Saturday, May 31, 2008

Modern life and the internet dept (contd)

Here's an interesting story...
A overweight nerd becomes an internet Casanova.
But a particular relationship moves faster than he thought it would.
And he comes to realize:

"The Internet is not a separate place a person can go to from the real world. The Internet is the real world. Only faster."

Read the whole thing.

Some weekend Clinton cuteness

I could have called it a falsehood alert, but it's the weekend, and I'm feeling charitable.
This is from a recent letter Hillary Clinton sent out to Democratic superdelegates, seeking their support:

"...when the primaries are finished, I expect to lead in the popular vote and in delegates earned through primaries."

Cute. Of course, she "expects" to lead in the popular vote, only because she counts Michigan and Florida, and no neutral, unbiased observers do the same. And note how she ignores the caucus results. What--those weren't held? They don't count towards the nomination?

Note also her blatant appeal for the feminist vote:

"I am in this race for all the women in their nineties who've told me they were born before women could vote, and they want to live to see a woman in the White House. For all the women who are energized for the first time, and voting for the first time. For the little girls - and little boys - whose parents lift them onto their shoulders at our rallies, and whisper in their ears, "See, you can be anything you want to be." As the first woman ever to be in this position, I believe I have a responsibility to them."

She kind of downplayed this appeal for much of this year; only when she's in a tight spot does she resort to playing the feminist card.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bob Dole on Scott McClellan

What he wrote in an e-mail today, confirmed by Dole's spokesman as authentic:

"...former GOP senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole harshly criticizes former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan for keeping quiet while serving in the Bush Administration only to write a money-making book critical of the administration once he had left. "There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues," Dole wrote. "No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique." "No doubt you will 'clean up' as the liberal anti-Bush press will promote your belated concerns with wild enthusiasm," Dole added. "When the money starts rolling in you should donate it to a worthy cause, something like, 'Biting The Hand That Fed Me.' Another thought is to weasel your way back into the White House if a Democrat is elected. That would provide a good set up for a second book deal in a few years..."

That about sums it up.
McClellan had to know that the only book that would gain him the media attention and adulation he sought would be an anti-Bush screed. He had to know it. And so he produced what he knew many wanted.

Good news from the war on terror

Which I hasten to post here, given that too often such is ignored by the mainstream news media.
And the good news is not simply coming from the U.S. government, either:

"The sense of shifting tides in the terrorism fight is shared by a number of terrorism experts, though some caution that it is too early to tell whether the gains are permanent. Some credit Hayden and other U.S. intelligence leaders for going on the offensive against al-Qaeda in the area along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where the tempo of Predator strikes has dramatically increased from previous years. But analysts say the United States has caught some breaks in the past year, benefiting from improved conditions in Iraq, as well as strategic blunders by al-Qaeda that have cut into its support base. "One of the lessons we can draw from the past two years is that al-Qaeda is its own worst enemy," said Robert Grenier, a former top CIA counterterrorism official who is now managing director of Kroll, a risk consulting firm. "Where they have succeeded initially, they very quickly discredit themselves."

The war is not endless, progress is being made, it's not being lost. Conservatives need to work harder at getting that message out.

Clinton campaign death watch (contd)

Gail Collins of the NY Times, on a recent Hillary campaign stop at Mount Rushmore:

"It took more than four hours of driving for Clinton to speak to a crowd of less than 200, standing in a chilly wind, delivering one of her trademark lists of promises, from turning the Plains states into “the Saudi Arabia of wind farming” to creating a presidential tribal liaison....On the day before Hillary’s arrival, Mount Rushmore had been enveloped in a cold, damp fog that completely obscured the presidents. It was a bracing 34 degrees, but tourists soldiered through anyway, shivering and snapping pictures of each other standing in front of a big cloud of mist....“Look, there’s a chipmunk!” cried someone on the plaza as a little rodent scampered across. Everybody went for their cameras. When the idea of visiting Mount Rushmore came up, Hillary must have intuited how perfect it was. Not only the site of an impossible dream come true, but also the place where visitors make the best of the cards they’re dealt, prepared if necessary to stand around admiring an impenetrable fog."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"I'm so glad we had this time together..."

Actor-comic Harvey Korman died today.
I'll always remember him as one of the regulars on Carol Burnett's variety show, long a staple of CBS's Saturday night lineup throughout the 1970s. And Korman was always there, singing, dancing, and of course engaging in great comic performances in all those wonderful, funny skits for which Burnett and her show were famous. Saturday nights were something to look forward to--a bowl of popcorn, the family dog sleeping near you on the couch, and the knowledge that Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman and Tim Conway and Vicki Lawrence would make you laugh.

May he rest in peace, secure in the knowledge that he made millions of peoples' lives that much more fun.

An update we're glad to hear

The Texas Supreme Court has handed down its decision:

"In a crushing blow to the state's massive seizure of children from a polygamist sect's ranch, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that child welfare officials overstepped their authority and the children should go back to their parents. The high court affirmed a decision by an appellate court last week, saying Child Protective Services failed to show an immediate danger to the more than 400 children swept up from the Yearning For Zion Ranch nearly two months ago."

And if the state can't show that, it needs to keep its hands off.

Conservatism: ideas needed

So high gas prices are in the news, and on everyone's mind, lately.
They're blamed for everything--from changes in Californian consumer habits to declines in Michigan tourism.

So you know--you just know--that there's going to be pressure placed on the government to take state action to control gas prices. You know it's coming.

How will we, as conservatives, convince the average Joe that price fixing ain't the way to go?
(Ask folks who remember World War II and the Office of Price Administration).
We need to be thinking about this. I'm not enough of us on the right are doing so.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Beep, beep, beep...

...and that sound you hear is that of Barack Obama backpedaling on his ideas regarding meeting foreign leaders with no preconditions:

"With his experience and leadership credentials under sharp criticism, Senator Barack Obama and his advisers are trying to clarify what has emerged as a central tenet of his proposed foreign policy: a willingness to meet leaders of enemy nations. In an interview on Wednesday, Mr. Obama, of Illinois, sought to emphasize, as he and his aides have done continually over the last few days, the difference between avoiding preconditions for talks with nations like Iran and Syria, and granting them automatic discussions at the presidential level. While Mr. Obama has said he would depart from the Bush administration policy of refusing to meet with certain nations unless they meet preconditions, he has also said he would reserve the right to choose which leaders he would meet, should he choose to meet with them at all."

Obama isn't stupid. He knows his position on this hasn't held up too well. And it hasn't held up too well because the criticisms of it, coming from a conservative direction, have hit home. This is a victory for the Right, and they should keep pounding away on this.

Clinton campaign death watch (contd)

More and more acts (and statements) of desperation:

"During an evening rally in Montana’s largest city Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton explained to the crowd why she should be the Democratic Party’s nominee, but what ensued was a list of overstatements and exaggerations as she made her case. “You have to ask yourself, who is the stronger candidate? And based on every analysis, of every bit of research and every poll that has been taken and every state that a Democrat has to win, I am the stronger candidate against John McCain in the fall,” she said. The problem is, there are a number of polls that show Clinton in a close race with John McCain, many within the margin of error, not including a few that show Barack Obama beating McCain by a larger margin than Clinton."

What would happen if someone noted to Senator Clinton that "every" mathematical model and projection shows she has no chance of winning the Democratic nomination? Snicker...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Days in Milwaukee...

...because Arthur Fonzerelli, "the Fonz" from the "Happy Days" sitcom of the 1970s, will get a statue there.

Heyyyyy! This is a nice thing. If you're like me, and spent much of the '70s in middle school and high school, you couldn't help but be touched by "Happy Days." It was a dominant sitcom for ABC, and was not only a product of, but (I suspect) helped inspire that yearning for the 1950s we saw in the "me" decade. Maybe it was because the crewcuts, thin ties, and long skirts of the '50s seemed so exotic after the wild '60s. Maybe it was just that we longed for the apparent certainties and placidity of the Eisenhower years, after the disturbances of the Vietnam era. Or maybe the show just got lucky in getting Henry Winkler and Ron Howard, and making/using cute sayings like "sit on it."

But it captured something, that's for sure. And even in the small town I lived in, it seemed like everybody back then knew what was going on with the show week to week. I can still remember everybody oohing and aaahing over the episode where the Fonz, to prove a point, was doing a dangerous jump with his motorcycle--only to have the episode end when he was in mid-jump. We'd have to wait until next week to see what happened!

