Saturday, January 17, 2009

NY Times death watch

Things are so bad at 620 8th Avenue, they've forced Maureen Dowd to start writing travel features in order to keep her job. One of American journalism's living legends -- a Pulitzer winner, no less -- compelled to file 2,500 words of fluffy hype about a luxury spa in Miami. Oh, the indignity of it all!

(H/T: Ann Althouse.)

Corporate greed

One of the stock responses to accusations of bias in the media is for liberals to assert that in fact journalists are lackeys of their greedy right-wing corporate masters:
Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and chief executive officer of NBC parent companyGeneral Electric (GE), is on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose president is Timothy Geithner. . . .
Another member of the board of the New York Fed is Lee C. Bollinger, the president of Columbia University, who serves on the board of the Washington Post Company. . . .
(H/T: Instapundit.)

Obama Cola

Everybody remembers those pro-Bush celebrity videos sponsored by major corporations, right? Right?

(H/T: AdFreak via Tigerhawk.)

UPDATE: And everybody remembers how those fanatical Bush supporters violated federal law as they tried to conflate patriotism with partisanship, right? Right? (H/T: Michelle Malkin.)

UPDATE II: Linked by Right View from the Left Coast.

UPDATE III: Linked by Ed Driscoll.

Hate or hysteria?

A CNN story recycling the increasingly tiresome "assassination watch" meme gets the ridicule it deserves from Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee:
[Obama] stands for nothing, and represents nothing. The simple fact of the matter is that until he's actually sworn into his first-ever leadership position on Tuesday and had time to flail and make a series of horribly stupid mistakes, there isn't anything he's done to make him worth an effort on his life.
The CNN white-supremacist-assassin scare story, frankly, overlooks the possibility that Klan wackos are rational enough to realize that an assassination would be bad for business. If having a black president gins up interest in KuKluxism, Obama's good for business. So why would they want to bump off their No. 1 recruiter?

Furthermore, Obama is taking office in the midst of an economic meltdown that his policy agenda will almost certainly make much worse. Insofar as Obama is perceived as a symbol of blackness, then, his presidency will likely damage the image of black people as much as the Bush administration has damaged the image of Texans. So I'm having a hard time seeing the motivation of the Klan assassins CNN is so worried about.

Notice, however, that CNN and the "experts" they consult seem completely oblivious to the scenario of an al-Qaeda terrorist attack on the president of the Great Satan. That's because al-Qaeda is Muslim, and fostering fearfulness of Muslims is "hate." The media want you to worry about a relative handful of tinfoil hat kooks, rather than about the bloodthirsty terrorist enemies who want to kill us all.

UPDATE: Greeting TPM readers, who've been told what an awful person I am. My advice: Don't worship in the Church of Morris Dees.

UPDATE II: The real danger to Obama? He might get hugged to death by Frank Rich.

'Blogging is not journalism'

(H/T: Extreme Mortman vis Instapundit.) Mike Barnicle, who was forced to resign from the Boston Globe in a plagiarism scandal, presumes to lecture Sarah Palin about what is and is not journalism:

BARNICLE: [S]omeone ought to tell governor Palin that there’s a distinction between blogging and what she refers to as journalism. Blogging –
MIKA: Is not journalism!
BARNICLE: I would say 95%; maybe 99% of blogging is basically therapy for the blogger.
MIKA: And it’s anonymous, isn’t it?
BARNICLE: Yeah. You know.

Matthew Yglesias rightly notes that the people who most furiously insist on the distinction between blogging and journalism are commentators -- including columnists like Mike Barnicle -- since, let's face it, the blogosphere has really eaten the commentariat's lunch over the past five years.

On the way to making that good point, however, Yglesias hops back aboard his hobby horse of derogating the value of on-the-scene campaign coverage, a criticism that puts Yglesias into the therapeutic mode. As much as I dislike "pack journalism" -- the competitive scrum where everyone's covering the same story -- it inarguably has value. Everybody's filing 700 words about the same rally in Bumblyburg, Ohio, but everybody's not filing the same 700 words, and in the multiplicity of stories, you can find The Big Picture.

Yglesias also uses the term "crack investigative reporter" in a way that suggests he doesn't actually know what he's talking about. It's the Woodward and Bernstein Syndrome, the mythology of an "investigative reporter" as something separate and distinct from, say, a cops-and-courts reporter who gets a big scoop.

Cover your beat, work the phones, develop your sources, look for an exclusive and follow up -- that's investigative reporting and every good reporter does it, whether they're covering sports or the Pentagon. Thinking of investigative journalism as a function separate from regular reporting is a luxury that developed during the era of overcrowded newsrooms, and which won't survive in the lean-and-mean times ahead for the news business.

A 'green' boondoggle . . .

. . . is still a boondoggle:
The U.S. economy has gone from bad to worse to worst over the past year. The current unemployment rate of 7.2 percent is the highest in 15 years, with more layoffs likely. Major companies have declared bankruptcy, while others teeter on the brink. Outgoing President George W. Bush opposed all but the barest economic stimulus measures, leaving the new Obama administration and 111th Congress to clean up the mess.
Thankfully, the days of inertia and inaction are over. As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to ascend to the nation’s highest office, he travels today to Bedford Heights, Ohio. There he will visit a wind turbine factory to urge Congress to promptly enact an $850 billion economic stimulus and recovery plan, which includes an unprecedented $77 billion for clean energy programs.
That's from the woefully misnamed Center for American Progress, where nobody is sufficiently curious to ask: Does "clean energy" have some special economic value?

I mean, suppose that the same $77 billion were spent on -- oh, I don't know -- let's say, health care. Why is the provision of health care less worthy of $77 billion in taxpayer dollars than the development of "clean energy"?

At least we know that there is an actual market demand for health care, whereas "clean energy" is so inherently inefficient that nobody will pay what it costs to produce. If it weren't for government subsidies and mandates, we wouldn't be putting ethanol in our gas or building wind farms.

No, it's not enough that idiot liberals want to pour out $850 billion in money we don't have in order to try a neo-Keynesian solution to a financial problem that can't possibly be fixed by such interventionist "pump priming." (It won't work!) The Center for American Progress is excitedly celebrating the fact that nearly a tenth of the "stimulus" package will be spent on the most economically inefficient uses imaginable.

Maybe for $77 billion dollars, some of these idiots could buy what they really need: A clue.

Oh, look! Yet another uneconomic stimulus: More money for mass transit projects that will never recoup their costs and require constant additional injections of taxpayer funds merely to meet operation and maintenance costs.

Ron Paul speaks economic truth to idiotic power:
We are at an economic dead-end and those in power are in denial. The truth is our economic problems are due to loose monetary policy, central economic planning, and the parasitic expenses of government. Unless we assess these problems honestly, we unfortunately have a long way to go until, like the junkie, we hit rock bottom.
Weimar America, here we come!

Tom Hanks calls you un-American

If you live in one of the 49 states where gay marriage is still illegal, he questions your patriotism:
There are a lot of people who feel that [opposition to gay rights] is un-American and I am one of them. I do not like to see any discrimination codified on any piece of paper, any of the 50 states in America, but here’s what happens now.
With the sole exception of Massachusetts, we are all living under tyrannical un-American oppression. And we never even realized it until Tom Hanks told us so.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A 'mental event'

"A recession is a mental event, and every recession has its own unique spirit."
-- David Brooks
Stupidity is a mental event, and David Brooks has his own unique stupidity.

