Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Team Clinton Easter

Here's how Hillary's volunteers celebrated Good Friday in Allentown, Pa.:
There was lots of excitement in the Allentown office this Friday at our voter registration drive as we decorated Easter eggs, ate lots of chocolate, and had a visit with the Easter Bunny. Moms showed their support for Hillary and they brought friends who needed to register as Democrats to cast a ballot for her on April 22nd. The kids, happy to have a day off from school, colored eggs and made Hillary signs which are now proudly displayed in our office. The fun was contagious and spilled right over into our canvass kick-off on Saturday morning! Don’t forget—you’ve got just two more days to change your registration and vote for Hillary in the primary!
Nothing Pennsylvanians enjoy better than a traditional holiday voter registration drive . . .

Here's a story about Monday's opening of the Allentown office of Hillary's campaign (follow the link to see a hysterically funny video):
"It's not just because she's a woman," Joanne Messenlehner insisted above the din late this afternoon at the open-house inauguration of the Hillary Clinton campaign headquarters in Allentown, where the faithful had come to cheer and volunteer.
"She's the best candidate."
And yet Messenlehner of Nazareth, one of dozens of volunteers and staffers crowding the little office near Fifth and Hamilton streets -- squeezed between a dry cleaner and a tattoo parlor -- couldn't resist a quick, merry foray into gender politics.
"It's long overdue," she said. "The men have messed things up for so long, I think we're finally going to get it right."
Joanne Messenlehner: Another thorn in the crown of the crucified Obama -- and she's from Nazareth, Pa. How appropriate is that?

Wanna bet the tattoo parlor gets more business from Clinton staffers than the dry cleaner does?

Ace goes thermonuclear on Sully

I don't know what set him off:
In case anyone missed it, I left Andrew Sullivan a smoking crater the other day. Probably my cruelest slam of him ever, partly because I just kept linking all the previous crap I'd written about him.
Maybe what triggered this Armegeddon of scorn was the self-righteous "don't you dare accuse me of being as emotional as a middle-school girl!" attitude that Sullivan sometimes exhibits.

'Kristen' shows fakies

Egotastic has what it claims are the first (but surely not the last) nude photos of Eliot Spitzer's hooker, "Kristen" (a/k/a Ashley Youmans, a/k/a Ashley Alexandra Dupre).

This may settle one question, because if those photos are really "Kristen," then her boobs are definitely fake. Either that, or the photos were taken in a zero-gravity environment.

UPDATE 3/25: Welcome AOSHQ Morons! And, yeah, Ace is right. This post won't win me a Pulitzer, but it gets me lots of moron traffic and, really, that's much better.

Post-feminist follies

L.A. Times columnist Meghan Daum expends 800 words pondering the meaning of the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal:
At its core, it reveals how much uncertainty exists within even the strongest and most enduring relationships. Deeper still, it hints at how hard we'll work -- and how exhausted we'll become in the process -- in the effort to eliminate that uncertainty. In much the same way the Bush administration was convinced that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, humans desperately want to think that long-term sexual monogamy works. We want to believe that, through some combination of willpower, luck and, as Cosmo might say, "smart love moves," we will neither cheat nor be cheated upon.
What is it with columnists and the first-person plural? Yesterday it was Frank Schaeffer, today it's Meghan Daum. Her use of "we" is an attempt to project onto her readers the "uncertainty" she describes. And, as with Schaeffer, this trick is profoundly dishonest.

Daum uses the bogus "we" to suggest a "we're all in this together" sisterhood solidarity. Clearly, however, she does not share the "desperate" belief in monogamy that she attributes to this "we." Her message could be translated:
I pity you stupid chumps, with your childish beliefs in "happily ever after." I am a sophisticated realist, while you are a deluded simpleton.
It is easily possible to distinguish Daum's own beliefs from the beliefs she insultingly attributes to others via her bogus "we." And with a bit of assistance from her biography, it is just as easy to find the basis of Daum's insulting cynicism. She does not believe in "long-term sexual monogamy" for the simple reason that she's never experienced it. And her sneering at other people's monogamous relationships (or even their belief in the possibility of such relationships) amounts to a sour-grapes defense mechanism.

Daum's column reveals more about Daum than it does about the Spitzer scandal. It's just another self-indulgent excercise in media narcissism.

Denver 2008 = Chicago 1968?

Mike Tippitt suggests that this year's Democratic convention in Denver might be a replay of the infamous Chicago 1968 convention, when anti-war protesters clashed with police.

I don't think so, mainly because the parallels don't work. In 1968, you had a Democratic president, Lyndon B. Johnson, who was chiefly responsible for "escalating" the war in Vietnam. LBJ's vice-president, Hubert Humphrey, had become the Democratic presidential nominee almost by accident. The early anti-war candidate, Eugene McCarthy, had faded after Robert F. Kennedy jumped into the race. Then RFK had been assassinated, leaving the pro-war candidate Humphrey to claim the nomination despite a strong anti-war presence among the delegates.

None of those political conditions is duplicated for the Democrats who will gather at Denver this year. Most importantly, there is no military draft, which was the basic factor that made the anti-war movement of the 1960s as strong as it was.

Finally, the protests at Chicago turned violent because of a hard core of SDS/Yippie radicals who actively provoked confrontations with police. Today's protesters don't have the numbers, don't have the leadership, and don't have the discipline necessary to pull off anything remotely like what happened in 1968.

I've seen these latter-day protesters in DC at anti-globalization rallies in 1999-2000 and at anti-war demonstrations held regularly since 2001. The protesters come in two varieties: Over-the-hill hippies out for a little nostalgia, and spineless young punks.

These young protest punks do a lot of radical yapping, but they really don't mean anything. They're not about to actually get into a face-to-face showdown with the cops. They might turn over some mailboxes or break a few windows, but as soon as the cops show up, the punks run like scared little girls.

So even if a bunch of protesters show up in Denver, there's no chance of a really serious clash between the protesters and the cops, and thus no chance of Chicago-style mayhem.

Friday, March 21, 2008

'Crucify' Obama?

Frank Schaeffer's column at the Huffington Post is headlined:
This Good Friday Let Us Not Crucify Barack Obama
Excuse me? Nobody is talking about crucifying anybody. It's just politics, Frank. The three remaining presidential candidates -- Obama, Hillary and McCain -- are all U.S. senators, and should they lose, they'll still be U.S. senators. So to suggest that criticizing them is akin to crucifixion is ... well, maybe it's not blasphemy, but it's pretty ridiculous.

Speaking of ridiculous, here's the first paragraph of Schaeffer's column:
Senator Obama has a problem: the hardening of the American heart, the closing of the American mind, the shriveling of our souls, the shrinking capacity of our imaginations, our jaded senses, the seen-it-all attitude that makes us into sneering voyeurs too mean spirited to save ourselves.
Notice Schaeffer's dishonest use of first-person plural pronouns -- "our" and "us" and "ourselves" -- dishonest because, of course, he doesn't really mean to include himself in this indictment. Schaeffer is not saying that he has a hardened heart, a shriveled soul, a shrunken imagination, etc. No, he aims these pejoratives at you.

Among the hard hearts and shriveled souls that Schaeffer attacks by name is Ronald Kessler of Newsmax, who has been reporting on Jeremiah Wright and Trinity Church for months. Kessler and Schaeffer were both guests on a radio talk show to discuss Obama's big "race in America" speech, and Kessler was apparently unimpressed. Schaeffer writes:
He said it left him unmoved. He was in a sneering mood bristling with ever-so-reasonable middle class certitude of his conservative righteousness. To Kessler the speech was just politics, nothing more. The idea of it's truth was of no consequence. To him it was all about tactics.
Is it really so hard-hearted to say that a speech by a candidate for office is "just politics, nothing more"? Was Obama's speech so chock-full of undeniable truth that no reasonable person could interpret it in terms of political tactics?

