Saturday, December 6, 2008

The mystery of North Dakota

"Damn fiscally-responsible Republicans are making everyone look bad."

Bill Ayers, terrorist, still unrepentant

The New York Times grants Bill Ayers 845 words on its op-ed page to defend himself. In the 11th paragraph, he twice uses the word "regrets," but if you think he's going to apologize or repent, think again:
I have regrets, of course -- including mistakes of excess and failures of imagination, posturing and posing, inflated and heated rhetoric, blind sectarianism and a lot else. No one can reach my age with their eyes even partly open and not have hundreds of regrets. The responsibility for the risks we posed to others in some of our most extreme actions in those underground years never leaves my thoughts for long.
The antiwar movement in all its commitment, all its sacrifice and determination, could not stop the violence unleashed against Vietnam. And therein lies cause for real regret.
"Unleashed" by whom? Not the Marxist-Leninist regime in Hanoi, which Ayers actively supported. He never tried to stop that violence. The guys who tried to stop the Marxist-Leninist violence were the U.S. military -- the "pigs" Ayers tried to kill.

The Weather Underground's bombings were, according to Ayers, "symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism." An officer's dance at Fort Dix, N.J., was one of those "monuments," and when the bomb planned for that event accidentally detonated, it was powerful enough to kill three people and destroy the building in which it was being built. Ah, but here's the Big Lie by which Ayers attempts to evade responsibility for that:
In 1970, I co-founded the Weather Underground, an organization that was created after an accidental explosion that claimed the lives of three of our comrades in Greenwich Village.
A damned lie. The radical Weatherman faction of SDS emerged in the wake of protests at the 1968 Democratic convention, staged its first "extreme vandalism" during the October 1969 "Days of Rage" in Chicago, and declared its dedication to terrorist "revolutionary" action at a December 1969 "war council" in Flint, Michigan. Their express intent was to be an American version of the Viet Cong. To try to claim that the organization was not created until after the March 1970 Greenwich Village townhouse explosion is dishonest revisionism.

The New York Times has disgraced itself by publishing this Big Lie, which is as false as anything Jayson Blair ever wrote.

More comment at Newsbusters, Jammie Wearing Fool, Don Surber, Cold Fury and Nice Deb.

UPDATE: Eric Posner at the Volokh Conspiracy:
Under current law, Ayers was a terrorist. This definition is not idiosyncratic; similar definitions can be found in the laws of foreign countries and in international treaties. Ayers seems to think he ought to be excused for violence because his motives were good, but that is the excuse that terrorists always offer -- that their political goals justify their use of violence -- and naturally the legal definition could not permit such a defense without subverting itself, or turning every terrorism trial into a debate about whether the political ends of the defendants are "good" or "bad" from a moral or political perspective.
Terrorism is about means, not ends. There were many opponents of U.S. involvement in Vietnam who did not resort to bombings as a means to express their opposition.

UPDATE II: Jules Crittenden observes: "In running Ayers' lengthy self-absolution, the New York Times charitably overlooks its own reporting on the subject" -- a 1970 Weather Underground bombing in San Francisco killed one policeman and severely injured another.

UPDATE III: Allahpundit: "Terrorists, it seems, kill people indiscriminately whereas the Weathermen never tried to kill anyone. Except cops. And soldiers."

UPDATE IV: Ace is pretty cheesed, too.

UPDATE V: Speaking of Ace, a friend reminds me of an AOSHQ post by Dave in Texas, linking a 1977 New York Times article about Ayers' and his colleagues' ties to Cuban intelligence:
Cuban espionage agents operating in the United States and Canada supplied limited aid to the Weather Underground, a militant antiwar organization, in the late 1960's and 1970's, according to a top-secret report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation . . . .
After the Weathermen went "underground" in 1970 and many of them were being sought by the F.B.I. on criminal charges, Cuban intelligence officers were in touch with them from both the New York mission and the Cuban Embassy in Canada.
Cuban officials helped several Weather Underground adherents who feared arrest in the United States to travel to Prague, Czechoslovakia, and then to reenter the United Slates surreptitiously.
The Weathermen were willing agents of Marxist regimes hostile to the United States. Ayers is not only a terrorist, but a traitor. If it hadn't been for Jack Ruby, I suppose we'd now be reading New York Times op-eds by 69-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald: "I have regrets, of course . . ."

'I simply can't resist her'

Tobin Harshaw of the New York Times swoons for . . . aw, c'mon, you can guess who, right?

Best Blog Post Title of the Week

"Other than the psychosis, bad faith argumentation, lying, and distorting, he’s a good guy"

National Bankruptcy Day

This year Congress passed (and the clueless idiot in the White House signed into law) the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), which will go into effect Feb. 10, 2009 -- which activists in the garment trade have named National Bankruptcy Day, because this draconian regulatory regime will destroy the domestic children's apparel manufacturing industry.

Drive 40,000 small businesses out of existence -- it's for the children!

My brilliant career

Twenty-two years in the newspaper business -- a business that appears to be going out of business: That's OK, because I've got mad skilz on the Internet. Why, I could become a big-time Web consultant -- if my daddy was a congressman:
Between 2004 and 2007, Rep. Charles Rangel steered nearly $80,000 in campaign cash to an Internet company run by his son -- paying lavishly for a pair of political websites so poorly designed an expert estimated one should have cost no more than $100 to create. . . .
Steven Rangel's design for his father's National Leadership PAC site appears to have been slapped together in a hurry, intermittently updated and never spell-checked. An apologetic note near the top of the site warns readers that the page is undergoing "routine maintenace [sic]" and cautions that "much of our content is currently unavailable." Another button urges visitors to "Give Contribuition [sic]."
If his gig falls through, it's not like a congressman's son has to go out and get a real private-sector job or anything:
[H]is dad got him a spot as an investigative counsel on the Energy and Commerce Committee now headed by Henry Waxman.
Hopefully, his investigative skills are better than his spelling and HTML skills.

BTW, if any congressman wants to adopt me, I can throw together a campaign blog in about half an hour -- but that half-hour will cost you $10,000, Dad.

(CORRECTED: Slight mathematical error. If I was good at math, I would have been an engineer or a banker instead of a journalist.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bill O'Reilly: Pinhead

Notice how, in debating naysaying Megyn Kelly about the atheist display in Washington State, Bill keeps returning to the KKK as analogous to atheism:

Link: Or kelly

Via Hot Air, where Allahpundit buys into the liberal mythology of the Establishment Clause -- but that's not relevant to O'Reilly's pinheadedness, which is my topic here. To O'Reilly, the anti-religious sentiments of the atheist display -- meant as "equal time" to a Christmas display at the state capitol -- are obnoxious, and therefore he gets hung up on the idea that the KKK could demand equal time with an MLK memorial.

Megyn tries to explain the current state of constitutional jurisprudence in the matter, an explanation which would probably be non-objectionable to Justice Scalia or any other conservative legal scholar. Yet O'Reilly won't let go of his analogy: The atheist statement is obnoxious, ergo, the Klan. It's like Abbott and Costello. "I don't know!" "Third base!"

