Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

Melissa Ryroft, unceremoniously dumped by "Bachelor" Jason Mesnick a few months ago, is now engaged.
Good for her. She sure got a raw deal on that show.
But let's hope that this is not a too-quick "rebound" decision...

This time Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is in hot water, on issues related to his wife's troubles mentioned here yesterday:
"U.S. Rep. John Conyers today denied allegations of impropriety in the wake of his wife's admission that she accepted bribes in exchange for vote on a key contract while she was on the Detroit City Council. Conyers' wife, Monica, pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges last week. She was also implicated in another potential bribery case involving a controversial deep injection well near Romulus. John Conyers later appeared to change his position on the same well."

The Tigers seem to be in an offensive funk again--they struck out 14 times last night in losing to the lowly Oakland As, 7-1. Not a good start for Rick Porcello, either. But hey, really the Tigers' offense has been inconsistent all year, and the trend continued last night...
Elsewhere, the Cubs, behind Rich Harden, beat Pittsburgh 3-1, as they usually do. Good pitching from Harden is certainly a plus. But can the Cubs string some wins together...
And the Rangers continue to fall; they're now 2 and 1/2 games out of first after falling to the Angels last night, 5-2. The Rangers still aren't hitting, especially with runners in scoring position. They can still turn things around, and it needs to start tonight...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday musings...

This time it's Detroit councilwoman Monica Conyers.
"Culture of corruption", anyone? The list of Democrats in trouble is getting kinda long...
For example, two Democrats in Oregon are under fire.
And then there's Charlie Rangel, and William Jefferson, and all those would-be Obama cabinet appointees who, well, hadn't paid all their taxes...

BASEBALL DIARY: big win for the Tigers yesterday, thanks to good pitching by Edwin Jackson and obviously a clutch home run with 2 out in the 9th by Brandon Inge to win the game. Inge is a warrior. But the Tigers need to get the bats going again--they scored only 9 runs all weekend vs. Houston.
Meanwhile the Cubs lost again to the White Sox, 6-0, yesterday; and lost 2 of 3 over the weekend. Once again Carlos Zambrano seemed to lose his cool after allowing a steal of home; but then, that seems to be a theme with the Cubs this year.
And the Texas Rangers still aren't hitting--they got only 1 hit last night as they lost to the lowly Padres, 2-0. I suspect they miss Josh Hamilton more than people thought...

Canadian version...:
"Hamilton's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was full when Ava Isabella Stinson was born 14 weeks premature at St. Joseph's Hospital Thursday at 12:24 p.m.
A provincewide search for an open NICU bed came up empty, leaving no choice but to send the two-pound, four-ounce preemie to Buffalo that evening."

2012 WATCH:
It seems clear that Mitt Romney's political team remains in place, and is poised to be part of another Romney run for the presidency in 2012. Romney himself won't admit this, though, for a while yet...
But I'd be surprised if he didn't run.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday stuff

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers had won 7 straight games going into last night. But last night's game was a bad loss. The Tigers led at one point, 4-0; but wound up leaving 11 men on base, wasing a bases loaded, 1 out chance in the 5th--they failed to add on. Justin Verlander was not as sharp as he has been, but still he left with a 4-3 lead. But then the bullpen, chiefly Joel Zumaya, walked a bunch of people in the 8th inning and thus gave up 2 runs...and the Tigers lost, 5-4. It's good that Leyland and Zumaya were very upset about it--all these walks have to stop.
There was better news elsewhere, though. The Rangers are hitting the ball again, and got good pitching from ace Kevin Millwood in pounding the Padres, 12-2. Note that both Hank Blalock and David Murphy had good games--if they both got hot, the offense could be really cooking again.
The Cubs meanwhile are again embroiled in controversy--Milton Bradley sent home by Lou Piniella after losing his cool in the dugout, Geovany Soto having been tested positive for pot some months ago--and yet they won a big game over the White Sox, 5-4, thanks to Soto's 3-run homer in the 7th, and solid relief work by Kevin Gregg. Can the Cubs build on a win like this?

IRAN UPDATE: the regime there continues its crackdown on protests, and continues to blame the United States for "interfering."
It appears that the protests are waning. That's too bad.
I am however glad that the Obama administration continues to speak out more forcefully against the Iranian government. We conservatives can take pride in the fact that, just maybe, we helped push him to do so.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday's fish fry

His death was certainly shocking. He's another--similar to Farrah Fawcett--for whom old age and death seemed inconceivable. It was impossible to imagine him having heart attacks and the like. But of course nobody escapes age, the effects of a stressful lifestyle...
I was never a big, big fan of his music. But I know I tapped my feet and sang along at times, in the car and elsewhere, as his songs came on the radio, as they so often did. Even now, I can hear the song "Thriller" in my head as I write this. I still remember, one day in college, as I hung out with some of my friends on a Friday night, somebody put the "Thriller" album on and played it...and everybody was dancing to it...including me. I guess he touched a lot of people...
BUT: on the other hand? I wouldn't want my kids, or anyone for that matter, emulating his lifestyle. Would you?

The state continues to crack down.
Though Mousavi remains defiant. Will his supporters?

Rich Lowry explains:
"...[President] appears unable to understand how his health-care program threatens private insurance. At a recent press conference, Obama argued that the very notion of it doesn’t compute: “If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best-quality health care, if they tell us that they’re offering a good deal, then why is it that the government — which they say can’t run anything — suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That’s not logical.”This is exceptionally brazen sophistry. Private insurers are at a disadvantage vis-à-vis the federal government because they don’t have the power of the government to dictate prices to doctors and hospitals. That’s what Medicare does, and why it pays less for health services than private insurers.Surely Obama understands the competitive advantage that this confers on the government. If the public option in ObamaCare underpays providers in a similar fashion, it will charge cheaper premiums than private insurance. Employers will dump their employees into the public plan, and a massive “crowding out” will occur. The respected health-care research firm The Lewin Group estimates as many as 119 million people could migrate from private insurance to the government plan, whether Obama considers it logical or not."

In other words, any "competition" between private insurers and a federal government health care plan will NOT occur on a level playing field. Keep that in mind.

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers rally yet again, this time from a 3-0 deficit, and beat the Cubs, 6-5. So good to see the struggling Magglio Ordonez hit a big home run. And to see the bullpen again hold a lead. 7 wins in a row now...
And the Texas Rangers won their 2nd straight game, beating Arizona 9-8 in 12 innings. Key: Chris Davis, who has over 100 strikeouts already and was hitting .196, had 4 hits and a key home run for the Rangers. Maybe the team will start hitting again...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

She lost her battle with cancer today. She was 62.
For those who were in their teens in the 1970s, as I was, who remember her as this very sexy beauty icon whose posters sold in the millions, there's just this: isn't it hard to imagine her being 62 years old and battling cancer? You thought she'd always be young and sexy. "Yesterday, when I was young..." goes the famous old song. But sometimes we're reminded that yesterday is farther away than we think...

So the government is now cracking down, hard. And quieting things down, at least for now.
But remember--you can't kill an idea no matter how many arrests and beatings there are.
And by the way, what with troubles in Iran and North Korea--and the failure so far of Barack Obama's niceness offensive to change their behavior--Victor Davis Hanson has another good point concerning what Obama needs to learn from all this:
"Lesson One: Thugs only want America, the world’s most powerful democracy — not others — to apologize. Iran’s Ahmadinejad does not care whether his friends the Russians slaughtered Muslims recently in Afghanistan and Chechnya, or have meddled in Iranian affairs for over two centuries. Iranian mullahs only want Russian nuclear expertise, not Russian apologies. When President Obama says he is sorry to Iran about American involvement in a coup 66 years ago, it may make us feel better. But thugs like Ahmadinejad more likely interpret our apologies as signs of our own confusion — and so a green light for more troublemaking."