And so we did. And we still remember. So here's to the Fonz and Pottsie and Ralph Mouth and Joanie and the gang; and good for Milwaukee for helping to make sure that others down the line will remember them, too.

Another "honor" killing

Yet another so-called "honor" killing, involving adherents of Islam, has occurred, this time in Germany:

"The brutal "honor killing" of a 16-year-old Afghan immigrant by her brother has sparked a renewed debate in Germany over whether Islamic families can adapt to the social ways of the Western world. The girl, Morsal Obeidi, was ambushed in the parking lot of a Hamburg McDonald's restaurant by her 23-year-old brother Ahmad, who stabbed the girl 20 times, Spiegel Online reported. Hamburg is home to more than 20,000 Afghan immigrants, the most of any European city, the Web site reported."

Yes, you've heard of this kind of stuff before--see for example this one, occurring in Las Colinas, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, back in January. There an Islamic father killed his two daughters.

These don't seem to be random occurrences, do they? Why does Islam seem to produce this kind of stuff?

All those who believe this will halt media doom-and-gloom stories about it, raise your hands

New home sales rise unexpectedly in April.

And I don't see too many hands up.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day and Iraq

There's more success there than many people think, and we should thank the U.S. servicemen and women who are helping to make it happen:

"The men and women in the military know their fellow citizens are grateful to them. Many of them say, though, that they’re not confident their countrymen are aware of what they’re accomplishing. Gen. David Petraeus testified Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He noted that the number of security incidents in Iraq in the past week had fallen to the lowest level in over four years. And he held out the prospect, despite “tough fights and hard work” that lie ahead, of “an Iraq that is at peace with itself and its neighbors, that is an ally in the war on terror, that has a government that serves all Iraqis.” Meanwhile, political progress in Iraq has picked up, and provincial elections will likely occur before the end of the year. From Basra in the south to Mosul in the north, the overall situation has improved more than anyone thought possible even a few months ago — let alone a year and a half ago, when President Bush ordered the surge of forces, and Petraeus, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno and Ambassador Ryan Crocker began implementing the new counterinsurgency strategy."

Read the whole piece.

The World: Iran

Even the NY Times reports that there is reason for concern:

"The International Atomic Energy Agency, in an unusually blunt and detailed report, said Monday that Iran’s suspected research into the development of nuclear weapons remains “a matter of serious concern” and continues to need “substantial explanations.” The nine-page report accused the Iranians of a willful lack of cooperation, particularly in answering allegations that its nuclear program may be pointed less at energy generation than at military use."

Many of my acquaintances who fall on the left side of the political aisle seem to suggest that Iran presents no serious reason for concern. Conservatives ought to demand that they explain themselves, especially given information like the above.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The morality of Gore Vidal

Who would want to celebrate this man, who is often identified as a "celebrated" author, after reading the below, I can't imagine. Entire article is here.

"The author and screenwriter Gore Vidal, one of the last giants of an American literary scene that included Norman Mailer, Truman Capote and Joseph Heller, has admitted that he may once have fathered a love child, but refused to be part of her upbringing because he had paid for the mother to have an abortion...In a wide-ranging interview in today's Independent on Sunday New Review magazine, he addresses rumours that he fathered a child in the 1950s – at first denying the suggestion, but then seeming to confirm it. "Possibly. I don't believe so," he replies when asked if the rumours are true. "The father was either me or a German photographer. I believe the mother is dead. The child was a girl. Every Christmas I would receive a picture of them all around the tree, and there's the little girl looking like me. I could have a daughter, yes."Asked why he has made no attempt to contact her, he replies: "I sent her mother money for an abortion. Which she used to go to Detroit, where she found a rich man."

Communist Party vs Indiana Jones

It seems that Russia's Communist Party today urged Russians to boycott the new "Indiana Jones" movie, claiming it unfairly undermines communist ideology:

"Members of Russia's Communist Party are calling for a nationwide boycott of the new Indiana Jones movie, saying it aims to undermine communist ideology and distort history. Harrison Ford returns as Indiana Jones in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" stars Harrison Ford as an archaeologist in 1957 competing with an evil KGB agent, played by Cate Blanchett, to find a skull endowed with mystic powers. It hit Russian screens Thursday. Communist Party members in St. Petersburg said on a web site this week that the Soviet Union in 1957 "did not send terrorists to the States," but launched a satellite, "which evoked the admiration of the whole world."

Heh. Right. They didn't send "terrorists" to the United States.
Rather, they sent them to places like Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, and Cuba...
And as a result hundreds of thousands of people died.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Clinton campaign death watch (contd)

From a column published today by Peggy Noonan:

"Hillary Clinton complained again this week that sexism has been a major dynamic in her unsuccessful bid for political dominance. She is quoted by the Washington Post's Lois Romano decrying the "sexist" treatment she received during the campaign, and the "incredible vitriol that has been engendered" by those who are "nothing but misogynists." The New York Times reported she told sympathetic bloggers in a conference call that she is saddened by the "mean-spiritedness and terrible insults" that have been thrown "at you, for supporting me, and at women in general"... One wants to be sympathetic to Mrs. Clinton at this point, if for no other reason than to show one's range. But her last weeks have been, and her next weeks will likely be, one long exercise in summoning further denunciations. It is something new in politics, the How Else Can I Offend You Tour."

And Noonan's column was written before today's Clinton apology-fest over her Bobby Kennedy comment...

Quick review of HBO's new documentary "Recount"

It's about the 2000 presidential election and the long battle over Florida.
NRO's Byron York saves you the trouble of watching it:

"I think the plot might best be described this way: Once upon a time there was an election. A very good man won the election, but it was really, really close, and a very bad man claimed that he had won the election. And a group of brave, strong people tried to recount the votes to prove that the very good man had won the election, but they were so high-minded and good that they just wouldn't fight dirty, while a group of cruel, mean people would do anything to stop the counting so that the very bad man could win. When the counting got under way, the very bad man's lead got smaller and smaller, and the very good man was about to win until a group of very, very, very bad people in Washington DC stopped it all, and the very bad man won. The end."

I think York is far too kind and cleans up the moviemakers' lingo a great deal. They would go far beyond calling George W. Bush a "very bad man."

I bet she wishes she hadn't said that

Hillary Clinton, in explaining why her campaign soldiers on, mentions Bobby Kennedy's assassination in June 1968.
You know, she may indeed (as she claims) have simply meant to reference the fact that he too kept his campaign going into early June.

But I wonder: isn't it possible that, subconsciously, she was thinking: "it's possible that Obama could be assassinated before the convention; and if so, I'd then be in position to step in."
Not that she wants it to happen, but...
She'd take the nomination if that happens.

Good news on the FLDS front

The state of Texas to reunite 12 children with sect parents.
Conservatives should want the state to be very careful, and to have lots of evidence, before it barges in and takes children away from parents.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Careful, Mr. Krugman

Due to what the NY Times' Paul Krugman believes will be continuing high gas prices and endless scarcities of oil, he argued in his column the other day that Americans will have to fundamentally change their living habits:

"Can we also drive less? Yes — but getting there will be a lot harder. There have been many news stories in recent weeks about Americans who are changing their behavior in response to expensive gasoline — they’re trying to shop locally, they’re canceling vacations that involve a lot of driving, and they’re switching to public transit. But none of it amounts to much...Any serious reduction in American driving will require more than this — it will mean changing how and where many of us live. To see what I’m talking about, consider where I am at the moment: in a pleasant, middle-class neighborhood consisting mainly of four- or five-story apartment buildings, with easy access to public transit and plenty of local shopping. It’s the kind of neighborhood in which people don’t have to drive a lot, but it’s also a kind of neighborhood that barely exists in America, even in big metropolitan areas. Greater Atlanta has roughly the same population as Greater Berlin — but Berlin is a city of trains, buses and bikes, while Atlanta is a city of cars, cars and cars...Infrastructure is another problem. Public transit, in particular, faces a chicken-and-egg problem: it’s hard to justify transit systems unless there’s sufficient population density, yet it’s hard to persuade people to live in denser neighborhoods unless they come with the advantage of transit access...Still, if we’re heading for a prolonged era of scarce, expensive oil, Americans will face increasingly strong incentives to start living like Europeans — maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives."