What O'Reilly can't seem to get his mind around is the fact that religious expression has a special status under the First Amendment, a status that racial expression does not have. Washington State has granted a place in the public square to expressions of religious belief and therefore (at least so far as current precedents suggest), the state must do some CYA by allowing contrary expressions, or else they'll risk an ACLU lawsuit. The Klan is going to have a much higher threshold to cross in demanding equal time on MLK Day, because that's not a religious observation.

O'Reilly's repetition of the same irrelevant point indicates either (a) he hasn't bothered to study anything about First Amendment law, or (b) he's just baiting Megyn for the sake of "good TV."

Now, returning to Allah's notion of the Establishment Clause as forbidding state or local governments from recognizing religion: This is the "incorporation doctrine" view of the 14th Amendment that makes a mockery of the Founding Fathers' intent.

At the time the First Amendment was ratified, there were states (including Connecticut and Massachusetts) that had established churches. In forbidding the federal government ("Congress shall make no law ...") from legislating in "respect" to any "establishment of religion," the First Amendment not only forbade Congress from creating any official religion at the national level, but also forbade Congress from interfering with any of the official religions (i.e., establishments) in the various states.

The Establishment Clause, therefore, forbade the federal government from interfering with religion in any way whatsoever, while leaving the states absolutely free to do as they pleased. And at the time the 14th Amendment was proposed and ratified, no one suggested that the new amendment would change that arrangement. It was not until decades later that the "incorporation doctrine" was propounded as requiring the federal courts to compel state and local governments to abide by Bill of Rights restrictions that had originally been intended specifically to limit federal power.

This bait-and-switch is one of the dirtiest tricks in history. Instead of a limited federal government, as the Founders intended, we now have a Leviathan that was (according to the courts) literally compelled to interfere in the routine affairs of local government. We no longer have a union of states; the states have been abolished, except as mere administrative units of the all-powerful federal Leviathan. Had Madison for one minute imagined such a state of affairs developing as a result of the Constitution, he'd have told the Convention to go straight to hell, left Philadelphia and gone home to tell his constituents to take up arms if any such scheme were ever proposed again.

Thirty-one days after the election . . .

. . . and Andrew Sullivan is still obsessed by Trig trutherism. To a conspiracy theorist, no fact is an obstacle. The most obvious obstacle to Sully's theory -- i.e., that Trig was actually Bristol's first child and Sarah faked a pregnancy to hide that scandal -- is that Down's syndrome is (a) rare among births to women under 25, and (b) relatively common among women over 40. At age 39, a woman has 10 times the risk of having a Down's pregnancy, compared to a woman under 25 (where the risk is 1 in 1,400 births). The very fact that Trig is a Down's baby means that Sarah being the mother is at least 10 times as likely as Bristol being the mother.

Beyond that, it is utterly irrelevant, its news value at zero and still falling. Obama's already won the election and, while there is maybe a 50-50 chance Palin will be the 2012 GOP nominee, nobody except Sully has ever put any stock in this bizarro theory, so why the hell would they care about it four years from now?

Will the Republican Party be playing the Bill Ayers/Jeremiah Wright card in four years? No, of course not. An issue that doesn't gain traction in one election cycle is not going to suddenly metamorphose into Kryptonite before the next cycle. This was what was so stupid about Dan Rather trying to chase down the Texas Air National Guard "scandal" in 2004 -- who gave a crap about that old stuff from 30 years ago, when Bush had already been president for four years?

Because Sully has cornered the market on Trig trutherism -- a toxic commodity that no serious journalist is interested in -- he keeps pushing it, 'cause it's the only thing he's got. Pathetic. Just pathetic.

UPDATE: Ann Althouse gives Sully a brisk fisking, and commenter Kirk Parker adds:
"Maybe I am crazy..."
Wow, I see a glimmer of self-awareness beginning to assert itself.
Cruel, horribly cruel. True. But cruel.

Who said it?

"We need someone who speaks from the center. Sarah Palin is not the voice of our party."
-- Guess Who?

Jennifer Granholm . . . nude?

Erick says somebody e-mailed him nude pictures of the Michigan governor and he can't tell if they're PhotoShop fakes or not:
I’m willing to call them fake because there are no indecent acts with union bosses in any of the photos.

Sarah to Oprah: Drop dead

The road to 2012 doesn't go through Chicago:
It's not Oprah Winfrey's fault that former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin hasn't been a guest on her talk show yet! Winfrey declared, "I said I would be happy to talk to Sarah Palin when the election was over... I went and tried to talk to Sarah Palin and instead she talked to Greta [Van Susteren]. She talked to Matt [Lauer]. She talked to Larry [King]. But she didn't talk to me. But maybe she'll talk to me now that she has a [multi-million dollar] book deal."
And maybe not.

Dear Kathleen Parker . . .

Tempted as I am to write a short post ("bite me"), your dishonest attempt to walk back your "oogedy-boogedy" slur deserves more. Much more.

In seeking to evade responsibility for your studied insult to millions of Americans, you describe a "broad perception among centrists, moderates, conservative Democrats, renegade Republicans, etc. . . . that the GOP is the party of white Christians to the exclusion of others."

What you call a "broad perception," Ms. Parker, would more accurately be called a stereotype, and it is your lazy willingness to solicit favor from liberals by demonizing this stereotype of Republicans that has put you in such odium among conservatives.

It is an unfortunate fact that many conservative activists seem incapable of objectivity about the Republican Pary's image problems. Your "oogedy boogedy" slur obscures, rather than illuminates, the real sources of Republican brand damage. You are therefore part of the problem, not part of the solution.

The GOP's image problems are multifaceted. There is, for example, the broad perception of Republicans as the party of inherited wealth and privilege, a perception aggravated by having a scion of the Bush dynasty in the White House for the past eight years. There is also the broad perception of Republicans as the party of warmongering jingos . . . er, ditto.

Furthermore, there is the perception of Republicans as the party of grumpy old fuddy-duddies, a perception aggravated by the recent candidacy of a 72-year-old bald guy with a notoriously bad temper. A party that rejects the magnificently handsome millionaire Mitt Romney in favor of a grouchy geezer like Crazy Cousin John isn't really serious about trying to win elections in the TV age.

So, Ms. Parker, with all these image problems for Republicans to overcome, why your "oogedy boogedy" fixation on white Christians? Answer: Because it is easy -- as easy as reaching a "compromise" with Ted Kennedy on No Child Left Behind, as easy as deciding that the solution to illegal immigration is a "path to citizenship," as easy as selling out the GOP to Jack Abramoff's casino clients.

So much for the GOP's problems. Your biggest problem, Ms. Parker, is that you think you're so smart that no one who disagrees with you can ever catch on to what you're doing. Let's go back to your column of Nov. 19:
To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.
I call specific attention to your use of the term "evangelical," by which you actually mean, conservative Protestants. Do you not see this? And do you not see what is wrong with your analysis? You are not the first to do this, Ms. Parker -- you follow a path previously trod by Christopher Caldwell and Ryan Sager, among others.

