Friday, February 29, 2008

The Democrats: what's wrong with Barack Obama

Actually, it has a lot to do with something his wife said recently.
She claimed that, because her husband is now the front-runner for the Democratic Party's nomination, "for the first time" she was "proud" of America. Really? For the first time?
Peggy Noonan recently laid out just why we should worry that both she, and her husband, really believe that:

"Are the Obamas, at bottom, snobs? Do they understand America? Are they of it? Did anyone at their Ivy League universities school them in why one should love America? Do they confuse patriotism with nationalism, or nativism? Are they more inspired by abstractions like "international justice" than by old visions of America as the city on a hill, which is how John Winthrop saw it, and Ronald Reagan and JFK spoke of it?...Have they been, throughout their adulthood, so pampered and praised--so raised in the liberal cocoon--that they are essentially unaware of what and how normal Americans think? And are they, in this, like those cosseted yuppies, the Clintons?Why is all this actually not a distraction but a real issue? Because Americans have common sense and are bottom line. They think like this. If the president and his first lady are not loyal first to America and its interests, who will be?"

Indeed. Is Senator Obama ashamed of American power?
Fundamental: Anyone ashamed of that power, will be unable to wield it effectively.

The Democrats: Obama/Clinton poll watch

Take a look at the results for Friday, Feb. 29th, the latest polls:
(and in the days before that, if you wish):
The trend for Obama continues to be impossible to miss.
He leads Senator Clinton in almost all national polls of Democrats now.
Senator Clinton has led, substantially, in Ohio for months now.
But the latest Ohio poll coming out on 2/29 shows her leading there by only 2.
She's led in past months in Texas consistently.
But now pretty much every poll I've seen in Texas shows Obama either leading by 5 pts or more, or at worst tied.

It sure looks. right now, as if Senator Obama is poised to be the Democrats' nominee.
Can anything turn this around? Is this the end of the Clinton Era?
The answer to the former appears to be "no", and to the latter--"yes."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

They have better things to do

The FBI confirms Roger Clemens is under investigation for perjury.

I guess the war on terror ended, and we missed it.

More on WFB Jr., RIP

From Mark Steyn:
"I liked the way Rich put it at the 50th anniversary gala, after the announcement of some highly technical-bureaucratic change in Bill's title or responsibilities: "This is still Bill Buckley's National Review, and it will always be Bill Buckley's National Review." Just so."

From NR's Ramesh Ponnuru:
"Bill's kindness and generosity of spirit really were remarkable. He was as interested in listening to the college senior to his left as to the former secretary of state to his right. I knew him in his old age, when his answer to the question, "How are you doing?" was likely to be, "Decomposing." Even when his body was weary, though, his eyes retained a preternatural youthfulness. A treatise could probably be written about the role those eyes played in the making of modern America..."

NR's Rob Long:
"Here's really, the only thing I can say about the passing of this eloquent, fearless, polymath giant: words fail."

The liberal Rick Perlstein:
"He was a good and decent man. He knew exactly what my politics were about—he knew I was an implacable ideological adversary—yet he offered his friendship to me nonetheless. He did the honor of respecting his ideological adversaries, without covering up the adversarial nature of the relationship in false bonhommie. A remarkable quality, all too rare in an era of the false fetishization of "post-partisanship" and Broderism and go-along-to-get-along. He was friends with those he fought. He fought with friends. These are the highest civic ideals to which an American patriot can aspire."

Conservative author Peter Rodman:
"Reading all the tributes that have poured in, one is struck by two things. First is that Bill’s life was a vivid refutation of the notion that great men don’t make a difference in history. Second was his personal decency, graciousness, and warmth. That is why so many of the tributes have been not only of respect, but of love."

The American Spectator's R. Emmett Tyrrell:
"Bill is famous for standing athwart history and shouting "Stop!" Today, I wish I could stand athwart history and shout "No! Don't tell us Bill's gone." But of course he is, but he'll always be with us intellectually and I guess I'll never be as successful at shouting "No!" to history as Bill was at shouting "Stop!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Releasing some of Hillary Clinton's records as First Lady--read carefully

There are 11,000 pages of records from Hillary Clinton's tenure as First Lady due to be released.
Last night, at the most recent Democratic presidential debate, Mrs. Clinton blamed the Bush White House for the delay in their release. So, read this story carefully.

In it, you see that the White House denies Senator Clinton's assertion that the bottleneck exists at their end--and that Bruce Lindsey, the Clintons' representative who must sign off on releasing these documents, does not in fact dispute the Bush administration's point.

Hillary Clinton, caught making yet another statement that was simply false, and which she had to know was false. Who'd a thunk?

William F. Buckley Jr., RIP

More here, from the editors of the magazine he founded.

