Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tea Parties, Defeatism and Wolverines

Discussing Rick Moran's criticisms of the Tea Party protests, Dan Riehl writes:

I remember when Rick pronounced the Iraq War lost and a humiliation for America. So this sort of thing from him doesn't really surprise me. . . .The naysayers are always the least remembered voices when something succeeds or even when it fails. There's good reason for that. America just doesn't take kindly to losers, even if they turn out to have been on the right side of events.
Very harsh. I hesitate to judge Rick as harshly as I would judge David Brooks or George Will if they wrote the same thing -- and perhaps I'm wrong to be more tolerant of bloggers than of Old Media pundits.

Friday, I had lunch with Tim Mooney of Save Our Secret Ballot and, in the course of discussing everyone's favorite CPAC '09 topic -- what's wrong with the GOP? -- discussed the problem of the polluted information stream.

Among the ill effects of liberal bias in the media is that much political "news" amounts to thinly disguised DNC talking-points. The conservative must learn to think critically about news and politics, to filter out that which is misleading, or else he will internalize the funhouse-mirror distortions of reality that define the liberal weltanschauung.

This, I said to Mr. Mooney, is one of the major problems of the Republican Party, that so many of its supporters have unwittingly accepted liberal beliefs as political truths. Therefore, when those who present themselves as conservatives parrot the liberal line, the damage they do is far worse than if the same statements were made by Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi. Why? Because this "conservative" echo tends to act as a hardening catalyst for the conventional wisdom.

I have never forgiven David Brooks for "National Greatness." Brooks's argument, that "anti-government" conservatism is both wrong as policy and doomed as politics, had a demoralizing effect on the Republican Party. The elegance of Brooks's writing -- whatever your opinion of the man, the elegance of his prose style is beyond dispute -- was the spoonful of sugar to make that poisonous medicine go down. That was 12 years ago, and if the GOP now appears disastrously ill, Brooks and his erstwhile publishers at the Weekly Standard are heavily implicated in this perhaps fatal disease.

Rick Moran is not David Brooks. Moran's influence is sufficiently limited that he can be wrong without inflicting much damage. But in such a desperate political crisis as conservatives now face, they can ill afford to let off-key voices lead the chorus. Moran and others are free to quarrel with the "Tea Party" tactics of opposing Obamanomics, but small-d democratic considerations will relegate them to the role of dogs barking at the passing caravan.

"The opposition party must oppose," as Jennifer Rubin said. Since the Democratic majority is proposing a liberal economic monstrosity of epic scale, opposition ought to be easy. And just because it is so easy, conservatives should resist the temptation to be lazy or sloppy in tactics.

Constructive criticism of tactics is one thing; pronouncing the opposition as doomed from the outset is something else. Stephen Green is a good blog buddy (whom last I saw at 2 a.m. in the lobby of the Omni Shoreham), but when I heard Stephen arguing in essence that the GOP couldn't possibly make a dent in Democratic hegemony before 2014 -- hey, I called bullshit.

Friends don't let friends peddle defeatist bullshit. You cannot organize opposition unless you first believe that opposition can be effective and meaningful. Telling conservatives that there is no point deploying an ambush on the road to serfdom? That's defeatist bullshit. If Ho Chi Minh had thought that way, the French would still rule Indochina.

Conservatives are now a guerrilla resistance. Harassing the enemy -- staging raids and ambushes that prevent him from enjoying his conquest at leisure -- is basic to guerrilla resistance. If we are doomed to destruction, as least let it be said that we died fighting. But those who never fight, never win.

In a word: "Wolverines!"

UPDATE: Linked by Dan Riehl, who colorfully accuses me of being too nice to Rick.

2/25: Thoughts on strategy
2/23: Rick Moran takes counsel of his fears
12/21: But seriously, folks

Full Metal Jacket Saturday

Applying Rule 2 of "How to Get a Million Hits on Your Blog," we offer this round up of posts from blogs that have linked here in the past week:
This is just the starter list. I didn't get home from CPAC until 4 a.m. and am very tired. (It's CPAC Syndrome, a state of extreme exhaustion caused by sleep deprivation.) I'll try to update to add more linkage this afternoon before I go back to DC for the big Rush Limbaugh event tonight. And don't forget to do some Rule 5 blogging today for the Sunday roundup.
BTW, a big shout out to Georgia Tech graduates Ruth Malhotra and Orit Sklar, whose victory over political correctness on campus earned them the Reagan Award at Friday's gala CPAC banquet.

Tea time for taxes

Instapundit has a massive roundup of photos and news from the Tea Party rallies nationwide, and Michelle Malkin has another. Dave Weigel was at the protest in front of the White House and his report has this photo of "Megaphone Michelle" giving 'em . . . encouragement!

UPDATE: Rick Moran is not running for Mr. Popularity in the right-wing blogosphere, deriding and mocking the protests:
When you get some money, organization, professionalism, and a little more realism, come back and see me.

Rick points out that, with more than 8,000 conservatives at CPAC, only about 300 turned out for the White House event. But this says nothing about the merits of the Tea Party movement, as such, nor does it mean that CPAC attendees were not interested in the movement. To the second point: People come to CPAC for the speeches and other events; they pay money for that experience; they're not going to skip a Newt Gingrich speech or book signing to attend something else.

Rick doesn't seem to believe that opposition to Obamanomics could ever become a decisive groundswell. And he is entitled to that opinion. But to say that such opposition is not now a groundswell does not mean it will never become one.

As for Rick's snark about the lack of "money, organization, professionalism" behind the Tea Party protests -- huh? Why wait until professional organizers get interested? I remember when the DC Chapter of Free Republican organized the "Get Out of Cheney's House" protests at the Naval Observatory in 2000. They didn't get 300 people. They had no money nor any "professionalism." But we know that those protests had an impact.

In general, conservatives don't do the "protest" thing. (We've got jobs.) So if the protesters at the White House numbered only 300, that's significant of a much larger discontent.

On CPAC and 'image'

Via Donald Douglas, we have Patterico concerned about conservatives projecting the proper "image" at CPAC.

The question you have to ask yourself is, why were Cliff Kincaid and John Bolton selected to give main-room speeches at CPAC? Well, Bolton was a Bush administration official and we don't know if his jokes were vetted in advance.

Still, the question of who was selected for main-room speeches is interesting. I know lots and lots of conservative activists who would crawl through glass and climb over three strands of concertina wire for the chance to give a main-room speech at CPAC. It is not as if there is any shortage of would-be CPAC speakers. So . . . how are the choices made?

I don't know the answer, any more than Patterico knows the answer. But it is important to ask the right questions, you see.

Friday, February 27, 2009

VIDEO: Ziegler vs. Blumenthal

Thanks to James Joyner of Outside the Beltway for uploading this video.

Max Blumenthal was doing one of his video ambushes in the Omni Shoreham lobby at CPAC, and was confronted by documentary filmmaker John Ziegler. I just happened to be there with my camera when the argument started. I couldn't overhear much of what was said between them, but Ziegler was very angry, and his body language was very aggressive.