It is an indisputable fact that conservative Catholics are the solid backbone of the Christian pro-life movement. (If you doubt this, come to Washington, DC, for the annual March for Life next month, and witness the crowds of Catholic students packed into the trains at Union Station.) Conservative Catholics also are staunch opponents of same-sex marriage and embryonic stem-cell research, and are the leading activists on the kind of end-of-life issues dramatized by the Terry Schiavo case. And yet you, Ms. Parker, say not a word about Catholics.

When critics of social conservatism single out "evangelicals" as the source of the GOP's woes, what they actually have in mind is TV preachers like Pat Robertson and the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, as well as (a demeaning stereotype of) their followers. "Poor, undereducated and easily led," as a Washington Post reporter once summed it up.

If your concern is about the Republican Party's stance on abortion and other social issues, Ms. Parker, why do you specify "evangelicals" and not conservative Catholics? Answer: Because smearing Catholics still carries the taint of prejudice, whereas conservative Protestants are a favorite target of ridicule among the enlightened elite whose esteem you covet. And when you narrow it down by specifying that you mean white conservative Protestants, this allows you to disguise your appeal to bigotry as a call for diversity! (Neat trick, that.)

We are not stupid, Ms. Parker. We know what you mean by "oogedy-boogedy." It's those hillbilly holy-rollers, the Bible-thumping hicks and their slick-hair preachers you mean to hold up for universal scorn as the source of the GOP's woe.

Your column today indicates you have not yet realized your error, Ms. Parker. The reason liberals single out "evangelicals" for particular scorn can be summed up in three words: Divide et impera. By identifying social issues with hayseed Baptists and Pentacostals, liberals mean to drive a wedge into the conservative coalition, to try to embarrass Catholics, Orthodox Jews and other non-evangelical conservatives by associating their issues with an unfashionable crowd of (supposed) troglodytes.

You, Ms. Parker, claim that your lazy emulation of this liberal tactic was motivated by sincere concern for the Republican Party. You will excuse the eye-rolling disbelief of conservatives, especially after your contemptuous dismissal of Sarah Palin's prayer that God would lead her to "an open door."

A woman earnestly seeking God's will for her life is what's wrong with the Republican Party?

I searched your latest column for any evidence of contrition for that remark, and found none. This absence of remorse on your part tempts me to make reference to a supernatural conception of the afterlife, Ms. Parker. But rather than tell you to go to hell, I'll stick to my Bible-thumping hayseed ways, and turn the other cheek. Or is that too "oogedy-boogedy" for you?

UPDATE: Linked at Conservative Grapevine. Linked at Ace of Spade HQ.

UPDATE II: Shannen Coffin takes a swing at the Parker pinata:
At bottom, the fundamental problem with Kathleen Parker's argument is that leaves to Kathleen Parker the decision as to what is too "oogedy-boogedy” for the public square. She even quotes the indecipherable legal standard proffered by Justice Potter Stewart for cases involving pornography: "I know it when I see it." . . .
Parker, like Stewart, has failed in intelligibly defining a standard. But she's failed even more in defending her characterization of the Religious Right as made up of "oogedy-boogedy" fundamentalists who put off moderates.
The problem with the term "moderate" in politics is that it posits some happy medium between equal extremes. Well, then, what's "extreme"? Planned Parenthood nurses acting as accomplices to statutory rape -- is that "extreme"? If so, then I make the "moderate" proposal that we prohibit federal funding of Planned Parenthood. It's Humpty Dumpty from Through the Looking Glass:
"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."
You either acknowledge Kathleen Parker's authority to declare what is disreputable "oogedy-boogedy" extremism or you don't. And I'd like to know where she derives that authority, other than being published by The Washington Post, by which standard E.J. Dionne and Richard Cohen can likewise boss us around at will.

Planned Parenthood exposed

Victor Morton of The Washington Times reports:

Planned Parenthood of Indiana has suspended a nurse after the release of an undercover videotape showing her coaching a supposed 13-year-old on how to duck Indiana's laws about parental-consent on abortion and the reporting of child sex-abuse.
The videotape shows Lila Rose, the president of a university pro-life group and a brunette, posing as a blonde 13-year-old girl named "Brianna" and telling the Planned Parenthood nurse at the clinic in Bloomington, Ind., that she is pregnant by a 31-year-old man.
"I am supposed to report [you] to Child Protective Services," says the nurse on the videotape, though assuring "Brianna" she will not do so if she can tell a plausible different story.
"I didn't hear the age. I don't want to know the age," the nurse says at a later point on the tape.
The nurse, who is referred to on the video as "Diana" but whose face is blurred out, knew neither that the session was being taped nor that "Brianna" really was Miss Rose, a 20-year-old pro-life activist at UCLA.

And an ironic note:

A city spokesman said Thursday that the Bloomington City Police is not investigating the clinic or the nurse for possibly violating the statutory-rape notification law, but is beefing up security around the facility to protect it from a possible backlash.

So the potential criminality at the clinic elicits no police interest, but watch out for those deranged pro-lifers!

The video:

In June, Students for Life of America (SFLA) did a very similar video about Planned Parenthood of North Carolina:

SFLA has an online petition to end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Ditto, Dwight!

"And in 2012, we'll have Sarah Palin to clean up Obama's mess and remind us again of America's exceptionalism."
-- Z. Dwight Billingsly

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fake hate, real stupidity

Predictable: Another campus "hate" hoax, with a black student posting a bogus "racially offensive" message on a student Web forum, prompting the ritual recriminations by students and faculty, until finally the hoax is admitted, and defended as "satire." (Via Volokh & Instapundit.) This very much reminds me of the anti-Muslim "satire" at GWU last year.

Liberals possess Complete Moral Authority, which means that however vicious, unfair, obnoxious, dishonest, or coercive their tactics, their good intentions can never be questioned. Conversely, no matter how courteous, honorable and erudite a conservative may be, he will inevitably and routinely be accused of bad faith. One recalls the reviewer of William F. Buckley's classic God & Man at Yale who said the book had "the glow and appeal of a fiery cross on a hillside at night."

At some point, any conservative who aims to accomplish anything must learn to accept such attacks as evidence of success. If you were accomplishing nothing, they wouldn't bother to call you names and impugn your motives.

UPDATE: In seeking that particular criticism of Buckley's first book, I turned up an online version of his introduction to the 25th anniversary edition of God & Man at Yale. Buckley quotes a two-sentence formulation from the book that drove his critics into paroxysms of fury:
I believe that the duel between Christianity and atheism is the most important in the world. I further believe that the struggle between individualism and collectivism is the same struggle reproduced on another level.
Those two sentences were eagerly embraced by Christian conservatives -- indeed, Buckley might well be said to have been a founder of the "Religious Right" long before that term came into common usage -- but were bitterly assailed by liberals.

What Buckley's critics did not realize was that this passage had been crucially amended by Buckley's mentor and editor, Professor Willmoore Kendall. Yet Buckley did not disown or repudiate that striking parallelism because, he says, he was "not unamused by the sputtering outrage of its critics."

This, you see, was the original genius of Buckley -- his unabashed joy in offending the sensibilities of liberals and driving them into "sputtering outrage." What liberals always count on in debate is their moral superiority (wholly imagined as it is) which they expect will cause the conservative to slink away in shame. Buckley, however, was made of sterner stuff. He saw the fury of the liberal attack on that two-sentence passage as evidence that he must be onto something. The indignation with which liberals denied a nexus between the religious and the political, he realized, meant that he had touched them in a tender place. He therefore vigorously defended the most unpopular part of his book -- even though the precise wording was not originally his own.

