Saturday, March 7, 2009
-- Caleb at Red State
(Yeah, it's a bad thing to be picking on a kid. The phrase "whited sepulchres" ring a bell there, buddy?)
But, OK, enough of that. I'll have to find other targets for unfair ad hominem invective to tide me over until Easter. So if any of you upstart punks out there wander into the crosshairs, don't blame me when the Mother Of All Fiskings comes down on your head. You have been warned.
And if, on Easter morning, Douthat finally looks down from the lofty heights of Fallowsium, and condescends to link a state-school alumnus, you'll know that this unprecedented occurence is a miraculous omen, perhaps even a sign of the impending Apocalypse.
O, ye of little faith!
I take it that Warner is some kind of feminist, and perhaps the sister-in-law, niece or college roommate of someone very important at The New York Times Co., because I can't imagine why anyone would want to read such useless drivel as this:
. . . I saw this very clearly the other day, in a chance email exchange with my friend D.She gets paid to write that crap. A "chance email exhange"? As opposed to what? A carefully orchestrated email exchange?
She had written me to share some anxieties about the recession. They were very real and very pressing, and in the past, I would have responded with very pertinent examples of how things were much worse for me.
This time, however, tapping into great human reserves of calm and centeredness, I tried instead to lead her into staying with her feelings.
"Hang in there. Things will be O.K.," I wrote. . . .
Then you notice her thumbnail bio, which tells you that Warner was the author of a 2005 New York Times bestseller. And yet "things are much worse for" her?
At which point, you struggle to resist the hope that she invested her money -- all of it -- with Bernie Madoff. You struggle, but you don't struggle too hard.
UPDATE: A woman whose blog title I greatly admire has some thoughts.
At the mention of Jamie Oliver, duty requires one to post this clip,
(couple F-Bombs from Bob Geldof, but otherwise SFW) featuring JO eating junk food, a nearly pornographic event.
- Conveniently, this week we can combine the FMJRA principle with some Rule 5 action by linking Clever S. Logan who -- and I think we can all agree on this -- needs to update more often.
- Also quite conveniently, we can combine the FMJRA with Rule 4 by linking young Evan McLaren, to whom we introduced ourselves with such punk-smacking glee yesterday. (Evan, my grandfather was an Alabama mule trader. There's an old joke, the punchline of which is that if you're ever going to teach a mule anything, you must first get his attention. Ask Andrew Sargus Klein about my preferred method in this regard.)
- Tigerhawk: OMG! THIS IS SO F---ING FUNNY!
- Pundit & Pundette have been throwing some good linkage my way lately, so check out their roundup on the Obama-snubs-Gordon-Brown saga.
- Jules Crittenden: Sprinkles of Hope.
- El Cerdo Ignatius: Mortgages twisted until they crack.
- Kleinheider on the stimulus scams -- not the original scam by Obama, Pelosi and Reid, but imitation scams by amateurs who don't have a federal license to steal.
- Lead and Gold: "The media arrogance might remain, but the audience’s powerlessness is a thing of the past."
- Kathy Shaidle at Five Feet of Fury notes the continuation of the smackarounds between conservatives and "conservatives."
- Twisted Spinster: "The Obamessiah Crapministration continues to ride the failboat down the Fail River straight for the Fail Falls."
- Cold Fury: "It's only words" -- and every time Obama says "responsibility" it only costs us another billion.
- Serr8d: Some news is too bad to be true.
- Dad29: Sondheim was a prophet.
- Ace of Spades has a great post about the Obama sell-off on Wall Street. (Ace hasn't been giving me lots of linky-love lately, but the man is just such an inspiration to us all he gets the reach-around anyway.)
- Hot Air threw me a schweet headline hit last week, and Ed Morrissey's "Quote of the Day" selection for Friday reminds us what the Democrats find "outrageous and reprehensible" -- the truth!
- Speaking of schweet hits, Michelle Malkin threw me the Malkinlanche this week, and Friday she had a great post on Whoopi Goldberg (!) "going Galt." (BTW, I advised Miss Logan when she started blogging to observe Malkin's method. Aggregation is the key value-added factor in good blogging, and notice how Michelle shares the linky-love in that one post.)
- Since we're on the topic of aggregation, notice my good friend Stephen Gordon's mega-aggregation on the "going Galt" phenomenon that got him the Malkinlanche. Doing a solid comprehensive round-up on a timely subject is always a useful contribution to the blogospheric community.
- The past master aggregator, Instapundit has a Tea Party roundup. (Perhaps by including the magic word "Cthulhu" and also cueing his Google alert, Professor Glenn Reynolds can be persuaded to link this little lesson in mega-aggregation, for the edification of the newbies.)
- What does a 'Lanche look like? Check Jimmie Bise's SiteMeter for Feb. 12-13. Being 'Lanche-worthy gets you lots more FMJRA action, because bloggers want to get the secondary effect of other blogger's 'Lanches. To explain this principle in full would require charts, graphs and footnotes, but if I link you in a post, and then Insty links that post, you're gold baby.
- Speaking of Jimmie Bise: "I swear it’s like our President never held an executive position before in his life. Oh, wait…"
- Jennifer Rubin: Michael Gerson has it exactly backward. But what else did you expect?
- Donald Douglas: Love, California Style.
- VodkaPundit: The Week in Blogs.
- Ed Driscoll: Canadian slacker hooch.