UPDATE 2/28: Savane was there, and I should note that, in a Friday night conversation with Ziegler, he said that it was Blumenthal, not he, who initiated the confrontation I captured on video. I didn't start rolling the video until after the confrontation began, and quit recording before it ended, so am in no position to say what did or did not happen, other than what's on the video. Frankly, I'm under such a fog of CPAC Syndrome (a state of severe sleep deprivation and sensory overload) that I would be unable to contradict anyone's account of events. So the video is what it is.

UPDATE: Donald Douglas has a good roundup of CPAC blogging.

UPDATE II: Some more exclusive videos from CPAC today, starting with Tom DeLay:

"People ask me if I hope [Obama's economic plan] is gonna fail. I tell 'em, I don't have to 'hope' anything. It's gonna fail."
-- Tom DeLay
(NOTE: Becky Banks of Students for Life asked me to take down her video until further editing can be done.)

John Munger of Imagine Arizona:

Thanks to Kerry Picket for uploading those last three videos.


BUMPED; UPDATE 2:31 p.m.: Exclusive video interview with Chris Maligisi, president of the Young Conservative Coalition:

Thanks to James Joyner of Outside the Beltway for uploading the video. (More of that reporting that Tucker Freaking Carlson says conservatives don't do. I was in the media center when I heard Carlson giving his arrogant lecture and resisted the urge to go down to the Regency Ballroom and beat that elitist punk into a coma, which would have been a Change We Can Believe In.)

UPDATE 3:05 p.m.: Linked by Jimmie at Sundries Shack, who's having waaaay too much fun at CPAC.

Expect further updates . . .

PREVIOUSLY: Excuse me if I am a bit late returning to blogging at CPAC today. After spending most of Thursday schmoozing networking and introducing my old cronies professional associates to hotties aspiring activists, this morning I had to do some reporting for the American Spectator, about Sen. Jim DeMint and the Young Conservative Coalition.

Just ran into my beer buddy conservative mentor Phil Kent, which means that tonight we will be closing down the lobby bar engaged in political strategizing.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rule 5: Works in real life, too

How to get a Hot Air link: Introduce Michelle Lee Muccio to Ed Morrissey.

How to get a Sundries Shack link?

I could have gotten an Ace-of-Lanche, too, but the Ewok refuses to be photographed.

CPAC Day One -- LIVE!

BUMPED, UPDATE 10:25: In his keynote address, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) just called for "sound money" -- evincing cheers from the Paulistas.

UPDATE 10:06 a.m. -- David Keene of the ACU just introduced Ed Feulner of the Heritage Foundation. Ed Morrisey is livechatting from Blogger's Row. The Omni Shoreham lobby is full of earnest young Paulistas handing out leaflets for Friday's Liberty Forum with Ron Paul and Andrew Napolitano. Will continue updating throughout the day . . .

UPDATE 10 a.m.: Just ran into Kelly Vlahos of The American Conservative, who's checking in and trying to resolve her own Wi-Fi issues. Also ran into Franklin Raff of Radio America, Orit Sklar (who ran Jews for Mitt in 2008), and radio hostess Martha Zoller. I've already gotten credentialed for the Victory Solutions VIP lounge.

PREVIOUSLY: I'm live from the Omni Shoreham, where I had breakfast this morning in the lobby with Ed Morrissey of Hot Air. Last night, I was hanging out with Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, Stephen Green of VodkaPundit, investigative journalist Matthew Vadum, Ken Hanner of Human Events and Kirby Wilbur of KVI Radio.

Guess who I ran into in the lobby? John Ziegler, who didn't punch me in the nose, so I guess things are all right.

I'm having Internet connection issues that need to be fixed, so I'm writing this post from Internet Row in the Exhibition Hall. Please keep hitting the tip jar! Will have to solve the connection issue before full-time blogging can commence.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ouch! Ouch!

"Someday, when scholars are trying to fingerpoint the nadir of the post-Bush Republican Party, they may arrive at Jindal's speech tonight."
-- Thomas Schaller
Well, either that, or John Ziegler's blind date.

Are you offended yet?

"It's gotten to the point where the gatekeepers of the news walk so tepidly on the path of least resistance that a journalist can't even get a dirty joke in the newspaper."


"Hey Nancy Pelosi, who dropped a house on your sister?"
-- talk-radio caller, Charlotte, N.C.,
quoted by Gay Patriot on Twitter

The politics of assertion

"Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market."
-- Barack Obama, Feb. 24
Prompting Tigerhawk to ask:
What regulations were gutted? He keeps asserting this as if it were well understood, but it is not.
One of the symptoms of psychosis is "magical thinking," the belief that one can make something true by a sort of telepathic power -- imposing one's will on events by sheer mental force.

What seems to be happening with Obama is a similar phenomenon: "magical talking" -- i.e., if Obama says something is true, it becomes true, merely because he said it. So as he repeats the assertion that greedheads during the Bush administration "gutted" financial regulations, thus leading to the market collapse, this repetition of the mantra makes it true, even though there is no evidence of any such thing actually happening.

This is very interesting to watch. Obama and other Democrats sincerely want to believe that deregulation is to blame for the current economic situation, since this belief supports their worldview. Because their worldview is so closely connected to their selfhood -- I am a Democrat, therefore I am -- no evidence is needed to support this counterfactual belief. Contradictory evidence (e.g., the role of the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in causing the mortgage crisis) is furiously shouted down: "Lies! Damned lies! All lies!"

New one for the next DSM revision: Psychopoliticosis.

'The opposition party must oppose'

Jennifer Rubin:
It seems eons ago that in the aftermath of the election Republicans debated where they wanted to go as a political party and what they should do next. Throw out social conservatives, some suggested. Get rid of big-government moderates, others retorted. Pundits debated whether to advocate reform or return to the party's roots, or whether the former could rely on the latter for inspiration. But now it is crystal clear what the party's task must be: defend the free market and oppose the vast expansion of government which the president envisions. There is no getting around it. The opposition party must oppose.
Exactly. The Vichy Republicans would alienate conservatives and do nothing to placate liberals by moving to the center. Voters who want big government have already got the choice of voting Democrat. What's the point of a "me, too" centrist GOP policy? Even if you could elect a Republican majority on such a basis -- and I don't think you can -- the result would be similar party, with only a change in personnel implementing the policy.

Rubin is right: "The opposition party must oppose." Read the whole thing.

Thoughts on strategy

Over the weekend, I did a post whacking Rick Moran for his plays-well-with-others advice to Repuublicans. Tuesday night, I did Rick's Internet radio show with Stephen "VodkaPundit" Green and Fausta "Rule 5" Wertz.

We talked about a lot of things, including Republican strategy -- to the extent that "Republican strategy" is not a contradiction in terms. One of the points I made was that it is always good politics to be right.