I call attention to this not merely because it is an important lesson in conservative discourse, but because it is such a contrast to the method of many of the latter-day Buckley wannabes. David Brooks, who professes to admire Buckley, would rather sneer at conservative "populists" than to lay down a withering fire on a vulnerable salient of the liberal position. And Buckley, it will be recalled, once co-authored a stout defense of Joe McCarthy, a thoroughgoing populist.

Buckley was a fighter, a man who did not hesitate to identify liberalism as the enemy, and who attacked it with all his might. Go and do thou likewise!

Discussing "Conservatism 2.0"

Keying off a Village Voice column, Michelle Malkin talks about the future of conservatism with Joe Hicks on PJTV.

Quote of the Day

"I'll tell ya, you know, liberals out there cannot stand her. Regular populist liberals cannot stand her. A lot of the middle of the road people can't stand her. But as long as you got an audience, look at that crowd! . . . This is really hard to do this, to salute Sarah Palin."
-- Chris Matthews
UPDATE: A liberal responds:
The sense of entitlement that this blowhard personifies is truly stunning. He's spent his entire life as a principle-free political gossip in Washington - a human embodiment of all that is sick and wrong with Beltway culture. And yet, he really thinks he can just parachute into one of the largest states in the country, buy a mansion in Philadelphia and be a senator on sheer celebrity alone.
Hmmm. Wonder where Matthews got that idea?

Blame Al Gore . . .

. . . for the "new American political tradition: the quadrennial early-winter attempt to overturn presidential results by any means necessary," says Dave Weigel.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Hanging with Alito

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito made headlines with his Joe Biden jokes at Wednesday's American Spectator gala. The missus and I attended, and here are a few photos:

Josiah Ryan (CNS), Justice Alito, Cool Sexy Blogger Guy.

Cool Sexy Blogger Guy & His Hot Wife.

American Spectator Managing Editor J.P. Freire & the Cool Sexy Blogger Guy's Hot Wife.

American Spectator Editor-in-Chief R. Emmett Tyrrell & the Cool Sexy Blogger Guy.

American Spectator editorial director Wlady Pleszczynski & the Cool Sexy Blogger Guy.

UPDATE: Kerry Picket has a story and video audio:

UPDATE II: R. Emmett Tyrrell's speech is now online, along with Jay Homnick's account of the banquet.

Jade Vixen Ph.D.

An engineering grad student at Penn is revealed to be a kinky dominatrix known as Jade Vixen, and her transvestite "sissy slut" boyfriend turns out to be a top attorney at a prestigious Manhattan law firm, after a tattooed muscle-bound stalker kills the boyfriend and kidnaps the dominatrix.

No, that's not the quick-pitch for a movie starring Kevin Spacey and Lucy Liu, it's front-page news in the New York Post.

The real shocker? Neither Eliot Spitzer nor Jim McGreevey makes an appearance in this story.

UPDATE: Welcome AOSHQ Morons!

Crackdown on illegals works

One of the most persistent excuses you hear to justify amnesty for illegal aliens is, "We can't deport 14 million people!" No, but a little bit of get-tough enforcement goes a long way, as one Virginia community has discovered:
Many illegal immigrants have left Prince William County or slid out of public view in the 17 months since the county's high-profile crackdown on them was proposed.
Student enrollment in the public schools' English as a Second Language program has dropped by several hundred students over the past year while increasing in surrounding jurisdictions, one sign that immigrants have left. fewer day laborers congregate outside the 7-Eleven on the corner of Route 1 and Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge. . . .
Indeed, Victor Rincon, manager of Michael's Restaurant -- adjacent to the 7-Eleven on Route 1 -- said the exodus of immigrants has practically decimated his business.
"My place has lost about 75 percent of the business," he said. "We have lost nearly everything. There's no immigrants anymore. They have gone to Maryland or another state."
An enforcement-oriented attitude tends to encourage "self-deportation," and if more effective interior enforcement were combined with more rigorous border security, the result would be a net outflow of illegals. No drastic or extreme measures are necessary. If only a few basic steps were taken, a substantial reduction of the illegal population could be achieved in a few years.

Chambliss win bad news for GOP?

No matter what happens -- even a 14-point Republican victory -- the media geniuses will always find a way to spin it as bad news for conservatives:
With time and money on their sides, though, we can expect that Obama and other Democratic leaders will be look to make 2012 the year that the Solid South is broken once and for all. Certainly with an incumbent president and demographic trends continuing to work, Democrats could cement gains in Virginia and Florida and perhaps even North Carolina. . . .
With an invigorated Democratic effort and Libertarians drawing better than 3 percent in key races, it wouldn’t take long for the rest of the South to turn blue.
Somehow these geniuses can't accept the simple and obvious explanation that nominating a bald, grumpy, old guy for president is bad politics. No, the Big Picture must be something nuanced and complex, so that only geniuses can explain it.

As I've said before: Don't overthink it. At some basic level, politics is about popularity. When the other guys nominate Will Smith and you nominate Mister Magoo, no grand ideological theory or demographic trend is necessary to explain why you got your ass kicked.

Holiday Books: Regnery on Conservatism

Only 20 shopping days until Christmas!

The 2008 Holiday Book Sale continues with Al Regnery's Upstream: The Ascendance of American Conservatism. This is a valuable history of the movement that changed America, told by one of the participants, and based on interviews with dozens who were eyewitnesses to that history. Regnery shows how the intellectual stream of conservatism intersected with political activism to produce the powerful movement that first spectacularly failed (with the defeat of Goldwater in 1964 and the subsequent Nixonian detour) before succeeding with the election of Ronald Reagan and the "Republican Revolution" of 1994. Regnery ends with sober reflections on the Bush era.

Regnery, by the way, is no fan of "compassionate conservatism," "national greatness" and other big-government Republican heresies. In the December/January double issue of the American Spectator (subscribe now!), Regnery takes aim at an icon of the "national greatness" crowd by recommending Thomas DiLorenzo's Hamilton's Curse: How Jefferson's Arch Enemy Betrayed the American Revolution--and What It Means for Americans Today. Regnery's recommendation alone makes this a book worth reading.

Books make great gifts and Amazon offers nationwide delivery, so why wait? ORDER NOW!


What happened to Natalie Holloway?

Maybe something like Donkey Punch -- a casual hookup with a guy who (surprise, surprise) decides to indulge a porn-inspired taste for sado-masochism.

While it's not often that an Ace 0f Spades post inspires literary allusions, I am very much reminded of William Faulkner's Sanctuary, the story of a sheltered college girl, Temple Drake, who by chance finds herself cast into the outlaw millieu of a Memphis bootlegging gang. The name "Temple," like the title of the story itself, is a sort of symbolic play on words.

