Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christina Hendricks wants you

She wants you to click her picture:

Thanks to her close personal friend, VodkaPundit.

Ruh-roh: Arson at Palin's church

Motive unknown, but definitely a crime:
No one was injured in the blaze at the Wasilla Bible Church, which started late Friday. . . .
Several well-known Valley residents attend the church, including Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Wes Keller, R-Wasilla. . . .
"The possibilities are so wide and variable," [the pastor] said. "Someone intentionally did it, but we don't know who and why."
I'm not leaping to any conclusions, but let's keep an eye on this investigation. (Just imagine the media furor if there were an arson attack at Trinity Church in Chicago.)

The presumption of bias

Salon has a big article suggesting that Republicans from Southern states opposed the Detroit bailout because their states have foreign-owned auto plants -- as if no one could possibly oppose the bailout on principle.

Here's an idea, Salon: Next time you want to look into an angle like that, how about taking notice of the millions that AFSCME gives to Democrats to push for expanded government? AFSCME -- a conspiracy against the American taxpayer -- is No. 2 on the "Heavy Hitters" list at the Center for Responsive Politics.

TiVo vs. TV

The digital video recorder (DVR) throws network TV executives into panic mode, as NBC moves Leno to 10 p.m.:
NBC framed the decision in terms of competitiveness and cost-effectiveness, because it defuses the risk of Mr. Leno’s move to another network and saves untold millions of dollars a year. But it also reflects the increasing irrelevance of the network schedule.
The irrelevance is partly because of digital video recorders, the bane of many a television executive. Viewers in the 28 percent of homes with DVRs are recording programs at 8 and 9 p.m. and playing them back later in the evening, hurting the 10 p.m. hour. Of the 10 prime-time programs that gained the biggest audience from DVR usage this year, none were on at 10 p.m.
The biggest gainers from DVR viewership were dramas. According to statistics on time-shifting released by Nielsen Media Research on Friday, the NBC series "Heroes" benefited the most from DVRs, with a 35 percent increase in its audience after seven days of time-shifted viewing. The new Fox drama "Fringe" experienced a 26 percent increase, and the ABC series "Lost" had a 25 percent increase.
I stopped watching network TV years ago, and I certainly never watch cheesy TV dramas. Life is too short.

Hit it, or else

Todd Stewart is 35. He's got a 19-year-old girlfriend -- and you know how 19-year-olds are, nudge, nudge.

Well, 19-year-old Brittany Phillips wanted some action, Todd wasn't in the mood, so . . . she beat him up. Brittany was charged with simple battery.

Dan Riehl: "You'd have to kill me before I agreed to have sex with that." Uh . . . I'd hit it, but then again, I've always had a strong instinct for self-preservation. Which is why I don't have a 19-year-old girlfriend. I couldn't keep up with one. It's hard enough keeping up with my 44-year-old wife (who would kill me if I had a 19-year-old girlfriend).

UPDATE: Dan thinks I'm insane. And he's right. But there is an important principle involved in setting the "I'd hit it" threshold rather low: It's the only way to prevent pretty girls from becoming tyrannical. Let's face it, only about 10 percent of women are really hot, and they know it. So if you aren't capable of contentment with a not-so-hot chick, you've essentially made yourself a hostage of beauty, and next thing you know, you're getting jerked around by some chick who treats you like her personal plaything, because . . . well, that's what you are.

Excuse me for lacking the masochistic streak necessary to enjoy that game. There is a counterintuitive Zen thing involved here. People are always impressed when they meet my wife: "Man, how did you rate her?" It involves a certain nonchalance about beauty. I pursued my wife with tremendous ardour, but the alternative to success was not solitude. There are 3 billion women in the world.

As much as I admire beauty (hello, Christina Hendricks) I'm not going to be tyrannized by beauty. And cutting yourself off from the Brittany Phillipses of the world -- passing up the chance to "make a 10 the hard way" by nailing two 3s and a 4 -- is like delivering yourself in shackles.

Besides, Brittany's got nice blue eyes:

Matthews: 'A Bridge Too Far'

A liberal reaches his limit:
Matthews is a bridge too far. I could never vote for, raise funds for or in any other way help Chris Matthews become a member of the Senate and if it came down to it, if I lived in Pa, I'd probably support Specter. If we thought Lieberman was perfidious and unreliable, we haven't seen anything yet. Matthews is very nearly nuts as far as I can tell.
He's no more nuts than Barney Frank or Nancy Pelosi, but that is damning him with faint praise.

Ecuador defaults

Ecuador is to default officially on billions of dollars of foreign debt it considers "illegitimate", says President Rafael Correa.
Mr Correa said he had given the order not to approve a debt interest payment due on Monday, describing the international lenders as "monsters".
The president said that some of Ecuador's $10bn debt was contracted illegally by a previous administration.
That's OK, we'll just repossess Miss Ecuador:

Call it a down payment on that "illegitimate" $10 billion.

Is God 'moderate'?

An evangelical spokesman has resigned after telling NPR he supports civil unions for gays. This prompts a liberal to ponder:

Maybe over time enough people in the religious right will moderate their views to the point where people like [James] Dobson lose their influence.

The real question isn't the influence of Dobson, but rather the influence of God, and if you're waiting for God to moderate his views, I suspect you'll be waiting a long time.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Glenn Greenwald on TV

Launched under "false pretenses"? Keep your day job. And your socks.

Rahm 'Let's Make a Deal' Emanuel

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy:
Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Barack Obama's pick to be White House chief of staff, had conversations with Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration about who would replace Obama in the U.S. Senate, the Tribune has learned. . . .
Obama said Thursday he had never spoken to Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy and was "confident that no representatives" of his had engaged in any dealmaking over the seat with the governor or his team. . . .
Emanuel delivered a list of candidates who would be "acceptable" to Obama, the source said. On the list were Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, the source said. All are Democrats.
Sometime after the election, Emanuel called Harris back to add the name of Democratic Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to the approved list, the source said.
Michelle Malkin notes an ABC report that Emanuel is "pissed" about negative press coverage of his role in the scandal.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey:
[N]o one would be surprised to hear that Emanuel and Obama had enough interest in the latter’s replacement to get in contact with the man who would normally make that appointment, Governor Blagojevich. . . .
However, Barack Obama and his team chose not to give that honest and common-sense explanation. Instead, they issued categorical denials that Obama and his staff had contacted Blagojevich or his staff about the succession. It’s a mystifying claim, and one that will apparently get proven false fairly easily.
It's not the crime, it's the cover-up.

Feliz Navidad

Playboy decides to wait for the eve of the Feast of Guadalupe to release its Mexican edition of the magazine with a cover photo depicting the Virgin Mary nude. You stay classy, Hef! (H/T: Pirate's Cove.)

Stimulus: $1 trillion

The price tag of the Obama stimulus has now reached $1 trillion:
President-elect Barack Obama's economic team is considering an economic-stimulus program that will be far larger than the two-year, half-trillion-dollar plan under consideration two weeks ago, people familiar with the team's thinking tell The Wall Street Journal.
The president-elect is expected to be briefed on the broad parameters of the plan next week, with aides still hoping for Congress to pass a bill by the time Obama takes office Jan.20.
With the unemployment rate now expected to hit 9 percent without aggressive intervention, Obama aides and advisers have set $600 billion over two years as "a very low-end estimate," one person familiar with the matter said. The final number is expected to be significantly higher, possibly between $700 billion and $1 trillion over two years.
Michelle Malkin: "Give me your over/under that it’ll double by the time it gets to the Spreader of Wealth’s desk next month." And it won't work.

UPDATE: Pick a number! Any number!
Christina Romer, who will lead Mr. Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, is also surveying economists, trying to build political consensus around a larger number before it is presented to Congress in early January.
People familiar with the discussion say Lawrence Lindsey, President George W. Bush's first NEC director, has counseled $800 billion to $1 trillion in stimulus over two years. Harvard University economist Martin Feldstein, a Reagan White House economic adviser, has raised his initial, one-year, $300 billion figure to at least $400 billion.
That's got to be a cool job: Sitting around a table with a bunch of experts, offering multibillion-dollar estimates of how much taxpayer money to flush down the toilet in make-work schemes and welfare giveaways.

UPDATE II: "Remember when $1 trillion was a big number?"

Cizik ousted at NAE

I first heard about this controversy a week ago, and now it's come to fruition:
A prominent evangelical lobbyist resigned yesterday over his remarks in a National Public Radio interview, in which he said he supports permitting same-sex civil unions.
The Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), later apologized for the remark . . .
More than two dozen evangelical leaders -- including James C. Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council -- complained in a letter last year to the NAE leadership that Cizik was "using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time," which they defined as abortion, homosexuality and sexual morality.
Some evangelicals would rather be "relevant" than right. But this is how the mainstream denominations drifted away from the Bible decades ago, and it's sad that some evangelicals think it's a smart idea to follow them.

What the Obama campaign can teach the Republican Party

Lloyd Grove has an interview with Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, some of which is happy horseshit, but some of which is very interesting. Consider this exchange about campaign salaries:

L.G.: How did you discipline salaries and compensation? Because traditionally, if you look at, say, Mark Penn [Hillary Clinton's chief strategist], I don't know how much Mark was pocketing but you see that they had outstanding bills approaching $10 million to him.
D.P.: People on the campaign could not make more than a certain amount -- $12,000 a month. There were salary bands, so there wasn't a lot of eventfulness about what people got paid. If you were a deputy you got paid X, if you were an assistant, you got paid Y. We were very aggressive with our consultants in terms of their piece. From a fiscal management standpoint, Obama was very clear that he did not want to end up with a debt in the primary or the general, so we just planned accordingly. We didn't spend beyond our means.
L.G.: So the highest salary on the campaign was $12,000 a month?
D.P.: Pre-tax, yeah. In other campaigns, they can make a lot more than that, and people working in Senate races and governor's races made a lot more than that.
L.G.: You've made more than that.
D.P.: No doubt, it was a financial sacrifice for many on the campaign, but I think it helped. There wasn't any drama around compensation.
L.G.: What about percentages of ad buys?
D.P.: We had a cap, an aggressive arrangement -
L.G.: What did you cap it at?
D.P.: Well below industry standards.
L.G.: Because arguably, somebody could still get a very handsome fee. Say for the sake of argument, you spent $350 million on advertising. Even a niggling 1 percent of that is $3.5 million.
D.P.: That's why you have caps, so that people can't make more than a certain amount. So that if your spending does increase, their profits don't increase.
L.G.: What was the cap on that?
D.P.: I can't remember -- it differed by firm based on what they were doing. But we made sure to protect ourselves. That ended up being, I think, wise, because we obviously raised a lot of money but the firms did not make more. My view of this is that working on a presidential campaign is obviously arduous but it's a unique opportunity. My view is you shouldn't have to pay market rate for people's services. And that's the general approach, and it seems to have worked out well.

This extraordinarily thrifty approach -- $144,000 as top annual salary in a presidential campaign! -- is something that GOP candidates ought to learn to emulate. Otherwise promising Republican campaigns are routinely bled dry by overspending.

One particularly memorable episode: In late 2006, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore decided to run for president. He made some contacts in Iowa and New Hampshire, got a little bit of cash together, did a solid YouTube video rollout, got some press for slamming "Rudy McRomney" at CPAC. Then, less than two weeks later, it was announced that Gilmore had hired three top campaign consultants plus a deputy campaign manager, and leased the entire 12th floor of an office building in the Virginia suburbs of DC. Four months later, Gilmore was out of the race and, it was learned, his campaign was more than $67,000 in debt: The campaign had raised $182,000 in three months but apparently spent about $250,000 during that time period.

Now, I'm not saying that Gilmore was ever a likely contender, but he could have stayed in the game a few more months if he hadn't let himself be talked into that "Big Dog" style of campaign. Why does a paid staff of four need the entire 12th floor?

That kind of stuff doesn't just happen to little guys. Remember that John McCain was basically broke by late summer 2007 -- his campaign burned through $20 million in the first six months of 2007. It appears obvious that Republican campaign operatives, collectively, have developed some very bad habits. The Republican Party raised $900 million in the 2008 cycle, and what do they have to show for it?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Scandal, explained

"When it's a Republican scandal, the press become prosecutors. When there's a Democrat scandal, the press become defense lawyers."
-- Rush Limbaugh

Zimbabwe: Hell on earth

A corrupt socialist tyranny plunges its people into misery, then blames a "racist" scapegoat:
The cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe which has left hundreds dead was caused by the UK, an ally of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said.
Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu described the outbreak as a "genocidal onslaught on the people of Zimbabwe by the British".
On Thursday, Mr Mugabe said the spread of cholera had been halted.
But aid workers warned that the situation was worsening and the outbreak could last or months.
In his comments to media in Harare, Mr Ndlovu likened the appearance of cholera in Zimbabwe to a "serious biological chemical weapon" used by the British.
He described it as "a calculated, racist, terrorist attack on Zimbabwe".
The British are to Mugabe what the Jews were to Hitler. Mugabe is a 21st-century Pol Pot, and what he's done to Zimbabwe is crime against humanity.

No bailout for union goons

Headline at Think Progress:
Conservative ‘No-Bailout Alternative’ For Automakers Amounts To Union-Busting
They say "union-busting" like it's a bad thing. Look: If union goons drive a company out of business -- as the UAW has done to the Big Three -- the resulting loss of jobs is not the fault of conservatives. I am against government bailouts of private industry on principle, but if a bailout is going to be passed, at least it ought require that the industry stop doing the things that led to their bankruptcy, and "no more fat deals for union terrorists" would be a nice asterisk on such a deal.

Liberals should take pleasure in knowing that capitalists feel their pain. Meanwhile, as if to underline their own irrelevancy, Bush and his band of cronies are trying to find a way to bail out the Big Three without congressional authorization:
The White House says it is considering using the Wall Street rescue fund to prevent U.S. automakers from failing.
President George W. Bush's press secretary says it would be "irresponsible" to further weaken the economy by letting the Detroit car companies fail.
Got that? If you're against the bailout, you're "irresponsible," according to Dana Perino. The irresponsible Michelle Malkin reminds us that the White House switchboard number is 202-456-1414.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey bets that the Bushies will do the wrong thing before the markets close today.

Rahm & BlagoGate

Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel reportedly discussed the Senate seat with Rod Blagojevich. I'll preempt the liberal commenters by noting that mere participation in such a discussion doesn't mean Rahm is corrupt. He might have just been one of the "Washington-based advisers" on that two-hour conference call, listening with jaw-dropping horror at the gross venality and stupidity of Blago.

UPDATE: Speaking of jaw-dropping stupidity, Jesse Jackson arranged a fundraiser for Blago last week -- after the Chicago Tribune reported that Blago was under surveillance.

There is a God

John Stamos' plan for a "Full House" remake is "completely dead." The terrifying specter of Bob Saget's return to prime time had been haunting me for weeks.

Instapundit, hypermasculine?

Well, he is married to Dr. Helen, which puts him in a certain league, eh? From now on, we call it "the Alphalanche."

You're not cynical enough . . .

. . . if you are shocked to learn that the biggest donors to sponsor the Democratic and Republican conventions were also some of the biggest seekers of taxpayer-funded bailouts, including AIG, Freddie Mac, Ford and Citigroup. Rod Blagojevich is under federal indictment for seeking that kind of pay-to-play quid pro quo.

WTF? No more tip jar?

I just clicked over to my tip jar and read this:
Important message: Beginning December 11, 2008, will not support payments through the Amazon Honor System.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? What's this about? I can only find one news story about it. OK, so how are we supposed to beg for money now?

I'm blaming the Bush administration. Maybe terrorists or drug gangs (or both) were using Honor System payments, and so the Justice Department put the squeeze on Amazon, thus putting an end to the tip jar beloved by bloggers.

UPDATE: Wait a minute, forget about terrorists, I blame Eliot Spitzer: is fighting Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to require out-of-state online companies to collect New York state sales tax on goods they send to addresses in New York — the most recent cash-strapped state to propose the tax.
Spitzer estimates in his budget that the state would gain $47 million by requiring Internet giants such as to collect state sales tax.
That douchebag!

I realize, of course, that there is a certain post hoc, ergo propter hoc quality to my blaming Eliot Spitzer's February shakedown for the December disappearance of the tip jar, but I'm not in a logical mood right now. What a Scrooge-like thing to do, killing the tip jar two weeks before Christmas!

Well, ho ho ho . . . wanna buy a T-shirt?

UPDATE II: VodkaPundit: "This ought to make the Sitemeter fiasco look like tender kisses on the beach."

PC ruins another movie

John Nolte says, "If political correctness were a dog I’d beat it," because of the way liberal politics screws up the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Detroit bailout is dead!

So a Senate Republican aide tells John Hawkins, and the Associated Press confirms:
A $14 billion emergency bailout for U.S. automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts.
The collapse came after bipartisan talks on the auto rescue broke down over GOP demands that the United Auto Workers union agree to steep wage cuts by 2009 to bring their pay into line with Japanese carmakers.
Yeah! Screw the union goons!

UPDATE: More good news: GM ready to declare bankruptcy! After so much bad economic news, it's good to see real progress. (And if you don't understand why GM's bankruptcy is good news, you don't know anything about economics. Or bankruptcy.)

UPDATE II: Ed Morrissey:
Montana’s two Democrats, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, sided with the Republican filibuster.
Smart move, and indicative of the libertarian mood of the West. The reason Reid & Pelosi wanted to shove through another unpopular bailout before Christmas was to let Bush take the blame. Now, it will wait until after Jan. 20, and we'll see if Obama is willing to put his name on this kind of crypto-fascist economics.

UPDATE III: Malkin has a roundup with highlights:
Stabenow whining about demands for union concessions. Babs Mikulski calls for order, bleats that Stabenow is not being heard. Get out the Kleenex. They both seem on the verge of tears. Stabenow concedes the "votes are not there."
Anything that makes Debbie Stabenow cry is good for America!

UPDATE IV: Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan ruined himself:
Can we now stop considering Paul Ryan as one of the "bright, young talents" that is expected to lead conservatives and the GOP to future electoral success?
He folded on his principles and voted for the $700 billion bailout package in September. After yesterday's aggravating and disappointing House vote, I think it's time to pull the plug on Ryan's "potential" as a conservative voice in the Republican party for the time being.
Club for Growth needs to find a primary challenger for Ryan.

UPDATE V: If Ryan is disgraced, Jim DeMint of South Carolina has covered himself in glory by telling the blunt truth about the bailout:

"The primary driver behind this is the unions, because bankruptcy allows the auto companies to basically restructure all their contracts in a way that a bankruptcy judge says will make them sustainable," DeMint said. "And if they do that, then essentially the unions lose all their leverage. It's the unions that have brought them to the brink. So definitely, I think the reason they want a political solution and a car czar is because a car czar can protect the unions through this whole process at the expense of the taxpayer."
(Via Business & Media Institute.)

UPDATE VI: Sam Brownback voted for the bailout, which makes no sense at all, since Kansas is not a big labor-union state, and therefore Brownback is voting against his state's economic interests. It's enough to make you wonder . . . what's the matter with Kansas?

UPDATE VII: Linked at Outside the Beltway, where James has a roundup of reaction.

Karl Rove & the road to GOP recovery

Karl Rove offered his plans for the Republican Party, and I made this criticism at AmSpecBlog:
My problem with Rove is that he was at the wheel when the GOP drove into the ditch, and to my mind that ought to disqualify him from telling everybody how to get out of the ditch.
So I'm not a Rove fan, OK? But then I see this response to Rove from Ron Chusid:
Republicans will have great difficulty winning a national election since their views are no longer in line with the majority of the country. . . .
Extremist views on social issues, along with a hostility towards science and reason, has led to educated, affluent voters switching to the Democrats. Similarly large percentages of young voters do not take the Republicans seriously. A party in which many members live in a fantasy world and promote views such as creationism is an anachronism in the 21st century.
That's just atheistic bigotry, and as political analysis, it's useless. Republicans did not lose the election because of creationism, and if Democrats want to presume that they now have a permanent majority on such a basis, I predict their majority will be remarkably short-lived.

And, for the love of God -- excuse my invocation of the "fantasy world" -- will people stop repeating this myth that Obama won because of "educated, affluent voters"? Look at the numbers: He got 73% of voters with annual incomes under $15,000, 60% of those earning $50,000 or less. His strongest educational cohort was high-school dropouts (63%).

Republicans need to get a grip, stop panicking, and apply some basic political common sense to their problem. In a series of American Spectator columns before and after the election, I've laid out several key points about the road to Republican recovery:

  • 1. Don't blame yourself -- Candidates win or lose elections. Good candidates win, bad candidates lose, and John McCain was a bad candidate.
  • 2. Don't overthink it -- Intellectuals like to depict politics as something so complex that only they can understand it, with "big picture" themes and demographic trends that don't really translate into useful strategies. Ignore that crap.
  • 3. Libertarian populism -- Widespread opposition to the Wall Street bailout demonstrates that free-market ideas can be presented in a populist context that draws broad support.
  • 4. The morality of markets -- Don't buy into the myth that libertarians and religious conservatives are natural enemies. There needs to be a concerted effort to persuade religious conservatives to understand why limited government and free markets are consonant with Christian belief.
  • 5. Future ex-Democrats -- Many who voted for Obama will be disappointed at his failure to fulfill the Hope and bring about the Change he's promised. Turning that disillusionment into opposition is the basic project the Republican Party must focus on.
  • 6. The Obama agenda won't work -- Republicans need to re-learn the skills of opposition that have been weakened by disuse during the Bush era. Being a conservative means, among other things, believing that liberalism is wrong. Obama is a liberal, Nancy Pelosi is a liberal, Harry Reid is a liberal. Therefore, every measure that Obama, Pelosi and Reid propose is wrong, and conservatives need to say so.
This isn't brain surgery or rocket science, people. So why do we have 32 House Republicans voting for that stupid Detroit bailout? This gives Pelosi & Co. the patina of "bipartisanship" that undermines the conservative message. If the failure of the "Maverick" campaign taught any lesson, it should have taught Republicans that there is no safety in a "me too" strategy of bipartisan cooperation. The GOP is now the opposition, and its only hope for recovery is to maximize opposition to the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda.

Another vital step to recovery? Hit the tip jar!

UPDATE: Linked at Conservative Grapevine -- and I've just learned that has eliminated its Honor System Payments, aka, the "tip jar."

Rod Blagojevich, deadbeat

He owes more than $500,000 in unpaid legal bills and is over-leveraged on two homes:
Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat, earns about $177,000 a year as governor. He and his wife own a house in Chicago and a condominium unit in Washington.
They bought the condo in the Waterford complex in 1997, taking out a $155,000 mortgage, according to the District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds. In 2005, the Blagojeviches refinanced, taking out a mortgage for $233,000. Real-estate Web site estimates the home is worth $547,000.
In Chicago, in 1999, the Blagojeviches took out a construction mortgage for $509,000, according to records from the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. They have refinanced the home several times, most recently taking out a $524,000 mortgage in 2004 and a second mortgage in late 2007 for $170,000. estimates the home is worth $939,000.
As I've said before, Democrats will tolerate politicians who are greedy and dishonest, it's greedy, dishonest and stupid they can't forgive. And Blago's about six different kinds of stupid.

Hey, now that I'm thinking about it, wouldn't an annual salary of $177,000 put Blagojevich in that "top 5 percent" whose taxes Obama promised to raise?

Video: Powell disses Palin

(Via Hot Air.)

Dept. of Minor Celebrity News

Ashlee Simpson, less-famous sister of the semi-talented Jessica Simpson, named her baby . . . wait for it . . . Bronx Mowgli. Will her next baby be named Brooklyn Bagheera? Staten Island Baloo?

Good-bye to 'and Colmes'

Sean Hannity goes solo. The TV show will be made over in the image of the radio show.

Bailout: 'We are all John McCain now'

A very conservative friend sends an e-mail:
The GOP senators threatening to fillibuster the Auto Bailout are reportedly doing so because they don't think the current plan holds the auto makers to enough accountability. In other words, if better strings were attached, they would have no principled opposition to taking money out of the pockets of people hurting from this government-caused economic meltdown and giving it to failing car companies.
What part of "it is not the role of government to seize the property of citizens and give it to someone else" is so hard for the GOP to champion? It doesn't matter whether the car companies have a good plan, a bad plan, or no plan at all. This is not a proper purpose for taxation. Period. If I thought it made sense, I could buy either the equity (stock) or debt (bonds) of the car companies. This is true of everyone with $3 to his or her name. That people are not voluntarily doing so should be the end of the story.
I don't expect Democrats to understand that. But Mitch McConnell is spoken of as a conservative. Is it that hard for him to say, "no taxpayer funding of private industry"?
I suppose so. We are all John McCain now. There is no idiotic, leftist proposal to which the "conservative" movement won't say, "me too, but with better strings attached."
Enjoy the Depression. It's going to be a long one.
Sad, and sadly true.

BlagoGate, Day 3

Yet more evidence contradicts Obama's claim that he had no contact with (allegedly) corrupt Gov. Rod F---ing Blagojevich, and it looks like Tony Rezko's rolling over for the feds, too. Meanwhile, my capitalist greedhead friends at Club For Growth have determined that Blago is right: A Senate seat is a "f---ing valuable thing." A lifetime value of about $6.2 million, to be exact.

John Fund comments on Obama's silence about the blatant corruption of "the Chicago Way":
What remains to be seen is whether this episode will put an end to what Chicago Tribune political columnist John Kass calls the national media's "almost willful" fantasy that Mr. Obama and Chicago's political culture have little to do with each other.
UPDATE I: Sabato's Crystal Ball:
Of Illinois' immediate past eight governors, Blagojevich would be the fourth sent to prison. That is a stunning statistic, and it reminds us of how bad a culture of corruption is once it takes hold. States such as Oregon and Virginia have developed governmental cultures that are clean--voters and the political class alike reject corruption as antithetical to what they are. Citizens and politicians in other states, e.g. New Jersey and Illinois, seem to accept a certain amount of corruption as the cost of doing business. That is corrosive, and eventually leads to such a toxic environment that it is plausible a governor could attempt to sell a seat in the U.S. Senate, seek to have a journalist fired using threats that equal little more than petty extortion, and engaged in such simple and obvious graft that the entire nation stands in a stunned gaze.
Who is to blame for acts of corruption? The guilty officials, of course, are the people we must hold culpable. Yet, the citizenry also bears its share of the rap once a culture of corruption develops because they have tolerated it. The public shouldn't accept corruption under any guise--the people possess the means to turn dirty pols out of office and they have a responsibility to do so.
It's the crooked voters!

UPDATE II: Obama denies everything:
"I have never spoken to the governor on this subject," Obama said, adding that he has asked his staff to collect the facts about their contact with Blagojevich on the matter.
"This Senate seat does not belong to any politician to trade," Obama said. "It belongs to the people of Illinois."
And it's a f---ing valuable thing!

UPDATE III: A good roundup at Dr. Melissa's.

UPDATE IV: Survey says: Blago less popular than syphilis. And maybe he's bonkers, too.

UPDATE V: Ace of Spades:
Bear in mind, of course, Sarah Palin was a moron for taking on the less-spectacularly corrupt Alaskan political machine. See, if she had been as brilliant as Obama, she wouldn't have needed to respond with crude measures like fighting corruption and defeating corrupt politicians; she could have employed nuance and smarts to finesse around it, and even profit from it.
Whew. We really dodged a bullet there.
Jeffrey Lord on the Camelot precedent.

UPDATE VI: John Cole and Ben Smith cage match (which I learned of because Cole linked me). I'm agnostic on the issue of whether it is "censorship" for Obamabots to give the heave-ho to questions about Blago on Eventually, however, there is a limit to what busy beavers on the Internet can do. This is all part of a P.R. battle, with Democrats trying to convince the world that the putrid corruption of Chicago politics, as personified by Blago, cannot possibly taint the sainted Obama. Good luck with that.

UPDATE VII: Dept. of Obvious Headlines:
UPDATE VIII: Michelle Malkin is having entirely too much fun with Patty F---ing Blagojevich.

UPDATE IX: What's a scandal without a timeline?

12/10: The Obama memory hole
12/10: BlagoGate, Day 2
12/9: 'Tainted'
12/9: Monetize this!
12/9: FBI arrests Obama ally


VodkaPundit says "about damned time" somebody cracked down on left-lane slowpokes:
MSN reports that some states are starting to crack down on left-lane interlopers to keep traffic moving as well as temper road rage. During the busy summer travel season, the Washington State Patrol began stopping slow-moving motorists for violating the state's left-lane law, which prohibits “impeding the flow of other traffic."
"This is a real big hot-button topic for the public at large right now," Washington Trooper Cliff Pratt told MSN. “We've had a lot of complaints from drivers who’ve had to deal with left-lane campers."
Vodka's idea of beating these people with sticks is excellent. I'm convinced most of them are illiterate and thus unable to read the signs that say, "SLOW TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT." They're probably the same people who can't understand the signs that say, "LEFT LANE ENDS 1 MILE, MERGE RIGHT," and they also seem to have problems with "YIELD."

If you don't know where you're going and you're not in any hurry to get there, how about you STAY HOME? But why bother writing it? Those idiots can't read.

National Bankruptcy Day, II

Mark at Publius Endures and Jon Schwenkler have taken notice of the potentially devastating impact of CPSIA on small businesses.

It's a serious issue that I blogged about last week. While big banks get bailouts, meanwhile Congress is regulating small businesses out of existence. I'm reminded of Ronald Reagan's description of liberal economics: "If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it."

Christmas without Mom

Apparently, April McLean's mother passed away since last Christmas, and she has some reflections on the permanence of loss.

My mom died when I was 16. I lost my Grandma McCain when I was 19, my cousin Mark when I was 30, followed by my Grandma Kirby, then Uncle Ervin. My father died . . . wow, was it nine years ago already? And then my Aunt Barbara this past year.

In my memory, they still exist. I mean, I can still see them all now. I'm picturing many a Thanksgiving, playing Rook after dinner, and there is Grandma Kirby sitting right there, laughing as she makes her bid. And I still remember when Aunt Barbara gave me a crystal radio kit for Christmas, more than 40 years ago. And, of course, this time of year, I recall trips to Birmingham with Mom and Dad to see Alabama play football. (Always it was Legion Field when I was a kid; I never went to Tuscaloosa until I was grown.)

The fact that they are gone, permanently, is a heavy thought. Not exactly sad -- except maybe the sadness of abscence, which feels too much like self-pity for me to wallow in it -- just heavy. And then, of course, some day I will be just a memory in the minds of those who once knew me -- another heavy thought. Certainly, I'd never want anyone to be sad for me. Remembered and missed, but not in a sad way.

Ah, enjoy every day. Meditate on Ecclesiastes, if you need to get some spiritual perspective. But mainly, enjoy every day.

Special BlagoGate flaming skull

I mean, how brilliant is that? The AOSHQ Flaming Skull Alert is famous throughout the blogosphere, but for Slublog to update it with Blagojevich's hair . . . I mean, wow. It so totally screams "Way Too Much Time On Our Hands," doesn't it? I don't know that I've ever been so proud to be a Moron.

Detroit bailout, Republican sellouts

Michelle Malkin names names of the 32 Republican House members who voted yes on the UAW-backed automaker bailout -- the ones that will probably shock a few people are Joe Barton of Texas, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Mark Souder of Indiana, and Peter King of New York.

Giving Barney Frank an excuse to mock Republicans.

Illegals kidnap Texas corn dog heiress

"Texas corn dog heiress" sounds comical, but it was no laughing matter:
"Of course I made the silly prayers like ‘God, if you get me out of this ...' I was like 'I'll volunteer' and I was like 'I'll be a better example for you' and I was like 'I will just shout your name,'" Amber Fletcher told KTVT-TV on Tuesday. "I was just praying for God to send two big angels to come and guard me."
Ms. Fletcher, 21, was rescued late Monday. She was shaken by her daylong ordeal but otherwise unharmed, officials said.
Three men were arrested in her kidnapping: Adolfo Chavez, 39, of Dallas, Irving resident Placido Porras, 37, and Justin resident Candelario Romero, 44. They remained in custody at Denton County Jail on Wednesday. They each have been charged with aggravated kidnapping for ransom or reward.
Mr. Chavez had once lived next door to the Fletcher family, said Texas Ranger Tracy Murphree, who assisted Double Oak police in apprehending the suspects. . . .
Mrs. Fletcher told police that her daughter had called and said "she needed $100,000 or the kidnappers would kill her," according to police affidavits. . . .
Ms. Fletcher expressed her relief to KTVT-TV on Tuesday.
"I'm alive. I'm with my family and friends again. I'm taking this as a lesson to live life again," she said.
More at

Breitbart ready to go 'Big'

Just finished up a brief interview with Andrew Breitbart for The American Spectator:
"I think that now is the right time to strike," Andrew Breitbart says, talking on his hands-free cell phone as he drives through Hollywood. He's en route to dinner with a screenwriter whose work has been filmed with big names like Michael Caine, Clint Eastwood and Michael Douglas. The writer (we won't blow his cover) is a prospective contributor to Breitbart's new "Big Hollywood" blog, which rolls out next month at
With Republicans at a low ebb, and Democrats gleefully preparing to take over the White House, Breitbart feels this is a propitious time to launch the Web project he's been planning for several months, aiming to create an online intersection between the conservative movement and Hollywood. Conservatives, Breitbart says, are entering “an era of opposition and an era of rebirth,” and one goal of his project is to make the conservative establishment "realize they have a stake in the popular culture."
Please read the whole thing.

UPDATE: By the way, Breitbart says one aim is to create a site that's more "tolerant" than HuffPo. Andrew's very tolerant, as evidenced by this photo of him being sexually harassed by Reason editor Matt Welch:

Libertarians are such animals. And that's not a cardboard cutout!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Obama memory hole

A couple of stories that I'd linked to earlier today -- both reporting on Obama's Nov. 5 meeting with Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- have disappeared from the Internet, as did a video of David Axelrod saying that Obama had talked to Blagojevich.

Jammie Wearing Fool and Gateway Pundit are both reporting on that Cover-Up You Can Believe In. Ed Morrissey finds Team Obama busy deleting questions about the Blagojevich scandl from the transition Web site.

Meanwhile, WSJ's Cam Simpson notes that the two-hour call on Nov. 10 is the focus of journalistic curiosity, because it was in that call that Blagojevich called Obama a "motherf----r" and immediately afterwards that Obama aide "Senate Candidate 1" Valerie Jarrett (a favorite of SEIU) was withdrawn from contention for the seat.

Also, Jesse Jackson Sr. -- who may have been the guy offering money to get Jesse Jr. appointed to the Senate -- has lawyered up.

Let the Rod Blagojevich Resignation Countdown begin. I'll go ahead and stake my bet that Blagojevich resigns about 8 p.m. ET Friday -- too late to make the 6 p.m. news in Chicago, in other words.

Beware of the doghouse

BlagoGate, Day 2

UPDATED & BUMPED: Under the bus:

President-elect Barack Obama is calling for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to resign. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs says the president-elect agrees with other prominent politicians that "under the current circumstances, it is difficult for the governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois."

(Via Hot Air.) And, also via Hot Air, "Senate Candidate 5" was Jesse Jackson Jr. I'm shocked, shocked!

MORE: Controverting claims that Obama did not discuss with the governor who would fill his Senate seat, in fact he met with Blagojevich Nov. 5 in Chicago. (H/T: Instapundit.)

UPDATE 4 P.M.: I'd rather be rubbing my hands in glee than hiding my head in shame. (H/T: Malkin.)

UPDATE 5 P.M.: Senate Democrats ask Blago to resign.

PREVIOUSLY: Day One here and here, in case you're joining this melodrama in progress. OK, so Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich is under indictment for trying to sell the Senate seat being vacated by the president elect, and the question now is: What did Obama know, and when did he know it?

Allahpundit has a good rundown: Obama denies having any contact with Blagojevich, an assertion contradicted by Obama's campaign manager:

But on November 23, 2008, his senior adviser David Axelrod appeared on Fox News Chicago and said something quite different.
While insisting that the President-elect had not expressed a favorite to replace him, and his inclination was to avoid being a "kingmaker," Axelrod said, "I know he's talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them."
So, which is it? Did Obama talk to Blagojevich about his replacement, or didn't he?

UPDATE I: RiShawn Biddle has a profile of Blagojevich:
After marrying the daughter of a longtime Chicago alderman, Richard Mell, Blagojevich parlayed his father-in-law's political ties and a squeaky-clean image as a populist reformer into stints in the Illinois House of Representatives and the congressional seat once held by the infamously corrupt Dan Rostenkowski, before placing the governorship into Democratic control for the first time in three decades.
So much for that "squeaky-clean image"! Philip Klein:
Blagojevich's declaration, recorded by wiretap, that a Senate seat "is a fu--ing valuable thing, you don't just give it away for nothing," is sure to enter the political scandal lexicon along with Larry Craig's "I have a wide stance" and Marion Barry's "the bitch set me up."
UPDATE II: Byron York questions the timing:
And then, on December 4, something changed, and that change was the presence of the person referred to in the complaint as "Candidate Five." If the complaint is correct, in "Candidate Five," Blagojevich finally found a prospective senator who might come up with money - $500,000 for Blagojevich's political organization - in return for the Obama seat.
A press leak to the Chicago Tribune Dec. 5 apparently scotched the deal, and York observes:
For anyone who has watched the case, the astonishing thing is that Blagojevich, prior to December 5, could possibly have assumed that he wasn’t under surveillance. But he apparently did, making for some of the juiciest political wiretaps in years.
UPDATE III: Michelle Malkin has a caption contest:

My suggestion: "Who is that man with Obama, and why is he wearing Michael Nesmith's hair?"

Michelle also has a column today about Nancy "Culture of Corruption" Pelosi:
2008 was the year of Democratic Reps. William "Cold Cash" Jefferson, Charlie "Sweetheart Deals” Rangel, and former Detroit Mayor Kwame "Text Me" Kilpatrick. It was the year Democratic Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson got caught stuffing bribes from an FBI informant down her shirt. It was the year 12 Democratic leaders and staffers in Pennsylvania’s state Capitol were stung in a massive corruption scandal involving cash, sex and abuse of public office. And it was the year of multimillion-dollar embezzlement scandals at Democratic satellite offices of ACORN and the SEIU.
Year in, year out, Democrats are more corrupt than Republicans. That's a fact established to the point of statistical certainty in Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party, and in the two years since it was published, Democrats have only added more evidence to prove our point.

A most unfortunate trend

In a transparent effort to boost their ratings, ABC News reports:
Carry -- a Colorado college student who had been in a steady relationship for months -- was recently cajoled by her boyfriend into some sexual experimentation.
He wanted to try anal sex, and even though the 20-year-old said she was "OK with the idea," she nervously downed several drinks before their lovemaking began.
Within 15 seconds, Carry -- not her real name -- said she was "crying and asking him to stop."
They never did it again. But experts say that as social morales ease, more young heterosexuals are engaging in anal sex, a behavior once rarely mentioned in polite circles. And the experimentation, they worry, may be linked to the current increase in sexually transmitted diseases.
The menace of teen anal sex! If ABC's not doing a random Google-bait here, I'm Joseph Pulitzer. But as for the willingness of young people to take it up the poop chute, I will point out that Obama got 66% of the under-30 vote.

Linked in "Top 40" bloggers

Linked, but not included in the actual rankings, because John Hawkins didn't want to be accused of partiality. Hey, as Blago might say, a ranking is a f---ing valuable thing.

'I can’t stop thinking about this picture'

So says former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers:
An incredibly talented young aide, to an impossibly idealistic new president, gets caught doing something indefensibly stupid and undeniably sexist. Everyone is uncomfortable. But should anyone be held accountable? Apparently not.
The incident I’m talking about, of course, is the photo of Jon Favreau, Barack Obama's 27-year-old wunderkind speechwriter, with his hand on a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton’s chest. . . .
I can't stop thinking about this picture, and I confess I find it really upsetting. And, no, it's not because I don't have a sense of humor.
The fact that Myers feels the need to insist that she's not humorless should clue you into the fact that what follows is . . . well, humorless:
What's bugging me is his intention. He isn't putting his hand on her "chest," as most of the articles and conversations about the picture have euphemistically referred to it. Rather, his hand -- cupped just so -- is clearly intended to signal that he's groping her breast. And why? Surely, not to signal he finds her attractive. Au contraire. It's an act of deliberate humiliation. Of disempowerment. Of denigration.
And it disgusts me.
Oh, puh-leeze. Look, to start with, no one named "Dee Dee" is allowed to take themselves so seriously. Second, groping a cardboard cutout's boob doesn't "signal" anything, except maybe that the person doing it is drunk. Third, I greatly admire Andrew Breitbart and enjoyed his Monday column about this, but he was trying to make a point about double standards: What would have happened if the offending staffer were a Republican?

The question was asked as a hypothetical, to make a point. I'm not sure that Breitbart was advocating that Jon Favreau actually suffer that fate. And certainly, I don't.

I cannot be accused of sympathy toward Obama, but I'm tired of seeing careers in Washington destroyed by one ginned-up "incident." Fifty or sixty years from now, when Favreau dies, his Washington Post obituary will include a paragraph about the cardboard-cutout groping incident, and I'm sure he can live with that. But to try to get him fired over that? No. And not just no, but hell, no.

As a conservative, I am grateful to Jonathan Favreau for (unintentionally) exposing the partisan double standards of media outrage about "sexism" -- the scare-quotes signifying that I don't think Favreau is any more "sexist" than anyone else. And if someone out there has a Facebook photo of a Hillary Clinton staffer acting disrespectfully toward a cardboard cutout of Obama, please publish it, so that we can discuss "racism" in the same context.

This all goes back, as Breitbart said in his column, to when "righteous feminists . . . tried to destroy Clarence Thomas - for nothing." The worst that was alleged against Thomas was that he had made a couple of off-color jokes at the office, which somehow became transmogrified by feminist witch-hunters into sexual harassment of the "hostile environment" variety. It was insane and unjust and I hope that Jonathan Favreau, at least, can now understand why it was insane and unjust.

As for you, Ms. Myers: Spare us your phony belated outrage. You were a joke as White House press secretary, and the only reason anyone pretends to take you seriously now is because your husband is an editor at Vanity Fair.

UPDATE: Linked at Hot Air. Thanks! Over at Q&O, McQ coughs up a lung laughing at the irony of a former staffer for Bill Clinton being offended by sexual harassment. I'm sure Kathleen Willey is laughing, too.

UPDATE II: James Joyner:
If Obama wants to fire this guy for being a dumbass and embarrassing himself and his boss, that’s fine by me. If he doesn’t, though, it’s not a signal that he’s indifferent to sexism but rather that he doesn’t think groping a cardboard cutout is a hanging offense.
Unless the cardboard cutout files a lawsuit, or unless Favreau is caught on an FBI wiretap declaring that a Senate seat is a "f---ing valuable thing," I'm pretty sure Favreau will keep his job, on the "No Drama Obama" principle. On the other hand, it's nice to note how the Obama administration is already delivering juicy scandals more than a month before he's even inaugurated. As I told a friend last night at my son Jefferson's birthday party: "This is gonna be a good four years for me."

The Christina Hendricks Gay Test

VodkaPundit wrote something very disturbing:
Christina Hendricks so isn’t my type. But lord, I am still a mammal.
"Very disturbing," I say, because if Christina Hendricks isn't your type, Steve, you're gay.

As a matter of fact, I suggest that Christina could function as pretty much a litmus test of heterosexuality. If you're a guy and you don't find her attractive, you might as well move to Provincetown. Note, however, that the Christina Hendricks Gay Test doesn't work for women -- if you're a woman who is otherwise straight but yet find yourself powerfully attracted to Christina, this doesn't make you a lesbian. It just proves how hot Christina is.

She puts the "bomb" in "bombshell," doesn't she? BTW, I was just checking SiteMeter and noticed that someone had reached this page by searching for "Christina Hendricks nude." Sorry to disappoint you, but there are apparently no such pictures available on the Internet. Trust me, I'm a professional journalist, and this is the kind of investigative journalism I'm good at.

Linked by VodkaPundit, who isn't really gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

UPDATE: [Deleted, by request.]

UPDATE II: Melissa Clouthier links. She's a pretty good test, too.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Statement from Sen. Harry Reid:
"It is clear that anyone Governor Blagojevich appoints to the Senate will fairly or unfairly be tainted by questions of impropriety. A different process to select a new Senator must be put in place – and that process should not involve Governor Blagojevich."
And who can disagree? I mean, if anybody's an expert on being "tainted by questions of impropriety" . . .

Monetize this!

Reading through the Blagojevich indictment and counting the expletives (20, FYI), I'm thinking this is how you know you're dealing with Chicago Democrats: You have to issue a "not safe for work" warning before linking their federal indictment. Also, I notice that the federal prosecutor felt compelled to issue his own disclaimer:
The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Right. And the public is also reminded that "corrupt Chicago Democrat" is redundant. From the prosecutor's press release:
On November 10, in a lengthy telephone call with numerous advisors that included discussion about Blagojevich obtaining a lucrative job with a union-affiliated organization in exchange for appointing a particular Senate Candidate whom he believed was favored by the President-elect and which is described in more detail below, Blagojevich and others discussed various ways Blagojevich could "monetize" the relationships he has made as governor to make money after leaving that office.
"Monetizing" politics is the raison d'etre of Chicago Democrats. According to Chicago rules, Blagojevich's mistake wasn't being greedy and dishonest, it was being greedy, dishonest and stupid.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)


Since this is Indict Crooked Democrats Week at the Justice Department, here's a timely suggestion:
It's not clear whether Minnesota is one of the states where ACORN's practices are being probed; neither the FBI nor the Justice Department would say. But with Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a hyperpartisan Democrat who was endorsed by ACORN in his 2006 election, as one of five people overseeing the recount, Mr. Coleman should rightly be afraid, very afraid of having the election stolen out from under him. . . .
[I]t's hardly "hyperbole" to be alarmed at ACORN's long track record of questionable (at best) voter-registration practices.
That's why the Justice Department should bring a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) prosecution against ACORN nationally, and shut it down permanently before it can taint any more elections by delivering its legions of multiply (or otherwise fraudulently) registered "voters" to the polls.
Corrupt Democrats -- y'know, somebody ought to write a book about that.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

FBI arrests Obama ally

And, no, it's not Bill Ayers:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges.
Blagojevich and Harris were accused of a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy that included Blagojevich conspiring to sell or trade the Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama in exchange for financial benefits for the governor and his wife. The governor was also accused of obtaining campaign contributions in exchange for other official actions.
No word yet on whether Blagojevich will face grand larceny charges for stealing Mike Nesmith's hairstyle from 1967.

UPDATE: More from CNN:
"The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement. "They allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States Senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism."
And yet the feds say nothing about Mike Nesmith's hair -- another Bush-Cheney cover-up!

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin has more, including a link to the original indictment. But Michelle doesn't mention the Nesmith hair issue, leading me to suspect a neocon conspiracy. Of course, whenever bad things happen to Democrats, it's always a neocon conspiracy.

Given the level of anger Blagojevich displays toward Obama in this complaint, my suspicion is that the president-elect gave his old buddy the cold shoulder after the election, and this scheme was Blagojevich's response to being shut out. Weapons-grade stupid.
And Monkees-grade hair.

UPDATE IV: Patty F---ing Blagojevich.

UPDATE V: "Senate Candidate 5" in the indictment is probably Jesse Jackson Jr., says Marc Ambinder.

UPDATE VI: Look for the union label. You know, if they'd just throw in some mobsters, adultery, espionage and treason, I could sue Blagojevich for plagiarism.

UPDATE VII: Press conference video via Hot Air:

"The absolute lowlight? Blago trying to shake down a children’s hospital for a $50,000 kickback in exchange for $8 million in state funding."

Have your people call my people

Andrew Breitbart is launching a Hollywood-themed blog next week. Curiously, he did so without so much as contacting my blog agent.

Andrew, sweetheart, we really should do lunch soon. Ciao, babe.

Has talk radio jumped the shark?

Genghis at AOSHQ rips into leading conservative talk-radio hosts, whom he accuses of being "entrenched in power and way too comfortable for their own good." Apparently, he's got no problem with Laura Ingraham or Mark Levin, since their names don't make his list.

Of the six hosts Genghis names, I don't get to hear Glenn Beck or Lars Larson that often, and O'Reilly's already said he's giving up his pathetic attempt at radio. I like Michael Savage, eccentricities and all, simply because he's a populist hell-raiser who speaks his mind without any concern for whose toes he steps on. So, that leaves us to discuss Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

I don't like Sean on TV, but his radio show has very strong production values. It's fast-paced with lots of sound bites, he gets big-name guests and, best of all, he seems to pay attention to the conservative blogosphere. If a headline sparks outrage with Malkin, HotAir or Instapundit, you can be pretty sure that Hannity will be talking about it.

Hannity has two really bad habits: First, every issue is cast as a titanic struggle between the forces of Good and Evil, as if to justify that Carmina Burana snippet in his hourly opening. Second, as Election Day nears, Hannity inevitably goes into GOP cheerleader mode, shaking his pompons and doing somersaults for every politician with an "R" beside his name. The Manichean melodrama and the shameless partisanship are both turnoffs for me.

Genghis complains (a) Rush takes too many days off, and also (b) "Half of the show is devoted to the Pittsburgh Steelers and his golf game."

As to (a), I'd just say that listener discontent about Limbaugh's vacation days is mainly caused by the vast gulf between Rush and his guest-hosts. Rush is just so damned good that it's always a disappointment when you switch over at 12:06 p.m., get stoked by that Pretenders bass riff and then . . . Mark Belling? Click. Time to switch to the FM classic-rock station and hope they're playing some tasty ZZ Top.

On point (b), I don't mind Limbaugh talking about golf or football for a few minutes on Monday, or any of the other little personal diversions he talks about from time to time. Politics is not the only interesting topic in the universe and, hey, it's his show. He's the most successful radio phenomenon since Alan Freed, and if he occasionally feels like chatting about his hobbies, why should I complain? It's a free country and if I get bored, all I have to do is punch a button and I'm listening to Zeppelin's "Black Dog" or Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein."

I think Rush is vastly underappreciated. As a journalist, I've interviewed lots of celebrities -- from Peter Jennings to Tom Wolfe -- but the one guy I'd most like to interview is Rush Limbaugh, simply because he is so influential and such an innovator. Most people don't realize how Limbaugh revolutionized the talk-radio medium by introducing "rock bumpers" (the music intros to each segment) and the use of audio actualities (aka "sound bites").

Rush is to radio what Columbus was to geography -- he discovered new territory by sailing off to do what nearly everybody said couldn't be done. There was never a national political talk radio program until Rush did it, and he did it against the unanimous advice of all the "experts" in the business. You can grumble all you want about his vacations and golf talk, but it's like questioning Joe Montana's Hall of Fame credentials because he sometimes threw an interception.

The man is quite literally irreplaceable and one of these days, when Rush is dead and gone, your grandchildren will be asking you to tell them what it was like to live in The Limbaugh Age.

Senator Nanny? Please, no

The news that Fran Drescher may be interested in Hillary Clinton's vacated Senate seat ought to send chills down America's collective spine. I saw Drescher in Denver at the DNC Women's Caucus:
Drescher, best known as TV's "The Nanny," said that Clinton had "put 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling," but urged support for Obama as "a defender of women's rights." A survivor of uterine cancer, she praised Obama for his sponsorship of the Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act, and used her illness as an argument for abortion rights.
"My right to choose was taken away when I was given a radical hysterectomy to cure my cancer," Drescher said. "I hate that I lost my right to choose, and you will, too."
The logic of that statement doesn't quite hold together -- what Republican would deny a woman the ability to bear children, as Drescher's hysterectomy did? -- but it was nonetheless applauded heartily by the Women's Caucus.
Just the fact that she's reminded me of the DNC Women's Caucus -- the tambourines! those damned tambourines! -- is enough to make me oppose Drescher's Senate bid, even if she wasn't a liberal idiot (which she is). Yet if Al Franken can come within 300 votes of a Senate seat, why not Fran?

One good thing about (shudder) Senator Drescher: Her election would automatically stop Democrats from ever again claiming that Sarah Palin is not qualified for high office.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Separation of church & state

Lisa Simpson, porn star?

Depicting characters from "The Simpsons" in sexual acts is child pornography? Krusty the Clown will be heartbroken by this news. (Via Hot Air.)

It's probably only a matter of time before Papa Smurf is featured on "America's Most Wanted." I never trusted that creepy old blue guy.

And then Barney Rubble will show up on "Dateline NBC" with Chris Hansen . . .

UPDATE: Linked at Conservative Grapevine, and don't you feel slightly sleazy for clicking that link?

Breitbart on double standards

The case of the cardboard-cutout Clinton:
If the photo had exposed a Republican offender, there'd already be a full-bore media scandal and cascading resignations. MSNBC would be rearranging its schedules for a wall-to-wall 24/7 bonanza. Rachel Maddow would finally have her big story. Barbara Boxer, Patricia Schroeder and other righteous feminists would walk up the Capitol steps, reprising the time they tried to destroy Clarence Thomas - for nothing.
Yet so far there is no groundswell of feminist rage in the District of Columbia. The unnamed co-conspirator thrusting the beer bottle into the mouth of the designated secretary of state isn't yet a household slur.
Instead, with the accused being a member of the protected Democratic class, we only have a quick peripheral debate. The mainstream media headlines soften the story's implications: "Obama speechwriter Favreau learns the perils of Facebook" (CNN).
The double standard is truly obnoxious, but I'm not really offended by the photo -- and I don't think Hillary was, either. I think she was actually flattered by the attention. As a matter of fact, that photo probably depicts Hillary's fantasy of a wild weekend: "Grab me! Grope me! Make me drink Heineken!"

Oh, wait . . . that's my fantasy weekend. Never mind.

UPDATE: Linked by VodkaPundit. Thanks.

UPDATE II: Moe Lane: "Besides, that cardboard cutout was totally asking for it." Cardboard cutout consent.

Smoke up, Mr. President!

Grilled by Tom Brokaw:
MR. BROKAW: Finally, Mr. President-elect, the White House is a no-smoking zone, and when you were asked about this recently by Barbara Walters, I read it very carefully, you ducked. Have you stopped smoking?
PRES.-ELECT OBAMA: You know, I have, but what I said was that, you know, there are times where I've fallen off the wagon. Well...
MR. BROKAW: Well, wait a minute.
PRES.-ELECT OBAMA: ...what can I tell...
MR. BROKAW: Then that means you haven't stopped.
PRES.-ELECT OBAMA: Well, the--fair enough. What I would say is, is that I have done a terrific job under the circumstances of making myself much healthier, and I think that you will not see any violations of these rules in the White House.
This is one of the few things I like about Obama. It would be so cool if, in the middle of a press conference, he'd casually take out a pack of Camel Lights, fire one up, and just keep talking as if it were no big deal.

No way to treat a lady

The Claire Booth Luce Policy Institute's 2009 calendar has provoked left-wing bloggers to their usual classy reaction:
Less than twenty-four hours after the launch of the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute's "Pretty in Mink" calendar, an onslaught of angry leftist bloggers unleashed a torrent of visceral hatred-aimed at everything from the calendar's photography and makeup to the women's physical appearance. . . .
The ladies are "sexy loudmouth whores" according to a blogger. Another claims the calendar is "an attempt to make erections lean to the right." The women, they complain, "aren't even remotely attractive." . . .
But what can explain such malicious prejudice among the very sector of society that chooses as its public altar the utopian notions of tolerance and acceptance?
The calendar is available here.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Newspaper fire sale

Michelle Malkin has an excellent suggestion: With newspapers facing bankruptcy, conservative billionaires can buy them up at bargain prices, and hire conservative editors to run them.

With 22 years in the newspaper business, I'll just say: I'm available.

GOP message

My latest American Spectator column:
Failure is a foregone conclusion for the Democrats' economic agenda, and Republicans seeking a coherent conservative response can boil their message down to three words: It won't work.
Infrastructure "investments"? It won't work. Pump-priming "stimulus" payments? It won't work. More taxpayer-funded bailouts? It won't work. Go through the familiar liberal litany of economic prescriptions that Democrats are now suggesting, pick any proposal, and the message is the same: It won't work.
The unfortunate truth, as sober economists freely admit, is that there is no easy
cure for the financial mess caused by the collapse of the housing bubble. Contrary to John McCain's now-infamous September declaration that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong," the fact is, as Michelle Malkin said, the fundamentals suck.
Whatever policy Washington pursues, a quick and painless recovery is not going to happen, and the only real question is whether Democrats will delay recovery by implementing liberal policies that make a very bad situation even worse. . . .
Please read the whole thing. BTW, I hate it when political journalists try to act as political strategists -- something Bill Kristol, for example, does constantly -- but in this case, I couldn't resist. All the usual suspects among professional GOP strategists have discredited themselves so badly in recent years that they can't be taken seriously, so maybe some amateur advice would be welcome.