This worries me, and should worry everyone:
President Obama suggested at a town hall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don't stand to gain from the extra care."
Yes, who will decide--and who decides what's "futile", and how will KNOW something is "futile" if it isn't tried? Do we really want government bureaucrats, who know nothing of a patient or his/her family, deciding?

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers beat the Cubs again last night, 5-3. Keys: decent pitching from Rick Porcello, and from the bullpen--Jim Leyland used no less than 6 different relievers to finish the game, and despite some hiccups here and there, they got the job done. And the Tigers were patient at the plate--they got two bases-loaded walks. Meanwhile the Cubs failed again and again to get key hits with runners in scoring position--they're batting less than .100 in that category on their road trip. 6 in a row for the Tigers...
And the Rangers got back to their winning ways, edging Arizona, 2-1. Key: Vincente Padilla, who almost got released a couple of weeks ago, was magnificent, allowing just 1 run in 7 innings. Ranger pitching is holding up...you have to believe Ranger bats will come alive again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday's wash

North Korea issues new threats:
"North Korea threatened Wednesday to wipe the United States off the map as Washington and its allies watched for signs the regime will launch a series of missiles in the coming days."
I suspect much of this is just North Korean bluster, but it's something to keep an eye on.
Don't see how our liberal friends can blame this stuff on Bush; and again, it shows that Obama's insertion of some kum-by-yah into our foreign policy doesn't change much.

How do some persons live with themselves?
"Michigan authorities removed two children from a licensed Van Buren County foster mother Tuesday evening after finding an active meth lab in the home."

First Sen. Ensign, now Gov. Sanford:
"South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford says he's been having an affair and will resign as head of the Republican Governor's Association."
This isn't exactly going to help Republicans in getting out their message.
I guess the power these politicians gain makes them think they can get away...with anything.

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers won in dramatic fashion over the Cubs last night, 5-4, with Ryan Raburn the hero--he hit a walkoff two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to win it. You had to feel good for him; before that, you felt badly about Joel Zumaya giving up a 2-run homer in the 8th that gave the Cubs the lead--on a changeup, his 3rd best pitch, when his fastball had been unhittable. But the Tigers showed resiliency and came back and won it--and those are the kind of breaks you catch when you have some toughness, and when you're having a pretty special season (given last year's collapse). Zumaya says he learned something from his bad pitch. Let's hope so, and let's be glad that he IS pitching and throwing with such velocity.
Meanwhile, it's official--the Texas Rangers are in a pretty bad slump right now. They've lost 5 in a row, including last night's 8-2 laugher to Arizona. They're not hitting, and they got a poor start last night from Matt Harrison. They need a spark. But from where?

You've no doubt seen pictures of the young female protestor named Neda, who was shot and killed yesterday. The Iranian regime today keeps trying to change the subject--blaming her death on fears of "terrorist" groups operating in Iran, that she may have been mistaken for the sister of a terrorist.
And of course the terrorists are those sowing "division" in the country.
So ultimately they try to blame protesters for the woman's death. Hopefully Iranians won't fall for this; surely most of the world won't.
By the way, as for President Obama's apparent strategy for dealing with Iran? Jonah Goldberg is right--it appears to be untenable:
"Here is the one immutable fact of Barack Obama’s foreign-policy agenda as it relates to Iran: It’s over. The rule book he came in with is as irrelevant as a tourist guide to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. If the forces of reform and democracy win, Obama’s plan to negotiate with the regime is moot, for the regime will be gone. And if the forces of reform are crushed into submission by the regime, Obama’s plan is moot, because the regime will still be there.
Politics and decency will simply demand that the world condemn or shun the regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei if they come out on top. Even the most soulless realists will be repulsed by the blood on the regime’s collective hands."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

"Hundreds of New York City public school teachers accused of offenses ranging from insubordination to sexual misconduct are being paid their full salaries to sit around all day playing Scrabble, surfing the Internet or just staring at the wall, if that's what they want to do. Because their union contract makes it extremely difficult to fire
them, the teachers have been banished by the school system to its
"rubber rooms" — off-campus office space where they wait months, even
years, for their disciplinary hearings."

This costs the taxpayers $65 million per year.
I was going to title this "your government and unions at work"--but no.
The ultimate blame falls on the government in NY City for putting up with this nonsense, and for failing to do anything about it. They negotiate agreements with the unions, after all.

President Obama is finally talking tougher:
"President Barack Obama on Tuesday declared the United States and the entire world "appalled and outraged" by Iran's violent efforts to crush dissent and for the first time expressed significant doubt about the legitimacy of the national election at the root of the upheaval. The president suggested that Iran would face consequences for brutally beating back protest, warning that the way the country responds in the days ahead will shape its relationship with other countries, including the United States. He would not specify what any punishment might be."
I'm glad he said all this--maybe he finally realized that holding his fire gained him nothing with the Iranian regime.
HOWEVER: did you know that Obama advisers--privately, but making sure it all gets in the papers--are now claiming that Obama's Cairo speech encouraged the Iranian demonstrators to rise???? To me, it's not only inconsistent and incoherent ("we're not meddling in Iran, but by the way we helped cause the rising"), but also the height of arrogance and, let's face it, is not supported by a shred of hard evidence. Wow.

BASEBALL DIARY: both the Tigers and Rangers were off. The Cubs, meanwhile, reverted back to their old habits, getting shut out 2-0 by Atlanta. The Cubs banged out 9 hits. But Cub hitters combined to strand 19 runners, failing to get the big hit and wasting a very decent pitching performance from Ryan Dempster.
The only good thing about this from my perspective? Maybe the Braves cooled off the Cubs, just in time for the Cubbies' series with the Tigers, which begins tonight.

PUBLIC OPINION UPDATE: is this really shaping up to be a golden age for liberalism? Are the American people all fired up for government activism and spending? Hmmm:
"...the fallout from the stimulus and auto bailouts are stoking a distaste for deficit spending and government activism that is remarkable in what is touted as a statist golden age on par with 1933 or 1965. In a Wall Street Journal poll last week, 58 percent of people said the government should keep the deficit down, even if it slows economic growth. Fifty-five percent opposed the bailout of General Motors, and nearly seven in ten expressed worry about the governments interventions in the economy."
And by the way, speaking of public opinion, there's more good news out there for conservatives and the GOP:
A month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's showdown with the CIA over interrogation techniques, just 38 percent of Americans approve of her job performance, while 45 percent disapprove, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released yesterday. That's the lowest approval rating she has received in the poll."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday musings

So President Obama will sign a big new anti-smoking bill into law today.
Note some of the law's key provisions:
"The law won't let the FDA ban nicotine or tobacco outright, but the agency will be able to regulate what goes into tobacco products, make public the ingredients and prohibit marketing campaigns, especially those geared toward children. Anti-smoking advocates looked forward to the bill after years of attempts to control an industry so fundamental to the U.S. that carved tobacco leaves adorn some parts of the Capitol."
It used to be that anti-smoking advocates argued that, hey, we don't want to try to regulate the lives of adults or tell them what to do. But secondhand smoke hurts other people, and so that's why it has to be regulated.
Well, but...this current law has nothing to do with any harm that smokers do to others. Instead, it has to do with preventing smoking, and trying to get current smokers to quit.
Oh, well, but...[the argument will be], we simply must do this. Smoking harms smokers' health and that drives up health care costs for all of us. Yes; and eating potato chips, eating twinkies, and drinking soda pop harms one's health too...and drives up health care costs. Right? How long will it be before they come after your favorite junk food??? Maybe not as long as you think.
This kind of thing is an invasion of your liberty. People ought to be outraged. Sadly, they're not.