I pointed out that, in 2003-04, the Democratic grassroots who supported Howard Dean were essentially betting that the Iraq war would prove a policy failure and thus a political liability for Republicans. Dean flamed out, but his grassroots supporters installed him at the DNC, and the party continued to double-down on its anti-war bet -- which paid off big-time in 2006.

The challenge Republicans confront now is Barack Obama's enormous popularity. However, as I have argued, the Obama/Reid/Pelosi economic plan won't work. Republicans seem afraid to bet against that plan -- that is, to stake their near-term political fortune on the probability that, on Labor Day 2010, the recession will be far worse than what we've experienced so far.

Studying the basic economics of the situation, it seems certain to me that Obamanomics won't work. We might get a dead-cat bounce late this year, but the pressure on the bond market from all this deficit spending will be unsustainable. Everybody keeps look at the Dow Jones, but if the bond market goes wobbly -- hello, Weimar America. At a very minimum, the path we're on now will lead to a Gerald Ford/Jimmy Carter stagflation trap.

So, if Republicans know the economy's going down the toilet, how about they hang that disaster around the Democrats' necks? All this namby-pamby crap about how the GOP needs a "positive agenda" is about policy; I'm talking politics. Negative politics works. Scapegoat the Democrats for the economy without mercy or scruple.

Stephen argued that it is unlikely the GOP can recapture Congress before 2014, saying of the 2010-12 time-frame: "Brace yourselves for failure." That's defeatism or, as my late father always said, "Can't never could."

Forget what Obama's poll ratings are in February 2009. Forget about "Big Picture" questions of grand strategy. What counts is what the generic ballot question shows on Labor Day 2010. Republicans need to raise money, organize and identify at least 50 seats currently held by Democrats that the GOP can win in 2010. Do that basic stuff, and the "Big Picture" will take care of itself.

Bet against Obamanomics, do the basic work of organizing for 2010, forget all the distracting chatter and -- above all else -- quit the hang-wringing and whining. A great opportunity beckons, if only Republicans will buckle down and focus on the task at hand.

Peter Schiff on Obama's speech: 'A total lack of understanding of basic economics'

Via Doug Mataconis:

"This is all a bunch of nonsense," Schiff says. By which he means: It Won't Work.

The blunt truth

"What I do is throw out opinions. Any monkey can and from what I read on the Web, many monkeys do. Reporting the news is tough. I'm lazy."
-- Don Surber, speaking for us all

Digging deeper

At AmSpecBlog, I attempt to put into words my vast exasperation with the transparent bogusness of Obamanomics:
This goes back to September, when John McCain declared, "The fundamentals of our economy are strong." Michelle Malkin finally got fed up with what she called the "Pollyanna conservatives" and burst out: "The fundamentals of the market suck." And the sucking has only grown louder since then. . . .
We are headed for '70s-style "stagflation." Never mind what the Dow Jones does today; it will be below 6,000 by Christmas. Obama doesn't know what he's doing, and what he's doing is standing at the bottom of a hole demanding we dig faster.
Our financial problem is caused by excessive debt, and you cannot borrow your way out of debt. Somebody owes Ron Paul an apology, because he's been right about this problem all along.

John Ziegler, bachelor for life

If I were asked to list everything conservative radio talk-show host and documentary filmmaker John Ziegler does wrong in this dating-show video, I'd reply: "OK, how many weeks do I have to finish the list?"

"See, I've never been married. One of the many reasons is, I think if we're going to live in the real world, the marriage contract should be like every other contract, it should have a certain duration and be renewable. The only reason women would never go for it is that, as you get older, you lose power in the relationship because [men] become more distinguished [but women] get older and by the time we're in our 40s, the power's completely shifted . . ."
Dude. Even if you think that, you don't say that. It's a date, not an anthropology lecture. It is not romantic to think of "relationships" in terms of "power." If asked to explain why you're still unmarried, explain that the True Love of Your Life died in a tragic auto accident and you've never gotten over the emotional wound. Even if it's not true, it sounds better than any other plausible explanation, and it makes you seem vulnerable. Chicks dig vulnerable.

Also, when talking to a woman toward whom you have romantic intentions, beware of the sweeping generalization that includes her -- that is to say, do not speak of her as just another woman. Chicks don't dig that. As a rule, stick to the Mike Damone 5-Point Plan:
First of all Rat, you never let on how much you like a girl. "Oh, Debbie. Hi." Two, you always call the shots. "Kiss me. You won't regret it." Now three, act like wherever you are, that's the place to be. "Isn't this great?" Four, when ordering food, you find out what she wants, then order for the both of you. It's a classy move. "Now, the lady will have the linguini and white clam sauce, and a Coke with no ice." And five, now this is the most important, Rat. When it comes down to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.
Ziegler will be at CPAC, so maybe I can give him some counseling in this matter.

UPDATE: Linked at Hot Air Headlines.

UPDATE II: Just got an e-mail from Ziegler, who says he hasn't seen the video but feels it may have been edited to misrepresent him. He had agreed to do the show, then wanted to back out because he had other business to attend to, and so he wasn't really bringing his A-game that day.

Don't sweat it, John. We love you like a brother, man. I'm sure you'll find the future Mrs. Ziegler at CPAC, and even if not, we'll all owe you beers for this one.

UPDATE III: In the comments at Hot Air, Lorien suggests Ziegler was trying to give the girl the brush:
It could be that Ziegler caught something - now edited out - that made him want to end this quickly. No sane guy - on a date with a chick who is pretty cute - is going into this unless his goal is to get out of the date. I've done something similar to this in the past, a bit more tactfully, but what guy (or girl) hasn't pissed off the date on purpose, just to end it.
Hmmm. Maybe. But why do the "suicide bomber" routine with the cameras rolling?

CPAC: Mardi Gras for the Right

From my latest American Spectator column:
CPAC is, of course, the world's largest gathering of conservative activists, and a great deal of serious activism is on the agenda when the three-day conference begins Thursday morning with a welcome speech by David Keene of the sponsoring American Conservative Union. CPAC director Lisa De Pasquale has once again organized a splendid schedule of speeches, seminars and other events, with a record attendance of more than 5,000 expected.
Yet for all wonderful events on the official agenda -- including speeches by Ann Coulter, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele -- much of the fun at CPAC is unscheduled and unofficial.
When I try to describe it to friends who've never attended, I tell them CPAC is like Mardi Gras for right-wingers. Or as Wendy Sullivan says, "It's like what you see on MTV's Spring Break, but with pearls and navy blue suits." . . .
Please read the whole thing.

'Rendezvous With Scarcity'

Ed Driscoll's latest "Silicon Graffiti" video:

Obama plans mandatory socialized medicine

Ezra Klein of the (liberal) American Prospect:
I've now been able to confirm with multiple senior administration sources that the health care proposal in Obama's budget will have a mandate. Sort of.
Here's how it will work, according to the officials I've spoken to. The budget's health care section is not a detailed plan. Rather, it offers financing -- though not all -- and principles meant to guide the plan that Congress will author. The details will be decided by Congress in consultation with the administration.
One of those details is "universal" health care coverage.
So, despite the economic downturn -- the dire, dire crisis -- Obama supposes that the federal government can pick up the tab for everybody's medical bills. This program will be paid for by the Department of Unicorns and Rainbows.