Boy. You could just tell, couldn't you, that Krugman wanted to advocate for the government to somehow take a bigger role in forcing Americans to do this--to live in inner cities, much closer to where they worked. After all, he thinks, it's so the right thing to do! But even Paul Krugman doesn't go that far. Fundamental: we conservatives need to keep reminding Krugman that if he thinks living in more densely populated areas is the right thing to do, it's fine if he advocates for it, and it's fine if individual Americans choose to do so. But it must be something we choose voluntarily. That's the right way for this kind of change to happen, if it ever does.

Congratulations, David Cook!

He's this year's new "American Idol."
And even the New York Times takes note:

"Because Mr. Cook refused to follow the unspoken guidelines for the competition, he emerged as the most original and savvy male finalist in the show’s history. The cornerstone of his victory was his iconoclastic rock version earlier in the season of “Billie Jean,” the magic song that catapulted Michael Jackson to new heights of popularity 25 years ago. Mr. Cook has a strong, flexible voice; when he sings rock, its scuffed edges echo Sam Cooke filtered through Steve Perry. Stylistically he occupies the same broad pop-to-rock territory as Bryan Adams, one of several star guests at Wednesday’s finale, but Mr. Cook is a better singer."

I agree. I was glad Mr. Cook won.
Read the whole piece--it's fascinating.

A note concerning reparations

Some in this country believe millions and millions of dollars should be paid by our government to African-Americans as "reparations" for our past sin of allowing slavery.

And did you catch this? The nation of Belgium would, at first glance, appear to add fuel to the arguments of those advocating reparations. Belgium recently agreed to pay "indemnification" to Holocaust survivors.

But note this--note what a leading Jewish advocate, who had every right to file a claim on some of this money, did:

"Susskind, who has worked for the Jewish cause since the war, did not file an individual claim. "The point is to rebuild a Jewish community like we had before the war," he said in a telephone interview. "For suffering, there is no price."


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Clinton campaign death watch (contd)

Now they've stopped talking about her. From today's International Herald-Tribune:

"While Senator Barack Obama gingerly commended his rival's "perseverance," the shrinking candidacy of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has all but vanished from the television set, sidelined by bigger news. Even her victory speech in Kentucky on Tuesday, shown live on cable news, was given perfunctory attention - a footnote to someone else's page in history. When MSNBC called the Kentucky primary early in the evening, Tim Russert, host of "Meet the Press," said her success with women and blue-collar voters "means Senator Obama has a lot of work to do" and sketched a rehabilitation plan. He did not mention Clinton by name in that disquisition."

Distinguishing Obama from John F. Kennedy

So some liberals, reacting to all this hubbub about Barack Obama and appeasement, are saying: hey, look, all Obama wants to do is talk. John F. Kennedy talked with the Soviet Union back in the 1960s. So what's the big deal?

Ah, but Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post recently explains just how this argument is wrong:

"Obama recalls that US presidents have often conducted negotiations with their country's enemies and done so to the US's advantage. And this is true enough. President John F. Kennedy essentially appeased the Soviet Union during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis when he offered to remove US nuclear warheads from Turkey in exchange for the removal of Soviet nuclear missiles from Cuba. But there are many differences between what Kennedy did and what Obama is proposing. Kennedy's offer to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was made secretly. And the terms of the deal stipulated that if its existence was revealed, the US offer would be cancelled. More importantly, Khrushchev was open to a deal and was ready to give up the Cuban nuclear program. And - most importantly of all - Kennedy deployed military forces and went to the brink of war to make the alternatives to negotiation credible. Obama has repeatedly stated that unlike Kennedy, if he is elected president, he will not openly threaten war while being open to private talks. Instead, Obama intends to surrender the war option while conducting direct, public negotiations with the mullahs. So from the very beginning, he wants to undermine US credibility while giving Ahmadinejad and his murderous ilk the legitimacy that Kennedy refused to give Khrushchev. Far from exerting force to strengthen his diplomatic position, Obama has pledged to withdraw US forces from Iraq where they are fighting Iranian proxies, cut military spending and shrink the size of the US nuclear arsenal."

Well-put. Our friends on the other side of the aisle were distorting history again.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Falsehood alert: Hillary Clinton

Have you noticed how Hillary Clinton and her acolytes in the Democratic Party continually harp on how, hey, it's no big deal that the Democratic race has gone on for so long this year; remember, it (supposedly) took Bill Clinton in 1992 until June 2nd to wrap up the nomination?

Not really true by a long shot. As Byron York recently explained:

"Bill Clinton is fond of saying he didn’t wrap up the Democratic nomination until June 2 of that year, when he won the California primary. That’s technically true, but Clinton was the clear winner long before that. Nevertheless, former California Gov. Jerry Brown stubbornly stayed in the race, even though going into June 2, he had 388 delegates to Clinton’s 2,059. (Clinton’s total was, at the time, 86 short of locking up the nomination.) Brown hadn’t been taken seriously since losing the New York primary on April 7, but he kept at it. His campaign became so quixotic that in late May, during a visit to an elementary school in South Central Los Angeles, a nine year-old asked him, “What do you plan to do to get more delegates to win this campaign?” “That’s a very good question,” Brown answered, according to an Associated Press report. “What do you think we should do?” There was no good answer, but who cared? Brown could stay in as long as he liked because his presence didn’t really matter."

Another Clintonian distortion. But by now, who's surprised?

At the sports desk: a 17th NFL game?

NFL honchos are thinking of in the future looking at playing 17 regular season games:

"NFL commissioner Roger Goodell raised the possibility of having a 17th regular-season game as an option to help settle some of the league's future labor problems...A 17th regular-season game could replace a fourth preseason game and the possibility comes at a time that the league is not satisfied with the quality of the preseason. The league made a presentation to owners about ways to improve the current preseason Tuesday."

My response: what's taken them so long? Improve the "pre-season"? Hurray! When can they start? As the article says, the pre-season has almost become a joke. Everyone's paranoid about injuries; starters play less and less; the pre-season games quickly deteriorate once all the rookies and backups get in; and what I've noticed too is that starters now play so little in the pre-season that, in week 1 of the NFL regular season, their timing still isn't there. The quality of play suffers.

I see Gene Upshaw is being his usual abominable no-man self about this. Let's hope he changes his mind if this idea remains viable.

Clinton campaign death watch (contd)

Did you catch this? From last week, when Hillary Clinton won smashingly in West Virginia (though it also applies to this week, when she will win smashingly (most likely) in Kentucky):

"If a tree falls in the forest when everybody expects it to fall, does it make a sound? es, says Hillary Clinton. It makes a deafening roar, says Hillary Clinton. SHE WON THE WEST VIRGINIA PRIMARY BY A KAZILLION PERCENTAGE POINTS TUESDAY NIGHT, AND THAT, SHE SAYS, HAS TO MEAN SOMETHING! Except the press doesn’t think so. The press is unimpressed. This may be the first time in election history in which the press has withdrawn from a race before the candidate."

A great line, that. And that press withdrawal will be even more pronounced after Obama's likely win in Oregon tonight, one suspects.

That costly mess of a Texas polygamy case

The more I hear about this case involving over 400 children taken from this FLDS sect in Texas, the less I like it. If in fact there has been child abuse, of course, action to stop it must go forward.

But: it sounds like the original call, alleging abuse, was a hoax.
There have been females who belong to the sect, who were pregnant and recently had children, who were claimed to be under-age...and then it turned out they weren't.
Many of these children have been taken away from their parents and put in foster care, even though there were no allegations against their mothers and fathers.
And now it looks like the whole case is going to cost the state of Texas over $30 million, by the time it's all done.

What a mess. And yet some liberal acquaintances support this state action, mainly because they intensely dislike the beliefs of the FLDS sect. Fundamental: beware of giving the state this kind of power.

