Saturday, June 14, 2008

Obama delivers tough talk

Probably not the right tone at this point:
He warned that the general election campaign could get ugly. "They're going to try to scare people. They're going to try to say that 'that Obama is a scary guy,' " he said. . . .
"If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun," Obama said. "Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I've seen Eagles fans."
So, on the one hand, Obama accuses Republicans of trying "to scare people." On the other hand, he employs a metaphor of violence. The metaphor is hardly original -- it's the same sort of macho boasting that pipsqueak wimps like Paul Begala routinely employ. Boasting is seldom a harbinger of success. Ed Morrisey notes:
Obama not only doesn’t like a good brawl, he can’t even take an open-forum debate unless it takes place on the Home & Garden Channel at 2 am on a holiday weekend.
"Why is Barack Obama so negative? In the last 24 hours, he's completely abandoned his campaign’s call for 'new politics,' equating the election to a 'brawl' and promising to 'bring a gun,' " said Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant. "It's clear Obama is going on the attack to distract from the fact that since winning the nomination, his friend and fund-raiser, Tony Rezko, was convicted, and his vice presidential vetter, Jim Johnson, was forced to resign," Conant said.
Democrats are not yet panicking, but they have not yet realized what a weak candidate they've nominated. Give Obama another couple of weeks of gaffes and blunders, and watch his failure to catch fire in the polls. By the Fourth of July, the Dems will be sweating plenty.

UPDATE: Greg at Rhymes With Right notes that this kind of talk is a bit unexpected, coming from St. Obama of Assisi.

UPDATE II: Notice that Obama decides to ramp up the rhetoric even as lefty bloggers are predicting a right-wing rampage should Obama get elected. Expect the Netroots insanity to escalate in coming weeks, as it slowly dawns on them (a) Obama is a loser, and (b) they're doomed to another four years of a Republican president.

UPDATE III: Something I meant to note earlier, but it slipped my mind: The problem with Obama's threat of escalation is that it can't possibly work.
Obama is vulnerable to negative campaigning because (a) he's got a paper-thin resume, woefully short on national accomplishments, and (b) he's shown a habit of associating with radicals and other shady characters. He is manifestly not ready for the job of president, and the GOP attacks wll make that clear.

John McCain, on the other hand, is a war hero who has been in Congress for 25 years, and was the chief 2000 Republican primary opponent of the current president. His record is far from perfect, but it's already well-known, and it's unlikely that Team Obama will unearth any new scandal that could hurt McCain.

Is Obama a loser?

The latest polls reinforce what I wrote Monday at the American Spectator:
Even the manner in which Obama won the nomination suggests that he may prove an unusually weak candidate in the general election. . . . As the primary schedule continued beyond Super Tuesday, Hillary won every major "swing state" (including Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky) and exit polls consistently showed her the stronger candidate among the blue-collar constituency that is crucial to any Democratic victory.
When the primary campaign ended, Obama's lead among the more than 3,400 pledged delegates was a scant 120, and he was 300 delegates short of a nominating majority. . .
All of Obama's problems would be enough to worry Democrats if he were a veteran politician, but he's not. He's a 46-year-old former state legislator who was only elected to the Senate in 2004 and whose presidential candidacy got an artificial boost from media enthusiasts like Oprah Winfrey and Chris Matthews.
Now that Obama's post-clinch "bounce" in the polls is fading, he's in a statistical tie with John McCain, which doesn't suggest that the electorate in general shares the kind of mindless craving for "change" that pushed Obama's Democratic primary campaign.

UPDATE: Given his weak overall standing, and with just 140 days left in the general-election campaign, Obama would be wise to reject his advisers' cockeyed plan to send him on a world tour this summer. A moronic "Dukakis-in-a-tank" publicity stunt like that isn't going to gain him nearly as much as if he spent the same number of days campaigning in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Missouri.

UPDATE II: Gee, why hasn't Obama picked up more steam since eliminating Hillary? Look at this mid-May Rasmussen poll of Ohio:
Hillary 50%
McCain 43%

McCain 45%
Obama 44%
Now, the mid-May Rasmussen poll of Florida:
Hillary 46%
McCain 41%

McCain 50%
Obama 40%
Based on the past two election cycles, Florida and Ohio are arguably the two most important "swing" states. Choosing Obama over Hillary means the Democrats are giving the Republicans an 8-point "swing" in Ohio and a 15-point "swing" in Florida.

If the McCain campaign were smart (a very big "if"), what they'd do is launch major ad buys in key Florida and Ohio markets, combined with multiple appearances in both states by the candidate, in an effort to build such a wide margin there that Obama would face a big fight just to catch up.

If the Republicans can put Obama deep in a hole in these two key swing states, the Electoral College math becomes much more daunting for the Democrats. Yes, Obama could still win by picking off states like Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, etc., but none of those states has the Electoral College weight of Florida or Ohio.

UPDATE III: Frank James of the Chicago Tribune concurs on the folly of an Obama world tour:
With less than five months to go before the U.S. election, and with domestic issues expected to dominate, it could be strongly argued that the Obama campaign needs to spend every waking moment covering U.S. swing states, getting its vice presidential pick right, and looking and honing its voter-registration and get out the vote efforts.
If the Democrats were worried about having a nominee with foreign-policy credibility, they should have thought about that before nominating a 46-year-old who was an Illinois state legislator until 2005. Too late now.

Video: Col. Allen West vs. CAIR

"We are being infiltrated . . ."

(Via See-Dubya, with apologies for the poor quality of the video.) Col. West spoke at an Americans Against Hate rally March 1, criticizing the Broward County Commission for its support of CAIR.

Like See-Dubya said, "Hint, hint."

FL22: Col. West vs. "Rookie of the Year"

In a year when Republican prospects look exceedingly gloomy, there are a few bright spots for the GOP. One of them is the 22nd District of Florida, where retired Army Lt. Col. Allen West is challenging first-term Democratic Rep. Ron Klein.

In 2006, FL22 was one of the most expensive House races in the country, as Klein took on 13-term incumbent Republican Rep. Clay Shaw. The Politico recently named Klein its "Rookie of the Year." But the rookie now faces a veteran -- literally.

Col. West's biography reads like the screenplay of a Hollywood thriller. A Bronze Star veteran of Desert Storm who led an artillery battalion of the 4th Infantry Division in Operation Iraqi freedom, West was relieved of command in Iraq after firing a pistol past a prisoner's head during an interrogation in August 2003. (West's method got results; the prisoner revealed important information about an impending attack on U.S. forces.)

Col. West was named "Man of the Year" by David Horowitz's He has been featured in Jack Kelly's column,, Human Events, and the Weekly Standard, interviewed on the Michael Savage show, and yet -- oddly enough -- I'd never heard of him until See-Dubya mentioned him at
Col. West has taken a tough stance against amnesty for illegal aliens: "As your congressman, I will fight those who are willing for any reason to jeopardize our sovereignty and security. No amnesty of any kind should be considered; it simply rewards illegal behavior and encourages others to break the law."

In his campaign against Klein, Col. West has made hay by accusing Klein of abusing the franking privilege, mailing out campaign material at taxpayer expense, for which Klein was chastened by Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman, who said, "The people of Florida are suffering. . . . Your campaign coffers are not."

Klein's campaign coffers (with over $2 million cash-on-hand as of the April 1 FEC filing) are the biggest challenge faced by Col. West, who had raised about $100,000 through the end of March. Here's a video of Col. West talking to the Broward County Republican Party about the importance of vision:

"Ron Klein has a lot of money. So what?"