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers sweep a weekend series from the Brewers, winning yesterday, 3-2. Good stuff--the Tigers scored 10 runs Friday night, and 9 on Saturday; and then Justin Verlander comes back strong yesterday from his previous poor outing. The bullpen records a couple of saves, and Fernando Rodney especially looks good yesterday. The Tigers showed good resilience here, after their struggles of last week. And they now lead their division by 4...
Meanwhile the Cubs have now won 4 straight, beating Cleveland yesterday 6-2; before that they had 3 straight walkoff victories. It's not hard to see why--they're still getting the same solid starting pitching they've been getting, but now key hitters like Derek Lee and Geovany Soto are starting to hit. Now, guess what--they go to Detroit to play the Tigers for 3...
But the Rangers got swept over the weekend in San Francisco, losing yesterday 3-2. Saturday night they lost 2-1 in extra innings. The good news--they're still getting solid pitching. The bad news--they're just not hitting. As Kevin Millwood said, they're in a bit of a funk right now. Maybe going to mediocre Arizona starting Tuesday night can get them out of it...

IRAN UPDATE: the demonstrations there continue, though the government is trying hard to crush them. I sense the government is getting frustrated--the Iranian state continually blames outsiders (Britain, the U.S.) for the unrest, and note--now they're calling demonstrators "hooligans."
Throughout recent history, that's what dictatorial governments have alled those who protested against them. See for example the old Soviet Union. Didn't work too well for the Soviets...

ECONOMY UPDATE: where are the jobs promised by the Obama "stimulus" plan? Nowhere to be seen yet:
"Despite signs that the recession gripping the nation's economy may be easing, the unemployment rate is projected to continue rising for another year before topping out in double digits, a prospect that threatens to slow growth, increase poverty and further complicate the Obama administration's message of optimism about the economic outlook."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday's fish fry

Nope, and certainly not with the American people. Today for example media sources suggest the Obama administration's plans for health care overhaul are in trouble. Why? Well...:
"President Obama's campaign for health care reform by this fall, once considered highly likely to succeed, suddenly appears in real jeopardy. Top White House advisers, especially Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, are still privately predicting massive changes to the health care system in 2009. But for the first time, Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the administration are expressing frank worries about stronger-than-expected opposition from moderate Democrats and worse-than-expected estimates for how much the plan could cost."
And why are they worried about the plan's cost? Because they know the American people won't stand for wild spending and even more massive deficits. Americans haven't become as liberal as many of my Democratic acquaintances were suggesting after the election...
UPDATE: there's more evidence for this from Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who finds that public opinion now is very similar to that of 1993--when the Clinton administration's plans to reform health care went down to defeat:
"Then and now, the country proclaimed its readiness for bold reform. In both instances, one-quarter say that the health care system "has so many problems that we need to completely rebuild it"; half the country sees "good things" in the current system but believes "some major changes are needed." Then and now, about 60 percent of the public feel dissatisfied with the current health insurance system. Yet three-quarters are satisfied with their own health insurance—once again eerily parallel numbers. The same holds when the public is asked to focus on reform. Yes, we're no longer living in the shadow of Ronald Reagan. But the country has maintained the same anxieties about government's ability to improve the system. The country divides evenly on whether the greater risk is an unchanged status quo or government reforms that "create new problems." And, finally, Obama might want to pay attention to how closely his situation echoes Clinton's. Then and now, more people favor the president's health care plan than oppose it, but the supporters make up less than a majority."

IRAN UPDATE: the chorus grows calling on Obama to speak out more. Victor Davis Hanson makes a good point today, on why Obama's realist instincts are wrong in this case:
"Obama's realist calculations are in fact sorely mistaken (e.g., if he doesn't show moral vertebrae soon and the protestors are crushed, we will regret a lost opportunity to show a shared humanity for a long time to come [and does anyone think Ahmadinejad will one day call Obama up and say, "Thanks, Barack for that silence, now let's talk about those nukes"?]); if the protestors prevail, they will have a long memory of how we forsook them in their hour of need; meanwhile, a theocratic elite will negotiate or not with us only on the basis of their selfish interests (do they shun Russian aid because Putin slaughtered Muslims in Grozny, or do they abhor the Chinese because of their oppression of Muslims?); the government, far more so than the dissidents, is fearful of U.S. public support for human rights."

ECONOMY UPDATE: many state governments are starved for cash and have big deficits.
In Michigan, they've resorted to giving many state employees and offices unpaid furlough days.
California has also used unpaid furloughs...
But then, things are tough in nearly every state:
"Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate increases in May, the government reported Friday. One state registered a rate decrease, and one state had no rate change."

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers finally scored more than 3 runs--and look at that, they beat St. Louis, 6-3. Kudos to Rick Porcello--the kid has now won 8 games. And to Gerald Laird, who's been struggling at the plate, but had a big double in the first inning (with 2 outs) that plated the Tigers' 4th run. Maybe that will get him going. It's been easy to rip on the Tigers, what with their offensive struggles and their recent 4-game losing streak. But we should remember--on a long, 11 game road trip they went 5-6; not horrible. And they remain in first place.
In other baseball news...how about the Washington Nationals beating the Yankees for the second straight day--a 3-0 shutout, no less. I suppose the 5 hour plus rain delay had something to do with it...
The Cubs staged an improbable rally from 4 runs down to edge the White Sox, 6-5. Finally, some big hits from Derek Lee, Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano. Maybe this will get them on a good run...
Meanwhile, unfortunately the Texas Rangers let one slip away, blowing a 3-0 lead and losing to Houston, 5-3. Vincente Padilla walked too many, and made a misplay in the field in the crucial 6th inning, when Houston tied the game. And the Rangers still aren't hitting like they can...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

BASEBALL DIARY: again, the Tigers lose last night (to St. Louis, 4-3); again, for the 7th consecutive game, they score 3 runs or less. Their pitching last night (especially from Edwin Jackson) was adequate. But guys they need to produce (such as Magglio Ordonez, who made a crucial out last night with the bases loaded) aren't doing it. They're in a tough stretch...
As for the Cubs, well--John Danks of the White Sox is a solid hurler who pitched well yesterday...but the Cubs are in a horrible hitting slump, and are not at all swinging the bats well. They flailed away in a spectacularly futile fashion yesterday, losing 4-1, swinging at bad pitches left and right, failing to move runners along, etc. Might just be a long, frustrating summer at Wrigley.
But the Texas Rangers won again, beating Houston 5-4 in 10 innings. Again, the Rangers get an adequate start (from Matt Harrison), good work by the bullpen, especially C.J. Wilson, and some excellent defensive plays from their infield of Young, Kinsler, and the never-aging Omar Vizquel. Their pitching and defense, again, are remarkably improved over last year...

The protests apparently continue, with lots of folks taking part:
"Supporters of Mir Hossein Moussavi -- the country's top opposition candidate -- were turning Tehran into a sea of black as they marched in silence to express their displeasure. And he addressed the throngs, according to messages on Twitter from people who say they were at the rally."
It's important that the protests refuse to die.
Will they spread to, say, strikes in key parts of the Iranian economy? That's what to watch for...
And by the way, even the mainstream media is finally taking notice of the Obama administration's flailing to come up with a response to what's happening:
"President Obama and his advisers have struggled to strike the right tone, carefully calibrating positive messages about the protests in an effort to avoid giving the government in Tehran an excuse to portray the demonstrators as pro-American. Nevertheless, the Iranian Foreign Ministry yesterday summoned the Swiss ambassador, who represents American interests in Tehran, to complain of "interventionist" comments by U.S. officials, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. In an apt summation of the administration's position, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters yesterday: "We are obviously waiting to see the outcome of the internal Iranian processes, but our intent is to pursue whatever opportunities might exist in the future with Iran."

Wait-and-see is not much of a response.
The administration still doesn't seem to grasp that the Iranian government will criticize the U.S. and denounce our "meddling" no matter what we do; they're eager to change the subject. Letting fear of their response guide OUR response is no way to do foreign policy.