Schaeffer continues:
Obama offers civility in the midst of a drunken national bar fight. Obama speaks in complete sentences, well-turned paragraphs, offers thoughts with intellectual depth, nuance, humility and compassion. Obama is a reasoned essay cast before sound-bite swine who seem ready to tear anything that falls into their sty to shreds. . . .
Obama is offering America a fresh start. There is more decent intelligent authenticity in his little finger than the Clintons will ever know. There is more kind wisdom in Obama than in all our sneering bloodsucking moronic media combined. But we have imbibed detritus for so long that when clean food is offered we can't taste it.
We are unworthy! We are unworthy!

Frank Schaeffer drank the Kool-Aid, and there is no hope for him. No wonder he resorted to the Good Friday crucifixion theme -- he's an Obama apostle, a True Believer.

And Frank: Knock off this "we/us/our" crap. It's insulting.

UPDATE: Is the bogus "we" some kind of trend? Megan Daum pulls the same trick in the L.A. Times.

UPDATE II: Ace links (I could have sworn he'd link the "Kristen's fake boobs" post instead, but he decided to play against type) and also links Hot Air with more Easter messages from Democrats: James Carville says Bill Richardson is Judas Iscariot for endorsing Obama.

Don't blame me -- in this battle of Democratic analogies, I suppose I'm Pontius Pilate.

UPDATE III: Also linked by Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, who calls attention to this quote from Ace:
Are you quite sure Obama is Jesus?
I’m not a big believer in End-of-Days claptrap, but I’m beginning to think a better case could be made for someone else mentioned near the very end of the Bible.
Heh. Actually, I thought Hillary was The Beast.

UPDATE IV: Speaking of Hillary, her Pennsylvania campaign spent Good Friday running a crucifixion registration drive.

Obamathon at Hot Air

Allah and Ed will have nothing to blog about now that they've sworn off Obama-bashing -- for the week, anyway. Which is kind of convenient for a 5 p.m. post on Good Friday, since Easter weekend isn't exactly primetime for news.

But I'm still here to point out that, among other things, Obama's sure got funny-looking ears, doesn't he?

Campaign update

The most important news of the day? Jim Antle linked me. I still think the expression "haunted Republicans for a generation" is overdramatic, and I still dislike it when journalists do the armchair-strategist routine with campaigns. But since Antle says he is neither (a) endorsing Soren Dayton's suspension nor (b) cheerleading for Crazy Cousin John, then all that's left to say is, thanks for the link!

Meanwhile, Vandehei and Harris say that the Democratic primary race is all over but the shouting: Obama wins and Hillary loses. Which may be true, but I'd hate to be the campaign staffer assigned to break that news to Hillary. And since Vandehei and Harris admit the possibility that Hillary could yet conceivably steal the nomination by bribing or blackmailing superdelegates . . . hey, why not? If Team Clinton can steal the nomination, they will steal the nomination.

The Clinton campaign sneers at Bill Richardson's endorsement of Obama. Yeah, he's just jockeying for the running-mate gig. Tough luck for Richardson, once Hillary buys off all those superdelegates and steals the nomination.

Karl Rove says left-wing bloggers don't have real lives. As if right-wing bloggers do.

Speaking of Ace of Spades, he's real upset at the way CNN's spinning Jeremiah Wright's "chickens coming home to roost" rhetoric.

The Democratic Party tells Florida and Michigan to go to hell. I can understand the DNC flipping the bird at Michigan -- a declining Rust Belt state with politics dominated by labor-union goons -- but what's their beef against sunny Florida?

Fox bashing Fox?

Chris Wallace criticizes his own network for belaboring Obama's "typical white person" remark:

Hot Air's Ed Morrisey agrees:
Obama’s comment was newsworthy, and deserves significant airplay. Making it the focus of a two-hour block of time? I’d say few news stories outside of terrorist attacks deserve that kind of wall-to-wall coverage.
In general, I'd say Fox News themes its coverage to the New York Post in much the way the other networks take their cues from the New York Times. So if the Post gives a national story front-page coverage and an inside two-page spread, you can bet that Fox News will also give it big treatment.

On the other hand, maybe the producer of "Fox & Friends" just figured the viewers wanted lots of Obama-related news.

'Haunted' by Willie Horton?

In relation to Soren Dayton's suspension from the McCain campaign, W. James Antle III writes:
In a political culture where Willie Horton has haunted Republicans for a generation, the McCain campaign moved quickly to distance itself from the video and the aide who was distributing it.
Eh? To start with, the Willie Horton ad aired in 1988, and 20 years is not a generation. More important, it was a perfectly legitimate ad about a perfectly legitimate issue -- and the issue was not race, but crime.

Willie Horton was a convicted murderer sentenced to serve life in prison in Massachusetts for a 1974 robbery-murder. Under a state furlough program supported by Gov. Mike Dukakis, Horton received a weekend furlough in 1986 and skipped out. While on the lam, Horton kidnapped and tortured a Maryland couple, raping the woman.

The Horton case received national publicity -- including an account in Reader's Digest -- and was used against Dukakis by Al Gore in the Democratic primary campaign. But it was not until the issue was cited by President (George H.W.) Bush in summer 1988 that the media began to suggest that it was "racist" to mention the case.

The whole point of discussing the Horton case in 1988 was to highlight Dukakis' record of being "soft on crime," since Dukakis as governor of Massachusetts had supported and defended the furlough program that let Horton out of prison. Since Dukakis himself boasted of being a "card-carrying member" of the ACLU, and since the U.S. at that time was in the midst of an upsurge in violent crime sparked by the crack cocaine epidemic, a lot of voters were worried about crime in 1988.

While it is always possible (especially with 20 years of hindsight) to second-guess campaign tactics, the fact is that Bush got 53% of the popular vote and carried 40 states in 1988 -- which is more than any GOP presidential candidate has done since then. If anyone is curious about the reality of the Horton case, and how it was used in the 1988 election, there is a very informative chapter about the case in Ann Coulter's book Godless.

To cite the Horton case as an excuse to justify the suspension of Soren Dayton over the Obama mash-up video strikes me as bizarre in the extreme. Soren didn't produce the video, and by the time he Twittered it, the video was already all over the blogosphere, so it wasn't like Soren was the exclusive or primary distributor. (Perhaps the rule should be, once it makes Memeorandum, it's fair game.)

Antle seems less interested in the basic facts of the issue and more interested in acting as an unpaid advisor to the McCain campaign:

If noted liberals like Bill Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro are unable to handle these issues with care, insensitivity will definitely blow up in a Republican's face.

How can McCain take advantage of the concerns that Obama is not who he appears to be -- a real uniter, not a demagogic divider -- while maintaining the moral high ground? How can he McGovernize Obama in the eyes of Middle America without turning himself into Archie Bunker in the eyes of the fourth estate?

Who cares? Certainly not me. As a journalist, I'm enjoying the spectacle of the campaign, and have no personal concern for the strategic problems facing the candidates. If the Republican Party wants to pay me for advice, I'll be glad to provide it. But since the GOP hasn't paid me a dime -- and is unlikely to do so -- I can afford to laugh at them. And do.