And by the way, doesn't it make you feel comfortable that the White House is now run by the type of people who have time to return Ezra Klein's phone calls?

Chris Matthews: 'Oh, God'

Dissing Bobby Jindal:

I didn't like Jindal's speech, either, but then again, nobody's paying me a million a year to do TV news, either. And I didn't diss his speech before he ever opened his mouth.

UPDATE: Michael Calderone of the Politico says it sounded like Keith Olbermann, not Matthews, who said "Oh, God."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


You call this a news lede?
Standing before a nation on an economic precipice, President Barack Obama aimed to balance candor with can-do Tuesday night in his first address to a joint session of Congress. Millions more anxious Americans were tuning in on TV.

Let's take this point-by-point:

  • Begins with a dependent clause. WTF ever happened to direct declarative sentences?
  • Uses an awkward metaphor. If the nation is on "an economic precipice," yet Obama is "standing before" that nation . . . WTF? He's levitating?
  • Imputes intent. "Obama aims to . . ."? WTF? Jennifer Loven is a mind-reader who knows what Obama's objectives are?

That's three strikes in your lede, a$$holes. How about you hire a reporter who, instead of presuming to tell us what the president "aimed" to do, understands that it is her job to tell us what the president actually said?

Leave the g--d--- commentary and mind-reading for the pundits on the op-ed page and just report the story, you idiots! Stop stacking up the story in a transparent effort to clue readers what their attitude should be about the news, and instead just give them the facts. This can be done, you know.

(H/T: Michelle Malkin.)

UPDATE: Excuse my extreme wrath, but I had the benefit of being under the thumb of good editors for more than 20 years, and it infuriates me to see an organization as prestigious as the Associated Press so flagrantly violate the basic principles of news reporting.

When I arrived at The Washington Times as an assistant national editor, I was introduced to Wes Pruden's First Rule: "Never begin with a dependent clause." If an editor let a dependent-clause lede get past him, he'd be sure to hear about it.

I have no idea what journalism "stylist" first came up with the dependent-clause lede, but Pruden was right in forbidding it, as this Jennifer Loven story illustrates. The dependent clause is where the supposedly neutral and unbiased reporter tells the reader what to think. In this case, Loven wants to impress in the reader's mind the notion that America is teeting on the brink of disaster, so as to present the president as the saviour whose "can-do and candor" will rescue us from catastrophe.

The insulting thing about it is that Loven suppose her readers to be so stupid that they can't see what she's doing. She looks down her nose at the reader who is so thick-headed he can't decide for himself if she limits herself to declarative sentences stating facts.

UPDATE II: My God, Ron Fournier -- while avoiding the dependent clause -- actually manages to out-wretched the wretched Loven:

President Barack Obama gave America the audacity to hope again.
Earning himself a drool bucket award from Malkin. Look, witnesses can be produced who will attest that there were occasions at The Washington Times when I complained about POTUS fellatio by certain White House correspondents who had clearly imbibed of the Bush Kool-Aid. At least those guys had the excuse that they were trying to balance the vitriolic anti-Bush bias of the MSM. What excuse do Fournier and Loven have? They're balancing Bill O'Reilly?

The AP might as well get it over with and hire David Axelrod to cover the White House.

Jindal does himself no favors

Ace and Allah both dissed the Louisiana governor's earnest-dork performance:

A big wiffle-ball swing and a miss for the consensus favorite 2012 candidate of Republicans who look down their nose at Sarah Palin. I like Jindal. Great conservative with good ideas. But Palin's so much better on TV, there's no comparison. Whatever her weaknesses, you can't deny she's got the telegenic quality.

UPDATE: Think Progress has video of the Fox News panel trashing Jindal's performance:

"This was not Bobby Jindal's greatest oratorical moment."

Unexpected Rule 5 blogging

As Tigerhawk says, of all the people who might be expected to post photos of sexy Brazilian carnival dancers and link some that were NSFW . . . Fausta Wertz?

VodkaPundit drunksblog The Speech

On at 9 p.m.

UPDATE: Patrick Ruffini via Twitter:
"We will rebuild.... we will recover..." this sounds like a speech someone would give after 9/11 not an asset bubble.
Let's face it, trying to sound "Reaganesque" while pursuing a socialist economic agenda is not easy.

UPDATE II: I'm liking this Twitter thing. Here's Jimmie Bise of Sundries Shack:
The teleprompter reader is reading. And Congress is acting like pre-teen girls around The Jonas Brothers.
It's pathetic, isn't it?

UPDATE III: Soren Dayton on Twitter:
Wait. He wants more lending and less short cuts? Is he economically illiterate?
Uh . . . let's see, he was an undistinguished political science major at Columbia, got a law degree at Harvard. I've never heard the words "Hayek," "Mises" or "Friedman" escape his lips. What do you think?

Hobo crime menace news update

Another homeless man, another dead victim:
VANCOUVER -- The Clark County Sheriff's Office arrested a man Monday evening in connection with the stabbing death of a teenage girl.
Detectives arrested Darrin Eugene Sanford, 30, about 6:30 p.m. on suspicion he killed Alycia Nipp, 13, on her way home from Wal-Mart, said Sgt. Scott Schanaker, a Clark County sheriff's spokesman.
Sanford is a registered sex offender convicted of approaching children in 1997 between the ages of 8 and 11 outside Harney Elementary in Vancouver and offering them money to come to his house for sex, according to public records. Sheriff's deputies said he is a transient and has been seen at an abandoned house near where Nipp was slain. (Emphasis added.)

More from KOMO-TV:

A transient sex offender accused of stabbing a 13-year-old girl to death told detectives he killed the teen after trying to sexually assault her, according to court documents released Tuesday.
Darrin Eugene Sanford, 30, faces an aggravated murder charge in the death of 13-year-old Alycia D. Nipp, a Thomas Jefferson Middle School student.
The girl was walking home with a friend Saturday when she decided to take a shortcut through an overgrown field alone and disappeared.
Her mother called 911 late that night, and her stepfather found her body in a wooded area of the field soon after.
Nipp had been stabbed multiple times and police believe her body was dragged to a wooded area and left there.

It's more common than you think. As I exclusively reported in 2003, the homeless population -- celebrated as "victims" by liberals -- contains a disproportionate number of drug addicts, alcoholics, dangerous psychotics and violent criminals. What happened to Alycia Nipp has happened to many others. It's time we wake up to who the real victims are.

UPDATE: Alycia's school sent home a letter saying they were bringing in grief counselors. Hey, while you're at it, how about teaching kids that the "homeless" aren't harmless old rummies like the lovable vagabonds they see on TV, but are actually in many cases antisocial menaces? And how about some parents in Vancouver march on city hall to demand that police stop letting these dangerous criminals roam the streets at will?


How to fix California's economy? Legalize Humboldt County Gold!