Speaking of foreign policy, President Obama has a new headache:"SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - "North Korea may fire a long-range ballistic missile toward Hawaii in early July, a Japanese news report said Thursday, as Russia and China urged the regime to return to international disarmament talks on its rogue nuclear program. The missile, believed to be a Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles (6,500 kilometers), would be launched from North Korea's Dongchang-ni site on the northwestern coast, said the Yomiuri daily, Japan's top-selling newspaper. It cited an analysis by the Japanese Defense Ministry and intelligence gathered by U.S. reconnaissance satellites."
The lesson being--Mr. Obama's endless apologies in international speeches for this country's past actions, his talking about talking, his preaching that he's not Bush...don't make problems go away, nor do they make bad guys...not be bad guys.

More evidence of the "no" answer--a NY Times poll finds that while Obama remains personally popular, Americans are much, much more skeptical of his plans for dealing with the budget deficit, overhauling health care, taking over the auto industry, and closing Guantanamo Bay.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday's wash

It seems evident that the government is attempting to crack down on the protests through the methods of heavy police presences and occasional violence. But it also seems evident that the protests continue, and that news of the heavy-handed methods is getting out to the Iranian people. Will the government's crackdown work? It's too soon to tell--but here's why some believe it important for the Obama administration to say more than it has so far:
"Some Moussavi supporters, however, remained firm -- even as they accused those outside Iran of turning a blind eye to their plight. "We are fighting with our lives and the world is just watching," said Ali, a Tehran University student who asked that his full name not be used. "They see how the government is trying to silence us, how they are beating us -- but they don't come to our help. It's OK. We will succeed, even if we have to fight alone."
By the way, the Iranian government is of course accusing us of "meddling" in its affairs anyway--to which Michael Ledeen today has a great retort:
"There's a useful lesson here for President Obama and those who think they can somehow be a little bit pregnant in a brothel: You're going to be accused of meddling anyway, since out there in the real world you are believed to be the leader of the forces of freedom and democracy. So stop pretending to be a sweet innocent, and get in there and fight for people who are dying in the name of our values, and who want to be part of our world."

Presidents belonging to the Democratic Party always have a tough time satisfying them, whether it be liberals, pro-choice activists, union heads, etc. Right now the president's got trouble with gay activists--you can read why here, as the Obama Justice Department recently dared to defend traditional marriage.
This is the kind of thing that drove Jimmy Carter nuts--and look what happened to him.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY UPDATE: Obama's "stimulus" package is slow to take effect, especially in Michigan:
"Michigan's unemployment rate jumped to 14.1% in May."

By the way, Michigan has had a Democratic governor since 2002 (Jennifer Granholm), under whom much of this rise in joblessness has occurred. Look for Republicans to have a real shot here in 2010.

Furthermore--and there's been a lot of this--the Obama administration's economic claims keep turning out to be questionable or, at worst, rather dishonest. Take it's claim to have, so far, "saved or created" 150,000 jobs--even Newsweek magazine doesn't buy it:
"A Republican Party Web site classifies as "fiction" the president's repeated claim that the spending already has "saved or created" a total of 150,000 jobs, and accuses him of "fuzzy math." The GOP has a point here. The fact is the economy has lost more jobs, and the unemployment rate is significantly higher, than the administration originally predicted would be the case if Washington did nothing. In fact, the original projections of Obama's economic aides have turned out to be off by a very wide margin."

BASEBALL DIARY: another bad night for the Tigers--they lose 11-2 to St. Louis, Justin Verlander (who's been terrific) had a bad night, and for the 6th consecutive game, the Tigers score 3 runs or fewer. No one seems to know how to get them out of their offensive funk, including their manager...
Meanwhile, the Cubs were rained out. But the Rangers defeated Houston, 6-1--very solid start (again!) from Kevin Millwood; and, importantly, perhaps Ian Kinsler is out of his slump--he went 3 for 4 with two homers. When Kinsler warms up, so does the Rangers' offense...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

IRAN UPDATE: well, so these anti-Ahmadinejad, pro-democracy protests in Iran are becoming very interesting.
What's important about them? Well, they're large; they seem to indicate real popular support for Ahmadinjad's opponents (indeed, for real opposition to the government as a whole). They've had staying power. Remember too that back in 1979 it was significant, continuous popular protests, combined with strikes in key industries, that brought down the Shah's government. Could it happen again?
Unfortunately, though, despite President Obama making a few noises of concern, his main policy line right now seems to be summed up in his quote: "The U.S. doesn't want to be seen as meddling." I agree--that won't get it done. Even just a few quiet statements from us could encourage the democrats in Iran. It's silly to miss an opportunity to encourage democratic growth.

BASEBALL DIARY: all my favorite teams had yesterday off. And they no doubt needed it...!

FAVORITE TEAM UPDATE: next year's University of Notre Dame men's basketball season is saved--center Luke Harangody, sure to be All Big East next year and a pre-season All-American, has opted to remove his name from the NBA draft and stay at ND for another season.
With him, the Irish will at least be competitive in the rough-and-tumble Big East and have a shot at an NCAA bid; without him, they'd have been in serious rebuilding mode.

Er, well, maybe there won't be as much change as Mr. Obama claimed in the campaign:
"The Obama administration is fighting to block access to names of
visitors to the White House, taking up the Bush administration
argument that a president doesn't have to reveal who comes calling to
influence policy decisions. Despite President Barack Obama's pledge to introduce a new era of
transparency to Washington, and despite two rulings by a federal judge
that the records are public, the Secret Service has denied msnbc.com's
request for the names of all White House visitors from Jan. 20 to the
present. It also denied a narrower request by the nonpartisan watchdog
group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which
sought logs of visits by executives of coal companies."

Republican Senator Tom Coburn publishes a list of money-wasting projects that will be funded by the stimulus, including a turtle-crossing; see how some try to defend this ridiculous project:
"Coburn also criticized a $3.4 million Florida Department of Transportation project for an "eco-passage" — an underground wildlife road crossing for turtles and other wildlife in Lake Jackson, Fla., along U.S. 27. "Why did the turtle cross the road? To get to the other side of a stimulus project," the Coburn report says. Josh Boan, the Florida Transportation Department's natural resources manager, said a large number of turtles and other wildlife are killed in the area. In addition to protecting wildlife, he said the project is needed for safety: turtles hit by vehicles can become flying projectiles."
Who knows if any of that is true. What we DO know, however, is this: the "stimulus" bill was defended by its backers as something that was going to create oodles of JOBS, right away; that was to be the most important, really the sole reason, for passing the bill. It was all about jobs, jobs, jobs. So why build the turtle-crossing? Funny--its backers don't cite jobs as a reason. Rather, they cite environmental and safety reasons. Fine--if you want to pass bills that you claim will aid the environment, then have EPA write up a bill to improve the enironment and have congress debate it. But don't put this mish-mash of programs all in one bill and, quite frankly, dishonestly tell us that this "stimulus" bill is full of projects that are meant to create jobs--when that just isn't true.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday's musings

Been very busy with lots of activities today, so posting will be a little light.
But here's a few things to watch...

"Stocks slumped Monday as weaker oil prices and more geopolitical unrest raised worries that the recession may not be waning as soon as some had hoped."

The other day, CIA Director Leon Pannetta was quoted in The New Yorker as suggesting that perhaps former Vice President Cheney WANTED a terrorist attack on the U.S., in order to gain political advantage. But now CIA spokesmen are backing away rather desperately from the Director's statement, so I guess they could see how badly it played.
You can always tell when Democrats these days have little in the way of argument to offer--they wind up accusing their opponents of hoping for bad things to happen.

Gallup sure doesn't think so:
"Thus far in 2009, 40% of Americans interviewed in national Gallup Poll surveys describe their political views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal. This represents a slight increase for conservatism in the U.S. since 2008, returning it to a level last seen in 2004. The 21% calling themselves liberal is in line with findings throughout this decade, but is up from the 1990s."