'Imprudent curiosity'

Hired hands at Foggy Bottom decided to go snooping around in the data:

Two State Department employees were fired recently and a third disciplined for improperly accessing electronic personal data on Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, Bush administration officials said today.
The officials, all contract workers, used their authorized computer network access to look up files within the department's consular affairs section, which processes and stores passport information, and read Mr. Obama's passport application and other records, in violation of department privacy rules, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. . . .
Mr. McCormack said the officials did not appear to be seeking information on behalf of any political candidate or party.
"As far as we can tell, in each of the three cases, it was imprudent curiosity," Mr. McCormack told The Washington Times.

Kind of an odd choice for "imprudent curiosity." Why a politician? Why not browse the passport files for Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie?

Don Surber notes the hyped-up reaction from the Obama camp:
"This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy. . . . This is a serious matter that merits a complete investigation, and we demand to know who looked at Senator Obama's passport file, for what purpose, and why it took so long for them to reveal this security breach."
Like Don says, they investigated, found the culprits and fired them. What more does the Obama camp want, other than an opportunity to grandstand?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Video: Imported perverts

Hundreds of immigrant sex offenders, deported to Mexico, have been apprehended trying to sneak back into the United States:

"Within just the last week, we caught three major sex offenders and it was anything from lewd acts with a minor to child molestation."
Guess they're raping the kids American perverts won't rape.

(Video via BreitbartTV.)

Ace of Spades' favorite preacher

Will Ace "distance himself" from Rev. Manning?

I'm afraid this scandal could hurt Ace with the key "long-legged mack daddy" demographic.

Please, stereotype me!

Perhaps trying to get in on Obama's "typical white person" action, now the Houston Chronicle goes trendoid:
Asian women, fancy coffee, farmers markets, dinner parties and gay friends — these are just a sampling of life's pleasures — if you're white. . . .
That's according to Christian Lander, the (white) wit behind the Web sensation Stuff White People Like blog, an irreverent daily missive on the passions of posh urbanites of the Caucasian persuasion.
Being fluent in honky, I'm pretty sure "posh urbanites" is code for "Yuppies," a category I've always striven to avoid. Speaking only for my own tribe, we buy our groceries (including coffee beans, "fancy" and otherwise) at Food Lion or Super Wal-Mart, and if "dinner parties" include church potlucks . . . .

While I'm certainly capable of enjoying self-deprecating humor, I profoundly dislike the contemporary trend toward stereotyping all white people as affluent and effete, as if we're all upper-middle-class snobs living in urban lofts or lounging around our McMansions on suburban cul-de-sacs. Most white people don't fit that description. A majority of white people don't have college diplomas, and this affluent/effete stereotype ignores whites from blue-collar, small-town or rural backgrounds.

What shocked me most in the Houston Chronicle's article about the SWPL site was this:
"Asian Girls: 95% of white males have at one point in their lives experienced yellow fever. ... White men love Asian women so much that they will go to extremes such as stating that Sandra Oh is sexy, teaching English in Asia, playing in a co-ed volleyball league ... "
"Yellow fever"? Isn't it patently offensive to objectify Asians as a sexual fetish? Isn't SWPL suggesting that every romantic relationship between Asians and Caucasians is the result, not of mutual interests and mutual respect, but rather of some pseudo-colonial obsession? If white males who date Asian girls are suffering from "yellow fever," then what name should be given to whatever disorder must afflict their Asian girlfriends? And what about Asian men? Who are the Asian guys dating, since all the Asian girls are busy going out with the "95% of white males" with "yellow fever"?

But hey, SWPL is "irreverent," so it's OK. Maybe Obama should tell Jeremiah Wright to be more "irreverent."

Is Obama trying to lose?

What else to conclude from this radio interview?
"The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person. If she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know -- there's a reaction in her that's been bred into our experiences that don't go away and sometimes come out in the wrong way and that's just the nature of race in our society."
Well, maybe some people's grandmothers are a little more "typical" than others. But considering that Obama's grandmother raised a daughter -- her only child -- whom high-school acquaintances describe as a youthful "iconoclast" and an "atheist," I'm wondering if she's much less "typical" than Obama describes her. In fact, I've got a pretty strong feeling that Obama's just citing the grandmother this way as a sort of convenient family anecdote. She's not going to diss her own grandson, so he can say anything he wants about her.
On the other hand, maybe the purpose of dissing old white women is (a) to assure young white "progressives" how much more enlightened they are than their elders, and/or (b) to take an indirect shot at Hillary.

Where's Waldo?

Osama bin Laden releases a new tape, just to remind us infidels that . . . well, that he can still release tapes, anyway:
Pan-Arab Al-Jazeera TV on Thursday broadcast what it described as excerpts from a new audio tape by Usama bin Laden in which the Al Qaeda leader slammed Palestinian negotiations with Israel and urged holy war for the liberation of Palestine.
In the audio excerpts broadcast by the Doha, Qatar-based television, bin Laden said that "Palestine cannot be retaken by negotiations and dialogue, but with fire and iron."
Bin Laden also called on Palestinians who are unable to fight in the "land of Al-Quds" — a Muslim reference to Jerusalem — to join the Al Qaeda fight and the holy war, or jihad, in Iraq.
Yawn. The U.S. surge in Iraq has pretty much crushed al-Qaeda's operations there, and bin Laden's crew hasn't hit a major target in the West in years. So now bin Laden tries to stir up the Palestinians -- as if they needed more stirring up.

Allahpundit calls the tape Osama's "A 'desperate bid for relevance' . . . made more desperate [by] some as yet unknown contingency."

Has Dingell been huffing gas?

The man has gone insane:
A Michigan congressman wants to put a 50-cent tax on every gallon of gasoline to try to cut back on Americans' consumption. . . .
Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., wants to help cut consumption with a gas tax but some don't agree with the idea, according to a new poll by the National Center for Public Policy Research.
The poll, scheduled to be released on Thursday, shows 48 percent don't support paying even a penny more, 28 percent would pay up to 50 cents more, 10 percent would pay more than 50 cents and 8 percent would pay more than a dollar.
(Via Memeorandum.) Hey, why didn't the poll ask about reducing the tax on gas? Is there nobody in favor of lower taxes?

Right now, the spiraling price of gas means that the free market is doing just fine in terms of providing incentives for reduced consumption. What's the point of tax hikes now? Well, Dingell's a Democrat and Democrats are always pro-tax and anti-market.

Increasing taxes is reflexive with those people. As Jammie Wearing Fool observes, this is "an idea so stupid, only a Democrat could come up with it."

Facebook ethics

James Joyner has an interesting post about the question of whether college professors should be Facebook "friends" with their students, and comes down harshly against the idea. This in response to a New York Times piece on the subject.

Maintaining a proper student-teacher relationship is obviously important, and I'm not a professor, so I've never considered this issue. Facebook is a very powerful tool for networking and communication, which is how I use it: A sort of combination of dayplanner, e-mail and Rolodex. I check Facebook at least as often as I check my e-mail account, and get an e-mail alert each time I get a new Facebook message, so sending me a Facebook message is even more effective than e-mail, if someone really needs to reach me.

Using Facebook that way, I don't consider "friending" someone as purely a social thing. As a journalist, I "friend" PR people, bloggers, other journalists, sources of various kind, et cetera. And I've set up a feed so that all my blog posts are posted at my Facebook page, where my Facebook friends can see them and, hopefully, will click over and read. Facebook can thus be a way to boost readership, so the more friends the better, as far as I'm concerned.