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: The Sun-Sentinel reports that polls indicate Klein may be vulnerable:
Klein's re-elect number, which no incumbent likes to see at less than 50 percent, was 49 percent. That's the percentage of people who said they'd vote for him.
West had 23 percent of the vote, and 28 percent didn't know or were undecided.
In 2006, Shaw's re-elect number at about the same time was 48 percent. . . .
Far more people have a positive view of Klein's performance than a negative one - 49 percent to 13 percent - but he also has a fairly high 38 percent who didn't know or didn't answer the question.
The West people take solace in the share of people -- 43 percent -- who would consider voting for a generic Klein opponent. Another 22 percent said they would vote for Klein, regardless of who the opponent is, and 8 percent would vote to replace him, no matter who the opponent is.
What the West campaign needs is money.

Who's smearing who?

There has been a good deal of indignation -- see Malkin, Limbaugh, Red State, Townhall, Sundries Shack, AmSpec -- about the efforts of Team Obama to blame conservatives for the Michelle Obama "whitey" video rumor, which in fact was fueled by Hillary Clinton supporter Larry Johnson.

This reminded me of an incident most people have probably forgotten by now: The infamous "Obama madrassa" story of January 2007. This story resulted in my friend, Insight editor Jeff Kuhner, getting burned by his sources.

What Insight reported was that the Clinton campaign was preparing to use Obama's biography against him, claiming that while a boy Indonesia, young Barack had attended an Islamic school. This was the lede of the Insight story:
Are the American people ready for an elected president who was educated in a Madrassa as a young boy and has not been forthcoming about his Muslim heritage?
This is the question Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s camp is asking about Sen. Barack Obama.
An investigation of Mr. Obama by political opponents within the Democratic Party has discovered that Mr. Obama was raised as a Muslim by his stepfather in Indonesia. Sources close to the background check, which has not yet been released, said Mr. Obama, 45, spent at least four years in a so-called Madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia.
"He was a Muslim, but he concealed it," the source said. "His opponents within the Democrats hope this will become a major issue in the campaign."
Carefully note how this story is sourced: Persons "close to the background check" -- that is, an opposition-research action by Clinton campaign operatives -- told this to Insight.

The problem for Insight was that all the sources used in the article spoke on condition of anonymity. With such a bombshell allegation -- that one campaign is attempting to confirm negative information on a rival -- you just can't do that, and my friend Kuhner quickly discovered why. Hillary's campaign denied conducting any such research, and both her campaign and Obama's campaign accused Insight of spreading a scurrilous right-wing smear.

Kuhner has never told me anything about his sources, but both privately and publicly, he's never backed down from the original story which (I must repeat) was about the Clinton campaign's opposition-research effort.

It seems possible that someone in Hillary's camp was playing a very familiar campaign game: "We can't confirm that this rumor about our opponent is true, but let's at least make him deny it." This has the benefit of throwing the opponent on the defensive, and making some undecided voters ask themselves, "Hey, what's this guy hiding?"

Such tactics, however, are usually employed in the closing days of a campaign: the last-minute, hard-to-handle smear, so the opponent doesn't have adequate time to fully repond. (A Republican friend of mine once got hit by such an attack -- a particularly vicious personal smear -- in the closing days of a hard-fought GOP primary.)

This is why the "Obama madrassa" story always puzzled me. If the Hillary campaign was researching Obama's Indonesian education, why wouldn't they wait until they'd confirmed something, and then put it out? Why leak it out in such a half-baked fashion, so early in the campaign?

What this leads me to suspect is that Kuhner got his original tip via an unauthorized or secondary source -- somebody who knew somebody directly involved in the oppo-research project. This would be a "loose lips sink ships" type of leak: The spouse or business associate of the researcher has a few drinks and decides to brag a bit: "Hey, let me tell you about this ...." And so then you contact the reseacher and say, "Hey, so-and-so told me that ...."

There's a lot of different ways news gets reported, and I'm just guessing here. But if my hunch is right, then whoever was researching the Indonesia angle on Obama was never authorized to tell anyone about it, and it may have been that the Clinton campaign never actually intended to use that angle.

Oppo-research is sort of like war-planning: Somewhere on the shelf at the Pentagon there's probably a war-game plan for an attack on Canada, just in case. And so the Obama-madrassa angle might have been something that was gathered, and stuck into a file somewhere at Clinton HQ, without any actual intention to use it. Except that the guy who was doing the research didn't know that.

The bottom line is that all major campaigns conduct opposition research. Democrats want to pretend that the "right-wing attack machine" has a monopoly on dirty politics, but as the recent primary campaign demonstrated, Democrats are perfectly capable of getting down in the gutter and throwing mudballs, without any help from the GOP.

So the next time Democrats claim that any negative information about their nominee is a "right-wing smear," don't forget the very first big hunk of dirt that was flung in this campaign -- dirt that my friend Jeff Kuhner swears to this day was unearthed by Team Hillary and given to him by her research operatives.

Friday, June 13, 2008

'Don't believe what you read on blogs'

Via Michelle Malkin:

I saw one of Laura's former producers Wednesday at a DC media party, and he said it's just a routine contract hassle, nothing to get excited about. I imagine she's probably trying to get her radio schedule re-arranged to fit with her heavier TV obligation.

Tim Russert, R.I.P.

From the Buffalo News:
Buffalo native Tim Russert, host of NBC's "Meet the Press" and author of books about his family and experience growing up in Buffalo, has died from a heart attack, according to the New York Times and the New York Post.
The New York Post reported that Russert collapsed at NBC's Washington news bureau. Russert, who once served as press secretary for former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and as chief of staff to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, went on to become a force of his own in Washington politics through his position as interviewer on "Meet the Press."
Russert, 58, grew up in South Buffalo and attended Canisius High School. He frequently referred to his roots on his television show, and remained a booster of Buffalo's sports teams even after becoming one of the best-known faces in the Washington press corps.
His books include "Big Russ and Me," a memoir of his childhood and the lessons learned from his father, who still lives in South Buffalo. He also is survived by his wife and son, Luke.
Russert was one of the most aggressive and well-informed interviewers in TV news. His sudden and unexpected death is a tragic loss for American journalism.

UPDATE: The New York Times:
Mr. Russert was a towering figure in American journalism and moderated several debates during the recent presidential primary season.
Tom Brokaw, the former anchor of NBC Nightly News, came on the air at 3:39 p.m. and reported that Mr. Russert had collapsed and died early this afternoon while at work. He had just returned from Italy with his family.
My God, what a terrible thing. Russert was a blue-collar Democrat who was sometimes accused of liberal bias, but who could get pretty tough on Democrats, too. As I wrote just yesterday at the American Spectator blog, it was a question from Russert that started Hillary Clinton's meltdown:

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin writes:
He was a fixture of Beltway political journalism, good on the entitlement crisis, and by all accounts, a good-humored guy. One small personal experience: When I was a lowly videotape library aide at NBC News in 1992, I sent him a critique of the information-gathering system -- and he was kind enough to send a reply.
Kind to young right-wingers? Wait until the Netroots find out about that.

UPDATE III: MSNBC adds details:
Russert was recording voiceovers for Sunday’s "Meet the Press" program when he collapsed, the network said. He and his family had recently returned from Italy, where they celebrated the graduation of Russert's son, Luke, from Boston College. . . .
He was "one of the premier political journalists and analysts of his time," Tom Brokaw, the former longtime anchor of "NBC Nightly News," said in announcing Russert's death. "This news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice."
I can think of nobody in TV news today who will be able to fill Russert's shoes.

