Saturday, January 10, 2009

Buy 'Guilty' TODAY!

A friend informs me that today (Saturday) is the last day of the week in determining bestsellers, so if you want to make sure that Ann Coulter's Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America debuts on the charts at No. 1, buy it today.

From YouTube to Broadway

Argentinian actress Josefina Scaglione, now portraying Maria in the Broadway revival of West Side Story (playing through Jan. 17 at the National Theater in DC), was discovered when the director was "mesmerized" after seeing her on

Well, she certainly looks mesmerizing. And they say she can sing, too.

UPDATE: Oh, yeah -- the video:

Anybody want to buy a 'decider'?

Ace of Spades has never forgiven Seattle Post-Intelligencer managing editor David McCumber for one of the more arrogant quotes of 2007:
"I understand that people have a hard time with the concept that we get to decide what is news and what isn't, and what is fair and what isn't."
Which was McCumber's defense of this:
The FBI is asking the public for help in identifying two men who were seen behaving unusually aboard several Washington state ferries.
About four weeks ago, the FBI fielded several reports from passengers and ferry workers about the men, who seemed "overly interested in the workings and layouts of the ferries," Special Agent Robbie Burroughs said Monday.
The FBI also publicized photos of the men, which were taken by a ferry employee, Burroughs said.
The Seattle P-I is not publishing the photos because neither man is considered a suspect nor has either been charged with a crime.
Hey, fuckstick: On Sept. 10, 2001, Mohammed Atta was not "considered a suspect" and hadn't "been charged with a crime," either. If the FBI had issued a BOLO on Atta the day before 9/11, are you saying you wouldn't have run Atta's picture?

The FBI is not the Gestapo. As the name of the bureau implies, their job is investigation. Just because they wanted to question two guys doesn't mean the guys were pre-booked for one-way tickets to Gitmo.

An editor is, of course, free to decide what he does or does not publish. But to decide that being "fair" to two people wanted for questioning by the FBI trumps the potential threat to the lives and safety of your own readers -- dude, what were you thinking? And then to lecture your readers to the effect that they are too stupid to understand journalism -- sorry, you lost me around one of the hairpin curves of that fine specimen of pretzel-logic.

Well, good-bye, Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
The newspaper's staff was called into a closed meeting today by Publisher Roger Oglesby. Present at the meeting was Hearst Newspaper President Steve Swartz, who told the newsroom that Hearst Corp. is starting a 60-day process to find a buyer.
If a buyer is not found, Swartz said, possible options include creating an all-digital operation with a greatly reduced staff, or closing its operations entirely.
In no case will Hearst continue to publish the P-I in printed form, Swartz said.
Welcome to the free market, David McCumber, where the consumer is the ultimate decider. And maybe those consumers figured they had better things to do than to spend money on a newspaper whose managing editor didn't think himself obligated to protect them from a potential terrorism threat.

Glenn Greenwald's convenient memory

Talking about Bill Moyers:
Moyers worked in Lyndon Johnson's White House when Johnson escalated the Vietnam War, and was Johnson's Press Secretary for much of that time (from 1965-1967). His views of bombing campaigns of civilian populations are undoubtedly shaped by that experience.
Funny you should mention "bombing," Glenn. Moyers was the slimy hatchetman who made the Vietnam disaster possible, with the infamous "Daisy" ad. Documents from the Johnson archives clearly establish Moyers' responsibility for one of the most dishonest libels in the history of American politics, and Moyers pronounced the ad "wonderful."

Remember the context: The Johnson campaign of 1964, in which Moyers played a key role, smeared Goldwater as a reckless warmonger and portrayed LBJ as a man of peace, even as Johnson was planning the "escalation" in Vietnam.

Moyers lied, 58,000 died.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers. Also linked by Frog March at LGF. Thanks.

UPDATE II: An anonymous commenter attempts some revisionism on behalf of Moyers. You forget that I've lived in the DC area for years, and have heard hours and hours of C-SPAN Radio's broadcasts of the LBJ White House tapes, which make abundantly clear what kind of ass-kissing toady Moyers was.

It is worthwhile to contrast Moyers' conduct with with that of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who quit the White House in 1965 rather than continue working for Johnson, whereas Moyers stayed until 1967. It is not as if LBJ were a historical cipher. He was an arrogant bully, domineering and manipulative, and Moyers was "his boy." Moynihan refused to be LBJ's boy.

Moyers (like certain members of more recent administrations) has labored diligently to depict his own White House as all honor and glory. If, four decades from now, Michael Gerson is widely celebrated as an eminence grise of journalism, perhaps Bill Moyers will be owed an apology. But not before.

Angelina Jolie dissed

Anne Hathaway couldn't hold back the rambling and tears as she received the dual honor of Best Actress (along with "Doubt" actress Meryl Streep) for her performance in "Rachel Getting Married" at Thursday night's VH1 Critics Choice Awards. But one lady who looked less-than-impressed was fellow nominee Angelina Jolie.
As Hathaway gushed about how thrilling it was to win something with her "idol" Streep, the cameras caught Jolie (twice) with such a severe scowl it caused quite the gasp backstage.
Let's put it this way: if looks could kill, Hathaway would definitely be dead.
Along with Natalie Portman and Christina Hendricks, Anne Hathaway is sort of a mascot hereabouts. I never much cared for Angelina Jolie.

'You've been a great partner'

One of the world's most famous gay marriages has finally broken up.

Smoothville Express

When Bill Richardson pulled out, MK Ham quipped, "The Obama transition train just keeps on chugging down the tracks to Smoothville, huh?" And the Smoothville Express just keeps on a-chugging:
Eric H. Holder Jr. is facing increasing resistance to his bid to become the next attorney general, emerging from President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet nominees as the prime target of Senate Republicans, both because of troubling episodes during his service in the Clinton administration and because of the sensitivity of the post overseeing the Justice Department. . . .
Specter previewed the main line of attack in a floor speech this week, asserting that, in Holder's years as President Bill Clinton's deputy attorney general, he at times "appeared to be serving the interest of his superiors" rather than heeding recommendations from career Justice Department lawyers. The argument echoed criticism that former attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales, who resigned in 2007, had acted to please his friend President Bush rather than to uphold the principles of justice.
(H/T: Hot Air.) I don't know who's calling the plays in the Senate GOP huddle, but having Specter take the ball on this one is very smart. Specter can't be credibly accused of being a right-wing ideologue or a partisan hit man. Now, if the Republicans on the Foreign Relations Committee can find somebody willing to be point-man on Hillary's nomination as Secretary of State, we might be in for a few weeks of real fun.

Chug, chug, chug . . .

Paris Hilton 'hard to get'?

So she says:
"I've only ever done it with a couple of people. People make up stories, but mostly I just kiss," Hilton recently told Glamour Magazine. "I think it's important to play hard to get. Nobody wants the fake Prada bag -- they want the brand new bag that no one can get and is the most expensive. If you give it up to a guy he won’t respect you. He’ll want you much more if he can’t have you."
So even though the 28-year-old has been romantically linked to anyone and everyone from Benji Madden to Brandon Davis to Nick Carter to Leonardo DiCaprio to Jared Leto to Stavros Niarchos to Rick Salomon, we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. Back in 2006 Hilton pretty much said the same thing to British GQ magazine, claiming that she had only ever slept with two men in her whole life and even made a one-year chastity pledge.
See? And who says abstinence education doesn't work!