For me, I am stunned. We conservatives knew he couldn't live forever. But we wished he could. WFB Jr. was a living legend. I corresponded occasionally with him, on the research and writing I have done on the history of conservatism over the years. He was as erudite and helpful and wise and full of knowledge in private, in encouraging younger conservatives like myself and literally millions of others, as he was in public. I can't believe he's gone. Others have said this, but they're right: he literally changed history (for the better). As George Will has said, before there was Ronald Reagan, there was Barry Goldwater; but before there was Goldwater, there was National Review magazine; and before there was NR, there was William F. Buckley Jr. We shall miss him terribly. But we shall carry on, thanks in part to the foundation he laid. RIP, Bill Buckley.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hillary's strategy

So now she's on the attack again, directly, vs Obama, this time on foreign policy.

Note the pattern--in the most recent televised debates, Senator Clinton has for the most part been civil and tried to make nice. In the last debate she stressed more than once on how much she and Obama agree, how it was an "honor" to run against him, etc. I gather she figures that harsh attacks during debates rebound too sharply against her, and make her look bad.

But the debate civility is just show. Now that the debates are over, Hillary has done nothing but attack. When the next debate comes, I expect she'll put on the hearts and flowers/civility show again. I wonder how many Democrats see through this charade. Judging by the national polls lately, many of them do.

John McCain's biggest problem

CBS-NYT Poll: Republicans accept McCain, but with little enthusiasm.
If he can't unite conservatives and the Republican Party behind him, Mr. McCain will never be able to win. And that unity will be very hard to come by. A huge issue for Republicans, for example, is that of illegal immigration, and I don't think the Senator has tried very hard to bridge the gap with those who think his immigration thinking amounts to amnesty.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama now leads Hillary Clinton nationally by 16 points.
Will the Ohio and Texas primaries reflect that?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Clinton "surrendering"? Don't bet on it

In their debate last night, Senator Clinton said:

“And, you know, no matter what happens in this contest … I am honored to be here with Barack Obama. I am absolutely honored,” Clinton said in her closing, before reaching over to accept a handshake from him. “Whatever happens, we’re going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we’ll be able to say the same thing about the American people, and that’s what this election should be about.”

Some are suggesting that's a preview of a Clinton concession speech; that she's accepting that she's going to lose.

Me? I doubt it. I think it was another Clinton attempt to humanize herself, to try to win the sympathy of voters.

A poorly-run campaign

That's the Clinton campaign, that is.
For example:

"Is Howard Wolfson worth 22 Robert Gibbses? Wolfson and Gibbs are the communications directors for the remaining Democratic presidential contenders -- Wolfson for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Gibbs for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.The latest campaign finance figures show that Wolfson was paid $266,000 for his services last month. Gibbs, meanwhile, makes $144,000 a year -- $12,000 a month...

It's hard to believe that neither Wolfson nor Clinton can see the problem here.
Maybe it's yet another reason why Hillary Clinton wouldn't make such a good president, burning through money like this.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A little more on McCain and the Times

Why it's just a little hard to feel sorry for him:

"Senator McCain appears to have been smeared by the Times. I'm sorry that happened, but if indignation is the order of the day, count me out. You see, I also feel sorry — really sorry — for the intelligence officers who've been maligned as torturers, for those who want the immigration laws enforced and are libeled as racists, for those who doubt the wisdom of campaign finance reform and are glibly scandalized as promoters of public corruption, and so on. Each of these Gray Lady smears has a common thread: John McCain has been only too happy to help, and to bask in the resulting glow: the Times' very own favorite Republican...McCain expects better from the Times because he's accustomed to getting it, and he's accustomed to getting it because he's been very good about holding up his end of the bargain — especially when it comes to demagoguing the Right. The Times is a politicized rag and no one should take satisfaction in seeing McCain subjected to its journalistic version of waterboarding. I only wish I were convinced the Senator would learn the right lesson from this experience. I'm not."

John McCain and the NY Times

After endorsing him not long ago, now the Times slimes him.

Rush Limbaugh informs the McCain campaign about what all this means:

"The important question for John McCain today is: is he going to learn the right lesson from this?" Limbaugh said. "The lesson is liberals are to be defeated.You cannot reach across the aisle. You cannot welcome their media members on your bus and get all cozy with them and expect eternal love from them."

So does Laura Ingraham:

"I ask the McCain campaign this question: Do you need talk radio now?" she asked on her show this morning. "Do you think that talk radio's important to set the record straight, or do you think a press conference, where the media is shouting question after question at you  do you think that's going to put an end to all this?"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pop culture/celeb news of the day

The remake of "Knight Rider" finishes in Nielsen's top 10.
(America loves nostalgia.)

Jessica Simpson made a crappy workout video.
(who's surprised?)

Britney Spears' children remain mommy-less.

Why Barack Obama can be scary

Have you heard what his wife's been saying lately?

"Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."

Gosh--I didn't know presidents could "demand" that we not be cynical; and it's scary to think that a chief executive would not "allow" one to be uninvolved. Talk about activist government.

Will Hillary give it up?

As Jim Geraghty points out, not likely:

If Hillary quits now, then four years from now she will be either trying to get the nomination again to take on an incumbent McCain or McCain's vice president, or challenging an incumbent President Obama. That task would be at least as difficult as the obstacles Ted Kennedy had against Jimmy Carter in 1980. And it would be much tougher and uglier task than she faces now in dealing with superdelegates or Michigan and Florida.