Barr: Drill ANWAR

New press release from the Bob Barr campaign:
"For years the Democrats have refused to permit drilling in Alaska's huge Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and have severely limited drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, which contains at least 86 billion barrels of oil."
But John McCain is little better. "He just told Philadelphia voters that he won't allow exploration of ANWR, which contains billions more barrels of oil," notes Barr.
"The refusal to open up U.S. lands is costing Americans at the pump," Barr says. . . .
"Even as Washington refuses to allow these resources over which we maintain control to be developed, Sen. Obama, Sen. McCain, and others support legislation that sets artificial, unrealistic and extremely costly caps on so-called 'carbon emissions.' Americans are paying too much for gasoline, and Congress bears much of the blame. Senators Barack Obama and John McCain both intend to maintain a government lock on the nation’s energy resources. It's time to produce energy in America for Americans."
Some have scoffed at how much impact Barr could have on the presidential race, but now at least one candidate is talking common sense on energy.

'I've never said troops should be withdrawn'

Direct quote from Obama in 2004:

(Via Marc Ambinder.)

Kanjorski's 'Macaca' moment

In what's shapping up as a bad political year for Republicans, idiot geezer Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) looks like one of the best targets for the GOP. He's opposed by Hazelton Mayor Lou Barletta, a conservative hero for his opposition to illegal immigration. Kanjorski got nasty with a Barletta supporter who was questioning him about his statements on the Iraq war:

(Via Memeorandum.)

Ron Paul & Bob Barr: A Comparison

At Third Party Watch. Also here's Paul on CNN:

"He's saying the things he should be saying. He's joined the Libertarian Party and he presents these views and he talks our language. So I do really believe that he can have a very positive effect in this campaign and let the people know that limited government is a very, very important message and that people will have a chance. That gives everybody a choice in the matter."

Eat your heart out, Brad

Jennifer Aniston, 39, seems eager for the world to know she's over Brad Pitt, 44. Now she's dating notorious womanizer John Mayer:
"John is good in bed," a pal of the 30-year old singer-songwriter tells OK!. "Not just good, but sensational. Every girl I know who has slept with John says it was the best sex of their life. I'm not sure what exactly he does in bed, but after girls sleep with him, they're ruined. They get totally hung up on him and want more! Whatever John's secret is, he should market it. He could retire from the music industry."
So now Jennifer is "ruined." But once you get dumped by Brad Pitt, it's all downhill from there anyway, right? She's well on her way to being a 21st-century Nora Desmond.

BTW, Rusty Shackleford has found a lame excuse to post pictures of Angelina Jolie. Besides which, she's thinking about doing the Atlas Shrugged movie.

FLDS update

Having written extensively about the raid on the Texas polygamist sect in April, I got an e-mail today from James Spencer, author of Beyond Mormonism, who has followed the story. He has put online the latest issue of his four-page newsletter, which makes an interesting point about the difficulties entailed by postmodern relativism:
Further, I do not see how we can prosecute anyone for polygamy per se. Polygamy is a federal crime, but America has losts its moral right to prosecute it. Why do I say that? Because we have decided as a nation that "private sexual practicies" will no longer be prosecuted. If we do not prosecute a man for adultery . . . then how can we prosecute another man who has plural relationships just because he intends to commit himself to them for life?
This is a point that can be applied to much else about the El Dorado raid. After Texas officials sent armed officers swooping down on the FLDS compound, the essence of their "abuse" justification for the raid was that teenage girls were getting pregnant. Yet as I said at the time, if every pregnant 15-year-old in Texas is now sufficient cause for a massive police raid, Texas is going to need a lot more SWAT units.

Since Texas teenagers routinely have sex, get pregnant and give birth without triggering criminal prosecution, what Texas authorities seemed to object to most was that these FLDS girls were getting married. As much as we might abhor polygamy, how can the FLDS teen brides automatically be labeled victims of abuse, while Jamie Lynn Spears is on the cover of celebrity magazines?

Considering the everyday sexual realities of 21st-century American life, it is hard to locate any solid logical, moral, or legal justification for the way Texas officials went after the FLDS. In a society where adultery and fornication are tolerated, and where sodomy is declared a constitutional by the Supreme Court (in a Texas case, coincidentally), it becomes increasingly impossible to use the law as an instrument to enforce any societal standard of sexual conduct without incurring the accusation of arbitrary prosecution.

As a society, America long ago stepped off the Solid Rock, and now we're far down the slippery slope.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Because you needed a lecture

There is nothing so obnoxious about "progressives" as their smug sense of superiority, as Kyle Moore demonstrates with a pompous lecture about "racist iconography."

It seems that an enterprising vendor of sock monkeys -- a common sort of stuffed toy -- decided that, by putting the toy in a blue suit and pinning an "Obama" button on the lapel, he could cash in on the election season:
TheSockObama™ is hot, hot, HOT on the campaign trail and needs your support more than ever. America’s love affair with TheSockObama™ deepens with only a few months to go before the election, so we can’t waste any time.
We don’t get enough of him at his public speaking events. Now you can have your very own TheSockObama™ 24/7!
Prop him up, pose him, squeeze him. Take him with you everywhere you go.
Fall in love with your chosen candidate all over again.
Clearly, the merchant is pitching this $29.99 children's toy to people who like Obama, but this doesn't prevent Kyle Moore from lecturing:
Simian depiction and derision of black people is nothing new. Indeed, just the history behind such a practice is enough to ink it into the vast racist lexicon. But the specific mechanics as to why it is such an abhorrent racist practice should be lost on no one.
In the universal present sense, it’s a matter of subjugation through dehumanization, a practice that has its historical roots that crawl all the way back to when the first white person saw the first non white people and called them savages. In a way, such subjugation, the intellectual practice of reasoning that a person can be less than a person, partially justified invading a people’s land, butchering them, enslaving them, etc.
Why not? They’re savages or monkeys. Update the practice to a time when there are mixed societies, where laws should provide people of all color with the same rights and priveleges, again the imagery and the underlying intent behind it continues to justify heinous behavior against people of color.
Never mind that Obama is a Harvard Law graduate and a U.S. Senator whom no one would mistake for a monkey, or that this is a children's toy advertised as an expression of "America's love affair" with the candidate.

Kyle Moore must demonstrate his moral superiority to you, by lecturing you about "subjugation through dehumanization," as if you are too stupid to know better. And if you don't share Moore's histrionic indignation? You're probably trying to "justify heinous behavior against people of color."

You insensitive bigots see a cuddly stuffed toy; enlightened people like Kyle see an incitement to lynching.

This election campaign will quickly become tiresome, if for the next 140 days these lecturing liberals are going to seize on every perceived slight against the Democratic nominee as a pretext to harangue Americans about subconscious racism.

UPDATE: The monkey merchants reply to a liberal blogger who sent them an e-mail:
Thank you for your email and your forthright feedback. No, this is not a joke, and our intention is not to offend.
Our objective is three fold:
1) Provide a cuddly toy for the millions of Obama fans to take a little piece of their favorite candidate home with them.
2) Have a means for children to become a part of the political process with a cuddly plush toy all their own.
3) Contribute a pivotal article of presidential election memoribilia.
Lame. A true capitalist would answer:
"We don't care whether you are offended or not, you Marxist scum. We're all about profit. As P.T. Barnum said, there is no such thing as bad publicity, and if being demonized as racists helps us sell these toys at $29.99 a pop, who cares? (Especially since these toys are being made by child labor in Malaysian sweatshops and our net cost is about 79 cents per unit.) We hope you'll keep up these idiotic protests long enough to attract the attention of major television networks. Then we'll be rich, rich, rich, you socialist fool!"
Greed is a far more humane motive than hate.