- John Hawkins: Naked racism or just funny? (We report, you decide!)
- At The Point of a Gun: "The 'we inherited this mess' line reeks with the stench of deceit and dishonesty to begin with."
- Legal Insurrection: On-again, off-again David Brooks love for Obama is on again
- Dan Riehl: "Do they still teach the American Revolution straight up in public schools today? I hope so, but, again, I'm just not sure."
- Your one-stop source for aggregation is, of course, Memeorandum (Rule 3), via which we find Gina Cobb at Right Wing News doing some excellent aggregation on the "reset/overcharge" debacle.
- Rule 2? Rule 5? What's the difference when Conservatives4Palin has video of Glenn Beck paying tribute to her
incomparable hotnessprincipled leadership.
- There are two basic tools for monitoring your traffic -- SiteMeter and Technorati -- which perform slightly overlapping but quite different functions. Learn to use them both for Rule 2. Via the latter tool, we learn that Dan Collins is sorry. (Note how Dan provides the aggregation, newbies.)
- Earlier this week, the venerable Moe Lane was driven to Gonzo by a certain newbie, and now he displays his excellent taste in outlaws. ("Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining," Moe.)
- Speaking of Gonzo, the late good doctor's widow -- and trust me, buddy, she's definitely a Rule 5 -- shares thoughts on the "stimulus" and advises to buy only domestic herbage. (Mrs. Thompson, please blog more often!)
- During my adolescence, I consumed Spicoliesque quantities of herbage, thus losing more brain cells than most folks will ever have. (Just say no, kids!) So the Erstwhile Child Genius actually had to check the list to remind himself of what the heck Rule 1 is, whereby he was reminded of valued contributor Little Miss Attila: "Issues with Respect to Which Obama Does Not Suck." A very short list, indeed.
- Which brings me, at last, to Sully. As the bear market heads to the bottom, arousing hot throbbing passions in the blogosphere, even the most notoriously homophobic right-winger enjoys having his SiteMeter stroked until the traffic comes gushing out. Blogging is a rough trade and, in hard times, even a Speedo-filling stud has to hustle the hits any way he can get 'em. So when dear Andy nominates me for the Malkin Award and then nominates me again less than two weeks later, I'm going to do what Gunnery Sergeant Hartman said:
So when Private Joker smiles, you don't always know what he's smiling at. Rule 2 is shorthand for a basic life principle, of showing gratitude for those who have done you a favor. Let me therefore give you a brief excerpt from Page One of a new book:
Death hides in the the tall grass of Southern Sudan. What looks like empty landscape can explode in a heartbeat with rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army shooting, slashing, and burning their way through an unsuspecting village. Government officials and NGOs . . . give these renegade soldiers a wide berth; they usually know where the trouble areas are and steer clear of them. Local residents, left to make it on their own, are constantly on the edge, always afraid. There are no peaceful nights in the bush. None, that is, except in one place -- a forty-acre island of safety and calm in the middle of a hellish, endless civil war. The Shekinah Fellowship Children's Village.That's from Another Man's War: The True Story of One Man's Battle to Save Children in the Sudan, by Sam Childers. Lots of people talk about helping Sudan. Sam Childers does it.
When God needed a born fighter to save children from the vicious monsters of Joseph Kony's LRA, it was this two-fisted son of a Pennsylvania steelworker who got the call. "Pastor Sam," as he is known, had worked hard all his life to build his own million-dollar construction firm -- and then he gave it all up to go help children in Africa.
You may have heard ministers talk about the Christian principle of "servant leadership," but until you've met Sam Childers, you don't know what a servant leader is. The Machine Gun Preacher has put his life on the line to serve God and save God's children.
Please help Sam Childers and his ministry. Click that link and give what can, folks. If you're a blogger with an Amazon Associates account, please link Pastor Sam's book on your page. Order a copy for yourself and do a review. Link his site from your page, and tell your own readers to help this man who has given up so much to help so many.
Everything and anything you do to help Pastor Sam will help save lives and save souls -- and not just in Africa, either. His church in Pennsylvania is a refuge for all the hard-luck losers and outcast souls that other ministries say they want to reach. Sam knows how to reach them, because he was once an outcast soul himself. He knows very well that there is no sinner so wretched as to be beyond the aid of grace.
If ever you wanted to do me a favor, and deserve a future Rule 2, please do all you can to help this man of God, Pastor Sam Childers. Like the people of Plataea conquered by the Spartans, it may some day be asked of you what you have done to aid the victor in this epic battle. And as wildly inappropriate as this reminder might seem after such a sermon, don't forget, folks, to get your babe-blogging done today, and e-mail me the links for Rule 5 Sunday. Aggregation is the name of the game.
All Your Links Are Belong To Us!
Friday, March 6, 2009
The Blogfather points to Professor Bainbridge, who poses one of those boring but expensive questions: is health care a right? Allow me to up the ante: just when did we start to make stuff up?
Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism made a reference to an FDR speech that sent me to Google to scour the cloudywebs, arriving at this gem:
FDR 1944 State of the Union excerpt:
This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights--among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.Oh, Franklin, Franklin, Franklin. Who needs to amend the Constitution via Article 5 when you can just cook it on the fly? Life sure is easy when you can convince free men to sell their precious liberty for the perception of security.
As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however--as our industrial economy expanded--these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. "Necessitous men are not free men." People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are:
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
- The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
- The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
- The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
- The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
- The right of every family to a decent home;
- The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
- The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
- The right to a good education.