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers busily exposed their most serious flaws Saturday and yesterday, as they lost Saturday night to the Pirates 9-3, and yesterday 6-3. In Sunday's game, in a performance painful to watch, Dontrelle Willis walked 8. Saturday Armando Galarraga got pounded. So the Tigers aren't hitting, and their number 4 and 5 men in their starting rotation don't look good at all. Changes are coming...it's amazing this team remains in first place in its division.
Meanwhile the Cubs got a much-needed win by beating the Twins, 3-2. They got another good start from Ted Lilly. Amazingly, despite their struggles, the Cubs remain only 2 and 1/2 games out.
But the Cubs still aren't hitting--and neither are the Rangers, who lost to the Dodgers yesterday, 6-3. The good news--Ranger pitching still only allowed the Dodgers 9 total runs in the 3-game series.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday stuff

FAVORITE TEAM UPDATE: nah, it just wasn't to be for the Red Wings this time in the Stanley Cup Finals--they made a couple of crucial errors, and then in the final period were denied by the crossbar and by the Penguins' goaltender...and lost 2-1. It's frustrating to have a 2-0 lead in the series and let it get away; it's especially tough to lose a game 7 at home. But Pittsburgh obviously was a tough club, too; interestingly, their coach, Dan Bylsma, grew up in western Michigan in the Grand Haven/Spring Lake area--the same place I grew up. So I guess I'm a bit glad for him, but still...I'd have much rather see the Wings win. But, when a series goes to a game 7, anything can happen, and you saw that again last night.
That's the thing--it would have been great for the Red Wings to give the Detroit area and the people of Michigan, suffering through such difficult economic times right now, a lift. But that's the thing about sports--it's a little like life...

...that is, it ain't always fair, and happy endings aren't guaranteed.

BASEBALL DIARY: ah, BUT--Detroit did beat Pittsburgh last night, somewhere; that is, in interleague play, the Tigers bumped off the Pirates, 3-1. Excellent outing by Rick Porcello; the rookie continues to impress...he has 7 wins now. Another slow night offensively, however--the Tigers got 11 hits, but left 11 men on base, and most of those batting 1 through 5 in the order didn't get it done last night. The Tigers need another bat. At least they have pitching, though...
Meanwhile the Cubs played another bad ballgame, losing to the Twins yesterday 7-4. Milton Bradley disgraced himself by making baserunning blunders, not knowing how many outs there were in an inning, etc. They're pressing. And getting themselves in a bad situation.
But the Texas Rangers keep on keepin' on, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-0 last night. The Rangers got another strong start from Vincente Padilla, and Michael Young and Hank Blalock had big hits. Two straight shutouts--few imagined that from Ranger pitching as this season began.

SILLINESS UPDATE: in West Burlington, Iowa, an umpire ejects an entire crowd of 100 people from a high school baseball game. He claims they were being unusually unruly, yelling, etc. But a high school administrator at the game didn't back the ump up.
Sounds like a certain umpire needs to get rid of his rabbit ears...

Again, nope--in fact, investigations pending against leading House Democrats mean that the Republicans could have an issue for 2010:
"The revelation that Democratic appropriations kingpins may face an ethics investigation of their campaign donations moves Republicans closer to gaining a corruption issue in 2010....Democratic Reps. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, Pete Visclosky of Indiana and Jim Moran of Virginia, all members of the money-dispensing House Appropriations Committee, received significant campaign donations from lobbyists from a defunct firm, PMA, and its clients — companies that got money for pet projects."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday's fish fry

NANNY STATE ALERT: naturally the Obama administration "welcomes" the bill just passed by congress regulating the tobacco industry. But note that Philip Morris makes an important point:
"The legislation would give the FDA power to ban candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes, widely considered appealing to first-time smokers, including youths. It would prohibit tobacco companies from using terms such as "low tar," "light" or "mild," require larger warning labels on packages, and restrict advertising of tobacco products. It also would require tobacco companies to reduce levels of nicotine in cigarettes. Altria Group, which owns Philip Morris USA, the nation's biggest cigarette company, called the vote "an important step forward on this legislation." But it expressed "First Amendment reservations about certain provisions, including those that could restrict a manufacturer's ability to communicate truthful information to adult consumers about tobacco products."
At least someone is pointing out possible costs to freedom...

In announcing federal monies coming to Michigan, the Vice President babbled:
"It's not just about rebuilding roads ... it's about rebuilding an economy that can lead us into the 21st century," he said, as cars on I-94 whizzed by behind him."
I guess he hasn't noticed--we're already IN the 21st century.
Just think of how the media would chuckle if Dan Quayle had said that...

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers lost yesterday to the White Sox, 4-3. They still won 3 of 5 in the series...but it could have been 4 of 5. Curtis Granderson had tied the game at 3 in the top of the 9th with a long, two-out home run off the Sox's closer, Bobby Jenks. The Tigers had momentum. But then Joel Zumaya failed to even record an out in the bottom of the 9th, and threw away a sacrifice bunt, basically ensuring the loss. Too bad. You hate to see one get away like that, especially when the team had battled hard through a long rain delay, etc...
Meanwhile the Cubs just aren't hitting--they lost again to Houston yesterday, 2-1 in 13 innings, and managed only 6 hits. Especially galling should be that mediocre Houston starter Russ Ortiz--he'd been banished to middle relief lately--held them to only 2 hits in 5 innings plus.
The Texas Rangers aren't hitting that well right now, either, but they still won last night over Toronto, 1-0. Credit the great start by Kevin Millwood, solid bullpen relief, and several outstanding defensive plays. That's the difference in this team this year--it's pitching and defense have improved significantly.

DAVID LETTERMAN UPDATE: an MSNBC celebrity writer suggests that he's on his way to winning the late-night talk show wars. And his recent, rather disgusting comments about Sarah Palin? Well:
"And no discussion of Letterman’s week can take place without bringing up Sarah Palin. Without going into laborious detail, regardless of your stance on his original inflammatory remarks, Letterman’s response to Palin can be categorized as deft and well-executed. It won’t hurt him."
"Deft"? A non-apology for an ugly joke made about a mother and her 14 year-old daughter is hardly that. Unfortunately, given the views held by most in Hollywood (reflected in the above piece), she's probably right--this whole episode won't hurt him. And that's sad.

MITCH DANIELS--THE FUTURE OF THE GOP?: remember when I mentioned him recently? Others see his ideas and accomplishments as a part of the party's future, too:
"Daniels went on to give a plug for empathy as an animating attitude for the GOP: “We must not only assert, but assert with credibility, that we understand what is going on in the lives of everyday people.” His pitch included a plug for Republicans directing themselves “almost entirely to the young people of this country.” In Indiana, Daniels explained, the GOP is “the party of purpose,” arrayed against Democrats who are “reactionary” and “negative” — “everything we must not be, as we address national events.” If this sounds like a call for a mushy me-tooism, it isn’t. When Daniels took office, the state had an $800-million deficit. He turned that into a $1.3-billion surplus (although it will be eaten into in the current downturn). Since 2005, he has saved roughly $450 million in the state’s budget and reduced the state’s rate of spending growth from 5.9 percent to 2.8 percent. “I tell you with certainty,” Daniels told his Washington audience, “concern about the debt and deficit has not gone out of style.” “Mitch the Knife,” as he was nicknamed when he headed George W. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget, has matched his fiscal probity with the restless innovation of a devoted policy entrepreneur. He leased the state’s faltering toll road to a European operator for nearly $4 billion. He created health savings accounts for Indiana’s poor. He deregulated telecommunications. And he attracted business to the state, with Indiana winning more foreign investment than any other state during the past two years."