Ron Paul quits

The Revolution ends in Texas. Cui bono?

The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You!

Michelle Malkin observes that Ragnar of The Jawa Report is liveblogging the Texas Republican Convention, where he reports:
The long and short of it is that a coalition of conservative grassroots activists, fit to be tied with the state party, are seeking to replace the existing party leadership. Background here.
No fireworks yet, but it's just getting kicked off.
Fired-up Lone Star conservatives and online activists everywhere should take note of Ragnar's comment that Americans For Prosperity is making facilities available for bloggers at the TXGOPCon. AFP will sponsor the Right Online Summit July 18-19 in Austin, where the confirmed speakers will include Mrs. Malkin, Robert Novak, John Fund, Stephen Moore, Michael Steele, Red State's Erick Erickson, and Grover Norquist.

Yesterday, I spoke with an AFP official who told me that one of the key focuses of Right Online will be to encourage conservatives to become more engaged in Internet activism, including blogging.

NRA: Free membership for troops

LOTUS points out that the National Rifle Association is offering free one-year memberships to current U.S. military personnel:
On behalf of the nearly four million members of the National Rifle Association of America, thank you for serving our country! We deeply appreciate your sacrifice, and would like to offer you a complimentary one-year membership in the NRA as a token of our gratitude and respect. Your membership will include all regular benefits of membership, including a subscription to your choice of our three flagship magazines.
Cross-posted at AmSpec blog.

Corpses don't have rights

There is a reason that "life" precedes "liberty" in the Declaration of Independence's famous preamble. The U.S. Supreme Court doesn't get that:
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts. . . .
[T]he court ruled 5-4 that the government is violating the rights of prisoners being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. The court's liberal justices were in the majority.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said, ''The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.''
What Kennedy et al. can't seem to get:
  • These are foreigners;
  • They were captured outside the U.S.;
  • They were armed terrorists, who wore no uniforms and did not belong to any legitimate national military force; and
  • They were killing or attempting to kill U.S. forces.
It is the action of these terrorists -- and not the action of U.S. forces -- that has created this extra-legal limbo, where we have in custody men who are neither soldiers, nor spies, nor criminals by any standard definition.

What these Taliban/al-Qaeda thugs really are, from the standpoint of traditional law, is pirates. And despite the recent glamorization and Disneyfication of piracy, God help any 17th- or 18th-century pirate who ever fell into the hands of the British Royal Navy. A pirate was owed nothing but a speedy, violent and painful trip to Davy Jones' Locker, and no admiralty court was ever going to hear an appeal.

Our troops, in response to Justice Kennedy's wisdom, ought to stop pussyfooting around with these al-Qaeda pirates. Hencerforth, instead of capturing terrorists, interrogating them and transporting them to Gitmo, our troops should summarily kill them all, without question.

Corpses don't have rights. Or, at least, they don't file lawsuits.

Neo-Nazis for Obama?

Considering the left-wing source, this is probably bogus, but:
With the nomination of Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate clinched, large sections of the white supremacist movement are adopting a surprising attitude: Electing America’s first black president would be a very good thing. . . .
A growing number of white supremacists, and even some of those who pass for intellectual leaders of their movement, think that a black man in the Oval Office would shock white America, possibly drive millions to their cause, and perhaps even set off a race war that, they hope, would ultimately end in Aryan victory.
Maybe this explains Obama's strong showing in Idaho? Or is it just part of a left/right kook-fringe convergence? And what, if anything, does this mean about the latest polls?
Look on the bright side: The utter craziness generated by this year's election might help stimulate the economy, by boosting sales of tinfoil.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hot air across America

No, not that Hot Air (although I think Michelle Malkin will like this idea). I'm talking about Americans for Prosperity's Hot Air Balloon Tour of America:
Americans for Prosperity's seventy-foot-tall hot air balloon will visit six more states from June 17th through June 21st, making stops in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, and Ohio. . . . Bring the family, co-workers, and friends out to experience the Hot Air Tour first-hand and learn about the $1.2 trillion energy tax hike Al Gore and global warming alarmists are pushing.
AFP is celebrating the defeat of the bipartisan "cap-and-trade" bill (Barack Obama supported it; John McCain was a co-sponsor). But the globaloney peddlers won't stop, so AFP is rallying Americans in seven cities next week:

Tuesday – June 17, 2008

Wednesday – June 18, 2008
Thursday – June 19, 2008
Friday - June 20, 2008
Saturday - June 21, 2008
By the way, who says global warming is bad, anyway? Washington, DC, is in the middle of a heat wave right now and it's a beautiful thing. Think sundresses, OK?

Barr & Paul on Iran

From my latest article in The American Spectator:
Not all the speakers at the "It's Time To Talk" event were liberal Democrats, however, and the occasion allowed Barr an opportunity to say hello to a former congressional colleague he calls "a very good friend," Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Much of Barr's hope to make his Libertarian candidacy a serious threat in November depends on his ability to capture the energy -- and phenomenal fundraising potential -- demonstrated by Paul's anti-war insurgency in the GOP.
Already, many of the activists who supported Paul in the Republican primaries are working for Barr. Monday, two pro-Paul bloggers sent out an e-mail explaining they were backing Barr because his campaign would "retain the philosophical core of Ron
Paul's message." So far, however, Barr has yet to match the online money machine that helped generate more than $30 million for Paul's primary campaign. As of yesterday, the Barr campaign's website reported he had raised about $250,000.
Read the whole thing. Meanwhile, See-Dubya wants to "get a rise out of the Other McCain" by reporting that Tom Tancredo says he can't vote for Barr. Why? Tancredo says Barr's got "a blind spot on radical Islam." I'll see Barr in a couple of hours (he's speaking at Grover's Wednesday morning meeting) and ask him about that.


The talk of Virginia Sen. Jim Webb for the VP slot raises questions:
Webb is no mere student of the Civil War era. He’s an author, too, and he’s left a trail of writings and statements about one of the rawest and most sensitive topics in American history.
He has suggested many times that while the Confederacy is a symbol to many of the racist legacy of slavery and segregation, for others it simply reflects Southern pride. In a June 1990 speech in front of the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, posted on his personal website, he lauded the rebels’ “gallantry,” which he said “is still misunderstood by most Americans.”
Webb, a descendant of Confederate officers, also voiced sympathy for the notion of state sovereignty as it was understood in the early 1860s, and seemed to suggest that states were justified in trying to secede.
All of this was widely known before the 2006 Senate race between Webb and Allen. Yet it was Allen who got hit by the media with the "neo-Confederate" smear, even though all the real neo-Confederates in Virginia were supporting Webb.

(Via Memeorandum.) Ed Morrisey writes:
Will his writings on the Confederacy make much difference in a general election? Probably not. The one group that would be most offended would be African-Americans, and it’s doubtful that Webb would split them from Obama. Webb just wouldn’t do that much to help. He adds next to nothing to the ticket, and certainly doesn’t shore up Obama’s gaping vulnerabilities.
I disagree. Webb would definitely help Obama with "Hillary's Hillbillies," and his defense experience would help with veterans. But Ed's right that Webb's pro-Confederate writing would make no difference with black voters, who reliably vote 90% Democrat no matter who the Democrat is.