Even if the intentions were initially noble, the results have been a mixed bag, and the precedent set simply disastrous.
Commentor Serr8d alluded to Fast Times..., triggering a Rule 5 requirement to decorate the post with a bit of Phoebe-age:
The Republican Party, the conservative movement -- these are our enemies, we kept muttering amid the sad CPAC gathering of GOP robots and clowns. This petty hierarchy of shills, time servers, and girlish men (and boys) is supposed to represent a movement of principle -- of people -- and embody real opposition to established power arrangements and to the Left? What a bunch of unadulterated hooey.Blah, blah, blah. Young Turks know everything, and nobody else knows anything. As much as I share the Young Turks' disgust with the creaky infrastructure of the GOP, I've got no taste for being lectured by a spoiled rich punk (Kenyon College tuition: $38K/yr) whose chief contributions to conservatism to date consist of editing a student newspaper.
The difference between Us and Them is not philosophical or intellectual. It is much more basic. Besides our heightened sense that the conservative movement is a top-to-bottom failure, we simply have too much backbone to function as obedient servants in their crummy, impotent army. . . .
If you can't find the G-Man on your local radio, you can listen live online or, if you miss it, download the podcast.
Eloquent words and "spin" work better in a campaign than they do while governing. And as Mr. Obama is discovering, the laws of economics won't change, even for him.OK, here's me, Feb. 15, at AmSpecBlog:
The fiscal fantasies of Hope are about to slam head-on into the economic realities of the bond market. Economic reality is an unmovable object, and liberals are about to discover that Hope is not an irresistible force.No specialized knowledge or advanced education is needed to understand why Obamanomics won't work. All you need is two eyes, a brain, and the common sense of common people. Ignore the polls. Ordinary Americans who are watching their hard-earned retirement savings evaporate in the stock-market meltdown caused by Obamanomics are beginning to realize that Hope is a poor substitute for basic economics. As bad as the stock-market slide has been, try to imagine the crisis that could ensue if the bond market gets the jitters. Associated Press on Wednesday reported:
Or, in fewer words: It Won't Work.
Analysts are anticipating that the Treasury Department on Thursday will announce plans [to] auction $60 billion in notes next week. The government has been issuing debt this year at a record pace to finance its bailouts.No sign yet of a doomsday scenario, but these massive deficit-spending schemes piled one atop each other are placing unprecedented pressure on capital markets already ratcheted drum-tight by the bursting of the housing bubble and related financial fallout. Obama's budget is a fantasy, and while bonds tend to go up when stocks go down (people shifting capital from risk to security), we're now on such shaky ground -- fiscal, financial and monetary policy all going where no policies have gone before -- that the future is beyond prediction, certainly for a mere amateur like me. People are scared. People are angry. They're "going Galt." They're planning a National Tea Party April 15. Good-bye, Hope and Change. Hello, Fear and Loathing. When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. (Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)
So far, auctions have been met with solid demand. But investors have gotten warier about buying Treasurys, particularly long-term ones.
Fox fans can crucify me for saying this, but "Morning Joe" is the better program, and the superiority of the MSNBC show was blindingly evident today. While "Fox & Friends" had on Geraldo Rivera to talk about Rhianna (allegedly) getting beat up by her boyfriend, Joe Scarborough, Mike Barnicle, Pat Buchanan and Mika Brzrzbuyavowelski were talking about real news -- especially the economic meltdown and the inability of Congress or the Obama administration to do anything to stop it.
Excuse me for thinking that gotterdammerung on Wall Street is more important than a domestic-violence case involving two second-rate pop stars that no one over 30 ever heard of until Chris Brown (allegedly) beat Rhianna to a bloody pulp.
OK, there may be some kind of "counterprogramming" rationale behind Fox producers going with celebrity tabloid news at 6 a.m., but there is a word for that rationale: Wrong. Most of those who get up at 6 a.m. and switch to the early news are essentially serious people. They're in a hurry, getting ready to go to work, and they want to hear about news that makes a difference in their lives, which doesn't include the obnoxious Geraldo sharing gossip about two pop singers.
Furthermore -- and Steve Doocy's my Facebook friend, so I want to be careful how I say this -- the "Fox & Friends" crew seems too lightweight. The "Morning Joe" crew is anchored by a former congressman and features a veteran political adviser in Buchanan. Barnicle doesn't impress me much, but Brzrzbuyavowelski, though hopelessly liberal, is at least a smart, serious liberal.
To employ an overused word, the implicit gravitas of the MSNBC crew gives them more leeway to joke around amiably like a bunch of buddies just talkin' news, whereas Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade lack that sort of heft (Doocy wasn't on the show this morning). My impression is that Kilmeade is a hometown favorite in the New York market, so Fox isn't going to pull him from the show, and I wouldn't want them to pull my buddy Doocy, which makes Carlson the prime candidate for replacement, if the executives want to tinker with the formula.
Bay Buchanan? Kate Obenshain? I don't know. They need somebody with a credible government/politics background. They need to change something. The whole mood of the Fox show is wrong for the current economic and political climate.
Any serious news junkie toggling back and forth between Fox and MSNBC in the mornings -- and this isn't the first time I've done this in recent weeks -- can't help but notice the difference. "Fox & Friends" feels too fake perky-cheery like "Good Morning, Orlando" or something, whereas "Morning Joe" exudes a vibe that is simultaneously confident, smart, and relaxed.
