Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dear RNC members

You probably won't put much stock in the advice of someone you never heard of, and the fact that this particular nobody bears the surname of that idiot who got the nomination this year won't likely recommend me. But I am the Other McCain, and can't be held accountable for Crazy Cousin John. (Don't blame me, I voted for Bob Barr.)

At any rate, I'm writing to you members of the Republican National Committee to warn you that your chairman, Mike Duncan, has gone bonkers and must be deposed immediately. Evidence of Duncan's lunacy ought to be obvious from the memo he recently sent you:
I am pleased today to announce the creation of the Center for Republican Renewal, a new office of the Republican National Committee that will identify, generate, and promote public policies that advance Republican principles of sound governance. . . .
This is so bass-ackwards that I can only conclude that Duncan is nuts. It is not the job of GOP HQ to generate ideas that it then imposes downward on the party. The Republican grassroots needs to dictate policy to the national party leadership, not vice-versa.

Indeed, about 90 percent of what's gone wrong with the Republican Party over the past eight years is the GOP's adoption of this very same top-down method of operation which Duncan now proposes to formalize by creating a bureaucratic "central committee" type structure within RNC headquarters. Your response to Duncan and his cuckoo "Center for Republican Renewal" idea should be not merely "no," but HELL, NO.

This vision of the Republican Party as a centralized, professionalized, ideological bureacracy, dictating policy to its members, is the antithesis of successful politics. It is a waste of time and money. Duncan needs to be told to cease and desist in the creation of this internal apparatus, pending his removal from the chairmanship just as soon as you can convene and vote him out.

There is no shortage of idea-generating think tanks, advocacy groups and policy-oriented journals to which Republicans can turn if it is "new ideas" you're after. (Frankly, as a conservative, I think old ideas are always the best ideas, but that's just me.) But wherever your ideas come from, they ought not be dictated from above. For eight years now, Republicans have basically looked to the Bush administration and their allies for direction: What does the President want? Smart people can see how this top-down method of party control by the Bush coterie has led to a withering of the party's grassroots energy, and resulted in the disastrous election just completed.

Stop Duncan's plan now, and encourage him to take a vacation somewhere pleasant, someplace with a professional psychiatric staff to help him realize that he's been under an awful lot of stress lately so maybe he should just relax and attend art therapy classes for a few weeks until he feels more rested.

Probably Duncan's delusions will go away on their own, but if not, perhaps you can find him gainful employment as a columnist for the New York Times, like David Brooks, who continues to insist to his friends that he is a "conservative Republican." (His friends humor him, since it's always dangerous to contradict the fantasies of a madman.)

Unspeakable truth, mandatory lies

One of the weirdnesses of 21st-century life is that certain facts are politically incorrect. Notice I said facts, not opinions. Joel Stein of the L.A. Times points to one such verboten truth:
I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe "the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews," down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.
Stein backs up that statement with extensive evidence of Jewish dominance within the entertainment industry and, unlike the ADL, sees no reason to be embarassed by it. Yet, to the ADL, it is considered a sign of enlightened tolerance that 78% of people falsely believe that Hollywood is not dominated by Jews. So, according to the ADL, the alternative to delusion is bigotry. Steve Sailer observes:
In general, isn’t it weird how it has become fashionable to be naive and less worldly . . .? It used to be that people felt proud of knowing the score, of understanding the way of the world, of being clued in to how things work.
Today, though, it’s cool to be ignorant.
Ignorance as enlightment follows a definite pattern, as with the case of how Tom Clancy's Palestinian terrorists in The Sum of All Fears morphed into neo-Nazis in the movie version. One can no longer generalize about group tendencies without inviting the charge of fostering "hate." Kathy Shaidle notes the "moral exhibitionism" of those who react to her "matter of fact, everybody-knows statement about . . . Black culture" by condemning her as a racist. Kathy correctly locates the origin of such condemnation in modern academia. Our education system nowadays seems to emphasize a vision of egalitarian homogeneity, so that people are fungible units without any distinctive ethno-cultural traits to differentiate them.

Furthermore, academia seems to be teaching young people to argue by exceptions, to naysay any general observation by responding, "Yeah, but what if . . .?" The "what if" is always some hypothetical case intended to disprove the general observation. You see this all the time in the abortion debate.

The overwhelming majority of abortions are merely retroactive contraception to terminate an adult woman's inconvenient pregnancy. Yet pro-choicers are always conjuring up the specter of the 14-year-old incest victim, or the woman whose pregnancy presents potentially fatal medical complications. One might allow for every such exceptional case and still prohibit 97 percent of abortions -- reducing the annual number of U.S. abortions from more than a million to less than 50,000 -- but in the mind of pro-choicers the existence of a relatively few exceptional cases justifies unlimited abortion.

Which brings us back around to the ADL's survey. A certain percentage of people who would agree with the statement about show business being "pretty much run by Jews" are anti-Semites, and these exceptional cases are, to the ADL way of thinking, sufficient to justify the presumption that all who agree with that statement are tainted by anti-Semitism. (And the dangers posed by anti-Semitism are so great that, if you don't donate generously to the ADL, tomorrow the brownshirts will be goose-stepping down Main Street.)

BTW, Barack Obama hasn't named a single Jew to his Cabinet. Does that make Obama a Jew-hater? Why are the forces of enlightened tolerance denouncing Kathy Shaidle, when they ought to be watching out for President-Elect Eichmann?

UPDATE: Linked at Dustbury -- thanks.

Often, in my debates with pro-choicers, I am accused of being anti-contraception, anti-woman (indeed, frequently assumed to not be a woman), heartless, stupid and against any possible exceptions for abortion. This isn't the case; I think contraception is a good thing if you don't want children, and even though I personally wouldn't have an abortion for rape or incest (perhaps not even the life-threatening pregnancy), I could allow those exceptions if it meant barring the 97% of abortions done for other reasons.
But this never seems to be enough for the hardliners. Because if you point out where you might agree with them--on contraception, for instance--they will simply keep moving the goalposts. What about the morning after pill? What about babies born to abused women? What about all those babies already born but living in orphanages?
Indeed. It's like any other argument with a liberal. In The Vision of the Anointed, Thomas Sowell has a chapter called "The Irrelevance of Evidence" that captures this tendency quite concisely. At some point, you realize that you aren't really arguing about abortion, or education, or immigration, or whatever the issue is supposed to be. Rather, you are arguing against the liberal's sense of his innate superiority to ordinary people like you. This is a point he will never cede under any circumstance, and therefore argument is useless.

Her Sugar Daddy

Her rich boyfriend pays her rent, lavishes her with gifts, and takes her on luxury vacations. So why isn't everyone congratulating Melissa Beech on her good fortune?
In a society that long ago discarded the ideal of premarital chastity, youthful fornication has lost its shock power. If Miss Beech were merely sleeping with a college classmate, her behavior would be no different than that of millions of other young women in 21st-century America, and nowadays only the strictest of religious conservatives would condemn it. None of those passing judgment on her, however, speaks the language of sin. Her stone-throwing Pharisees are strictly secular.
Much of the opprobrium heaped on Miss Beech took her to task for failing to live up to the careerist ideals of feminism.
That's from a column I wrote for Taki's Magazine. Please read the whole thing.

UPDATE: David Kirkpatrick shares my suspicion that "Melissa Beech" might be doing chick-lit fiction here.

Sarah, Santa and a C-130

The governor and the Alaska National Guard deliver Christmas gifts to a remote village.

Blame Clinton!

The New York Times never met a tax cut it liked -- not even one signed into law by Bill Clinton.

Obama's population bomber

Yuval Levin points out that Barack Obama's science advisor John Holdren included in a 2007 speech a respectful reference to Paul Ehrlich's utterly discredited 1968 book The Population Bomb. He might as well have referenced phrenology or necromancy.