Is it possible that the American Conservative Union could file a lawsuit to force him to call himself something other than "conservative"? Perhaps, while the suit was making its way through court, an interim restraining order would prevent his abuse for at least a few weeks, which would be a tremendous relief. I understand the New York Times is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, but I'm getting tired of waiting for them to realize they've got a surplus of asshole columnists and can't afford to keep paying Brooks to do as a "conservative" what Paul Krugman does equally well without the phony label. 

It's as if Pinch Sulzberger feels a civic duty to inflict Brooks on us.

UPDATE: Tom's comment got me thinking, "What is it about this Brooks column that bugs me so?" -- that is to say, not merely because it's a Brooks column, which is aggravation enough. But look, for example, at this sentence:
The crisis has delivered a blow to classical economics and taken a body of psychological work that was at the edge of public policy thought and brought it front and center.
See? Expert insight of which mere plebians are unaware -- something subtle, nuanced, and complex -- is the true explanation. If you protest that this is really no explanation at all, that Brooks obscures rather than enlightens, well, this only proves how feeble are your powers to grasp the multilayered reality. 

Brooks is engaged in a pretense of expertise that is, in reality, a sort of make-work project, a WPA for the hypercerebral, digging one intellectual hole in the morning, then filling it up in the afternoon, the entire point of the exercise being to keep him busy with the shovel. Brooks could have saved himself the trouble of writing a 794-world column because the whole of its meaning can be summed up in four words: You don't understand economics. If he felt compelled to add another five words, he might have added: Leave it to Tim Geithner

In this, as in everything, Brooks is saying: Don't try to think for yourselves, you stupid plebes! You will never qualify for the mystic initiation into the esoteric truths of the Platonic archons, who alone understand the transcendent gnosis and yet are forbidden to convey this secret knowledge to the xeno

That Brooks has made a career of this kind of scam is one of the great mysteries of our age, right up there with, "Why did anyone ever think Joy Behar was funny?"

Tuesday: 'Call in Conservative'!

The folks who brought you An American Carol have a suggestion for Inauguration Day:
What do you do when you aren’t feeling well? You call in sick to work! Well, what do you do when the political left is taking over the White House? You call in conservative! On January 20, Democrats will say “Yes, we did” to a new President. But today you can say “Oh, no you didn’t!” by calling in “Conservative!”
Beats "calling in gay," I suppose.

'The passion from which she spews'

Rosie O'Donnell offers psychological insights on Ann Coulter. 

Right. Maybe under the new Obama health-care plan, Ann will be entitled to a second opinion. From Charles Manson, perhaps?

Just buy the book:

Meghan McCain dissing Palin?

John McCain's 24-year-old daughter told a New Hampshire blogger this week: "Sarah Palin is the only part of the campaign that I won't comment on publicly.”

As Harry at points out (scroll down to his "special feature"), this is a stark contrast to Meghan's unabashed enthusiasm for Palin during the campaign:
Back on August 30, 2008, Meghan McCain wrote in her own blog, " ... Dad's choice of Governor Sarah Palin as his nominee for Vice President is a moment on stage I will never forget. She and her family are so down to earth and so much fun. I could not be any luckier to have these wonderful people join us on the road. I had the pleasure of spending the day with kids Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig. Not only do we have a new Vice Presidential nominee, but I have three new awesome girls to share the road with. I am looking forward to spending more time with them hanging out on the Straight Talk Express." . . .
Then on September 16, during a Larry King TV interview, King asked Meghan what she thought about her father's selection of Sarah Palin for vice president, and Meghan answered: " ... I'm very, very pleased with it. I love her. I'm really excited about it." . . .
King asked Meghan what specifically she liked about Sarah, and Meghan said, "First of all, she's really chill. She's really nice, really friendly. She's really up on pop culture, which I always respect. She's very smart. She doesn't act entitled, which unfortunately sometimes you get with some politicians. She's just like your average girl, like just a mom. But she's very, very shrewd, very smart. I've heard her talking about issues.” . . .
Now it’s the middle of January, 2009 and Meghan gushes to a nameless blogger that there’s nothing about the election she would change, that “it was the most liberating experience of my life," but says she will not respond to any questions about Gov. Palin.
Worth noting. Steadfast loyalty isn't a prominent trait in Crazy Cousin John's branch of the family.

The thrill is gone

Wednesday night, I saw Megan McArdle at an America's Future Foundation Roundtable event in D.C., where she explained that she had voted for Barack Obama, but also warned that we are in for a tsunami of "massive and stupid government spending." Here she is expressing her disdain for the House Democrat "stimulus" proposal:
The rest of the bill is about what you expected--a lot of probably useless green energy spending that I fairly confidently predict will come to nothing, some stuff we should have done anyway, and a bunch of pandering, porky highway spending. The better the projects are, the less likely they are to be stimulative, because they're complicated and time consuming, like healthcare IT and high-speed rail. If we do them on a stimulus timeframe, we'll screw them up, waste an enormous amount of money, and likely make American voters worse off in the long term by locking them in to bad solutions--we won't get a second bite at high-speed rail between LA and San Francisco. Mostly, Democrats took their wish lists, called them "stimulus", and look set to inflict them on the American people in badly done drag.
Ah, the yawning gap between Hope and reality! Well, if massively wasteful spending is going to be inflicted on the American people, at least let Democrats do the inflicting, eh?

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

From the anthropology desk

One thing you can count on in American journalism: No matter how tight their budgets, no matter how many staff layoffs may come, editors will always find money to send a feature writer out into the sticks to write -- in the manner of National Geographic reporting on a neolithic Borneo rain forest tribe -- about the hicks in flyover territory:
BRINKLEY, Ark. - Wayne Loewer's truck reveals a lot about his life. A 12-gauge shotgun for duck hunting rests on the floorboard. A blue thermal lunch bag containing elk meat is shoved under the seat, left in haste that morning by his teenage son rushing to catch the school bus.
Binoculars in the console help Loewer scan his 2,900 acres of rice, soybeans and corn.
The dashboard radio is set to classic rock, playing the same Lynyrd Skynyrd tunes from Loewer's high school days, when Brinkley was still a thriving small town with stores and a movie theater.
His muddy truck is 900 miles from the kiosks crowding Pennsylvania Avenue selling "Hope Won" T-shirts. But more than miles separate Loewer from the coming celebration in Washington over Barack Obama's inauguration as president.
The 52-year-old farmer is a conservative Democrat who bet on Republican John McCain and lost, a description that would apply to many in the white South. Now Loewer wonders about his place in Obama's America.
A shotgun! A truck! Lynyrd Skynyrd! Soybeans! My God, who even suspected such primitive folkways still existed in the 21st century?

UPDATE: A commenter asks why I used the word "anthropology" in the title. The Washington Post reporter treats the natives of rural Arkansas in the same way an anthropologist treats a tribe of aborigines in a distant rain forest, emphasizing the exotic customs in a faux-objective manner. Being from the South, I always resented how the national press would routinely dispatch some reporter to cover a story (often involving a crime with racial overtones) in this way:
STUMPWATER, Miss. -- Enos Latimer rocks slowly in the rocking chair on his front porch. White paint peels from the Doric columns in the torrid humidity of a summer afternoon in the Delta.
"Ain't right what they done to that boy," says Latimer, pausing to spit tobacco juice over the rail on the azaleas that border his lawn on Church Street, across from the Beauregard County Courthouse where last week 19-year-old Jerome Watson was convicted of murder in a controversial case that has sparked protests from civil rights activists and stirred memories of bygone injustices. . .

And so forth. There will be the obligatory mention of Spanish moss clinging to ancient magnolia trees, "local color" details like the faded linoleum floor of the local diner, some reference to a Klan atrocity from 1907, and so on -- all that "Gothic South" scene-setting stuff ripped off from Faulkner, the entire point being to emphasize how odd and exotic the place and its people are.