Roger Ailes needs to be paying attention, because whatever the total Nielsen numbers, he's losing "the eyes of the influentials," to borrow a phrase from Jon Henke.
UPDATE: I'm getting some push-back in the comments, which is OK, but Hyscience agrees with me. To those who only watch Fox, you should try toggling between "F&F" and "MJ" some mornings. Maybe it's me, but the Joe show is less show-biz, more laidback, and I like that -- even if Barnicle and Brzrzbuyavowelski aren't to my taste.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
-- Rush Limbaugh
Sorry I couldn't have been in the green room with you and Erick Erickson, but I was busy hanging out with your man in Fairway No. 1. Ronald Reagan once said that you can accomplish anything, so long as you don't care who gets the credit. I'm no T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII, but I do what I can.
The poor wee Cramer:
I also made it clear in a New York magazine article that I favored Obama over McCain because I thought Obama to be a middle-of-the-road Democrat, exactly the kind I have supported all my adult life, although I will admit to being far more left-wing during my teenage years and early 20s.Oh, it must have been pleasant in that closet, Mr. Cramer. Not that we're the least bit interested in the rituals. Now, however, you can reap the whirlwind with the rest of us:
To be totally out of the closet, I actually embrace every part of Obama's agenda, right down to the increase on personal taxes and the mortgage deduction. I am a fierce environmentalist who has donated multiple acres to the state of New Jersey to keep forever wild. I believe in cap and trade. I favor playing hardball with drug companies that hold up the U.S. government with me-too products.
So I will fight the fight against that agenda. I will stand up for what I believe and for what I have always believed: Every person has a right to be rich in this country and I want to help them get there. And when they get there, if times are good, we can have them give back or pay higher taxes. Until they get there, I don't want them shackled or scared or paralyzed. That's what I see now.No, Cramer, the truth about world-class evil is that it can afford to devour the worshippers as well, knowing that there will always be a supply of useful idiots, until humanity itself is gone, which is the other big win. Your consolation prize was also eaten, but here is a free clip upon which to ruminate: UPDATE (RSM): Dang, Smitty's got the blog-fu goin' on, don't he? Give the man kudos. And he got 'Lanched!
If that makes me an enemy of the White House, then call me a general of an army that Obama may not even know exists -- tens of millions of people who live in fear of having no money saved when they need it and who get poorer by the day.
Learn About the Making Home Affordable Refinance and Modification OptionsTo quote The Outlaw Josey Wales, "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining." This is a classic example of how interventionist government picks winners and losers, singling out some people for favoritism, while screwing over the rest of us.
The President's plan was created to help millions of homeowners refinance or modify their mortgages.
Refinancing: Many homeowners pay their mortgages on time but are not able to refinance to take advantage of today’s lower mortgage rates perhaps due to a decrease in the value of their home. A Home Affordable Refinance will help borrowers whose loans are held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac refinance into a more affordable mortgage.
Modification: Many homeowners are struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments either because their interest rate has increased or they have less income. A Home Affordable Modification will provide them with mortgage payments they can afford.
When I left Georgia in 1997, we left behind a cute little bungalow on a full acre of wooded land that we bought cheap in 1992. It took us two years to sell the thing, which meant that I spent my first two years in Washington paying that mortgage while also paying $900 a month for an apartment. We tried to rent out our Georgia house, then tried to do a rent-to-own, until finally we sold it at a very modest increase over what we'd paid for it. The damage to my family's financial situation in the meantime was enormous.
You do what it takes. And since what it took was for us to suck it up, essentially forfeiting our equity and become tenants, that's what we did. Well, welcome to 2009, and suddenly it's unpatriotic to expect people to make the mortgage payments or else lose their equity. People have a right to a home, no matter if they're 120 days past due. Pay close attention to the next sentence:
FUCK YOU, SCUMBAGS
Excuse my temporary departure from the appropriate decorum of family-friendly blogging, but expecting me to conceive of worthless deadbeats as victims is a bit much to ask. I'm hustling as hard as I can -- please hit the tip jar, people -- to avert complete financial disaster myself. I've got six kids to support, and I ain't got time for pity, as if pity had any economic value to begin with. Imagine me calling up the finance company and pleading pity to prevent the repossession of my car. (I'm still waiting for those ACORN protesters to show up.)
Now, you can go to Michelle Malkin and read about people whining about the Obama plan. Or you can go to Naked Capitalism and read a detailed analysis of this "mortgage modification" nonsense cooked up by the Treasury Department. But, in general, as an economic proposition, the plan can be summarized in two words: It sucks.
That's why I've announced my own plan, "Foreclose and Evict the Deadbeat Scum" (FEDS). It's very simple:
- The banks take back the houses currently occupied by deadbeat scum.
- The deadbeat scum either find a place to rent, or move in with relatives, or go straight to hell. It doesn't really matter. We're talking economics.
- This creates a housing occupancy in the homes formerly occupied by deadbeat scum.
- The banks must either (a) sell the homes for whatever the market will pay, or (b) rent the homes to people who weren't foolish enough to take on balloon-payment mortgages.
- Whatever the ultimate result -- and rents for homes made vacant by the FEDS program may need to be reduced in order to attract tenants -- the point is that the excess-valuation problem in the housing market will be resolved, so that prices once again reflect actual supply and demand.