There is no long-term game. Either she's the party's nominee this year, or she won't ever be.

No surprise there

Britain's MI-6 denies killing Princess Diana.

Next suspect: the CIA?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Falsehood alert: concerning American veterans of the Iraq war

Found in another excellent column by Thomas Sowell:

"Just last month, the Times found yet another way to portray the troops as victims. They ran a very long article, beginning on the front page of the January 13th issue, about killings in the United States by combat veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. “In many of those cases,” it said, “combat trauma and the stress of deployment” were among the factors which “appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction.”
As with so many other things said by liberals, the big question that was not asked was: Compared to what? As the New York Post reported a couple of days later, the murder rate among returning military combat veterans is one-fifth that of civilians in the same age brackets. So much for “supporting the troops” by depicting them as victims."

Fundamental: analyzing statistics (especially those cited by the left) by asking "compared to what" is, indeed, crucial.

The Democrats: Hillary Clinton

As I said days ago here, now that she's behind, Senator Clinton will begin to play even rougher:

"Hillary Clinton’s campaign intends to lure pledged delegates from Barack Obama if she feels she needs them to win the nomination come convention time in August, The Politico reported Tuesday. The strategy was confirmed to Politico by a “high-ranking Clinton official,” and represents the most recent tactic from the campaign to compensate for the New York senator’s shortfall in pledged delegates, which are awarded through the results of primaries and caucuses...But in going after Obama’s pledged delegates, Clinton would be asking them to go against their signed — but not mandatory — pledge to support the Illinois senator, Politico reported. “All the rules will be going out the window,” a senior Clinton official told Politico. Clinton’s campaign denied the report..."

Of course they deny it.
But I doubt anyone believes their denial, nor should they.

The Democrats: some perspective

So today is the Wisconsin primary.
My, how things have changed.
It wasn't long ago that many, both within and without the Clinton campaign, talked of having the Democratic nomination wrapped up on Super Tuesday.
It didn't happen. Now Barack Obama has won 8 contests in a row.
And so now the Clinton people are trying to spin today's contest as a VICTORY for their side if, somehow, Obama wins only narrowly.

My, how things have changed.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sheltering Chelsea

Good point is made here---
There's Chelsea Clinton, out on the campaign trail, asking people to vote for her mom.
But she won't answer a single question from the press--not even from a 9 year old reporter for a children's newspaper.

If you're out openly on the campaign trail, answer questions.
Chelsea (27 years old) is a little too old to be babied and protected and hidden when convenient underneath her mother's apron.

Killers say the darndest things dept

A killer of two says she's a "mature, rehabilitated adult."

Too bad her two victims aren't around to weigh in on the matter.

The Democrats: Clinton vs Obama

I told you it would get rough.
The Clinton campaign is now basically accusing Obama of being a plagiarist.

This may be the only kind of thing that can rescue Republican presidential hopes in 2008, given the candidate the party with which the party has saddled itself.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Republicans: John McCain

He and his campaign too reflects Obama's momentum--McCain takes a jab at Obama, acting as if Obama is now the likely Dem nominee (as he well might be).

McCain's problem: typically, he contrasts himself with Obama not as a conservative alternative, but attacks him along LIBERAL lines--criticizing Obama for not committing himself to public financing for the fall campaign.

If Mr. McCain thinks this is a way to secure his conservative base, he's sadly mistaken.

The Democrats: superdelegates for Obama

It's a very significant development in this race that superdelegates (such as John Lewis), who used to be pledged to Senator Clinton, are now switching their allegiance to Barack Obama.

As it looks increasingly likely that Senator Obama could be the Democratic nominee, we will begin to focus more intensely on his principles and positions in this space.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Conservatives active in the 1990s...

...gotta love it. Troubles in Hillaryland:

Clinton campaign insiders confirm that when campaign advisers gathered at headquarters last week to preview a television commercial called "Free Fall"  this is the scene that unfolded, as first reported in today's Wall Street Journal:

"Your ad doesn't work," Penn said to ad maker Mandy Grunwald.

Grunwald fired back that the problem was maybe his message, not the ad.

The clash got so heated that political director Guy Cecil left the room, saying, "I'm out of here." the Wall Street Journal reported this morning.

Clinton campaign insiders tell ABC News the shouting match happened as reported, and while this was an extraordinarily heated exchange, it's not uncommon for Penn and Grunwald to bicker.

"They're constantly at each other's throats," said one campaign source.

Another shooting

This time at Northern Illinois University.

The question that comes to my mind is not "why are there so many guns."

Rather, the question that comes to my mind is: why is there so much evil and craziness in the world.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Democrats: Obama momentum

You can find lots of evidence of it here.
I've been tending to some family matters this week, so blogging will be light.
But: doesn't it seem like Senator Clinton, from a strategy standpoint, is putting an awful lot of emphasis on Texas and Ohio, and winning big there?

