wrote it forgot something. Guess what it was. And who, in this day and age, is surprised anymore?!?
Hanukkah? Check.
Human Rights Day? Check.
Winter break? Check.
Eid al-Adha? Check.
Kwanzaa? Check.
Anything else big going on in December that the Spokane School District thinks should be noted in its parent/student newsletter?
Oh, yeah!
Hanukkah, Human Rights Day, winter break, the Islamic holy day Eid al-Adha, first day of winter and Kwanzaa all made the list, but Spokane Public Schools snubbed Christmas.
Yuletide was left off a list of “important dates” in a December newsletter sent to elementary school students’ families, drawing complaints from some parents that in an age of political correctness, Christians are being overlooked in favor of other cultures and beliefs.
As the response started coming in, the district’s community relations department began damage control, sending out e-mails to school staff accepting responsibility for the “Bulletin Board” newsletter blunder and calling it “an honest, unfortunate mistake.” Christmas had been added to the “important dates” section of the online version of the school district’s newsletter by Thursday afternoon.

Speaking the language

Over at NRO, Mark Krikorian examines the results of a Pew Center poll on Hispanic immigrants and their use of English. The results are worrying. Back in the 19th and early 20th century, there was always one thing we could count on: that immigrants to this country would learn English. That might not be the case anymore, and it's not good for this country. The survey looks apparently at all Hispanic immigrants, not just illegals, but...imagine what the percentages below would look like for them:
The Pew Hispanic Center has released the results of a survey on Hispanic immigrant language use that is not as reassuring as they seem to think. (The report is here, with coverage by the L.A. Times and the WaPo.) They report, for instance, that 88-percent of American-born children of Hispanic immigrants speak English very well — that's nice, until you realize that it means that one out of eight doesn't speak English well. And even among the grandchildren of Hispanic immigrants, 6-percent report that they don't speak English well and 19-percent that they don't read it well — these are the native-born children of native-born Americans whose immigrant ancestors arrived decades ago. Other disturbing findings: fully 28-percent of Hispanic immigrants never use English on the job, and only 29-percent report using more English than Spanish at work. And among naturalized citizens — people who are supposed to have passed a language test — 11-percent report that they speak no English at all, with 35-percent speaking just a little.

Youtube Democrat questioners unclear on the concept

Gosh, says one of the Democrats who got to question Republicans at the CNN presidential debate the other night, what did I do? "Retired Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr, who asked why gays should not be allowed to serve openly in the military, is a member of Clinton's steering committee on gay and lesbian issues, something her campaign disclosed in a news release in June....On CNN's "American Morning," Kerr said he has done nothing for the Clinton campaign and that the video was "a private initiative on my own." He also said he has supported Republicans."

But sir, you apparently led CNN to believe--certainly CNN led it's audience to believe--that you were an "unaffiliated" and perhaps even undecided voter, with no connection to any campaign. You weren't. You're for Clinton. And why shouldn't we suspect, therefore, that your question, far from seeking to elicit information to help undecided voters, was rather an attempt to play gotcha?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another thing about that debate last night...

Big problems with the questions CNN chose for last night's GOP debate. First, and perhaps most importantly, the questions themselves were bad, as Johnathan Martin of the Politico notes: "...the questions chosen seemed to reflect a Manhattan elite caricature of what defines the Republican party. And as Barnes gets at, there were few (if any) questions about kitchen table issues like education, health care, energy, jobs, and the mortgage crisis that many Republicans, as well as millions of other Americans, care about. Instead, it was all the conservative hot buttons, real (immigration) and perceived (Rebel flag)."