- Homeowners who don't wish to participate in the FEDS program can opt out by making their fucking loan payments, like they fucking agreed to when they fucking signed their fucking contracts.
"I was one of those kids who grew up planning to be somebody important. I wasn't content to imagine myself as a doctor or a fireman. I was going to be the next Hunter S. Thompson (minus the tragic end), Rush Limbaugh (minus the masculine physique), or the First Lady (who, at the time was Hillary Clinton, so minus the pantsuit). I had big dreams."
-- S. Logan
Oh, man. I was going to be a soldier, then an artist, then a football player, then an actor, then a rock star. I guess journalism was sixth on my list.
But invoking HST -- that's almost like inviting ridicule for overweening ambition. Thou shalt not invoke the Gonzo in vain.
Assignment: Try to write up CPAC in your best approximation of Gonzo. Not a slavish imitation, but with the spirit of Gonzo.
Warning: This is merely a writing exercise. You are not to publish this. You are writing it for the sake of seeing if you can write it. Set yourself a deadline, and produce X number of words (1,500? 2,500?) about CPAC by that deadline.
Try to hear the Mojo Wire humming in your mind. Also: You'll need lots of whiskey. And grapefruit. Feel free to substitute Red Bull for other stimulants.
UPDATE: OMG, Moe Lane goes Gonzo! See what you've started, you wench?
-- Professor Glenn Reynolds
Some just-published research suggests that the incontestable hotness of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin hurts her chances of becoming president, which is a sore disappointment to her admirers at Conservatives4Palin, and also to me. Never mind any discussion of Palin’s political leanings or qualifications. It just seems to me that if America is going to elect a woman president, she might as well be a hottie.Please read the whole thing. Remember, I'm the guy who got a quarter-million hits in September on the strength of "Sarah Palin bikini pics." Rule 5 has been very, very good to me.
"What is it supposed to mean to describe conservatives who have a beef with Limbaugh's views or rhetoric as 'highbrow'? Are the opinions illegitimate or mistaken because they supposedly come from a vantage point of cultural sophistication?Having plowed the fields of culture for many years, I don't want to deny being sophisticated, but that's not really the beef, is it? Calling people "mongoloids" isn't exactly sophisticated, even if you do reference it to A Confederacy of Dunces. I mean, Huck Finn is a work of literature, so maybe there are some words in Huck Finn that Rod Dreher wants to start slinging around.
-- Rod Dreher
In any conflict between Rod Dreher and Rush Limbaugh, Dreher loses.
Venezuela's public finances are unravelling, with oil prices at $40 a barrel, while the national budget is calculated at $60 a barrel. Inflation is running at over 30 per cent, yet with the new measures Mr Chavez is seeking to ensure that his core support, the poor, can still fill their shopping baskets with food.
"If any industry wants to ride roughshod over the consumers, with a view to getting better dividends, we are going to act," said Carlos Osorio, the national superintendent of silos and storage. "For the government, access to food is a matter of national security."
Production quotas and prices have now been set for cooking oil, white rice, sugar, coffee, flour, margarine, pasta, cheeses and tomato sauce.
Hmmm. Our programs of coercive expropriation don't seem to be working. We must apply more coercion!They never learn.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Ace of Spades gives it to Rod Dreher.
Red State's Erick Erickson gives it to Frum, Dreher and others.
Wlady Pleszczynski gives it to Kathleen Parker.
Jimmie Bise gives it to John Farrell.
So much . . . divisiveness. Tsk. Tsk.
UPDATE: (Forehead slap) Almost omitted Dan Collins's contribution to International Fisking Day.
UPDATE II: And thanks to Dan Collins for pointing out the return of T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII to the blogospheric fray.
UPDATE III: Donald Douglas goes upside E.D. Kain's head.
UPDATE IV: Late entry from Mark Goluskin: David Frum needs to shut his hole. Which kind of sums the whole thing up, eh?
Rand's philosophical radicalism ultimately goes beyond a point I am willing to follow, but in her basic idea -- the irreplaceable creative value of the entrepreneur, and the unworthiness of capitalism's enemies -- she hammers it home.
Michelle Malkin has begun hammering the "Going Galt" theme, and it's the subject of a long post by Melissa Clouthier today, and Donald Douglas also weighs in. I believe Dr. Helen may have been the first to raise the issue, so I'll link her to be on the safe side. (I met her and the Instahubby at CPAC, which gave me occasion to say, "All your links are belong to us!")
The Obama/Pelosi/Reid axis have enacted laws that constitute an incentive against earning, against investing, against hiring, against working. Projections of deficits cannot possibly measure future revenues accurately, if more and more people simply stop engaging in productive economic activity. They can't force you to work and earn, can't they? They can't force you to invest and hire, can they?
Can somebody tell me when the next Treasury auction is? I've been saying for weeks that everybody's panicking about the stock market, but if the bond market gets the willies -- and methinks they're starting to sweat a little -- oh, boy!
BTW, I am in discussions with some folks down Alabama way about getting there for a Tea Party they're planning. So if any of my readers are in Alabama and are in touch with the Tea Party resistance, please get in touch or leave a comment. Dates and details are sketchy, but my itinerary will likely include stops in Decatur, Birmingham, Alexander City (to see a certain erudite fellow) and Montgomery.
Thanks to everyone who's been hitting the tip jar lately. The contributions are greatly appreciated by my beautiful wife.