You can't tax illegal products, so tax-hungry California wants to legalize marijuana:
Marijuana would be sold and taxed openly in California to adults 21 and older if legislation proposed Monday is signed into law.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said his bill could generate big bucks for a cash-starved state while freeing law enforcement agencies to focus on worse crimes.
"I think there's a mentality throughout the state and the country that this isn't the highest priority – and that maybe we should start to reassess," he said.
(Via Hot Air.) This was always my argument against my libertarian friends who want to legalize weed -- if it's legal, it will be taxed. Since government is fundamentally evil (Our Enemy, the State), every cent of extra tax revenue serves only to empower our oppressors. Ergo, keeping marijuana illegal has the effect of preserving a tiny bastion of real economic liberty, untaxed and unregulated. This is the oxymoronic effect of modern government: Nothing is really free until it's against the law.

If marijuana is legalized, the weed growers will soon be subjected to the inevitable process of liberal economic policy famously described by Ronald Reagan: "If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it."


On the radio with G. Gordon Liddy

At 10:30 a.m. today, I'll be on the air with G. Gordon Liddy. (Listen live here.) We'll be discussing Obamanomics, including ACORN's civil disobedience protests to prevent mortgage foreclosures -- which I've argued should be expanded to preserve my right to a 2004 KIA Optima. We might also talk about Obama's new federal Department of Unicorns and Rainbows.

Some of you may know that the left-wing group Media Matters has recently honored the G-Man with a vicious smear -- or, as Liddy's producer calls it, "free advertising."

If you're a Liddy listener visiting The Other McCain for the first time, please look around and be sure to check out "How to Get a Million Hits on Your Blog." We've recently had a burst of Rule 5 blogging.

Monday, February 23, 2009

CPAC planning

Messaged a friend Monday afternoon:
"When you get to DC Wednesday evening, call and I'll meet you at the lobby bar of the Omni Shoreham. All the bloggers will be there, and I may even let you buy them drinks. (One works up a powerful thirst blogging.)"
Won't you please contribute? It's for the children!

BTW, the first party of CPAC will be the Reason Happy Hour at the Big Hunt, beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday. It's a libertarian scene, but neocons, paleocons and social conservatives are always welcome. Reasonoids are open and tolerant like that.

It used to be that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel. Now, it's libertarianism. And speaking of Nick Gillespie and scoundrels, Nick informs us that Obama has entrusted his economic recovery plan to . . . Joe Biden.

Hit the tip jar. Things are getting scary.

UPDATE: Speaking of scary, CPAC granted credentials to Jimmy Bise Jr. of the Sundries Shack. Just bring gin for Little Miss Attila, Jimmy.

New nadir in Rule 5 shamelessness

Giselle Bundchen, borderline NSFW, and unquestionably deserving of the Rule 2 FMJRA.

Will ACORN help me . . .

. . . if I don't make my car payment? See, the finance company keeps calling me, saying I'm way behind on the note, and every time I hear a truck on my street, I look outside to make sure it's not the repo man coming to tow my car.

Anyway, since ACORN's all about civil disobedience on behalf of people whose homes getting foreclosed, I'm wondering if they will come do a picket line around my car to protect me from those predatory lenders who expect me to make my payments.

Because I have a right to a 2004 Kia Optima. It's for the children! No justice, no peace!

I am a victim. And please hit the tip jar, because maybe I'm not joking. And even if I am joking, this is some funny sh*t, right?

(H/T: Ace of Spades and Michelle Malkin)

UPDATE: Welcome, Jawas! Just throw $20 in the tip jar to fund my next crusade: Your right to premium cable. Let's face it, why should you be treated like a second-class citizen -- riding the back of the cable bus -- while these predatory cable providers oppress you by denying you access to HBO, Showtime and those PPV porn channels? Hope! Change! Equality!

By the way, have you heard about the government program to give free cell-phone service to the poor? That's NOT a joke!

UPDATE II: Smitty suggests Keb Mo's "Soon As I Get Paid" for the theme song:

Pvt. Pigg blogrolled me

He's also got an off-the-hook rant about overturning the "exclusionary rule," if you're into criminal justice and constitutional theory. 

Me? I love the Constitution, but I still want those slimy perps to sweat the possibility that Andy Sipowicz is going to beat the crap out of them.

'When I see a hot woman across the room . . .'

". . . I don't usually think, 'I'll bet she's doing superb research into genetic engineering.' "

Buy that lady a martini.

Striking a blow against American Zionist imperialism . . .

. . . by killing French schoolgirls.

Remember this the next time someone tells you that the only reason Muslims hate us is because of Israel, or because we're in Iraq, or because we're not sophisticated like the Europeans.

Why do they hate us? Because They Hate.

'Billionaire Social Security slasher'?

That Jane Hamsher would use such language to describe an honest and decent person like Pete Peterson tells you much more about Hamsher than about Peterson.

Eric Holder vs. Ordinary Americans

"There is a cottage industry of race consultants, hucksters and political flame-throwers who talk about race endlessly because it serves their hidden agendas. . . . And there is the vast majority of people in this country who simply go about their lives treating everyone fairly without regard to, or need to comment on, race."

'Media Malpractice'

Smitty cues me to John Nolte's Big Hollywood review of John Ziegler's new documentary, Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted.

Also at C4P, frequent commenter Ramrocks has a rundown on Townhall's Carol Platt Liebau succumbing to Kathleen Parker Syndrome. So go there for all the juicy "Strange New Respect" catfight goodness.

UPDATE:  "If you like Gov. Palin, buy one and feel your blood boil. Then pass it on to a liberal friend and watch them either curl up in the fetal position and cry or they will violently deny all the evidence and bury head in the sands of Hope and Change."

The Brooksian method

Described by Jim Antle:
This is just mindless babble, centrism without substance, "responsibility" as a pose. There is just nothing here. And yet this is considered highbrow commentary.
To describe the originator of "National Greatness" as "some strange cross between Michael Gerson and David Gergen" is to understate the damage Brooks has done to the conservative cause over the past dozen years. His Bobos in Paradise was a splendidly funny work of sociology, but his political instincts inerrantly point the way to a sterile cul-de-sac of impotent moderation.

Rick Moran takes counsel of his fears

From Rick Moran's much talked-about post:
I have read some speculation in the last few days that it may be possible for the GOP to make big gains in the House and Senate in 2010 if they "tap in" to the rage being felt by ordinary taxpayers against the savior based economy being created by Obama and the Democrats.
As a tactic, it would probably be a winner. But is there another way to achieve the same result without exacerbating the already deep divisions in American society? . . .
The inevitable populist backlash is predictable. The problem is that mass movements based on populist rage have generally led to untoward and unanticipated consequences. . . .
Tapping in to the rage of taxpayers by exploiting their fears then, would almost certainly result in unanticipated problems for the GOP. But beyond that, is this the way the Republicans wish to return to power? The Rovian strategy of using wedge issues to cleave the electorate over gay marriage, abortion, and other social issues got Republicans elected but also sowed the seeds of their own destruction.
Rick Moran is a nice guy, and you know what Leo Durocher had to say about that. But in addition to his "let's don't be divisive" problem of niceness, Rick's analysis is profoundly flawed in other ways.