While I have no clue what happened to Natalie Holloway (and let's face it, Greta Van Susteren is just milking the case to get expense-paid trips to Aruba), her disappearance has always struck me as a typical Temple Drake scenario: Privileged girl strays outside the boundaries of her sheltered existence and discovers that the rules are different "out there." Whatever happened to Natalie, her decision to leave the resort hotel with a local was the kind of choice that no streetwise person would have made.

Tom Wolfe played on the same theme in a different way in Bonfire of the Vanities: The wealthy young investment banker stumbles into an underclass environment he doesn't understand, a world where his wealth only makes him a more conspicuous target for the streetwise hustlers.

So Donkey Punch, the tale of three girls on holiday who find themselves in a deadly situation as a result of hooking up with attractive strangers, is very much in this literary vein.


OK, suppose you're a Vanilla-American, trying to figure out how to game the affirmative-action quota formula by which Democrats choose Cabinet officers. Take inspiration from this Labor Secretary wannabe:
For the rainbow cabinet of the nation's first African American president, Mary Beth Maxwell is the perfect labor secretary you've probably never heard of: a gay woman, community organizer and labor leader with an adopted African American son.
Don't despair, homogenous honkies: You're only one same-sex relationship and one transracial adoption away from having Cabinet-worthy "diversity" credentials. Further commentary at Newsbusters and Ace of Spades HQ.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Oprah's inauguration

She's going to be in D.C. for the entire week of the inauguration. Renting the Kennedy Center for use as a temporary studio:
Winfrey, who fundraised for Obama, appeared with him in several key primary states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. She was also on hand for his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention in Denver, and his victory speech in Chicago last month.
Prediction: The backlash against Obamamania will eventually undermine Oprah's popularity. By 2010, her ratings will be in serious decline.

The missing rationale

Ann Althouse tries, without much success, to make sense of a study showing that female students are more interested in studying abroad.

Ms. Althouse, let me give you a very simple explanation: Daddy's Precious Darling Syndrome.

To the extent that anything is seen as a luxury, modern American parents are more likely to provide it to their daughters than to their sons.

One can analyze the causes of Daddy's Precious Darling Syndrome, but its existence is beyond dispute -- back in the day, I dated enough of those spoiled-rotten girls to know the phenomenon quite intimately. There is a certain upper-middle-class environment in which the overprivileged daughter functions as a status symbol for the parents. Think: Monica Lewinsky.

If foreign study is a parent-provided luxury, then you can be certain in our contemporary culture that girls will get more of it than boys. It's really that simple.

Obama to base: 'Thanks, chumps!'

He promised a windfall profits tax on oil companies. Forget it. He promised to bring the troops home. Forget that, too:
On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to "end the war" in Iraq.
But as he moves closer to the White House, President-elect Obama is making clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq, even
if he can make good on his campaign promise to pull all combat forces out within 16 months.
"I said that I would remove our combat troops from Iraq in 16 months, with the understanding that it might be necessary -- likely to be necessary -- to maintain a residual force to provide potential training, logistical support, to protect our civilians in Iraq," Mr. Obama said this week as he introduced his national security team.
Democrats, do you know why Obama is screwing you over like this? Because you're a bunch of pathetic, masochistic weaklings, that's why. You get ripped off and sold out because that's your existential purpose in the universe.

You man the phone banks, you walk the precincts, you're a True Believer, and as soon as they get what they want, you cease to matter. You are nothing but a vehicle for someone else's ambition, a means to their ends.

Remember all those speeches, all those e-mails from Obama, proclaiming that the election was all about you? And now you see it's all about GM and Citgroup and Goldman Sachs, right? Obama doesn't give a damn about you, and never did. He's a user, and you've been used.

Obligatory Chambliss-gropes-granddaughter in campaign video

Jon Stewart's reaction is classic:

Ethnic patronage

Michelle Malkin notes the pressure to get more Latino appointments in the Obama Cabinet. For some reason, the appointment of Bill Richardson to Commerce reminds me of the late Ron Brown, who was memorably mourned by Bill Clinton.

Watch out for those Balkan trade missions, Bill.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

'Man, she was dynamite'

Advice for Saxby Chambliss

From Erick Erickson:
Now Saxby, pay attention: If you do not fire Charlie Harmon tomorrow and undergo a significant restructuring of your Washington office you will prove yourself a fool who has learned nothing from this. Hiring a Democrat to run your office was a bad idea. That he pushed you to engage in bipartisan compromises that did nothing but piss off your base was inexcusable.
Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

Death by consultants

Erick Erickson writes about "the need to purge the party of the 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch your back' consultant regime."

This is relevant to two facts I recently mentioned: (a) the GOP raised $720 million in the 2008 election cycle, and (b) the GOP is run by assholes.

Lesbian has no life!

And that's a good thing, says Ed Rendell, who more or less outs Janet Napolitano in an open-mic incident highlighted by Campbell Brown:

What Rendell is saying is that heterosexuality is a career-killer for women.

Huffpo love for Georgia

A commenter at Michelle Malkin's mentioned that the HuffPo comments field was going toxic in reaction to Saxby Chambliss's win in Georgia, and he wasn't kidding:

Way to go Georgia!! Keeps you right in there with Texas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Arkansas, South Carolina and Alabama as bastions of family values (those primarily being that it is desirable to marry within ones own family). lesterbud

It's reminicent of lynching or raping a child or pummeling a little old lady. -- Kit Chandler

I have come to conclusion that the South prefers not to be educate their young, they would rather keep them dumb, and vote Republican. -- jpshotwheels

Is anyone really surprised by this evolutionarily challenged, brainless, toothless, interbred heehaw state? I'm not. -- ConcernedAboutRFuture

The real story is about how incredibly gullible and stupid Georgia voters are. -- raker

GA is a racist redneck rethug holdout. -- roshni

There are also multiple commenters who repeat the Democratic propaganda claim that, in the 2002 Senate race, Chambliss somehow libeled Max Cleland. The truth -- which no Democrat wants to accept -- is that Cleland had voted to allow unionization of the Department of Homeland Security. The Chambliss campaign ran a tough ad attacking Cleland for that vote, and that is the sole grounds of the myth that Chambliss mistreated Cleland. But Democrats cling to that myth -- "How dare Republicans question Max Cleland's patriotism!" -- because it helps them rationalize their hate.

Oh, and as to all those "toothless inbred hillbilly" comments: Chambliss got his decisive margins in the prosperous, fast-growing suburbs and exurbs surrounding Atlanta.

UPDATE: Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote Monday about the "attacking Cleland's patriotism" canard.

UPDATE II: Welcome, Jawas!

The crazy generation

Twent percent of kids are nuts:
Almost one in five young American adults has a personality disorder that interferes with everyday life, and even more abuse alcohol or drugs, researchers reported Monday in the most extensive study of its kind.
The disorders include problems such as obsessive or compulsive tendencies and anti-social behavior that can sometimes lead to violence. . . .
Counting substance abuse, the study found that nearly half of young people surveyed have some sort of psychiatric condition. . . .
Personality disorders were the second most common problem behind drug or alcohol abuse as a single category. The disorders include obsessive, anti-social and paranoid behaviors that are not mere quirks but actually interfere with ordinary functioning.
Bunch of psycho dope fiends! This explains why Obama won the youth vote 2-to-1.