On the other hand, I understand that many people -- and college professors would be one such category -- have special reasons to restrict their Facebook activity.

Now it's getting good

Never dreamed I'd see the day when prominent liberal Democrats would be calling each other racist hatemongers, but it's so delightfully true:
Former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro said today that she objected to the comparison Sen. Barack Obama drew between her and his former pastor in his speech on race relations Tuesday. . . .
"To equate what I said with what this racist bigot has said from the pulpit is unbelievable," Ferraro said today. "He gave a very good speech on race relations, but he did not address the fact that this man is up there spewing hatred."
At Hot Air, Ed Morrisey says:
Obama may wish that he hadn’t chased Ferraro out of the Hillary Clinton campaign for another reason other than the obvious hypocrisy. She no longer has to worry about how her speech reflects on Hillary, and so Ferraro is much freer to speak her mind on this issue. Calling Wright a racist bigot may just be the opening stanza for Ferraro, who clearly is not in the mood for reconciliation.
As they say down home, "Let's you and him fight." Or as we say in the blogosphere, "I'll pop some popcorn ..."

MSM tells you how to blog

Funny, but the New York Times doesn't say anything about posting "Girls Gone Wild" video of Eliot Spitzer's call girl, "Kristen," when she was 17.

But maybe they just take that for granted . . .

Maybe the New York Times would prefer we just blogged about how Hillary Clinton has opened a 16-point lead over Barack Obama.

Wait! How are these two topic related? Because I got both of these ideas from Memeorandum, the blog aggregator site preferred by all really cool bloggers. So if you're a news/politics blogger and you need ideas, just go to Memeorandum and find something that interests you. If you're more into celebrity news, try WeSmirch, which links gossipy Hollywood items like the latest Lindsay Lohan sex scandal.

Fun with statistics

It is possible to "prove" practically anything by social science research:
Contrary to common beliefs, rising immigration levels do not drive up crime rates, particularly in poor communities, and Mexican-Americans are the least likely to commit crimes, according to a new study.
Robert Sampson, a sociologist at Harvard University who studied crime and immigration in 180 neighborhoods in Chicago over seven years, found that first-generation immigrants were 45 percent less likely to commit violent acts than third generation Americans.
Without access to Sampson's data, or without conducting any independent research of my own, I can spot what might be a few flaws in Sampson's study:
  • First of all, why Chicago? Is the nation's third-largest city in some way representative of recent trends in immigration and crime? If it is not representative, then why was it chosen for the study?
  • Did Sampson screen to separate legal immigrants from illegals in his data? Since the contemporary debate revolves around the problem of illegals, a failure to distinguish the two categories renders his study useless in discussing this crucial issue.
  • Why the comparison between first-generation immigrants and third-generation Americans? While you're at it, why not compare them to DAR members?
Those are just a few quick thoughts about Sampson's findings. I'm sure Heather Mac Donald will look closely at the details of Sampson's study and figure out why it doesn't comport with her own work on the subject. Of course, when Mac Donald releases her own research, don't expect her study to be uncritically ballyhooed by the wire services. Only liberals get that treatment.

By the company he keeps

Showing once again why John McCain can't be trusted, his advisor Lawrence Eagleburger disses Christian conservatives:
"On the Christian hard right, I live in Charlottesville now and I can't tell you I'm surrounded by it," Eagleburger said. "I must tell you we fought it there, fought hard against it. There's no question that in the Republican Party it is a serious problem...Among the hard-right conservatives in the Republican Party, John McCain was, shall we say, less than enthusiastically received...What you see is what you get. You are not going to see him moving to assuage the concerns of these conservatives.
"The issues that have concerned the far right I don't see and I don't expect to see any changes. I know there will be some people in his entourage who will want to advocate for those changes, and again, I don't believe he will shift on those fundamental issues. For example, on abortion, he's clear, he's opposed. On one of the issues that upsets the far right, stem cell research, he is prepared to accept some of that, and that's something that upsets the far right. I could go on with these issues."
(Via Memeorandum.) Crazy Cousin John surrounds himself with people like Eagleburger who are profoundly at odds with the grassroots of the Republican Party. And thinks grassroots Republicans are too dumb to see it.

Like I said yesterday, I'm voting Libertarian. The Libertarians aren't down for the Christian conservative agenda either, but at least they're not two-faced about it. Crazy Cousin John spits in the face of conservatives and then expects us to vote for him. I'll spit right back.

Exit question: Why would Eagleburger go out of his way to denounce Christian conservatives in front of the United Jewish Committees? So far as I can see, UJC is an organization that is strongly pro-Israel, and your average evangelical Christian -- which is what most people mean when they refer to "the Christian Right" -- is very staunchly pro-Israel. So why does Eagleburger go to the UJC and portray himself as an anti-Christian warrior and calling Christian activism "a serious problem" for the Republican Party"?

UPDATE: Cato's Benjamin Friedman is amazed that Ann Lewis apparently knows nothing about patriotism, sovereignty, or the constitutional role of the president.

Because she's Ann Coulter

You could never get away with it. Certainly I could never get away with it. But Ann Coulter gets away with it:
We treat blacks like children, constantly talking about their temper tantrums right in front of them with airy phrases about black anger. I will not pat blacks on the head and say, "Isn't that cute?" As a post-racial American, I do not believe "the legacy of slavery" gives black people the right to be permanently ill-mannered.
Brutally provocative? Sure. True? Hey, you decide. I'm just a neutral, objective journalist.

BTW, you can get a free poster of Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin from the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.

'Kristen' gone wild!

Allahpundit describes the video as "a young, tanned 'Kristen' does the squat-and-grind with a pair of nubile pals," as captured by the "Girls Gone Wild" crew. Bill O'Reilly and an obviously embarrassed Mary Katharine Ham discuss:


Now, compare the 1817-year-old "Kristen" dancing in that video -- B-cups at best -- with this more recent bikini photo of "Kristen" (Ashley Youmans, a/k/a Ashley Alexandra Dupre). You can click the photo to enlarge it and, speaking of enlarging things, it's obvious from the new C-cups that "Kristen" displays in the bikini photo that some surgical augmentation transpired between the time the video was recorded and the time this photo was taken.

This proves my point: Boob jobs are for whores.

Just like tattoos and pierced navels.

Speaking of whores, O'Reilly had no legitimate reason to broadcast that video, as Allahpundit notes:
What exactly is the 'policing the Internet' angle here? As MKH says, it sounds like Girls Gone Wild is in the clear legally. O'R himself expresses no opinion aside from a bemused chuckle. Am I being cynical to think the whole thing is just an excuse to show the footage?
Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! So O'Reilly engages in cheap exploitation, whereas I am engaged in investigative journalism, exposing how breast implants turn women into whores.

UPDATE: The Associated Press reports that this video was shot in Miami in March 2003, meaning that Ashley Youmans (d.o.b. 4/30/85) was only 17 at the time:

Ashley/"Kristen" got nude in the "Girls Gone Wild" video, but apparently there is some kind of loophole in Florida law where 17-year-olds are fair game for nude videos.

Final thoughts?
  • Ashley was a slut before she was a whore.
  • She's definitely had a boob job since 2003.
  • Perhaps some blogger will pay the $30 to download the actual uncensored "Girls Gone Wild" video and then upload a few choice segments. Of course, that would be unethical -- copyright infringement is an immoral violation of property rights -- but it would (a) undoubtedly be a traffic magnet, and (b) probably be a tax-deductible business expense.
Somebody check with the IRS; I'll ask Ace to convene the Blogger Ethics Panel.