Barr-ed from credibility

So the former Republican congressman Bob Barr is going to run for president as a libertarian.
Hmmm. Well, as the editors of National Review point out, it's strange.
Here's a guy who, in all his years in congress, was a conventional conservative.
But now, suddenly he's developed a big-time libertarian streak.
As NR points out:

"The American Civil Liberties Union hired him as a consultant after 9/11 and he’s been expanding on a libertarian streak he had in Congress — and shedding his otherwise orthodox right-wing views — ever since. The point of a candidacy like Barr’s is at least to highlight and defend a worldview. But Barr has never been a particularly effective spokesman for his views, even views that were long-held. The new Barr is a non-interventionist anti-government purist committed to a thoroughgoing civil libertarianism. In Congress, he voted for the Iraq war, an early version of the prescription-drug program, and the Patriot Act. As the Cato Institute’s Daniel Griswold has pointed out, he voted with protectionists to secure the interests of cotton farmers and the textile industry in his district. The old Barr was a scourge of illegal drugs. He was a member of the Speaker’s Task Force for a Drug-Free America and authored the Barr amendment, which blocked implementation of a voter initiative to legalize medical marijuana in the District of Columbia. Last year, he signed on with the Marijuana Policy Project to work to repeal his own handiwork, explaining that the expansion of governmental powers after 9/11 had transformed his view on the war on drugs."

Well, maybe he just changed his mind, you say.
Yeah. Maybe. Or, maybe he changed his views in order to better stick out from the crowd.
Sure helps one run as a third-party candidate for president, doesn't it?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Put a cork in it, Corker

Hmmm. So the junior Republican senator from Tennessee, Bob Corker, is angry at the state Republican Party. Seems the TN GOP dared to run an ad criticizing Michelle Obama for such things as stating earlier this year that she is "for the first time" proud to be an American. Corker echoes Senator Obama's plea to "lay off my wife."

Bah. Grow some fortitude, Senator Corker. Michelle Obama and her words are fair game. And you should know it. For one thing, she's out on the campaign trail daily, campaigning for her husband. Are you suggesting that someone is free to go out there and campaign, and yet their words are off-limits to scrutiny and criticism? There's also plenty of evidence that she and Obama think alike, that she has influence upon him. Are we to believe that someone close to a candidate, who may very well influence his thinking and decisions, is off-limits to criticism? Please.

Is there any avenue of criticism towards Senator Obama that will not cause him and supporters to throw temper tantrums? Last week there was President Bush's criticisms of appeasement; now this. And, worse, Republicans like Corker are supporting this nonsense. They should stop.

Pssssttt, Senator Obama...

Today, you said:

"Pitching his message to Oregon's environmentally-conscious voters, Obama called on the United States to "lead by example" on global warming, and develop new technologies at home which could be exported to developing countries. "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said. "That's not leadership. That's not going to happen," he added."

Er, Senator: 1] Yes, we in fact can expect other nations to say OK if we choose to set our thermostats at 72 degrees. It's none of their business what we eat or at what temperature our thermostats are set. 2] Are you under the zany impression that we have to get the permission of other countries when it comes to thermostat-setting, what we drive, and what we eat? And 3] No, I'm not "clinging" to these questions out of bitterness, either.

I hope Obama's astonishing comments get the attention they deserve.

What a shock

Remember Sean Wilentz? He's a historian, and very much a partisan Democrat.
He testified loudly back in 1998 about what a horrible thing Republicans had done in impeaching Bill Clinton. He struck many as the heir apparent to Arthur Schlesinger Jr., long the Democratic Party's favorite historian.

And yet, he apparently has written a very fair, even somewhat admiring, book on Ronald Reagan.
Will wonders never cease.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


United Nations representatives, coming to the U.S. at the invitation of the US government, will investigate America for racism.

Very appalling. One good thing, though: we can tell them that they might start their investigation at UN HQ in New York. Didn't some fellow named Ahmadinejad hang out there a few months ago?

Clinton campaign death watch (contd)

Her recent swing to South Dakota and Oregon failed to excite:

"With her candidacy running out of time — and perhaps air — the Clinton campaign has taken on a distinctly subdued mood...(David Letterman recently joked that with her campaign $21 million in debt, she is at “the world’s most expensive fantasy camp.”) And the new tone is palpable. “I’m so grateful to all of you for letting us have this conversation,” Mrs. Clinton said softly at an afternoon event, speaking to a group in which reporters outnumbered supporters by at least 3 to 1...Late Friday, Mrs. Clinton stopped by her campaign office in Salem, Ore., to thank a group of excited volunteers, shaking hands and eating cannoli. “I don’t really get the point of her carrying on,” said Tim Ledford, 29, a store clerk who had wandered upstairs to catch a glimpse of Mrs. Clinton. “If it’s done, it’s done.”

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Democratic record

Are the Democrats in fact appeasers?
Kathryn Jean Lopez on NRO provides some evidence:

...The president could have been speaking of any number of Democrats. Say, Jimmy Carter, who in April, 2008 said: “Through more official consultations with these outlawed leaders [Hamas and Syria], it may yet be possible to revive and expedite the stalemated peace talks between Israel and its neighbors. In the Middle East, as in Nepal, the path to peace lies in negotiation, not in isolation.”

Or Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, freelance diplomat, who in December 2007 said: “the road to Damascus is a road to peace.”

Or, perhaps he meant Speaker Pelosi in April 2007: “I believe in dialogue. As my colleagues have said over and over again, unless you communicate, you cannot understand each other. You cannot reach agreement.”

Or maybe he meant recent Obama endorser and former North Carolina senator John Edwards, who, according to his own press release in February of last year, believes “the U.S. should step up our diplomatic efforts by engaging in direct talks with all the nations in the region, including Iran and Syria.”

Or Bill Richardson, who has said, about meeting with Iran and Syria: “They’re bad folks … But you don’t have peace talks with your friends.”

It could have been about Congressman Henry Waxman, who in April said: “A Democratic administration would go back and try to open that possibility up for discussions [with Iran] of a grand bargain of one sort or another ... Democrats would certainly have seen that as a missed opportunity.”

Or Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich: “I can go to Syria. I can go to Iran and work to craft a path towards peace. And I will … How can you change peopled minds if you don’t meet with them?”

Or former Democratic presidential candidates and senators Chris Dodd and John Kerry, who met with Syria’s al-Assad and said: “As senior Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee, we felt it was important to make clear that while we believe in resuming dialogue, our message is no different: Syria can and should play a more constructive role in the region … We concluded that our conversation was worthwhile, and that … resuming direct dialogue with Syria should be pursued.”

Or the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, from April 10: “[Diplomats] can deliver some pretty tough messages … You don’t begin with a president of the country, but you do need to talk to your enemy.”



Obama's ears burned...

...yesterday, apparently, in response to President Bush's speech warning against appeasement.
Because today he's still going on and on about it, calling it "divisive", etc.

Hmmm. Well, up to now I've been an advocate of laying off the Jeremiah Wright talk.
But maybe I was wrong. Maybe it would be good to remind Senator Obama of just how long it took him to firmly renounce Pastor Wright's hysterical lies concerning the U.S. government and AIDS (for example), and how "divisive" Wright's accusations were.

But we should also examine more closely what else Senator Obama said today.
First, it remains interesting that President Bush never mentioned Obama's name in his speech. Yet the Senator has responded so loudly. Is he feeling a little vulnerable?

Then there's this, from the article I linked to above:
"Obama said McCain had a "naive and irresponsible belief that tough talk from Washington will somehow cause Iran to give up its nuclear program and support for terrorism."

Naive? What's naive is thinking that sitting down with someone like Ahmadinejad--someone who routinely calls for the destruction of Israel and makes anti-semitic statements, remember--is going to do anything else but legitimize him.

And then there's this, again from the article above:
"That has been the history of U.S. diplomacy until very recently," said Obama, who said he was comfortable engaging McCain in a foreign policy debate. "I find it puzzling that we view this as in any way controversial. This whole notion of not talking to people, it didn't hold in the '60s, it didn't hold in the '70s ... When Kennedy met with Kruschev, we were on the brink of nuclear war."

And, Senator Obama, when Ronald Reagan held the presidential office in the 1980s, for nearly FIVE YEARS he engaged in no direct negotiations with the Soviet Union or with their leaders. Reagan never met with Leonid Brezhnev. He never met with Yuri Andropov. And Democrats back then roared with disapproval and claimed Reagan's refusal to negotiate with them would lead to nuclear war!

They were wrong. Reagan's tough stance eventually led to Gorbachev, and to real negotiations--and to Soviet concessions. Ultimately it helped lead to the end of the cold war. Not talking, showing resolve, showing toughness, can be necessary. And it works. Fundamental: don't, conservatives, let Obama and the Democrats get away with this incorrect narrative they're trying to set up.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sports desk: Cubs win...