Heaven have mercy on the people who happen to live in the Southern crossroads town that is the locus of one of those "incidents" which draws the attention of the New York Times, Newsweek magazine and CBS News. They turn on the TV and see network newsmen portray their community as a festering cauldron of hate. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, readers pick up their newspaper to see stories slanted to depict the townspeople as so many stock characters out of To Kill a Mockingbird.

I will never forget a New York Times feature, published a few weeks before the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, which did its damnedest to portay my hometown as embroiled in ugly racial antagonism. Ask anybody who is familiar with both New York City and Atlanta which place has the more amicable race relations -- or the more amicable anything, for that matter, New Yorkers being notorious worldwide for hostile rudeness. Who the hell is this New York Times reporter to make such insinuations about Atlanta?

Just once, I'd like to see the Atlanta Journal-Constitution send a reporter up to New York City to cover some racially-charged "incident" up there -- and do it in the same anthropological style that Yankee reporters use when reporting from the small-town South.

Anyway, so that's what I'm talking about. It's one of my pet peeves from way back, and I hadn't thought about it in a long time. Thanks for asking.

Seattle P-I schadenfreude

Genghis at AOSHQ:
Not sure what a death sentence feels like, but I do know that schadenfreude tastes somewhat like Skittles . . . mostly the lime and cherry ones, but not quite as sour.
The pending unemployment of SP-I managing editor David McCumber is the main source of glee, which you should go share.

The Wonkette Times

Wonkette blogger Liz Glover has been hired as society reporter for The Washington Times.

"Real journalistic standards"!

Plane crash in New York

(BUMPED for the updates below about hero pilot "Sully" Sullenberger.)

NEW YORK (AP) - A law enforcement official says authorities aren't aware of any deaths from today's plane crash in New York's Hudson River, and that passengers don't appear to be seriously injured.
New York Times confirms all on board escaped. Apparently this was a "double bird" incident, with bird strikes taking out two engines. Wall Street Journal reports:
The pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 achieved one of the most technically challenging and seldom attempted feats in commercial aviation: landing on water successfully. . . .
To accomplish such a feat so soon after takeoff, while maneuvering over the skyscrapers of Manhattan and into the crowded Hudson River, will likely be seen as a testament to the crew's piloting skills.
"It looks like a great bit of flying and great airmanship," said Bob Mann, an airline consultant based in Port Washington, NY.
Drew at AOSHQ sums up what a stud this pilot is:
I gotta say, damn fine job by the flight crew. Total engine failure, low and heavy and over the most populous city in the country? Yeah, there are some free beers in their future.
Michelle Malkin is also blogging the miracle landing.

Yeah, you could see this coming: Obama's miracle. To quote Ace: "He's everywhere. Anywhere a heart open to love and hope exists, so too does Obama." It's easy to joke a bit now that everybody's safe, but . . . well, let's hope those passengers wore their brown pants today.

Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger: Air Force veteran, 40 years of experience, CEO of a private air safety company, and one stud pilot.

MIDNIGHT UPDATE: Hail to the hero:
Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York -- himself an experienced pilot -- said that the captain had insisted on being the last to "abandon ship" after the emergency landing.
"It would appear that the pilot did a masterful job in landing the plane in the river and then making sure nobody else was left on board," Mr Bloomberg said.
"I had a long conversation with the pilot. He walked the plane twice after everyone else got off and tried to verify there was nobody else on board.
Associated Press:
Sullenberger had been studying the psychology of keeping airline crews functioning even in the face of crisis, said Robert Bea, a civil engineer who co-founded UC Berkeley's Center for Catastrophic Risk Management.
Bea said he could think of few pilots as well-situated to bring the plane down safely than Sullenberger.
"When a plane is getting ready to crash with a lot of people who trust you, it is a test.. Sulley proved the end of the road for that test. He had studied it, he had rehearsed it, he had taken it to his heart."
Michelle Malkin uses the word "providential" to describe this situation, and it's an apt word. A plane caught in a disastrous situation, an almost unrecoverable malfunction, and it just so happens that the man at the controls is one of the world's leading experts in the field of crisis piloting. I don't know if there were any atheists aboard Flight 1549 before the crash, but I doubt any of them are still atheists now.

The Smoking Gun:
Sullenberger, who now must be considered the front runner to replace Hillary Clinton as New York's junior United States Senator, is also the founder of Safety Reliability Methods. The firm describes itself as providing "technical expertise and strategic vision and direction to improve safety and reliability in a variety of high risk industries." Business should soon be booming.
Heh. His resume -- and you can e-mail him at

PREVIOUSLY: It landed in the Hudson River. There are survivors. Allah has the story, and here's the CNN video:

UPDATE: WBTV reports the plane was en route to Charlotte N.C.:
A U.S. Airways 320 plane crashed into the Hudson River in New York this afternoon. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Flight #1549 was leaving La Guardia Airport and was enroute to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
The FAA says the plane went down after hitting an obstruction in the air, possibly a bird.
There were more than 135 passengers on the plane.
A passenger on the plane said shortly after the plane departed from the airport, there was a loud noise and smoke entered the cabin. As the plane was returning to the airport, it went down into the water.
An eyewitness on the ground said the plane made a slow, calm descent into the water.
Several ferry boats immediately surrounded the plane and emergency crews responded to the scene. The passengers were able to get off the plane and onto the ferry boats
UPDATE II: Janis Krums posted this photo from the rescue scene via Twitter:


UPDATE III: Associated Press:
It was not immediately clear if there were injuries.
Witness Barbara Sambriski, a researcher at The Associated Press, said, "I just thought, 'Why is it so low?' And, splash, it hit the water."
UPDATE IV: Reports indicate the river landing was a lifesaving feat of aviation after impact with a flock of geese knocked out at least one engine:
Passengers are saying that the pilot kept his cool, steered the plane over the Hudson, gave a quick warning ("Prepare for impact!") and then landed his plane on the water, keeping it in one piece.By the time TV pictures were being streamed live, viewers were presented with the horror of a plane full of passengers sinking slowly into frigid waters.
But that was an illusion: by the time TV pictures came on, apparently, most or all of the passengers had already been taken off the aircraft. The landing was so well done, passengers were able to keep their wits and make their way to a couple of exits. Plenty of boats - bless 'em! - were quickly on the scene, and took the passengers away.
The Right Stuff!

UPDATE IV: More video via Allah:

Always pray during takeoff. Read this book, if you want a better appreciation of the miracle of flight:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A billion here, a billion there . . .

. . . and pretty soon, you're talking about real money: Amanda Carpenter has a copy of the Democrats' plans to spend your money: "frightening."

MK vs. Max

Mary Katharine Ham plays film critic to Max Blumenthal's latest opus.

Baindridge Syndrome, a/k/a Blogger Burnout?

Bill Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection informs us that Stephen Baindridge is cutting back on blogging, after confronting blogger burnout.

It happens. Jeff Goldstein goes through this. Dan Riehl has gone through it, and Dan tells me that Allahpundit -- in the years before I became engaged in the blogosphere -- famously quit blogging before being recruited to blog at Hot Air. So if it can hit Allah, it can hit anybody.

The real problem, of course, is that the effort-to-reward ratio of blogging sucks. Independent blogging isn't going to make you rich, and you have finite influence as one cell in the massive corpus of the blogosphere. It can be massively time-consuming and, if you're doing news/politics blogging, there is the inevitably massive let-down after the mad rush of an election season -- which is true, win or lose, but probably more true when your side loses.