UPDATE II: Linked by Rusty at Jawa Report, who shares my disappointment in discovering that "what the American public wants are salacious stories to satisfy their prurient interests," while also mentioning that there was "some hot lesbian action" in that video. I will merely observe that (a) he did link me, after all, and (b) using the phrase "hot lesbian action" is probably good for 30 or 40 Google-generated hits a week.

Of course, it's not real "lesbian action," it's the kind of fake "lesbian action" that college coeds simulate when they get drunk in front of "Girls Gone Wild" cameras. I'm pretty sure that real "lesbian action" is not nearly as photogenic, if only because the average lesbian is not a 19-year-old Brazilian-waxed hottie. Add 20 years and about 40 pounds, and the "Girls Gone Wild" factor fades pretty quick.

New tape proves Bin Laden is dead?

That's what Rusty says at Jawa Report:
The video shows a static image of bin Laden with a voice over purporting to be of him all about the Mohammed cartoons controversy. This is the "new" speech by bin Laden on the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq?
The Muhammad cartoons were first published in September of 2005!
There is literally no doubt in my mind now. This is an old audio, probably from 2006, of bin Laden. . . .
Case closed: Osama bin Laden is dead!
Here's the video:

Perhaps a "fifth anniversary" doesn't have the significance in Arabic culture that it does with us, and therefore Bin Laden didn't think it deserved a new video. But the long silence from Osama -- I can't even remember the last time we had anything undeniably genuine and new from him -- is becoming pretty doggone suspicious.

As the inimitable Ace says, Osama's message in this "new" tape is:
Wake Up, Chumps -- I've Been Dead For Two Years! And I Thought Weekend At Bernie's Was Actually Far-Fetched!
Allahpundit has more, as does Jammie Wearing Fool.

Obama mash-up video

A pretty good idea:

(Via Memeorandum.) Politico says it was co-produced by former Laura Ingraham producer Lee Habeeb.

The video clip of Malcolm X is used effectively, but I think it was a mistake to include the photo of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics protest. It was 1968, after all: MLK and JFK had been assassinated, there were riots in major cities, the Vietnam War was reaching a crisis point -- angry radicalism was fairly commonplace in America at that time. So to take Obama's non-salute and compare it to Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising clinched fists in Mexico City gives a bit too much moral significance to Obama's action.

But enjoy the video while you can. It probably won't be online long, because it is seriously infringing some copyrights.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How is this relevant?

The Associated Press thinks this is big news:
Hillary Rodham Clinton was in the White House on at least seven days when her husband had sexual encounters with Monica Lewinsky, according to the first lady's calendars released Wednesday.

(Via Memeorandum.) Carol Platt Liebau says:
Well, after almost a week spent defending his long-time friendship with a very controversial pastor, surely no one could be happier than Barack Obama and his campaign to read stories like this, detailing Bill Clinton's assignations with Monica Lewinsky on days when his wife was actually in The White House.

Well, yeah. But I don't see how this necessarily reflects on Hillary's fitness as a would-be president in the same way as the Jeremiah Wright episode reflects on Obama. Now, if the AP could dig up something new on Hillary and "Filegate" or "Travelgate," I'd be interested.

Media fellatio for Obama

Has any candidate ever enjoyed more obsequious coverage than Obama got for his Tuesday "race" speech? If being lauded by the MSM is the standard by which such things are judged, it was a smash success.

Newsbusters caught "highlights" (lowlights?) of the media fawn-fest:
Sad to think that Eliot Spitzer had to pay "Kristen" thousands of dollars, while these reporters are doing Obama for free.
Expect much more -- and much worse -- biased coverage if Obama gets the Democratic nomination. The MSM will portray Obama as a saint, and any Republican who dares question this portrayal will be treated like a hard-hearted hatemonger. The only reason ABC News ran the Rev. Wright story was as a favor to Team Hillary. But such criticism will end the moment Obama clinches the nomination -- if, indeed, he does.

OK, that cuts it

I'm voting Libertarian this year. Crazy Cousin John's daughter not only voted for Kerry, not only attended Columbia University, but the spoiled little ditz dares to compare her insipid campaign blog to (the immortal classic) Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72.

Blasphemer! Thou shalt not take the Gonzo in vain.

Wait until Anita hears about this ...

Video: Dr. Tiller honored at NEA

The Feminist Majority Foundation held its annual Women's Leadership Conference at the DC headquarters of the National Education Association. The guest of honor was infamous Kansas abortionist Dr. George Tiller. Check out this video:

From the Students for Life press release:
(SFLA) today released video exposing footage of abortionist Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, KS openly discussing children who "slip out" accidentally during an abortion and are "born alive" or with a "heartbeat" and condemned such medical mistakes during the Feminist Majority Foundation's annual Women's Leadership Conference, held at the National Education Association (NEA.) Dr. Tiller, who currently faces 19 criminal charges for illegal late-term abortions in the state of Kansas, stated "If the baby is born alive, that is sloppy medicine" after addressing the crowd of about 100 feminists during a plenary session titled "Standing with our Sisters" on March 9, 2008.
The video reveals Dr. Tiller showcasing graphic pictures of children with fetal abnormalities that he aborted to make the case for late-term abortions as necessary medical procedure. He also admitted to performing abortions on children the day before the mother's due date. Yet when questioned in a personal interview, Dr. Tiller failed to recognize the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, a federal bill signed into law in 2002 that protects born children from murder and illegalizes infanticide.
When asked about the Act, Dr. Tiller also admitted, "Let's say you have 15 or 16, you had one slip out with a heartbeat; that is not a viable fetus, but that is born alive or has a heartbeat. Then you have to take that non-viable fetus and rush it directly to the hospital against the woman's wishes." . . .
"What is most disturbing about this video is the point when Dr. Tiller shows footage of children he has aborted," stated Kristan Hawkins, the Executive Director of Students for Life of America.
"One had an extra arm: could not that child had survived and received corrective surgery? Was violently killing the child the only way to go? Pro-lifers are regularly condemned for displaying pictures of aborted babies, but here the pro-abortion crowd and the NEA are more than happy to showcase these graphic images, and even gave Dr. Tiller's presentation a standing ovation."
A standing ovation. Incredible. SFLA's Becky Banks had her own concerns:
"I'm concerned that Dr. Tiller didn't know what the federal ban on infanticide is about. A man who performs thousands of abortions a year should know of this legislation and realize that any time that 'something with a heartbeat slips out,' the baby is then a protected person under the law. The question obviously caught him off guard, because he could not give a straight answer about live abortions and contradicted his own information in a matter of minutes, claiming it's not ever necessary and then explaining when it is necessary to abort live infants."
Tiller specializes in late-term abortions performed, in many cases, past the point of "viability." Beyond the debate over whether abortion should be legal, I've got to pity a guy like Tiller. How does he sleep?

UPDATE: LifeNews reports NEA is catching heat for hosting this conference:
The National Education Association is under fire again for promoting abortion -- this time because it allowed late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller to have a speaking role at its building. The teacher's group allowed the pro-abortion Feminist Majority Foundation to host its young women's leadership conference.
Jill Stanek comments:
I'll never understand how the NEA could possibly support aborting its future paychecks. . . .
And from Operation Rescue:
“This was an awesome piece of undercover work done by Students for Life of America. They did a great job getting the interview and asking tough questions,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “They are to be commended for their courage. We thank them for making these statements available to the public.”

