Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weekend tidbits

Wow, the use of meth and the rise in meth labs around the country continues to spike. You wouldn't expect the relatively conservative Elkhart County, Indiana, to be #2 in the state in meth lab finds--but it is (in 2003, there were 9 meth labs discovered there; last year, 39).

Some in India fear that the terrorists who attacked in Mumbai and killed 195 people there may have originated in Pakistan. There are indications that tensions are rising between India and Pakistan; the two nations have long been hostile to each other.

As for the other, even larger, meaning of the attacks in India, Mark Steyn today has a good take on it:

"It’s not an either/or scenario, it’s all of the above. Yes, the terrorists targeted locally owned hotels. But they singled out Britons and Americans as hostages. Yes, they attacked prestige city landmarks like the Victoria Terminus, one of the most splendid and historic railway stations in the world. But they also attacked an obscure Jewish community center. The Islamic imperialist project is a totalitarian ideology: It is at war with Hindus, Jews, Americans, Britons, everything that is other....It’s missing the point to get into debates about whether this is the “Deccan Mujahideen” or the ISI or al-Qaeda or Lashkar-e-Taiba. That’s a reductive argument. It could be all or none of them. The ideology has been so successfully seeded around the world that nobody needs a memo from corporate HQ to act: There are so many of these subgroups and individuals that they intersect across the planet in a million different ways. It’s not the Cold War, with a small network of deep sleepers being directly controlled by Moscow. There are no membership cards, only an ideology. That’s what has radicalized hitherto moderate Muslim communities from Indonesia to the Central Asian stans to Yorkshire, and coopted what started out as more or less conventional nationalist struggles in the Caucasus and the Balkans into mere tentacles of the global jihad."

The Detroit Pistons won last night, and Allen Iverson apologized for blowing off practice.
Iverson appears to be generally contrite, and the Pistons appear satisfied with his explanation. But if there's another bump in the road in the relationship down the line, look for its effects on the Pistons to be far more long-lasting...and negative.

The Detroit Red Wings on last night as well, and now have 15 wins and only 3 losses on the season. See, Detroit fans, despite the woeful Lions, when it comes to pro sports there's still a lot to cheer for. (It's also good to remind fans in other cities of this. See, Detroit is not a city of losers.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

At the sports desk: NFL weekly picks

I was 8-8 last week; 87-81-5 for the year.
We'll start with tomorrow's Turkey Day games, and do Sunday's battles as well:

Tennessee 11.5 over DETROIT. PICK: TITANS. The Lions will play hard, but they haven't stopped the run all year, they turn the ball over a lot, and the Titans specialize in both those things--running it and forcing turnovers. The Lions will fold once they fall behind (see last week's game).

DALLAS 10.5 over Seattle. PICK: COWBOYS. The Romo-to-TO connection is back. Seattle won't be able to stop it either. When the Cowboys offense is explosive, they're a good bet against the spread.

Arizona 3 over PHILADELPHIA. PICK: CARDINALS. You sense there's disarray in Philly; and anyway, McNabb, even when he plays (and he should start--and what was Reid doing pulling him against the Ravens' D, of all teams, and throwing Kolb into the fire like that?) isn't playing well. The Cardinals can win on the road, and played creditably against the Giants. Look for Kurt Warner to have a good game.

BUFFALO 3.5 over San Francisco. PICK: BILLS. They're at home, and back on track thanks to last week's KC game. Look for the Bills defense to force more turnovers from the Niners' QB Shaun Hill, who I gotta say doesn't impress me much.

Baltimore 4 over CINCINNATI. PICK: RAVENS. This is tricky--the Bengals have unexpectedly covered and played awfully plucky several times in the past month. But that Ravens defense...going against the Bengals' Ryan Fitzpatrick...well, big advantage to Baltimore.

Indianapolis 9.5 over CLEVELAND. PICK: BROWNS. Not to win; Indy will pull it out. But I think 9 points plus is too much to give here. Remember that Bob Sanders remains out for this one, as far as I know--look for Cleveland, under the direction again of Derek Anderson--who went to the Pro Bowl last year--to be able to move the ball between the 20s and move the chains...and thus keep the game close.

Carolina at GREEN BAY--even. PICK: PANTHERS. Aaron Rodgers is making a few too many mistakes lately, though on the whole he's played ably this year. I just think Carolina will cash in a turnover late in this one and pull out a close game.

Miami 9.5 over ST. LOUIS. PICK: DOLPHINS. Mainly because St. Louis, with their injuries and poor play stretching over several weeks now, gives you no suggestion they'll put up much resistance to Ronnie Brown and co. (see last week how Matt Forte and the Bears ran over them).

TAMPA BAY 1 over New Orleans. PICK: SAINTS. Drew Brees is playing out of his mind right now, and they're developing a running game again with Pierre Thomas helping out Deuce McAllister. The Bucs meanwhile were very sloppy in their win last week over Detroit. Sloppiness can be a tough habit to get rid of, and I think it costs the Bucs here vs the rejuvenated Saints.

NY Giants 4.5 over WASHINGTON. PICK: GIANTS. The Giants by far have been the most consistent team in the league when it comes to executing their stuff, both on offense and on defense. I see no reason for them to lose focus here in a divisional game on the road against the "Skins, who've had trouble putting up points offensively for weeks now. That's not a good problem to have vs the G-men.

Atlanta at SAN DIEGO--even. PICK: FALCONS. You think the Falcons' Michael Turner, the ex-Charger, will be fired up for this one? The Chargers seem to me to have lost this year the ability to win close games. I don't think Norv Turner's doing a great coaching job. Meanwhile the Falcons have done a great job of learning how to win, and Matt Ryan's been cool as a cucumber. Go with the Birds in a close one.

NEW ENGLAND 1 over Pittsburgh. PICK: STEELERS. Two good teams. Why my pick? Simple: I see the Steelers' defense schooling Matt Cassel--he hasn't played against them before. The Steelers to eke out a win in a low-scoring affair.

NY JETS 4.5 over Denver. PICK: JETS. The schizophrenic Broncos are hard to figure--they get an impressive win on the road in Atlanta, then absolutely fall flat on their face at home against the Raiders. The Jets, on the other hand, seem to have gained consistency and, obviously, their win at Tennessee last week suggests they're playing pretty well right now. Gotta go with the consistent ones vs the schizos.

OAKLAND 5.5 over Kansas City. PICK: RAIDERS. They still have lots of problems, but it appears as if the Raiders, and especially JaMarcus Russell (10 of 11 passing last week--who'd have thought it!) are improving.

MINNESOTA 3 over Chicago. PICK: VIKINGS. Both teams have less-than-perfect QB situations (to be kind). Both teams have defenses that can be very tough and physical, especially against the run--but that also at times lapse and give up big plays. The key: the Bears aren't at home, they're on the road; and while they have Matt Forte, he's not--yet, anyway--an Adrian Peterson. Go with the Norsemen.

HOUSTON 2.5 over Jacksonville. PICK: TEXANS. Again, I see the Texans as a team which, especially on offense, has talent and can really move the ball, whoever is quarterbacking them. For this game it'll be Sage Rosenfels again--if he just doesn't turn the ball over, Houston is fine. Meanwhile you still see talent over there on Jacksonville's sideline, but they seem to be in a terrible funk and impartial observers last week questioned their effort in a bad home loss. Have they tuned out their coach? Look for the Texans to be focused--their first Monday Night game at home, ever.

At the sports desk: Lions are turkeys again

They get blasted by Tennessee 47-10, and even Detroit sports writers urge the NFL to take the annual Thanksgiving Day game away from Detroit:

"Enough already. The NFL should take away the Thanksgiving Day game from the Lions. And next season wouldn't be too soon. Exhibit A would simply be the Lions' embarrassing 47-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans at Ford Field on Thursday. If that's not enough to break the long-standing tradition, which started in 1934, you can add in the four previous games on this holiday in which the Lions lost by an average of 20 points. Either way, America no longer should be subjected to this burnt cornbread each year."

I disagree, though. The Lions started this tradition of a Thanksgiving Day pro football game, way back in 1934. Without the Lions' franchise coming up with it, such a tradition might not exist. The Lions started it. They should be able to keep it, and thus retain their one shot at being on national TV each year. It's only one national TV slot; there are hundreds more throughout the year, snapped up by all the good teams. The Lions don't dominate Thanksgiving; there are two other games on the docket now as well.

Let the Lions keep their game. The team will improve, eventually, some day, maybe...

At the sports desk: ND men's hoops--Irish lose to North Carolina, but there's a silver lining

And it's that they got to the championship of a prestigious tournament like the Maui Classic, and competed well:

"Doubts about the direction of the Notre Dame men's basketball program did not escort the team bus down the lava hill that houses the Lahaina Civic Center. Earlier Wednesday evening, the No. 8 Irish had dropped a 102-87 game to top-ranked North Carolina in the championship of the 25th annual EA Sports Maui Invitational. The Tar Heels controlled the contest from the midway point of the first half, when their athleticism and depth and speed and savvy were simply too much for even a veteran group of Irish....They know now what it takes to compete at the level of the game's elite. The challenge will be to match that intensity and aggressiveness, and to get more veterans to do it on a nightly basis."

The Irish would have to play at a very, very high level to beat a team like North Carolina.
However, that doesn't mean that, in March, they won't get a good draw, play well, and find a way to the Final Four. And that would be a huge accomplishment for this team. They can make it there.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

At the sports desk: college football picks

We'll just pick upset specials this week. Here goes:

West Virginia vs PITTSBURGH: Pitt is at home, ranked, and beat WVU last year. Great situation for the Panthers, right? And they're favored to win. But I see West Virginia pulling the upset here--they want to avenge last year, there's not the pressure on them this time, and they have Pat White, who might just run wild. UPSET PICK: MOUNTAINEERS.