Chambliss and the growth factor

In analyzing Sen. Saxby Chambliss' impressive victory in Georgia -- he defeated Democrat Jim Martin by more than 300,000 votes in Tuesday's runoff -- it is important to understand where that Republican margin comes from. While liberals will try to explain Martin's defeat as a product of retrograde rural backlash, the decisive factor for Chambliss was his large margins in the prosperous, fast-growing suburban and exurban counties around Atlanta.

As usual for Republicans in Georgia, Chambliss piled up huge margins in the mega-suburban counties of Cobb and Gwinnett, beating Martin by nearly 50,000 votes in each. But Chambliss also piled up a combined margin of nearly 150,000 votes in nine "outer ring" exurban counties. Here are those counties, showing Chambliss' margin and each county's population growth rate (April 2000-July 2006) according to the Census Bureau:

County... Margin...Growth
Paulding ....12,795.....48.9%

Please note that the margins are based on results available at 8 a.m., when 97% of precincts statewide were reporting, and the vote is not complete in all counties.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Election Day in Georgia

UPDATED & BUMPED: Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Chambliss's double-digit victory dashed Democrats' dreams of securing a filibuster-proof, 60-vote "super majority" in the Senate and buoyed a Republican Party battered by staggering losses in the Nov. 4 general election.
"Republicans still know how to win an election," Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan told hundreds of Chambliss supporters at the Cobb Energy Centre.
The size of the victory (a margin of more than 300,000 votes) is important as a warning to Democrats going forward that the GOP is still a viable opposition. It is also important that Barack Obama diminished himself by refusing to risk his political capital campaigning for Democrat Jim Martin.

I've added an analysis of the vote here. Also, Michelle Malkin responds to my defense of Chambliss' immigration record: "[T]he guy went wobbly went it mattered most -- and it took massive resistance and vigilance to set him straight." OK, but at least he responded to the outcry, whereas Maverick did not.

PREVIOUSLY: Associated Press and New York Times call it for Chambliss. With 93% reporting at 10:15 Chambliss leads 58-42% with a 300,000+ margin. Still 70+ precincts to report in Fulton County and, for some odd reason, only half the precincts in Paulding have reported. I might add an analysis if I can get those numbers.

With 84% of precincts reporting by 9:30 p.m., you've got the makings of a solid victory for Chambliss. The key thing to notice is the Republican's overwhelming majorities in the fast-growing exurban "outer ring" counties. Most of these margins are based on partial reports, but look:
Carroll .........2.2-to-1
Cherokee .....4.5-to-1
Coweta .......2.8-to-1
Fayette .......2.3-to-1
Forsyth ........5.3-to-1
Hall ............3.3-to-1
Paulding .......3.2-to-1
Walton ..........3.7-to-1
It looks like Chambliss is cruising to re-election. But I'm disturbed to see Michelle Malkin transmitting misinformation, calling Chambliss a "pro-amnesty Republican." This is false. Chambliss has an A+ rating from NumbersUSA for his opposition to amnesty. Yes, Chambliss supported the bailout, but he's been a solid conservative vote on immigration issues.

UPDATE: Michelle responds by reminding me that Chambliss was booed at the Georgia GOP convention in May 2007 for defending the guest-worker provisions of the bill that was then pending in the Senate. But Chambliss eventually voted against cloture on S.1639, just as he had voted against S.2611.

I remember being shocked by Chambliss' May 2007 defense of the immigration bill, since I knew he'd opposed S.2611. I am under the impression that, between the Atlanta business community and the Beltway echo chamber, Chambliss had gotten the mistaken idea that maybe the "enforcement" bells and whistles on the shamnesty bill would be enough to satisfy the base. Getting booed at the convention apparently sobered him up pretty quick.

New York Times reports low turnout in Atlanta:
At the Atlanta Public Library on Ponce de Leon Ave., where more than 1,600 people voted in the general election, only 400 people had voted by noon today.
This is probably good news for Chambliss. Also, Bob Barr has endorsed Chambliss. Will update.

Boosted by Sarah Palin's whirlwind tour, Sen. Saxby Chambliss appears poised to win today's runoff in Georgia. Jim Antle reminds us why the runoff was necessary:
Libertarian Party candidate Allen Buckley . . . received nearly 3.5 percent of the vote, running almost 100,000 votes ahead of Libertarian presidential nominee Bob Barr . . .
Many of those voters were fiscal conservatives upset with Chambliss's vote for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout -- or, as he prefers to describe it, "the financial rescue package."
"It's for the people, by the people," an anti-bailout conservative told the Politico in late October. "I think that 99 percent of the phone calls that Saxby got were for him to vote against the bailout, yet he did it anyway. He's supposed to represent the people of the state of Georgia.… By far, the vast majority did not want the bailout."
"Libertarian populism," anyone?

(Hey, who is Bryan Caplan, and why is he stealing my title without credit?)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Anti-math bigots

The Wall Street Journal's open-borders war on math continues. (H/T: Derbyshire.)

Sarah Palin is Joe McCarthy?

Neal Gabler doesn't mean it as a compliment:
For the polite conservatives, McCarthy was useful. That's because he wasn't only attacking alleged communists and the Democrats whom he accused of shielding them. He was also attacking the entire centrist American establishment, the Eastern intellectuals and the power class, many of whom were Republicans themselves, albeit moderate ones. . . . Moderate Republicans, not Democrats, led the fight against him. . . .
McCarthyism is usually considered a virulent form of Red-baiting and character assassination. But it is much more than that. As historian Richard Hofstadter described it in his famous essay, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics," McCarthyism is a way to build support by playing on the anxieties of Americans, actively convincing them of danger and conspiracy even where these don't exist.
Of course, Gabler's reference to the tendentious Professor Hofstadter takes us back to the Adorno/Frankfurt School of political psychoanalysis. But the Reds whom McCarthy baited weren't Oedipal complexes or Rorschach's inblots. They were genuine Communist agents and communist sympathizers in government, influencing U.S. policy in a pro-Stalin/pro-Mao direction, and the true story of McCarthy's courageous crusade to expose this subversion is the subject of M. Stanton Evan's excellent book, Blacklisted by History.

Buy one for yourself, buy another as a gift to someone you love, and be sure to check out the other selections in the 2008 Holiday Book Sale.

Hasta la vista, Mel

And good riddance. I'd really like to say something clever here, but yesterday I found out I've been in a depression since December 2007, and I'm just too depressed to be clever.

Wait, I just thought of something semi-clever: "Dead wood"!

(I'm really not funny when I'm depressed.)

Conservative 'dead wood'

Erick Erickson writes:
Inside the conservative movement, there is a lot of deadwood -- institutions and personalities who continue sucking up resources long after the usefulness of the organization is over. . . .
There are few truly indispensable people in the movement and far too many dispensable people who think they are indispensable. Likewise, there are too many conservative organizations that operate as employment vehicles for out of work politicians still needing their egos stroked.
Conservatism must be about the advancement of freedom and opportunity, not the advancement of any one person. Thus we need to rebuild the movement and burn up the dead wood.
Erick here puts his finger on the problem of the conservative movement's institutional inertia. Over the past 40 years, conservatism has established numerous institutions that have grown and flourished and done valuable service. Many of those institutions remain vital and effective.