The three-date rule

Dr. Melissa Clouthier offers ladies "very unfeminist advice":
Don't have sex on the first, second or third date. Don't. If the relationship has a chance, sex complicates it right away. If the relationship is a no go, sex connects you to a guy you don't want to be connected with.

Read the rest of her 10 (actually 11) Dating Rules for Women. What intrigues me here is Dr. Melissa's version of the "three-date rule." Back when I was single, me and my buddies had our own three-date rule:

If you don't score by the third date, move on. If she really liked you that much, she wouldn't be making excuses and putting you off. There's no sense wasting time with a chick who's playing games, when the world is full of willing and available women. So don't get bogged down. Three dates and no sex = no fourth date.

Cold? Sure. Brutal? Of course. But that's just how rolled back in the day. And in point of fact, I only broke the three-date rule once. Only once did I go for a fourth date with a woman after no sex on three dates.

Yeah, you guessed it. She's my wife.

'Vertigo sucks!'

So said Megan McArdle upon reaching the front door of her apartment building Tuesday night, and she wasn't dissing the Hitchcock classic.

Miss McArdle suffers from a mysterious malady that causes her to suffer occasional spells of vertigo -- dizzy, head-spinning, impaired balance -- and Tuesday she had it pretty bad. She was able to make it through an America's Future Foundation panel discussion on the state of the economy (I reported on the discussion here) but she was clearly not feeling well.

Afterwards, Miss McArdle joined a group of AFF attendees for post-event refreshments at the nearby Townhouse Tavern. The group included Julian Sanchez of Reason, John Vaught LaBeaume of Election Dissection, Matthew Vadum of the Capital Research Center, and James Poulos of Postmodern Conservative, as well as the lovely Mrs. Poulos.

Despite the cold March night, this crowd esconced itself at the sidewalk table area outside Townhouse, mainly so the smokers could smoke. (At one point during the evening, when Miss McArdle needed a light for her Camel Menthol, I narrowly bested Sanchez for the honor, prompting him to coin the term "Bic-blocking.") A good bit of chatter was devoted to Miss McArdle's much-discussed blog arguments about prostitution.

Having ordered a plate of nachos, I retired inside to eat. When I returned outside after my meal, Mrs. Poulos solicited my assistance. Miss McArdle was about to walk home and was so dizzy from her vertigo spell that there was some concern for her safety. Would I be so kind, Mrs. Poulos asked, as to escort Miss McArdle four blocks to her home?

Indeed I was most happy to do so -- especially since this would allow me to continue the argument with Miss McArdle that I'd inaugurated on my blog. Miss McArdle did not seem to mind in the least, and readily defended her arguments, to wit:
I'd take some pretty strong convincing that prostitution is so inherently damaging to society that we should declare war on it.
Well, I don't know about declaring a "war on whores," as it were, but I am certainly willing to argue that prostitution is a bad thing that should be against the law. And so we debated the topic while walking those four blocks.

Finally, unable to make any point to which she did not offer a counter-argument, I tried this: Just because a belief can't be easily stated as a simple syllogism does not mean that belief is false. Our strong feeling against prostitution -- what decent person would want their daughter or sister to be a prostitute? -- is an argument in its own right. And there are many other things in human experience that cannot be reduced to pure logic. Being in love feels good, but that feeling is hard to explain logically.

Miss McArdle was still unpersuaded as we reached her apartment, thus ending the debate. I suggested that maybe her vertigo episode was caused by fatigue from blogging too much, advised her to get more rest, bid her adieu, and headed back to the Townhouse.

It was only an hour later, when I was driving home, that I thought of the perfect rebuttal to Miss McArdle's hyper-rationalism: Chivalry!

From the standpoint of pure reason, there is no logical incentive to gallant courtesy and deference, when we see how often success attends craven rudeness and self-seeking. Yet "the unbought grace of life," as Edmund Burke called it, adds immeasurable good to society.

If chivalry is an irrational good -- or at least a good that is not easily argued on a logical basis -- then can we not accept that the evil of prostitution is similarly irrational?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Team Clinton's tactics pay off in Pa.

Hillary opens a 12-point lead in the latest Pennsylvania primary poll (via Memeorandum).

The survey was taken March 10-16, in a week when ABC News went on air (March 13) with video of anti-American rants by Obama's pastor.

Was it merely a coincidence that ABC News decided to air those videos (videos which have been around for many months) at this crucial point in the Democratic presidential race? Is it coincidental that Jeremiah Wright's racially provocative rants made national news in the run-up to the key primary in Pennsylvania, a state with a population that's 86% white?

Yeah, probably just a coincidence. But I'm old enough to remember the Lewinsky scandal and something Hillary said at that time:
"One of my husband's favorite old Southern sayings . . . is that if you find a turtle on a fence post, it didn't get there by accident."
Obama's supporters ought to take a long, hard look at how this particular turtle ended up on top of that particular fence post.

UPDATE: Ace shares my suspicions:
No Republican could push this very legitimate story to the press because the headline would not be about Wright. The headline would read:
Republican Operatives In Whispering Campaign of Racial Code-Words and Hate
But of course if a liberal in good standing brings the same issue to the press, it's legitimate, and they run the actual story.
Right. And I hope all of Obama's supporters realize that it was the "liberals in good standing" at Team Clinton who provided this opportunity for all those eee-vil Rethuglicans to feast on Obama's liver (with fava beans).

BTW, nice to be linked by CPAC Blogger of the Year, idol of Ewok fetishists everywhere.

UPDATE II: James Joyner at Outside the Beltway wonders, if the Obama/Wright story was a torpedo from Team Hillary, why it was fired so early:
It’d been much smarter to wait a couple of weeks and have this controversy in full bloom when people are voting in the Keystone State. April 22 is a long time from now and people will be caught up in taxes, the NFL draft, and other diversions by then unless this thing has a whole lot more legs than I think it does.
Maybe. On the other hand, with Obama leading in the delegate count, it could be argued that Team Hillary needed to strike hard -- and strike early -- to blunt Obama's momentum. Whatever the percentage of undecided Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania, their numbers could be expected to shrink steadily, as more and more jumped to one candidate or the other.

If Team Hillary could push up Obama's negatives at the outset of the Pennsylvania campaign, this would give her a lead in the state's polls, thus forcing Obama onto the defensive, and making him fight for a come-from-behind win. Also, this early scandal story will naturally be a topic in their subsequent debates.

Besides, I have a sneaking feeling that Team Hillary is holding in reserve an even bigger scandal story for the final week of the Pennsylvania campaign. They won't use it unless they need it, but if they need it . . . watch out.

Sharpsburg tour

The Battle of Sharpsburg, Md., on Sept. 17, 1862, was the bloodiest single day in American history. Antietam Creek flows east of the town, which is why the Yankees called the battle Antietam, and thus the site is now called Antietam National Battlefield Park.

I first visited the battlefield with my wife in 1989, and have since visited it several more times, especially since 2003, when we moved to Hagerstown, Md., about 15 miles north of Sharpsburg.

So it was great fun to tour the battlefield Monday with my friend Jeff Quinton, a South Carolina native who now lives in Baltimore and blogs at Inside Charm City.

Our first stop was at the Visitors Center where we went into the theater and watched the first ten minutes of a 30-minute video, "Antietam Visit." I'm sorry, but that video sucks. Instead of explaining the battle as such, the video instead focuses on Lincoln's post-battle visit to McClellan's headquarters. Boring.