I'm a writer and "a writer writes" is one of the truisms I was taught long ago. Blogging is writing, it's a good excercise in a medium I enjoy, and I doubt I'll grow weary of it. But when I'm crunching a deadline for something else (and in fact, I've got a deadline approaching), there will be less blogging. A writer writes, they say, and a professional writer writes for money.

Rocket man

Jeremy Lott takes a look at every sci-fi geek's fantasy object, the jetpack.

Tim Geithner, liberal genius

(BUMPED; UPDATE BELOW) The best and the brightest:
Timothy Geithner, whose nomination as Treasury secretary has been delayed by his past failure to pay taxes, was repeatedly advised in writing by the International Monetary Fund that he would be responsible for any Social Security and Medicare taxes he owed on income he earned at the IMF between 2001 and 2004. . . .
It's possible some of Mr. Geithner's problems stemmed from bad advice. In 2004, an accountant advised Mr. Geithner in writing that he did not owe employment taxes. An accountant who reviewed Mr. Geithner's 2001 tax return also didn't inform Mr. Geithner he owed taxes, according to an Obama aide familiar with the situation.
Oh, great. A Treasury secretary who has to rely on accountants to fill out his 1040. Hell, by that standard, I'm qualified for the Obama Cabinet. Despite the appointee's problems, however, the New York Times assures us that "many senators are loath to rattle financial markets by rejecting someone with Mr. Geithner’s qualifications and international respect."

It's tautological, you see? Obama nominated a genius to his Cabinet, and we know he's a genius because . . .? Well, after all, Obama nominated him. Quod erat demonstrandum.

UPDATE: Uh, Tim? Watch out for that bus!

Gentlemen prefer . . .

. . . Christina Hendricks? Anne Hathaway? Natalie Portman? Little Miss Atilla? Well, leave it to French "experts" to get to the bottom of this:
Top thinkers will convene in Paris' prestigious Sorbonne University this week to try to solve a crucial academic conundrum: do gentlemen really prefer blondes?
During a series of erudite talks, experts in literature, art, music and film will examine the male fascination with fair-haired women, delve into stereotypes such as it is easier to seduce a blonde, and see whether they stand up to academic scrutiny.
The conference, called Gentlemen prefer Blondes after the Howard Hawks film starring blonde screen legend Marilyn Monroe, poses such probing questions as: "Why does the blonde exert such fascination and awaken so many fantasies?"
"Blondness awakens desire, probably because of the ambivalence it carries, from innocence to perversion, " said organiser Marie-Camille Bouchindomme.
Hat-tip: Newsalert.

UPDATE: "There is a marked tendency for heterosexual men to be interested in women." Stop the presses!

Environmentalism sucks . . .

. . . women and minorities hardest hit:
Hollywood's Sundance Kid is hurting poor people.
So say some East Coast ministers and conservative activists, who took to the streets in front of a downtown Salt Lake City theater on the eve of Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival to accuse the actor of holding down low-income Americans with his opposition to oil and gas drilling near national parks in Utah.
The protesters, led by the Congress of Racial Equality's national spokesman Niger Innis, suggested Redford should "relinquish his wealth" and live like a poor person. They complained that the filmmaker's anti-drilling stance could lead to higher energy prices for inner-city residents, forcing them to accept a lower standard of living. . . .
A month ago, Redford, a trustee of the National Resources Defense Council, voiced support for a federal lawsuit aimed at blocking the Bush administration's "morally criminal" attempt to auction 103,000 acres of scenic redrock desert for oil and gas drilling near Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Dinosaur National Monument.
"Scenic" desert isn't much use to poor people who can't afford the gasoline to go see it.

Democrat pushes for military draft

They told me if I voted Republican, kids would be forced into the army -- and they were right:
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) likely will introduce his controversial legislation to reinstate the draft again this year, but he will wait until after the economic stimulus package is passed. . . .
If a draft had been in place in 2002 when members were making the decision on whether to support the war in Iraq, Rangel has said, Congress never would have approved the war resolution, because the pressure from constituents would have been too great.
I stole the joke from an obscure Lithuanian comic tradition and Instapundit, but mainly from Instapundit.

UPDATE: Commenter Tom: "Which Republican did you vote for in 2008, again?" Of course, he references my famous boast, "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Bob Barr" (click to buy the T-shirt). But while I refused to vote for Crazy Cousin John, I voted a straight Republican ticket the rest of the way, including my vote for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD).

Republicans roll over for Hillary

The vote was 16-1 in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with Louisiana Sen. David Vitter as the only Republican with enough testicular fortitude to vote no. Jim Antle of the American Spectator:
It's a pretty sad statement that so many Republicans are rolling over for Hillary Clinton. And the fact that many conservatives consider Hillary preferable to other alternatives shows that our political debate is continuing to drift left over time.
Tell it to Vince Foster.

It's all a CONSPIRACY!

Paranoids everywhere, put on your tinfoil hats and brace yourself for this scary news:
President-elect Barack Obama's swearing-in Tuesday will incorporate several elements out of America's Masonic past.
One-third of the signers of the Constitution, many of the Bill of Rights signers and America's first few presidents (except for Thomas Jefferson) were Freemasons, a fraternal organization that became public in early 18th-century England.
Although it became fabulously popular in America, at one time encompassing 10 percent of the population, Pope Clement XII condemned Freemasonry in 1738 as heretical. The latest pronouncement was issued in 1983 by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - now Pope Benedict XVI - who called Masonic practices "irreconcilable" with Catholic doctrine.
Still, as the first president, George Washington had to come up with appropriate rituals for the new country. He borrowed many of them from Masonic rites he knew as "worshipful leader" of a lodge in Alexandria.
Democrat, Republican, black, white -- no matter who's the president, the Bavarian Illuminati are still secretly running the show. With able assistance, of course, from the Trilateral Commission, the Bildeburgers, the Committee on Foreign Relations, the IMF, the Federal Reserve, Bohemian Grove, Skull and Bones and -- who can forget? -- the Zionists.

New World Order! Blue helmets! Area 51! Neocons! Paranoids can fit a myriad of contradictions into their demented worldview. The only thing they can't deal with is sarcasm. We now return you to the George Noory show . . .

'Suck on that, stupid box office!'

"Professional filmmaker" Iowahawk has somehow talked himself into a gig as film-industry spokesman at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.

The Greenwaldian style

"Tom Friedman, one of the nation's leading propagandists for the Iraq War and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel's wars . . ."

See? It's the label that does the trick. Whatever Friedman's argument, and whatever Glenn Greenwald's argument against Friedman, where the real brilliance of Greenwaldism comes into play is in his inerrant sense of his readership's attitude.

Iraq War = Bush/Cheney = neocon = Republican . . . and it's showtime for the Greenwald Fan Club, cheering as heroic Glenn does battle with The Forces of Darkness.

Israel's engagement with Hamas and Hezbollah is a very different thing than the U.S. excursion into Iraq. But this is not how Greenwald wants his reader to think, so he begins by identifying Friedman in the reader's mind as a Bush/Cheney/AIPAC/neocon warmonger, ensuring that his readership -- whom he knows the way Barry Manilow knows the old ladies in his Vegas audiences -- will identify Friedman as a villain.

Therefore, it doesn't matter what Friedman actually argues (in fact, he argues that Israel can tolerate Hamas sovereignty over Gaza, provided that Hamas will seriously enforce a ceasefire), the Greenwaldized reader will reject the argument because, after all, it's coming from someone whom heroic Glenn has pre-identified as The Enemy.

Friedman is, so far as I can tell, offering a liberal argument for a negotiated peace, but Greenwald makes him out to be an apologist for war crimes. The Greenwaldized reader imagines heroic Glenn as Richard Widmark in Judgment at Nuremburg and Friedman's part played by Werner Klemperer.