Who is it that says "Rovian tactics" hurt the GOP? Uh . . . liberals, that's who. A basic problem with conservative punditry is that too often it admits the premises of liberal arguments and yet expects to reach different conclusions. This is a fatal rhetorical trap. If one accepts the premise that the objects of government are to achieve liberal goals -- "world peace," "social justice," "economic equality," etc. -- then trying to find "conservative" answers to those problems is a snipe hunt. So it is with the will-o'-th'-wisp pursuit of "bipartisan civility," a euphemism employed by Democrats to mean, "Republicans lose and shut up."

Ask yourself this: "What really hurt the GOP in the post-2004 era?"
  • The disastrous sequel to "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. More than 3,000 GIs were killed in quelling a terrorist resistance that Bush either (a) never anticipated, or (b) neglected to warn Americans about before the invasion. Through sheer power of repetition, liberals sold the "Bush lied, people died" argument to America. And one need not be a commie peacenik to believe that the entire rationale of the Iraq invasion was misbegotten.
  • The botched Social Security reform effort. Simply put, Republicans pissed off the geezers and gained nothing for it. Bush should have had Tom DeLay ram through an actual bill in the House, so that the specific facts of the proposal could be debated in the Senate. Instead, Bush tried to get the Senate to act first. Wrong move. Nothing conservative ever starts with Republican senators.
  • Amnesty for illegal aliens. Anybody who doesn't understand how poisonous this idiotic idea is with "Reagan Democrats" needs to listen to more talk radio. In early 2006, when the first amnesty was being debated in the Senate, I happened to be doing the talk-radio circuit to promote Donkey Cons. And although the book was not about immigration, the radio hosts would inevitably ask me my opinion on the issue, because audience interest was through the roof. And talk-radio callers were about 99-to-1 against amnesty. I don't care what the polls say; all the intensity on this issue is anti-amnesty. Open-border Republicans are destroying the party's support among working-class voters by pushing amnesty.
  • The economy, stupid. In retrospect, we see that the housing bubble peaked in 2006, and that economic angst was actually being felt much earlier. The Fed started pumping money into the economy in 2001, repeatedly lowering the prime rate, and the only reason we didn't notice the inevitable inflationary effect of that policy was that the CPI didn't count as inflation (a) the zoom in home prices during the bubble, or (b) the rise in stock prices. There was a "hidden inflation," concealed as rising asset value, and when everybody was complaining that college tuition was rising "faster than inflation," somebody should have thought to ask, "Hey, why isn't college tuition -- a basic expense for many middle-class households -- calculated into the CPI?"
None of these issue-specific failures of the Bush administration were the result of "Rovian tactics." So far as Rove was part of the problem, it was mainly that the big Republican wins in 2002 and 2004 convinced some people that Rove had a magic mojo that could win elections no matter what. In a word: Hubris. Or to add a few more descriptors: Arrogance and recto-cranial inversion.

If I were commissioned to write a book called Everything The Republican Party Did Wrong 2005-2008, that would be a very large book. However, since this is just a freaking blog, I'll limit myself to three quick additional observations about GOP errors:
  • The Fox Trap -- Media-wise, the GOP made the mistake of putting all its eggs in one basket. I enjoy Fox News, but it has created a syndrome where Republicans watch Fox all the time and delude themselves into thinking, "Hey, our message is getting out! We're winning!" Fact: The evening news broadcasts of ABC, NBC and CBS reach a combined audience of about 22 million; the top rated Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," reaches 4 million viewers. So if the three broadcast networks are viciously biased against Republicans -- and they are -- then that anti-GOP message is reaching more than 5 times as many TV viewers as Fox.
  • Making Bush the face of "conservatism" -- As former Reagan administration official Bruce Bartlett documented in his book Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, our 43rd president was most definitely not a conservative. His original signature issue, No Child Left Behind, was the antithesis of a conservative education policy, and Medicare Part D -- well, where to begin? Bush's unpopularity created "brand damage" for the GOP, but what he did to the public understanding of what it means to be a "conservative" was far, far worse.
  • John McCain -- How he ever got the Republican presidential nomination is one of the great mysteries of modern politics, especially considering that he got only 47% of the GOP primary vote, even though his top rival, Mitt Romney, quit the race after Super Tuesday. The chief lesson of the 2008 presidential campaign could be summed up in five words: No More Old Bald Guys.
So I'll have none of Rick Moran's concern-troll worries that there is some sort of disastrous potential in "exploiting" taxpayer outrage over the Obama/Reid/Pelsoi economic agenda. The real disasters -- the Bush administration and the McCain campaign -- are in the rearview mirror now and, as to the neo-Keynesian nonsense of "stimulus," it's never a bad time for Republicans to speak economic truth: It Won't Work.

Rick Moran sings from a familiar hymnal:
The party needs new ideas, new solutions that can be presented to the people as evidence that they have gotten beyond the past and are ready to lead the country to a bright future.
No. Wrong. What the GOP needs is not "new ideas," but rather some very old ideas, like limited government, fiscal responsibility, and economic common sense. Republicans need to be reading some Mises and Hayek -- and some Thomas Sowell -- and stop being so afraid of their own shadows.

Excuse me for recycling something I wrote in December, but in a series of American Spectator columns before and after the election, I laid out six key points about the road to Republican recovery:

  1. Don't blame yourself -- Candidates win or lose elections. Good candidates win, bad candidates lose, and John McCain was a bad candidate.
  2. Don't overthink it -- Intellectuals like to depict politics as something so complex that only they can understand it, with "big picture" themes and demographic trends that don't really translate into useful strategies. Ignore that crap.
  3. Libertarian populism -- Widespread opposition to the Wall Street bailout demonstrates that free-market ideas can be presented in a populist context that draws broad support.
  4. The morality of markets -- Don't buy into the myth that libertarians and religious conservatives are natural enemies. There needs to be a concerted effort to persuade religious conservatives to understand why limited government and free markets are consonant with Christian belief.
  5. Future ex-Democrats -- Many who voted for Obama will be disappointed at his failure to fulfill the Hope and bring about the Change he's promised. Turning that disillusionment into opposition is the basic project the Republican Party must focus on.
  6. The Obama agenda won't work -- Republicans need to re-learn the skills of opposition that have been weakened by disuse during the Bush era. Being a conservative means, among other things, believing that liberalism is wrong. Obama is a liberal, Nancy Pelosi is a liberal, Harry Reid is a liberal. Therefore, every measure that Obama, Pelosi and Reid propose is wrong, and conservatives need to say so.
John Adams said, "Facts are stubborn things." The salient fact now is that the Democratic Party's economic plan cannot lead to economic recovery. We're on our way to a 6,000 Dow, we'll see double-digit unemployment by 2010, and nothing proposed by the Democrats can possibly fix it.