UPDATE: Just to show that you don't have to be a "neo-Confederate" to offend hyper-sensitive (white) liberals check out Sadly No's reaction to Anne Applebaum's latest column. I mean, "concubine"? Dude.

UPDATE II: James Fallows, neo-Confederate? Where were you when I needed you, Jim?

Obama smoking again?

Yeah, never mind his Marxist economic ideas, let's talk about whether he's been sneaking an occasional Camel Light:
Senator Barack Obama told reporters in St. Louis today that he has fallen off the wagon and smoked cigarettes in the last few months.
The presumptive Democratic nominee has been open about his smoking past: Once a heavy smoker, he publicly gave up the habit, per his wife's request, to run for president.Since quitting, Obama has indicated in the past that he has "fallen off the wagon" but before today was not specific about how recent his smoking was.
"Months," Obama said of the last time he has smoked.
Wouldn't it have been cool if he'd fired one up right there, with the cameras rolling? Yeah, take that, you media busybodies!

(Via Memeorandum.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Barr on Bloomberg

Slamming his former GOP colleagues, and naming names -- including Newt Gingrich:

Barr traces the decline of the GOP to the "bloated" 1998 omnibus budget deal (which I well remember) as having "completely shattered whatever ... credibility [Republicans] might have had as the party of smaller government."

More clips here.

The Jimmy Carter Tax

Like shag haircuts, polyester leisure suits and the BeeGees, a Seventies fad we don't need to go back to:
With gasoline prices topping $4 a gallon, Senate Democrats want the government to grab some of the billions of dollars in profits being taken in by the major oil companies.
Senators were to vote Tuesday on whether to consider a windfall profits tax against the five largest U.S. oil companies and rescind $17 billion in tax breaks the companies expect to enjoy over the next decade.
"The oil companies need to know that there is a limit on how much profit they can take in this economy," said Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, warning that if energy prices are not reined in "we're going to find ourselves in a deep recession."
But the Democrats are going to have to overcome staunch Republican opposition to any new taxes on the oil industry. The five largest U.S. oil companies earned $36 billion during the first three months of the year.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will need 60 votes Tuesday to proceed with the oil tax legislation in the face of a threatened GOP filibuster. If he doesn't get 60, he likely will pull the bill from the floor.
Michelle Malkin (a former Warren T. Brookes Fellow at CEI) notes that Barack Obama favors this economic nonsense and John McCain has spoken of "obscene profits." So Americans get to choose between two big-government tax-hiking candidates.

Actually, now that I think of it, I actually liked shag haircuts. And "Jive Talking" wasn't half-bad. But this idiotic gas tax still sucks.

'Lonely old men'

This is really sad:
Half a million elderly men lead lonely lives with no friends and no contact from their families, a report warned yesterday.
It found that one person in five with an elderly father is no longer in touch with him. One in four claims to be too busy to maintain contact.
Divorce and family break-up has left millions of men without ties to their children and with few or no family links, said the charity Help the Aged.
Retirement deprives many of the company of work colleagues and others are left alone by bereavement or their own poor health.
Amy Swan of Help the Aged said: 'We are seeing the first real wave of the "divorce generation" hitting retirement.
'As fathers were typically the parents who did not win custody of the children, many are entering later life with strained family ties.
'Today, around half the number of older men living alone are experiencing some form of loneliness or isolation.'
(Note to self: Hug wife. Often.)

Barack's nightmare

Imagine this: You've just become the first black man ever nominated for president by a major party. You've got problems to deal with, including a troubling history of radical associations, plus the fact that you're a 46-year-old newcome to national politics who has to convince skeptical "swing" voters that you're ready to be commander-in-chief of a nation at war.

And then ... well, this:
Representative Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, just finished reading on the House floor a 35-count impeachment resolution against President George W. Bush.
If Obama resists the urge to hunt down Kucinich and strangle that midget twerp, he'll have passed a major test of character. This idiotic gesture --moving to impeach a lame-duck president who'll be out of office in a mere seven months, no matter what --is exactly what Obama doesn't need.
Obama will be asked to respond to this, and will be confronted with a dilemma:
  • Treat Kucinich's proposal seriously, pleasing the left-wing kook fringe of the Democratic Party, but alienating normal Americans; or
  • Reject Kucinich's idiocy, driving the left-wing kook fringe over to the Green Party or whatever kook fringe independent canididacy Ralph Nader puts together.
Obama needs the kook fringe, but he needs them to be quiet and unobtrusive. Instead that creepy Marxist dwarf Kucinich pulls this demagogic publicity stunt that gets them all riled up.

'Total failure'

"Every Republican I know looks at the Bush administration as a total failure."
I will add only that Matt Towery knows lots and lots and lots of Republicans.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Laura Ingraham off the air

Apparently a contract dispute. I heard Tammy Bruce subbing on Laura's show last week, but figured it was just a vacation fill-in. Guess it's something more serious.

Dem delegate = $100K

According to calculations by Don Surber, through April, Barack Obama's campaign spent $101,429.20 per delegate , and the Clinton campaign spent $96,166.61 per delegate.

Furthermore, Don points out, the total spending per campaign amounted to:
  • OBAMA: $218.9 million
  • CLINTON: $185.2 million
  • TOTAL: $404.1 million
The NY Daily News calculates it somewhat differently, but reports:
Eighteen million votes: $212 million. Some 1,926 delegates: $109,823 a pop.
Blowing the biggest head start in presidential history: priceless.
From anointed to also-ran, Hillary Clinton spent more money to lose a primary election than any candidate in Democratic Party history.
"The Clinton campaign found itself without adequate money at the beginning of 2008," chief strategist Mark Penn wrote in a published Op-Ed yesterday - but it was enough of a cash stash to fund the causes she championed. . . .
Instead of throwing cash away, she might have better invested the $11 million she gave her campaign by buying everyone in New York City a Mega Millions ticket.
And she could have bought 9,838 people a new hybrid Toyota Prius, or given out 70.7 million energy-efficient light bulbs.
Remember that gas tax holiday plan? Nearly 53 million gallons of free gas could have been bought with that sum.
The saddest thing is that, while she was burning through more than $200 million in campaign cash, she never got the urge to cut me a check in appreciation of all my friendly coverage of her campaign.

Yeah, I know. That wouldn't have been ethical. But we're talking Hillary Clinton here -- when did the Clintons ever let a little thing like ethics ever get in their way?

Protest movements

Generally, my attitude toward protesters is, "Open fire." Bring back the Ohio National Guard, and let the gutters run with the blood of the Marxist scum.

On the other hand, James Joyner calls attention to a protest in Ukraine where less confrontational tactics might be acceptable.