Frequent commenters will please go over and introduce themselves. Guys, try not to drool on your keyboards. And be gentle -- it's her first post, and it should be a tender moment.
Hundreds of members of the Service Employees International Union are taking off from their jobs to join the fight to pass President Obama's $3.55 trillion budget, a union official said on Wednesday.Think about that. Here we are with the economy in the toilet, unemployment above 7% for the first time in many years, the stock market plunging to its lowest point in 12 years, new waves of bankruptcies and foreclosures and layoffs announced every day. And yet, these SEIU members -- who are very fortunate actually to have jobs -- are going to take time off to go door-to-door campaigning on behalf of Obama's stagflation-on-steroids budget that will kill jobs like Raid kills roaches.
"SEIU intends to bring the full force of the union and its 2.1 million members to bear," Khalid Pitts, director of political accountability at the SEIU said on a conference call. "Right now, we have hundreds of our workers, who have taken leave from their jobs in 18 crucial states to moving this budget."
Pitts said that the members will be going door-to-door to convince their neighbors to support the budget as well as organizing house parties and other events. The hope is that the hundreds will turn into thousands as members of Congress arrive in their districts during Easter recess.
Nurse, more Thorazine, please!
You see that Schaeffer and others of that ilk were, in large measure, turned off by the cynicism of the Mehlman/Rove/Bush manipulation of evangelical Christians, as well as the shameless flag-waving "be patriotic, vote Republican" use of 9/11 and the Iraq War. Any intelligent, well-informed and politically aware person couldn't help that. But to jump over into the enemy camp over that, and publicly denounce the GOP in the manner that the soi-dissant "Obamacons" did -- that was stupid and dishonorable.
When I left the Democratic party (circa 1994-95), my disillusionment and sense of betrayal was so deep and profound that, as a conservative, I have maintained a very detached, skeptical and, you might say, objective view of the Republican Party. I try to avoid using "we" when speaking of the Republican Party, because I am not part (and have no desire to become a part) of the official electoral apparatus.
Politics is a very dirty and very cynical business, full of self-serving ambitious men who -- to give them every benefit of the doubt -- hope to do well by doing good. It's a racket, and if you've spent as long as I have watching it at close range, it is impossible to be too idealistic about it.
All that said, however, when push comes to shove, you have to choose sides and keep in mind the fundamental differences between the two parties, differences that have never been clearer than at the present moment, as the Obamanomics agenda devastates the market economy and Democrats enact policies intended to make their political hegemony permanent.
I talked to an old friend Tuesday, a retired fellow who has worked all his life, as has his dear wife, and they had managed to amass sufficient savings that he was set to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Or so he thought.
"Stacy, I've lost a half-million dollars in this market," he told me, and explained that the mortgage payment on his retirement home was becoming problematic. "We might lose our house."
My friend is an erudite man, who views his plight philosophically, and appreciated my jocular reply.
"Well . . . just think. Eighteen months ago, you could have given me a quarter-million, and whatever I did with that investment, you wouldn't have been worse off than you are now," I said. "You gotta go with who you know."
He laughed, and mused that, indeed, I'd have been a better steward of his investments than Lehmann Brothers. And then I told him that I'd managed by sheer lunatic accident to outsmart the market. When I walked out of the Washington Times in January 2008, I had money in my 401K that, over the course of several months, I withdrew and spent to subsidize the launching of my career as a freelance journalist and blogger.
At this point, although I might be flat broke and faced with all manner of financial woes, my blog has just passed the 1-million hits threshold, I'm being published at The American Spectator, Pajamas Media, Taki's Magazine and Splice Today, and it appears that investing in myself was the best move I could have made. It was a helluva crazy gamble, but it's starting to pay off.
Which brings me back to Frank Schaeffer and some of that "evangelicals for Obama" nonsense. Do you remember three weeks ago when Michelle Lee Muccio rocketed to Internet fame with her YouTube video? I've known Michelle for a couple of years, just from hanging around libertarian events in D.C. She works at the Acton Institute, which is all about getting Christians to understand that property rights and the free economy are far more consonant with Bible values than the socialist class-envy agenda of the Left.
This is a basic idea I've had for years, which I wrote about last fall in a column for the American Spectator called "The Bible vs. the Bailout." It infuriates me when people like that idiot Ryan Sager claim that there is some kind of conflict within the Republican "Big Tent" between evangelicals and libertarians. It's not true or, at least, it shouldn't be true. The idiocy of Frank Schaeffer -- and people like Rod Dreher, who can't seem to find time in their busy lives to read Ludwig Von Mises or Friedrich Hayek -- is that they have failed to understand, embrace and proclaim the truth that without economic liberty, we will have no other liberty, not even a free press or freedom of religion.
If the leadership of the Religious Right had proclaimed this truth to their followers -- who are "poor, uneducated and easy to command," we're told -- then evangelical conservatives would have screamed bloody murder over the Bush administration's deficit-spending ways and the profligacy of Republicans in Congress during those six long years where Bush seemed to have misplaced his veto pen. But the Mehlman/Rove axis was happy to get 51% with their jingoism and token gestures to the "base," while ignoring the basic maxim of governance that good policy is good politics.
So it is not as if I don't share the disappointment of effete critics like Schaeffer and Dreher and David Brooks -- the dogs who bark while the caravan moves on -- but rather that I was as undeceived about the essential nature of politics in 2001 as I am today. There are other maxims of politics that the barking dogs ignore, including this one: You can't govern if you don't win.