In the "Revolt of the Kulaks," we see a hopeful sign that American taxpayers understand these stubborn economic facts. The task of conservatives is to supply the brains and courage to turn that fundamental understanding into an irresistible political floodtide. If an ex-Democrat can be forgiven for quoting that frontier populist Andrew Jackson: "Never take counsel of your fears."

UPDATE: "Indeed. Why would anyone get fired up about voting for a supposed alternative to liberalism that does little if anything to resist…liberalism?" Wherefore Phyllis Schlafly titled her immortal classic, A Choice, Not an Echo.

UPDATE II: Jules Crittenden has a roundup of thoughts on what's wrong with the GOP and how to fix it.

UPDATE III: "Playing nice is not a strategy (at least not a winning strategy)."

Breitbart gets it

CPAC, culture and Hollywood:
The timing of the yearly Conservative Political Action Conference could not be better suited for evaluating the strategies of the standard bearers of free markets and limited government as free-spending and nanny statist Obamaism runs amok with nary a media check or a legislative balance.
Attendees of the wonky three-day forum should pay close attention to what their ideological counterparts had to say earlier in the week at their annual get-together in liberalism´s capital, Hollywood.
On Sunday night at the Kodak Theater, where Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama debated each other in front of the same prideful crowd a year earlier, the political left convened to celebrate its progressive political agenda. The Oscars communicate post-modern, post-American liberal values more effectively than elected Democratic officials themselves. The liberal establishment understands this and uses the glamorous Hollywood elite and its incessant stream of left-leaning product and promotional vehicles as its proxy messenger. . . .
If "the medium is the message," as Marshall McLuhan formulated 45 years ago in "Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man," then Hollywood-style liberalism is America´s current and future message. And conservatives have no one to blame but themselves for not investing their collective efforts in the pop cultural and the greater media experience.
Read the whole thing. And speaking of CPAC, please don't forget to hit the tip jar. It's for the children!

Ace now uses 'rather'

A few days hanging around Hitch in Beirut, and suddenly he's all Old School Tie and I'd-fancy-a-pint-mate.

Lord Ace of Spades, Viscount Ewok?

Oscar winners: 'Slumdog,' two hotties, dead guy, and Hollywood's most anti-American actor

(BUMPED; UPDATE) Hurray for Bollywood! Slumdog Millionaire takes eight -- count 'em 8! -- Oscars, none of them in the acting categories: Muy caliente Penelope Cruz got Best Supporting actress, room-temperature Heath Ledger got Best Supporting Actor, Sean Penn won Best Actor, and the Academy Award for Best Nude Actress went to Kate Winslet.

Sorry I didn't live-blog the ceremony but -- as Jules predicted -- the tedium was just too overpowering.

PREVIOUSLY: Jules Crittenden predicts utter ennui. And yet there is the Best Actress nomination for Kate Winslet, who has appeared nude in 10 films, beginning with Heavenly Creatures in 1994 and continuing through this year's Oscar-nominated turn in The Reader.

Which is to say that, on average, Kate's gotten nakies for the camera every 18 months since she turned 18. Is Jules trying to tell us he doesn't like Kate nakies? Or that he's bored with the whole kinky-Nazi genre? Or does he mean to tell us that Kate nakies is such a prohibitive favorite that there is no suspense?

Clarification is necessary. Meanwhile, if you want to clean up with late bets in Vegas, put your money on Victor Morton's choices. Because Victor is always right. Far right.

UPDATE: Donald Douglas picks Penelope Cruz for Best Supporting Actress (Rule 5 alert).

UPDATE II: Steve Mason picks 'em at Big Hollywood.

UPDATE III: Jules is liveblogging the Oscars. Also, I corrected the spelling of Winslet's name. (Why did I think it was 2 T's?)

UPDATE IV: Ed Morrissey has some Oscar gossip. Also, the ratings and ad revenue suck this year, and Noel Shepard has more.

UPDATE V: E-mail from my best source:
Yes, Kate is a prohibitive favorite to win, as a career Oscar ... though naturally the Academy not only is gonna honor her for a bad movie, but even the weaker of her two performances in December Oscarbaition releases this year (she was much better in REVOLUTIONARY CHOAD).
I think playing a Nazi helps you more than being naked (otherwise, Marisa Tomei would win every year).
UPDATE VI: Vox Day nurses a grudge:
I concluded very early on that the movie awards were a complete charade when the greatest movie in the history of film-making didn't win an Oscar for best movie. Since Star Wars was spurned by the Academy voters . . .
Via Memeorandum (Rule 3).

UPDATE VII: Mary Katharine Ham just Twittered:
Although, I will say that Daniel Craig is like a really sexy Mr. Potato Head.
No, I don't know what that means, either.

Just ask me

Q. Who just missed a perfect joke?
A. Don Surber.
Q. What's the hottest part of the sun?
A. Page Three.

Ronald Reagan on 'What's My Line?'

Circa 1953:

H/T: Pundit & Pundette.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Shockingly 'Guilty'

"When a mainstream critic calls a book or movie outrageous, daring, shocking, or revolutionary, it usually means it's the same old boring stuff: someone bares his ass or curses out Jesus or attacks some vestige of decency or honor that's managed to survive the cultural locusts. It's all so groundbreaking you can hardly keep from snoring. But when someone like Ann comes along . . ."

More page design musings

Since switching to 3 columns this past week, I've heard both pro and cons on the new design. If feel like it needs work. I like 3 columns, but the way it is now, there's not enough difference between the main center column and the sidebars, which is distracting.

What do you guys think about the double-right sidebars look at Pirate's Cove?

Oh, and somebody in the comments had talked about readability and the gray background. I've always had a light-gray background here. Why? After a while, a white background becomes harsh on the eyes on a computer screen. Newsprint is grayish, and if you pick up a book and you'll notice that in most cases the paper is a creamy off-white.

At any rate, we'll keep tinkering until we get it right. Which is to say, we'll keep tinkering. Whether we ever actually "get it right" is one of those cosmic questions for which there may be no answer.

'My mind immediately focused on Rule 5 . . .'

. . . says Elder of Ziyon, as he brings us Arab babes. So everybody on Rule 5 Sunday must now do a Rule 2 and link him.

Alas, the Elder is insufficiently learned in the sultry ways of the daughters of Ishmael -- or, as I call them, "Gee hotties" -- for he hath neglected the ultimate in Arabic babehood. Gentlemen, in hope of a lasting agreement, The Other McCain is proud to present: Miss Egypt 2006, Fawzia Mohamed:

It's part of my Mideast Piece Initiative, and I think that men of goodwill everywhere will agree that this ought to be occupied territory.

Instapundit does . . . show tunes?

In linking to a story about Larry Summers allegedly screwing up the Harvard endowment, we find Professor Glenn Reynolds employing the phrase, "The country's in the very best of hands."