It is necessary that Friedman be darkly evil in order that Greenwald's brilliant goodness might shine brighter by comparison, because the celebration of Greenwald's brilliant goodness is the entire point of this drama, and the specific realities of the current Middle East situation are only so many stage props in the matinee. Excuse me if my seat is empty after the first intermission.

Ann Coulter's favorite McCain

Finally, it arrived: Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter, which I had been told referenced moi. But I'm not in the index, and there's no report of that night we hung out at Shelly's Backroom Tavern. Hmmmm . . .

So I start skimming the endnotes, beginning at the back (p. 298). Skim, skim, skim -- through more than 30 pages. Isn't it odd how this supposedly evil right-winger (redundant?) uses as her sources such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and so forth? This suggests that, occasionally, even liberals can't ignore facts which contradict their ideology. (As, of course, all facts do.)

Well, finally, I get to page 265 and there I am in note 16, cited for two Washington Times articles about "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" 2007:
Robert Stacy McCain, "Expulsion Call Follows GW Hoax on Posters," Washington Times, October 11, 2007; Robert Stacy McCain, "'Fight Fire With Fire,'" Washington Times, Oct. 18, 2007 . . .
These are referenced for a paragraph on page 9 of the book, which I don't think I need explicit permission to quote, because Ann and I are such good buds:
In 2007, vicious anti-Muslim flyers were posted all over the George Washington University campus -- by leftists, of course, including a member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. When it was thought the leaflets were from the conservative group Young America's Foundation (YAF), the university president called the flyers "reprehensible" and the university demanded that YAF officers sign a statement disavowing "hate speech." The executive vice president of the student association called for the expulsion of the culprits. But when it turned out leftists had distributed the flyers, the university dropped the matter. Only because of the uproar from conservatives did the university, one month later, put the liberal students on 'probation' and ask them to pay a $25 fine.
So there you have it: My footnotes of fame, back from the glory days of The Washington Times -- which, so far as I can tell, hasn't even reviewed Ann's book, probably because now they have "real journalistic standards," as Jeff Birnbaum recently explained.

Well, I've got Ann, and they've got Jeff Birnbaum. Who got the best of that deal, huh? Buy the book:

BTW, you should also read Ann's latest column. But first, buy the book.

The 'culture' defense

Kids, don't try this at home:
The story of the Greenfield man who allegedly sold his 14-year-old daughter to a young suitor for cash and beer went worldwide, and the police chief who ordered the arrest said Tuesday the incident arose from a clash of cultures.
The social mores in parts of rural Mexico, where arranged marriages are common for young girls, ran head-on into California law designed to protect juveniles from sexual predators.
"It's kind of a clash of two different cultures, but I have to uphold the local law," Greenfield Police Chief Joe Grebmeier said.
The case involves a father, Marcelino DeJesus Martinez, 36, a young male neighbor, Margarito DeJesus Galindo, 18, and Martinez's 14-year-old daughter who Galindo sought to marry.
Notice that the "clash of cultures" argument is only ever offered by the media in defense of foreign cultures. If Americans expect our own culture to be respected elsewhere (e.g., the Middle East), that's "imperialism." But any foreigner who can manage to get across our borders, legally or otherwise, is entitled to receive the "Get out of jail free" cultural-defense card from the MSM.

So, while any American who sold his teenage daughter would be denounced as a misogynistic oppressor, and the case cited as conclusive evidence of how our culture is infested with patriarchal exploitation, as long as your name is Martinez and you're from Oaxaca -- oh, what quaint rural customs! It's a "clash of cultures"!

PREVIOUSLY: Diversity is our strength!

UPDATE: Barbara O'Brien (Mahablog) thinks she understands this story, and my reaction to it:
[W]hen done by an illegal immigrant, sexual exploitation of a girl is an outrage. But sexual exploitation of girls by native-born Americans is perfectly OK.
Ah, the comparison to the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) is invoked. Very well, then. I didn't get up this morning expecting this discussion, but let's go ahead and have it, shall we?

Shortly after Texas officials raided the FLDS compound in Eldorado last year, it became apparent that officials were not merely seeking to prosecute specific crimes. Instead, they launched a paramilitary exercise that seized 432 children -- including babies and toddlers -- from their parents and put the children into foster care, evidently because officials considered the entire sect to be a criminal conspiracy. Furthermore, the media jumped on the story with lurid "teen sex cult" headlines, repeating as gospel the most sensational allegation in the search warrant affidavit.

What you had in the Eldorado raid, then, was (a) prosecutorial overkill and (b) flagrant media bias in favor of the prosecutorial overkill. The same media that waxes hysterically indignant about the treatment of al-Qaeda detainees at Gitmo were acting as cheerleaders while SWAT squads swooped down in America to seize babies from the arms of their mothers.

There was a distinct whiff of bovine excrement about this story and it soon emerged that, contrary to the sensational media tale about an abused teen victim named "Sarah Jessup Barlow" making a desperate call for help from inside the Eldorado compound, the original tip to Texas officials apparently came from a Colorado hoaxer. Rozita Swinton, who had a history of similar hoax calls, evidently became obsessed with the FLDS as a result of media accounts (including an "Oprah" episode) about the cult.

Furthermore, the FLDS claimed -- and the official report indirectly confirms -- that Texas officials were grilling every young mother at the Eldorado compound in a desperate hunt for the non-existent "Sarah Jessop Barlow," obviously because the officials did not want to admit that their massive raid (which cost taxpayers $12 million) had been launched under false premises.

Barbara O'Brien accuses me of saying that FLDS is "perfectly OK," but I never said any such thing. At the risk of offending Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch, I'll say that I consider Mormonism to be an un-Christian cult, a transparent fraud perpetrated by Joseph Smith, and would go so far as to say that the mob that stormed the Nauvoo, Ill., jail on June 27, 1844, did a service to humanity. Insofar as the FLDS intend to revive the original doctrines of Smith -- especially including polygamy -- they are on a mission of evil. They might as well be trying to revive Heaven's Gate or the Jonestown cult, so far as I'm concerned.

Rather than defending the cultic practices of the FLDS, what I actually said was this:
[I]f Texas officials are going to launch a paramilitary raid every time a 15-year-old girl gets pregnant, they're going to need to hire some more SWAT police. In point of fact, Texas leads the nation in teenage pregnancy. The crime that justified this raid in the minds of CPS officials obviously wasn't that teenage girls were having sex or having babies -- that happens every day in Texas -- but that they were "married."
A couple of points quite relevant to this topic:
  • As the 2007 Dallas Morning News story I linked makes clear, a growing immigrant population was directly implicated in Texas' first-in-the-nation teen pregnancy statistics: "In 2004, Hispanic girls ages 15 to 19 accounted for 61 percent of teen births even though only 39 percent of Texas adolescents were Hispanic, according to the federal National Center for Health Statistics."
  • In 2005, specifically to address the issue raised by the relocation of FLDS to Eldorado, Texas raised its minimum age for marriage from 14 to 16.
Which is to say that, confronted with two cultures in which early marriage is common, it was the arrival of the FLDS, rather than an influx of Mexican illegals, which provoked action by Texas legislators. Yet which culture actually contributes more to the teen pregnancy situation in Texas? The official report of the Eldorado raid found that 12 FLDS girls had been "married" before age 16, of which seven had been age 14 or 15 and thus would not have been victims of a crime if not for the 2005 revision of the law. (Whether or not you believe that 14-year-olds should be permitted to marry, such marriages are still legal in several states.)