At a very basic level, politics comes down to the business of who can put the most butts in voting booths on Election Day. And when my libertarian or neocon friends scoff at pro-lifers and the Religious Right, my answer is always, "Yeah, but they can put butts in voting booths." How many votes can David Brooks deliver? Where is his powerful following? And since the answer is, "Not very many," then who the hell cares what David Brooks says about anything? He speaks for no important constituency, and his influence is effectively nihil, because the only people who pay attention to him are media types and others of the intelligentsia who vote about 8-to-1 Democrat year after year.
Dreher and Schaeffer and their ilk, however, are far more valuable to advancing the Democratic agenda. Because their dyspeptic obfuscations spread like a squid inking the waters, confusing and demoralizing the Bible believers who by all rights ought to be the staunchest advocates of economic liberty and, thus, the most militant opponents of Obamomics. What they are telling their readers is, "Don't bother to hope. Don't try to get involved and make a difference. You don't need to investigate for yourself what's going on. Why even bother to vote or contact your congressman? It doesn't matter what you think or what you do, because you are not important and politicians only care about important people. Just sit here with me, as inert as argon, complaining about everything, and take comfort in the dignity of your irrelevance."
Well, that ain't how I roll. Knowledge is more powerful than ignorance, truth is more powerful than a lie, and courage will always triumph over the weakling cowardice of those who sit on the sidelines whining because Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are in the starting lineup.
So I kept talking to my old friend who lost a half-million in the stock market, and I said to him that I have closely watched the signs of the times, and have seen the omens, and have faith that a mighty work is at hand. My friend laughed and remarked that, of course I know he's utterly unreligious.
"Yeah, I know, you're a damned pagan and I'm a hillbilly holly roller," I said. Nevertheless the signs of the times are clear to me, and I see which way this situation is headed. It doesn't matter whether you believe now, you will see soon enough. We are in the midst of a great sorting, separating the wheat from the chaff, and I don't plan to be the chaff.
As for Schaeffer and Dreher and those other barking dogs, they can either grow up and confront the realities of coalition politics, or find themselves counted as members of the hostile army encompassing the camp of the saints. I know what side I'm on, and I'm sick and tired of their carping pusillanimity. They can stand with us and fight the enemy, or they can get the hell gone, but the time for deciding is at hand, and they're not necessarily going to be the ones doing the deciding.
Living like a wild man on tip-jar contributions and freelance assignments isn't exactly fun, but at least I can tell the truth without having to ask anybody's permission. WOLVERINES!
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will announce that Sen. Ted Kennedy will receive an honorary knighthood, the Times Online is reporting.Drown a girl in an Oldsmobile, wield political influence to get the charges reduced to a minor traffic infraction, and go on to become a Knight of the British Empire! Only a Democrat could get away with that.
Brown is to make the announcement when he becomes the fifth British prime minister to address both houses of Congress.
Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat and an Irish-American, will be recognized by Queen Elizabeth II for his role in U.S.-British relations and the peace process in Northern Ireland.
Because he is not a British citizen, Kennedy will not be allowed to be called "Sir Ted," but he will be allowed to place the initials K.B.E.(Knight of the British Empire) after his name.
The question is from Ed Henry, CNN, of Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman: "The president has spoken a lot about bringing the country together. . . ."That caused me to laugh out loud. You have to hear the audio to appreciate the way Rush delivered that line. He started to read the entire question from Henry, preparatory to playing a sound-bite of Gibbs's response. As he began to do so, however, he halted, evidently struck by the total tee-ball nature of the question, which had zero to do with White House policy or the real work of the governing process.
Ed, you're a butt boy.
That set Rush off on a memorable monologue, and understandably so. Henry was simply giving Gibbs an easy shot at Limbaugh. Here's the complete question:
"Bob, the president has spoken a lot about bringing the country together. And after the stimulus fight, there was a lot of pandering in both parties about bipartisanship. What's the White House's reaction to Rush Limbaugh saying again that he wants the president to fail, specifically on his economic plans, and how does that bode for bipartisanship in the future working with the Republicans?"Henry asked Gibbs to give "the White House's reaction" not to any legislation in Congress or economic development on Wall Street, but rather to something said by a radio talk-show host. Imagine Ed Henry asking a White House spokesman to something said by, inter alia, Keith Olbermann or Chris Matthews. Never gonna happen.
Butt Boy Ed is not engaged in journalism. Rather, he is promoting a Democratic Party propaganda objective, to set up this "controversial" statement by Limbaugh in order to use Rush as a proxy for the Republican Party. It's a little game for Butt Boy Ed, to get the White House to officially condemn Limbaugh, so that Republican leaders in Congress can in turn be asked whether they side with the now-denounced radio host.
Butt Boy Ed is doing hammer-and-wedge work intended to divide and/or discredit the GOP, to render the conservative movement's most influential spokesman persona non grata among Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Butt Boy Ed thinks ordinary Americans are too stupid to see what it is he is doing, and that he is not engaged in genuine news reporting, but is in fact a partisan political operative propagandizing CNN viewers on behalf of the Democratic Party.
If Butt Boy Ed quit his job at CNN and went to work for the Obama administration, the first thing he'd do is collect back pay.