And then there the questioners. For some reason--most likely out of laziness and an inability to do their homework of vetting the questioners--CNN allowed it to turn into a chance for Democrats to cross-examine the Republican candidates. Unbelievable. And people wonder why the Republican candidates prefer Fox News. In toto:
To refresh:
1. The retired brigadier general is on Hillary Clinton's gay and lesbian steering committee.
2. The young woman who asked about jailing women who get abortions has stated on her YouTube profile page that she backs John Edwards.
3. The "Log Cabin Republican" has written on the web about "why I'm supporting Barack Obama."
4. The guy who asked Ron Paul if he would run as an independent also asked a question at the Democratic debate and has told reporters that he "likes Bill Richardson."
Is America such a small country that Mark Strauss of Davenport, Iowa gets to ask two questions of candidates?

On the umpteenth Republican debate

This seems like a representative media view of how last night's GOP YouTube debate went.
Many in the media like Mike Huckabee (but what will happen when the conservative base finds out more about him?).
They like the McCain-as-underdog-who's-"found his voice" theme.
They don't like Giuliani and Romney so much, and indeed last night's sniping between them didn't seem to illuminate much.
Ron Paul has zealous support and sounds the traditional, pure libertarian clarion call well.
But on foreign policy and Iraq specifically, sorry, Mr. Paul, but Senator McCain is right--you're a pseudo-isolationist. That'll never play.
In any case, there's probably been too many debates.
The race is as wide-open as I can ever remember.

The Clintons still love their polls

During the days of Bill Clinton's presidential administration, his love and dependence on polls became legendary. He met with his pollster practically daily. One time Clinton even had his pollster query the nation on what it thought of Martha's Vineyard as a Clinton summer vacation stop. Well, some things never change--see for example Senator Clinton's campaign's involvement in Barbara Streisand's recent endorsement: "Still, the singer’s value to Mrs. Clinton shouldn’t be scoffed at, another Streisand associate said on Wednesday. “We would’ve low-keyed it,” the associate said. “But the campaign says it’s a net plus. They polled it. Among Democratic primary voters, even in places like Iowa, they love Barbra. By the way, she just sold out concert tours around the world. And she’s great for fund-raising. In fact, a fund-raising letter signed by her went out this morning.”

Why immigration is a hot issue dept

Just look at these numbers: "Half of the nearly 3.5 million immigrants living in Texas are in the country illegally, the Center for Immigration Studies says in a report being released today.
Based on the latest Census Bureau data, the report said Texas has one of the fastest-growing immigrant populations of any state. It said that 50 percent of the state's foreign-born population — slightly more than 1.7 million people — are illegal immigrants. Only Arizona at 65 percent, North Carolina at 58 percent and Georgia at 53 percent had a higher proportion of illegal immigrants in their immigrant populations."

Naming teddy bears Muhammad

A British teacher in the Sudan discovers the joys of radical Islam: "British teacher Gillian Gibbons has been convicted of inciting religious hatred for letting her pupils name a teddy bear Muhammad and sentenced to 15 days in prison and deportation from Sudan, one of her defense lawyers said Thursday. "The judge found Gillian Gibbons guilty and sentenced her to 15 days jail and deportation," said Ali Mohammed Hajab, a member of her defense team. Gibbons, 54, was arrested Sunday after complaints to the Education Ministry that she had insulted Prophet Muhammad, the most revered figure in Islam, by applying his name to a toy animal."

I suppose the Sudanese expect us to be grateful that she was not given 40 lashes.
What's really going on here? The sentence was slightly moderated to appease the British. But she was convicted in the first place in order for Sudan's leader to continue to burnish his Muslim credentials, and to appease Muslim radicals in the country who apparently threatened demonstrations. There was even fear for the teacher's life.

Henry Hyde, RIP

Henry Hyde, a long-time Republican congressman from Illinois, who's been retired for a few years, died today. He was 83.

I remember him well, especially from the Reagan years. I can still remember catching the occasional snippet of a congressional debate on C-Span, and there Hyde would be, energetically taking part in the debates, his white mane of hair bobbing as he emphasized his points, defending aid to the Contras or Reagan administration support for the anti-communist government of El Salvador or making the anti-abortion case. He fought the good fight. RIP...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Meanwhile, the Republican presidential race is in flux

This poll suggests that maybe Huckabee now leads in Iowa.
On the other hand, Rudy is up pretty big in Florida.
While in South Carolina, the leader is "undecided."
Big Republican YouTube debate tonight in Florida. We'll see what happens.