So, 12 victims of FLDS, compared to how many hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of Hispanic girls the same ages who become mothers every year in Texas? The latest CDC statistics don't give us raw numbers state-by-state, but we know (Table 6) that 9,870 Hispanic girls 15 and under gave birth in the U.S. in 2006, including 320 who were giving birth to their second child before age 16 and -- believe it or not -- 10 cases in which girls under 16 gave birth to their third child.

If Barbara O'Brien is serious about "sexual exploitation of girls," then she must deem victims the nearly 10,000 young Latinas who give birth before age 16 each year in the United States -- to say nothing of the untold thousands of similar girls in Mexico where, we are assured by the San Jose Mercury News and the Greenfield, Calif., police chief, "Everything they were doing would be legal."

UPDATE II: John Hawkins muses on multiculturalism in a relevant way.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Israel and 'the race card'

Ross Douthat:
It's also worth noting that "race card" debates takes place in a different political context than "anti-Semitism card" debates. In today's America, there simply aren't any major political actors taking explicitly racist/segregationist positions, and in recent national elections the race debate has largely moved beyond even the arguments over racially-charged issues like busing, affirmative action and crime, and into the realm of symbolism and subliminal messaging. The debate over Israel, on the other hand, takes place in a context in which explicit anti-Semitism - anti-Semitism as policy, that is, and with at least a somewhat eliminationist edge - is a live and potent political force
I would argue that anti-Semitism is increasingly tolerated for the same reason that anti-white rhetoric and anti-American rhetoric are tolerated. Whatever that reason is, these phenomena are clearly related, since you see so many people like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright dealing in all three.

The Jew, the white man, the American -- we are equally scapegoated by the same people. There is a Camp of the Saints situation developing, and those creating this situation are the Wrights and their abettors.

UPDATE: Daniel Larison sees matters otherwise, and I'm really not in an argumentative mood now. Perhaps he should take it up with Phyllis Chesler.

Ron Paul explains it all

"Central economic planning doesn't work. That's why we're in this mess."

Via News Alert.


A reproductive recession?
For some couples, a shaky economy means putting plans to grow or start a family on hold.
The economy is a leading source of worry for many Americans, with 80 percent saying they feel stress about their personal finances, according to an annual survey released recently by the American Psychological Association. With rising job cuts and home foreclosures, many financially crunched families have decided the time isn't right to have a child, or another child.
That's nuts. As my father once advised me, "Son, if you wait to have children until you can afford to have children, you'll never have children."

We've got six kids. Not six rich kids. But six kids.

Camille Paglia says . . .

. . . "Rahm Emanuel. . . already seems like an albatross who should be thrown overboard as soon as possible. Nobody wants a dawning presidency addicted so soon to stonewalling, casuistry and the Nixonian dark arts of the modified limited hangout."

Honor among Republicans

It's about time:
It's a moment President Bush has repeatedly called a mistake: Delivering a speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Spring of 2003 with a "Mission Accomplished" banner featured prominently behind him.
But the much-maligned photo-op wasn't the president's fault at all, according to former White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett.
Bartlett, currently a political analyst with CBS, said Tuesday he was the one who actually gave the final go-ahead of the event.
"Quite frankly, yours truly was the guy who actually signed off," he said Tuesday. "I regret it to this day, because it did send the wrong message."
About time he 'fessed up. But notice that he goes from botching up the Bush White House to being an MSM analyst. Nice work if you can get it.

The buggy-whip industry

Newspapers circling the toilet bowl:
Gannett is implementing a long-rumored furlough program that wil require most U.S. employees to take a week off without pay.
Gannett CEO Craig Dubow announced the plan in a memo today. . . .
Gannett is deeply implicated in the death of the American newspaper. The LGP (Local Gannett Paper) became a widespread joke in the 1990s, and the Gannettification of newspapers was widely imitated.

Trig Truther named 'Best Blog'

Another Sign of the Apocalypse, as Andrew Sullivan (34%) tops Hot Air in the Best Blog competition.

Meanwhile, Small Dead Animals -- a Canadian site which, quite frankly, I never heard of before -- beats out Ace of Spades HQ for Best Conservative Blog by 56 votes. Demand a recount, Ace.

Internet troll meeting

H/T: Splice Today.

Good-bye, opposition

RE-BUMPED: Peggy Noonan was there and, as Rae said, Peggy must have been "as giddy as a schoolgirl."

Speaking of schoolgirl giddiness, today Obama met with liberal commentators including Andrew Sullivan.

BUMPED: Rush was NOT at this dinner.

PREVIOUSLY: George Freaking Will plays host to Obama, with Bill Kristol and David Brooks and perhaps even Rush Limbaugh (!) on the VIP invitation list.

Betrayed! The stab in the back! The neocon cabal!

UPDATE: Apparently, Michelle Malkin's invitation got lost in the mail.

UPDATE II: Charles Krauthammer sells out.

UPDATE III: They've won a medal!

The unknown truth

A book from the 1840s, Benjamin F. Morris's The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, is back in print -- well, for sale as a PDF e-book, anyway.

Pin a medal on the guy

I'd ignored the Bradley Schlozman blogstorm until somebody called my attention to this part:
Bradley Schlozman privately called liberal lawyers in the department ''commies'' and ''pinkos'' and told a subordinate that the Civil Rights Division shouldn't be limited to hiring ''politburo members'' who belong to some ''psychopathic left-wing organization designed to overthrow the government,'' the department's inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility found.
Talking about the ACLU maybe? Truth to power, baby!

Soldier's remains found at Antietam

Jules Crittenden has an in-depth post about a Union soldier from a New York regiment whose remains were recently found at Antietam Battlefield in the famous Cornfield.

The battlefield is about 20 minutes from my house. Last March, Jeff Quinton and I toured the battlefield together.

MoDo on GeithnerGate

She's got a point:
How does a guy on the fast track to be Treasury secretary fail to pay $34,000 worth of federal taxes ($43,200, including interest), or forget to check on the immigration status of a house cleaner -- the same sort of upstairs-downstairs slip-up that has tripped up other top-drawer prospects on their way to top jobs here? Americans expect the man who's in charge of the I.R.S. to pay his own taxes.
It's important to quote MoDo when she's actually right about something. It might encourage her to be right more often.

'Emergency' inauguration?

I'm debating whether to go down to cover the inauguration, and this ain't helping:
Barack Obama's inauguration is set to cost more than £100m [$145 million] making it the most expensive swearing-in ceremony in US history.
The President-elect will take less than a minute to recite the oath of office in front of an estimated two million people in the US capital next week.
But by the time the final dance has been held at one of the many inaugural balls the costs for the day will be a staggering £110m.
D.C. has been in Total Security Freakout mode since 9/11. Next Tuesday, it will be in DefCon 1 Armaggedon mode. The massive crowds don't bother me nearly so much as the jackbooted storm-trooper style of security. That stuff just gives me the heeby-jeebies.

UPDATE: ObamaMania!

UPDATE II: "Parade of fools"

UPDATE III: Osama vs. Obama

UPDATE IV: Jules Crittenden "hurl-blogging"

Virginity's value?

As outrageous as her actions may be -- even if it's all a hoax -- the Internet virgin has at least proven something:
Laura Gallier, who runs a Texas-based abstinence education program, was dumbfounded by the news that bidding in the online auction of a California woman’s virginity had reached $3.7 million. "When I communicate to young people that their virginity is valuable, that’s not exactly what I have in mind," said Gallier, author of Choosing to Wait.
Yet if 22-year-old Natalie Dylan has proven nothing else, she has demonstrated that virginity -- though not exactly innocence -- has market value.
That's from my latest column at Taki's Magazine and you should read the whole thing. But as I warned my friends at AmSpecBlog, any critic who accuses me of "cherry-picking the evidence" will be pun-ished.