...again today, defeating San Diego.
More importantly, has anyone noticed that the Cubs have followed up last year's playoff appearance with a nice record this year? They're right now in first place in the NL Central.
Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, and Ted Lilly are doing well right now as starters.
Carlos Marmol is almost unhittable as a set-up reliever.
And Kerry Wood has 8 saves already as the closer.
Watch out for the Cubs. Their last World Series win was exactly 100 years ago.

Note the dissent

Yes, the California supreme court has overturned a state ban on gay marriages.

But note the dissenting opinions. For example:

"In a dissenting opinion, Justice Marvin Baxter agreed with many arguments of the majority but said the court overstepped its authority. Changes to marriage laws should be decided by the voters, Baxter wrote."

Gosh. Marriage laws decided by the voters; not by a court acting as a legislature.
That's an important fundamental that conservatives should stress concerning this ruling.

How dare he!

Well. So, President Bush today dared suggest that there are those out there today in the political world whose views concerning sitting down and negotiating with terrorists and other radicals might just not be a good idea--that it might lead to appeasement.

Goodness. At the liberal site Dailykos you'd think the President had suggested that Hillary and Obama were axe murderers, or something.

Hmmm. So let's get this straight. So our friends at DailyKos and other left-wing sites can, daily, blather on that "Bush lied [about Iraq], and people died"--but that's OK. They can claim that Bush/Cheney engaged in some of the inquitous, uncaring, devilish policies and decisions imaginable; they can claim baldly that they hate President Bush.

But that's OK. Yet George Bush can't criticize the national security implications of his political opponents' ideas. Yeah, right.

Nonsense. You go, George W. Bush. Keep on tellin' em; preach it loud!
Barack Obama's notions of meeting with persons like Chavez and Ahmadinejad can very easily lead to appeasement (for example); and the world needs to know it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hard knocks

By the way, for all you football fans out there, hungry for a little football fix in the off-season, check this show out--"Hard Knocks", on the NFL Network.
It details the 2007 training camp of the Kansas City Chiefs.
But what it really does is show you just how tough training camp is, what players have to learn in it, and you get the chance to follow certain players through camp. You get to see what they go through, their trials and tribulations, the pressures they're under.
For die-hard football fans, it's fascinating. And it's well-done, too.
Really, a show like this is about life.
Check it out. Football season can't be far away, can it?

The Democrats: Hillary

So does Hillary today look or sound like a candidate about to quit?
First she wins West Virginia by more than 40 points; and now today she's immediately meeting with a bunch of superdelegates. Some in the past week speculated that Senator Clinton would quit the race before June 3rd; that looks unlikely now.

Yes, indeed, the math is impossible for Hillary; Barack Obama will almost surely be the Democrats' nominee. But what does it say about the Democrats' nominee when 1] he gets momentum out of last week's North Carolina and Indiana results; 2] for a week he gets largely positive press and endless talk about how he's about got it all wrapped up; while 3] his opponent is said to be out of money and to have almost no chance; and yet 4] she goes out and beats Obama by over 40 points? It makes you wonder how strong of a nominee Obama will be. Note that exit polls again show significant numbers of Clinton voters showing unwillingness to vote in the fall for Obama, and vice versa.

The GOP loses yet another special election

This time in Mississippi.
As I said the other day, when you're the party in possession of the White House, but a whole lot of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, that makes it tough.

Interesting though that the winning Democrat in this Mississippi House race went to great pains to make it clear that Barack Obama had not endorsed him. Hmmm...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Falsehood alert

And did you catch this?
From a recent column on the presidential campaign by the liberal columnist Jonathan Alter:

"Every election of the past four decades has turned on the tension between hope and fear. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson won by using fear that Barry Goldwater would blow up the world. In 1968, Richard Nixon used code words like "law and order" to exploit racial fears as part of his "Southern strategy."

I'm OK with Alter's take on 1964--but not 1968. He's wrong, though again we see here mainly an echo of the typical, accepted liberal narrative of recent history (you know how it goes--conservatives are greedy racists, who gain power only by exploiting the greed, fears, resentments, and especially the racism of the average Joe). But here it's wrong. Richard Nixon didn't talk about "law and order" in 1968 in order to exploit racial fears. Instead, he spoke to real concerns of the "silent majority."

Don't forget the state of things then. By 1968, over 500,000 American soldiers were in Vietnam (far more than are currently in Iraq). There was a significant antiwar movement, and many in that movement didn't necessarily play by the rules or observe the law. They burned their draft cards. They took over buildings on college campuses and stopped classes. In 1967 thousands of marchers disrupted activities at a military induction center in Oakland, and torched their draft cards in San Francisco. Over 100,000 antiwar protesters marched in New York City and in Washington D.C.; there, antiwar radical leader Abbie Hoffmann tried to get the crowd, through mental telepathy, to levitate the Pentagon off the ground. In 1968 radical protesters stopped classes for weeks at Columbia University; and riots doing a great deal of damage in a number of cities ensued after the assassination of Martin Luther King.

People were being killed. A great deal of destruction was being done. Radicals in print and on TV and radio justified this kind of lawbreaking. What Nixon was talking about wasn't, for the most part, having to do with racial fears. Rather, it had to do with radicalism, violence, and law-breaking, and a pledge to stop it. It resonated with millions of Americans. Because Nixon had a point.

A cacophony of voices blasting eHarmony

And did you also catch this? There are lots of questions these days concerning the internet match-making service called "eHarmony."
A lot of the arguments both supporting eHarmony and against it are summarized here.
To me, it's nice to see an online dating and match-making service that espouses traditional values, and goes beyond just promoting a way to gain quick hook-ups.
But that's not my main point. Rather, what caught my eye from the above article was this:

"In June, a California judge will hear a plaintiffs' motion for class certification in a case that accuses eHarmony of discrimination against gays and lesbians. eHarmony does not reject gays—it simply doesn't accept them: the only choices on the site are "man seeking woman" or "woman seeking man." A company lawyer explains that eHarmony makes matches based on unique scientific research into what makes heterosexual unions work; it hasn't done the same kind of work on gay unions, though it doesn't rule out such research in the future."

Okay. So what's the problem? How can eHarmony be sued? It's a private concern; it has nothing to do with the government. The way the site is set up makes it clear that, sorry, it is not a site that can help gays and lesbians find a relationship (I'm sure there are sites that CAN handle that, however). And so what? Where do folks get the idea that a private matchmaking service MUST deal with every couple that seeks its aid? I don't see why it should. Gays, lesbians, polygamists, swingers, left-handed people...they can establish their own dating sites. Meanwhile,, as a private concern, should have the right to set up its parameters as it sees fit, and to, yes, reject whomever it wants. You don't like it? Go elsewhere. That's all there is to it.

Spy news

Did you catch this?
It appears that North Korea was involved in the construction of that Syrian nuclear reactor.

Hmmm. Remember the guffawing at the Bush administration's mention of an "axis of evil"?
Here's one reason why such guffawing was, well, misplaced.

Update: Democrats continue to enjoy the Obama/Clinton race

As I've been arguing, that's why polls continue to show Democrats don't want it to end.
More evidence for this today:

"Let the race go on...On a day Hillary Clinton is poised to pocket another win in West Virginia and continue the race despite nearly insurmountable odds of winning the nomination, a Washington Post/ABC News poll reveals that Democratic leaning voters would prefer Clinton to stay in the race rather than drop out by 64-35 percent margin. Only 1 percent had no opinion...In the USA Today/Gallup poll, given the choice Clinton dropping out, both Clinton and Obama staying in the race, or Obama dropping out, 55 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters said both should continue on — although that number shrank 5 percentage points from a poll released May 4 asking the same question."

A majority doesn't seem to believe the race is hurting the party.
Perhaps this is another example of how, while Washington pundits firmly believe something, and many ordinary Americans have heard those pundits say they believe it, that doesn't mean ordinary folks buy it.

Jessica Alba on what makes a great movie

Found here:

"When asked why she hasn't appeared in more independent, art-house fare, the expectant star gives a refreshingly candid answer, if not one that'll likely keep Sundance at bay for quite some time. "To me, box office is the most important thing," she says. "If the movie makes money, then I'm fine."

Don't expect to see Ms. Alba doing up Cannes anytime soon, either.
Thank goodness we don't have to see it that way. There are lots of interesting movies out there; and box office often doesn't have that much to do with it. (If I remember right, neither "The Wizard of Oz" nor "Casablanca" smashed records at the box office when they first came out.)
The cable TV network Turner Classic Movies is a great resource for great old movies, by the way.

Bellying up to the sports bar: hey hey for those Tampa Bay Rays

You have to give them credit--their victory last night over the Yankees puts them 6 games over .500, the first time they've been that far over the break-even mark this late in the season.

The Rays demonstrate again the importance of pitching--their talented young starters, such as Kazmir and Shields, are a big part of their success.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Conservatives and John McCain dept

Bad news, this time on the "climate change" front:

"Senator John McCain sought to distance himself from President Bush on Monday as he called for a mandatory limit on greenhouse gas emissions in the United States to combat climate change. Mr. McCain, in a speech at a wind power company, also pledged to work with the European Union to diplomatically engage China and India, two of the world’s biggest polluters, if they refuse to participate in an international agreement to slow global warming."

Great. This is guaranteed to bring much bigger government.
And if Mr. McCain thinks this will somehow appease liberal critics, he'd better think again. "Environmentalists" and the left will, assuredly, condemn his proposals as insufficient and attack him all the harder. Our friends on the left don't look upon such movement towards their position as something favorable. Rather, they see it as a sign of weakness, and simply ratchet up their attacks (ask George H.W. Bush what his willingness to raise taxes in 1990 got him from Democrats and liberals).

Wrong direction

A new poll shows 8 in 10 Americans believe that the nation is headed in the wrong direction.

Let's not kid ourselves--that kind of environment will make it very tough for Republicans this year, no matter who you are.

A recent "teach-in" teaches one side of the story

There was a "teach-in" held recently in some Oakland, CA public schools.
The entire article can be found here. (from the NY Times)

I found this part of the article especially interesting:

"For those in school, however, the topics being bandied about were far juicier than the average civics class. Teachers from elementary school to adult education classes allowed students to discuss everything from whether the United States was committing acts of violence against innocent people to whether American businesses were getting rich on the backs of the poor. One worksheet handed out to students was blunt in its assessment of the current events: “About 1,000,000 Iraqis are dead and 4,000 American soldiers. The war will cost the U.S. about $2.8 trillion. Our schools don’t have money. Many people don’t have health care.”

Oh, that "worksheet" said that, hmmm?
Gosh, I wonder if conservative ideas and solutions got any play or discussion at this "teach-in." Think there was any intellectual diversity there?
Of course not. Our liberal friends in education too often neglect that part of the "diversity" idea.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Clinton campaign death watch (contd)

Liberal NY Times columnist Bob Herbert, in response to Senator Clinton's suggestions that Barack Obama is having and will have a hard time getting the votes of white Americans:

"The Clintons have never understood how to exit the stage gracefully. Their repertoire has always been deficient in grace and class...But it’s one thing to lack class and a sense of grace, quite another to deliberately try and wreck the presidential prospects of your party’s likely nominee — and to do it in a way that has the potential to undermine the substantial racial progress that has been made in this country over many years. The Clintons should be ashamed of themselves. But they long ago proved to the world that they have no shame."

Re-examining the critics of the Iraq war

Did you catch this? Michael Barone the other day makes an excellent point:"

"The claim is that "neocons...politicized intelligence to show that Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction. Not so, as the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Silberman-Robb Commission have concluded already. Every intelligence agency believed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and the post-invasion Duelfer report concluded that he maintained the capability to produce them on short notice. There was abundant evidence of contacts between Saddam's regime and al-Qaida and other terrorist groups. Given Saddam's hostility to the United States and his stonewalling of the United Nations, American leaders had every reason to believe he posed a grave threat. Removing him removed that threat. Unfortunately...the administration allowed its critics to frame the issue around the fact that stockpiles of weapons weren't found. Here we see at work the liberal fallacy, apparent in debates on gun control, that weapons are the problem rather than the people with the capability and will to use them to kill others. The fact that millions of law-abiding Americans have guns is not a problem; the problem is that criminals can get them and have the will to kill others. Similarly, the fact that France has WMDs is not a problem; the fact that Saddam Hussein had the capability to produce WMDs and the will to use them against us was."

Read the whole thing.
Especially important to grasp is Barone's reference to a "narrative" that the left and other critics of the war have managed to impose on our politics. That is, war opponents have gotten a lot of people to accept as a given something that, as he demonstrates, isn't true. Fundamental: conservatives especially in this day and age must fight against such untrue narratives. (another example comes from the 1990s--the Clintons' demand that tax cuts must be "paid for." Tax cuts mean the government is allowing you, thank goodness, to keep more of your earnings. Keeping more of your own money isn't something you have to "pay for." Yet the Clintons got that accepted by many as gospel truth.)

I went to the 2nd-to-the-last game ever there...

Old Tiger Stadium in Detroit is threatened with demolition.
I loved the place. I loved going to game there; the first time I ever went to a game there I was 11 years old. Al Kaline was still playing for the Tigers (it was 1973).

I agree with Senator Levin, who in the article is quoted as saying that the stadium is kind of sacred ground. It is. It's part of history--Detroit's history, Michigan's history. Please, people of Detroit, find a way to preserve at least part of old Tiger Stadium.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Weekend tidbits (with no obvious relation to each other)

It was an absolute injustice that Carly Smithson got the boot from American Idol before Jason Castro. (indeed, I think Carly should be in the top 3).

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a good, funny movie, with some great dialogue. It's a bit explicit and raunchy at times (to say the least). But I saw it last weekend and it was well worth it. I recommend it.

What in the heck was the Seattle Mariners' Richie Sexson doing charging the mound during last night's game with the Texas Rangers? The pitch to him wasn't anywhere near him; and then in charging the pitcher, he throws his batting helmet? Weak; cowardly. He fully deserved his 6-game suspension.

What these guys at this Dallas radio station are doing for this heretofore unknown young rock musician is really great; and his music is really good, too.
Read the whole thing at the link; and help him, if you can.

Why some people don't like celebrities: entry # 42, 987

Nick Hogan, son of Hulk Hogan, in trouble for a DWI and for crashing and injuring someone, hasn't exactly distinguished himself in the whole incident:

"Nick Hogan threw himself at the mercy of the judge today in Clearwater, FL in his felony reckless driving case -- and he got just a lil' bit. Hogan was sentenced to eight months in jail, five years' probation and 500 hours community service, and the judge yanked his license for three years...His victim -- and once best bud -- John Graziano's family had asked for a year in the slammer, but the judge didn't go quite that far. Nick apologized to the family in his statement, which, according to the Grazianos, would've been the first time he'd ever done so."

Obstacles for John McCain... campaigning this fall vs Barack Obama. Victor Davis Hanson points them out today:

"Almost imperceptibly to the McCain campaign, I think Obama has already established quite new messianic rules of engagement that will be difficult to overturn: he talks about supposedly illiberal Pennsylvanians as a racial group or quips “typical white person”, associates with the racist Wright, and counts on a solid base that votes 90 percent along racial lines, and you are a racist for being disturbed by that Manichaeism. He talks of hope/change, new politics, unity, and bipartisanship and you are cynical and hateful for not buying it and instead worrying that he has a serial propensity for distortion (“100 years”) and invective (“lost his bearings”)."

Obama has gotten very good at dismissing most criticisms of his policy ideas as somehow "old"--old politics, old Washington games, etc etc. And don't think that will stop, not when Obama is running against a 72-year-old John McCain; that was one of the reasons I thought Republicans should be very wary about nominating Mr. McCain. Too late now...

Clinton campaign death watch dept (continued)

Among the superdelegates:

"Barack Obama all but erased Hillary Rodham Clinton's once-imposing lead among national convention superdelegates on Friday and won fresh labor backing as elements of the Democratic Party began coalescing around the Illinois senator for the fall campaign...two members of the Democratic National Committee from California announced they were supporting Obama. "The election is over, everybody knows that. Obama has won," said Vernon Watkins, one of the two."

John Edwards today:

"...former candidate John Edwards said Clinton has made a compelling case for her candidacy, but “I think it’s very hard for her now to make a compelling case for the math. I mean, I think that’s the reality of what she’s faced with. She knows that. … It’s just very hard to see how the math works.”

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hillary Clinton campaign death watch dept

From today's NY Times:

"...[the Clinton] campaign signaled Thursday that Mrs. Clinton might not take the battle all the way to the convention at the end of August. “I don’t see it going to the convention,” Terry McAuliffe, her campaign manager, said in a televised interview."