She loves the bad boys

A common problem for Hollywood hotties:
State Attorney General Andrew Andrew Cuomo is investigating a children's charity operated by the controversial boyfriend of sexy "Devil Wears Prada" star Anne Hathaway, who until recently sat on the group's board of directors, The Post has learned.
Cuomo's investigators in recent weeks served subpoenas seeking financial documents from the Follieri Foundation, which is headed by Hathaway's beau, 29-year-old Italian businessman Raffaello Follieri, the AG's office confirmed yesterday.
This is so sad, because it's so easily preventable. I should open a "Hottie Helpline," offering fatherly advice to sexy starlets who are tempted to hook up with some cokehead rap star or greasy Eurotrash hustler named "Raffaello." My advice in this situation:
To start with, Anne, if you're running around half-naked all the time, that's practically a guarantee you'll get stuck with the "Raffaello" type. Call it the Britney Principle -- the less underwear you wear, the more scummy the guys you'll be hanging out with. Or, as I once explained it, "Girls who leave nothing to the imagination will tend to attract men with no imagination." (Which kind of explains that whole Kevin Federline thing, you see?)
It's not that you've got a bad body, Anne, or that guys don't like to look at it. It's just that when a girl goes flashing her stuff all around in public, guys automatically think: "Floozy. Tramp. Buy her a four-pack of wine coolers, and she'll put out like a Pez dispenser."
Call us a bunch of sexist troglodyte misogynists, but that's how guys think. And you know why? Because it's usually true -- and girls know it, too. Admit it, ladies: If you've got a co-worker who shows up at the office every day in a miniskirt and a deep-plunge cleavage blouse, you leap to the same conclusion that guys do: "Jezebel. Slut. Probably spends her weekends doing tricks in a truck-stop parking lot."
So, please, Anne Hathaway, dump that sleazy Raffaello dude, stop dressing like an East L.A. streetwalker, and try to find yourself a nice wholesome Republican guy who'll treat you right. Like Matt Keller.
This has been the first episode of "Hottie Helpline." Please come back next week, when we have a little talk with Lindsay Lohan about getting jiggy in the toilet.
UPDATE: Did I say "bad boys"? How could I miss the Clinton connection to this story?

Kony: Is the end near?

The latest news from Africa points toward a final end for mass-murderer Joseph Kony and his LRA terrorists:
The Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) is set to attack Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army rebels, Southern Sudan trade minister Anthony Makana has said.
He made the remarks on Saturday after the LRA attacked an SPLA detachment in Nabanga, killing 23 people, including 14 SPLA officers and a local chief in the nearby Yamba town. The attackers reportedly headed towards the Ugandan border after the incident.
Negotiations for the LRA's surrender broke down in March, because International Criminal Court officials refused to grant amnesty to Kony and other top LRA leaders accused of human rights violations. After the latest attack, South Sudan -- which had been brokering the negotiations -- said no more talk:
"It would be unreasonable for the Government of South Sudan to continue [with the mediation]," said Mr Gabriel Changson Cheng, the GoSS information minister.
Mr Cheng, who spoke to Radio France International (RFI), said the decision to withdraw his government's mediation was brought about by several other factors including the attack itself. "[The LRA] are the ones abrogating the peace process," he said, adding that the other party to the talks, the Uganda government, was equally disinterested.
Kony and his thugs have been hiding in a remote area of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now they are reportedly roving about the borderlands again:
Suspected rebels of the Lords Resistance Army are moving towards the Ugandan border, after raids at the Congo-Sudan border towns on Wednesday and Thursday, an official has said.
The attacks in Nabanga and Yamba, about 20 kilometers apart left at least 21 people killed, including six children, southern Sudan Army Spokesman Major General Peter Parnyang said Saturday.
The rebels also killed a local chief in Yamba before disappearing. "They are moving along the border; they are moving towards Kajo-Keji," Maj.Gen Parnyang told this Correspondent Saturday.
Kajo-Keji, at the Sudan-Uganda border, lies about 400 kilometers south east of Nabanga, the area where the rebels were expected to converge during the stalled Uganda-rebel peace talks.
At last, Uganda's leaders appear to have had enough of negotiations:
Addressing the Ugandan parliament on 5 June, President Yoweri Museveni said his army was ready to flush the LRA out of its bases in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) if the Congolese government and the UN gave his country the go-ahead.
"I can assure all of you Ugandans that [LRA leader Joseph] Kony cannot disturb the peace in northern Uganda given the nature of professionalism of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF). We now have sophisticated equipment and are ready to respond," the president said.
"Since Kony is in Congo, it is now the responsibility of [DRC President Joseph] Kabila and the UN to call on us," he told the legislators. "In case Congo asks for our assistance, we are ready and prepared to go and destroy him."
Here's hoping they get the green light.

Video: Obama on 'white folks'

(Via RWN.) Having already thrown everyone within reach under the bus, will Obama now throw himself under the bus, too?

John McCain's problem: John McCain

Jed Babbin blames the hired help:
McCain's June 3 speech -- designed to rob Obama of some media attention -- might have been a good idea and it might not. But it was poorly-written, badly staged and obviously a text McCain wasn't comfortable with. McCain's themes were good, but the speech made him sound petty, almost as if he were a challenger competing against an incumbent Obama.
So some in McCain's camp convinced him to grasp for media attention on Obama's night, and then pushed him to make a speech that wasn't right for him. And then?
These supposed "advisers" and "strategists" immediately leaked to the McCain-hostile press that the only problem was McCain, not the speech or how it was managed as a media event. All you need to know about these problem "insiders" is in the Politico piece by Jonathan Martin entitled, McCain Bumbles Delivery.
Allow me to make the opposite case. A political candidate either is, or is not, in charge of his own campaign. Either the candidate controls the staff, or the staff controls the candidate.

There is no member of the McCain campaign staff who couldn't be fired in 15 minutes if the candidate said so. So if McCain's speechwriting staff is inept, if his media coordinator is a dunce, if his field organizers are bunglers -- and yet they remain employed by his campaign -- there is only one person responsible, and his name is John McCain.

This goes back to the hapless George Allen campaign in 2006. It would be easy, and arguably fair, to blame Allen's meltdown on his campaign manager, Dick Wadhams. But who hired Dick Wadhams?

To blame a campaign's failures on the staff, in an effort to exculpate the candidate, is to argue that the candidate is not in charge of his own campaign. How can a candidate who is not in charge of his own campaign claim to be a responsible leader who can be trusted in public office?

Anyone who's studied Ronald Reagan knows that he had staff problems just like any other politician has staff problems. But Reagan fired John Sears, didn't he? And as for speechwriting, you can go to the Reagan Library today and see how Reagan changed and altered the texts of the speeches his staff had prepared for him. If Reagan had been a pliant tool of his advisers, the most famous line in his Brandenburg Gate speech -- "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" -- would have been omitted.

Babbin is trying to argue that there is some meaningful distinction between the idiot who writes a bad speech and the idiot who delivers a bad speech written by some other idiot. Well, whose speech is it?

A letter to Mr. Bush

From Slublog:
This afternoon, I put $35 worth of gas into my car and at $4 a gallon, that wasn't enough to fill it up. If I owned an SUV, that might be understandable, but I own a Saturn. A small one.
Now, as a conservative, I don't normally look to government to solve market-based problems. This case is different. Government may not be the solution, but it sure as heck is contributing to the problem. All I want it to do in this case is get out of the way. Our ability to increase the supply of oil has been limited by politicians eager to please special interest groups at a time we can't afford the luxury of such pandering.
The Democrats have opposed drilling in ANWR, drilling off the coasts and drilling in the west. So my question is this - why are you being such a mealy-mouthed wimp about it? . . .
Read the rest here. The answer, my dear Slublog, is that a Bush is a Bush. They're born with some sort of defective New England WASP chromosome that makes them want to play nice with liberals.

Normal humans cannot relate to the sufferers of Bush Syndrome. I mean, OK, I get the whole "compassionate conservatism" thing, but shouldn't that compassion be reserved for human beings? Why should I be compassionate toward a freaking caribou? What have the caribou ever done for me?

As far as I'm concerned, caribou is just a fancy Alaska word for "venison." I say we get the NRA to put the word out to all the deer hunters to go up to Alaska and hunt those caribou to extinction. Because once a species becomes extinct, they're not endangered any more, and then we can go get that oil.