But there are other institutions that have bogged down into the rut of habit: Doing what they've always done because . . . well, because it's what they've always done. And even those institutions that are relatively effective may be less effective than they could be because of inertia. Why should a previously successful organization change its ways? And why should an organization with a multimillion-dollar budget try to hustle and scrap and work overtime as if it were an underfunded startup?

Methods of activism that were effective in 1978 or 1989 or 1994 may not be effective in 2008. While conservative principles may be timeless, the messages by which those principles are conveyed might need to be reframed in language that better speaks to the interests and cultural background of the younger generation, and conveyed through new media channels. But this kind of updating is hard to do when entrenched institutions are staffed by time-servers whose chief interest is the maintence of their own personal turf.

One of the things that the conservative movement sorely lacks is "outsider eyes." The movement takes in young cradle Republicans, trains them in its beliefs and methods, and then buries them inside institutions where everyone else has undergone the same process. It's impossible for any of them to "think outside the box" for the very reason that none of them have ever been outside the box. The situation resembles that described by John Stuart Mill in On Liberty:
If every part of the business of society which required organized concert, or large and comprehensive views, were in the hands of the government, and if government offices were universally filled by the ablest men, all the enlarged culture and practised intelligence in the country, except the purely speculative, would be concentrated in a numerous bureaucracy, to whom alone the rest of the community would look for all things: the multitude for direction and dictation in all they had to do; the able and aspiring for personal advancement. To be admitted into the ranks of this bureaucracy, and when admitted, to rise therein, would be the sole objects of ambition. Under this regime, not only is the outside public ill-qualified, for want of practical experience, to criticize or check the mode of operation of the bureaucracy, but even if the accidents of despotic or the natural working of popular institutions occasionally raise to the summit a ruler or rulers of reforming inclinations, no reform can be effected which is contrary to the interest of the bureaucracy.
Bureaucratic ossification doesn't affect only government agencies, you see. Every long-established organization has its institutional habits, and systemic inertia always favors the maintenance of the status quo. And not even spectacular failure, like that which the conservative movement has experienced over the past few years, can overcome that inertia.

Much of the institutional bureaucracy of the conservative movement is dead wood, as Erick says, and the urgent question is, what can be done about it?

Obama as 21st-century Hoover

Jeffrey Lord suggests Republicans steal a page from the Democrats by imitating Jazz Age journalist Charley Michelson:
A hard-bitten cynic with a wintry, satanic smile and a dry humor, who had seen everything and lost all illusions he brought a new professionalism to political publicity.… Michelson turned out an uninterrupted stream of interviews, statements and speeches in Washington. These releases -- over 500 in the first two years, signed indifferently by leading Democrats in the House or Senate -- poured ridicule on the Hoover administration. Michelson himself, playing interminable bridge or dominoes with newspapermen at the Press Club, saw to it that his best wisecracks received full circulation. This barrage undoubtedly had something to do with fixing the Depression image of the Hoover administration.
The problem: Republicans don't hire journalists. They hire know-it-all assholes like Tucker Bounds.

Simple question

I just heard Forbes columnist Rich Karlgaard on "Fox & Friends" say, "We need to keep people in their homes." Simple question: Why?

We got into this crisis because of lax lending standards -- ACORN was pushing banks to count food stamps as income for lending purposes -- which means that there are a lot of people living in houses they can't afford. How is it fair to people who've lived within their means to prop up deadbeats who took on mortgages they couldn't afford?

We moved to DC, sold our home in Georgia, and have spent more than a decade renting simply because we couldn't afford to buy a home in the overheated DC housing market. Now that the market is finally cooling off, why should the government punish me for my prudence by artificially propping up the housing market, thereby keeping me from snapping up a bargain?

UPDATE: Jimmie at Sundries Shack has more thoughts.

Ala. Democrats charged with corruption

Birmingham, Ala., Mayor Larry Langford has been charged with accepting nearly $250,000 in bribes from two former top officials of Alabama's Democratic Party. Both former state party chairman William Blount, a Montgomery investment banker, and former state party executive director Al LaPierre also have been charged in connection with the alleged scheme:

The charges stem from a long-running federal investigation surrounding bond deals that were at the center of Jefferson County's upgrade of its sewer system, deals that have left the county billions of dollars in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy.

The 80-page federal indictment in this case is online, and the Birmingham News has a special page about the Langford case. Democrats have claimed for months that the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was a politically motivated "witch hunt" orchestrated by Karl Rove. We'll see if they'll try the same defense for Langford, Blount and LaPierre.

All these (allegedly) corrupt Democrats -- somebody ought to write a book about it.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: The Washington Times:
"It was a classic pay-to-play scheme," said Alice Martin, the U.S. attorney for Northern Alabama whose office is prosecuting the case. . . .
Mr. Langford dismissed the charges as politically motivated, accusing Miss Martin, a Bush appointee, of targeting him because he is a Democrat.
"This is certainly no surprise to us - we anticipated something happening soon especially knowing Alice Martin's days in office are numbered with the swearing in of a new president in late January - just a little over a month from now," said a statement released by his office.
Amazing how the Bush administration has prosecuted so many Republicans -- including former Reps. Bob Ney and Duke Cunningham and Sen. Ted Stevens -- and yet whenever a Democrat gets charged with anything, it's always a political witch hunt.

UPDATE II: Jammie Wearing Fool notes that some media coverage of this case is of the "Name That Party" variety. The B'ham News makes the first reference to Blount and LaPierre as "friends" of the mayor, rather than as former state Democratic Party officials.

Monday, December 1, 2008

On media and bias

Ed Driscoll linked me last week in a long post about media bias, keying off a Washington Times column by Rep. Lamar Smith:
President-elect Obama won by about 7 percent. That means if the media's one-sided coverage changed the minds of just 4 voters out of 100, the media - because of their bias - determined the election's outcome!
Read the whole thing. Ed's suggestion:
Hopefully the next GOP candidate will lay sufficient upfront groundwork so that his supporters (and not just the base) will know that the media attacks are coming--and that the GOP isn't competing merely against another party, they're also competing against the bulk of the legacy media, where most voters go to receive whatever scraps of information they'll get to justify their voting decisions.
It wouldn't hurt to remind people of the media's excesses and kneejerk support for Obama in this election, as many will have forgotten it. Laying this groundwork early in the campaign would also allow the candidate to have lots of "See, I told you so" moments when the drive-by media hits start flying.
What bothers me is how Ed -- and I think most Republicans -- take hostile media as a given. This is defeatism, and I don't like it. Go back to Rep. Smith's math: If media bias influenced 4% of voters, that made all the difference.

To my mind, what this says is that if Republicans could get slightly more favorable press coverage -- say, reducing the media's pro-Democrat bias from 70/30 to 60/40 -- this improvement could make the difference between defeat and victory. Ergo, an effective public-relations program doesn't have to be 100% successful in order to make a decisive difference.

I have often noted that GOP political operatives all think they know everything about media, even though none of them have ever worked in the news business. This is why you saw Steve Schmidt and the other McCain campaign operatives essentially repeat the errors of Dick Wadhams and the '06 Allen Senate campaign in Virginia.