And check out this symbolic photo.

Gee, you sound just like...

Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, today, on the occasion of Israel's 60th birthday:

"While world leaders sent the Jewish state congratulations on its 60th anniversary, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's birthday wish was that the “Zionist regime” be annihilated, according to the Agence France-Presse. "Those who think they can revive the stinking corpse of the usurping and fake Israeli regime by throwing a birthday party are seriously mistaken," Ahmadinejad told the official IRNA news agency. He went on to compare Israel to a “dead rat after being slapped by the Lebanese,” making reference to a 2006 war between the Jewish state and Hezbollah..."

His rhetoric is much like Adolf Hitler's back when he was attacking the Jews.
And the world ought to take it seriously.

American Idol: Jason gone, but feels good about it

I've heard a number of people remark today that Jason Castro, the latest Idol contestant to be eliminated, looked relieved as soon as he knew that he was the one to go...

And sure enough, today he confirms it--he WAS relieved, very much so.
That certainly explains his troubles of last night...
One thing about American Idol: if you, as a performer, have a flaw, it will be revealed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Republican opponent

Republicans are now pretty certain that this fall, it will be Barack Obama.

Makes sense. And it's good that the criticisms being developed are based on issues.
Because if you think about last night's primary results, again, I just don't think pounding endlessly away on such things as the Jeremiah Wright kerfuffle is the way to go. The Wright issue has been a big story for weeks now. And yet, last night Obama did better than ever with the African-American vote, winning 90% of it. And he improved his standing among women and whites. No major erosion. Indeed, all the momentum seems to be on his side now, despite weeks of mostly-Wright most of the time.

More concrete issues have to be the focus now for Obama's opponents.

Who's got an attack machine?

So I happened to be briefly watching CNN late this afternoon, catching up on some political news.
And one of the "Democratic strategists" brought in as a talking head made what must be the umpteenth mention of the "Republican attack machine" sure to swing into motion this fall against Barack Obama and the Democrats.

How often do we hear this phrase? A lot. Indeed, seems to me that it's taken for granted that this big, bad GOP attack machine exists; and that it operates in a vacuum, unopposed. Democrats and others sure talk about it enough--a google search on "Republican attack machine" brings up over 52,000 hits.

But there's a Democratic attack machine out there as well. Don't forget that. Look around. Today, the very liberal website DailyKos is running its usual barrage of anti-Republican, anti-President Bush screeds. A sample:

"In 2000, Bush had no experience whatever in national security or foreign policy, nor indeed any experience in Washington. Bush was both naive and ignorant in the extreme about world affairs."

The site DemocraticUnderground devotes entire threads to slamming the GOP.

I hear Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton attacking John McCain and the Republicans every single day.

In short: what "Republican attack machine"? The fact is, political parties in America have always attacked the other; both parties have what one could call "attack machines" today. Suggesting one party has a monopoly on attacks is ridiculous.

None of the nuns with proper ID

So there's been a lot of sympathy and gnashing of teeth on behalf of the Indiana nuns (one of them 98 years old) who were not able to vote in yesterday's primary because they lacked proper ID.

And hey, it's too bad. Me, though, I have a lot of sympathy for this view (from the article):

"Late Tuesday, Secretary of State Todd Rokita was unapologetic. "Indiana's Voter ID Law applies to everyone. From all accounts that we've heard, the sisters were aware of the photo ID requirements and chose not to follow them," he said in a statement released by his office."

Mr. Rokita is right. The law applies to everyone--even nuns.

Hillary Clinton's way out

So, like most, I thought the winner last night in the Democratic primary outcomes from North Carolina and Indiana was Barack Obama. With his big win in NC and the very close battle in IN, he added over 200,000 votes to his popular vote lead over Clinton, not to mention to his overall delegate lead.

Hillary Clinton gave a press conference today.
In many ways, she made it sound like she will soldier on. But study it all carefully. Note that she says she'll stay in the race "until there is a nominee." That's her out. After June 3rd, there very well could be a stampede of uncommitted superdelegates declaring for Obama. If there is, and if that puts him over the 2025 needed to win, perhaps then she'll get out, and maybe she intended today to signal that.

But that's not yet definite. She also in that same press conference suggested that her campaign will battle it out in the party credentials committee to try and get the Florida and Michigan delegations seated at the convention. It's very possible that she won't give up her drive for power that easily, yet.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Conservatives and John McCain dept

Positive new--today Senator McCain expounded, with regard to judicial appointments, on his support for Roberts and Alito, and his belief in judicial restraint.

It will be interesting to see how much of this kind of conservatism will be in the Senator's acceptance speech at the Republican convention this fall. Conservatives need to be watching carefully.

Conservatives, take note...

...of Great Britain's Labour prime minister, Gordon Brown.
Yes, there are plenty of things wrong with him--he supports many of Britain's statist institutions, such as its at-times disastrous national health care system.
But he's not all bad--see here.

He likes capitalist/free trade legend Adam Smith.
And apparently he reads one of American conservatism's favorite social scientists, James Q. Wilson. Maybe this guy's got possibilities. Stay tuned...

Interesting quote

Found here:

"While many are worrying about filling their gas tanks, many others around the world are struggling to fill their stomachs, and it is getting more and more difficult every day,' Zoellick said at a press briefing on the eve of the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings."

Interesting--because this should put things into a bit more perspective for us.
Yes, our gas prices in America are high.
But in Europe, they're higher--and have been for some time.
And in some other parts of the world, most adults don't even have a car, much less gas to power one.

The personal animus against George W. Bush

Yes, I know, this is nothing new, you might argue--folks have been pointing to the personal anger many on the left feel towards George W. Bush for years now. Leftists have even come out and blatantly admitted their hate for the president.

But I was reminded of it again today when, in perusing some recent news magazines that had piled up, I found a reference in TIME to the "swaggering" President Bush (and this was used by a reporter in a news story, not in an opinion piece). Apparently a lot of people see this in him; if you do a google search using the terms "George W. Bush arrogance", you get over 596,000 hits. This seems to be the reality for many. They hate President Bush; they resent him; I've heard and read liberals with whom I'm acquainted literally claim that Bush's entire life and person has been wrong and a fraud, and they claim he's guilty of virtually every sin.
(See what happens, by the way, when you do a google search using the string "I hate George W. Bush.")

What so interests and amazes me about this is the following: think. How often have those whom you know, who are of a more liberal bent, told you that we should vote for candidates based on policies and issues, not on emotions and feelings? That policies and issues are the most important things in evaluating a president? And how often did those same folks, back in the 1990s, loudly condemn what they called the conservative "animus" and "personal dislike" of Bill Clinton? No, they said, we mustn't allow this kind of "politics of personal destruction" to enter our polity.

And now look at what goes on regarding George W. Bush.
I'll leave the cogitations about just why there is this hatred towards the president for another day. What's interesting right now is not just that it exists (we've known that for some time) but the amazing hypocrisy contained in it.

Update: why the Democratic race goes on, and on...

Remember that we talked about this not long ago?
I suggested that one reason the race has kept going is simple: the Democratic Party electorate is ENJOYING this race. They want to see more.

Today there's more evidence of this, here.
60% of all Democrats want the Clinton/Obama battle to go forward.
Shucks, even Obama supporters--who should, after all, want the race to end; their guy is ahead!--are evenly divided on the issue!!
(fundamental: perhaps this says something about liberal-minded people--they want what they want, and don't necessarily think about the consequences.)

And so this Energizer Bunny race marches on...

Monday, May 5, 2008

The NY Times' Bob Herbert interrupts his writings on race to deplore all the focus on race

Did you catch this? The other day, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert lamented all the focus on Jeremiah Wright:

"Race is like pornography in the United States — the dirty stories and dirty pictures that everyone professes to hate but no one can resist. But I suspect that even porn addicts get their fill sometimes."

I'm not sure that includes Mr. Herbert. Let's see:

Bob Herbert, April 29th: "All but swooning over the wonderfulness of himself, the reverend [Wright] acts like he is the first person to come up with the idea that blacks too often get the short end of the stick in America, that the malignant influences of slavery and the long dark night of racial discrimination are still being felt today, that in many ways this is a profoundly inequitable society."

Bob Herbert, March 25th:
"Barack Obama was on the phone [to Herbert], speaking about the one issue he had not wanted to focus on in his campaign: race."