The Population Bomb -- named one of the worst books of the 20th century by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute -- began with one of the most infamously mistaken prophecies ever published:
The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970's the world will undergo famines -- hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.
Wrong. The mass famines never happened. World population, which was about 3.5 billion when Erhlich wrote that, is now about 6 billion, and humanity has never been more well-fed than it is today. Far from a population "explosion," what the world now faces -- especially in industrialized nations -- is a population implosion. In Europe, birth rates in recent decades have been disastrously below what demographers call the replacement rate (2.1 average lifetime births per woman) needed to maintain a stable population size.

Yet many people (Ted Turner notoriously among them), continue to pretend that Ehrlich's misguided warning that "mankind will breed itself into oblivion" was accurate, and to push programs based on Ehrlich's 1968 ultimatum:
We can no longer afford merely to treat the symptoms of the cancer of population growth; the cancer itself must be cut out. Population control is the only answer.
To speak of population growth -- i.e., people having babies -- as a "cancer" reflects an almost genocidal misanthropy. That Obama would choose as his science adviser Holdren, a believer in such malevolent hokum, is a disgrace.

UPDATE: Via Memeorandum and Ross Douthat, I learn that I'm arriving a little late to this dance. John Tierney is all over the Holdren appointment, revealing that Obama's advisor was one of the "experts" consulted by Ehrlich in his ill-advised bet with the late Julian Simon. Reason magazine's Ron Bailey has even more on the consistently wrong Dr. Holdren.

One global-warming fanatic recognizes Holdren as a kindred spirit: "Obama is dead serious about the strongest possible action on global warming."

I hate to pick a fight with the Obama administration over science. After all, I'm hoping to get federal funding for my own research.

UPDATE II: Obama makes it official. And in his radio address, he declares:
"Today, more than ever before, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation. . . . It's time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and worked to restore America's place as the world leader in science and technology."
This eye-rolling is giving me a headache.

Here's video of Obama's speech:

Homophobia is the new Jim Crow?

That's what this Time magazine columnist seems to be saying, comparing Rick Warren to the late Georgia Sen. Richard B. Russell.

Since when did Time magazine become part of the left-wing blogosphere? I mean, I remember being a kid and reading Time magazine, and it was a very respectable sort of publication. Now it reads like Firedoglake or something.

Duggars get baby No. 18!

And, proud papa Jim Duggar tells a reporter, they'd love to go for No. 19! Man, these guys make me feel like a piker for stopping at six . . .

Sarah: Don't do it

Don't let anyone -- not even Allahpundit -- talk you into running for the Senate. I don't care what the polls say. Being governor is better than being a senator. This past campaign, with three senators (Obama, Hillary and Crazy Cousin John) in the running, was an exception that proves the rule.

The people urging you to run for the Senate are doing so because they don't want you to run for president in 2012. Since I do want you to run for president in 2012, I say skip the Senate race.

Read my lips: No more Bushes.

California, R.I.P.

California now has the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation. Once the land of opportunity, the former Golden State has been strangled by liberalism.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Somebody ought to write a book . . .

American Thinker's Randall Hoven discusses the "corruption ratio" between Democrats and Republicans (with a little expert assistance).

Clark Griswold, eat your heart out!

My friend Nathan Tabor's Christmas lights:

Senator Al Franken?

Looks likes this will be the punchline to the Minnesota recount. It's what Team Gore tried in Florida: Keep counting until the Democrat has more votes, and there the counting stops. Phil Klein has more, also Slublog at AOSHQ.

Nice work . . .

. . . if you can get it:
FBI agents improperly received millions of dollars in overtime payments for hours spent exercising, watching movies and going to cocktail parties while serving in Iraq, a Justice Department audit concluded.
A report from Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said the FBI allowed, even encouraged, agents to list all waking hours on their time sheets, a move that violated federal pay statutes, regulations and FBI policies. The 1,150 agents who worked in Iraq from 2003 to 2007 uniformly listed 16-hour workdays for each day of their three-month tours.
FBI cocktail parties? In Iraq? WTF?

Let it snow!

The Bush bailout

Congress stopped it, Bush does it anyway:
The White House announced a $17.4 billion rescue package for the troubled Detroit auto makers that allows them to avoid bankruptcy and leaves many of the big decisions for the incoming Obama administration. . . .
"In the midst of a financial crisis...allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action," Mr. Bush said.
Michelle Malkin: "What part of 'It's illegal' doesn't Bush understand?" Really. If Glenn Greenwald wants to prosecute Bush now, why should any conservative object?

UPDATE: John Berlau of the Competitive Enterprise Institute:
"The deal does nothing to remove government impediments to what could be the most effective step for the auto companies to avert a collapse: a merger between Chrysler and General Motors. Experts have said that even in the companies' dire straits, antitrust laws may serve as severe obstacles to a merger, based on outdated methods of measuring market 'domination.' The Detroit News reported that a merger review would take at least a year, effectively putting it off the table. If the government really wanted to make the companies viable, they would immediately suspend antitrust rules to allow a merger to take place."
Another example of the unexamined alternatives to throwing money at the problem. It's obvious that the Bush administration isn't even paying attention to free-market advocates anymore.

The narrative arc

Just happened to come across a Nov. 27 commentary by John Zmirak and was struck by this:
Few remember it, but Pat Buchanan's eloquent 1992 convention speech -- compare it to any delivered at this year's festival of ass-covering and breast-beating -- was an enormous popular hit. The convention crowd, which whooped and wept, and the general public (as measured by the overnight polls), were deeply moved by Buchanan's heartfelt, carefully crafted words. It took several days for GOP commentators (like "virtue" addict Bill Bennett) to make the news circuit informing America that our nation had been frightened by Pat's "extremism." That shaped the consensus that Buchanan's speech had spoiled the convention. When George I limped through the rest of the campaign, shrugging and shambling like he didn't actually mean it, and lost to the brilliant demagogue Bill Clinton, the way had been prepared to blame Buchanan (and by extension, his populist supporters) for this defeat. Thus began the purges on the Right.
Notice how closely this tracks the Establishment elite consensus of how that awful, angry populist Sarah Palin cost John McCain the election. Now we have the blogosphere to push back against the elite consensus, but we must push very hard and keep pushing. Filthy, ignorant and discordant rabble though we may be, we at least have high-tech pitchforks now.

On speechwriting, and writing

Ann Althouse plows through a gushing WaPo article about 27-year-old Obama speechwriter Jonathan Favreau and suggests we should be jealous of Favreau. I'm not.

When I hear bad speeches, like the ones President Bush has stumbled through the past eight years, I sometimes think I should have been a speechwriter. But after reading Matthew Scully's account of the Bush speechwriting shop -- and reading the insipid goo written by Michael Gerson over the past several months -- I realize I'm temperamentally unsuited for that kind of gig. Speechwriting seems to require a combination of masochism and extreme earnestness that I lack.

When I was 27, I was a sports editor at a twice-weekly newspaper in Calhoun, Ga. Except on football Fridays, I wrote practically every word in the sports section -- often more than a dozen bylines a week -- and also took most of the photos. Being a one-man sports section sort of accustomed me to working solo. I became utterly addicted to the byline and the proprietary sense of authorship the byline implies -- my story, damn it.

Cranking out thousands upon thousands of words week after week teaches you to write quick and forces you to discover every possible shortcut in reporting. And meeting deadline after deadline fills you with a certain fearless bravado as a writer: "What can I do? Ho-ho! What can't I do?"