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION UPDATE: I said recently that he'll begin to "own" some problems soon; now the NY Times is saying it, too:
at a certain point, a new president assumes ownership of the problems and finds himself answering for his own actions. For Mr. Obama, even some advisers say that moment may be coming soon. Mr. Obama got a taste of that in recent days as he and his White House were put on the defensive trying to explain why the unemployment rate had risen to 9.4 percent when his staff had predicted it would peak at 8 percent as long as Congress passed his stimulus plan, which lawmakers dutifully did. Mr. Obama obviously did not create the recession passed to him, but it was his administration that set the expectation that his policy would keep it from deepening as far as it has."
He's got until summer or early fall, it appears...

PAUL KRUGMAN, HATER: he claims Republicans and conservatives are providing a "climate" in which extremists can operate. Really? He writes:
"The R.N.C. says that “the Democratic Party is dedicated to restructuring American society along socialist ideals.” And when Jon Voight, the actor, told the audience at a Republican fund-raiser this week that the president is a “false prophet” and that “we and we alone are the right frame of mind to free this nation from this Obama oppression,” Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, thanked him, saying that he “really enjoyed” the remarks."
And how often, over the past 8 years, did those on the left label George W. Bush a "fascist", a "dictator"? I even read one claim that Bush hoped to do away with the 2008 election in order to remain in power. Did Mr. Krugman denounce such extremist rhetoric? Of course not.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

OBAMA UPDATE: we keep finding more problems with last week's speech in Cairo. Basically, President Obama too often flunks history:
"In reference to Iraq, President Obama promised that “no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.” Is he unaware that the United States imposed democracies after World War II? After the defeat of German Nazism, Italian fascism, and Japanese militarism, Americans — by force — insisted that these nations adopt democratic governments, for both their own sakes and the world’s. Indeed, it is hard to think of too many democratic governments that did not emerge from violence — including our own. Obama also stated: “For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights.” With all due respect to our president, this assertion is again not fully accurate. The only thing that ended slavery in the United States was the Civil War, which saw some 600,000 Americans — the vast majority of them white — lost in a violent struggle to ensure that nearly half the country would not remain a slave-owning society. Also, the massive urban riots of the 1960s and 1970s were certainly violent."
Read the whole thing. President Obama and his advisers have, one fears, an ideologically liberal--and thus skewed--view of history. Don't forget he also, in the Cairo speech, likened the suffering of Palestinian refugees to that of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust. Wow...

GAS UPDATE: prices are up again, nationwide:
with pump prices again nudging the $3-a-gallon mark in places like California and Michigan, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen to light truck sales, and SUVs, in particular."
Democrats got all outraged about gas prices back in 2006 and beyond, when a Republican was president. They seem rather quiet now...
Nor are Americans happy with the Obama administration's takeover of GM:
"Most Americans are unhappy with the actions the federal government has taken with General Motors, and people are uncertain about GM's future — even with the government's help, according to a FOX News poll released Thursday."
The GOP and conservatism ain't dead, folks...

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers beat the White Sox again last night, 2-1--thanks to another outstanding start by Justin Verlander. 9 strikeouts, and he's 7-0 in his last 9 starts. And the Tigers have now won 5 of 6. With pitching like that, Tiger fans can hope that this team IS a real threat to win the AL Central...
The Rangers were rained out. The Cubs meanwhile failed to hit against mediocre Astros' pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, and wasted a great outing by Carlos Zambrano, 2-1. As Manager Piniella said, when the Cubs finally start to hit, they'll win consistently. But it hasn't happened yet.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday's wash

WAR ON TERROR UPDATE: Al Qaeda is hard up for money--and even CBS News has to admit that, ya know, those Bush administration policies over the past 7 years may just have had something to do with it:
"As the global economy languished in the throes of deep recession, so, it seems, did al Qaeda.
An audio message intercepted by CBS News, sent by the terror group's chief financial manager (a label used by Sept. 11 Commission), portrays a rare image of the terrorist enterprise: hard-up....Mostafa Abul Yazid, who is also al Qaeda's senior figure in Afghanistan, is heard asking an unknown contact in Turkey for urgent financial support. "We are lacking funds here in the Afghan jihadi arena," he says on the tape. "The slow action in the operations here nowadays is due to the lack of funds, and many Mujahideen could not carry out jihad because there's not enough money."....In the early nineties, al Qaeda also benefited from the generous donations of Islamic charities and wealthy individuals, mostly in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. It's been reported that the group's budget for 2000 was estimated at $30 million. Things changed, however, in the wake of the attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The U.S. government, along with the European Union and other members of the international community, embarked on a major effort to counter terrorist financing around the world, putting into force a plethora of legal instruments and new laws. Wealthy jihad financiers were prosecuted and dozens of charities had their assets frozen."

Bush administration policies will be vindicated by history.

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ARROGANCE UPDATE: so, why did so many Obama administration nominees have tax problems, anyway? Well, guess what--it's not that the Obama people didn't know about them:
"The problem is the Obama White House, which, fully aware of its nominees’ tax issues, decided that those problems were trivial, or that the public wouldn’t care about them, and pushed forward with nominations that in the past would have been quietly shelved....I asked a Senate source close to the nominating process why the troubled nominations kept coming, in spite of the tax problems. “I think it was the administration underestimating what the grassroots folks who elected President Obama were going to object to,” the source told me. With the out-of-touch White House firmly behind the nominees, Senate Democrats got the message that they, too, needed to line up in support. So they did ­ until they started hearing from outside the Washington bubble. “If you look at Daschle’s experience, he came out of a meeting with members of the committee, and the Democratic members said they supported him,” the insider pointed out. “But on the next day he withdrew.”
"Pride cometh before the fall", they say. The Obama administration's overconfidence and arrogance will some day get it in big trouble.

MEDIA SILLINESS UPDATE: so today CNN trumpets on its website that a new poll means "trouble" for Republicans. Uh-oh, one wonders, what now? Well:
"As the Republican Party struggles to regain its footing following the November elections, a new survey shows that a majority of adult Americans sees no clear leader for the minority political party."
Sigh. And that was basically it? This is big news? Every party which loses a presidential election along with control of congress struggles to find a new "leader"; just ask the Democrats who remember the early 1980s, after Ronald Reagan's victory. It's a phase through which every defeated party has to pass. News flash: in the end, they do. And move on. So will the Republican Party, despite gleeful liberals in the news media writing stories such as the above.

NEWS ALERT: today, two people were shot at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, in Washington. The shooter, an elderly man, apparently has links to white supremacist/hate groups.
When the abortionist doctor George Tiller was shot some days ago, a number of my acquaintances on net discussion groups tried mightily to claim conservatives were somehow partially at fault for his death (after all, conservatives are against abortion, and the shooter was against abortion, so what other evidence could we possibly need!?!) I wonder if the Right will be blamed for this shooting, too (after all, maybe both we and the shooter in this case oppose affirmative action, or something). Stay tuned...

IS THE GOP DEAD? DEPT: so this year's Virginia governor's race is now set--Republican Bob McDonnell vs Democrat Creigh Deeds. The good news--McDonnell going in leads Deeds in every poll, and despite $3 million spent by the Democratic Governor's Association against McDonnell in negative ads, they've had no effect.
Definitely a good shot at winning here, but it's still early. Remember, Obama carried Virginia last year; this would be a big win for the GOP.
And further: in New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie still leads Democrat incumbent Jon Corzine by 10 points.
The general public continues to agree with conservatives on many issues, too--take, for example, the question of government regulation:
"We have been told that the financial crisis would lead the public to embrace a larger regulatory role for the government and discredit advocates of the free market. (Harold Meyerson sounds this theme in pretty much his every column in the Washington Post.) Pew doesn't find the massive swing the public discussion might lead one to expect. Asked whether "government regulation of business usually does more harm than good," majorities continue to agree. There has been only a three-point decline in agreement since 2007 (from 57 to 54 percent)."