Bob Herbert, February 2nd: "Anyone who thinks the Democrats are a lock to win in November has somehow forgotten about Karl Rove, the right-wing radio network, the hanging chads of 2000, the Swift boat debacle, the intimidation of black voters in Florida...Those who may think that a woman named Clinton or a black man named Obama will have an easy time winning the White House this year should switch to something less disorienting than whatever it is they’re smoking."

Sounds like one person who's writing a lot about race is...Bob Herbert.

Isn't it amazing?

That is, isn't it amazing that Hillary Clinton has claimed recently, and mainstream news media outlets repeat this as well...
That Barack Obama, because he opposes Hillary's gas tax holiday, is an "elitist"?

One can argue over the merits of repealing, permanently or temporarily, gas taxes (I tend to think that reducing taxes is always a good thing.) One can also argue about whether Obama sometimes reflects elitist attitudes (I would argue that his statements suggesting that rural voters cling to guns or religion simply due to economic hardship means he probably does).

But Hillary Clinton accusing others of elitism? Please. For years she was first lady of Arkansas. Then she was First Lady of the United States (all thanks to her husband). Then she became a U.S. senator. News flash: wives of governors, and the First Lady of the White House, have access to lots of money and lots of perks. When was the last time Hillary Clinton bought her own hamburger or took her car down to the garage and waited for an oil change?

And have we forgotten the Clintons' income of $109 million last year????
Hillary Clinton calling somebody else an "elitist"?
It's like Roger Clemens lecturing others on ethics.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A solid principle for conservatives to ponder

It came from a recent Rich Lowry column on John McCain's health care proposals:

"McCain's proposal is just the start of what has to be a broader conservative reformation. The sole Republican response to the public's economic anxieties can't be trying to talk the public out of them."

Just so. I don't know that McCain's health care prescription is exactly the right way for conservatives to go. But the important thing is that we try to go somewhere, and deal with these issues that, like it or not, are on the public's mind (such as health care). Whittaker Chambers told William F. Buckley Jr., some 50 years ago, in the wake of a losing Republican campaign in the 1958 midterm elections, that what had done in the GOP, and conservatism in general, that year was their failure to offer real ideas and proposals (you can read about this and the entire Chambers/Buckley relationship in the still-relevant and moving book ODYSSEY OF A FRIEND, a compendium of letters written by Chambers to Buckley) to the electorate--proposals that addressed the issues. If Republicans and conservatives didn't offer something of substance, Chambers warned, why, someone else would. It was not enough to simply say "no." Going in that direction only led to irrelevancy. That point remains as true today as it was then.

NFL coach: "...any time we're talking about one of our players getting arrested you're disappointed in it."

Another NFL player is in trouble with the law.
This time it's Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson.
It's a worrisome trend with sports figures in the U.S., though to be fair it's hardly limited to the NFL (see the stories from last week about Roger Clemens perhaps being romantically involved with an underage Mindy McCready).

Political overstatement of the day award

CNN reports on a new poll out concerning the North Carolina Democratic primary.
A day or two ago, Obama had a 9 point lead there.
The new poll shows him with an 8 point lead.
CNN headlines that therefore the race is "tightening."

Hmmm. So if a baseball team has a 9 run lead; and in the next inning that lead is cut to 8...but that's all...

Do we say the game is tightening?
And the mainstream media wonders why the public, in polls, indicates it doesn't trust it.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Bush administration...

It actually hasn't been a bad couple of days for it. Though you never will hear such a thing said by mainstream media types...

After all, we've seen the jobless rate fall.
And today the U.S. military took out a terrorist command/control center in Baghdad.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bellying up to the sports bar: Tigers sweep Yankees

Yes, partly I mention this because, again, I grew up in Michigan, so the Tigers are my favorite team. And despite their horrid, terrible start this season, this week the Tigers swept the Yankees, in New York, 3 straight games.

But what's really noteworthy about it to me is this: this is the first sweep for the Tigers in Yankee Stadium since 1966. This, despite the fact that the Tigers had some very good teams over the past 40 years (1968, 1984, and 2006 come to mind) and the Yankees had a few bad ones.

But only a few. The Yankees have had a stories history, and they remain the mighty Yankees. And that they remain so explains why fans of teams from smaller markets cheer such a sweep as this, because they are, and will likely remain, mighty rare.

Using Fox News

That is, as a number of observers are noting, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and other Democrats are certainly doing so now. Here's one media analysis...

All of this is rather funny. Isn't it? Earlier this year, many Democratic activists and interest groups roared their displeasure when the possibility arose of the Dem presidential candidates debating on FNC. And so the debate didn't happen. And most liberal/left acquaintances of mine hate Fox News Channel with a passion; they consider it little more than an adjunct of the Republican Party.

But lately, Hillary goes on Bill O'Reilly's show, and Obama appears with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

It sure makes it harder, then, for our liberal friends to deride FNC as a somehow illegitimate news network. Which makes us conservatives smile...


I've talked about my criticisms of the UN and its corruption before.
Today, more evidence of it:

"Just weeks before it announced the onset of a global food crisis and the urgent need for donors to provide at least $775 million in additional funding, the World Food Program was sitting on a cash and near-cash stockpile of more than $1.22 billion."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Clinton campaign is at it again

Claiming that, in her interview with Bill O'Reilly aired yesterday, Senator Clinton said "Rich people--God blessed us"...when in fact she didn't. She said "Rich people--God bless us."

From Daily Kos:

"...a reporter asked about an exchange between Hillary Clinton and Bill O’Reilly on yesterday’s show in which Clinton uttered the words, "Rich people—God bless us." Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson denied that’s what she said: "She said ‘God blessed us.’ B-L-E-S-S-E-D." What a liar. Watch it yourself, start at around the 1:40 minute mark..."

For once, Kos is right.

Frank Rich's poor argumentation

Did you catch this? The NY Times' reliably-liberal Frank Rich as always claims doom is around the corner for the Republicans in a recent column.

Yes, he admits, significant percentages of Obama and Clinton voters in Pennsylvania threatened to vote for McCain in the fall if their favorite candidate failed to win the Democratic nomination. But, Rich trumpets, why did we all ignore the fact that a GOP primary was held in Pennsylvania, and (ta da!) over 200,000 voters pulled the lever in that race for either Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee???

Er, well, Mr. Rich, we hate to break it to you, but...
Democratic voters in PA were polled, specifically, on what they might do in the fall.
You gave no evidence in your piece that these Republican voters were so polled.
There was somewhat more solid evidence that some Dems might defect in November, depending on how things go. You offered nothing but speculation on what the Republican voters might do.
Mr. Rich tends to ignore things uncomfortable for his arguments...

Bellying up to the sports bar: NHL Playoffs

Here, my favorite team is the Detroit Red Wings, and they look to advance to the conference finals with a win tonight.

What I've found interesting in watching the NHL postseason this year--and really I've noticed it for several years--has been pinpointing a change the league has made for the better recently. No, I'm not referring to the fact that fighting has been so greatly reduced. Rather, I'm referring to the more-continuous play you see now.

I used to follow hockey closely in the 1970s, when I was a kid. One thing I didn't like about it then was how slowly sometimes the game would move. Goalies would save slap shots, but then hold onto the puck, even if there was no enemy player bearing down; the resulting face-off was deemed safer. Players would "freeze" (that is, hold) pucks against the boards on the sides, or behind the nets...yet more face-offs.

But now, goalies can get a penalty if they hold on to the puck for no reason. And referees won't blow the whistle if opposing players jam for the puck along the boards. It makes for more continuous, moving play, and makes for a better game.

Many fans are missing out on exciting stuff. NHL hockey is much better now. Now, though, the league has to get a better TV contract. Having most of its playoff games on Versus just won't cut it.

Bellying up to the sports bar: NBA Playoffs

They've been interesting. But, ironic note: all agreed during the regular season that the NBA's Western Conference, including such powerhouses as the Spurs, Suns, Mavericks, Hornets, Lakers, etc was the dominant conference in the league, easily outdistancing the weaker Eastern Conference. Yet, easily the most compelling playoff series this NBA postseason have been found in the East, where Hawks/Celtics, Wizards/Cavaliers, and the series involving my favorite team, the Pistons (who tonight try to close out the 76ers) all do battle.

You sometimes never can tell where the best competition will fall.