We were so bummed out by the video I forgot to take Jeff into the museum, which is cool and very informative. Instead we went up to the observation room and then outside to get a view of the battlefield -- north to the Dunker Church, the Mumma Farm and the Cornfield, and then around south to the Sunken Road.

While we were walking over the Cornfield (site of the bloodiest carnage of the battle) Jeff stopped to Twitter a message to his friends telling them he was at this spot, which is quite famous among Civil War history buffs.

Just south of the Cornfield is the plaque commemorating Colquitt's Brigade, which included my great-grandfather's regiment, the 13th Alabama Infantry.

The Sunken Road -- also known as "Bloody Lane" -- was another scene of grim carnage. This photo of Jeff is shot looking west, and you can see the Sunken Road in the background.

It's a little less than 1 mile from the Cornfield to the Sunken Road, and so that part of the battlefield isn't hard to comprehend.

However, Burnside's Bridge, at the south end of the battlefield, is down in the creek valley about a mile and a half south of the Sunken Road, which has always made it difficult for me to arrange in my mental map of the landscape. It all seems logical when you see it on the map, but when I'm actually on the terrain, the southern edge of the battlefield seems some disconnected from the rest.

After we left Sharpsburg, we took a ride up to Turner's Gap on South Mountain, scene of a key battle on Sept. 14, 1862 (and Colquitt's Brigade also fought there). Then we went down the east side of the mountain and went in search of the monument to Union Gen. Jesse Reno, who was killed during the battle. We made a few wrong turns before finally finding it at Fox Gap, about a mile south of Turner's Gap.

The most amazing thing at Fox Gap was the North Carolina monument, which was dedicated in 2003. It's absolutely beautiful, but it's off in the middle of the woods and I doubt 1,000 people see it in a year. If you'll click on the picture to enlarge it, you'll see the base of the monument bears the Confederate motto, "Deo Vindice."

All in all, a very interesting day, and I got a mild sunburn out of it. During our tour, I got Jeff to shoot some video, but when I spliced the video segments together, the result was about 5 minutes long and more than 100MB, so I can't get it to upload properly. Maybe later.

The Adultery Party

New York Democrats refuse to be outdone by New Jersey's Three-Way McGreeveys. The man who replaced whoremongering Gov. Eliot Spitzer says, "Adultery? Sure!"
In a stunning revelation, both Paterson, 53, and his wife, Michelle, 46, acknowledged in a joint interview they each had intimate relationships with others during a rocky period in their marriage several years ago.
In the course of several interviews in the past few days, Paterson said he maintained a relationship for two or three years with "a woman other than my wife," beginning in 1999.
(Via Memeorandum.) Given all the admissions of illicit sex we've had from Democrats in the past week, I hardly think it qualifies as a "stunning revelation" to learn that David Paterson screwed around, too.

Carol Platt Liebau doesn't want the media to dish this stuff, but I always appreciate more evidence corroborating the obvious truth: Democrats go into politics for the same reason that teenage boys learn to play guitar.

So whether your preferred mode of adultery is high-priced call girls, three-ways with your wife and your driver, or trysts with your mistress at a Days Inn, the Democratic Party is ready when you are!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Heading to Sharpsburg

I live in Maryland, just a few miles from Sharpsburg, site of Antietam National Battlefield Park. My friend Jeff Quinton, of the Inside Charm City blog, is visiting me this afternoon and, since we're both history buffs, we're going to visit the battlefield.

If there's time, we'll also visit the site of the Battle of South Mountain, east of Boonsboro on the Old National Road, and perhaps also Monocacy National Battlefield.

Obama busted

UPDATE: Mickey Kaus finds a problem with the NewsMax timeline: Obama was speaking July 22 at a Miami event. So, as Just One Minute says:

[I]f Obama was not attending church the specific day NewsMax claims he was, this gotcha is gone, and Obama's ludicrous claim that he was unaware of Wright's incendiary black separatism has not yet been disproven.

UPDATE II: The NewsMax story is specific about the date, specific about the content of the sermon, and specific that Obama "nodded in agreement" with Wright's rhetoric. Just One Minute wonders if there was time for Obama to have attended the 7 a.m. service and then flown to Miami in time for the 1:30 p.m. La Raza rally.

Meanwhile, Marc Armbinder does a "nyah nyah" at Bill Kristol for biting on the NewsMax story. What's most interesting to me about Armbinder's post is the first commenter, McCLum:
We are suffering from prejudice born from slavery and still 150 years after liberation we are fighting about race. Sure blacks are upset. Sure the situation calls for people who are oppressed to try to find solutions. . . .
Their are those who want to keep the status quo. Who benefits; businesses like McDonalds, Wallmart and other low paying oppressive companies who pay employees below poverty wages. Defense contractors who want us to always be at war. Oil companies who want to stop green energy and green technologies of any kind.
There's a peek inside the "progressive" mind, full of nonsense. Just a few quick rejoinders:
  • Any American who thinks they're "oppressed" needs to wake the hell up. I was in Africa last month. Uganda is a lovely country, but the per-capita GDP in Uganda is $1,100. If the people in Rev. Wright's congregation are "oppressed," what word can describe the people of Uganda? (And in point of fact, many members of Trinity Church are comfortably middle-class.)
  • Wal-Mart and McDonald's are not "oppressive companies," and the fact that entry-level service jobs pay low wages is not the result of willful oppression by greedy corporations. It's simply a function of markets, and these low-wage jobs are actually an important source of economic opportunity, especially for young people.
  • The idea that wars are caused by defense contractors is a rehash of an old lie, the "Merchants of Death" myth.
  • Oil companies are not opposed to "green energy" and, in fact, major oil companies like BP and Exxon have invested millions in alternative energy technologies and fuel-economy technology.
Excuse the mini-rant, but I can't stand to see people propagate falsehoods as "McCLum" did in Armbinder's comments. I don't know who it is that fills people's heads with such nonsense.

UPDATE III: (Via Hot Air) Jackie and Dunlap of Red State Update have a lot of (arguably irreligious) fun with the Rev. Wright story:

UPDATE IV: Andrew Sullivan employs ideological labels against NewsMax, calling the site "a far-right Internet propaganda vehicle" run by "far right smear artists."

OK, first of all, whatever factual problems there are with the NewsMax story -- and it has not been conclusively proven false -- they're only reporting one episode in a much larger story that's been extensively covered by many other news organizations. And NewsMax is no more "far right" than Huffington Post is "far left."

Second, if Andrew Sullivan's going to throw rocks at NewsMax, we should point out the glass house of the former New Republic editor who hired Stephen Glass.

* * *
Ronald Kessler of NewsMax makes a big catch:
Contrary to Senator Barack Obama’s claim that he never heard his pastor Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. preach hatred of America, Obama was in the pews last July 22 when the minister blamed the “white arrogance” of America’s Caucasian majority for the world’s suffering, especially the oppression of blacks. . . .
In fact, Obama was present in the South Side Chicago church on July 22 last year when Jim Davis, a freelance correspondent for Newsmax, attended services along with Obama. . . .
In his sermon that day, Wright tore into America, referring to the “United States of White America” and lacing his sermon with expletives as Obama listened. . . .
Addressing the Iraq war, Wright thundered, “Young African-American men” were “dying for nothing.” The “illegal war,” he shouted, was “based on Bush’s lies” and is being “fought for oil money.”
(Via Memeorandum.) So now the scandal gets new "legs" because of Obama's false denial.

Team Hillary's got to be loving this. Now Newsweek weighs in with a ponderous examination of Wright and Trinity Church, and the Wall Street Journal's on the story, too.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

OK, I'll believe anything now

Gubernatorial three-ways? Why not?
A former aide to James E. McGreevey said today that he had three-way sexual trysts with the former governor and his wife before he took office, challenging Dina Matos McGreevey's assertion that she was naive about her husband's sexual exploits.
The aide, Theodore Pedersen, said he and the couple even had a nickname for the weekly romps, from 1999 to 2001, that typically began with dinner at T.G.I. Friday's and ended with a threesome at McGreevey's condo in Woodbridge.
They called them "Friday Night Specials," according to Pedersen.
(Via Memeorandum.) Is this Pedersen guy a shameless opportunist and publicity hound? No doubt. But does that mean he's lying? Not necessarily. I mean, we're talking about Democrats here. Anything's possible.

Andrew Sullivan seems a bit too eager to credit Pedersen, saying that Mrs. McGreevey's "professed shock at [her husband's] possible gayness doesn't seem quite so convincing once you read the story." Well, assuming that Pederson's telling the truth, yeah. But remember: Pedersen is a Democrat. It's never safe to assume a Democrat is telling the truth.

Gateway Pundit reminds us of reports from 2004 about McGreevey's favoritism toward handsome young male aides who tended to get promotions and raises even when New Jersey was facing a budget crisis.

Good point, Will

At Outside the Beltway, James Joyner notes a point made by Will Wilkinson in discussing the Spitzer-"Kristen" saga, namely the oddity that prostitution is illegal while pornography is legal.

Why? Well, if you know the history on this, it really goes back to the 1960s, when the Supreme Court began hearing a series of cases that eventually led to a ruling that pornography was protected under the First Amendment as "artistic expression."

It's important to understand that most pornography involves photography or motion pictures (now also video), technologies that were non-existent at the time the First Amendment was drafted. So trying to get a "original intent" argument on this issue is impossible.

Still, the fact is that the so-called Comstock Law -- which harshly restricted interstate transportation of pornography -- was enacted in 1873 and was targeted by no constitutional challenge until the 1930s, and that only because of its restriction on contraceptives. While the Comstock Law limited the federal distribution of pornography, many state and local laws similarly restricted such materials, and thus the availability of porn was very limited.

The Supreme Court's decisions of the 1960s and '70s, which effectively abolished federal, state and local laws against pornography, were thus a radical departure from nearly a century of legislative and judicial tradition on this subject. As with other subjects during this era (including abortion), the Court effectively disempowered state and local authorities, even though (in the 1973 Miller decision) the Court declared that "community standards" should be applied to obscenity cases. Given the likelihood that the Court would void any prosecution of, say, Hustler, state and local authorities simply avoided such prosecutions.

Wright is no MLK

A cheap trick by Obama's church:
Nearly three weeks before the 40th commemorative anniversary of the murder of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s character is being assassinated in the public sphere because he has preached a social gospel on behalf of oppressed women, children and men in America and around the globe. . . .
A. Attempting to depict Wright as a civil-rights martyr by implicitly comparing him to MLK is transparently bogus.

B. Wright is not being criticized because he "preached a social gospel," but because his rants were unhinged anti-American diatribes that have been condemned even by his protege, Barack Obama.

The biohazard of 'choice'

Michigan residents were shocked last week to learn that garbage dumped outside an abortion clinic included potentially dangerous medical waste:
Lathrup Village police and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality called in a hazardous waste disposal company early Monday morning to haul away blood-soaked gauze, surgical instruments and other biomedical waste found in the Dumpster outside the Lathrup Village office of WomanCare. DEQ officials later searched the garbage outside of a WomanCare clinic in Sterling Heights but it was unclear if they recovered anything. ...
Alberto Hodari, the clinics' medical director, said nothing was recovered from the Dumpster in Sterling Heights. He blamed the Lathrup Village situation on an error.
"They had a new employee on Saturday," Hodari said.
But Monica Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, scoffed that the clinic had made a mistake at one clinic. "That's a bunch of B.S.," Miller said. "Then that staff member must work at every single one of his clinics."
Her group prompted the official investigation after a monthlong search allegedly uncovered improper disposal of biomedical waste, fetal remains, and reams of medical documents in garbage receptacles outside of the WomanCare offices in Lathrup Village, Sterling Heights and Southgate.
After several searches in February, the group called on police and state officials. They also secured a funeral home to hold the estimated dozen fetuses for a spring burial.
"It's absolutely despicable," said Miller. "No human being belongs in the trash. What does this say about our culture: that life is trash?"
While the newspaper used the non-specific term "biomedical waste" to describe what was in Hodari's garbage, the pro-life group whose investigation prompted the police search published details from their report to the police:

Milissa and I began investigating the dumpster behind the Womancare facility Friday, February 8, 2008. What we found that Friday were patient records and open condom wrappers.
By looking through these documents we learned patients' names, phone numbers, addresses, ages, how long their pregnancy had lasted, what they were being seen by the doctor for, insurance forms, methods of payment, and several lab reports. We also discovered in the trash used syringes, ultrasound pictures of the babies, dozens of used drug vials, several used IV bags with the sharps still attached, bloody absorbent paper, open condom wrappers, used condoms, and bloody used laminaria.
On our third trash investigation we also found bloody canulas and human tissue distinguishably not a baby, except this time we also discovered infant body parts, including arms, hands, legs, feet, a spine, a ribcage, and eyes.
We estimate we found at least ten different infants.

"Infants"? I thought they were just "blobs of tissue"!

I blogged in December about Alberto Hodari, the abortionist who runs these clinics, but just in case you've forgotten who he is, here's some video of his speech at Wayne State University, in which he described the "great satisfaction" he gets from doing abortions:

Republican hubris

Many Republicans got blindsided in the 2006 elections, and James David Dickson cites the example of an Iowa legislator in this article for The American Spectator:
It wasn't until Atlantic reporter Joshua Green called former state representative Danny Carroll that Carroll started to understand what hit him. He had been Speaker Pro Tempore of the Iowa State House, which was controlled by Republicans right up to the 2006 midterm elections. Then he went down to unexpected defeat, contributing to his party's loss of both houses of the state legislature.
Carroll's district is home to Grinnell College, so he had assumed that high turnout among the liberal student body, as well as low turnout for Republicans generally, had caused his defeat. It wasn't until Green called him to ask about the gay rights activism of Quark founder Tim Gill that Carroll realized his defeat had been part of a coordinated plan.
Gill had quietly spearheaded an effort to fund challenges to 70 anti-gay marriage state politicians in the 2006 election cycle. Fifty of them went down to defeat. Green convinced Carroll to look at the source of some of the larger donations to his Democratic opponent Eric Palmer, and was rewarded with good soundbyte: "Denver...Dallas...Los Angeles...Malibu...there's New York again...San Francisco! I can't -- I just cannot believe this!"

Read the whole thing. What happened to Carroll is typical of how incumbents get defeated. They start thinking their re-election is inevitable, they listen to aides and supporters who tell them that everything's wonderful, they fail to react in a timely manner to new challenges.

In most elections, the candidate who is elected with 55 percent of the vote is considered a big winner. But that 10-point margin of victory is more easily eroded than some incumbents think. Every re-election campaign is a new campaign, and if an incumbent doesn't go all-out -- if he doesn't fund-raise and organize as if his political career depended on it -- defeat is always a possibility.

Re-electing an incumbent is almost always easier than electing a challenger, but the advantages of incumbency are not so great that the incumbent can take re-election for granted.