Fame? If you've never been a small-town sports editor, buddy, you don't know what fame is. Tom Wolfe in all his white-suited glory was never adored like I was in Calhoun, Ga. Get habituated to that at age 27, and it becomes impossible to be satisfied writing without credit, as the speechwriter necessarily must.

Fast-forward a decade. Having gone to a daily, turned my attention to politics, conquered about every journalistic mountain within reach and won a national award, I came to Washington an accomplished 37-year-old -- and discovered I was nobody.

Whatever you did before you got to Washington may have been good enough to get you to Washington, but Washington is not impressed by your mere presence. Being the top speechwriter for the incoming administration elevates Favreau several notches above my own lowly sphere, but he's nobody in Washington, either. And he's just five years out of college.

Envy him? No. Pity him. If Favreau lasts two years in this vicious town, he'll have so many knives in his back he'll feel like a pin cushion. Worst of all, he's a True Believer. The falsehood and cruelty of Washington can shock even a thoroughgoing cynic, but what it does to True Believers . . . oh, pity him.

UPDATE: Tom Smith: "I think the speeches sound like they were written by a twenty something with a knack for writing speeches but who doesn't really know much. If [Favreau] is responsible for Hope, he has a lot to answer for." BTW, Tom, it wasn't Peggy Noonan who wrote "Tear down this wall," it was Peter Robinson.

UPDATE II: James Fallow, ex-wunderkind, objects to a factual error.

Crippled war-hero Democrat harassed

No, not Republicans hounding Max Cleland:
Protests at The New School, where a student uprising over the leadership of the university’s president, Bob Kerrey, led to clashes with the police and at least one arrest on Thursday morning, took another wild turn later in the day.
A little after 11:30 p.m., Mr. Kerrey emerged from a university building on Fifth Avenue south of 14th Street to a sea of a few hundred protesters chanting for his resignation. As Mr. Kerrey walked down Fifth Avenue toward 12th Street, about 30 protesters began following him, some of them shouting insults.
As the crowd’s pace quickened, so did Mr. Kerrey’s. Then, Mr. Kerrey, who lost a part of his leg in Vietnam and wears a prosthesis, broke into a run. The protesters gave chase. . . .
The student demonstration began Wednesday evening in the ground-floor cafeteria, with about 50 of them staying overnight citing a list of grievances with the Kerrey administration, dating back to his early support of the Iraq war.
Impeach Hope!

Dear President Obama . . .

. . . I need a federal research grant in order to conduct intensive investigation of findings recently reported by the University of L'Aquila.

Science! (H/T: Tigerhawk.)

What's the hottest part of the sun?

Page Three!

(Hat tip: Pirate's Cove. Joke: Benny Hill.)

UPDATE: More Christina Hendricks, because the blogosphere demands it.

Quote of the day

"We could find pictures of Obama spooning Blagojevich on a bed of cash and the MSM would respond by launching a hard-hitting investigation to find out exactly which pairs of Sarah Palin's pumps were purchased by the RNC."
-- Stephen Kruiser

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Boreal supremacy

A phrase I coined several years ago, to describe that prejudice which assumes the superiority of all things Northern, applies perfectly to Michael Lind's proposal for the compulsory unionization of the South.

At AOSHQ, Dave in Texas pauses -- between moonshine-inspired reveries about his sister -- to ponder the ways of Yankee enlightenment. Jonah Goldberg remarks that Lind's "insinuation that the South isn't sufficiently 'American' is revealing." Indeed, this puts me in mind of an appropriate anecdote:

In his elegant memoir, Destruction and Reconstruction, General Richard Taylor recalled the occasion in 1865 when the duty fell to him to surrender the last Confederate army east of the Mississippi River. At Union headquarters, a German, wearing the uniform of a Yankee general and speaking in heavily accented English, lectured General Taylor that now that the war was over, Southerners would be taught "the true American principles." To which General Taylor -- the son of Zachary Taylor --- replied that he regretted that his grandfather, an officer in the Revolution, and his father, President of the United States, had not passed on to him these "true American principles."

UPDATE: Unionized prostitution? (Via CG.)

Thank you, Glenn Greenwald

Greenwald throws me some traffic with a response:
For obvious reasons, the most blindly loyal Bush followers of the last eight years are desperate to claim that nobody cares any longer about what happened during the Bush administration, that everyone other than the most fringe, vindictive Bush-haters is eager to put it all behind us, forget about it all and, instead, look to the harmonious, sunny future.
This is amusing. Greenwald is demanding war crimes prosecution of Bush administration officials and yet I am "desperate"? Frankly, I don't even give a damn. If I turned on the TV sometime next year to see Paul Wolfowitz in the dock at the Hague, I'd shrug in mute acceptance, and if I blogged about it, would do so in an insouciant way.

But that's never going to happen, which is why I can merrily mock Greenwald's frothing outrage. Nothing, not even a New York Times editorial, can turn this madness of the fanatical fringe into a "mainstream" project. The Democrats would never allow it, no more than they would allow Obama to withdraw too precipitously from Iraq.

The political winds have blown, and the system has encompassed that wind, directing it toward the recent resurgence of the Democratic Party, and smart Democrats know that the surest way to lose that favorable breeze would be to overplay their hand by pandering to the monstrous appetites of Greenwald and his ilk. Obama, Pelosi and Reid will all answer this idiotic demand in the only way it deserves to be answered: Fuck you, Glenn Greenwald.

UPDATE: Politics is about majorities. Politics is about the future. Greenwald's idiotic crusade aims to incite a passionate few about the past. In my original response to Greenwald, I tried to make this point by comparing his latest anti-Bush jihad to the way some on the Right spent years pushing conspiracy theories about the 1993 death of Vince Foster, long after it became clear to all sensible observers that -- like Oakland -- there was no there there. Judging from the comment field, some of Greenwald's readers are unaware of just how foolish they look now, let alone how foolish they'll look six months or a year from now.

If it makes you self-styled progressives happy to howl at the moon, don't let me stop you. Howl until dawn, sleep all day, then rise to howl again tomorrow night. The American majority has spent its fury at the Bush administration and does not share your passion for endless hindsight recrimination. The leadership of the Democratic Party understands this and -- just as they refused to satisfy your bloodlust against Joe Lieberman -- they will not support you in this mad effort to exhume the corpse of the Bush administration so that you may inflict posthumous injury upon the remains.

Do not, however, think for a moment that I mind being today's proxy scapegoat. Nor should you let my mockery of your madness shake you into sanity. Go, lemmings -- your cliff awaits you. And when you find yourself plunging downward, accelerating at 32 feet per second squared, remember who told you so, you damned fools.

UPDATE II: Jules Crittenden has fun at the expense of the New York Times.

UPDATE III: Just watched the end of "It's A Wonderful Life" with my wife and kids. Remember: Every time you hear a bell ring, a blogger gets an Instalanche!

UPDATE IV: God bless 'em: "If Obama Fails to Prosecute War Crimes, Is He A Criminal Too?" High crimes and misdemeanors! We eagerly await the Left's next bumper sticker: "Impeach Hope."

UPDATE V: Jules Crittenden offers helpful advice on how to deal with Greenwald, if you must. I think the key factor involved is the extreme self-seriousness of the man. And this is a habit he shares with many others on the Left. A lot of lefties don't get the self-deprecating humor of my mock braggodocio ("bon vivant and raconteur") and will make comments suggesting that I am actually being boastful. They simply can't conceive of someone not taking themselves seriously, because they are so very serious about their own selves.

An excessive concern with how one is perceived by others -- trying to conform the perception of others to your own self-perception -- is not "ego," but rather evidence of a damaged ego seeking some sort of validation. And being unable to joke about yourself is a characteristic trait of this brittle type of personality.

UPDATE VI (Sat. 12/20): Greenwald is like the gift that keeps on giving. Today, Instapundit links Crittenden, and I get yet another cascade of traffic.

Paul Weyrich, R.I.P.

Paul Weyrich, who co-founded the Heritage Foundation and later led the Free Congress Foundation, has died at age 66. As a writer, one of Weyrich's greatest contributions was his 1999 declaration, in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, that conservatives had lost the culture war:
In truth, I think we are caught up in a cultural collapse of historic proportions, a collapse so great that it simply overwhelms politics.
Weyrich's courage and wisdom will be missed. Michelle Malkin is among those paying tribute to a great leader of the conservative cause.

UPDATE: I met Weyrich while I was working at The Washington Times, and referenced his "cultural collapse" thesis in a column I wrote for the newspaper in 2001. One aspect of the collapse Weyrich decried was the rise of the celebrity culture, wherein the famous people on TV exercise more influence over our attitudes than do the ordinary people in our own real lives. And one incidental encounter with Mr. Weyrich a couple years ago highlighted how celebrity culture now pervades the conservative movement.

It was at Conservative Political Action Conference in 2006, and Weyrich had just received the Ashbrook Award for his contributions to the conservative cause. Weyrich and his family were leaving the ballroom where the award had been presented, and were attempting to negotiate the wheelchair ramp, Weyrich having been rendered paraplegic by an accident several years previously. Part of the difficulty that Weyrich and his relatives had their hands full with gift bags and other encumbrances and so, when I offered to assist, my task was to carry the large award plaque.

Honored to be of such assistance, I accompanied the Weyriches upstairs, through the lobby and to their car -- and returned to the banquet, shaking my head in disbelief. For you see, CPAC was crowded with College Republican kids who eagerly lined up to get autographs and have their pictures taken with conservative "superstars," the famous faces you see on Fox News. Yet there, in the crowded corridor outside the main ballroom, was one of the true giants of the cause, utterly unrecognized by these youngsters. Any of them might have spotted Weyrich's difficulty at the ramp and rendered assistance, but all they saw was an old man in a wheelchair.

The effects of the fame factor are strange and troubling, and since that incident with Weyrich, I've noticed it frequently. Ann Coulter can't go anywhere without security and her appearances at CPAC always draw a packed house. Yet I have seen many great leaders pass through the lobby and corridors of the Omni Shoreham all but unnoticed.

Last year, for example, I had the honor of meeting Phyllis Schlafly in the hotel hallway, as scores of young activists shuffled past without paying her the slightest attention. I'm sure Coulter herself would see this as an outrage -- my God, where would conservatism be had it not been for Schlafly? -- and yet such is the influence of TV-created fame that because Schlafly isn't a frequent guest on Fox, she is less known to young conservatives than, inter alia, Dick Morris.

And thus does the "cultural collapse" continue.

UPDATE: Linked at American Thinker. Thanks.

Dems scheme to raise California taxes

If it moves, tax it:
California's Democratic leaders were planning a vote today on a brazen proposal to raise gas, sales and income taxes through a series of legal maneuvers that would bypass the Legislature's minority Republicans.
The Democratic gambit, announced Wednesday, would raise $9.3 billion to ease the state's fiscal crisis by increasing sales taxes by three-fourths of a cent and gas taxes by 13 cents a gallon, starting in February. The plan would add a surcharge of 2.5% to
everyone's 2009 state income tax bill. . . .
Both the Assembly and Senate planned to vote on the package today. Late Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers were negotiating with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over items he wanted included in the proposal before he would support it.
Inside the Capitol, the strategy is considered revolutionary, because it would sideline the GOP. Though Republicans are a minority in both houses of the Legislature, they have repeatedly blocked tax increases and thwarted budgets they did not like, because California is one of only three states mandating a two-thirds vote for both budgets and tax increases.
You will see similar fights in almost every state legislature, as the slowing economy reduces revenues, leading to budget crises.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

'Slinging Sammy' Baugh, R.I.P.

An all-time NFL great, dead at 94:
While he was noted for his passing, Baugh was one of the best all-around players of his day. One season he led the league in passing, defensive interceptions and punting. In one game, he threw four touchdown passes and intercepted four passes. He threw six touchdowns in a game -- twice -- and kicked an 85-yard punt.
"There's nobody any better than Sam Baugh was in pro football," said Don Maynard, a fellow West Texas Hall of Famer who played for Baugh, in a 2002 interview. "When I see somebody picking the greatest player around, to me, if they didn't go both ways, they don't really deserve to be nominated. I always ask, 'Well, how'd he do on defense? How was his punting?"'
What used to be called a "60-minute man."

Ex-child star woes

Jody Sweetin, who used to be one of those annoying kids -- her tag line was "How rude!" -- on "Full House," has lost custody of her child because of her booze and meth habits.

So, I guess it's a good thing John Stamos' plans for a "Full House" remake didn't work out. Can't you see the plot summary in TV Guide? Stephanie sells the Tanner family's TV at a pawn shop in order to pay for some meth; Jesse and Joey go to pawn shop to buy back the TV before Danny finds out; hijinks ensue when Stephanie's tattooed deadbeat ex-husband Cody shows up!

How did Sweetin spend her residuals? My guess: Paying a plastic surgeon for the super-deluxe implants:

If you need more celebrity schadenfreude to make you feel better about your pathetic existence, try "Hollywood's Ugliest Divorces."

Nationalizing Chicago

A legacy of failure:
In 2007, only 17 percent of eighth graders tested at or above grade level in reading in Chicago Public Schools -- the school system administered by Arne Duncan since 2001.
President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday tapped Duncan to become secretary of education in the upcoming administration.
(Via Ace.) Of course, all urban public schools suck, and anyone claiming to be able to perform a miracle in public schools is full of it. In 2004, I wrote an article exposing George W. Bush's "Texas miracle," the supposed magic of "standards" that was the theoretical justification for No Child Left Behind. A cruel hoax.

PTA mom caught with 13-year-old boy

Long Island, N.Y.:
A prominent PTA official is facing some serious allegations involving a teenage boy. Police arrested Joan Tuckruskye after allegedly finding her in the backseat of a parked car with a 13-year-old boy on Friday night. Both of them, police said, were partially unclothed. . . .
It was in the rear of the elementary school parking lot where patrolling officers said they noticed the foggy and steamed windows of an SUV. They approached and knocked on the window."They observed a woman in her 40s and a boy who appeared to be a teenager. They were not clothed from the waist down," said Lt. Kevin Smith of the Nassau County Police Department.
At first, police said, the boy said he was 18. Later at the hospital, though, he admitted being 13 but claimed he and the PTA mom were only kissing.
Via AOSHQ Headlines.

A Snowman in Publishing Hell

Bob Eckstein wrote a book called The History of the Snowman. He got a $35,000 advance and spent $15,000 in research. The book went through five editors, and the cover design went through 35 revisions. Then Eckstein was sent out on a seven-state promotional tour, during which he sold 41 books.

And you thought your life sucked.

Speaking of books, don't forget the 2008 Holiday Book Sale.

White guys need not apply

The Washington Post is looking for a liberal columnist, preferably female or minority:
Exciting news: The Metro section is looking to add a columnist.
We want a columnist who becomes a must-read feature in the paper and on the Web. We want a columnist who can offer a compelling and provocative read twice a week, who is an exceptional reporter, voiced writer and deep thinker. We want a columnist who has a lot to say and really looks forward to saying it. . . .
This is an opportunity to add something new. We want to hear your vision for that -- be it traditional or nontraditional, roving or from your desk, character-driven or comment-driven. The column could be aimed at singles or families, emotion-oriented or consumer-oriented, the voice of a professional or of Joe or Jane the Plumber. That is, what kind of columnist would add the most to the Metro section at present? What new adventures on the Web could it bring? This is an opportunity to invent something new online and in print.
That's from an internal staff e-mail obtained by Fishbowl DC. So if you're a female or minority liberal looking to add more useless tedium to a newspaper with dwindling circulation and ad revenue, this is your big chance!

Friedman vs. minimum wage

Duane Lester explains why minimum-wage laws are bad for the poor, and includes this classic video of Milton Friedman arguing against the minimum wage:

Duane also recommends Minimum Wages, a new book by David Neumark and William L. Wascher.

Videos vs. Keynesian economics

Dan Mitchell of Cato:

Michael Moynihan of Reason:

O'Reilly vs. Kelly, the rematch

In one corner, an idiot, in the the other corner, a well-informed hottie. It's no contest:

Via Hot Air.

Secular outrage & the Sugar Daddy

Via Hot Air, this column from Melissa Beech (a pseudonym, I presume) who describes herself as "a college student in suburban Pennsylvania" who finds herself in a "mutually beneficial arrangement" with a man she describes as being "in his early 30s, single, and successful." Miss Beech describes the reaction:
The response to the piece was far more critical than I expected. Its feedback section quickly overflowed with righteous indignation. The blogosphere released a storm of negative, judgmental analysis of me and my boyfriend.
I agree with Miss Beech that this criticism is most unfair. How is her relationship with her Sugar Daddy less respectable than any of her classmates, routinely giving it up for some shaggy Teke with chin pubes?

Sin is sin, and despite the evaporation of social outrage toward non-marital sex, sinners still feel the need to justify their sin by making invidious comparisons to the sins of others. In Miss Beech's case, she is involved with a man who is (a) older and (b) rich, and with whom she makes no pretense of being in "love." Horror!

You see that Miss Beech's critics have substituted their own moral standard for God's moral standard. Rather than being shocked at people having sex outside marriage -- they are not puritanical prudes, you see -- they instead are shocked that a young woman would become involved with a man a dozen years her senior who lavishes her with gifts. What offends them, I perceive, is the intrinsic inequality of a relationship in which Miss Beech is content to be dependent on her lover's generosity.

The critics' outrage would not be quelled if Miss Beech became Mrs. Sugar Daddy. To the modern egalitarian mind, even marriage cannot legitimate such a relationship. True love, the modern believes, requires an approximate equality between the lovers. And even where true love is not a consideration, the presumption of equality remains. Miss Beech might go off for a holiday in Cancun, get drunk in a bar and hook up for a one-nighter with another college student, and her critics would be silent, because the two partners are equal. Yet if she flies off to Cancun at the expense of a 30-something businessman, this is unforgiveable, as the partnership is clearly unequal.

Equality is the new righteousness, and inequality the new sin, and Miss Beech's critics are a lot of latter-day secular Pharisees.

Criminal 'Change'

The Smoking Gun has posted its "20 Best Mug Shots of the Year," including a gallery of perps busted while wearing Obama T-shirts.

The outrage merchant

You know Glenn Greenwald's about to write something particularly stupid when his first line includes a descriptor like "extremely pro-war, neoconservative." (Why not just "pro-war"? Why must it be bookended between "extremely" and "neoconservative"?)

In the case of Greenwald's latest emission at Salon, the elaborate descriptor is applied to the defunct New York Sun, two of whose former staffers have recently contributed to the New Republic. One of them, Jacob Gerhsman, published an article expressing surprise toward Eliot Spitzer's early attempt at political rehabilitation. This article -- "a finger-wagging sermon," per Greenwald -- inspires a counterblast comparing Spitzer's crimes (hiring high-priced call girls) with the crimes alleged against Dick Cheney who, Greenwald says, "literally admitted, brazenly and unapologetically, to committing war crimes; blithely justified the atrocities that were committed as part of our attack on Iraq; and glorified the whole slew of illegal surveillance programs he ordered."

Greenwald's a one-trick pony. Being outraged at Republican "war crimes" is his shtick, and God knows how he'll fill his days when the Bush administration leaves office. The man certainly doesn't get work on the basis of his engaging prose. A single sentence as sample:
The reason the American political establishment tenaciously refuses to acknowledge the devastation and crimes that have been unleashed during the Bush era is obvious: aside from the generalized belief that Americans are inherently good and thus incapable of meriting terms such as "aggressive wars" and "war criminals" no matter what they actually do (those phrases are applicable only to lesser foreigners), most of the establishment supported these crimes and the criminals who unleashed them.
Seventy-four words, in case you were counting, and not much real meaning except: "Boy, do I hate Bush!" If you share Greenwald's outrage, perhaps it's satisfying to watch him reiterate it endlessly -- a sort of online Olbermann rant to tide you over until you can go home and watch "Countdown." If you aren't outraged, however, there's no reason to read Greenwald except as a species of grim duty.

Anti-Bush indignation is his stock in trade, and the sell-by date of that particular commodity has probably already passed. No one, however, has told this to Greenwald. He's like one of those guys who got on the "who killed Vince Foster?" bandwagon in 1993 and kept peddling it long after the public had lost interest.

Expect Greenwald to keep chasing his idee fixe. He won't change his tune, he'll just look for new excuses to sing it. Some member of the Obama administration will be caught in a minor scandal, and Greenwald will trot out his obligatory column saying that whatever the administration official did, it can't possibly be compared to "the devastation and crimes that have been unleashed during the Bush era."

By 2010, this method of argumentation will be known as the Greenwald Defense, and will be widely employed throughout society: "Yes, officer, I realize I was doing 83 mph in a 55 mph zone, but is this really worth a traffic citation, when you consider the devastation and crimes that have been unleashed during the Bush era?"

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: Linked at Instapundit. Thanks! And with only a week left until Christmas, this would be a great time to remind everyone of the 2008 Holiday Book Sale.

UPDATE II: The New York Daily News has more on the Spitzer career rehabilitation project.

UPDATE III: Greenwald links, and I respond.

'Stop me before I hurl a shoe'

Michelle Malkin has had just about all the Dubya she can stand in this lifetime.

Which seems like a good cue to remind everybody: Not too late to buy a T-shirt!

Drunk CIA director rants about Jews

Well, George Tenet was a holdover from the Clinton administration, so this figures.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Scarborough earns his pay

Ace calls this "Four of the Most Satisfying Non-Pornographic Minutes of Internet Video You'll Ever Watch":

(Via Hot Air.) Scarborough points out the double standard between how Obama was covered and how Sarah Palin was covered. And watch how John Harwood justifies the New York Times sending legions of reporters and researchers to Alaska to dig up dirt on Palin.

Let's insult the animals!

Thanks to Ace for alerting us to one of the funniest blogs ever. Why is the blog so funny? I think part of the joy of saying rude things about furry creatures is the fact that, in real life, you can no longer insult people without risking a career-destroying accusation of some kind of "ism."

Politics is one of the last safe excuses for insults. I can call Bob Shrum a "thievish lying whore" and, hey, that's just politics. And it's also true. Fortunately, Shrum is a middle-aged white guy. If he was a woman, it would be sexist to insult him, and if he was, say, a Latina lesbian, I'd be accused of racism and homophobia even for mentioning it.

So, in order to vent our inner resentment, we are forced to get our jollies by insulting animals -- like squirrels or, as I prefer to call them, forest rats.

PC TV sermons

"Momma's Boys," another stupid "reality TV" series, premieres tonight and features a bit of PC morality featuring the "nightmare momma from hell":
Each mother and son made an introductory video for the women to watch prior to the moms' arrival. One of them, mother to a young man named Jojo, comes right to the point when describing the girl she wants for sonny-boy: No blacks, no Asians, no Jews, no Muslims, and nothing on the order of a "fat-butt girl."
Momma, who herself looks like a wide pink planet when she arrives at the mansion, declares: "It has to be a white girl . . . just like me. Just like Momma . . . A nice Catholic girl who's not from a divorced family." . . .
[A] contestant with the exotic name of Misty Alli says of the racist mom, "Even the dumbest people knew how ignorant this was."
Momma the Racist -- isn't that special? How nice of reality-show producers to favor us with this didactic opportunity.

UPDATE: Just did some Googling on Misty Alli, whose screen credits include such roles as "Spoiled Diva," "Hot Chick," "Hooker," "Dancer," and "Brothel Girl #3." For the purposes of reality-television, however, she plays the role of Moral Arbiter. Oh, yeah, did I mention the show is produced by that 21st-century Gandhi, Ryan Seacrest?

JoJo's mother, BTW, is a native of Iraq, so maybe we can excuse her mistaken belief that, in America, she has the right to her own opinions about who her son should marry.

Sentimental fools?

Liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias warns against "sentimentality" toward "a criminal enterprise launched by madmen cheered on by a chorus of fools and cowards."

I am opposed to losing wars, even wars I don't like. This is not "sentimentality," nor folly, nor cowardice. Our enemies view our acceptance of defeat as a sign of weakness, and weakness is not good policy.

Arne Duncan + Bill Ayers?

Obama's pick for Secretary of Education has been pallin' around with terrorists, says E.M. Zanotti:
Arne Duncan is Bestest Buddies with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. In fact, he worked with the Annenberg Challenge to program curriculum in Chicago Public Schools. . . .
Stanley Kurtz carefully outlines how [Bill] Ayers served on the board of and influences the activities of the Annenberg Challenge. According to Kurtz, Ayers had much more control over the direction of the project than either then Annenberg Challenge or Duncan will ever be willing to admit. And the Annenberg Project, according to Education Week, which is a go-to resource on all things curriculum related in public schools, had a heavy influence on Duncan’s curriculum agenda.
Via Michelle Malkin. BTW, a couple of weeks ago, friends and I were out for an evening in D.C., walking down the street when we passed Miss Zanotti, who was instantly recruited to join us for cigars at Shelley's Back Room Tavern. A weird and spontaneous happenstance.

Madoff swindle hits Jewish charities

Los Angeles Times:
Wall Street financier Bernard L. Madoff's alleged $50-billion Ponzi scheme appears to have extended deeply into Southern California's Jewish community, with millions of dollars in losses tallied Monday by charitable organizations, Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and a foundation bankrolled by director Steven Spielberg.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles were on a growing list of victims emerging in the wake of Madoff's arrest in New York.
This will have severe consequences. Megan McArdle tries to explain how Madoff got away with it.

UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin calls Madoff "the Ken Lay of Democrats."

Whatever Bob Shrum says . . .

. . . do the opposite:
The Republicans' behavior on the auto industry bailout could easily be dismissed as childish if only it weren't so dangerous.
Their vote reflected a black-and-white ideology of free markets versus government—seasoned by a knee-jerk enmity to organized labor. . . .
Republican Senators also engaged in a bout of short-term populism that reflected the polling of the moment: Voters disaffected by the $700-billion bailout of Wall Street said they were against $14 billion more for the auto companies. The voters’ attitudes could change instantly, of course, if the Republican ideologues were actually to get their way. As General Motors, then Chrysler and probably even Ford was forced into bankruptcy, the likely outcome wouldn't just be a restructured industry. Markets would collapse, companies and jobs would be annihilated across the Midwest and a second Great Depression might well descend on the globe. . . .
Can Republicans bail themselves out of their past and their own pre-conceptions? Can they bring themselves to cooperate? That's what John McCain suggested this weekend. . . .
Fuck you, Bob Shrum. Who's paying you to say this? Does New York University's Wagner School of Public Service know that you're being paid to lobby for the bailout? Because I know for damn sure you're not doing this for free, you thievish lying whore.

UPDATE: What Shrum is doing, in case anyone doesn't get it, is to try to push enough Republican votes so that the outgoing Congress and the Bush administration can take the blame for the bailout, which is unpopular with voters. Just like John McCain's support for the $70 billion Wall Street bailout destroyed his campaign, Shrum knows that if Obama and the Democrats get stuck with the bailout, it will hurt them politically. The more Republicans vote against it, the worse the Democratic damage will be, since the GOP will be positioned to reclaim its mantle of fiscal responsibility and can take credit for opposing corporate welfare. Bush's support for the bailout represents his own political bankruptcy.

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin reminds you to call the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414.

Iowahawk turns 5

My, how he's grown.

Or should that be, "Groan"? It's hard to choose a favorite Iowahawk, although "The Pandagon Papers" and "My Fair Blogger" were classic.

Senator Princess

Caroline Kennedy wants a Senate seat and -- as Rod Blagojevich said -- a Senate seat is "a f---ing valuable thing."

We really should consider setting aside a permanent seat for the Kennedys. . . . Give them their own spot, fully inheritable, to be filled by whomever the family designates, and you might just placate them enough to discourage other members of the brood from running.
Better idea: Give them a bus, with Ted at the wheel.

Majority oppose bailout

Republicans almost accidentally find themselves on the winning side of a big issue:
Most Americans continue to oppose a government-backed rescue plan for Detroit's Big Three automakers as majorities blame the industry for its own problems and are unconvinced failure would hurt the economy, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Overall, 55 percent of those polled oppose the latest plan that Chrysler, Ford and General Motors executives pitched to Congress last week.
The "irresponsible" majority, as Dana Perino might say.

Open-borders Obama

Could we possibly get a president who's worse than Bush on immigration? Yes We Can!
One of President-elect Barack Obama's top immigration advisers oversaw a Clinton-era program that awarded U.S. citizenship to thousands of convicted criminals and failed to conduct adequate FBI background checks on foreigners during a push to reduce a backlog of naturalization applications.
T. Alexander Aleinikoff, former executive associate commissioner for programs at the now-defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service, staunchly defended the program, Citizenship USA (CUSA), before Congress a decade ago, although the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General concluded in 2000 that the program failed to address weaknesses that pushed the immigration system beyond its limits.
CUSA saw 1.2 million foreign nationals become U.S. citizens in 1996. Many of them later were identified as convicted criminals. The program was endorsed vigorously by President Clinton but attacked by critics as an election-year ploy to speed naturalizations for political gain, noting that the program targeted INS districts in heavily Democratic Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and San Francisco.
This is not change we can believe in.

Limbaugh vs. Colin Powell

Rush went off on Powell yesterday:
So General Powell, let me explain something. The fact is Republicans did not listen to me. They listened to you. They have not been listening to me for years. The Republican Party nominated your ideal candidate. They nominated your guy, a moderate, who's willing to buy into an endless array of liberal causes. . . .
As long as you are a Republican, but you buy into an endless array of liberal causes, global warming to amnesty for illegals, and somebody who has the same fetish for compromising principles that you do, then they are going to love you. Then you turn around and you stab this person in the back by endorsing the most liberal Democrat candidate ever nominated days before the election, General Powell? You want to lecture me about how the Republican Party needs to stop listening to me when they are not? They are listening to you. I also have to question something here. How can he say he's a Republican? He gets the perfect Republican nominee, exactly the kind of candidate he wants, it's McCain, and then he sabotages McCain a few weeks before the election by endorsing Obama. How can you even claim to be a Republican, General Powell?
Good question.

UPDATE: Video via Hot Air:

Gay animal rights?

Political correctness at a Chinese zoo:
A pair of gay penguins thrown out of their zoo colony for repeatedly stealing eggs have been given some of their own to look after following a protest by animal rights groups.
Last month the birds were segregated after they were caught placing stones at the feet of parents before waddling away with their eggs.
But angry visitors to Polar Land in Harbin, northern China, complained it wasn't fair to stop the couple from becoming surrogate fathers and urged zoo bosses to give them a chance.
Zoo officials have been unsuccessful, however, in their efforts to get the gay penguins to turn down their disco music.


Today is the 64th anniversary of the beginning of the final German offensive in World War II that became famous as the Battle of the Bulge. Jules Crittenden remembers.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Blago on SN(F---ing)L

Second luckiest man on Earth

Geoffrey Arends is marrying Christina Hendricks.

Why does that make him the second luckiest man on Earth? Because I'm married to my wife.

Obama's lawyer: No scandal here!

Why didn't Nixon think of this?
President-elect Barack Obama said Monday a review by his own lawyer shows he had no direct contact with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about the appointment of a Senate replacement, and transition aides "did nothing inappropriate."
Obama said he is prepared to make the review public, but decided to hold off because prosecutors asked for a delay and "I don't want to interfere with an ongoing investigation."
In unrelated news, attorneys for Britney Spears released a report concluding that she is not a crazy skank.

Palin church arson update

The latest from Alaska:
Whoever torched Gov. Sarah Palin's home church tried to start fires in several places around the building, the federal agency assisting in the investigation said today.
Accelerants were found in multiple locations on the outside of Wasilla Bible Church, including around entrances and exits, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
No word on motive:
Palin's ties to the church have sparked widespread speculation about whether the person who lit the fire was motivated by that connection. However, Central Mat-Su Fire Department Chief James Steele said that idea remains in the realm of pure speculation.
"At this point, there is no information that we have that even points in that direction," he said.
Because there could be any number of motives for such a crime, any speculation is ill-advised. Certainly no conservative should suggest a political motive at this point because -- if such speculation eventually proves unjustified -- the Left will then have a field day claiming that this demonstrates right-wing paranoia. Obviously, if BATFE is involved, the feds are taking this seriously, so be content to let the investigation run its course.

Obama walks back 'no contact'

Now, it's no inappropriate contact:
An internal review shows aides to President-elect Barack Obama had no "inappropriate discussions" with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich or his staff concerning the search for a Senate replacement from Illinois, a spokesman for the presidential transition office said Monday.
H/T: Ace. Associated Press notes that Team Obama will delay releasing their "review" of staff contacts with the governor's staff until next Monday --- three days before Christmas, when nobody will be paying attention to the news.

'Stop oppressing my cleavage!'

The misogynistic patriarchy has reached a new low: Requiring women to keep their boobs inside their clothing at the office!

It's another one of those Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't situations that political correctness continually foists upon us. This supervisor sent an email to his female employee suggesting that she was revealing too much cleavage, and thus is condemned as an oppressor swine. On the other hand, if he had sent a note complimenting the woman on her wardrobe choices -- "Hey, love that low-cut top! Enjoying the show! You've got a great rack!" -- this, too, would have offended feminist sensibilities.

UPDATE: Welcome, AOSHQ Morons!

Q. How does a radical feminist screw in a lightbulb?
A. That's not funny!

UPDATE III: Coincidental news in New York. I'm trying to think up a joke about the Giants' offensive line and Peyton Manning getting sacked in Dallas, but nothing immediately springs to mind.

Diversity in drag

Young America's Foundation has published its Top 10 list of campus outrages for 2008 which includes two revealing incidents:
  • Conservative columnist Starr Parker was banned at the University of St. Thomas, while "transgendered activist" Debra Davis was permitted to speak.
  • The U.S. Military Academy at West Point featured a guest lecture by transgendered former officer Allyson Robinson.
It's not hard to determine what values are extolled, and what behaviors encouraged, by progressive academics. Conservatives are constantly accused of trying to impose their values, but when progressives impose their values, this is called "diversity," and if you complain about it, you're a bigot.

Gay haters

No, not people who hate gays. Gay haters: "Pat yourselves on the back, tolerance bullies."

How to get linked

Some tips from How to Blog. I'm not sure how much of this stuff I've done myself. I basically do it the old-fashioned way.

A liberal and his money . . .

. . . are soon parted:
Daily News owner and real-estate mogul Mort Zuckerman is one of the investors ripped off by swindler Bernard Madoff, it was reported today. . . .
The Journal further reported that powerhouse movie director Steven Spielberg's charity, Wunderkinder Foundation, also got burned, investing roughly 70 percent of its money with Madoff. . . .
And New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg's family charity also took a bath, investing most of its $14 million trust with Madoff, his lawyer told The Record of Bergen County.
Jammie Wearing Fool notes that "Madoff was very generous to Democrats with his political contributions, notably to New York's senior Senator Chuckie Schumer and shady Congressman Charles Rangel," and USA Today reports:
He was politically active, donating $25,000 a year to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee as well as recent races by New York Sens. Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.
So, good news two ways: Rich liberals get ripped off, and a big Democratic donor is probably going to federal prison. Merry Christmas!

When in doubt, tax

The liberal philosophy of government exemplified by New York Gov. David Patterson, whose response to a $15 billion deficit is to impose $4 billion in new taxes on everything from soft drinks to shoes. (H/T: Amanda Carpenter.)

Obama the promise-breaker

On Fox News opposite of Townhall's Matt Lewis, Kristen Powers says: "Most people don't expect him to deliver on everything."

David Gregory sucks

This guy's got no business doing "Meet the Press."

Satan's sleigh bells

My latest American Spectator column:
Mike Huckabee was doing an audience-participation segment on his Fox News Channel program last week when he was asked to name his favorite Christmas carol. "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," he answered. Then he asked his questioner to name her favorite Christmas carol.
"Winter Wonderland!" she answered cheerfully.
Huckabee smiled and said he liked the song, too. But surely the former Baptist minister must have been thinking the same thing I was thinking: "Winter Wonderland" is not a Christmas carol.
There is not a single reference to Christmas in the entire song. Snow, yes. Sleigh bells, yes. Christmas, no. Written in 1934 by Richard Smith and Felix Bernard, "Winter Wonderland" is a typical example of 20th-century "holiday" songs that have nothing to do with Christmas.
Please read the whole thing.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sean Avery, victim

This is just wrong. Sean Avery's ex-girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert, appears to be sleeping her way around the National Hockey League. Avery made a derogatory reference to this fact -- "it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds" -- and that one remark has now resulted in Avery being dropped by the Dallas Stars.

Is it Avery's fault that Elisha puts the "ho" in "hockey"? First it was Mike Komisarek, now it's Dion Phaneuf and next, for all we know, she'll be doing the Zamboni driver. And what was Avery's crime? That he used the term "sloppy seconds"? Maybe he would still have his job if he'd just called her an "ice slut."

And please: Hockey fans who find "sloppy seconds" offensive? Hockey fans are among the most barbarous sports fans on the planet. They make English soccer hooligans look civilized by comparison. NASCAR fans are aristocratic dandies compared to your typical hockey fan.

That Avery should have lost his job over this is absurd. And you know why it happened? Because the NHL commissioner thinks he's got a shot at Elisha Cuthbert. He may be right.

Silliest argument of the day

Planned Parenthood is pro-life, says a "pragmatist" blogger:
Parenthood, on net, prevents more abortions than it provides, from the massive amount of birth control, family planning and emergency contraception they provide.
Uh . . . no. Jonathan Schwenkler and Ross Douthat engage, but they don't really get down to the fundamental error involved in this argument. Here is the dirty little secret of the pill-and-condom industry: Contraception causes abortion.

Here's how: Every method of artificial contraception has a failure rate, and the contraceptive user who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant is a prime candidate for abortion. Even if the failure rate of any particular method is 1% or less, the law of large numbers means that, with tens of millions of people using contraceptives regularly, there will inevitably be several hundred thousand unplanned pregnancies.

Beyond this statistical fact, the contraceptive mentality teaches people to think of pregnancy as an unlikely outcome of sex -- even though, biologically speaking, pregnancy is the purpose of sex. With this life-changing consequence shoved off into a mental corner, there is a hell of a lot more extra-marital sex than there would otherwise be, which swells the number of extra-marital pregnancies, and thus provides a ready-made clientele for the abortionist.

Contraception is unnatural -- humanity at war with its own biology -- and results in social distortions, with the natural relationships of love, marriage, sex, reproduction and family artificially divided, then patched back together as a sort of Frankstein's monster: Test-tube babies, sperm donors, surrogate motherhood, gay adoption, etc., etc.

The entire contraceptive regime is anti-life and anti-family, and Planned Parenthood perhaps does as much moral harm by promoting contraception as it does by performing abortion. Douthat and Schwenkler are allowing the question to be framed as, "How best can society accommodate fornication?" At some point, how about social conservatives live up to the judgmental stereotype and condemn something?

UPDATE: A liberal blogger accuses me of being anti-woman -- and anti-fact. I think Mahablog must be one of those "women's rights women": "The fantastical project of yesterday, which was mentioned only to be ridiculed, is to-day the audacious reform, and will be tomorrow the accomplished fact."

UPDATE II: Suddenly, I'm a cause celebre with the Left:
I don’t think it is uncharitable to say that McCain is proposing a view of sex in which its pleasurable or emotional aspects are subordinate to its biological function. This strikes me as a very limited view of sex. By definition, sex involves a level of intimacy which quite often is a means through which two people can achieve a deeper level of emotional engagement.
What Jamelle never explains is how contraception enhances "emotional engagement" or the (ahem) "pleasurable . . . aspects." As a married father of six, I think I'm doing OK in both departments.

UPDATE III: Freddie the Pragmatist has a clever retort: "[P]eople enjoy having sex and are not going to stop anytime soon. " Well, thanks for passing along that news.

UPDATE IV: Linked by CrankyCon, who is impressed by the stunning logic of pro-choice commenters.

'Meet the Obama Defenders'

David Gregory and friends -- evidently eager to prove Rush Limbaugh right -- rush to defend Barack Obama against any taint from BlagoGate:

The Grinch Who Stole Fitzmas

That's the tag the Weekly Standard's John McCormack hangs on colleague Matt Continetti, who writes for NPR:
Obama is popular, and his agenda is, too. A recent poll found that 60 percent of respondents support Obama's plans for massive infrastructure spending. Voters may be split on whether or not to bail out the Big Three auto companies. But they will not like Republicans anymore -- trust me on this -- if the GOP drives those companies into bankruptcy and is indirectly responsible for massive layoffs.
The GOP's problem is that it obstinately refuses to address the problems facing those Americans who do not listen to conservative talk radio. Also, the party is tied to the legacy of the most unpopular president since the advent of polling. Democrats were able to invoke Herbert Hoover's legacy for decades. How long will they be able to invoke George W. Bush's?
Continetti is an excellent reporter -- his account of the Abramoff scandal was wonderful -- but he's another of these Young Turks who inspire me to grumble, "I've got T-shirts older than you, kid. Now, go get me a cup of coffee." He's just five years out of college, and I get weary of 20-something pundits telling us What It All Means.

On the other hand, I don't mind Young Turks so much when, as with Jennifer Rubin, their version of What It All Means agrees with my own:
Pundits and prognosticators forget that politics isn't played in the abstract. Columnists can debate the future of conservatism all they like but back in the real world actual bills (e.g., the car bailout) and real politicians (e.g., Blago) test how skilled and effective each side is in getting its narrative before the public.
Which is to say, "Don't overthink it." Intellectuals are too easily mesmerized by "trends," extrapolating from recent events a Big Picture narrative arc that, in their view, requires some major readjustment. And so you have pundits saying that the GOP is too religious, that it needs to reach out to Hispanics, that it suffers from a lack of intellectual firepower, etc., ad infinitum. In fact, the party's problems are more prosaic -- fundraising, candidate recruitment, communications -- and it is incompetence at these political basics that generates the "trend" that pundits (in a reversal of causality) see as the cause, rather than the effect, of failure.

Events create trends, far more than trends create events. But the intellectual's love of abstraction always causes him to obsess over trends, which allow more play for abstract thinking.

Obama's Bert Lance

Liberals are complaining bitterly about press coverage of the Rod Blagojevich scandal. "[T]he media have tried to shoehorn Barack Obama into the Rod Blagojevich scandal," as Jamison Foser of Media Matters put it in a 2,900-word tirade Friday:
Most telling is the tendency of many journalists to speculate that the Blagojevich scandal may ensnare Obama without acknowledging that the complaint against Blagojevich contained absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing by Obama . . .
Associated Press reporter Liz Sidoti set the standard for pointlessly speculative news reports with an "analysis" piece declaring that "President-elect Barack Obama hasn't even stepped into office and already a scandal is threatening to dog him." . . .
We cannot afford to be distracted from serious problems by overheated conjecture and baseless insinuation masquerading as journalism.
That's how the media behaved the last time we had a Democratic president. They devoted wall-to-wall coverage to invented "scandals," ignored exculpatory evidence, saw evidence of guilt everywhere, took people out of context in order to accuse them of lying, and generally behaved like a pack of wild animals who couldn't tell right from wrong or truth from fiction -- or who simply didn't care. As a group, they behaved without ethical standards and without regard for the truth.
Foser is correct that nothing now known indicates wrongdoing on Obama's part. However, the revelation that Obama's choice for chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was in communication with Blagojevich -- sending him a list of potential Senate replacement appointees acceptable to Obama -- undermined Obama's press conference claim that "no representative of mine would have any part in any deals related to this seat."

Foser compares the press coverage to how the Whitewater scandal dogged the Clintons, but a more accurate analogy would be to the scandal that felled Jimmy Carter's OMB director, Bert Lance. A Georgia banker and influential figure in state Democratic Party politics, Lance was forced to resign eight months into the Carter administration by revelations about his financial dealings. Lance was never convicted of any crime, and the scandal involved no suggestion of wrongdoing by Carter, and yet the swirl of accusations damaged -- if it did not entirely destroy -- Carter's image as a squeaky-clean reformer. Perhaps most importantly, the Lance scandal brought an early end to whatever honeymoon Carter had enjoyed with the Washington press corps.

The scolding of Foser and other liberals won't undo the damage that the Blagojevich scandal has already done to Obama, and more damage is likely. The Republican National Committee has issued a Web video aiming to cement in the public mind the idea that Obama (a) is a close ally of Blagojevich, and (b) has been dishonest in his responses to the scandal:

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: Linked at Hot Air, where Ed Morrissey points to Andrew Malcolm of the LA Times:
What's puzzled some people and raised suspicions among others is Emanuel's refusal to talk about it (reportedly physically pushing one reporter's tape recorder away and having a verbal altercation with another) and the delay on Obama's part in releasing the promised diary of contacts.
From a practical point of view, if everything is above board, what's to hide?
It's the appearance of impropriety, which would make a great book title, BTW.

UPDATE II: The Instalanche -- what every blogger wants for Christmas. And, of course, it was the professor's book, The Appearance of Impropriety, that I had in mind. Speaking of books and Christmas, now would be a great time to shop the 2008 Holiday Book Sale, and let's go ahead and plug two great books about political scandal:

UPDATE III: Obama's staff has experience in dealing with scandals.

UPDATE IV: Chigago Democrats and the Mob, also accusations of a Blagojevich-Mob connection.