Did Bill hurt Hill?

Mona Charen over on NRO thinks so: "It was only a matter of time before Bill Clinton did or said something to undermine and/or sabotage his wife's campaign due to his own overpowering narcissicism. Today he told an audience that he opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning thus undermining his wife's position, namely that she was for it but lost confidence when Bush supposedly screwed up the conduct of the war."

Plus there's evidence that he wasn't against it from the beginning--he supported giving Bush war authority back in 2003.

But don't forget--we're talking Democratic primary voters here. They may not care.
Awhile back, Jim Geraghty of NRO said something that just may turn out to be wise and prescient: "Declaring that Hillary Clinton has done nothing wrong is as instinctive as breathing to many Democrats now. Nominating Obama or Edwards over Hillary now would invalidate all of those defenses over the years. It would mean her critics had a point all these years, and they cannot concede that core belief they've held close to their hearts for a decade and a half. Democrats aren't just supportive of Hillary Clinton's rise to the presidency: they're emotionally and intellectually invested in it."

It will be very interesting to find out if that's true.

PC run amuck again, this time in Arizona

A 9 year old boy kinda sorta maybe used the words "brown people" and it hit the fan: "The circumstances of the boy’s suspension itself raise troubling questions about student discipline, interrogation and oversight at Abraham Lincoln. According to school officials, the boy made a statement about “brown people” to another elementary student with whom he was having a conflict. They maintain it was his second offense using the phrase. But the tape recording indicates this only came out after another parent was allowed to question the boy and elicited from him the statement that he “doesn't cooperate with brown people.” After that was reported to the boy's teacher, he was made to stand in front of his class and publicly confess what he'd said. The boy maintains that he never said it; that the words were put in his mouth by the parent who questioned him. That parent happens to be the mother of the student with whom he is having a conflict—and she happens to work for Abraham Lincoln as a detention-room officer."

Note especially the forcing of the boy to stand up in front of class and confess his "crime."
How long will it be before Big Brother is doing this, aided by thought police?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today's good news from Iraq

From the invaluable Michael Totten (via Instapundit)

"You're probably safer here than you are in New York City,” said Marine First Lieutenant Barry Edwards when I arrived in Fallujah. I raised my eyebrows at him skeptically. “How many people got shot at last night in New York City?” he said.
“Probably somebody,” I said.
“Yeah, probably somebody did,” he said. “Somewhere.”
Nobody was shot last night in Fallujah. No American has been shot anywhere in Fallujah since the 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment rotated into the city two months ago. There have been no rocket or mortar attacks since the summer. Not a single of the 3/5 Marines has even been wounded.

Ray Nagin Dept

You remember him--he's the mayor of New Orleans.
He's kind of the apotheosis of a not too bright, hypocritical, corrupt politician--an example of exactly what conservatives worry about when they talk about the dangers of governmental power in the hands of individuals. Here's his latest:
After the October 20th primary election for which only 27.5% of the city's registered voters turned out, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said he was "disgusted."In a television interview, Nagin said "it was kind of offensive to me, because here I am bustin' my butt every day and all I'm asking citizens to do is to plug into the democratic process."It's now reported that Nagin himself was a no-show at the polls in October.

The immigration issue grows

Just ask Senator Clinton as she campaigns in Iowa: "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York was asked at nearly all her Iowa campaign stops over the weekend how she would deal with illegal aliens, and she responded with a call for "comprehensive immigration reform."
It's a question all the presidential candidates face in Iowa and elsewhere. The Republicans incorporate immigration reform into their stump speeches, while the Democrats rarely mention it unless they are asked. But they are almost always asked."