Vote for Insty & Ace

Instapundit for Best Major Blog
Ace of Spades for Best Conservative Blog

I know what you're thinking: "OK, I understand campaigning for Insty, because he's the only conservative blog in the running for Best Major Blog. But . . . why Ace? Don't you risk angering Michelle Malkin, who's nominated in the same category as Ace? And isn't angering Malkin like, blogdeath or something?"

Well, it's not like Michelle is really campaigning much for the award, and why should she? She's a published author, a syndicated columnist and has all those big wads of cash from Fox. Whereas Ace . . . all he's got is us morons.

(Honest, Michelle, if you really want that award, just say so, and I'll dump Ace in a heartbeat.)

UPDATE: Linked by Howie the Jawa. Thanks.

Rx for 'demographic disaster'

Suicide by contraception:
Eighty five year old Carl Djerassi the Austrian chemist who helped invent the contraceptive pill now says that his co-creation has led to a "demographic catastrophe."
In an article published by the Vatican this week, the head of the world's Catholic doctors broadened the attack on the pill, claiming it had also brought "devastating ecological effects" by releasing into the environment "tonnes of hormones" that had impaired male fertility, The Taiwan Times says.
The assault began with a personal commentary in the Austrian newspaper Der Standard by Carl Djerassi. The Austrian chemist was one of three whose formulation of the synthetic progestogen Norethisterone marked a key step toward the earliest oral contraceptive pill.
Djerassi outlined the "horror scenario" that occurred because of the population imbalance, for which his invention was partly to blame. He said that in most of Europe there was now "no connection at all between sexuality and reproduction." He said: "This divide in Catholic Austria, a country which has on average 1.4 children per family, is now complete." . . .
Young Austrians, he said, were committing national suicide if they failed to procreate. . . .
The head of Austria's Catholics, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, told an interviewer that the Vatican had forecast 40 years ago that the pill would lead to a dramatic fall in the birth rate in the west.
"Somebody above suspicion like Carl Djerassi ... is saying that each family has to produce three children to maintain population levels, but we're far away from that," he said.
And the United States might be following Europe into the demographic ash-heap of history, were it not for teenage motherhood.

Advice to Jay Leno

Dude, fire your joke writers. Who needs 'em now?

Via Memeorandum, the political blog aggregator.

'A Pangeia of Gaffes'

So says Ed Driscoll:


Pre-teen transsexuals?

Dr. Judith Reisman reports a development so bizarre it seems like science fiction -- except it's real:
The Endocrine Society has published guidelines advising that children as young as 12 be offered puberty blocking drugs to 'buy time' for a gender change. (Emphasis added.)
Can you say "unintended consequences"? The potential for disastrous outcomes from such a Dr. Frankenstein approach to sexuality ought to cause sensible people to shout, "Hey, wait a minute!"

Puberty is a disease that needs to be cured? None of these pre-adolescents might ever have cause to regret such a drastic medical intervention? Seventh-graders (who would not be allowed to work a part-time afterschool job in an ice-cream shop) are deemed sufficiently mature to decide that they need hormone therapy as prelude to a sex change?

Mister Huxley! Paging Mister Huxley! Mister Aldous Huxley, please pick up the courtesy phone . . .

Fear and Loathing: Sarah Palin and the Conservative Intellectuals

Allahpundit took his Friday "Quote of the Day" from David Frum, provoking lots of irate responses from Hot Air commenters, including one who posted this:
The only thing more disgraceful than the liberal treatment of Palin was the treatment she got from some so called conservatives. And it should be pointed out that this site was very negative towards Palin. This post set the tone for what followed.
The link is to Allah's first foray into Palin pessmism on Aug. 29 -- the day Palin was announced. But that's just Allah being the Eeyore of the conservative blogosphere. You can't hate him for that, folks. Depression is a disease, and there's no point arguing with Allah when he is mired in darkness.

Of course, in a truly dire situation, depression is a synonym for realism. The inarguable fact is that the Republican Party hasn't been in such utter disarray in 15 years, perhaps even 35 years, if you want to go back to the Gerald Ford era. The problems of the GOP are multilayered, and each layer contains an apparently insoluble problem.

The biggest problem of all is a lack of leadership. If you've listened to Rush Limbaugh in the past couple of years, you've heard him say a thousand times that the problem with George W. Bush is that he never was, never wanted to be and never could be, The Conservative Leader.

You can go back to Dubya's original signature issue, No Child Left Behind (the subject of a write-up in Friday's Washington Post), which was (a) not conservative, and (b) never going to work. NCLB was nothing but pandering to soccer moms who sincerely want to believe in a Lake Woebegone world where "all the children are above average."

The same unconservative belief that informed NCLB -- that human beings are so many lumps of clay who can be magically transformed by the proper government interventions -- has also, when you think about it, informed U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Iraq. The U.S. military did an excellent job of destroying the regimes of the Taliban and Saddam, but then "mission creep" set in and the idea took hold that we would transform these nations into modern democracies (complete with women's suffrage) essentially indistinguishable from Belgium.

Unfortunately, the State Department failed to supply adequate quantities of the one ingredient necessary for this project: pixie dust.

More than 200 years ago, Edmund Burke said of the French Revolution:
The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please: we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations.
If Bush had minded that single maxim of Burke's -- and this is just one of many conservative truths that have been ignored for eight years -- he might not have done a lot of the things that have since led to disaster. Which brings us back around to Sarah Palin.

You see, one of the reasons Palin horrifies so many conservative intellectuals (and Allah seems to be one such) is their fear that she embodies all that was wrong with Dubya. You have to go back to 1999-2000 to recall how the conservative movement got into this disastrous cul-de-sac known as Bush 43. If you are a Republican, think back to the debates between Gore and Bush, think about the issues as they were discussed then, think about how Gore was hobbled by the stain of Clinton's scandals, and how Bush's basic job was to convince Americans that (a) he would restore dignity and decency to the White House, and (b) tax cuts are good for the economy.

Even with such an apparently simple political task, Bush placed second in the popular vote. The Republican "brand" (as it is now fashionably called) was already damaged in 2000, and even then it was apparent that Dubya hadn't brought any pixie dust from Austin.

What exactly was the GOP's "brand damage" problem in 2000? Well, under Newt Gingrich, the Republican Party was stuck with the image of being "mean-spirited," "divisive" and "partisan" (note: Democrats are never harmed by accusations of partisanship). Therefore, in an attempt to reverse-engineer the "triangulation" method that Dick Morris had taught Bill Clinton, Bush was marketed as a "compassionate conservative" who could address the concerns of "soccer moms" in Republican ways.

Bush spent seven months and three weeks trying to put that agenda into action, when suddenly Mohammed Atta et al. changed everything. In the two ensuing election cycles -- 2002 and 2004 -- Team Bush won big on the national security issue. Beyond tax cuts and Supreme Court fights, the domestic agenda receded into political irrelevance. And who cared? As long as the GOP was kicking butt every election year, any conservatives who complained were ignored (or denounced as "unpatriotic").

Yet somewhere between Bush's historic triumph in November 2004 (when he became the first president since 1988 to be elected by a popular-vote majority) and November 2006, the wheels fell off the Permanent Republican Majority. Suddenly, as if awakened from fairy-tale slumbers, conservative intellectuals began to regret that George W. Bush was not one of them.

Think about it. Peggy Noonan, Christopher Buckley, David Frum -- what is the thread that connects them? All worked as speechwriters: Noonan for Reagan, Buckley for Bush 41, Frum for Bush 43. While these Republican wordsmiths had all praised Dubya's machismo magnificence when he was contrasted with such pompous rivals as Al Gore and John Kerry, the bloom fell off that rose after 2006.

That born-again, down-to-earth, drawling Texas thing -- somehow, it had once made Bush seem like Gary Cooper in High Noon. But as the disasters mounted and the poll numbers headed southward, that Gary Cooper glow faded and these conservative intellectuals turned on their TVs to behold, with unspeakable horror, President Jethro Bodine.

Thus their reaction to Sarah Palin. While the Republican Party grassroots looked at Palin and saw an American Margaret Thatcher (except much sexier), the conservative intellectuals looked at her and saw . . . Vice President Ellie Mae Clampett.

Shootin' her some vittles! Takin' care of young 'uns. Let's go a-swimmin' in the ce-ment pond!

You see? The fear and loathing of Sarah Palin among (some) conservative intellectuals is a subconscious reaction to their belated recognition of Bush's weaknesses. The liberals who bashed Bush as being "in a bubble" and "out of touch" had a point. Since 1999, Bush really has been encased in a hermetic capsule of expert advisers. And this capsule was purposely constructed with the eager assent of the conservative intellectuals because, deep down, they never really believed he had it.

By "it," I mean what Ronald Reagan had, that finely-honed political sense, that keen instinct for the right word, the right stance -- the "vision thing," as Bush 41 once said.

Reagan had that, had it in his very marrow, in every molecule of his being. As much as the Noonans, Frums, Buckleys and David Brookses of the GOP wanted to believe that Dubya had that Reaganesque quality, he never did. He was . . . just another Bush.

Looking back, these intellectuals realize they deceived themselves, projecting onto Dubya qualities he never had. So now they see the GOP grassroots enthusiasm for Sarah Palin and, with all the cynical disillusionment of the ex-True Believer, they say, "Don't kid yourself."

Just as the conservative intellectuals once projected their hopes onto Dubya, now they project their disappointments onto Sarah. But the fault is theirs, not hers. And Sarah has something the intellectuals don't have -- an army. Brother, I've seen that army.

So you can take your David Frums and your David Brookses, and let Sarah take that army and, by God, we'll see whose Republican Party this is.

UPDATE: Fellow insomniac Ed Driscoll:
She certainly could have been a fine vice president if McCain hadn't "suspended his campaign", permanently, in retrospect, in late September. But does that make Palin the next Gipper?
Does she have to be, Ed? What Would Reagan Do? Well, I think the first thing is, he'd tell us, "Stop looking for the next Ronald Reagan, you morons!" Why not just do the best we can with what we've got? Whatever Sarah Palin's faults and shortcomings, she's still got more natural political talent than any Republican candidate whose name is currently being floated for 2012. Don't overthink it.

UPDATE II: John Cole blames Sarah for "whip[ping] up McCain/Palin crowds into something that resembled a modern day Triumph of the Will." This is nothing but undiluted Team Obama spin, as I explained last month in the American Spectator:
The tactic of blaming Palin for "racist anger" toward Obama developed as a theme during the fall campaign, evidently based on post hoc ergo propter hoc thinking within Team Obama. Threats against Obama increased as the campaign heated up after Labor Day, and since this followed the Aug. 29 announcement of the Alaska governor as Republican running mate, Palin herself was scapegoated.
That claim was distilled in a November article in the London Daily Telegraph with the misleading headline, "Sarah Palin blamed by the US Secret Service over death threats against Barack Obama."
The Secret Service never said any such thing and the Telegraph's story didn't actually say that they had said it. Rather, Telegraph reporter Tim Shipman was paraphrasing a Newsweek account of the campaign that quoted Obama adviser Gregory Craig in mid-October expressing concern about "the frenzied atmosphere at the Palin rallies." The same paragraph of the Newsweek story asserted (without attribution) that the Obama campaign had been "provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and very disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October."
It was the Obama campaign, not the Secret Service, which suggested a connection between the "frenzied atmosphere" around Palin and the threats. Obama himself appeared to believe there was such a connection, raising it in his final debate with John McCain.
That accusation evidently stemmed from an Oct. 14 newspaper report that an audience member at a Palin rally in Scranton, Pa., shouted "kill him" when Obama's name was mentioned. The Secret Service investigated but was unable to corroborate that account, as Newsweek subsequently reported, and yet the alleged threat has entered the colloquial what-everybody-knows version of the campaign.
And for an Obama supporter to be flinging around Triumph of the Will comparisons -- oh, that's rich.

UPDATE III: A reader helpfully points out, "Reagan never looked like this":

"Frenzied atmosphere," indeed.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Did I mention I'm a father of six?

Scientific proof of my genius:
"Women tend to like smart men because they're usually more successful and better providers. But here's another reason: Their sperm is better, a new study says. . . .
"The smarter the men were, the more sperm they produced and the better their wee ones swam . . .
"The researchers instead speculate that intelligence might be passed down as part of a larger package of good attributes."
"Larger package." Heh. And proving the obverse:
"By the way, I have no children. And I’m not in MENSA, either."
He also voted for Obama.

'Preachy beyond belief'

"With the possible exception of Roman Polanski, I suspect I might have been the only adult male over the age of 40 who watched the second-season opener of the ABC Family dramedy The Secret Life of the American Teenager earlier this week. . . .
"[A]part from the vaguely titallating premise and promise of the show's title, the thing is safe as milk. Skim milk. Soy milk. . . .
"It's preachy beyond belief and, for all the bad stuff that's supposed to happen to the characters, it plays out in a world that is about as menacing and gritty as the dancing gangs in West Side Story."

David Frum vs. politics

David Frum is a brilliant writer, but he does not understand politics. I don't mean policy or governance or ideology, I'm talking about pure politics.

Politics is about 50 percent plus one. We win. They lose. Simple as that.

Frum's attack on Sarah Palin today, as with his previous attacks on Palin, is written from the perspective of an establishment insider and -- though he cites the usual poll numbers to claim that Sarah Palin is box-office poison -- fails to look at the situation from the standpoint of the Ordinary American. And this, I fear, is because David Frum doesn't know any Ordinary Americans. He's a Canadian, a native of Toronto, whose career in the United States has been spent entirely among the elite.

In 2007, Frum hired on as a "senior policy adviser" to Rudolph Giuliani. Y'know, if Frum had been thinking about pure politics (that 50%+1 formula) his first advice to Giuliani should have been: QUIT. Giuliani spent $59 million to get 597,518 primary votes. The only thing Giuliani accomplished was to suck up a lot of media and prevent the Anybody But McCain vote from consolidating around Mitt Romney. Had Giuliani quit in December 2007 and thrown his support behind Romney, it could have made an important difference in New Hampshire and Florida, and the Republican Party might have nominated an actual Republican.

Frum is obviously trying to position himself to join the 2012 campaign of Anybody But Palin, and his attacks on Palin need to be seen in that light. You can be a professional political operative or you can be a journalist, but you cannot credibly be both.

(H/T: Hot Air Headlines.)

UPDATE: Somewhat related, Ace of Spades goes upside the head of David Shuster. What is it with Palin and guys name David? David Frum, David Brooks, David Shuster -- an Army of Davids, as it were. At Newsbusters, the script where John Ziegler calls Schuster "an alleged news person." Heh.

UPDATE II: Here's the video via Hot Air:

BTW, Frum's whole point in attacking Palin over the Ziegler interview is that she's supposedly drowning in self-pity. She's not. Ziegler was working on a documentary about media bias and so the questions were about -- surprise! -- media bias. What the hell did you expect her to say? "Oh, yes, I really admire the work of all the 2012 Jeb Bush Campaign staffers who were taking a paycheck to ruin my media rollout! That was brilliant how they set me up with that Katie Couric interview, but wouldn't let me talk to any of the beat reporters who were actually covering the campaign!"

Blagojevich impeached

Flaming (Hairy) Skull at AOSHQ. The vote in the Illinois House was 114-1.

If Blagojevich goes to prison, will he first be forced to give back Michael Nesmith's hair?

BTW, somebody should write a book.

She feels your pain?

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) had her Tennessee home listed as a foreclosure, but apparently it is a glitch caused by an error by her local bank.

Still waiting on 'Guilty'

Somebody at Ann Coulter's publicist told me that I'm actually referenced in her new book, Guilty, and they're supposed to be sending me a copy. In the meantime, Lisa De Pasquale has a review at Human Events:
In the chapter, "Victim of a Crime? Thank a Single Mother," Coulter writes, "The most worshipped figure in modern America is the 'single mother.' Politicians tout their programs by explaining how they will help single mothers." . . .
The Left has elevated single motherhood as a coveted, noble distinction despite the problems it causes for the true victims -- their children. Coulter writes, "Here is the lottery ticket that single mothers are handing their innocent children by choosing to raise them without fathers: Controlling for socioeconomic status, race, and place of residence, the strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison is that he was raised by a single parent."
So, while I await delivery of my own copy, you should order now and look me up in the index.

UPDATE: In the comments, Smitty gloats that he's already gotten his copy, but doesn't bother to tell me how I'm referenced in Coulter's book. "Studly journalistic legend, Robert Stacy McCain . . ."?

UPDATE II: At risk of impairing my own Amazon Associate sales, I'll point out that you can get a FREE copy of Ann's new book by subscribing today to Human Events. (Jed Babbin, you owe me beers.)

'Panetta. Leon Panetta.'

The notion of Clinton-era hack Leon Panetta as a James Bond super-spy is enough to inspire laughter, but Philip Klein reports that Obama's choice is causing serious worry at the CIA:
"Everybody is shocked and concerned about his lack of any intelligence experience," a former senior officer at the CIA told [The American Spectator], asking that his name be withheld because he still does some work with the agency. "What kind of signal is this sending?" . . .
"People think the left-wing bloggers are running the asylum now," the ex-CIA official lamented. "They want to completely neuter the agency."
Read the whole thing.
[Obama] "calls Panetta "one of the finest public servants of our time." And in response to some questions about Panetta's experience, Obama says "he has handled intelligence daily at the highest levels."
As any student of the Clinton administration knows, they completely botched the effort against al-Qaeda, so citing Panetta's experience in the Clinton White House is not an argument in his favor.

UPDATE II: I knew I'd seen the "Panetta, Leon Panetta" gag somewhere else, and now I realize it was at Cold Fury. Sorry about that, Chief.

Salute to Edwardsville, Alabama!

Who says rednecks can't be green?
At first glance, the town of Edwardsville, Ala., with a population of 194 people, might raise a few eyebrows with its bid to receive $375 million from the economic stimulus package being assembled by Barack Obama and lawmakers in Congress.
The tiny town . . . added 33 proposals—about two thirds of them related to "green" energy—to the list of "ready- to- go" projects assembled by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Total sum: $375,076,200.
(H/T: Michelle Malkin.) Folks, that part of Alabama is my old stomping grounds. I used to go via Heflin up through Whites Gap on my way to Jacksonville State University. And although I am familiar with such speed-trap towns as Fruithurst and Muscadine along U.S. 78, I never even heard of Edwardsville before. It ain't even a wide spot in the road.

Nevertheless, I salute these people. If Congress is just going to start flinging cash hither and yon, some of it might as well fall on Alabama rednecks. So next time you happen to be traveling from Fruithurst to Heflin and you notice that every double-wide trailer along the road has solar-power panels on the roof, you'll know you're in Edwardsville.

The Christina Hendricks autism test?

Weird science:
Men who do not find the shape of the curvier woman most attractive could be more likely to father children with autism, according to a study. . . .
The new research from the University of Bath suggests that fathers of autistic children do not share the preference of men across the world for the curvier woman. . . .
Dr Brosnan said he hopes the research will increase understanding of the causes of the condition.
'Autism is widely regarded to have genetic origins which may combine with hormonal influences', he said.
'We wanted to investigate the mechanisms by which these genes come together in a parental pairing, whether it is by chance or if it could be due to different preferences in choosing a mate - so-called assortative mating.
'This study raises some interesting questions about how the person we are attracted to could impact on our offspring.'
My completely unscientific hunch is that they're barking up the wrong tree. But how can we know unless we test the hypothesis? (BTW, none of my children are autistic.)

(Via Hot Air Headlines.)

More liberal self-congratulation

Do they never tire of repeating this crap?
A majority of educated voters agreed with Jon Stewart that elitism in government leaders is good, and understood when he said, "not only do I want an elite president, but I want someone who is embarrassingly superior to me."
The Cook Political Report has found that education has become the most significant predictor of party identity. . . .
t should come as no surprise that most educated voters have moved towards the Democratic Party considering the increasing anti-intellectualism in the GOP. As Republicans lost the battle of ideas, they lost the support of educated voters.
While you're breaking your arms patting yourselves on your backs, my "progressive" friends, I will remind you that Obama got 63% of the vote among high-school dropouts -- his best performance among any educational demographic.

Don't want to jinx anything but . . .

. . . is it possible that the next chairman of the Republican National Committee is a Facebook friend of mine?

Pallin' around with terrorists?

The incoming Obama administration is prepared to abandon George Bush's ­doctrine of isolating Hamas by establishing a channel to the Islamist organisation, sources close to the transition team say.
The move to open contacts with Hamas, which could be initiated through the US intelligence services, would represent a definitive break with the Bush ­presidency's ostracising of the group. The state department has designated Hamas a terrorist organisation, and in 2006 ­Congress passed a law banning US financial aid to the group.
To begin with, it appears to me that the editors at the Guardian have pushed their lede beyond anything substantiated by the story below it. They're hyping it in classic Fleet Street fashion, in other words. Assuming that Obama denies it (and he will), then it would be wrong to excoriate Obama for a fundamentally bogus story by the Guardian. So let's give him the benefit of the doubt, and don't indict him for irrresponsible chatter by "sources close to the transition team."

On the other hand, Allahpundit notes that Obama denounced Hamas in April, but that such a denunciation may have been merely strategic:
[W]ith the election over, Obama no longer needs Hamas as a fig leaf for his policy of dialogue with Iran. , , , The three reasons he gave in April for not chatting with them -- terrorism, rejectionism, and dealbreaking -- apply equally well to Iran, but meeting with Iran is the cornerstone of the foreign policy Change he promised. How then to prove his Zionist credentials to pro-Israel voters? Simple -- draw a meaningless artificial distinction between Iran and Hamas based on the fact that one's a sovereign state and the other isn't. He’ll talk to terrorist states threatening Israel with nuclear weapons, but terrorist groups threatening them with Qassam rockets? Why, he's far too much of a Likudnik for that. Except of course he's not, which is why that meaningless artificial distinction is now reportedly -- and quietly -- being discarded.
This attributes to Obama a degree of cynical arrogance that, if true, could prove his undoing. In the famous words of Marty Peretz: "Don't fuck with the Jews." Obama was elected with 78% support among Jewish voters, and if they should ever come to believe that they've been bamboozled, and Israel betrayed, by Obama, there will be holy unshirted hell to pay.

(Now that I'm thinking about it, shouldn't Peretz's DFWTJ principle have an exemption for self-haters like Glenn Greenwald? Is it anti-Semitism to hate a self-hater?)

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers.

UPDATE II: Linked by Walter Alarkon at The Hill. Thanks.

Gerson on Kony

Michael Gerson has a column today on the hunt for African terrorist Joseph Kony:
There is a natural and appropriate hesitance to wish death for any man. "Many that live deserve death," warned J.R.R. Tolkien. "And some die that deserve life. Can you give that to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice." It is a wise saying -- with some notable exceptions. And one of those exceptions is Joseph Kony, who has dealt out death to so many.
This is the first time I've ever praised Gerson's writing, and it might be the last, so please read the whole thing. And please, if you can, do something to help the Angels of East Africa missionary orphanage.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Start asking questions

"People might start asking questions, wondering how Obama could come out of a city run by the wrought-iron fists of the Daley machine but smell like the neck of a baby after a bath."

Holy crap!

Didn't see this coming:
Even as President-elect Barack Obama was giving a major address on his economic stimulus plan, it was running into trouble with key members of his own party on Capitol Hill.
Several Senate Democrats emerged from a closed-door meeting of the Senate Finance Committee saying they oppose central tax provisions of the proposal.
In particular, members said they did not think the idea of giving employers a $3,000 tax credit for each employee they hire would work.
The story goes on to quote John Kerry, Kent Conrad and Ron Wyden as opposing the Obama plan. When I said, "It won't work," little did I suspect that those guys were paying attention.

Richard John Neuhaus, RIP

The word "neoconservative" has been twisted and abused during the Bush administration. Neuhaus was a true neocon:
He began political life as a liberal. An associate of Martin Luther King Jr., he backed Eugene McCarthy for president at the 1968 Democratic convention and led, along with actor Paul Newman, a tumultuous Chicago press conference backing the minority plank against the Vietnam War.
But starting with the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that declared abortion a constitutional right and running through President Jimmy Carter's 1979 White House Conference on the Family, Father Neuhaus began moving to the right, becoming a supporter of Ronald Reagan.
Dead of cancer at 72.

Riot in Oakland

When in doubt, burn some cars:
Protesters angry over a deadly New Year’s Day shooting of a young black man by a transit police officer erupted into violence in downtown Oakland on Wednesday night while investigators struggled to determine what prompted the officer to fire his gun into the unarmed man’s back.
After an afternoon of peaceful demonstrations and a memorial service, protests turned chaotic after dark as a small clutch of protesters set trash cans and cars afire and busted windows on police cruisers and storefronts. Police in riot gear responded with tear gas and billy clubs and at least 14 arrests were made, according to local television reports.
Exactly what political message is sent by smashing storefront windows? What does that have to do with the transit police? And, while we're at it, is it the policy of the transit police to gun down innocent civilians? Or do the rioters suppose that this shooting would be swept under the rug unless they smashed windows and burned cars?

BTW, why do they call them "protesters"? I've seen lots of protesters -- they march around carrying signs and shouting slogans. People who smash windows are vandals, not protesters. There is a difference.

UPDATE: If you think smashing storefront windows is an ineffective response to police brutality, you are a "terrible person" -- like me! But what is the point of victimizing shop owners who surely disapproved of the shooting of Oscar Grant?
The mob smashed the windows at Creative African Braids on 14th Street, and a woman walked out of the shop holding a baby in her arms.
"This is our business," shouted Leemu Topka, the black owner of the salon she started four years ago. "This is our shop. This is what you call a protest?"
Leemu Topka, "terrible person." (H/T: Reason.)

UPDATE II: This business of making excuses for vandalism -- and denouncing me and Leemu Topka for our objections -- would inspire me to a full-on rant, if I weren't busy doing something else. Excuse me if I'm having a hard time imagining that, were it not for the mindless violence of the vandals, the shooting of Oscar Grant would be excused by Mayor Ron Dellums. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Apologists for "the riot ideology" ought to read The Future Once Happened Here by that terrible person, Fred Siegel.

UPDATE III: San Jose Mercury News:
As family and friends of Oscar Grant III pleaded for peace Thursday afternoon, broken glass was being cleaned up from the previous night's disturbances in downtown Oakland, burned cars were towed away, and some business owners — fearing a repeat of the violence — made plans for nightfall, closing early and sending employees home.
"I am begging the citizens to not use violent tactics anymore," said Grant's mother, an emotional Wanda Johnson, who appeared with about 30 of Grant's relatives and friends at a news conference called by attorney John Burris at his East Oakland office building. . . .
Police estimate at least $150,000 in damage resulted from the scattered violence that broke out late Wednesday night after an originally peaceful protest about Grant's killing moved from the Fruitvale BART station to the downtown area. Splinter groups — many not related to the original protest — fanned out, breaking store windows, setting fire to at least five cars including an Oakland police patrol car and smashing windshields of parked cars.
It is being reported (see the SF Chronicle story linked earlier) that the vandalism was instigated by people affiliated with the Revolutionary Communist Party. Which would not be remotely surprising, if you know anything about Bob Avakian and the RCP, considered vile scum even by their fellow Commies.

There are at least two amateur videos that captured the shooting of Grant. The videos are low-quality, but it appears that, immediately after Grant had been subdued and handcuffed, the offending officer stood up, unholstered his pistol and shot the kid. Utterly senseless, and some commenters at Reason have suggested perhaps the officer intended to pull his Taser and instead pulled his pistol. Which would be stupid beyond imagination, but what else can be expected in an attempt to explain the inexplicable? At any rate, here's the video:

UPDATE IV: Tom Blumer at Newsbusters makes a find: CBS5 reporter Jose Vazquez describes the "professional protesters" who incited the violence:
They wouldn't identify themselves, but those instigators wore bandanas on their faces and seemed more intent on provoking confrontations and throwing stuff at police than truly having their voices heard.
Yeah, this sounds a lot like RCP.

Advertising is rape (and other profound truths of feminism)

"This is what the victory of Barack Obama means for women: We are all fair game":

As bizarre as the "Burn It Down" video may be, its ideology is really no more extreme than the Women's Caucus at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, where one speaker -- actress Rosario Dawson -- earnestly assured her fellow delegates: "One-in-three women in this country will be affected by rape, abuse or be killed."
There it is again -- "one-in-three women," the statistical assurance that any woman who hasn't yet been victimized still has a chance to claim her prize in the victimhood lottery. You're "fair game," Obama is to blame, and don't let anyone tell you different, sister.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: A 130+ comment thread at AOSHQ.

Crazy Cousin John

"We didn't pander enough to the open-borders lobby," or words to that effect. Russ at AOSHQ has more.

Don't blame me -- I voted for Bob Barr!

Uganda update

Pastor Sam Childers is currently in South Sudan, about 20 miles from the Congolese border, his wife, Lynn, informs by e-mail:
[Sam] is right in the heart of the LRA conflict. They are still abducting children, and killing the villagers. Since Christmas the LRA has killed more than 600 people. Sam is with 16 soldiers, a photographer from Australia, and a journalist from the New York Times. They will be visiting a nearby hospital to interview the victims and get photographs of the damage these evil men do to his victims. Sam was given a report of a village where small children are living by themselves because of the killing the LRA had done there. Sam will go and assess the area and rescue as many as possible should there be any children orphaned there. He has the food truck and two other vehicles with him so he will be able to bring some of the children with him back to the orphanage.
Please keep Sam and the team in your prayers. Financial support is needed to help with the rescuing of the children, and food and other supplies. If you would like to help please go to our web sites and make a donation or your support will help with the lives of many children. Tell your friends and families to get the word out. These children and Sam need your help. I want to thank all of you for your support and prayers.
Previous posts on this subject.

UPDATE: Strategy Page reports:
LRA depredations in Congo led to several hundred civilians being kidnapped, and up to 500 more killed. Thousands of civilians fled their homes to escape the LRA rebels, who continue to move towards the Central African Republic (CAR). . . .
Both UN and Congolese sources report that the LRA's retreat towards the Central African Republic (CAR) continues. The Congo and various NGOs operating in northeastern Congo estimate that the LRA cadres retreating toward the CAR killed around 430 people in attacks on December 25 and 26. The UN and Ugandan military estimate that Kony still has 650 fighters. Since the "joint attack" began on December 14, 2008, the LRA forces have broken down into very small groups.
Which is to say, Sam and his escort of 16 soldiers could find themselves suddenly confronted with one of those LRA fragments numbering scores or hundreds of gunmen. Prayers.

Teen pregnancy: fact vs. spin

The Associated Press:
Mississippi now has the nation's highest teen birth rate, displacing Texas and New Mexico for that lamentable title, a new federal report says. . . .
The three states have large proportions of black and Hispanic teenagers — groups that traditionally have higher birth rates, experts noted.
Indeed, and if you take a little time to examine the actual CDC report, what you find is that the birth rate (births per 1,000) for females 15-19 breaks down like this:
Ergo, states where blacks and Hispanics constitute a large proportion of the 15-19 population will tend to have high rates of teen pregnancy. Furthermore, the category "Hispanic" encompasses many nationalities, with varying rates of teen pregnancy, so that for instance, those of Mexican origin have a teen birth rate of 92.9, while Puerto Ricans have a teen birth rate of 69.3.

A bit of Census research reveals that the population of Mississippi is 37.1% black and 1.8% Hispanic, whereas Texas is 11.9% black and 35.7% Hispanic, and New Mexico is 2.5% black and 44.0% Hispanic. By comparison, the state with the lowest teen birth rate, New Hampshire, is 95.8% white.

The obvious conclusion, then, is that demographics has a powerful influence on teen pregnancy. Ah, unless you're a liberal fanatic:
While the new report does not explain why [Mississippi's] teen pregnancy rate is increasing, one reason may be the poor quality of its sex ed programs. As the Sexuality Information and Education Center explains, Mississippi focuses heavily on abstinence education and teachers are prohibited from demonstrating how to use contraceptives . . .
Right. So what about Gov. Bill Richardson's progressive paradise New Mexico, huh? The teen birth rate there is 64 per 1,000, compared to Mississippi's 68 per 1,000. Why aren't liberals excoriating New Mexico? (Crickets chirping.)

UPDATE: Linked at RCP Best of the Blogs.

UPDATE II: Linked at Nashville Post. BTW, I would like to point out that I personally don't consider it a social tragedy every time a 19-year-old gets pregnant. Unwed pregnancy is more of a problem than teen pregnancy, per se. Maggie Gallagher did a must-read report on this subject 10 years ago. Also, see my post on Famous Teenage Mothers.

UPDATE III: To argue briefly with commenter Richard: Sex education is redundant, wasteful and intrusive. Are we really supposed to believe that the teenage girl who gets pregnant doesn't know that sex causes pregnancy? We are living in a society where accurate information about sex has never been more widely available. Any 12-year-old can go to Borders (or the school library) and find a dozen or more books on the birds-and-bees stuff, to say nothing of what's available on the Internet.

If teenagers are getting pregnant, ignorance cannot be the explanation, so what is it that schools need to educate them about? How to use a condom? Last time I looked, every box of condoms had illustrated instructions on proper usage. If you are too stupid to use a condom properly maybe . . . I don't know . . . you shouldn't be having sex. Yet our enlightened elites insist that anybody who wants schools to focus on telling kids they shouldn't be having sex -- "Hey Kids: Keep Your Britches On!" -- is an irresponsible, anti-science Taliban fundamentalist.

Some people have an annoyingly tautological certainty about the importance of teaching kids the Latin names of their genitalia -- vulva, clitoris, etc., being pretty much the only Latin taught in schools anymore -- as if there were some intrinsic value in that knowledge. It's like believing that, unless you teach kids the Latin names of their digestive organs, they won't be able to eat properly. And yet, in all the debate over sex ed, nobody ever seems to notice the manifest absurdity of that premise.

The advocates of "compehensive sexuality education" (CSE) are not really concerned about addressing any meaningful deficit of useful knowledge. Rather, the CSE agenda is about inculcating a certain attitude toward sex, which is where we encounter the problem of intrusiveness. CSE advocates want to establish as Officially Approved Attitude about sex -- a PC sexual dogma -- and, if you actually take time to read their esoteric literature (as I have), they aren't even secretive about this goal. It is very much about telling people what to think.

The whole point of the sex-ed agenda from Kinsey onward has been to eradicate "old-fashioned" (i.e., "Puritanical" or "Victorian") attitudes toward sex, and they mean to accomplish this through the coercive action of government-imposed education. I am certainly no prudish Victorian, but my inner libertarian is profoundly hostile to schools propagandizing children in this fashion, especially since the schools go out of their way to deceive parents about the actual content and purpose of sex-ed.

UPDATE IV: Linked at American Power.

Obama bitterly clinging . . .

. . . to his BlackBerry.

Fortunately, I haven't gotten the "Crackberry" habit. Yet. I wanted one for Christmas, given that my wife broke my sweet Motorola Razr flip-phone, but . . . it's probably for the better that I don't have one. I see so many of my friends constantly working their BlackBerries, iPhones, etc., and I'm sort of glad I don't have one. With my addictive personality, I'd probably Twitter myself into a coma.

The obligatory John Ziegler video interview of Sarah Palin post

Via Conservative Grapevine to Big Hollywood:

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey:
If we’d seen more of this Palin on the campaign trail … well, we still would have lost, in all likelihood, as VP candidates simply can’t rescue running mates. However, Palin seems determined not to let 2008 be the last word for her on the national stage.
I've been saying since Labor Day that Team Maverick mishandled Palin's media. If they'd have done an impromptu press conference on the day she was announced -- before the reporters had time to research their "gotcha" questions -- it would have made all the difference in the world. Palin certainly represents herself better than Tucker Bounds ever represented her. Don't hide your light under a bushel.

Top of her class

Gee, why would Caroline Kennedy have graduated, you know, near the top of her class at Harvard?
Caroline at Harvard was a resume enhancement. For Harvard. Caroline would have been accepted at any school she applied at. And the tenure of any professor be in question if she failed a class. So it's no surprise she graduated near the top of her class.
You know, I never thought of that, you know.

Link/quote etiquette

A reader who is also a relatively new blogger e-mailed to ask:
If I cross post something from your site, do I need your permission? or at least a good link or two to the work in question as well as a hat tip.
The etiquette of linking, quoting and hat-tipping has been explained by several people, including Ace of Spades:
Basically, I think that when you link someone else's find or analysis, you're permitted to excerpt a taste of what they're quoting or saying, but it's always important to leave something fairly important behind to click on. After all, if you just quote all the good parts, you've left your audience with no reason to click on the link-- the blog that tipped you gets the link, for what that's worth, but very little traffic at all.
Ace points out that one of the reasons Instapundit drives so much traffic is that his links are often opaque -- the word "Heh" being the extreme example -- and he very seldom quotes more than a sentence or two of another blogger's work. The link-to-text ratio is high.

So Ace's "Leave Something Juicy Behind" rule applies: Don't swipe somebody's whole post, or quote so much of it that there's no reason for the reader to click the link.

Also, when the point of your post is specifically to call attention to something clever a fellow blogger has said -- rather than to address the underlying news story -- a short post is better than a long post. In other words, I'm not going to get much traffic off your link if you quote me and then add a 600-word rant of your own (see this post about Little Miss Attila as an example of the shorter-is-sweeter principle). On the other hand, if something I write inspires you to a 600-word rant, well, I guess your rant is a thing in its own right -- but I likely won't get as much traffic from the link.

HAT TIPS & LINKBACKS: I try to be scrupulous about hat-tips, but I get so much stuff from Memeorandum that it seems almost redundant to write "via Memeorandum" every time. And I guess I sometimes slack off about crediting Hot Air for videos. But those are personal lapses you don't want to emulate vis-a-vis hat-tipping me, LOL.

Generally, when another blogger links me and I notice the linkage on SiteMeter, I will add an update with a link back to the linker. (Call this the "Full Metal Jacket" Reach-Around Principle of Blog Reciprocity.) The reason I do linkbacks is because Blogger software doesn't have the "trackback URL" feature and installing a separate trackback program is a hassle. I'm not sure how much traffic is produced by a linkback, but every link adds to your Technorati rankings, and that counts for something, right?

Democrat strikes a blow for feminism

Progressive values:
A Queens state senator who denies beating his girlfriend was caught on security cameras dragging the scared, bleeding woman from his apartment, law enforcement sources told the Daily News.
Newly elected Sen. Hiram Monserrate "will be convicted by the security video" taken in the hallway and outside his Jackson Heights apartment after he allegedly slashed Karla Giraldo in a jealous rage, sources said. . . .
The video shows Giraldo grabbing the apartment's front door as Monserrate tried to drag her out of the building, sources said.
Other video clips show Giraldo clutching a towel to her injured left eye and banging on the door of a neighbor's apartment for help, sources said. . . .
Emergency room doctor Dawne Kort told Queens prosecutors on Tuesday that Giraldo accused Monserrate of bashing her in the face, sources said.
Better put some ice on that, honey.

A glimmer of sanity

Just when you think the world's gone completely nuts:
The Pentagon has decided that it will not award the Purple Heart, the hallowed medal given to those wounded or killed by enemy action, to war veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder because it is not a physical wound.
My God, why would anyone ever think they deserved a Purple Heart for a psychological problem? Look: Ten GIs go into combat, one gets killed, two get wounded, and seven survive unwounded. Now, two of those seven subsequently are diagnosed with PTSD. What about the five guys who don't get PTSD? Why are they, who survived the same fight as the two PTSD sufferers, less deserving of the Purple Heart?

What next? Medals for dysentery?

Where's General Patton when we need him?

Blago's triumph

Dana Milbank:
There were more caves in Washington yesterday than in the mountains of Afghanistan. . . .
Score one for the Illinois governor, who, on his way to likely impeachment and possibly the slammer, managed to outwit the leadership of his party.
Considering which party it is and who the leaders are, this doesn't mean Rod Blagojevich is Machiavelli's Prince, but it's good of him to help Harry Reid look like a fool. Not that Harry needs much help to do that.

Beltway media gossip

Last month, Jeffrey Birnbaum -- who's worked hard to alienate every reporter at The Washington Times since being hired from the Post in August -- decided to endear himself to the newsroom by telling C-SPAN that the newspaper lacked "real journalistic standards" before he arrived at 3600 New York Avenue.

Former managing editor Fran Coombs sent Birnbaum a letter and -- mirabile dictu! -- a copy of Fran's letter wound up in the hands of US News "Washington Whispers" columnist (and former Washington Times White House correspondent) Paul Bedard:
I remain one of The Washington Times 's biggest fans and wish you and [executive editor] John [Solomon] all the best in an extremely difficult business environment. Let me suggest, however, that you build on the newspaper's proud accomplishments rather than belittle them, and let history be the judge of the work we did. I look forward to celebrating yours in 20 years.
BTW, Birnbaum makes claims about Web traffic trends that aren't borne out by statistics:

The paper's Web traffic got a spike during the election, but everybody got a spike during the election. Birnbaum's claim of "a record traffic month in December" is certainly not apparent from the Alexa graph.

In slightly related news, media gossip columnist Patrick Gavin is leaving the Washington Examiner and FishbowlDC to join the Politico.

UPDATE: Linked at Fishbowl DC, which also has John Solomon's memo about the latest reassignments at The Washington Times.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Beware: New Internet scam

There is a new scam online: People who claim to be Republicans putting up Web sites to solicit donations. Do not give these RINOs money! They only push liberal open-borders and bailout agendas (and lose elections to Democrats). Ace has the details of the scam that any Nigerian would be ashamed to attempt.

UPDATE: My friends, I've been linked at Cold Fury.

'Don't they have any firehoses?'

Little Miss Attila works two blocks from the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles and reports on the protests:
My boss tells me that our need to commute to the office trumps the protesters' right to free speech, and claims to think that a totalitarian state would work out just fine, provided he was "part of the totality."
We are looking down on the two groups of protesters from the 14th Floor of the Petersen Building; it is really the 13th Floor, but isn't called that because of superstition and/or the presence of a couple of firearms in our gun safe.
"Why do they let them do that?" he keeps asking. "Don't they have any firehoses?" And he almost means it.
LMA also has a nice post about Internet writing:
It’s not just a matter of bloggers having utter license in what subject matter they cover, though that, too: it's also the fact that no one is bound by column length; no one is writing copy to fit into a certain amount of space, and no copy-fitting need be done. . . .
To write on the web is to write prose that is, like Abraham Lincoln's legs, exactly the right length to reach the ground.
She's obviously off her meds again. Her writing is so much more colorful when she's off her meds. As long as you can avoid become an ax-murderer in an unmedicated state, that's always better as a writer.

Joe goes to Gaza

Joe the Plumber will be a war correspondent for PJTV. Wow. (H/T: Michelle Malkin.)

Buckley & Reagan

Bill Buckley's last book, The Reagan I Knew, gets reviewed by Hunter Baker at The American Spectator:
What one sees in the letters between the two great icons of 20th-century American conservatism is a conversation between equals. Buckley was not the Machiavellian manipulator liberals might have believed Reagan "the amiable dunce" needed. Instead, he was an ideological soulmate, a debate partner, and occasionally an opponent. These were two men working to the same end, but never shy to differ or to try to convince the other of their own position.
I've read the book, and it is absolutely charming. You will enjoy the inside jokes between Reagan and Buckley, who keeps promising to run away to Casablanca with Nancy, and refers to himself as Reagan's ambassador to Kabul. You should definitely buy the book.

January Jones, dissed?

A reader e-mails:
You've been giving a lot of love to Christina Hendricks (which is QUITE understandable), but let's not forget another good reason to watch Mad Men.
He then links to a Vanity Fair feature on co-star January Jones:

I don't know. The thing with Christina Hendricks is that she's such a rara avis. Skinny blondes are a dime a dozen in Hollywood, but you just don't see so many bombshell redheads. But I'm a free-market blogger, so if there is more demand for January Jones, I'll try to provide the supply.

Jack Kemp diagnosed with cancer

Via Newsalert: Politico reports:
Former GOP vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp, 73, has been diagnosed with cancer. According to a statement from his consulting firm, Kemp Partners, doctors are still testing Kemp before determining a course of treatment.
"Mr. Kemp and his family are grateful for the thoughts and prayers of friends and appreciate respect for their privacy at this time," read a statement from his spokeswoman Bona Park.
Kemp is one of the great free-market, supply-side champions of the Republican Party.

Video: Sarah with her hair down


(Via Hot Air.) This is the woman that the media wants you to believe is an unqualified moron who is hated by the majority of American voters. Do you believe that?

UPDATE: Welcome, Team Sarah members! You might want to read some of my American Spectator columns about Sarah Palin: Meanwhile, Kevin Vance of the Weekly Standard has a report on the Left's effort to discredit Team Sarah. I reported on this Saturday, and Victor Morton of The Washington Times has a report today.

BTW, Team Sarah will have a breakfast for pro-lifers Jan. 22 before the annual March for Life in Washington.

UPDATE II: Flopping Aces: They're not worried, right?

Democrats agree to seat Burris?

A Democratic Party crisis averted?
Roland Burris, the man appointed to Barack Obama's Senate seat by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, will be allowed to take the seat, according to the Associated Press. Spokespersons for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin are denying the report.
Burris showed up in Washington for yesterday's Senate swearing-in session, but was turned down by Senate Democrats who had previously vowed not to seat anyone appointed by Blagojevich. The governor has been charged with effectively trying to sell the seat and hearings are being held in Illinois over impeaching him. Now, however, the Senate Democrats "plan to embrace Roland Burris for President-elect Barack Obama's vacant seat," the AP reports.
Some people haven't gotten the memo, it seems. The Obama transition keeps "chugging down the tracks to Smoothville," as MK Ham said.

UPDATE: "Clean and articulate." Heh.

'Oddly engrossing'

If your name is Hua Hsu, you're allowed to describe Lothrop Stoddard's 1920 book, The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy, as "oddly engrossing." Otherwise, don't even acknowledge that you've ever heard of anyone named Stoddard. Or Madison Grant, Wilmot Robertson, Pat Buchanan, Jared Taylor, Peter Brimelow, Sam Francis, Mark Steyn . . .

Perhaps I should change my name?

The immigration crisis you never hear about

Law-abiding people who want to play by the rules are put through the wringer, as in the case of an American who wanted to bring his pregnant Polish fiance to this country:
I met Justyna while studying abroad in London in 2005. She is Polish by birth but had been living, working, and attending school in the United Kingdom for over two years at the time. With only an easily obtained student visa, I enjoyed the same privileges, including England’s national health care system -- a resource that proved especially useful when Justyna became pregnant in the spring of 2006.
We decided that I would return to America and finish my degree while she would go home to Poland to have the baby near her family. With the intention of bringing my wife to America after the birth of our child, I filed an I-129f Petition for Fiance(e) visa in October 2006. Thus began our protracted and degrading experience with the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS.
"Degrading" being the key word here. The necessary corollary to boundless tolerance of illegal immigration seems to be a process for legal immigrants that is humiliating and expensive. Ask any Canadian or Brit who's tried it.

There is a passage in Peter Brimelow's Alien Nation where a foreign-born friend talks about the difficulty of bringing over his mother, and Brimelow advises: "Just get her a tourist visa and let her overstay." It's very practical advice. The enforcement mechanism is broken and, even if La Migra came for Mum, the appeals process can delay deportation almost infinitely. It's easier to break the law than to obey it.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: Another way to avoid the immigration hassle? Tell them you're gay! (H/T: Michelle Malkin.)

UPDATE II: Linked at Sundries Shack. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kudlow on the economy

Does it make sense to open the neo-Keynesian floodgates if we're already at or near the bottom?
President-elect Obama said today that we should expect trillion dollar budget deficits for the next few years. But do we really need this unbelievable increase in the size and scope of government? Art Laffer is very gloomy about big-government spending and borrowing. He believes deficits of this magnitude and a large increase in the government share of GDP are liens on future tax hikes that will slow the economy's potential to grow.
It was Milton Friedman years ago who taught us that the real tax burden on the economy is best measured as the government spending share of GDP. That measure has been falling for over 20 years, until President Bush’s second term. Now Obama’s plan will ratchet this tax burden much higher.
My point? We don't need all this. Lower tax rates for large and small businesses along with easier money and lower gasoline prices will get us on the right track to increase the economy’s potential to prosper.
I think Kudlow is too optimistic about the prospects of a recovery in the short term, but I agree that Obama's mega-stimulus talk is the wrong way to go. It won't work.

The bright side? If any Democrat ever tries to lecture me about deficits again . . .

Good news (PGNJB)

Republican prayers -- Please God, Not Jeb Bush (PGNJB) -- have been answered:
This morning, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush released the following statement on the 2010 United States Senate race in Florida for Senator Mel Martinez's Senate seat:
"After thoughtful consideration, I have decided not to run for the United States Senate in 2010.
"While the opportunity to serve my state and country during these turbulent and dynamic times is compelling, now is not the right time to return to elected office.
"In the coming months and years, I hope to play a constructive role in the future of the Republican Party . . ."
Blah, blah, blah. K-Lo, Allah and Ace are all depressed by the news, but the only thing I find depressing is that Jeb Bush still wants to be involved with the Republican Party -- meaning he might still seek the presidency at some future point. Is there some way we could get the Bushes to switch to the Democrats?

Britney's titneys

I have no idea if the photo is real, but it's definitely not safe for work. In this kind of economy, you don't want to risk getting fired, so you probably shouldn't click that link. I mean, the odds are it's a PhotoShop fake and you wouldn't want to get fired for that.

UPDATE: In thematically related news:
"Not only is she the most amazing actress in the entire world, she's nude in a lot of her films which shows she’s just fearless."
Via WeSmirch.

Breitbart's Big Hollywood debuts

The site went live this morning and there's nothing (yet) that knocks me out, but it's a work-in-progress. I interviewed Andrew Breitbart last month:
The content of "Big Hollywood" will be a "constant evolution," Breitbart says. He recalls that the Huffington Post was originally conceived as a group blog for Arianna's celebrity friends, but has since "developed organically" into a more news-oriented venture with political commentary and only occasional contributions by big names. "It really is hard to look at that site and see it as a celebrity blog," he says.
And while he expects "Big Hollywood" to undergo a similarly slow process of development, the one aspect of HuffPo that Breitbart's new site won't emulate is the vitriol. "That's not my style," he says, declaring that the blog will strive for "a more tolerant tone." Tolerance? In Hollywood? What a concept!
The "organic development" model is the only sensible way to do things on the Internet. You start the site with some particular vision in mind, see what works and what doesn't, do more more of what works and drop those things that don't. What Big Hollywood is on Jan. 6 is probably but a shadow of what it will be on July 6.

BTW, Andrew, if you want to add some kind snarking-on-paparazzi-plagued-starlets feature -- or maybe occasional essays on the cultural signficance of Christina Hendricks' cleavage -- just let me know. And good luck!