Same thing with the spotted owl. If it were up to me, we'd put a bounty on those endangered pests that are putting loggers and lumber-mill workers out of jobs. Hunt 'em down like the feathered cockroaches they are, so we can get back to clear-cutting old-growth forests like we used to, back when America was a red-blooded manly country.

We need to stop pussyfooting around with these weakling species. It's not our fault they're on the losing end of Darwinism, incapable of adapting to the dynamics of a changing habitat.

I mean, screw the salmon. Put hydroelectric dams in all the rivers, and if those stupid fish can't figure out how to walk up the river bank to their spawning grounds or else get jiggy in deep water, how is that my problem?

These misfit loser species are obstacles to progress, people. Hey, I'm paying $4 a gallon for gas, and I don't see any arctic wildlife offering to chip in on the next tank. So I say, it's us or them. Survival of the fittest. If the caribou want to stop us from getting that oil in Alaska, just let 'em try it.

You hear me, caribou? Vamoose, buddy. You're on our oil, and if you don't get out of the way, we're gonna come gunning for you. My advice would be for you caribou to high-tail it over to Canada right now. 'Cause you're making me angry and, trust me, you don't want to see me angry.

Hillaryites roll over

Remember when Hillary's supporters screamed that they would not, under any circumstances, support Obama? They lied:
Barack Obama is enjoying a modest bump in support following Hillary Clinton's exit from the presidential race. The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update finds Obama leading Republican John McCain, 48% to 42%, among registered voters nationwide. . . .
Obama has consistently held a lead of five to seven percentage points each night since it was reported that Hillary Clinton intended to suspend her campaign.
These soi-dissant militant feminist voters now surrender to Stockholm Syndrome, internalizing the worldview of their captors. Hillary's erstwhile supporters rally to the standard of the sexist chauvinist oppressor.

It's almost as pathetic as listening to conservatives who once opposed John McCain but are now making excuses for the RINO, and denouncing as "disloyal" anyone who maintains the anti-McCain stance they themselves once took.

Conformist bandwagons never were my scene.

What failed leadership looks like

Michelle Malkin links a Houston Chronicle article on the woeful condition of the Texas GOP:
Former Republican Chairman Tom Pauken said politicians and party leaders need to reassure the Republican grass-roots workers that their efforts matter for conservative causes.
"The grass roots has withered up and died," Pauken said.
This problem can be traced to exactly two addresses in Washington, DC: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and 310 First Street. As soon as Team Bush took over the White House and the RNC, the whole vibe of the GOP was transformed. What had been a grassroots-inspired, bottom-up conservative movement suddenly became an elite-controlled, top-down organization dedicated entirely to advancing the interests of DC-based party insiders.

The disaster in 2006 hasn't changed this. The GOP is still about the party bosses, corporate donors and professional consultants ramming their agenda and their strategy down the throats of the rank-and-file.

Pauken's complaint about the "withered up" grassroots reflects the organizational dynamics of the situation. Why should ordinary people at the grassroots become actively involved -- donating their time and money -- when it becomes plainly evident that (a) the people in charge of the party don't give a damn what ordinary Republicans think, and (b) any electoral success achieved by the party will only serve to enrich and empower an elite class of professional political operatives, rather than to advance a conservative agenda?

The GOP today is like the dysfunctional office in "Dilbert," where the idiot boss runs things to suit himself, discourages employee initiative, ignores feedback, and then blames his subordinates for everything that goes wrong because of his stupid decisions.

The unwillingness of grassroots conservatives to become involved in Republican Party politics is entirely rational, given that the party leadership is now openly hostile to conservatives.

Matt Keller, babe magnet

Because chicks dig a Freemason.

First, they came for the polygamists . . .

. . . now, they come for the vegans:
A 12-year-old girl in Scotland brought up by her parents on a strict vegan diet has been admitted to hospital with a degenerative bone condition said to have left her with the spine of an 80-year-old woman.
Doctors are under pressure to report the couple to police and social workers amid concerns that her health and welfare may have been neglected in pursuit of their dietary beliefs.
The girl, who has been fed on a strict meat and dairy-free diet from birth, is said to have a severe form of rickets and to have suffered a number of fractured bones.
The condition is caused by a lack of vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium and is found in liver, oily fish and dairy produce.
Decalcification leads to the bones becoming brittle and can cause curvature of the spine.
Of course, there are vegetable sources of vitamin D, but apparently the girl's parents were ignorant of that fact.

Our family is vegetarian, but not strictly so. We seldom eat meat at home, but if we're out somewhere and want a cheeseburger or a Chic-Fil-A, that's no problem. And the dairy-free thing is not something we've ever worried about. Soy milk and soy cheese are far more expensive than the real deal.

Parents who would allow ill-informed fanaticism to ruin a child's health, as has evidently happened with this Scottish girl, are without excuse. You'd think someone might have noticed this before the kid turned 12, though.

All six of our children are vigorously healthy, and if a few animals have been "oppressed" to achieve that results, well ... my apologies to the cattle and poultry communities. My kids come first.

BTW, the animal-rights movement stinks.

Megan has a Hayek fit

Not to be confused with a Mises seizure. Also, she explains why she's a Facebook snob.

All Megan's problems, including her vertigo, are probably psychosomatic trauma reaction to her being so freakishly tall. Not that I blame her, since I'm also a victim of adolescent trauma.

Most of my problems can probably be traced to (a) having been 5-foot-4 in ninth grade, and (b) having "a girl's name." Rather than expecting people to understand my problems, however, I prefer to just act out the uncompensated angst and torment of my damaged psyche, wreaking havoc in the lives of others, without explanation or apology.

Understanding? Sensitivity? That's for sissies.

Bias on bias

Why am I not a professional pundit? Because I refuse to participate in the oppression:
Hillary Clinton's loss has renewed critiques that American political media is slanted, sexist and dominated by men. . . .
[T]he elite opinion media continues to employ, groom and promote a commentator corps that is disproportionately white and male. . . .
The most traditional location to reach the political establishment, the Washington Post opinion section, is brazenly male-dominated. Seventeen of the 19 columnists are men; only three of the columnists are racial minorities. Guest op-eds could present more voices, but they rarely do. This year, only 12 percent of the Post's guest pieces came from women, according to a May count by ombudsman Deborah Howell. At the New York Times, eight of the ten weekly columnists are men; one is black.
See? If I were to become a commentator or columnist, I would only be contributing to the "brazenly male-dominated" environment. To ensure that women and minorities have equal opportunities in punditry, I therefore choose instead to share my opinions in the obscurity of the blogosphere which is ... oh, yeah, wait, the blogosphere is also "brazenly male-dominated," isn't it?

Hmm, could it be that white males "dominate" the world of opinion journalism because of their greater interest in the field? I mean, here in the blogosphere, where people opine for free, most of those who opine are white males -- as are most of their readers.

UPDATE: Fellow white male James Joyner:
Oddly, despite being male and having written about politics for many years, I have hardly ever been contacted by a newspaper and asked to write an op-ed; none of the biggies have done so. Are politically minded women blinded by their gender to the existence of The Washington Post? Too shy to pitch and submit like the rest of us?
Yeah. It's kind of funny that after 22 years in journalism, I'm still not getting any phone calls from editors begging me to write for them. It's always the other way around and, sometimes, my begging is answered with a "no." I'm being victimized!