After Barack Obama's first six weeks as president, the American public's attitudes about the two political parties couldn't be more different, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds.What Murray doesn't tell the reader until the 15th paragraph is who was polled to get these results:
Despite the country's struggling economy and vocal opposition to some of his policies, President Obama's favorability rating is at an all-time high. . . .
By comparison, the Republican Party — which resisted Obama's recently passed stimulus plan and has criticized the spending in his budget — finds its favorability at an all-time low. It also receives most of the blame for the current partisanship in Washington and trails the Democrats by nearly 30 percentage points on the question of which party could best lead the nation out of recession.
While the poll — which was conducted of 1,007 adults from Feb. 26 to March 1, and which has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points — finds Obama in a strong position after his first six weeks as president, the same isn't true for Republicans.Random adults! Not "registered voters." Certainly not "likely voters." Just random adults. Look at the poll details (PDF): No effort was expended to determine the voting habits of the respondents. There was no screen at all. Just whatever 1,007 people answered the phone and said they were 18 or old.
This is important. The pollster, Peter Hart, and the folks at NBC/WSJ who commissioned the poll are not so stupid that they don't understand the importance of the distinction between "random adults" and actual voters.
Anyone who knows anything about public opinion polling knows that non-voters are different than voters. Everything we know about the behaviors and attitudes of non-voters shows that these are people disengaged from, and ignorant of, the political process. Compared to voters, non-voters tend to have lower levels of income and education, to be less informed about politics and current events, to score lower on every measure of civic involvement.
And guess what else we know about non-voters? If they could be motivated toward engagement with the political process, they would overwhelmingly vote Democrat and support liberal economic policies. So when news organization commission random-adult polls about political questions, the results will always skew substantially leftward, giving the false impression that Democrats and liberal policies are more popular than they actually are among actual voters.
Nobody knows this more than Democratic Party political operatives, who expend massive resources to register the unregistered, and to get as many as possible of these unengaged and uninformed people to vote. If you go back and look at 2008 exit polls, you find that Obama got 73% of voters with annual incomes under $15,000, and his strongest educational cohort was high-school dropouts (63%). Yet even with a historic level of Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts in 2008, there were still many millions who could not be bothered to go to the polls on election day.
Non-voters are irrelevant to the political process. Taking a random-adult about political questions and turning it into a major news story is therefore a fundamentally dishonest action. Polling random adults is fine, if you're asking about Coke vs. Pepsi, McDonald's vs. Burger King. But to do a random-adult poll about politics -- without even endeavoring to find within the respondents a subsample of registered voters or likely voters -- is not honest journalism.
And the fact that Murray buried in the 15th paragraph the fact that the NBC/WSJ poll was of random adults tells you that he understands, and wishes to conceal, the essential bogusness of the result.
"Nearly one in six Tennesseans has told a joke about Barack Obama's race, and three-fourths say they've heard or read at least one, even though only 15 percent of Tennesseans say they would find such a joke funny."But seriously, folks -- I just flew in from Nairobi and, man, are my arms tired!
BTW, yesterday was my best traffic day in the past 30 days -- 17K+ visitors, 20K+ page views. So while I'm thinking about traffic, let me do some belated Rule 2 for Rule 5 Sunday bloggers, as The Patriot Room brings you Danica Patrick bikini AND Faith Hill upskirt.
Also, if you want to hear me on PJM Radio, click here.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Evan Sayet spoke Tuesday at The Heritage Foundation, talking about the themes from his new book, How the Modern Liberal Winds Up on the Wrong Side of Every Issue.
Sayet reprised and updated a talk given two years previously, Regurgitating the Apple: How Modern Liberals "Think". (YouTube version)
Among the key influences on both talks were Allan Bloom, author of The Closing of the American Mind, and Thomas Sowell., author of The Vision of the Anointed.
In today's outing, Evan built upon a three point thesis about "modern liberals":
- They are raised to believe that the sole virtue is not making discriminate judgments, e.g. promiscuity is bad, chastity is good. Since discriminating between good and bad is the new taboo, coming out in favor of the good and successful choice is to be avoided. This leaves the unsuccessful and bad choice as the way to go.
- Evidence of success, e.g. the pre-eminent position occupied by the US, cannot be predicated upon any inherent superiority of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. That would violate the first two premises. Therefore, the modern liberal must conclude that the US is a brutal, imperialist country, and consistently side with her enemies.
UPDATE (by Stacy): Thanks to long-time commenter Smitty for his first post. Click here to download Sayet's lecture in MP3 format. I arrived late. Among my notes of the lecture, Sayet said that "stupidity is a luxury," and that in academia, "liberals cannot survive in the fields where truth is truth." He got a big laugh mocking Rosie O'Donnell's "9-11 truther" claim that "fire can't melt steel." Sayet said O'Donnell must know better: "I know she's watched 'Flashdance' -- over and over and over."
I love how Jason calls out Frank Schaeffer, who responds that "Rush Limbaugh is to the conservative movement what Jabba the Hut was to the 'Star Wars' movies."
Oh. Ha, ha, ha. Now I get it. A fat joke. Wow, that is so erudite and sophisticated.
- Waste the maximum amount of the caller's time. They're getting paid to call you, and every minute of time they waste on you is a minute they can't spend calling someone who might actually give them money.
- Demoralize them. Your objective is to convince the caller that you are a loyal Democrat and have been for years, but . . . (and here you might want to choke up just a little) . . . Obama's breaking your heart. He has sold out and betrayed everything you ever believed in as a loyal Democrat.