Leave it to Senator Clinton to try to demagogue the issue herself, even while she decries demagoguery: "Mrs. Clinton criticized "demagogues" who call for deportation of the nation's illegals. She said such an idea would be costly and unrealistic, and would amount to "basically knocking on every door" and creating "essentially a police state."

Of course, serious, responsible persons concerned about illegal immigration aren't calling for every single illegal to be "deported."

Monday, November 26, 2007

NFL picks postmortem

So I wound up 7-5 yesterday. Not that bad, given some of the wild upsets (San Fran beating AZ at AZ? The Eagles not only covering, but almost BEATING the Patriots?).
So the Steelers better watch out tonight. But I still think I have a good shot at winding up 8-5.

YouTube and unintended consequences

Extreme Mortman wonders if politicians, fearing the rapid spread of George-Allen-like-"macaca"-moments a la 2006, will withdraw even further from public view: "Could the YouTube revolution in politics backfire? We’ve become quite enamored with YouTube’s edgy ability to bring us raw, uncensored, unscripted moments from politics for our ridiculing pleasure. But is this public video voyeurism setting ourselves up for the next logical development: politicians will simply provide us less raw, uncensored, unscripted moments?"

Maybe. Although, we've had more debates in this presidential campaign than ever before (or so it seems), and yes, they're scripted and controlled to an extent too, but they give us the potential for something "unscripted" to happen (just ask Hillary's campaign about the October 30th debate and the driver's licenses/immigrants question. That definitely wasn't on their script.) And so far, I haven't seen any evidence suggesting that candidates aren't doing as many public events. Candidates seem to be out there quite a bit. On the other hand, you also have the Clinton campaign "planting" questions at supposedly open "town hall" meetings (to be fair, I can't believe her campaign is the only one doing it).

If in fact candidates are more and more reluctant to appear in public or to talk with real people, and the American people don't like it, then there's always this alternative: hold such candidates accountable at the ballot box.

Online gambling nazis

A pastor, whose son lost lots of money on internet gambling and who resorted to robbery to get more money to keep playing, wants legal restrictions on it--but, as Jacob Sullum reminds us, conservatives who don't want to lose their libertarian sides should beware:
Pastor Hogan tends to overgeneralize from his son's equally extreme experience with the game, which involved losing hundreds of dollars a day while playing 12 hours at a time. Mr. Hogan demands an addict's veto over Internet gambling: Because his son robbed a bank, he thinks, no one should be allowed to play poker online. "I oppose any effort to legalize or even give credibility to Internet gambling," he said. He called last year's passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which effectively requires U.S. financial institutions to shun transactions related to online wagers, "an answer to my prayers that other families would not have to suffer as my family has." Mr. Hogan's argument is a fine illustration of prohibitionist logic, which says anything that can be done to excess should be illegal. But as Miss Duke noted, "If the government is going to ban every activity that can lead to harmful compulsion, the government is going to have to ban nearly every activity. Shopping, day trading, sex, [eating] chocolate, even drinking water — these and myriad other activities, most of which are part of everyday life, have been linked to harmful compulsions."

Democrats' gloves off in Iowa?

Obama attacks Hillary: "I think the fact of the matter is that Sen. Clinton is claiming basically the entire eight years of the Clinton presidency as her own, except for the stuff that didn't work out, in which case she says she has nothing to do with it," Obama said, and added, referring to his relationship with his wife, Michelle, "There is no doubt that Bill Clinton had faith in her and consulted with her on issues, in the same way that I would consult with Michelle, if there were issues," Obama said. "On the other had, I don't think Michelle would claim that she is the best qualified person to be a United States Senator by virtue of me talking to her on occasion about the work I've done." With this line of attack, Obama is openly calling Clinton out on one of the basic arguments of her candidacy and her career -- that her experience at Bill Clinton's side in the White House and before, make her the most qualified person in the race."

No doubt.
But I think what most neutral political observers are saying about this is: it's about time!
Senator Clinton's endless invocations of her vast "experience" have been a weak point of her argument for months. It's about time somebody went after it.