Conservatives needs to understand how much of media bias is the fault of Republicans. If you entrust your media operation to clueless assholes -- hello, Tucker Bounds! -- you can't expect good coverage.

Unless and until Republican campaign officials admit that they don't know what they're doing, until they stop whining about bias and start asking some questions about why they suffer from such a horrific relationship with reporters, they're never even going to start to fix the problem.

During the 2008 election cycle, the Republican Party raised $720 million. You'd think for that kind of money, those idiots could have bought a fucking clue about what's wrong with their media strategy.

More evidence: Markets work

Marginal incentives:
As the credit crunch bites, Britons may be turning to sex as a cheap way to pass the time, a charity says.
A YouGov survey of 2,000 adults found sex was the most popular free activity, ahead of window shopping and gossiping.
The Scots were most amorous with 43% choosing sex over other pastimes, compared with 35% in South England. . . .
Around one in 10 respondents to the survey, carried in November, said their favourite free activity was window shopping and 6% chose going to a museum as the cheapest way to pass the time.
Hmmm. Maybe this explains why my wife and I -- who came of age during the recession-plagued '70s -- have six kids. The U.S. economy has been in recession since 2007. Get busy, people!

Palin vs. Ludacris

Sarah Palin drew "several thousand people" to an 8:30 a.m. rally for Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss today in Augusta, Ga.:
The Palin rally in Augusta drew a crowd of 3,000 to 4,000 people, many holding aloft campaign signs and shouting their adoration of the GOP vice presidential candidate.
"Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!" they chanted. One woman stood behind Palin with a huge red sign that read: "Save My Gun."
Meanwhile, Democrat Jim Martin is planning a "rally at the state Capitol at 5:30 p.m. with civil rights veterans and hip-hop star Ludacris." Hip-hop vs. the hockey mom -- we'll see which gets a majority in Tuesday's Senate runoff.

UPDATE: Another big crowd in Savannah:
More than 3,000 people flocked to the Savannah Civic Center, some to rally support for Chambliss, others, to catch a glimpse of Palin and see her in person.
When she was introduced, the crowd erupted in applause for the Alaska governor and former vice-presidential candidate, eclipsing the ovations for Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and the candidate himself, Chambliss.

UPDATE II: Welcome Michelle Malkin readers.

Palin was greeted by cheers of "Sarah! Sarah!" in what is decidedly Republican country: south Houston County. More than 2,700 people RSVP'd for the rally at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, one of several appearances for the duo today across Georgia. . . .
But this afternoon, in Perry, the energy belonged to the GOP. The crowd packed in close, shoulder to shoulder for, as state Sen. Ross Tolleson called Palin, "one of the most exciting women in U.S. politics." . . .
"It isn't just about your state," Palin told the crowd. "It is about the entire United States of America and our future. ... The eyes of our nation are on this stage. We all have Georgia on our minds."
Next stop: Gwinnett County.

UPDATE IV: The Gwinnett rally:
Oh, the Saxby Chambliss signs are plentiful, but it's clear even before you walk in that this is a Sarah Palin for President event, four years ahead of its time.
Several thousand people are already here at the Gwinnett Center, a majority grouped in front into one large mosh pit.
A decidedly younger crowd than Republicans usually draw to the events like this, and the music is less twangy as well. More rock than country, and many young ladies with tiaras and beauty contest ribbons. . . .
Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska and former GOP nominee for vice president, just got an extended standing ovation from a crowd of several thousand in the Gwinnett Center.
Palin said re-electing Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss, and denying Democrats a 60th vote in the Senate, was essential to "maintaining the checks and balances needed for our democracy."
She mentioned that she had been here once before -- a politician always likes to say, "It's good to be back" -- when her oldest son graduated from boot camp at Fort Benning. "Georgia, you took care of my boy, now he's taking care of you," she said.
A smashing success. Sounds like Sarah's the most popular Yankee in Georgia.

Chambliss was "happy to become the warm-up act at his own final rallies," said CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash, who is covering the Georgia runoff election. . . .
Sen. John McCain returned to the trail to campaign with Chambliss just nine days after losing the presidential election to Obama.
Two weeks ago, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination before dropping out in March and backing McCain, also campaigned with Chambliss. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also teamed up with Chambliss. . . .
Last week, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani campaigned with Chambliss. . . .
Some in the crowds were chanting "Sarah, Sarah" at times, and the audiences were much larger than when the other Republican surrogates teamed up with Chambliss in recent weeks.
"With adoring signs and 'Palin for President' T-shirts, it may be easy to forget Palin came to Georgia campaigning for someone else," observed Bash. (Emphasis added.)
Sort of refutes the notion that she was a drag on the McCain ticket, eh? Also, here's a Democratic prediction to remember:
Martin called Palin's four campaign stops Monday a sign of desperation for Chambliss, adding that "bringing Sarah Palin is not going to help him (Chambliss) because the voters of Georgia want someone who will stand up for them in Washington. Someone who understands their issues."
OK, so the Democrat says Palin won't help Chambliss. We'll see what you have to say in 24 hours, Jim Martin.

Video via Hot Air, where Allahpundit notes Palin's reference to John McCain, which doesn't get many cheers from this grassroots GOP crowd. The 'Cuda needs to scratch any references to the Maverick from future speeches, and instead start talking Reagan.

Breitbart goes Bollywood

Susan Sarandon Syndrome goes international:
On the evening of Nov. 26, the biggest names in Bollywood walked the red carpet at the Bombay premiere of "The President Is Coming," a comedy about six 20-somethings vying to win the right to shake hands with President Bush.
Among those in attendance at the star-studded premiere Wednesday evening was Bollywood's "new heartthrob" Imran Khan, who proudly posed for paparazzi donning a T-shirt with Mr. Bush's face sandwiched between the words "International Terrorist." . . .
At the precise moment Mr. Khan and hundreds of others making their fortunes in the multibillion-dollar Indian movie business were watching "The President Is Coming," only a few blocks away, 10 20-something Muslim extremists began a horrific three-day terror spree.
Read the rest.

Memeorandum rules

My favorite aggregator gets written up in the Guardian:
Memeorandum is based on the idea of "memes" or ideas that spread across the web (along with a pun on memorandum). Someone publishes an interesting story, other people find it, discuss it, and link to it. That's how the web works. Small stories come and go quickly, while big ones generate lots of comment and dominate the page for hours.
The developer, Gabe Rivera, says it's all done in software. He provides a list of publications as "seeds," but the software still finds stories on sites he's never heard of. It's just a question of following links, and then trying to assess the contents. The algorithms are, obviously, secret.
The Guardian writer then goes on to assert that Memeorandum is better than Google News. I think that's an apples and oranges comparison. I use Memeorandum to keep up with what the blogs are saying, whereas Google News I use to search for specific stories.

The two most important features at Memeorandum are the "New Item Finder" and "Featured Posts." Keep track of those, and if you're not precisely "ahead of the curve" on the state of the blogosphere, you're certainly up-to-date.

UPDATE: Mary Katharine Ham also does some aggregating. She doesn't have an algorithm, but she does have a great smile.