UPDATE: Fredo at The Occasional Observer:
Put another way, as Jason Smee commented at AmSpecBlog, "if a bunch of horny old men bid up the value of virginity (assuming an older virgin is worth more-scarcity, or at least she has to be 18 to call upon her services), this might be much more effective than all the abstinence pledges and other failed initiatives out there."
At a minimum, I would hope, it causes people to stop and think about the underlying issues.

UPDATE II: "[A]s pure as the driven slush."

UPDATE III:The latest news:
WASHINGTON -- Citing his campaign theme that good ideas can come from anywhere, President-elect Barack Obama praised coed Natalie Dylan for auctioning off her virginity to pay her college tuition. He said the 22-year-old's plan will be a model for both his administration’s education and economic policies.
"Ms. Dylan has paved the way for every young virgin to afford to go to college, while helping our distressed economy at the same time," said Obama in an interview on CNN. He noted that the bidding for Dylan's cherry had already exceeded $3 million. "We can tax the proceeds of her stimulus package to pay for ours."
The Government Accounting Office estimates that there will be between 10-12 million college bound virgins in 2009, and that if just 5 percent of those were to receive $1 million dollars or more for the sale of their virginity, the country would make a full economic recovery.
The proposal has received overwhelming, bi-partisan support from rich old men in the senate.
Given the neo-Keynesian twist of Obamanomics, you can almost believe it. Bastiat and the "broken window," anyone?

UPDATE IV: Laura Ingraham discovers Natalie has no shame. "True love or what not." Is anyone surprised? 

Quantifying failure

Paul Gottfried takes to task his local GOP county chairman who, in leaving that post after six years, cited as his chief regret that his party had been unable "to find ways to reach out to the minority community."

Gottfried excoriates the outgoing chairman, but fails to note the data showing that nowhere has the GOP failed more spectacularly in recent years than in his own Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. And minority "outreach" is not the problem. Look:

Bush 145,591 (66%)
Kerry 74,328 (34%)
McCain 124,475 (56%)
Obama 97,290 (43%)

Which is to say, the GOP lost 21,000 voters in this county in a four-year period, while the Democrats gained 23,000. For all the talk about "turnout" driving Obama's election, the total vote in Lancaster County increased by only 0.8%.

As to the outgoing chairman's bloviation about "outreach," the fact is that Lancaster County is 88% white, and the four-year decline of the GOP vote was almost certainly a result of white voters refusing to vote for John McCain. Why? Perhaps S.2611 and S.1348 had something to do with it, eh?

Ever since Crazy Cousin John started pushing his amnesty plan in 2006, I've been saying that you don't win elections by running against the people. That is to say, whatever your opinion of "populism," there is no political formula more certain of failure than anti-populism. Immigration is an issue where all the populist energy is on the side opposing amnesty, so that proponents of amnesty inevitably end up in the posture of denouncing the people as ignorant, i.e.: "You don't know what you're talking about, because if you did, you'd agree with me."

I am not of the "vox populi, vox dei" school of thought and generally do not approve of politicians being slaves to public-opinion polls. Nevertheless, in a (small-"d") democratic system, one expects elected representatives t0 take heed of the public mood -- especially the mood among their own party's voters.

In a 2001 Zogby poll, 56% of Republican voters said amnesty was a "bad" or "very bad" idea, compared to just 29% of Republicans who said it was a "good" or "very good" idea. When you begin examining voter intensity on the issue, the results are striking, as Steven Camarota summarized the Zogby results:
Those who oppose an amnesty seem to be much stronger in their opposition than are supporters in their support of an amnesty. While 20 percent of voters said that they thought it was a very bad idea, only 6 percent said it was a very good idea. Moreover, of those who said it was a bad or very bad idea, 51 percent said they would be less likely to vote for President Bush if he supported an amnesty. In contrast, of those who thought an amnesty was a good or very good idea, only 22 percent said they would be more likely to vote for Bush if he supported it.
Which is to say, being pro-amnesty is a net loser for Republicans, especially because such a position is directly contradictory to the intense sentiment of a substantial proportion of the Republican Party base. Amnesty supporters can argue the merits of S.2611 or S.1348 as policy until they're blue in the face, but the basic politics of the issue are clear. And while I think both measures were bad policy, even those who disagree on that score can't justify the measures as politics.

Politics precedes policy. You cannot govern if you don't win elections. The "outreach" idiocy of the outgoing Lancaster County GOP chairman demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how politics actually works.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

'We also both enjoyed watching Ally McBeal . . .

. . . which saved me the trouble of telling her I was gay."

Diversity is our strength!

Don't be a xenophobe:
GREENFIELD, Calif. -- A father is accused of trying to sell his 14-year-old daughter for marriage in hopes of getting money and 150 cases of beer in return, Greenfield police said.
Macelino de Jesus Martinez, 36, was arrested Monday on suspicion of trying to arrange to have his daughter marry Margarito de Jesus Galindo, 18, for $16,000, 100 cases of Corona, 50 cases of Modelo beer, several cases of meat, two cases of wine, 50 cases of Gatorade and 50 cases of soft drinks, authorities said.
The girl moved in with Galindo and when payments were not received, her father called police to get his daughter back.
Greenfield Police Chief Joe Grebmeier told KSBW Action News 8 that both Martinez and Galindo, who are immigrants from Mexico, face the possibility of being deported as illegal immigrants.
All you racist hatemongers probably want to deport these poor innocent victims of intolerance and bigotry, just because you don't understand their culture.

Me? I'm just wondering whatever happened to that Corona.

UPDATE: Just realized that, because this happened in California, the girl could sue her father for selling her for a few million below market value.

UPDATE II: Video via Brenda Walker:

Stupid MSM reporters don't even bother to tell us what happened to all those cases of Corona.

UPDATE III: Genghis at AOSHQ: Gatorade?

Why culture matters

Jay Nordlinger belatedly sees the light:
It seems to me that the Left has won: utterly and decisively. What I mean is, the Saturday Night Live, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher mentality has prevailed. They decide what a person’s image is, and those images stick. They are the ones who say that Cheney’s a monster, W.’s stupid, and Palin’s a bimbo. And the country, apparently, follows.
I have a friend who teaches at a prominent university, and she says that, when Palin’s name is mentioned, the people laugh. In the course of the 2008 presidential campaign, an extraordinarily accomplished woman — more accomplished than most of the rest of us will ever be — was turned into a laughingstock.
The late Paul Weyrich saw it 10 years ago. And really, when you think about it, wasn't this what Bill Buckley first sounded the alarm about in God and Man at Yale? Peter Kirsanow reflects:
Many Republican politicians seem to begin the day apologizing for being Republicans. And they appear to have a perverse, desperate desire to befriend and seek favor from those who regularly malign conservatives.
Oh, you mean like George F. Will and his friends?

Robert Kuttner as Nigel Tufnel

Talk of $2 trillion in "stimulus" inspires Ace:
This is a Spinal Tap "But this goes to 11" moment. The actual amount of wealth the nation possesses is not some infinitely flexible quantum. Printed money represents a fraction of the wealth of the nation (which the government can seize, basically, to put tangible value behind printed paper money).
You can print up all the new money you like, but this does not actually create more wealth. It merely makes each dollar represent a smaller fraction of that pile of wealth.
So, like the amp which goes to 11, you can make up any denomination you like but you're not actually increasing output.
And once confidence in the currency is damaged enough... well. Ask interwar Germany, ask Zimbabwe. Ask a dozen Latin American countries which turned on the printing presses to "satisfy" their debts.
Nigel Tufnel, liberal economist:

UPDATE: Cooking the books on the deficit (H/T: Instapundit).