Having starred, at age 14, as Pappy Yokum in the Douglas County (Ga.) High School production of the Broadway musical "Li'l Abner," I recognize this as the title of a song (by Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul) from that show:
The Treasury says the national debt
Is climbing to the sky
And govermnent expenditures
Have never been so high.
It makes a feller get
A gleam of pride within his eye,
To see how our economy expands,
The country's in the very best of hands.
Now, it is a matter of fact that I majored in drama, so I've got an excuse for knowing lots of Broadway lyrics. But Professor Reynolds is a law grad. What's up with that, Dr. Helen? I mean:
  • When you started dating him, did you notice any Judy Garland posters at his apartment?
  • Does he download Streisand on his iPod?
  • If you happen to be in a department store when the Muzak plays a Rodgers and Hammerstein tune, do you hear him muttering under his breath, ". . . and 6, 7, 8 -- kick -- 2, 3, 4"?
  • When guests arrive at your house, does the professor greet them by saying, "Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome?"
NTTAWWT. I'm so unmistakably macho that I don't mind bursting into an occasional a capella rendition of "Til There Was You." And I believe John Podhoretz has been known to cite "The Street Where You Live." But if the professor is A Guy Who Likes Show Tunes, he needs to come out of the closet about it, don't you think?

". . . our favorite American group, Sophie Tucker."

UPDATE: Welcome, Insty readers! Yes, the armchair psychologists like to accuse us Guys Who Like Show Tunes of overcompensating by swaggering displays of heterosexuality. Insty married Dr. Helen to quell those whispers in the faculty lounge, and I'm a happily married father of six kids who feels compelled to follow up his Chorus Boy camp routine by gratuitous babe-blogging. (Click that link, you sissies -- I dare you!)

UPDATE II: In the comments, the irrepressible Kathy Shaidle -- who's working her diminuitive self to exhaustion trying to get deported from Canada as a one-woman human rights violation -- informs us that Mark Steyn is all about the show tunes. Which may explain why he didn't appreciate the irony of this lame gag. Or worse yet, maybe he did appreciate it. (Foghorn Leghorn: "That's a joke, son! A joke, ah say!")

UPDATE III: Moe Lane manages to work in a sly Ghostbusters allusion. Yeah, he's thinking it's Oscar night, and Bill Murray got ripped that year -- not even nominated!

$1 Million a Day for 2,000 Years

That's still less than Congress just spent on the Obama/Pelosi/Reid $800 billion "stimulus" plan.

Powerful video from The American Issues Project, which has a 35-page PDF with the facts about the "stimulus."

Israeli Cultural Primer

"Quick synopsis of every Jewish holiday: They tried to kill us; we won; let's eat."

More PJTV talk

Saturday, I did a blog post at The American Spectator reacting to recent criticism of PJTV. A couple of guys pinged back: Andrew Dodge and Danny Glover, so you can see what they had to say . . . about what I had to say . . . about what other people had to say.

Well . . . what do you have to say?

BTW, if you've done any commenting over the past couple of hours and it hasn't been approved yet, don't sweat. My son's due back from Ohio today and I'm probably on my way back from BWI Airport by now. The past few hours have been autoblogged posts (written in advance and postdated) with the intent to keep burglars thinking I'm actually at home blogging when I'm not. So maybe I'm home now. Or maybe I'm not.

Comment moderation and Rule 2 FMJRA's will resume shortly.

UPDATE 3 p.m.: OK, now I'm actually home. Alive. On the way back from the airport, we stopped somewhere in Howard County to get McDonald's, and the 16-year-old boy says, "Hey, Dad, how about letting me drive." To which I agreed in a grand gesture of paternal magnanimity. And foolishness. But mostly foolishness.

Now, I began teaching the kids to drive when they were 12, and we've got those hillbilly NASCAR genes, so even though the boy has only had his learner's permit a few weeks, I have a fair degree of confidence in his automotive skills. There were, however, two problems with this scenario:
  • My son has never driven on the interstate; and
  • Mrs. McCain was in the car.
Now, I deeply love my wife, but she is not a very good passenger. She thinks I drive like a maniac. And is correct. But I'm a safe maniac; it's that hillbilly NASCAR thing.

We've been married 20 years and I've driven a gazillion miles in that time without ever being responsible for an accident. (Years ago, I got rear-ended by a toothless meth-head woman with no license or insurance. Last year, I had my front end scraped by an idiot girl who ran a redlight.) Yet every time she gets in the car with me, my wife relentlessly criticizes my driving and wonders aloud that I haven't gotten myself killed driving so crazy.

Well, Junior takes the wheel and we get out on the road. I instruct him how to set the cruise control, give him helpful tips, etc. His mother is mainly concerned that, if at all possible, he should never change lanes. And under no circumstance is he to obey that Y chromosome's orders to hop into the left lane, jam the pedal to the floor an cruise 80 mph all the way home. A dynamic tension is present, and it's his first time driving on the interstate.

We did OK most of the way, until we found ourselves behind a Food Lion truck coming out of Frederick, with two mountains -- Braddock and South -- over the next 16 miles. If the boy had obeyed his Y chromosome, he'd have been left-laning it with nothing to worry about, but Mom was in the back seat on the verge of a heart attack, so the Y-chromosome was stifled.

As we began the ascent of South Mountain, the Food Lion truck was still ahead of us. We were doing a little over 60 mph in a 65 zone. Cars doing 80 were flying past on our left. Past the Middletown exit, a slow-truck lane opens up on the right, and the Food Lion truck got over. Which is when we saw the Subaru station wagon that had been ahead of the truck.

The Subaru was driven by an elderly man with his wife in the passenger seat and, as we ascended the mountain, the Food Line truck in the right lane actually started pulling ahead of the Subaru. It was a rolling roadblock situation, basically, and now there was a more of less solid line of cars filing past on our left, working their way around this 50-mph vehicular obstruction in the right two lanes.

We approached the crest of the mountain and I see the yellow sign: "Right lane ends 2,500 feet." That's roughly half a mile and, judging the comparative progress of the Subaru and the Food Lion truck, I'm saying: "No way." That truck will have to merge somewhere. He doesn't have the power to pass the Subaru, and the geezer at the wheel of the Subaru is too freaking clueless to realize he should speed up to get ahead of the truck. Whiich meant, we had about 40 seconds to get to our left, or we were going to be driving into serious trouble.

I'm calculating this and, attempting to remain calm, am explaining this to my son while checking the left-lane traffic for an opening. My wife is not attempting to stay calm. But as we close in on that "lane ends here" point, I spy a gap on our left and yell: "OK, Bob, get it!" and then, "Punch it!"

He accelerates into the gap, but there's an Aspen SUV bearing down on him, which freaks him out, so he tries merging over to the right a bit sooner than was absolutely safe. Which is to say he cut off the old geezer in the Subaru with about 4 feet to spare. All of which is accomplished with my wife screaming in the back seat and threatening to kill me if we survive the final 5 miles home.

We made it. I live to tell the tale. And the moral of the story is: When you take your son out driving on the freeway, it should be a male-bonding Y-chromosome experience.

And I love my wife.