Georgia Tech vs GEORGIA: well, the Bulldogs are at home and have been highly ranked all season. But Tech is 8-3, they run Paul Johnson's offense, which can be hard to defend, and Georgia hasn't seen it before and has a defense anyway that, holes. Go with the Jackets for the big upset. UPSET PICK: YELLOW JACKETS.

OREGON STATE vs Oregon: if OSU wins, they go to the Rose Bowl. But they might not have their freshman star RB, Jacquizz Green. Know what? This has been a magical season for the Beavers, and with their toughness and poise, I think they'll find a way to get it done no matter what. PICK: OREGON STATE.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Are we in the worst economic crisis in 75 years?

It may not be as bad as we think, Andy McCarthy suggests today:

"Going to high school in the Carter Seventies, I remember sitting in the gas lines. Toward the end of Carter's tenure, interest rates were around 20%, inflation was at close to 14%, and unemployment was just over 7% (it soared over 10% before the Reagan recovery kicked in). I don't mean to minimize the straits we're in, and I appreciate that things are likely to get worse — maybe a lot worse — before they get better. But aren't Democrats skipping over a pretty awful bit of history when they say this is as bad as it's been in 75 years?"

I agree. I remember that, back then, the economy was so bad, and stayed bad for so long, that there were experts and historians writing that the presidency, and the nation's problems, were too difficult for anyone to handle them with success, and that America had entered an age of "limits" from which it might not ever escape. I don't know that, today, we've yet reached that kind of bottom.

A conservative ruminates on the meaning of Thanksgiving, this year especially...

It's Jim Geraghty, writing some wise things on NRO today:

"As Thanksgiving 2008 arrives, we have much to be grateful for. If you’re on the other side of the aisle, you’re thankful for Election Day victories — Al Franken, for one, is thrilled about the latest batch of “missing” votes found under some seat cushions. But if you’re disappointed by the election , the four-day weekend and its traditions are a soothing reminder that — despite a year being inundated with Orwellian images of a stylized face and empty slogan, and reiterated pledges that “we will change this country” — some parts of American life are gloriously impervious to change. The best parts of life are timeless, and beyond the reach even of the rapacious hand of the most ambitious politician....Among the joys of conservatism are its appreciation for tradition and its recognition that the core — and not merely the corners — of our daily life proceeds untouched by the realms of politics and government. Government can tax our paychecks, prick our liberty with a thousand sharp regulations, and keep us at endless lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles. But the rituals of Thanksgiving are beyond the reach of Leviathan and political correctness — at least for now. Some things don’t change, and thank God for that."

Yes--faith, home, family--as Russell Kirk called them, "the permanent things."
Appreciate them this year. And read the whole article--it's good stuff.

Political correctness takes off after Thanksgiving now

A school in California has a tradition of having its very young students re-create the first Thanksgiving feast. This means having some students dress up as Native Americans--and so, naturally, the mavens of political correctness aren't pleased:

"It's demeaning," Michelle Raheja, the mother of a kindergartner at Condit Elementary School, wrote to her daughter's teacher. "I'm sure you can appreciate the inappropriateness of asking children to dress up like slaves (and kind slave masters), or Jews (and friendly Nazis), or members of any other racial minority group who has struggled in our nation's history."

Hmmm. But later in the article, look who speaks up for the other side:

"Kathleen Lucas, a Condit parent who is of Choctaw heritage, said her son -- now a first-grader -- still wears the vest and feathered headband he made last year to celebrate the holiday.
"My son was so proud," she said. "In his eyes, he thinks that's what it looks like to be Indian."

And he didn't feel "demeaned" at all.
I think what would be truly "demeaning" is to have those students pretend that there were no Pilgrims and there were no Indians, and that there were no differences at all. At Christmas time, in Christmas plays, children dress up as angels. Is that "demeaning" to angels??? Come on.

At the sports desk: University of Michigan basketball--building

They beat a "cupcake" opponent in Norfolk State, but the important thing is that their effort didn't slip following their big victory over UCLA last week:

"Less than a week removed from the Michigan Wolverines' upset of then-fourth-ranked UCLA, U-M said there would be no letdown after such an important victory for the program. Granted, the Wolverines followed that victory with a loss to Duke in the title game of the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament in New York City, but the point was made. Maybe the Wolverines aren't exactly back, but they have a confidence and a swagger that was not evident last season...."We've got fight in us," guard Manny Harris said of the early season success. "Everybody wants to get better and everybody works hard every second in practice, and we hold each other accountable."

They're definitely improved over last season. And Michigan athletics needs good news right now...

At the sports desk: ND men's hoops--Irish get a big win vs an elite program

They beat Texas, 81-80, in the Maui Invitational. Some revealing words came from the opposition, specifically Texas Coach Rick Barnes:

""McAlarney doesn't need a whole lot of space," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "We can survive teams making 11 3s against us it just seemed that every time we had a chance down the stretch they would get a big rebound, make a big play." Abrams had 23 points and Justin Mason had 16 points and seven assists for the Longhorns, while Damion James added 11 points and 12 rebounds. "We're disappointed with the loss but it was to a seasoned, experienced team," Barnes said. "I thought we did some good things and I wasn't surprised we fought back."

It's good to see the Irish living up to their top 10 ranking.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hey, big spender

It's very curious that the Obama people are pushing this line today--it's been in several news sources:

"President-elect Barack Obama wants to project fiscal restraint even as his economic team assembles a massive recovery package that could cost several hundred billion dollars. A day after introducing the captains of his economic team and promoting a giant jobs plan, Obama on Tuesday was to lay out his budget belt-tightening vision. The dual images -- big spender and disciplined budget watcher -- were designed to give both political and economic assurances to the public, the Congress and the financial markets."

But, needless to say, this is a very difficult line to walk; one finds it hard to believe that a Democrat with a very liberal constituency will be able to find both the gumption and the opportunity to make billions of dollars in cuts in government programs (quick, name a recent Democratic president who has--Clinton? Carter? Johnson? Kennedy? Nope.), and it sounds contradictory. I'm not so sure you'll hear that much more of this spin...

At the sports desk: Detroit Red Wings

Defending Stanley Cup champs, remember. They lose last night in OT in Vancouver, but...:

"The Red Wings finished a three-game Western Canada swing with five of a possible six points. The Wings couldn't pull off the sweep, losing 3-2 Monday when Sami Salo beat goalie Chris Osgood with a hard and high one-timer from the left circle at 2:33 of overtime."

5 out of 6 points on the road isn't bad. The Wings continue to be a force in the NHL.
They play with a great deal of poise and professionalism, which I admire.
The sports fans of Michigan may have to suffer with the Lions, but at least they have the Wings.

At the sports desk: ND men's hoops--an easy win over IU

The Irish did what they should have done--win easily against a team that, this year, is short on size, experience, and athleticism. It's nice though that IU's beat writer acknowledges that the Hoosiers found out what it was like vs "top-flight competition."

It's good that Irish basketball is seen that way again. Coach Mike Brey has taken this program a long way.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh, by the way...

...the Obama family has chosen to send their two daughters, once they settle in DC, to private schools:

"Michelle and Barack Obama have settled on a Washington, D.C., school for their daughters, and you will not be surprised to learn it is not a public institution. Malia, age 10, and seven-year-old Sasha will attend the Sidwell Friends School, the private academy that educates the children of much of Washington's elite."

Which is fine, and their right. They have the means to make that choice.
But psssttt, Mr. Obama, wouldn't you like to give poor families the ability to make that choice, too?
You can--they're called V-O-U-C-H-E-R P-R-O-G-R-A-M-S.

Another Obama myth exploded

So Barack Obama raised record amounts of money in the campaign just concluded.
The story always was that lots of it came from "small donors."
Was that really true???

As the NY Times reports today, the answer is--nope.
Something tells me there will be lots of myths to explode in the next four years...

Who cares what movie critics think...

...and that's certainly what the makers of the movie "Twilight" are saying today in the wake of last weekend's big box office receipts for it:

"Variety might have called “Twilight” a “disappointingly anemic tale (that) will bewilder and underwhelm viewers who haven't devoured Stephenie Meyer's bestselling juvie chick-lit franchise,” but that didn’t stop movie-goers from sinking a grand total of $70.7 million worth of their hard-earned dollars into the box office last weekend."

At the sports desk: Detroit Lions--flatlining

They have a 17-0 lead early, but of course wind up getting blasted 38-20. If you read what Tampa Bay players and media said, you can tell they're mainly embarrassed at having fallen behind a bad Detroit team:

"We're happy with the win,'' linebacker Derrick Brooks said. "But we can't let it disguise the fact that there are some things here that we need to get better at.'' Bouncing back isn't one of them. The Bucs dominated the final three quarters of play, surrendering just 93 total yards, four first downs and three points over that span."

An 0-16 record for the Lions--a real possibility. Who would have believed it when the season began...

At the sports desk: Indianapolis Colts--they find a way to win, again

The Colts edge the Chargers last night, 23-20, in a thriller. I think this Bob Kravitz column sums it up well:

"If you want to understand how and why the Colts won Sunday's game against the desperate Chargers, here are today's terms of the day: Intestinal fortitude. Guts. Or, as an old basketball coach used to call them, however indelicately . . . onions. Fourth-and-goal at the San Diego 1-yard line, the play clock running down, the score tied at 10 early in the third quarter, the Colts go for it . . . and Peyton Manning hits Dominic Rhodes in the end zone for a touchdown. Rhodes' spike was so emphatic, it's still skipping across Mission Bay."