Blameless Obama

The entitlement mentality:
In classic Washington finger-pointing style, the Democratic primary is only barely over but the recriminations are already being teed up.
The main thrust of them is this: Will supporters of Sen. Barack Obama blame Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton if Obama loses in November?
While the point might eventually prove moot, her decision to remain in the race well past the point in which Obama appeared to have an insurmountable delegate lead has nevertheless generated discussion about what responsibility, if any, she might bear in the event of an Obama loss.
If he wins, she's just roadkill -- something he stepped over en route to his deserved glory. On the other hand, if he loses, it's her fault.

The basis of the accusation is completely illegitimate. Considering that Obama finished the primary schedule with less than 1,800 pledged delegates -- some 300 delegates shy of a nominating majority, when and how was it that Obama ever "appeared to have an insurmountable delegate lead"?

The Beltway wizards started claiming Obama had an "insurmountable" lead after Super Tuesday for one reason only: Team Obama told them to.

That's right. Only a Democrat could be so stupid as to believe that a bunch of reporters (notoriously bad at math) were able to do those early-March projected scenarios that showed Obama the winner. Those were Obama talking points, not independent journalism.

I repeat: Obama never had -- still doesn't have -- a nominating majority of pledged delegates. He clinched the nomination only because the delegate-count projections circulated as talking points by his campaign staff were endlessly repeated by pundits, creating a false impression of inevitabilty that caused a super-delegate shift to Obama.

Congratulations, Democrats: You've let the Washington press corps pick your nominee. And you have only yourselves to blame if it all goes wrong.

Two books I'd never write

Or bother to read:
Let's say you and your spouse haven't had sex in so long that you cant remember the last time you did. . . . Would you look for gratification elsewhere? Would you file for divorce? Or would you turn to your mate and say, "Honey, you know, I've been thinking. Why don't we do it for the next 365 days in a row?"
That's more or less what happened to Charla and Brad Muller. And in another example of an erotic adventure supplanting married ennui, a second couple, Annie and Douglas Brown, embarked on a similar, if abbreviated journey: 101 straight days of post-nuptial sex.
Both couples document their exploits in books published this month, the latest entries in what is almost a mini-genre of books offering advice about the "sex-starved marriage."
A "mini-genre," already! Let all "document our exploits," why don't we? Shamelessness as a literary oeuvre -- "Dear Penthouse Forum" extended to book length, without the anonymity.

That clunking sound you just heard was the desiccated corpse of Western civilization doing a dead-cat bounce at the bottom of the slippery slope.

Great sourcing, Kristol

"[A]lmost every Republican I’ve talked to is alarmed that the McCain campaign doesn’t seem up to the task of electing John McCain."

Could you be a bit more specific, Bill? Were these senators? Members of the Bush administration? Consultants who didn't get a callback from Rick Davis?

They're paying you big bucks up there, man. If you don't want to do any actual reporting, hire a college kid to do some reporting for you. And for crying out loud, stop trying to run the GOP from the op-ed page of the New York Times.

Hot? You call this 'hot'?

Temperatures have hit the 90s in the Washington DC region the past few days, and wimps like Joe at NoVaTownhall are complaining:
[T]oday was a complete ass-kicker, unlike any I’ve experienced in recent memory. . . .
I had to do the lawn, which is about a 2.5 hour exercise with the edging and trimming included. . . .
So as much as I like to tell people that 47 is not really so old thanks to modern science and I still get carded in 7-11 by cashiers from the other side of the world, I must admit that mowing the lawn on days like today is no country for 47-year old men.
Hey, Joe, you think 47 is bad, you ought to try 48! Fortunately, having four sons means I never have to mow the lawn anymore.

My wife and I took our three youngest children to the National Zoo on Saturday, when the high was 94. It was extremely sweaty. We had to walk about four blocks back to the car, and when that air-conditioning kicked in -- oh, man, what a relief.

Sunday was just as hot, although I spent most of Sunday indoors. We were cooling with fans only. My thrifty wife refuses to turn on the air-conditioning before July.

Being a native of Georgia, I take pride in my ability to endure hot weather. When I was a kid, we'd turn out for youth football practice in August. The coaches would run, run, run us for about two hours. No water until practice was over -- water was for sissies.

Up here in the arctic climes north of the Potomac, I scoff at any Yankee's assertion that it's ever hot in Washington.

There is a time/temperature sign in front of The Washington Times office on New York Avenue. Co-workers and I would go outside for a smoke break some muggy July afternoon. The sign would be flashing 91 degrees, and everyone would begin their routine grumbling about the heat. So I'd say, "Hot? You call this 'hot'? Shoot, 91 degrees is a mild April morning where I come from!"

Joe shouldn't complain. He says he's from South Florida and grew up before home air-conditioning was common. I also remember those days. When I was a kid growing up in Lithia Springs, Ga., Wyatt's Pharmacy was one of the few stores in town that had air-conditioning, and they advertised it in ice-cube type letters on the front window: AIR CONDITIONED! When we'd go on vacation to Florida, if a motel had air-conditioning, they'd advertise it on a neon sign: AIR CONDITIONED!

It wasn't until I was about 10 years old that we got our first window air-conditioning unit at the house. It was just strong enough to cool the den and kitchen, so we had to keep all the doors closed going into those two rooms to seal it off. The rest of the house was cooled by a powerful updraft attic fan, and you'd leave your bedroom window open and prop open your bedroom door, because if you didn't prop the door, the draft from the fan would slam it shut.

I guess it's OK for Joe to admit to noticing the heat on his blog, but that's where I draw the line. As far as any spoken complaint, no Southerner living this far north should ever admit to being bothered by hot weather.

Sweat in silence. Act like you don't even notice it, and when some Yankee starts mewling about the heat, just laugh it off. "Hot? You call this 'hot'? Why, down home . . ."

Obama: Another doomed Democrat?

My latest article at The American Spectator:
Somewhere, there should be a Hall of Fame honoring profoundly stupid Democratic Party campaign ideas. Among the featured exhibits would be Michael Dukakis's 1988 tank ride and John Kerry's 2004 Ohio duck-hunting trip. ("Can I get me a hunting license here?")
The important thing to remember about such classic campaign blunders, however, is that Democrats didn't realize their disastrous potential until it was too late to prevent them. Whether it's George McGovern's choice of Thomas Eagleton as his 1972 running mate or Fritz Mondale's promise to raise taxes in 1984, for some reason there's never anybody around Democrat HQ with the foresight to shout an advance warning.
If Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign melts down this year, however, the Democrats won't have that excuse. This time, there was plenty of warning . . .
By all means, read the whole thing, including this gonzo flashback:
In August 1972, Hunter S. Thompson recalled a conversation with McGovern campaign manager Gary Hart: "One of his central beliefs for the past two years had been that winning the Democratic nomination would be much harder than beating Nixon... So any Democratic candidate could beat Nixon, and all the candidates knew it."
I'd spent a few days thinking about this topic, but it gelled Sunday when Obama suffered another one of those mini-scandals at the same time his campaign team was showing evidence of overconfidence.

Given his absurdly good fortune so far (that first book deal, for example) Team Obama can hardly be blamed for believing their candidate can do no wrong. That kind of hubris, however, inevitably spells trouble in politics.

UPDATE: Obama just clinched the Democratic nomination. Hillary conceded and endorsed him. He's the object of quasi-religious media adoration. And yet he's just 2 points ahead in the latest Gallup daily tracking poll. Just sayin' . . .

UPDATE II: Some guy at MyDD is simply rapturous over Obama's poll "bounce," calling it "dramatic," among much else. I wonder if someone could go back to June 2004 and tell me what the Bush-Kerry numbers were?