One would think that the Giuliani campaign is a good example of just how putting all one's eggs in a basket (in Giuliani's case, Florida) can be a bad idea.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Yesterday's predictions...

How about that, I was right about the Obama sweep--full Democratic results here.
Obama's got the momentum.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Predictions: today's Democratic primaries/caucuses

So today's big prizes for the Democrats today are: Washington, Nebraska, Louisiana, and the Virgin Islands. My prediction: Obama wins the popular vote in all of these today, and comes out with the majority of delegates. It will be an Obama sweep.

The conventional wisdom seems to be leaning this way as well. But I disagree with the CW somewhat. I don't think Obama will win merely because demographics break well for him in these states (large African-American populations in Louisiana, many college-educated and upper-income folks in Washington), nor do I think he should be favored because caucus states have tended to favor his money and organization. Rather, I think Super Tuesday proved something: that Obama now has a RECORD of success. He's proven that he and his campaign can get his likely voters out, and he's proven that they're motivated to get out and vote. This, along with the friendly territory offered by these states, makes him the favorite today. Remember--he won far more states on Super Tuesday than did Mrs. Clinton. I expect that trend to continue, even more so, today.

And here's something else to think about. Many spreading conventional wisdom these days suggest that neither Obama nor Clinton will have enough delegates to win by the time the primary season is over. That seems likely to be true. So, it will come down to the "super-delegates." That seems likely too. Many say Senator Clinton will have an advantage there, that her edge in super-delegates will put her over the top and give her the nomination, she being a powerful Clinton of course, and all of that giving her an edge with such establishment figures as super-delegates are and all. But you know what? I disagree. I think Obama will win more states than will Senator Clinton from here on out; we already saw that on Super Tuesday. He'll at least stay even with her in delegates; and in fact, by the time this is over, if you are to look at how many delegates Obama won from the South Carolina primary onward, my guess is that by June, Obama will have won more states and more delegates.

So, tell me something: do you really think it will be easy for the Democratic Party and its super-delegates to deny a black man, and a popular, charismatic one like Barack Obama at that, the party's nomination owing to the votes of unelected super-delegates? In the face of Obama having won all these primaries and caucuses? I wonder. If they do, the Democratic Party will risk a terrible fracturing of its party and the loss of a good chunk of African-American supporters.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Some weekend hoops predictions

A few of these are upsets, a few are just evenly-matched contests (home team in CAPS):

NOTRE DAME over Marquette. The Irish have a 32 game home winning streak.

Southern California over WASHINGTON STATE: Hey, the Trojans already beat UCLA on the Bruins' home floor.

LOUISVILLE over Georgetown: The Cardinals are hot.

WISCONSIN-GREEN BAY over Butler: W-GB is tough at home.

OHIO STATE over Indiana: The Buckeyes are tough at home, too; and IU is coming a double-overtime win over Illinois.

Celeb/pop culture news of the day

John Mellencamp makes it clear he is no McCainiac.

We're at about the one year anniversary of the death of Anna Nicole Smith.

Meanwhile, Kirstie Alley unfortunately can't control her fingers.

There's the usual focus on Paris Hilton highjinx.

A B-list actor got into a fight last night outside of (what else) a nightclub.

What really bothers many conservatives about John McCain

Originally from Congressional Quarterly, via NRO.
Would a President McCain fall into the "we must get things done" (meaning: activist, interventionist government) trap?

But the positions McCain has taken are only part of the problem for conservatives.

As president, with a Democratic Congress, it is the other part — the stylistic part — that will prove to be a much greater problem for conservatives.

When McCain has been on the conservative side, as he has been on the vast majority of issues, he gives it full-throated support. He is not afraid of giving offense to appropriators when he sticks up for cutting spending, and he has not been shy about deriding Democrats who oppose the war in Iraq, to cite two potent examples.

But when he is with the Democrats, he is really with them. McCain is not someone who simply reaches across the aisle to form coalitions with the other side. He walks across the aisle, puts on the other team’s uniform and sings the other team’s fight song.


Between now and November, John McCain can make all the speeches and do all the reaching out he deems necessary to assuage the concerns of the conservative base of the Republican Party. He can even turn his considerable skills at political combat against the Democrats. It might help get him elected, or it might not. If it does, come next January he still will have to begin governing in the face of wider Democratic majorities in Congress, and he still will have to choose between success and failure.

In that instance, he will choose success. And it will be an easy choice for him to make because on a whole range of issues, both substantively and stylistically, he and the Democrats will measure success in the same way.

When that happens, the conservatives in the Republican Party will really have something to be mad about.

Some important economic facts

From the excellent economist Thomas Sowell.
These are facts that most people aren't aware of. For example:

"1. The poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits since 1994."

"2. The average income of the elderly is several times their earnings, and their wealth is far higher than among younger people."

"3. Just as blacks are turned down for mortgage loans more often than whites, so whites are turned down more often than Asian Americans. (What does that do to racism as an all-purpose explanation?)"

Attention, Senators Clinton and Obama.

On the legacy of Coach Bob Knight

It's of course a mixed one, in the wake of his sudden resignation as Texas Tech's head basketball coach. As John Feinstein wrote recently, while playing for him, many players swore at him; but after they left, they swore by him.
Feinstein also relates this anecdote, which says it all:

Often, I'm asked my most vivid memory from the time I spent with Knight. There are so many -- both good and bad -- but one sticks with me because it says so much about who Knight really wanted to be.

He and I were sitting in a Bob Evans in Indianapolis at about 1 in the morning on the eve of Indiana's game in a holiday tournament against Mississippi State. Knight was talking at length about his team's lack of toughness when a boy approached the table very gingerly. Almost always in public situations, Knight was extremely approachable as long as people were polite.

"Coach, I'm sorry to interrupt," the boy began. "But I wonder if I could ask you a big favor."

I began reaching for a pen, assuming the youngster wanted an autograph. I was wrong. His name was Garland Loper, and he was 12 years old. He explained to Knight that his father and brother would like to meet him.

"Of course," Knight said. "Where are they?"

Garland pointed across the restaurant.

"You see, Coach, they're both deaf and mute," he explained. "They talk through me. They'd like to say hello to you if it's okay."

Knight instantly waved over the two older Lopers. They signed to Garland, who spoke to Knight, telling him how much they loved Indiana basketball and how proud they were of him and his players. Knight was clearly touched by all three. He took down their home address and phone number and sent the entire family Indiana memorabilia and souvenirs. He also invited them to a game.

Before the game, Knight took the Lopers into the locker room. He introduced them to his players, and Garland again acted as the family spokesman so he, his dad and his brother could speak to the players. When he was finished, the room was absolutely silent.

"Boys," Knight said as he always did when his team had visitors. One by one, the players lined up to shake hands with the Lopers and introduce themselves.

When the Lopers had left, there was a long silence, and then Knight said, "Boys, I don't ever want to hear again how tough your lives are."

That was his pregame talk.

To this day, everyone on that team with whom I keep in touch remembers that scene.

There's no wiping out all the moments of Knight's bad behavior. They will always be part of his legacy.

But so too will the Loper family. That was the best of Bob Knight. And there is no arguing that his best was as good as it gets.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pop culture/celeb news of the day

American Idol and Disney team up.

Good news: Madonna and other celebs raise money for the poor/diseased in Africa.

And more: Angelina Jolie visits the troops in Baghdad.

Heidi Fleiss gets busted for both pills and drunk driving.

Major league pitcher Pedro Martinez takes part in cockfighting in the Dominican Republic.
He should be ashamed of himself.

Hey, conservatives: get fired up!

Michelle Malkin has an excellent column today. An excerpt:
"The contest for the GOP presidential nomination is over. The conservative movement is not. Sen. John McCain’s campaign resurrection and Super Tuesday victory leave a diverse group on the Right—from the libertarian Club for Growth to First Amendment defenders to immigration enforcement proponents—dispirited. But the failure to nominate a true Republican unifier does not spell ideological defeat. On Wednesday, wielding his olive branch like a schoolmarm’s ruler, Sen. McCain told conservatives to “calm down.” My advice is exactly the opposite: Get fired up.

Some on the Right advise their readers and listeners to vote Democrat or sit home. My advice is exactly the opposite: Get off the couch and walk the walk for conservative candidates and officeholders who need all the help they can get defending free markets, free minds, and secure borders—no matter who takes the White House in November. Dissatisfied with the flawed crop of GOP candidates who lacked the energy, organizational skills, and ideological strength to carry the conservative banner and ignite your passions? Then pay attention to the next generation of Republican state legislators who do vote consistently to lower your taxes, uphold the sanctity of life, defend marriage, and cut government spending. Support their re-election bids. Reward them for standing with you instead of their Democrat opponents and the liberal media."

She's right. There are a ton of state and local races, and conservative candidates, to find and to support. And there are a ton of local issues on which to push for conservative solutions. For example: "Don’t sit and wait for the fence to get built. It won’t be finished under the Bush administration or a McCain administration or an Obama or Hillary Clinton administration. What you can do is pressure mayors and police chiefs and city councils to rescind dangerous sanctuary policies. What you can do is alert county sheriffs that you want them to work with the feds to end illegal alien catch-and-release policies in your neighborhood.. What you can do is stop patronizing businesses that you know are knowingly employing illegal immigrants using fake Ids and stolen Social Security numbers."

Read the whole thing.

The Religion of Peace

Well, but too often it isn't.
Another example today, from the professional tennis circuit:

"Muslim tennis star Sania Mirza wore a T-shirt at the US Open with the slogan, "Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History."...Muslim tennis star Sania Mirza has pulled out of her tournaments in India due to concerns over the "criticism" (threats) she gets when she plays in her home country. Mirza has been threatened throughout her career because she insists on playing professional tennis in professional tennis clothes and does not keep her flesh covered during her backhand returns."

A lesson in reaching out to the Right

Ramesh Ponnuru over at NRO tries to pass along a lesson to the McCain camp:

"I had a similar reaction to Phil Gramm's comments in the Washington Post today. He suggested that McCain's critics are in it as much for their "ego and power" as their "principles." They're "going to hurt the party for a long time." Well, look, senator, your team has been saying for weeks that the critics are big nothings with no followings. You can't then turn around and appeal for their help on the theory that the fate of the republic hangs in the balance. Especially when your appeal for help is couched in insults."

More evidence of what a tough road Mr. McCain has in front of him.
Hey, don't feel bad for him--this is the result of years of McCain poking his finger in the eyes of conservatives.

UPDATE: on the other hand, many conservatives liked his speech at CPAC today.
I remain highly skeptical. But I agree wholeheartedly with this:

"This McCain speech would not have been given today, if it weren't for folks like Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Andy McCarthy, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham. Can I thank them on behalf of America?"

When he's right, he's right

I don't usually agree with the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne, but I think he's correct in what he wrote today concerning the Republican presidential race:

"With Mitt Romney's decision to leave the race today, John McCain's nomination is a near certainty. But he leads a party torn by ideology and has survived only because his conservative opponents have fractured their movement....Despite his impressive victories, McCain continued to fare poorly on Tuesday among the conservatives who have defined the Republican Party since the rise of Ronald Reagan. McCain won, as he has all year, because moderates and liberals, opponents of President Bush, and critics of the Iraq war continued to rally to him despite his stands on many of the issues that arouse their ire. And he prevailed because Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney continued to divide the right.....McCain, in other words, lost the core Republican states and instead piled up delegates in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois and California. All are traditionally Democratic states unlikely to vote for him in November. Rudy Giuliani's strategy, which was premised on his strength in such places, actually worked -- but it worked for McCain. Huckabee's showing doomed Romney's chances of uniting conservatives behind his candidacy. This may only aggravate the frustration of McCain's critics on the right, who looked on powerlessly as a starched investment banker and a good-natured preacher split asunder their party's natural majority."

Conservatives right now are divided. They will unite again. But this unity will not occur until after this coming presidential election, after the impending defeat of John McCain. Mr. McCain will never be able to unite conservatives behind him. No candidate whose core principles quite obviously include government restriction of political speech through his so-called "campaign-finance reform", amnesty for most illegal immigrants (see his McCain-Kennedy immigration bill), and skepticism towards tax cuts will be able to fully gain conservatives' support.

But true conservatives know that there will be other elections in coming years.

UPDATE: Here's the text of Senator McCain's speech today to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

And indeed, it's a very conservative-sounding speech, and it may help him with some segments of the Right. BUT--examine this passage from it, concerning the immigration issue:
"On the issue of illegal immigration, a position which provoked the outspoken opposition of many conservatives, I stood my ground aware that my position would imperil my campaign. I respect your opposition for I know that the vast majority of critics to the bill based their opposition in a principled defense of the rule of law. And while I and other Republican supporters of the bill were genuine in our intention to restore control of our borders, we failed, for various and understandable reasons, to convince Americans that we were. I accept that, and have pledged that it would be among my highest priorities to secure our borders first, and only after we achieved widespread consensus that our borders are secure, would we address other aspects of the problem in a wa y that defends the rule of law and does not encourage another wave of illegal immigration."

But he doesn't say how he'll secure our borders, or how we'll know if they're secure, or what we would do after that. I mean, it's been Senator McCain's position before that, in his view, providing a path to citizenship for most illegals somehow won't inspire a new wave of illegal immigration. I have no confidence that this view of his has changed.

John McWethy, RIP

He used to be ABC News' national security correspondent, holding that beat for over 20 years.
He died in an accident yesterday at the age of 61.
I watched his reports on ABC for years. He was always serious, sober, and responsible.

I didn't even know he'd retired, actually--I (along with many others now in this internet-driven, faster-paced age) don't watch the national network news on TV that much any more. I get my news in other ways. But Mr. McWethy always seemed like an honest, decent journalist; and we shall miss him.

Mitt Romney to drop out of presidential race

So ABC News has learned.
Here's a piece of what Romney will say today at the Conservative Political Action Conference:

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or (Barack) Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Romney planned to say in a speech to the conference, according to the Associated Press.
"This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters ... many of you right here in this room ... have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming president. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country," Romney planned to say, reports the AP."

I respect his decision, and his reasoning.
I just think it's unfortunate the way this entire campaign has gone.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Celeb/pop culture news of the day

One celeb is released from the hospital. See here...

But another one goes in (to rehab).

While another's death is ruled to be an accidental overdose of prescription meds.

A former beauty queen is arrested.

Another celeb comes out of retirement.

Not that much for conservatives to like, is there?
Though I bet Cher can still sing.

John McCain's continuing problem

Plenty of good info here.
But for now, let's focus on this: after last night's contests, Senator McCain said this:
"They've [conservatives] made their case against me and I think the majority of Republicans have stated their view and now I hope we can join together for the good of the party and the good of the nation," McCain said today."

Really? A "majority" of Republicans? Let's see: last time I looked, last night McCain lost more primaries (12) than he won (9). And there's this: "While the Arizona senator has a commanding delegate lead over his rivals, only 32 percent of self-described conservatives  the majority of GOP primary voters yesterday  cast their votes for McCain, according to exit polling."

Oh, he'll probably get the party's nomination, in the end.
But he won't be able to unite the party's conservative base. He stuck it to conservatives a few too many times over the years, on big issues.

And he'll lose in November. As I've said before, a race in the fall pitting the elderly McCain against a younger Democratic candidate spouting change and diversity and new ideas (whether it be Obama or Clinton) will spell disaster for Republicans. It's a terrible campaign narrative and will spell doom for Republicans.

Last night was a terrible night for the Republican Party--it pretty much guaranteed it's defeat this fall.

Clinton campaign needs a loan

From Hillary Clinton.

Some have criticized Mitt Romney for pumping his own money into his campaign--let's see if there's consistency on this point.

By the way, look for the Clintons to start playing rough (again) with Senator Obama, given how close the Democratic race remains after last night. As Maureen Dowd noted today:
"Tuesday’s voting showed only that the voters, like moviegoers, don’t want a pat ending. Even though Hillary reasserted her strength, corraling New York, California and Kennedy country Massachusetts, she and Obama will battle on in chiaroscuro. Her argument to the Democratic base has gone from a subtext of “You owe me,” or more precisely, “Bill owes me and you owe him,” to a subtext of “Obambi will fold at the first punch from the right.” Hillary’s strategist Mark Penn argued last week that because the voters have “very limited information” about Obama, the Republican attack machine would tear him down and he would lose the support of independents. Then Penn tried to point the way to negative information on Obama, just to show that Obama wouldn’t be able to survive Republicans pointing the way to negative information."

It'll only get rougher.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Celeb/pop culture news of the day

Britney's friends and family trade nasty accusations.

Good news: Americans are watching the 2008 presidential campaign coverage on TV.

There are stories about celebs in court for drinking/drug use. See here...

And story about pregnant celebrities. See here...

A very young daughter of a recently deceased celebrity gets exploited.

Tyra Banks gets naked (or nearly so) on "Oprah."

The Democrats: reading some tea leaves

Senator Clinton is challenging--already!--Senator Obama to more debates.
And note especially:

"If further evidence were needed that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton does not expect to sweep up tonight, she is now challenging Sen. Barack Obama to a debate a week going forward, her advisers said as voters were at the polls on Super Tuesday...Among the debates Clinton would like to participate in is one on Fox -- which Democrats have previously shunned, accusing the network of being slanted -- as her campaign tries to build momentum heading toward the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4. The Fox debate is scheduled for Feb. 11. Senior Clinton strategist Mark Penn described the debates as "critically important."

1] The Clinton people must be worried about how they will do tonight. If you're a front-runner and expecting to win, you don't challenge your opponent to debates. 2] Remember when the Democrats pledged they wouldn't debate on the supposedly pro-conservative Fox network?

When you're behind, all those principles suddenly go out the window. Look for Obama to do well tonight.

America in decline?

Hmmm--It's fashionable for many to suggest America is declining. Especially on the left. But maybe it's not---even liberal columnists at the NY Times don't think so:

"As this election campaign is demonstrating, the United States remains the most vital, open, self-renewing and democratic society on earth. In December 2007, there were 1,059,793 naturalization applications pending: one million people are not clamoring to join a nation in eclipse."

Historical falsehood of the day

It came recently from the historian Robert Dallek, writing about presidential candidates and the question of judgment vs experience:

"Herbert Hoover, one of the most experienced public figures ever to get to the White House, demonstrated dreadful judgment in believing that the Depression would resolve itself with minimal government intervention."

Arrgghh! Herbert Hoover was no fan of minimalist government, neither as president nor before. He was a progressive all his life. As Secretary of Commerce under Calvin Coolidge, he spent more and did more than any before him. As president, he spent so much money fighting the Depression that by 1932 his administration ran a significant budget deficit, for which he was attacked in the fall campaign by none other than...Franklin D. Roosevelt. This book explains this much further.

It's amazing how tenacious is the myth of Herbert Hoover the supposedly-do-nothing-president. But it's a myth nonetheless.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Republicans: California

If Romney wins California tomorrow, the race will go on:
"Since John McCain’s win in Florida, the conventional wisdom has been that he has nearly locked up the Republican presidential nomination. But now, just hours before Super Tuesday voting begins, a new factor has entered the equation: California. Polls, both public and those taken privately by the Romney campaign, show Mitt Romney with unexpected strength in the nation’s biggest state, sending both Romney and McCain rushing to make unscheduled stops there on Monday night and Tuesday. If Romney could win California, people in both campaigns say, the race could go on for several more weeks. And if that happens, conservatives who are trying to organize to stop McCain would have more time to work. At this late moment, California means everything."

The time for conservatives to now.

The Super Bowl, revisited

Wow. In my opinion, that was both the greatest game, and greatest upset, of any Super Bowl to date. Here's a great column about it, written (ironically) by a Patriots fan.