Interestingly, if you look at what the Chargers had to say about this one after the game, you see their respect for Peyton Manning (which is shared by most opponents):

"Kaeding's field goal tied the score at 20-20, but left Peyton Manning 90 seconds to respond.“I told (Darren) Sproles, 'We gave him too much time,' ” Tomlinson said."

At the sports desk: ND women's hoops--sharpshooters

It was all good in their latest win, on the road at Boston College:

"Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw found little, if anything, not to like in her team's 102-54 demolition of Boston College on Sunday. Six players scored in double figures, the team shot nearly 65 percent — including 7-for-8 on 3-pointers — and forced 28 Eagles turnovers on the way to a 3-0 record."

What's most significant to me is how well the Irish shot from beyond the 3 point line. That's something they've tried to shore up. Maybe they have. Meanwhile, historically, the Irish have had a hard time at BC, and there's good women's basketball tradition there. So maybe Muffet's club has a chance to be real good.

Be careful how you vote

So Mr. Obama is starting to unveil plans for a huge government "stimulus" package he'll seek to have passed early in his administration:

"Barack Obama will today unveil an economic team steeped in fighting crises and likely to push for an unprecedented government role in reviving growth and stabilizing the financial system."

An "unprecedented government role." Wow. I wonder how many of those who voted for Obama knew that this is what they'd be getting? My guess: not all of them. It will be interesting to see how the American people react to this.

From the same article, there's also this:

"Obama's program will be far larger than the $175 billion package of tax cuts and stepped-up government spending he proposed just a month ago."

Mr. Obama's campaign promises don't really seem to mean all that much these days, do they.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beware--liberalism alert (foreign policy division)

The NY Times Nick Kristof thinks he has just the prescription for the Obama administration concerning Russia:

"Because Russia behaves irresponsibly — including its latest disgraceful threat to base missiles near Poland — the temptation in the Obama administration will be to continue with NATO expansion and perhaps even with the ill-advised missile system for Europe. (We have so many better ways to spend money!) Instead, let’s engage Russia as we engage China — while still bluntly calling Russia on its uncivilized behavior. Poking badly behaved bears is no substitute for sober diplomacy."

Hmmm. So take very little concrete action towards Russia that proves we mean business.
Instead, the goal of our policy is to be "engagement." Diplomacy--to accomplish what exactly? And talking and "engagement" and "diplomacy" in and of itself is no policy whatsoever, and surely Kristof must know that. And will Russia really "engage" with them if we continue to call them "bluntly" on their behavior? No--which makes it likely we'd stop being "blunt" with Russia, too.

Yes, boy, there's a strong policy of which to be proud. Oh, and by the way, Kristof basically wants us to withdraw our support for Georgia, too. Read the whole piece--and pray that his liberalism doesn't run rampant in the foggy bottom of Obama's State Department.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

At the sports desk: NFL weekly picks

I was only 5-8-1 last week; I'm 79-73-5 for the year.

PITTSBURGH 10.5 over Cincinnati. PICK: BENGALS. This is this week's Thursday game. I think the Steelers will win this one, but I think 10 pts plus is way too much. The Steelers continue to have injury issues, and the Bengals have played tough lately.

ATLANTA 1 over Carolina. PICK: PANTHERS. How could the Falcons let last week's game get away? I have a hunch it's playing on their minds and eroding some confidence; this remains a young team. Meanwhile an experienced Panthers team comes in that knows how to win.

BALTIMORE 1 over Philadelphia. PICK: RAVENS. Baltimore's defense has, for the most part, gotten it done this year, especially at home; and the same goes for Joe Flacco. Meanwhile one has the sense that this is an Eagles team in some disarray right now.

Buffalo 3 over KANSAS CITY. PICK: BILLS. The Bills have been struggling, but I expect their defense to force a key turnover or two from Tyler Thigpen, to help get Buffalo over the hump in this one.

Chicago 8.5 over ST. LOUIS. PICK: BEARS. Again, more trouble in St. Louis with injuries and such. Meanwhile the Bears really need to bounce back--luckily, this is just the team to help them do it.

CLEVELAND 3 over Houston. PICK: BROWNS. How can you not be impressed with Brady Quinn? Meanwhile, the Texans' Sage Ronsenfels always seem to make the key miscue, especially on the road.

DALLAS 10 over San Francisco. PICK: 49ERS. No, not to win. But yes, while the Cowboys won last week, their offense still often looked out of sync--remember, they only scored 14 points. I think the Cowboys will win this game, but I sense the Niners improving, and so 10 pts just seems too much to give.

DENVER 9.5 over OAKLAND. PICK: BRONCOS. Somehow, the Raiders' defense has kept this team and its horrible offense in some games. But I don't think they'll be able to hold down the Broncos offense, which appears to be in rhythm again, enough to keep it close.

JACKSONVILLE 2.5 over Minnesota. PICK: JAGUARS. I know--both teams coming off a loss, neither playing at peak efficiency right now, or even close to that. But I like David Garrard and his mobility, at home, over Gus Frerotte.

MIAMI 1.5 over New England. PICK: PATRIOTS. The Dolphins have been skating by lately by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin, barely edging out sub-par teams like the Seahawks and Raiders, and not exactly lighting up the scoreboard in either game. Plus, Bill Belichick has had weeks to figure out a way to stymie the Dolphins' "wildcat" offensive scheme. This time, I expect the Pats to be ready.

NY Giants 3 over ARIZONA. PICK: GIANTS. They're simply playing at a very high level; and while the Cardinals are much improved, I don't see them at the G-men's level, nor are they used to the glare of the bright lights in a big game like this.

SAN DIEGO 3 over Indianapolis. PICK: COLTS. Peyton Manning has Indy's offense moving again; they rolled up over 300 yards in the air last week AND, importantly, over 150 on the ground. Meanwhile I have a hunch that the Chargers haven't gotten it going so far this year...because this year, they just won't.

Tampa Bay 8.5 over DETROIT. PICK: BUCS. The sad-sack Lions this year actually have played better on the road than at home; their closest defeat at home was 8 points. Plus they can't stop the run. And Jon Gruden won't hesitate to run it.

TENNESSEE 5.5 over NY Jets. PICK: TITANS. Hey, how can you go against the Titans--their defense and running game has answered every challenge so far this year; and Kerry Collins has been pretty good, too. And they're at home.

WASHINGTON 3.5 over Seattle. PICK: REDSKINS. I just think the Seahawks are too worn-down, playing out the string for a coach who they know won't be there next year. The Redskins will be able to pound the ball.

NEW ORLEANS 2.5 over Green Bay. PICK: SAINTS. Here's a chance for the Saints to make up for that Monday night game they blew some weeks ago to Minnesota. Look out--Drew Brees is firing on all cylinders again. The Packer defense will find that playing against Brees is a lot different than playing against a rusty Kyle Orton.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Obama and the tax debate

Peter Ferrara has this exactly right--Obama and the Democrats have distorted the Reagan Republican record on taxes this entire year, and we've got to begin counterattacking:

"In his standard stump speech, Obama would say, "We've given more and more to those with the most and hoped that prosperity would trickle down to everyone else. And guess what? It didn't. So it's time to try something new. It's time to grow this economy from the bottom up. It's time to invest in the middle-class again." In other words, Republicans cut taxes only for the rich, and forgot about the middle class and lower income workers....This is a completely false smear of Reagan Republican tax policy. If we let them stick us with this false tag, they will use it politically against us for a generation. The official U.S. government data from the IRS and the Congressional Budget Office now show that the top 1% of income earners, the true rich, pay 40% of all federal income taxes, almost twice their share of national income. The top 20% of income earners pay 86.7% of federal income taxes. The federal income tax burden today is basically borne by these top 20% of income earners. By contrast, the bottom 40% of income earners as a group pay negative 3.8% of all income taxes. That means instead of paying taxes into the system, on net they draw payments out of the income tax system equal to 3.8% of all federal income tax revenues. The middle 20% of income earners, the true middle class, pay just 4.7% of all federal income taxes. This is the result of Reagan Republican supply-side economics that began with Reagan and Jack Kemp in the 1970s and 1980s, through Newt Gingrich and his Contract with America, to the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Reagan and his Republicans have abolished federal income taxes on the working class. Moreover, they have almost abolished federal income taxes on the actual middle class (the middle 20%)."

That last sentence is the key.
And think about it--when, exactly, over this entire past year, did we hear John McCain challenge Obama and the Democrats when they claimed Republican tax cuts had only helped the rich?

I can't think of a time. And that's sad. Time to put a stop to it! Let's get to work, conservatives (as Barry Goldwater would have said)...

At the sports desk: University of Michigan basketball

It's been a tough run for Michigan basketball lately. They haven't made the NCAA tournament for over a decade. The program was hit by scandal in the wake of the Fab Five era. They struggled to rise above mediocrity under the leadership of Tommy Amaker.

But last night, under second year Coach John Beilein, the Wolverines stunned UCLA, 55-52:

"A loud group of Michigan fans pumped their fists and sang a happy tune as they walked through the corridors of Madison Square Garden toward the busy Manhattan streets. "It's great to be a Michigan Wolverine," they sang. There hasn't been much to cheer for Michigan fans. Now the entire basketball nation is roaring about the Wolverines following their 55-52 upset Thursday night of No. 4 UCLA in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. Michigan overcame a 10-point deficit with tenacious defense, mostly off the 1-3-1 trapping defense. "They did a very good job in the zone," said UCLA coach Ben Howland. "They disguised it well and we did not know if they were coming with it or pulling it back."

Congratulations to John Beilein for sticking with his methods, sticking with his plan, and giving Michigan fans something about which to feel proud. Suddenly the future of Michigan basketball looks brighter. Michigan fans should remember this when thinking about Rich Rodriguez's current struggles with the football team. Just wait 'til next year.

At the sports desk: college football picks

I was 1-2 last week in my upset specials. Let's see if I can do better this week:
(home team in CAPS)

ARIZONA vs Oregon State--The Beavers need this one to stay on track for the Rose Bowl. But hmmm...on the road; young team; pressure...I have a feeling they may stumble vs a capable Arizona club. UPSET SPECIAL PICK: WILDCATS.

CINCINNATI vs Pittsburgh--both teams can score. Both have had decent seasons. Did you even know Cincy is in the top 25? They are. I think they'll keep it going at home. PICK: BEARCATS.

Illinois vs NORTHWESTERN--A win here would cap off what really has been a pretty special season for Northwestern and Coach Pat Fitzgerald (did anyone before the season expect them to have a chance to win 9 games?). I have a hunch NU will find a way to win against a demoralized Illini team, although the oddsmakers favor Illinois. UPSET SPECIAL PICK: WILDCATS.

LSU vs Ole Miss--the Tigers barely escaped a big upset last week; I suspect Les Miles will make sure they don't have two letdowns in a row. PICK: TIGERS.

NOTRE DAME vs Syracuse--the Orangemen just aren't very good. The Greg Robinson Farewell Tour has only one more stop after this, mercifully. PICK: FIGHTING IRISH.

OHIO STATE vs Michigan--the Maize and Blue will show some fight in this game; they'll play hard (remember, earlier this season they led Penn State 17-7 at one point on the road). But they have no consistency and no QB, and Ohio State still has a lot to play for. PICK: BUCKEYES.

OKLAHOMA vs Texas Tech--the oddsmakers favor the Sooners by 7. Wow--that's a lot, given what Tech has accomplished. OU is very, very good. But I think Tech is up to something real special, and they have a QB, a wide receiver, and an offense on the whole playing at a very high level. I gotta stay with Tech. UPSET SPECIAL PICK: RED RAIDERS.

PENN STATE vs Michigan State--this game is for all the marbles--a trip to the Rose Bowl. Michigan State has pluck; they'll fight. But I think Penn State, at home, just has too much, especially at the QB position, where MSU's Brian Hoyer has just been too inconsistent. PICK: NITTANY LIONS.

TCU vs Air Force--the Horned Frogs defense will get it done at home. This is a good TCU, which will miss being a BCS-buster just by an eyelash. PICK: HORNED FROGS.

UTAH vs BYU--Utah has escaped, narrowly, more than once this season. Meanwhile they'll face a BYU team which has an experienced quarterback who can move the chains, get first downs, and get touchdowns. I smell an upset. UPSET SPECIAL PICK: COUGARS.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Change you can believe in! Er, maybe not...

The question is beginning to be asked more often, and more insistently--if Obama wants to bring "change" to Washington, then why pick so many Clinton administration vets, especially those with a lot of baggage?:

"Eric Holder is in line for nomination by President-elect Barack Obama to the attorney general's job that Holder has long wanted, but the 2001 episode with fugitive financier Marc Rich is stirring partisan acrimony. The role of the former deputy attorney general in the pardon of Rich opened Holder to strong criticism from Capitol Hill in a political uproar that Republicans refuse to forget nearly eight years later. The Republican National Committee is resurrecting the episode, circulating an e-mail Wednesday that asks, "Why does Obama want to appoint an attorney general with a long history of controversial pardons?"

Even the pro-Obama (so far, at least) Associated Press is noticing what's going on:

"President-elect Barack Obama promised the voters change but has started his Cabinet selection process by naming several Washington insiders to top posts."

Stay tuned...

At the sports desk: Detroit Pistons

They got a big win last night over Cleveland, which came in with an 8 game winning streak.
The addition of Allen Iverson's offensive punch, and Pistons defense, which has the potential to remain strong, were keys--as Cleveland media admitted:

"Faced with some pressure and adversity, the Cavs did not respond as they did often during their winning streak. It was especially evident at the offense end, where their recent potent attack withered when the Pistons took them out of their comfort zone."

Read the whole thing. Obviously Iverson has had issues in the past.
But Pistons fans so far should be pleased with how hard he's worked to fit in, and with how badly he apparently wants to win a championship.

At the sports desk: Notre Dame women's basketball

Good win for the Irish women's team last night, 96-61 over Evansville at the Joyce Center.
It's always interesting to me how the opposition sees it--here's a quote from Evansville's head coach:

"We knew going in that handling their pressure was going to be one of the keys to the game, and unfortunately, it seemed like we were back on our heels for much of the first half, and that led to the turnovers, which led eventually to the final score," said UE head coach Misty Murphy. "I will give my team credit though. They continued to scrap and battle hard even after Notre Dame took the early lead. The Irish just out-worked us tonight, and we have to learn from this game and move on, because we have a tough game against Wright State coming up on Saturday."

The Irish must press and force turnovers; when they do, they're scary good.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The problem with Kathleen Parker (again)

Now, now, Ms. Parker, I'm not personally attacking you; I know you're sensitive to that.
But your column today in the Washington Post on the future of the Republican Party just doesn't make any sense.

On the one hand, you say this:

"To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh. Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party."

And you say this:

"Which is to say, the GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows. In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle."

Are you suggesting that evangelical Christians are stupid? Careful--sounds like a personal attack. But then, you say this:

"It isn't that culture doesn't matter. It does. But preaching to the choir produces no converts. And shifting demographics suggest that the Republican Party -- and conservatism with it -- eventually will die out unless religion is returned to the privacy of one's heart where it belongs."

But the fact is that many of our political beliefs are informed by our religious beliefs. And opposition to abortion is a principle--it's not just something that can be shucked off like an old, sweaty baseball cap. And then finally, in any case, you go and say this:

"Meanwhile, it isn't necessary to evict the Creator from the public square, surrender Judeo-Christian values or diminish the value of faith in America. Belief in something greater than oneself has much to recommend it, including most of the world's architectural treasures, our universities and even our founding documents. But, like it or not, we are a diverse nation, no longer predominantly white and Christian."

The problems there is that your last sentence doesn't follow.
And on the whole, the problem is this: you're saying that Republicans need not abandon their principles--but you do seem to be saying that we should just shut up about some of them (many of them?). And isn't that pretty close to abandonment?

Certainly we should try to communicate our ideas better than we have. Of course we don't want to drive persuadable folks away. But we can't just change who we are, what we are, what we believe in...

And evangelical Christians are not stupid lowbrows.
And I'll just ignore your tendentious, cheap-shot attacks on Sarah Palin--which sounded a tad personal. I thought you didn't like that stuff.

Guess who is not in favor of Hillary as sec of state...'s the Washington Post's senior and respected columnist, David Broder. He tries to say all kinds of nice things about Mrs. Clinton and to dress this up in the most kind way possible--but then we get to the heart of it:

"Clinton is the wrong person for that job in this administration. It's not the best use of her talents, and it's certainly not the best fit for this new president.What Obama needs in the person running the State Department is a diplomat who will carry out his foreign policy. He does not need someone who will tell him how to approach the world or be his mentor in international relations....The last thing Obama needs is a secretary of state carving out an independently based foreign policy. He needs an agent, not an author."

Read the whole thing. And then, remember to translate: what he's really saying, despite all the sugar, hearts, and flowers. is that Hillary's ambitions are too big; her ego is too big. She won't be able to be a subordinate, and to admit that she isn't the president--Barack Obama is. She won't be able to carry out another's policies--she'll want to create her own.

Nice try at attempting to hide your criticisms, Mr. Broder, but...there they are.

The latest bomb...

...appears to be Tom Cruise's latest movie, "Valkyrie."
His performance gets pretty bad reviews.
But the reason I mention this is because the blasts taken at his performance will overshadow the story the film wishes to tell--which is too bad.
The story of Claus Von Stauffenberg is really an extraordinary one. He was a courageous man, a war hero, who took a huge risk in trying to topple Adolf Hitler and rescue Germany from the horrors of Nazism. He didn't succeed, but his heroism has lived on. Now that story will be completely ignored. Sad...

Al Qaeda's not impressed...

...with our new president-elect:

"Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader used a racial epithet to insult Barack Obama in a message posted Wednesday, describing the president-elect in demeaning terms that imply he does the bidding of whites. The message appeared chiefly aimed at persuading Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies. Ayman al-Zawahri said in the message, which appeared on militant Web sites, that Obama is "the direct opposite of honorable black Americans" like Malcolm X, the 1960s African-American rights leader. In al-Qaida's first response to Obama's victory, al-Zawahri also called the president-elect — along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice — "house negroes."

Hmmm. So let's think about this. That is, think about what our liberal friends have been telling us. They've been telling us that George W. Bush and his policies have antagonized Al Qaeda and terrorists like them ever more so since 2001; that Bush and his policies have made our differences with radical Muslims worse; that what we must do is repudiate Bush and his policies, and then maybe terrorist hostility towards us would cease, or at least be reduced.

Gosh. How's that working out so far?
Remember: Al Qaeda and their allies did not act out of outrage at conservative policies.
Rather, they hate America and everything it stands for; and this insult directed at Obama--a liberal, a minority, who defeated the hated Bush--proves it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Republican "moderate" shows his true colors

This time it's outgoing Republican-in-name-only Senator Chuck Hagel:

"We are educated by the great entertainers like Rush Limbaugh," Hagel said Tuesday during a speech in Washington, according to the Huffington Post. "You know, I wish Rush Limbaugh and others like that would run for office," a sarcastic Hagel continued. "They have so much to contribute and so much leadership and they have an answer for everything. And they would be elected overwhelmingly. [The truth is] they try to rip everyone down and make fools of everybody but they don't have any answers."

No, you're wrong, Senator. Limbaugh and others advocate securing our borders, limited government, and encouraging individual achievement. He has plenty of answers--including this one: that your brand of Democrat-lite Republican "moderation" is a sure path to Republican defeat and irrelevance. I see you're leaving the Senate soon. I won't miss you much. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Public-works-guy in Chief

So the latest buzz out of Washington and the Obama transition is that the new president will hope to pass a massive $500 billion "stimulus" package, to jump-start the economy; and that much of the stimulus will consist of supposedly job-creating, make-work "infrastructure" and public works projects. You know, spending money and hiring people to build new roads and such.

But as Rich Lowry points out today, it's unlikely this will work:

"In any downturn that doesn’t last for years, infrastructure spending suffers from a basic problem: By the time money is actually spent on construction, the recession has passed. “Practically speaking, public works involve long start-up lags,” the Congressional Budget Office wrote in a study earlier this year. “Large-scale construction projects of any type require years of planning and preparation. Even those that are ‘on the shelf’ generally cannot be undertaken quickly enough to provide timely stimulus to the economy.” This common-sense objection to the stimulative powers of infrastructure spending has been made even by Obama advisers. One of Obama’s chief economic advisers, Jason Furman, wrote with former Clinton aide Douglas Elmendorf in January, “In the past, infrastructure projects that were initiated as the economy started to weaken did not involve substantial amounts of spending until after the economy had recovered.” Another Obama economic adviser, Alan Blinder, noted “the lengthy time lags” in infrastructure projects in a 2004 paper and argued that “accelerating the pace of spending on public works for [economic] stabilization purposes would be inefficient and wasteful.”

See, this is important--conservatives must not only point out how liberal principles are misguided. Rather, they must also point out that liberal prescriptions often don't work.

Obama passes first test

The Democrats let Joe Lieberman keep his committee chairmanship.
(No doubt at Obama's urging).

Let's hope Mr. Obama continues down this moderate course.
It's probably the best we can expect.

"experts" predict more climate change disasters

Now it's predicted that there will be severe water shortages by the year 2080.

Of course, in past decades, "experts" predicted that population increases would lead to mass starvation, or that there would be by now, not global warming, but a new ice age.
And remember just a few months ago? "Experts" told us that $4 per gallon gas was here to stay, and that the price would only go up from here. How true did that turn out to be?

Don't ignore these warnings; but have some healthy skepticism, too.

UPDATE: by the way, note this as well--it was supposedly proven recently (certainly it was in the eyes of climate change advocates) that the earth's temperatures had again risen, sharply.

But now it's been shown that the data on which that conclusion was based was simply inaccurate and false.


If you're a conservative, you're not alone dept

One of the new, just-elected Democrats joining the House of Representatives in January is from Alabama:

"For Democrat Bobby Bright, the mayor of Montgomery, the themes in his first day at the Capitol as a member-elect were no new taxes and no bailouts. “I am not in favor of any tax increase. The people of this nation are taxed enough,” he said. “Right now, the economy is in such bad shape, we don’t need to start hitting our average citizens — I don’t care what level they are.”

Conservatives aren't alone. Have fun, Speaker Pelosi.

Monday, November 17, 2008

At the sports desk: Indianapolis Colts

I'm also a Colts fan. I'm still unsure how to see yesterday's win over Houston.
It's great to get any win in the NFL, where the high talent level and parity makes victories precious. The Colts have won 3 in a row now--good. Negative note: the defense gave up a lot of yardage.

But I guess this gives me the most hope:

"Peyton Manning finally found a way to get the Colts' offense in gear Sunday.He used the pass to create running lanes, mystified the Houston defense with gashing plays, wore down the Texans with a steady repertoire of no-huddle offense and got his teammates playing at full throttle."

Joseph Addai ran for over 100 yards, and Manning passed for over 300. That's the way the Colts have to be to really be playoff-competitive...

A lousy way to advocate for your cause

PETA does the unthinkable--it makes Lindsay Lohan a sympathetic figure:

"Animal-rights activists from PETA pelted Lindsay Lohan with a face full of flour when Lohan arrived at Paris's VIP Room Theater early Saturday morning. The protester dumped a full bag of flour on the starlet while shouting "Lindsay Lohan, fur hag," PETA confirms."

Do these PETA freaks actually think that these kind of actions gain them and their cause any sympathy???

Conservatives seek to re-energize

Another article today, originating from the NY Times, about how Republicans and conservatives seek to map a way forward after the recent election.

Some quick reaction: first, moving left in any way can't be the answer. As I've said many times, people won't vote for Republican-democrat-lite; they'll vote for the real Democrats. And besides, moving left is an abandonment of principle.

Two: a big argument has to do with should Republicans and conservatives continue to focus on social issues, or change focus to economic issues?

Simple answer: why can't we do both?

Third thought: one thing we can do is talk more about what conservatives are FOR, not just what we're against. Yes, we're against high taxes and excessive regulation. But in this high-tech world, we should be in favor of encouraging investment into new tech stuff, alternatives to darn near anything, and reminding people--especially young people--of the fact that a government that gets out of your way helps bring about new inventions, new gadgets, and positive changes in peoples' lives. How about starting there?

More thoughts to come.

At the sports desk: hope for Lions fans

I'm also a Detroit Lions fan.
Thanks for the condolences.
But here's a piece that makes sense--the Detroit News' Mike O'Hara urges the Lions to go after Scott Pioli.

Who's he? Another wide receiver? Nope--he's high up in the New England Patriots organization. He knows players, talent, and coaching, and that's what the Lions need.
If there are any Lions fans still out there, this is what you need to be agitating for, folks--get someone in charge of the team who knows players, coaching, etc. That means getting it out of the hands of the Ford ownership's favorite folks, and into the hands of people who have proven track records and who know something. Let's hope the Fords finally, finally listen to reason.

At the sports desk: ND basketball update

When it comes to sports, one thing (far from the only thing) that defines me is that I'm a Notre Dame basketball fan.

Today, let's point here to ND women's hoops--and if you like women's college basketball, keep an eye on the ND women's team, which beat LSU yesterday 62-53.

This was a good win. LSU is very young this year, but they were tall and athletic. But this year, so is ND, and they have experience to go with it. Keep an eye on a young lady named Devereaux Peters--she's good.

I'll have an update on the ND men's hoops team later this week or next. Go Irish.

Americans know the dangers of government intervention

And of throwing good money after bad (which, unfortunately, is often what government intervention amounts to). See for example their reaction to the proposed bailout of the auto companies:

"As Congress debates legislation to help struggling automakers on Monday, many Americans said they were uneasy with the plan, arguing that while it may save jobs, it would reward companies for pursuing bad business practices. In interviews from New York to Los Angeles, everyday Americans said the proposed $25 billion rescue plan was unfair and said it would make it harder to reform U.S. automakers. "They need to restructure. If they get bailed out they are not going to do it," said Eric Smith, a paint contractor interviewed in Chamblee, Georgia, on the outskirts of Atlanta."

Remember, conservatives--there remain a lot of people who think just as you do. You're not alone, even in this new Obama-world...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

At the sports desk: NFL weekly picks

ATLANTA 2.5 over Denver. PICK: FALCONS. They're tough at home, they can run the ball, and the Broncos' defense remains weak. I'm surprised Atlanta's such a slight favorite; I could see them winning by 10.

Philadelphia 7 over CINCINNATI. PICK: EAGLES. Philly easily could have beaten the Giants, perhaps the best team in the league, last week; they tend to care of business in games like this. Cincy finally did win a game, but it was only over the problem-plagued Jaguars. Go with the birds.

Chicago EVEN at GREEN BAY. PICK: PACKERS. Too much uncertainty at QB for the Bears; the Packers have been solid at home this year.

INDIANAPOLIS 10.5 over Houston. PICK: TEXANS. Indy will win this game, and their win last week at Pittsburgh was a pretty courageous, plucky one. But they're still not quite hitting on all cylinders yet, either on offense or on defense. Therefore I think 10 points plus is too much to give. Look for the Texans to keep it closer.

New Orleans 5 over KANSAS CITY. PICK: SAINTS. Yes, KC is playing better. But I look for Drew Brees to find ways to exploit that defense and put points on the board. Remember that young QBs like Tyler Thigpen tend to run hot and cold; he's due for a down week.

MIAMI 8.5 over Oakland. PICK: DOLPHINS. Yes, I know, the Dolphins failed to cover last week against Seattle. But Oakland's offense is so bad, I just can't see the Dolphins failing this time.

NY GIANTS 5.5 over Baltimore. PICK: GIANTS. The Giants have been very strong at home. I respect the way Joe Flacco has developed, along with the Ravens' D; but I just think they'll be a bit overwhelmed by the Giants very effective two-dimensional offensive attack at home.

CAROLINA 12 over Detroit. PICK: PANTHERS. Daunte Culpepper, unprepared, out of football for weeks, will start again for Detroit. A case of the QB for the Lions being thrown TO the lions...

SAN FRANCISCO 3.5 over St. Louis. PICK: 49ERS. The Rams were horrible last week. Meanwhile the Niners almost upset the Cardinals, and seem to be improving under new coach Mike Singletary. And they're at home. Look for the Niners to break through.

Arizona 6 over SEATTLE. PICK: SEAHAWKS. This is a tough one. The Cardinals are still not a great road team. How will they handle their new-found prosperity? Seattle is still a capable team at home, and Matt Hasselbeck might finally play. I just think 6 points is too much to give the Cards here. Look for Seattle to at least keep this one close.

Tennessee 7 over JACKSONVILLE. PICK: JAGUARS. My upset special pick. I just see the Jags, playing at home, with a lot of emotion, having gotten things maybe a bit back on track both on the ground and in the air last week at Detroit, maybe finding a way in this one. Tennessee has been solid. But they're due to come up flat, and this is their second straight week on the road. Go with the Cats here.

PITTSBURGH 4 over San Diego. PICK: STEELERS. The Chargers have just flat-out struggled; they were fortunate to escape the Chiefs last week at home. The Steelers are banged up, but without Shawn Merriman I don't see the Chargers able to contain the Pittsburgh ground game or get enough pressure on Roethlisberger when he goes to the air. The Steelers to rebound at home.

WASHINGTON 1.5 over Dallas. PICK: REDSKINS. The Cowboys have been in a funk for weeks now--it was occurring even before Romo got hurt. Now he's back, but he's been out several weeks. You worry about rust, and can the Cowboys O-line protect him (they've been leaky as a line for weeks). Meanwhile the 'Skins are at home; they might not have Clinton Portis, but you can throw the ball against the Cowboys too. It's a tough one; but I think Washington pulls this one out.

BUFFALO 1.5 over Cleveland. PICK: BILLS. I think the Bills will force a couple of turnovers against a Browns team led by a very young QB, don't forget--Brady Quinn. The Browns seem always mired in controversy, and meanwhile this is a Buffalo team at home needing a win--they still have very real playoff hopes. Go with the Bills.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Obama's first test

He has let it be known that he doesn't want Joe Lieberman booted out of the Democratic Senate caucus; it would violate the spirit of "bipartisanship" and unity that he's talked of so much.
Okay--so what will Obama do now that leading Democrat Patrick Leahy has laid a marker down today?

"Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman's chances of holding onto his committee chairmanship suffered a blow Friday when a key New England Democrat came out against him. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Democrat-turned-independent Lieberman doesn't deserve to keep his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs chairmanship because of his campaign attacks on President-elect Barack Obama."

If Obama caves to Leahy and others, it will be a sign that his talk of unity etc is just that--all talk.

The economy claims another victim

And it's Christmas lights in LaPorte, Indiana:

"The city will not hang Christmas lights downtown this year. Mayor Kathy Chroback said Thursday that delays in receiving tax money from the ongoing property tax reassessment in LaPorte County is the main reason. The city has had to borrow to get by, and with high fuel prices and other economic factors, there is no extra money to fix 20 to 30 in-ground electrical outlets needed to operate the lights."

Another sign that times are indeed tough.
We conservatives shouldn't let progressives be the only ones to notice it.

Change you can believe in! well, maybe not...

So what's up with Obama's transition team? Well:

" Here's how you can tell the campaign is over and the transition has begun: Barack Obama's aides now wear suits and ties, their desks are in the Federal Building on 6th Street in Washington — and Clintonites are everywhere."

How that fits in with "change", and Obama's campaign promise not to go with "the old Washington players" isn't explained...

At the sports desk: college football weekly picks

Let's not discuss my pick last week of Northwestern to upset Ohio State. (Hey, OSU managed to squeak out a 45-10 win, just barely...). Let's see how I do this week:

ALABAMA vs Mississippi State. 'Bama barely survived last week; but, they find ways to win. It should be easier this week against an undermanned Mississippi State team. PICK: CRIMSON TIDE.

Boise State at IDAHO. Boise continues on its BCS-busting ways. PICK: BOISE STATE.

BYU at AIR FORCE. Just a gut feeling: Air Force's triple-option will give the Cougars fits. UPSET SPECIAL PICK: FALCONS.

FLORIDA vs South Carolina. Tim Tebow and Florida are playing well right now; and they shouldn't lack for motivation, what with the ol' Ball Coach coming into the Swamp. PICK: GATORS.

Georgia at AUBURN. I suspect this will be a close game; Georgia seems to play to the level of their competition. But I suspect Marc Richt's team will find a way to pull it out. PICK: BULLDOGS.

Missouri at IOWA STATE. Mizzou and Chase Daniel have too much firepower. PICK: TIGERS.

North Carolina at MARYLAND. Maryland is a young but improving team, with some nice wins lately. North Carolina is much better this year; but still young, and they seem vulnerable on the road. UPSET PICK: TERRAPINS.

Notre Dame vs Navy. Navy now has the winning streak in this series. I don't expect this to be a blowout, even though ND has revenge on its mind. Notre Dame always has trouble defending the Navy option, and they're not in the best frame of mind right now, coming off two straight losses. But I think ND will find a way to win a close game; their offensive line and running game should overpower the Middies. PICK: FIGHTING IRISH.

Ohio State at ILLINOIS. OSU is favored in this one, and it's not hard to see why, what with Terrelle Pryor's brilliance last week at Northwestern. But: Illinois, when Juice Williams is on, has a dynamic offense. They'll be at home. They beat Ohio State on the road last year; they'll have some confidence. I like Juice Williams to break out again. UPSET SPECIAL PICK: FIGHTING ILLINI.

Oklahoma State at COLORADO. The Cowboys ran into the Red Raider buzz saw last week, but I think they'll come back strong--their running game should overpower the Buffaloes. PICK: COWBOYS.

PENN STATE vs Indiana. Wow, who saw last week's shocking loss at Iowa coming. But PSU still has a lot to play for, and lucky for them they play IU, which has a defense that just can't stop anybody. PICK: NITTANY LIONS.

Southern Cal at STANFORD. You think USC wants some revenge in this game? The way their defense is playing (holding the dynamic Cal offense last week, under Jeff Teadford, to only 3 pts), they'll get it. PICK: TROJANS.

Texas vs KANSAS. KU can score. But, again, Texas will face a defense that's like tissue paper. In a high-scoring affair, look for Colt McCoy to have his way. PICK: LONGHORNS.

Utah at SAN DIEGO STATE. Utah is just too solid and efficient for the Aztecs. PICK: UTES.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Leave those two children behind, for the greater good, of course...

Where will Barack Obama send his two young daughters to school, once he's president? Well, the District of Columbia's mayor, Adrian Fenty, and Robert C. Bobb, president of the D.C. Board of Education, have an idea:

"They write that "no private option offers President-elect Obama a personal reality check on the No Child Left Behind mandates he campaigned to reform. Public school parents see test-prep squeezing out art. They push for quality. As the law's reauthorization looms, what better crash course on its impact than to have kids in the trenches? Now that would be a change any family can believe in."

Wow. So, to heck with the education of these two children. They're to be tools, to be used to push the, ahem, supposed greater good of public education. Nothing tells you more about the immorality and ideological attitudes of public education bureaucrats. The great historian Paul Johnson, in describing Chairman Mao, once wrote that he saw human beings as "furniture", to be moved around at will. Sounds like a good description of these guys. Hopefully Barack Obama will have the guts to say "no" to these two unfeeling educrats.

Easy, Newt

Newt Gingrich, quoted today by Roger Simon, on the current state of the Republican Party:

“The Republican Party right now is like a midsize college team trying to play in the Superbowl,” Gingrich told me Wednesday. “It is pretty hard to say our losses were because of John McCain’s campaign. McCain performed way above plausibility compared to where the Republican president was in the polls. We have to look honestly at what went wrong.”

But nah--while I have great respect for Speaker Gingrich, I think he goes way too far. Read today what R. Emmett Tyrrell, of the American Spectator--who attended the big conservative summit held two days after the election--has to say today about conservatism's prospects:

"What provoked [David] Brooks's fandango with the Traditionalists and the Reformers [he's referring to a column Brooks wrote in the New York Times, which argued that such a split now exists within the GOP] was a meeting the former group held in the Virginia hills outside Washington to prepare for the years ahead. As Brooks reports, I was present; his term Traditionalist, however, is misleading. There was more variety within the group than you would find among liberals planning a revival in 2004. There were libertarians, evangelicals, tax cutters, hawkish foreign policy advocates, and others. It was indeed the kind of turnout that could be termed "Reaganite," and there are other meetings coming up. For years the conservative movement has had more variety than the liberal movement, which might explain why only 22% of the American people call themselves liberal while 34% call themselves conservatives. There is vitality on the right, and there will be vitality in the wilderness, though the last time we were out here we only stayed two years. Liberal overreach and incompetence saw to that."

I think Tyrrell is closer to the mark. On the other hand, perhaps Newt simply wants Republicans to understand that the situation we face IS serious, that we have a big job on our hands, that the Democrats, Obama, and the left present a big obstacle, and that a comeback won't be easy. We must not be complacent. If that was his purpose, then I don't blame him for pushing us in that direction.