FAVORITE TEAM UPDATE: Red Wings coach Mike Babcock put it well--the Pittsburgh Penguins played with a bit more desperation than did Detroit last night, won a few more battles, and evened the Stanley Cup Finals at 3-3 with a 2-1 win. Well, the Wings have the ultimate game at home, and they've played well there--it's all one can ask for.

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers won a wild one last night, 7-6 over the White Sox. Dontrelle Willis didn't pitch badly; Adam Everett made a great throw in the 9th inning to cut down the potential winning run at the plate; and Brandon Inge, Everett, and Miguel Cabrera had big hits. It's worrisome that closer Fernando Rodney blew a save. But, the Tigers found a way to win, have won 2 of the first 3 games in this big series, and have won 4 of their past 5.
Meanwhile the Texas Rangers played a very poor game last night, letting no-name Toronto pitcher Brian Tallet shut them out, 9-0. One suspects this team had a letdown after their big series win in Boston. That needs to end tonight.
But the Cubs blasted Houston, 7-1, behind a 3-hitter by Ted Lilly. Could the Cubs be getting their groove back? Maybe--but remember they're playing the sad-sack Astros, against whom the Cubs are 6-2 this year.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

WAR ON TERROR UPDATE: this is encouraging...
"Hundreds of Pakistani villagers who have formed an anti-Taliban militia battled for the fourth day Tuesday to remove the Islamic militants from a region of northwest Pakistan."
They're outraged over a recent suicide bombing attack at a local mosque.
Here's a thought: maybe the war on terror--remember, something the, gasp, Bush administration spoke of?--isn't as unpopular as some think.

BIASED MEDIA COMMENTARY WATCH: a commentator from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School decries the fact that prominent Republicans are already beginning to make statements in preparation for the 2012 presidential campaign, and writes:
"President Obama must govern in a political environment where Republicans are already in full campaign mode. There are many reasons behind the polarization that defines Washington, but the endless campaign is one of the most important."
Ah, yes. The permanent campaign. And do you know who was a master practitioner of it, both before and--importantly--during his presidency? William Jefferson Clinton.
Yet guess who wasn't mentioned, not once, in the above linked article...

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers split a doubleheader with the White Sox, winning the first game, 5-4, but losing the second, 6-1. There were positives and negatives. On the positive side, I see Marcus Thames not only is back from the DL, but is hitting the ball hard and adding to the offense. And it was good to see Armando Galarraga battle hard and keep his team in the game in that afternoon tilt. But in the night game, it's apparent the Tigers had very few good at-bats, and Jeremy Bonderman, in his first start after a long rehab, didn't have it. Has he lost his old velocity for good? That's the question. Still, if the Tigers can somehow get a win out of Dontrelle Willis tonight, then they might just have Verlander and Jackson going in the last two games of this series, and that could bode well...
Meanwhile, the Cubs were off. And the Rangers unfortunately lost the opener of a long home stand to Toronto, 6-3...largely because dependable Scott Feldman didn't have his best stuff, and Elvis Andrus failed to get a squeeze bunt down in the 6th. Hopefully tonight will go better.

IS THE GOP AND CONSERVATISM DEAD? DEPT: again, nope--for example, yes, Obama is personally popular; but his stands on certain issues definitely aren't:
"While 67% of Americans view President Barack Obama favorably, his overall job approval rating and his ratings on specific areas are less positive. At the low end of the spectrum, only 45% of Americans approve of Obama's handling of federal spending, and 46% of his handling of the federal budget deficit."

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday's musings

BOOK SUGGESTION: conservatives, read Christopher Buckley's memoir of his mother and father's deaths but, also, of their lives (his father of course was William F. Buckley Jr.) It's called "Losing Mum and Pup", and what it will do is illuminate an area of WFB Jr.'s life that maybe we haven't known much about yet--WFB as a father. You'll see him in all his glory; and you'll view his flaws, too. You'll learn something about life, and about death and what we go through when it comes.

It appears that North Korea is joining Iran in refusing to respond to Obama administration overtures. And here so many folks thought Bush administration bluster was the culprit:
"North Korea convicted two American journalists and sentenced them Monday to 12 years of hard labor for crossing into its territory, intensifying the reclusive nation's confrontation with the United States."

CULTURE WATCH: It ain't easy being a social conservative these days...:
"I’m still holding out for Mr. Right, but with all the pressure my roommates place on me and the way they embarrass me, sometimes I think Mr. Okay will have to do.” That’s not dialogue from a Sex and the City episode. It’s Andrea Moscoe, 20, who is a “committed chick,” according to Cosmopolitan magazine, preserving her virginity despite being in college and “living in a house with five sex-crazed girls"...Brooke Shields would tell them to just get on with it, already. In an issue of Health magazine, the Blue Lagoon actress and mother of two daughters named her biggest health-related regret: “I think I would have had sex a lot earlier! . . . I think I would have lost my virginity earlier than I did at 22.” At 20, Miss Moscoe gets what Shields, at 44, doesn’t. Moscoe tells Cosmo: “My roommates always tell guys I’m dating about my virgin status, and tease me. I think it’s because they are insecure and want the guys to get scared off or because they’re jealous that I’m stronger than they’ve been.”

OBAMA ECONOMY UPDATE: here's some information that hasn't gotten much play yet:
"National unemployment rate the month that the stimulus was signed into law: 8.1 percent. National unemployment rate today: 9.4 percent."
Remember this when you read the administration's boasting about how many jobs its "stimulus" package will create this summer. Remember too that at some point Mr. Obama will own this economy...

FAVORITE TEAM UPDATE: well, let's just say the Detroit Red Wings weren't quite as old, tired, and swept away by the Penguins' "momentum" in game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals as some thought...
The Wings won 5-0 over Pittsburgh Saturday night, completely dominating the game, and now go for a second straight Cup tomorrow night.

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers wound up winning two of three against the Angels, pulling one out yesterday 9-6 on Clete Thomas' grand slam in the 8th inning. This came on top of Edwin Jackson's gem of a pitching outing Saturday, as he and the Tigers edged the Angels, 2-1. We'll take 'em however we get 'em...
Meanwhile the Cubs beat the Reds 6-3 in 14 innings, to take two of three this past weekend. The Cubs got another good start from young Randy Wells; and maybe Alfonso Soriano is coming around--his homer in the 14th inning proved to be the game-winning RBI.
And look at the Texas Rangers--they won two of three over the weekend in Boston, including a win yesterday, 6-3. Solid play, good hitting from Michael Young and Nelson Cruz, a good start from the embattled Vincente Padilla, and solid relieving from Darren O'Day and C.J. Wilson. The Rangers went 0-7 in Boston last year. But this year is different, and this team remains firmly ensconced in first place. Are they for real???

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday's fish fry

There's a lot to do today, so some of the entries below will be brief...

Victor Davis Hanson points out another danger in the president's speech to the Muslim world yesterday--the danger of moral equivalence:
Whatever a well-meaning President Obama thinks, occasional American outbursts against Muslims are not analogous with the terrorism directed at Westerners or the hostility toward Christianity shown in most of the Muslim world. Try flying into Saudi Arabia with a Bible, as compared to traveling to San Francisco with a Koran. One can easily forsake Christianity; one can never safely leave Islam. European worries about headscarves are not the equivalent of the Gulf states’ harassment of practicing Christians. Sorry, they’re just not."
He's right. Read the whole thing. Moral equivalence is a frequent failure of the left--remember for example the endless equating, during the Cold War, of minor American sins with such things as Soviet gulags, its domination of Eastern Europe, etc.
And by the way, despite Obama's speech yesterday, today Iranian leaders continue to thumb their noses at the president's overtures.

Tim Rutten writes in the LA Times:
"Over the years, no abortion-rights advocate has physically harmed an
antiabortion partisan."

Hmmm. That's true--instead, abortion-rights advocates stick to facilitating the harming of unborn children. Several million of them, in fact.