Here's my game breakdown, done through stats:
2--the number of weeks off before the game. It gave the Giants a chance to re-charge after all their road playoff wins.

23--the number of times Tom Brady was pressured (out of 48 times he dropped back to pass).

5--the number of times Tom Brady was sacked.

274--the number of yards to which New England's high-powered offense was held by the Giants' defense.

9-14, 152
--Eli Manning's pass completions, passing attempts, and yardage in the 4th quarter of yesterday's game. Outstanding play under pressure.

97.5 million
--the number of people who watched the game on TV. They'll never forget it.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Why this election matters: Hillary Clinton

Her plans for universal health care could lead to the creation of huge, intrusive government:
"Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday she might be willing to garnish the wages of workers who refuse to buy health insurance to achieve coverage for all Americans...Clinton has not always specified the enforcement measures she would embrace, but when pressed on ABC's "This Week," she said: "I think there are a number of mechanisms" that are possible, including "going after people's wages, automatic enrollment."

Super Bowl pick!!

New England 12 over NY Giants. PICK: GIANTS. Not to win the game. I think in the end the Patriots will win. But: the Giants have good leadership on this team, thanks to people like Strahan and Toomer. Eli Manning is playing well; the Patriots have in the past given up some yards on the ground, which the Giants with their running game will likely exploit, and thus set up some Manning-to-Burress play action. The Giants have a good front four and can get some pressure on Brady. And the Giants are not only on a roll, but have won 10 straight ROAD games this season. They're not likely to be intimidated. And they're 3-0 against the spread this playoff season.

So that's why I like the Giants to cover in this game. But the Patriots in the end will win this game. Tom Brady has a sterling Super Bowl record and history; he has all those weapons to work with once again in this game, plus a Pats running game with Maroney and Faulk coming into its own. The Pats defense makes plays, and with Seau and others they have great leadership as well. So New England will win this game and complete their undefeated season. My guess for the score:
New England 28, Giants 20.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Today's celeb/Hollywood/pop culture news of the day

Two celebs are either hospitalized or in rehab: see here...
And here.

There's one report of dangerous LiLo partying.

Another report of a young starlet crashing another's party.

Another has had trouble with the law, and couldn't quite escape. (he failed to file a tax return)

ABC's "Lost" continues to get buzz (and watchers).

There's never a shortage of celeb foibles...

Fundamental of the day

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin, who found this and pointed out the principle being lost:

"So, Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed John McCain. He extolled McCain for “reach[ing] across the political aisle to get things done." We’ll hear that annoying platitude a bazillion and one times through Super Tuesday and beyond. To which I say: When did it become the Republican Party’s top priority to “get things done?” “Get things done” is mindless liberal code for passing legislation and expanding government. And as McCain’s ample legislative record demonstrates, “reaching across the political aisle” never entails pulling opponents to the right."

Just so. Fundamental: the important thing is not to "get things done." (If you do something not worthwhile of being done, what's the point in it?) Rather, what are you doing, why, and is it valuable. Conservatives of all people should never forget this, especially when it comes to government action.

La Raza wants no habla for some

The National Council of La Raza, along with other groups, says it wants to help purge "hate" speech from the debate over immigration on TV and radio.
How do you define "hate"? What about the right to free speech?
La Raza seem to be waving such concerns aside. The head of La Raza said this:
"Ms. Murguia argued that hate speech should not be tolerated, even if such censorship were a violation of First Amendment rights:

"Everyone knows there is a line sometimes that can be crossed when it comes to free speech. And when free speech transforms into hate speech, we’ve got to draw that line. And that’s what we’re doing here today. And we need to make sure that network executives will hold their people accountable and not cross that line."

More good news from Iraq

From a recent column by David Ignatius in the Washington Post:
"America's future role in Iraq is being shaped by two discussions underway here and in Washington. One is a Bush administration debate about the timetable for reducing U.S. troops this year, and the other is a U.S.-Iraqi negotiation about the status of the residual American force that will remain after 2008. The premise of these discussions is that U.S. policy in Iraq is finally working and that a framework must be found to preserve the security gains of the past year. But this military planning fits awkwardly with the political mood in the United States and Iraq -- where the publics remain skeptical about U.S. military occupation, even when it's finally achieving its goals. Progress here is undeniable, both in terms of security on the ground and in the political bargaining among Iraq's parties and ethnic groups. You see this on the streets, in the faces of people you meet in shops and teahouses. The Iraqis I met last weekend didn't complain about security but about delivery of services. There are also hints of pragmatism among Iraqi politicians, who are finally passing legislation after three years of political deadlock."

Attention, Republican candidates: keep making this case.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Wait, I thought the Bush administration had alienated all of our allies

But maybe not:
"Poland said Friday it has reached an agreement in principle with the United States on plans to install a missile defense system on Polish territory."

MoveOn moves on

The very liberal organization, founded in the late 1990s to, ironically, defend President Clinton, in 2008 endorses, not Mrs. Clinton...but instead Barack Obama.

The liberal Democratic establishment continues to move away from the Clintons.