Republican governors talk of "rebuilding the brand"... a conference being held right now. And all this is fine, and Republicans and conservatives need to take a hard look at things. It sounds like Bobby Jindal has a good take:

"Jindal focused more on the message itself. The handsome young Indian-American responsible for helping to rebuild Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina sounded suspiciously like someone who is running for higher office, or plans to sooner rather than later. He said that while it's tempting for Republicans to come up with excuses or blame the media, he believes Americans fired the party with cause. "The Republican Party is no longer the party of fiscal discipline," Jindal said. "Our bumper sticker message can't be vote Republican because the other side is worse. American voters are right to say: 'We demand competence, we demand solutions.'" Jindal urged the party to return to first principles. He recalled how his parents registered as Republicans when they first arrived in Louisiana, a state long dominated by Democrats. "What made the Republican Party attractive to them," he said, "is the embracing of the American Dream. If people work hard and get a great education, there's no limit on what they can accomplish and as we propose solutions that address the challenges that fulfill that dream that voters care about we'll win the young vote, we'll win elections. We have to be optimistic, bold and principled." Obama couldn't have put it any better himself."

We have to appeal more to the younger, ambitious, tech-savvy people out there--yes. But I also like what Sarah Palin said:

I, like all of the Republican governors, we're focused on the future," Palin said. "And the future for us is not that 2012 presidential race. It's next year, our next budgets, the next reforms in our states. And it's 2010—we'll have 36 governors positions open across the U.S. That's what we're focused on—we're focused on providing good service."

Translation: we need good principles; shucks, we already have them. But it's what you Republican governors and legislators DO, based on those principles, that really matter. It doesn't do a darn thing for us to talk endlessly about fiscal discipline and balanced budgets if we don't actually DELIVER them. Let's start there, Republicans...

At the sports desk: NFL pick

There's a Thursday night NFL game tonight, and a good one:

NEW ENGLAND 1.5 over NY Jets. PICK: PATRIOTS. I think it will be a close game, but Bret Favre's tendency this year to throw interceptions worries me, especially in a game on the road. Look for the Pats' defense to continue to help protect Matt Cassel in games like this by getting a key turnover by the opposition.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Rock Star

Did you feel the same thing, last Tuesday, as did Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum?:

"Rather faster than I would have expected -- sometime around the close of play last Wednesday -- I began to get a familiar creepy feeling: It was that old "Princess Diana is dead and the media coverage is too much" sensation. I'm not suggesting that the events of Nov. 4 remotely resembled those of August 1997. But I don't think I'm revealing much to astute readers if I do suggest that something else was mixed in with the legitimate rejoicing at a racial barrier being broken: a touch, just a touch, of the starry-eyed celebrity worship that, for not entirely rational reasons, attached itself to Princess Diana but not to Prince Charles; to John Paul II and not to Benedict XVI; to Barack Obama but not to Bill Clinton. Okay, more than a touch. Whatever it was that made teenage girls faint at the sight of Ringo and Paul at the height of Beatlemania also made adult men and women scream when Obama walked onstage in Chicago."

Yes. I felt that, too. Applebaum, if you read the rest of her piece, is determined to remain optimistic. Me, I'm not so sure I can be. It's not just that people in this country and around the world are bound to be disappointed when Obama turns out to be a flawed man, not a god or a hero, as surely he will. It's also that I worry there will be a great deal of anger and even a seeking of retribution against people who dare to point out Obama's mistakes; that there will be a reaction leading to a "shoot the messenger" mindset.

Conservatives maybe should start now reminding people of a simple fundamental: governments cannot establish the perfect kingdom here on earth. No government can do it; and that will apply to Barack Obama, too.

UPDATE: Interestingly, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post has a related worry.
He notes that polls show that there are many issues that still divide American whites from African-Americans; and notes also that, at the same time, the same polls indicate that both whites and blacks expect an Obama presidency to be one of significant racial healing. It's probably putting too much on one man's plate.

Attacks ramp up in Iraq

Bombings rock Baghdad for the third straight day.
I suspect the terrorists believe that, with the election of Obama, that an increase in violence will easily push him to give in and speed up his timetable for withdrawal. Which is what both the terrorists want and what Obama wants.

But it will also be seen by our enemies as a sign of weakness.

Voices of moderation and toleration (contd)

A member of a California theatrical organization made a donation to a group seeking passage of California's Prop 8--you know, the one that banned gay marriage in California. The guy's donation became public. Those within the organization who opposed the proposition are, well, not happy:

" There's a great degree of hue and cry over getting Mr. Eckern fired,"
Whitty wrote. "I've searched my soul about this. I'm instinctively not
comfortable with the idea of his dismissal, though my activist side
still whispers, 'Punish!' "I fear for what Mr. Eckern's dismissal would say about theater: that
there's only room for the pro-gay crowd. In a way, if we only allow
people we agree with, if we only allow people who share a broad
sympathy for the human condition, then we become one of those dreaded
fantasy 'elites.' "

Read the whole thing. And you wonder why some talk of liberal "fascism"...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day: The Polar Bears

Today, we salute our American war veterans--and especially those who haven't gotten the thanks and the attention they're due. Such as these guys:

"A Michigan Army regiment's dalliance with history in 1918 was anything but celebratory: Three months of 55-below-zero temperatures. A shortage of weapons and blankets. Moldy rice and spoiled vegetables. Frostbite and influenza. Those were the conditions of 5,000 soldiers who, in a curious turn of events, found themselves in the middle of the Russian revolution. Long forgotten by history, the exploits of the regiment nicknamed the Polar Bears are remembered on Veterans Day only by dwindling descendants."

Read the whole thing. And a big thank you to all of our war veterans, and all of our heroic men and women currently in uniform.

She's right

Sarah Palin, in a recent interview, on what went wrong in the election:

"It's amazing that we did as well as we did," Palin, who was Sen. John McCain's running mate, said of the election in a separate interview with the Anchorage Daily News. "I think the Republican ticket represented too much of the status quo, too much of what had gone on in these last eight years, that Americans were kind of shaking their heads like going, wait a minute, how did we run up a $10 trillion debt in a Republican administration?"

Exactly. The spending issue and huge deficit, I'm convinced, was a major factor in driving conservative independents away from the GOP. So she's right, and this is why she's one of those who will shape the future of the Republican Party.

What will the left wing of the Democratic Party think?

Obama's advisers today lay out a blueprint for a much more active U.S. military role in Afghanistan during an Obama administration.

They claim to want a more active ground war vs Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorist forces there, and they claim they'll intensify the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

Might be a defensible policy. But apparently they also still plan for a steady withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq after next January 20th.

We conservatives should point out the danger of encouraging terrorism with such a move.

Democratic Party "unity" watch (contd)

Everyone's talking about a coming Republican "civil war."
But things aren't completely healed up between Hillary and Obama.
Hillary's camp, for example, says Obama hasn't done enough to help the Clinton campaign do away with its campaign debt:

"Yet a half-dozen Clinton insiders told Politico they are disappointed that Obama’s vaunted fundraising operation hasn’t reciprocated by planning new events or an Internet campaign to help Clinton pay off the $7.9 million she owes to vendors. (Clinton has already written off the $13 million she loaned the campaign during the primaries, aides say). “I don’t think there’s a whole lot of hard feelings, it’s more like mild annoyance,” said a former Clinton aide on condition of anonymity. “There’s just not a lot of expectation they are going to lift a finger for us.” Added another longtime Clinton adviser: “She killed herself for them, did a hundred events, went anywhere they pointed – so it’s disappointing they aren’t helping… But it’s not a big deal at this point.” One former Clinton fundraiser took a more cold-blooded view. “In a few months, when he’s really struggling, he’ll come to her for support,” he said. “That’s when she should ask him for money.”

Heh. Sounds juicy. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 10, 2008

At the sports desk: the rise of Texas Tech

An interesting article in today's NY Times on Texas Tech football and it's star QB, Graham Harrell, which says in part:

"But something is happening in Lubbock. Leach’s spread offense, once regarded as a gimmick, is thriving thanks to high-profile players like Harrell and Michael Crabtree."

And there's the word--"gimmick." I heard it a lot, especially before Tech's game with Colt McCoy and Texas. But I can't figure out why. Why was this offense seen as a "gimmick"? Sure, Tech spread the field with four or five wideouts. So do other offenses. Yes, Mike Leach has his offense throwing the ball some 50 times a game. But he developed a big offensive line, too; and Tech runs the ball very effectively. And they've developed a big, physical defense--see how they slowed down Oklahoma State this past Saturday?

This is a very good football team in so many ways. They slow down their opponents on defense; and on offense they do what any football team is supposed to do--they move the football, get first downs, and score points. What's gimmicky about that? Rather, it's fun to watch and very, very effective. Good for Leach and Tech football; and if Graham Harrell isn't moving to the top of the Heisman list, then I don't know what the point of that award is anymore.

Not much of a choice

Mark Steyn makes a point I've been making for a couple of weeks--one of John McCain's biggest problems in the recent election was that he didn't offer voters enough of a choice:

"[John McCain] encroached on our liberties with the constitutional abomination of McCain-Feingold. Well-meaning but without understanding, he proposed that the federal government buy up all these junk mortgages so that people would be able to stay in “their” homes. And this is the “center-right” candidate? It's hard for Republicans to hammer Obama as a socialist when their own party's nationalizing the banks and its presidential nominee is denouncing the private sector for putting profits before patriotism. That's why Joe the Plumber struck a chord: he briefly turned a one-and-a-half party election back into a two-party choice again. If you went back to the end of the 19th century and suggested to, say, William McKinley that one day Americans would find themselves choosing between a candidate promising to guarantee your mortgage and a candidate promising to give “tax cuts” to millions of people who pay no taxes he would scoff at you for concocting some patently absurd H G Wells dystopian fantasy. Yet it happened. Slowly, remorselessly, government metastasized to the point where it now seems entirely normal for Peggy Joseph of Sarasota, Florida to vote for Obama because “I won't have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won't have to worry about paying my mortgage.”

In a choice between a Democrat and a Democrat-lite, voters will choose the Democrat, every time.

Tough economic times

The large retail store Circuit City files for bankruptcy protection.
It's the second-largest electronics store in the country; but it's in trouble.

Somehow when a very visible, well-known chain like this publicly announces its problems, it brings home the economic troubles we're having. Does it seem that way to you, too?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Angry Left is still...well, angry

No, Sen. Obama's victory in the recent election hasn't calmed them.
Here's what one of our friends on the left had to say the other day about the conservative columnist Bill Kristol:

" Bill Kristol is kind of the Neo-Con Zelig. Wherever he peddles his
punditry, you know that disaster, hypocrisy, and ruin will follow.
What is this bloated-mouthed elitist of such interminable judgmental
errors doing still popping up regularly on television as a "credible"

And that's what happens to them when their guy WINS...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

At the sports desk: NFL picks

I was only 6-8 last week; I'm 66-60-4 for the year so far.
On to this week:

ATLANTA 1 over New Orleans. PICK: FALCONS. They've been very good at home, covering pretty much every game in the Georgia Dome. Plus I think the Saints will miss Reggie Bush, while the Falcons will keep running it vs the shaky Saints D.

Carolina 9.5 over OAKLAND. PICK: PANTHERS. Kinda hard to like the Raiders after last week's truly pitiful performance. And Carolina's D is even better than Atlanta's.

HOUSTON pick 'em vs Baltimore. PICK: TEXANS. I know--no Matt Schaub for Houston. But Sage Rosenfels is capable, and I still like the way that offense and Andre Johnson are developing.

Jacksonville 6.5 over DETROIT. PICK: JAGUARS. Yes, I know, some internal dissension in Jagsland between Coach Del Rio and LB Mike Peterson. But it seems likely today that the Lions will have to start Daunte Culpepper, who literally has been with the team for less than a week; and the Lions are weak in stopping the run, and the Jags still have Taylor and Jones-Drew.

MIAMI 8.5 over Seattle. PICK: DOLPHINS. If I recall right, Seattle still will be without Matt Hasselbeck; they've struggled mightily without him. Meanwhile, the Dolphins are aggressive, on a roll, and at home.

MINNESOTA 2.5 over Green Bay. PICK: PACKERS. Green Bay could have, probably should have, won last week on the road at Tennessee. They have a history of playing well in the Metrodome. I think Aaron Rodgers can continue that tradition, and that the Pack D will hold Adrian Peterson in check.

NEW ENGLAND 3.5 over Buffalo. PICK: BILLS. Just as was the case last week in Indy for the Pats, this game will be conservatively played on both sides, given the nature of both teams' styles and QBs. Turnovers will be the most important thing here, and I have a hunch Buffalo's going to get more than they give up.

NY JETS 9 over St. Louis. PICK: RAMS. Not to win; Favre will pull this one out. But 9 points for the improving but hardly awesome Jets just seems like too much to me.

PHILADELPHIA 3 over NY Giants. PICK: GIANTS. I know, the Eagles are healthier than they've been in a while, they won on the road last week...but: the Giants have played with a purpose most of this season. Did you see the physicality of that win of theirs vs the Steelers? I love that Giants D--and it'll be there in Philly.

PITTSBURGH vs Indianapolis. Right now there's no line on the game due to injury concerns.
Still--PICK: STEELERS. I just think they'll run the ball vs Indy, whoever is at QB; and that defense will slow the Colts down.

SAN DIEGO 15 over Kansas City. PICK: CHIEFS. Not to win; but the Chiefs are improving, as last week's close loss to the Bucs showed, and 15 points is a whole lot to give to a 3-5 Chargers bunch. I wouldn't do it...

Tennessee 3 over CHICAGO. PICK: TITANS. I think I'm done picking against the Titans; they always prove me wrong. I like their defense in the matchup with perhaps a banged-up Kyle Orton.

ARIZONA 9.5 over San Francisco. PICK: CARDINALS. Hey, they're really good at home; they've shown that time and time again.

Friday, November 7, 2008

At the sports desk: college football weekly picks

Remember--I picked Texas Tech to beat Texas last week...

Alabama vs LSU: I just think 'Bama has too much talent; especially significant is that LSU struggles to score. Not a good thing against this club. PICK: CRIMSON TIDE.

BOSTON COLLEGE vs Notre Dame: My sense is that many expect the Irish to win this one. But ND has struggled on the road on the whole this season, and BC has had their number lately. UPSET PICK: EAGLES.

Florida vs VANDERBILT: Florida and Urban Meyer have gotten it going. I don't see how Vandy can stop them. PICK: GATORS.

MICHIGAN STATE vs Purdue: I heard someone say on the radio today that Penn State faces their last "tough" opponent tomorrow, in Iowa. Not true--they close with the Spartans, who I see beating the Boilers comfortably, going to 9-2, and then having two weeks to prepare for JoePa's squad. Hmmm....PICK: SPARTANS.

MINNESOTA vs Michigan: it's just a tough season for the Maize and Blue; it can't be over soon enough. Look for the Minnesota defense to win this one by forcing turnovers. PICK: GOLDEN GOPHERS.

NORTH CAROLINA vs Georgia Tech: The Tar Heels are improved, but so is the Rambling Wreck under new coach Paul Johnson. Did you see their big win last week over Florida State? I look for Johnson's club to keep it going. PICK: YELLOW JACKETS.

Ohio State vs NORTHWESTERN: the Buckeyes are a pretty big favorite in this one. But I see an NU team on a high, coming off that big win last week at Minnesota and with some good athletes on both sides of the ball; and OSU coming off a tough loss to Penn State. I smell an upset. UPSET PICK: WILDCATS.

Oklahoma vs TEXAS A&M: Oklahoma with just too much firepower, especially on offense; though an improving Aggie squad might stay in this one for a half. PICK: SOONERS.

Penn State vs IOWA: the Hawkeyes have some athletes and a decent ground game. They too will stay in it for a half. But I see Penn State's athletes, poise, and efficiency winning out again.

SOUTHERN CAL vs California: again, USC has gotten it going big time since that loss to Oregon State. Watch out, Bears. PICK: TROJANS.

TEXAS TECH vs Oklahoma State: this will be a tough game; OSU has talent--see for example the battle they gave Texas. But I saw a lot of strength and poise on that Tech team last week during that classic of a game vs the Longhorns. They'll find a way to prevail again. PICK: RED RAIDERS.

A man, not a moral judgement

Diana West wrote something very wise today:

"As [Obama] now heads to the White House, it's crucial that he finally be regarded as a politician, not a messiah, and as a man, not a moral judgment. Otherwise, the cultural juggernaut he seems likely to unleash will be unstoppable."

Exactly. I've been worried about this same thing the last couple of days, but couldn't quite put it into words. A number of things triggered my worries: the shining, exalted faces at Obama's victory rally Tuesday night; all the talk I've been hearing on TV and in print about how we all ought to be deliriously happy and glorified that a black man has ascended to the presidency; a radio commercial I heard the other day, urging us to buy something (I forget what it was) because now with a new president it's an "exciting time" full of "new possibilities"; etc etc etc.

It's not just that I think people are placing too much hope and too-high expectations on a man and on government; it's that I worry that people are going to see this president as so important and so exalted that they're going to see criticism of him and his policies, in and of itself, as unpatriotic and wrong. That's a dangerous place to be. (and we haven't even touched on the fact that others will undoubtedly begin claiming that criticism of Obama is in and of itself racist.)

I'm sure I'll expand on these preliminary thoughts in the weeks to come.

Surprise, surprise...

Barack Obama is already hinting that tax cuts might not come to as many people as promised, and more folks might get their taxes raised:

"Obama also left the door open to the possibility economic conditions might prompt him to change his tax plan that would give a break to most families but raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 annually. "I think that the plan that we've put forward is the right one, but, obviously, over the next several weeks and months, we're going to be continuing to take a look at the data and see what's taking place in the economy as a whole," Obama said."

Yes, I bet he's leaving the door open.
Hide your wallets, everybody.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Still a strong pulse

George Will makes a good point today--the GOP still has a remarkably strong pulse:

"...the Republican Party retains a remarkably strong pulse, considering that McCain's often chaotic campaign earned 46 percent of the popular vote while tacking into terrible winds. Conservatives can take some solace from the fact that four years after Goldwater won just 38.5 percent of the popular vote, a Republican president was elected. The conservative ascendancy that was achieved in 1980 reflected a broad consensus favoring government more robust abroad and less ambitious at home -- roughly the reverse of Tuesday's consensus. But conservatives should note what their current condition demonstrates: Opinion is shiftable sand. It can be shifted, as Goldwater understood, by ideas, and by the other party overreaching, which the heavily Democratic Congress elected in 1964 promptly did."

Indeed. I mean, there were people talking about an Obama "landslide." Well, gaining less than 20 seats in the House, and about 6 seats in the senate, is hardly a landslide. Nor is winning 52-47% or thereabout in the popular vote. The feelings among Republicans and conservatives right now remind me a lot of how we felt in 1992, after Bill Clinton's victory.

And then came 1994. Chin up!