FAVORITE TEAM UPDATE: the Detroit Red Wings have a big battle on their hands now in the Stanley Cup Finals, as they allowed a shorthanded goal last night to completely turn the momentum of the game Pittsburgh's way, and the Pens went on to win, 4-2. The question now is--can the Wings respond at home Saturday night and get the momentum back?

BASEBALL DIARY: the Cubs were rained out. The Tigers blew a game to the Red Sox yesterday they easily could have won, as Dontrelle Willis let a 3-0 lead get away by walking 5 men and generally blowing up in the 3rd inning; the Red Sox got 6 runs out of it. The Tigers' bullpen's inability to put out the fire and Tiger hitters' inability to score runs didn't help, either.
For the Texas Rangers, they had a great shot to win 2 of 3 in New York. But it didn't happen--their starter Brandon McCarthy blew a 5-1 lead and a Melky Cabrera home run just into the first row of the new Yankee Stadium's short-porch left field led to an 8-6 Ranger loss.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

BASEBALL DIARY: it's shaping up as a tough week for the Tigers--they lost again last night to the Red Sox, 10-5. And don't be fooled by the final score--the Tigers trailed 10-0, and then only got some runs largely thanks to Red Sox errors and walks. Fact is, the team isn't hitting; and pitchers such as starter Armando Galarraga and reliever Nate Robertson aren't getting the job done, either. The AL East is sure shaping up as the American League's toughest division; the Central? Not so much, with the Tigers' performance this week vs Boston being exhibit A.
But the Cubs edged the Braves, 3-2 in 11 innings. Still not much offense--but Ted Lilly pitched well and Kevin Gregg set the Braves down in order in the 11th to get the save.
And the Texas Rangers played a very solid game, beating the Yankees, 4-2. Scott Feldman again kept the ball down and got lots of ground balls; Michael Young and Elvis Andrus played very good defense behind him; and C.J. Wilson and Frankie Francisco closed the game. The Rangers had to play well in order to cool the Yankees off; it helped that Yankee starter Andy Pettite was off his game...

OBAMA MIDDLE EAST SPEECH UPDATE: you can read about the speech here.
He tries very hard to reach out to both sides of every question, to split differences...and I don't sense that he said anything very new. I am glad that he said this:
"We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security -- because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women and children. And it is my first duty as president to protect the American people."

But there was a lot the speech did not do, as David Gelernter on NRO points out:
"It’s easy to denounce the murder of 3,000 innocents on 9/11 — which the president did. It’s much harder to condemn the Arab crowds who danced in the streets afterward — which the president did not do. It’s easy to decry the long years of “tension” between the Muslim world and the U.S., but much harder to discuss the liaisons between Arab leaders and Nazi Germany, followed by the era of Soviet client states armed to the teeth and dedicated to the mass murder of Israelis. It’s easy to denounce President Bush’s America, but much harder to give it due credit and to uphold the honor of the United States and not just the honor of Barack Obama. “I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein,” said the president. Ultimately? And is this a belief, or is it a fact?

IS THE GOP DEAD? DEPT: Nope--a new poll shows the Republican candidate for governor in New Jersey, Chris Christie, with a 13 point lead over the incumbent, Jon Corzine.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wednesday's wash

On who? On Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who's accomplished a lot there and won re-election in 2008 with nearly 60% of the vote--and who's been visible lately and has some ideas:
" Conservatism will become credible again if it's forward-looking, constructive and friendly and connects with the lives of everyday people, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told a conservative audience Wednesday.But conservatives will have to be patient because the public wants it to spend some time in the penalty box. "Our fellow citizens will eventually say, `All right, we'll listen. Did you learn anything? Did you hear us? Do you have any new, good ideas for us?'" Daniels said. "And if we do, and we will, I have every confidence that freedom and those who expose it cannot be kept down for long."
Good advice. Don't be surprised if Daniels becomes a player on the national stage in 2012.

More problems for Democratic congressman John Murtha (PA):
"...a budget watchdog group says there are growing ethical questions for Murtha. "He gets contracts to his district. He expects people who want to do business in his district to give him campaign contributions," said Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. "If you look at what's swirling around him, he's got a lot of reason to be concerned."
Republicans need to hammer away at this stuff.

"Audits conducted at every Detroit Public School show sloppy bookkeeping, employees using school funds for personal loans and missing cash receipts, findings that could lead to criminal indictments in some cases, Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb said today. All but five of the 194 schools audited skirted district requirements by not providing support for expenditures, not preparing bank reconciliations, not getting appropriate signatures on checks and, in some cases, deliberately misappropriating funds, according to officials."
And heaven forbid that any of the poor families in Detroit should have a chance at a voucher, which might allow them to escape these failing schools and allow their children a shot at a better education.

FAVORITE TEAM UPDATE: it was a tough night last night for the faves. The Detroit Red Wings last night didn't play badly--they outshot Pittsburgh, on the road, for the game and totally dominated the second period. But they couldn't get the puck in the net, while the Pens capitalized on their chances, and won 4-2. But the Wings still lead 2-1 in the series, making game 4 another chance for them to grab a stranglehold on this thing...

BASEBALL DIARY: it was a tough night for the Detroit Tigers, too--they lost last night at home to Boston, 5-1. It was rookie Rick Porcello's first loss as a starter after 5 straight wins. He didn't pitch that badly, but the Red Sox, a very good, experienced club, made him pay for his mistakes. Again the key for the Tigers is that they didn't hit--they had 9 hits, but went only 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position. I predict the Tigers will look this month and next for another bat they can add to this lineup, in trade...
It was a tough night for my other teams, too. The Cubs blew a 5-0 lead and lost to Atlanta, 6-5 in 12 innings. The bullpen blew this one, erasing a fine start by rookie Randy Wells. One can point especially to Carlos Marmol, who came in and walked two batters and hit another...
Meanwhile the Texas Rangers continue to have a hard time matching up with the hot Yankees, losing last night, 12-3. Vincente Padilla had a bad start--walking too many guys, being constantly in trouble. Plus the Yankees hit several 3-run homers--that never helps.

Some say the pro-life movement as a whole bears responsibility for it. Not so, wisely notes the editors of National Review:
"Without abolitionism there would probably have been no John Brown. Without anti–Vietnam War activism, no Weathermen. (At the very least, disturbed and violent people would have found other outlets for their rage.) The abolitionists and the antiwar movement could not reasonably have been asked to foreswear passionate advocacy of their causes in order to minimize the chance of violence. Pro-lifers cannot reasonably be asked to stop saying that George Tiller spent his days killing young human beings — especially since what they say is true.
What any group of activists can reasonably be asked is to condemn violence and to do the best they can to root out anyone who does not condemn it. This pro-lifers have done and are doing. They can also be asked to do and have done one more thing: to support the just punishment, by legitimate authorities, of murderers."
Bingo. We must do what Abraham Lincoln did in the wake of John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859---state that, yes, Brown agreed with anti-slavery politicians such as Lincoln in thinking slavery wrong, still that did not give him the right to foment violence against the state and the break the country's laws. It should be noted that conservative and pro-life leaders immediately denounced Tiller's murder. That can't always be said about liberals and the nuts in their midst.

He claims that the United States is "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." Hmmm:
"...of the approximately 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, there are about 200 million Muslims in Indonesia, 196 million in India, 165 million in Pakistan, 132 million in Bangladesh, 75 million in Egypt, 64 million in Iran, 33 million in Morocco, 32 million in Algeria, 31 million in Afghanistan, 26 million in Iraq, 25 million in Ethiopia, 24 million in Saudi Arabia, 20 million in China, and 15 million in Russia, to name just a few countries. In fact, there are 2 to 3 times as many Muslims in Burkina Faso (approx. 7.5 million) as there are in America. So obviously, one can see why the president would say the United States is "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world."
Ooops. Let's see how much play this gets in the news media.
If George W. Bush had said something like this, he'd be savaged for the next week.