UPDATE II: Welcome, Instapundit readers. Y'know, I think maybe Natalie Dylan could teach liberals a thing or two about economics. 

CPAC 'somber and reflective'?

(BUMPED - UPDATE BELOW) Ed Morrissey recalls the past two Conservative Political Action Conferences:
In 2007, we had just lost the midterms but the activists sounded hopeful that the Republican Party had finally gotten the message about greed, corruption, and big-government solutions. In 2008, when it became apparent that John McCain would win the presidential nomination, it got somewhat somber and reflective.
Eh? Mainly I remember how Mitt Romney's resignation Thursday morning caused some of his supporters to hit the bars for lunch and not emerge until they were stinking drunk. Funny? Man, you haven't lived until you've seen a bunch of "family values" types staggering back into the Omni Shoreham after four hours of crying into their margaritas. Oh, the stories that could be told . . .

Ed's right, however, that Crazy Cousin John ruined the mood. I remember his arrival in the hotel lobby, surrounded by an army of College Republican types in blue blazers, which inspired the Ron Paul supporters to start humming the Darth Vader theme from "Star Wars."

This year, of course, the news that Sarah Palin will speak has made CPAC (Feb. 26-28) the hottest ticket in town.

UPDATE: For some reason, Memeorandum linked this post on the same thread with Marc Ambinder and James Antle -- discussing George Allen's status as front-runner in 2006 -- although neither of them linked here. Curious.

Centrist 'head fake'?

Barack Obama may be doing "a gigantic head fake" with his (alleged) centrist moves, but Jennifer Rubin's worried:
To say that the Republicans lack both a message and leaders is to understate the depth of the problem: if Obama has his way they will lack a reason for existence.
There is a glaring irony here. The greatest champion of liberals (they thought) is on the verge of repudiating their agenda. But he is also undermining the opposition. The result may be that centrist nirvana which many have pined for these many years. Or the whole enterprise may falter as Obama is beset by both sides, corruption besmirches the entire Democratic Party, and the economic recession engulfs all incumbents. But there is reason, dare I say hope, that the Obama administration will deliver far less than the Left anticipated and the Right feared. That’s probably good for the country, and just awful for the angry Left and the future prospects of the GOP.
Jennifer is young, and probably doesn't remember how the last "centrist" Democratic president alienated nearly everyone during his first two years in office. She is certainly not old enough to remember the naive but widespread pre-inaugural belief that Jimmy Carter was a "centrist" Democrat.

If there is one thing I've learned about politics, it's this: People who say of presidential elections, "I vote for the man, not the party," are the biggest fools on earth. When you elect a president, you elect his party.

A Democratic president will appoint a Democratic Cabinet, enact Democratic policies, and push Democratic legislation. You can take that to the bank. There will therefore be plenty of opportunities for principled opposition by the GOP. The challenge for Republicans is simply to remember why they're Republicans.

Bishop promises un-Christian prayer

What did you expect of the un-Christian clergyman?
Bishop Robinson said he had been reading inaugural prayers through history and was "horrified" at how “specifically and aggressively Christian they were.”
"I am very clear," he said, "that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won't be quoting Scripture or anything like that. The texts that I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer."
Bishop Robinson said he might address the prayer to "the God of our many understandings," language that he said he learned from the 12-step program he attended for his alcohol addiction.
Way to go, Vicki Gene.

UPDATE: Welcome, Hot Air readers.

Obama's first defeat

Before he's even sworn in:
Bowing to widespread Democratic skepticism, President-elect Barack Obama will drop his bid to include a business tax break he once touted in the economic stimulus bill now taking shape on Capitol Hill, aides said last night.
Obama suggested the $3,000-per-job credit last week as one of five individual and business tax incentives aimed at winning Republican support. He proposed $300 billion in tax relief in a bill that could reach $775 billion, and he resurrected the jobs-credit proposal from the campaign trail as one of his main provisions. . . .
Democrats . . . dismissed the $3,000 credit to employers for every job created or saved as ripe for abuse and difficult to administer. When no champion for the proposal came forward, the president-elect decided to sideline the incentive.
"The president proposes, the Congress disposes," and giving tax breaks to business is an idea Democrats were happy to dispose of.

It is interesting to observe the naivete of Obama's method: Had he any real inkling of how Washington works, he would have recruited a "champion" for the legislation before he ever publicly proposed it. But during his four short years as a senator -- the last two of which he spent running for president -- Obama never really got involved in the legislative process. When you think about, Democrats were the minority for the first two years after Obama's 2004 election, so the only meaningful experience Obama had in the Senate was voting against the Republican majority's bills.

Obama got rolled by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and something tells me, not for the last time.

Monday, January 12, 2009

'That's your act'

(Video via Hot Air.) Barbara Walters introduces Ann Coulter by saying that her new book, Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America, is "deliberately provocative because, after all, that sells books." Which might have been said about, inter alia, Bill Buckley's God and Man at Yale.

Whoopi Goldberg -- whose show-biz career has been largely based on shock value -- subsequently lectures Coulter: "I know you want to do this whole 'Left' thing -- that's your act." We are to presume that, in Goldberg's mind:
  • A. The Left is a figment of conservative imagination; or
  • B. The Left, granted it exists, does not do what Coulter says it does; and
  • C. Therefore, Coulter is merely engaged in an "act," whereas Goldberg and her "View" colleagues are . . .?

The reader sees the point. Five days a week, 52 weeks a year, Walters, Goldberg & Co. sit on that set, doing their own "act," generating revenue via advertisers who pay for access to their audience, and yet when Coulter seeks to earn her keep by offering conservative arguments about current events, Walters and Goldberg deride her as an insincere peddler of outrage.

(". . . and next week on 'The View': Why can't atheist transsexuals be Cub Scout den mothers?")

Despite its relatively small audience (about a million daily viewers in November sweeps) "The View" is deemed sufficiently lucrative that Disney/ABC is willing to pay full-time salaries to its four stars, to say nothing of the producers, crew, and other expenses. And who can doubt that Coulter's appearance generated higher-than-average ratings? When, pray tell, did some mid-level singer or actor appear on "The View" to be treated with the sort of sneering that Walters, Goldberg and the insufferable Joy Behar dished out on Coulter?

Publishing is a commercial enterprise. To say that an author earns her living by selling books, and that being "controversial" or "provocative" (i.e., interesting) is helpful to that process is certainly no brilliant insight, nor is it a valid criticism of the content of Coulter's book. That Coulter regularly appears on television to promote her books is not a criticism, unless one is the kind of snob who patronizes only authors who don't regularly appear on TV. (In which case . . .) And to say that she knows how to mix it up with tasty sound bites is merely to say she understands and excels in the medium.

Well, Coulter is conservative, while Walters, Goldberg and Behar are not and -- apart from any actual errors of fact or logic they can cite, which weren't apparent from their confrontation with Coulter -- this political disagreement is the sum of their criticism.

Which is not to say that there are no valid criticisms of Ann Coulter, and certainly many conservatives have criticized her over the years. I could sum up the conservative arguments against Ann . . . but any commenter can do the same, eh?

Coulter is who she inarguably is, and does what she inimitably does, and in the process has changed minds and inspired many young conservatives to stand up against liberal dogma on campus. Whatever criticisms anyone on the Right makes against Coulter must be weighed in the balance against the tremendous good she does, because if she wasn't doing good, Joy Behar wouldn't hate her.

BTW, if you are burning with resentment over how Coulter was treated on "The View," there is really only one way to get your revenge: