Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pelosi leadership course: punt

by Smitty (h/t Huffer)

Politico explores the Wicked Witch of the West's non-command of leadership. The vacuum of the day is Charlie "Tax Laws are for the Wee Folk" Rangel. Summarizing and paraphrasing, leadership in his case would entail:
  • Stripping [him] of his chairmanship of...Ways and Means...would force Pelosi to make a series of unpalatable decisions about Rangel’s successor.
  • Those decisions would create a ruckus in the Democratic caucus.
  • They would infuriate the Congressional Black Caucus...still sore over Pelosi's decision to strip committees from former Louisiana Rep. Bill Jefferson.
  • Distract from the task of ignoring the Constitution to wage the health care battle.
  • Require Nancy actually to talk to Charlie about the several hundred large (k$) that accidentally didn't get reported to the IRS..
Read this Politico quote slowly, so that the laughter doesn't trigger a seizure when it hits:
Rangel's troubles, coupled with the equally embarrassing ethics problems of another Pelosi-allied Old Bull, Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Penn.), could damage the Democratic brand in the midterms.
Politico discusses the pack of winners from among whom Pelosi would choose a successor. How baked this country truly is. Then there is this unintentionally funny bit:
The ethics panel has already spent a year peering into Rangel's use of several rent-stabilized apartments in a luxury Harlem apartment complex, his failure to pay all taxes on a Dominican Republic vacation villa, and his use of Congressional letterhead to raise funds for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College in New York City.
Probably apocryphal paragraph found commented out in the HTML of the article:
Peering into Rangel's usage of these assets involved a studious commitment to wild partying, hookers, booze, and of course, accepting campaign contributions from the subject of the investigation, but the corrupt Mike Foxtrots on the ethics panel had copious experience in these matters, and performed admirably.
Back to the published article:
The committee recently broadened the investigation to include Caribbean trips taken by Rangel and four other lawmakers to determine if they complied with a ban on corporate-funded travel.
That pesky writer who'd been commented out had then elaborated:
Investigators, seeing a hole on the schedule, called up some corporate donors to help fund their own junket, in the name of investigating compliance. They used the clever ploy of asserting the opposite of the truth, i.e. that their junket was testing the *snort* ban on corporate-funded travel *snort* as a means of insulating themselves. Who, short of a Right Wing Extremist Terrorist, would even dare to make a raaaaacist assertion of foul play? Only Republicans do evil things, you know.
So, what should they do, in light of the fact that the House can police itself, per the Constitution, and that there reasonably needs to be a committee with a chair to Get Things Done?

If they screwed up and left me in charge, I'd do two things that would have immediate, profound and positive impact:
  1. Make the chair rotate every six months, in the manner of a good Navy watch.
  2. Make the chair appointments random
Nothing keeps one ethical and above reproach like knowing you haven't got the ball for long, and not knowing who's to follow. Lowering the cash pressure on the committee by returning power to States would also trim the moral hazard.

If "We the People" don't begin to demand no-nonsense reform along these lines from those who purportedly work for us in DC, then our milkshake of liberty will be drunk by another.

For now, we have a sad lack of leadership. This is probably the result of the fact that the overwhelming majority of elected officials are lawyers, and mistake advanced verbal gymnastics for leadership.

WizBang is also covering this.

Who needs more gloom and doom?

Always happy to keep you miserable!
The nearly 15 million unemployed Americans won't enjoy Labor Day as a relaxing respite from work. . . .
As the jobless rate nears 10 percent, even those fortunate enough to be employed fret about keeping their jobs. But for those without them, it's a daily struggle with emotional and economic distress.
"It's hard to maintain your focus that you're a valuable member of society when you go three months and nobody really wants to employ you," says David O'Bryan, 59, of Barre, Vt. . . .
The nation's jobless rate jumped to a 26-year high of 9.7 percent in August from 9.4 percent in July. It's expected to top 10 percent this year and keep climbing into part of next year before falling back. The post-World War II high was 10.8 percent at the end of 1982.
And it could take four years or more for the unemployment rate to fall back down to a normal level of about 5 percent. . . .
You know who loves him some gloom and doom? Instapundit:We scour the globe in search of more gloom . . . bank failures! construction loans in trouble! FDIC underfunded! "God help us"!

Ahhhh . . . The joy of misery!

GOP In Denial clip

by Smitty

The clip is good, in and of itself. If you care to follow the link, the GOP policies are available in a nice list.

This will not do.

The country is staring at the threat of a future tyranny. Not to engage in hyperbole on BHO, but the real issues aren't the genius who won the election. The real issues are the centralization of power. The permanent political class. The deficit. The debt.

So, if you haven't told me how we're decentralizing, GOP, you haven't told me much.

'God Help Us'

So says Blue Crab Boulevard, surveying the catastrophic effects of Obamanomics. And that was before he learned of The Mother Of All Bailouts.

The O'Biden Happy Talk about the magical wonders of "stimulus" continues to deceive much of the MSM -- it's all unicorns and rainbows and "recovery," as far as they know -- but the financial press can't ignore the evidence of impending crisis.

One thing has focused on is aggregating financial and economic news, which has required me to scour over Google Business News and other sources. Is the DJIA up or down? What about Treasury notes? Gold? Oil? Currencies? Banking? Housing? Employment?

Thursday, the stock market broke a 4-day slide, and gained again on Friday, after the much-anticipated August jobs report showed unemployment had risen to 9.7%. The average person sees these two facts -- jobs down, market up -- and asks, "How on earth is 9.7% unemployment good news?"

Beats me. If I could figure out the stock market, I'd be rich. Instead, I'm a blogger. However, facts are facts. Since peaking at 14,034.39 on Oct. 9, 2007, the DJIA has lost 4,593.12 points. Even though the Dow has bounced up some 3,000 points since bottoming out in March, we're still talking about a net loss of 32.7% in less than two years.

Combine that with the meltdown in housing prices, and it represents a massive devastation of asset-value, an economic cataclysm of historic proportions.

Now, consider that we are less than two years away from 2001, when the oldest of the Baby Boomers, born in early 1946, turn 65. Their retirement funds have been diminished by the stock-market collapse, and if they had planned to cash out the equity in their homes . . . Well, good luck with that plan.

Beginning in 2011, then, an increasing number of Baby Boomers will undergo the transition from taxpayers to tax consumers, eligible for Social Security and MediCare, a fiscal drain on the economy. Only by dipping into what remains of their asset value -- selling their homes or other valuables, spending out their IRAs, 401(k)s and other retirement funds -- will this exploding population of retirees be able to live above the minimum level provided by the government.

Without getting into a lot of complicated analysis (e.g., the growth-killing impact of just about anything the federal government might do to meet the looming fiscal crisis), the ordinary person with a minimal level of economic education who looks at this situation can only conclude: We're completely screwed.

Which is why, as I scour the financial news, I keep an eye out for omens and portents of the inevitable apocalypse, such as these items aggregated at the past week:

Are We Facing a Banking Crisis? Is the Gold Price About to Explode?
-- Market Oracle, Aug. 31

"Oil prices fell to near $71 a barrel Monday as China's stock market tumbled and commodities investors questioned whether the U.S. economy can recover strongly in the second half."
-- Associated Press, Aug. 31

"AIG fell 17% after Sanford C. Bernstein dropped the stock to 'underperform,' on concerns that Washington will pull back on financial assistance as AIG recovers. The firm is still on the hook for $80 billion in federal loans . . ."
-- Forbes, Sept. 1

"The American economy will suffer 'a long time' as a result of last year's federal bailout of the financial industry, according to Johan Norberg, author of a new book about the policies that caused the banking meltdown. . . . 'The bailouts . . . the debts -- we won't be able to pay them back. We're going to pay for it for a long time . . .' "
-- The American Spectator, Sept. 2

"FDIC head Sheila Bair told CNBC Tuesday evening that commercial real estate loans remain a "looming problem" for banks' balance sheets and she expects the area to increasingly be a driver for bank failures during the remainder of this year and 2010 . . ."
-- Reuters, Sept. 2

"U.S. banks are holding more than $1 trillion of mortgages backed by commercial property that is fast losing value."
-- Wall Street Journal, Sept. 2

" 'Most participants saw the economy as likely to recover only slowly during the second half of this year, and all saw it as still vulnerable to adverse shocks,' the Fed said in today’s minutes. 'Labor market conditions remained of particular concern to meeting participants . . .' "
-- Bloomberg News, Sept. 2

"Gold prices reached their highest point in nearly three months as the U.S. dollar weakened and participants bought in a flight-to-quality bid based on economic uncertainty and concerns about the stock market . . ."
-- Wall Street Journal, Sept. 2

"Treasurys fell Thursday, sending yields higher, as stocks edged up and the U.S. government said it planned to sell $70 billion in Treasury bonds and notes next week."
-- MarketWatch, Sept. 3

--, Sept. 4

"Tony Crescenzi, a market strategist and portfolio manager at Pacific Investment Management Co., manager of the world’s biggest bond fund, said the U.S. faces a slow recovery because unemployment is persisting . . . 'The key ingredient for a sustainable recovery is still absent,' Crescenzi said today in an interview on Bloomberg Radio. 'We need income growth to produce self-reinforcing expansion. . . . The duration of unemployment will be longer and will put downward pressure on wages.'"
-- Bloomberg News, Sept. 4

"Congress passed the Cash for Clunkers program in order to increase automobile employment and save jobs. . . . The employment report shows that -- despite the Cash for Clunkers craze, and the $2 billion Congress added to the program at the end of July -- motor vehicles and parts manufactures shed 15,000 jobs in August. That erased half of the jobs gained in July and continued the yearlong downward trend . . ."
-- Heritage Foundation, Sept. 4

--, Sept. 5

Given the serious underlying problems of the economy -- "The Fundamentals Still Suck," as I explained in May -- no amount of unicorns-and-rainbows "recovery" talk from the administration and its MSM sock-puppets can avert the inevitable consequences.

So keeps an eye on the economy and readers who appreciate this service -- you can subscribe to the RSS feed in Google, Atom, etc., to get the latest updates -- are invited to support this project by hitting the tip jar.

"The revolution will not be televised, but the apocalypse will be blogged."

Tort reform pussy in smug repose

by Smitty (h/t Miss Cellania)

Would that the rest of the stinking federal over-reach, too, was off the table.
Oh, well. Back to beavering my way through my Google Reader.

Getting the Little Miss Attila 'lanch. Thanks, LMA!

Department of Perverse Incentives

by Smitty

Brigette of the Moralia blog calls attention to a post of hers over at the New Mexico Independent, entitled "They’re Uncle Sam’s kids now — he paid for them".

The gist of the article is that once the government is picking up the tab for everything, it gets to dictate the terms. If a school or daycare or other service is funded to provide X service for Y children, then it is going to do exactly that. Doing more or doing less is a violation of regulations.

The general problem at work is that the means become ends unto themselves. Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy, if you will.

Now, if there was an alternative, it would not be so evil. Yet, this is your government: it has a monopoly power to extract as much treasure from you as desired to fund these services. And yet, the words "Federal dollars" are tossed about with such abandon that they seem to come from some Cosmic Credit Card, and not ultimately the people.

It's as though the Marxists, realizing they could not achieve their utopia through a head-on revolution, are oozing it under the door with gradual increases in federal control and intrusion into life. Sold beautifully, one must admit, in the name of some nebulous 'fairness', and combating an equally indistinct raaaaacism.

Training you to be subservient to a school at the expense of the family is a part of destroying the family. Picking up on these details, of course, marks us as reactionaries. I say, "So be it, not Soviet." It's Federalism or bust:

Frontin' Muh'man Jones: Royally Aggravatin'

by Smitty

This week's Full Metal Jacket Reach Around promises to be a doozy. One may have thought a vacationing POTUS would bring a respite from the shenanigans. But no, the forecast looks like weirdness to the last FMJRA-ing minute.

Van Jones
I have invested years of my life supporting your Constitutional right to mis-characterize and malign our country, Mr. Jones. You're welcome.
  • Chance, at Rightofcourse: "Van Jones is not the problem. Van Jones is merely a symptom of the disease."
  • The Daley Gator doesn't mean to make a fuss.
  • Carolyn Tackett linked the HR3226 post with the truther announcement.
  • Ruby Slippers embeds the 17 Month Old Van Jones clip where he says he wants a revolutions. Weh-ell yah know, we'll be having none of his.
Caribou Sperm Donor
After the left is done using you like a chamber pot, Levi, you can commiserate with Cindy Sheehan.
  • Lance Burri is concerned about Stacy McCain's speedo dominance from all this. Not too concerned, mind you. Just concerned.
  • Credit Beck and Malkin if Jones is driven off in a van, says All American Blogger.
  • Jazz Shaw strives mightily to make Levi Johnston matter. Bronze medal for jazz, ass-hat stays on Levi. I'm not budging.
  • Caffeinated Thoughts considers some of Stacy's words for Levi to be 'strong'. Not Stacy. It's so out of character.
  • Dan Riehl, as can be expected, jumps to Levi's defense. Oh, wait, Dan jumped behind the firing line. Pardon me.
ChicagoUS Annenberg Challenge
  • Adrienne's Catholic Corner quotes Gibbs: Furor over Obama's speech 'silly season'. And they're bringing out the race card again, too. It's a testament to Hoyle that the card has stood up to such repeated usage.
  • Obi's Sister rounded up coverage.
  • A Conservative Shemale takes the speech at face value, and doesn't quite understand the fuss.
  • Adrienne's Catholic Corner:
    I don't know which is worse, having Obama in Washington wreaking financial havoc on our country and imposing his Marxist agenda, or having him on one of his multitude of vacations dreaming up new mayhem.

    We have become a nation of abused children. When things are quiet, we wait in dread of the next announcement from Washington, just as children of alcoholics wait for mom or dad to start drinking and whipping their butts for no reason other than to soothe their drunken rage.
    She also likes us here. here and here.
  • Rightofcourse links us, complete with handy Orwellian graphic.
  • Obi's Sister has a less pleasant choice of graphic in her roundup.
The Thaddeus McCotter Fan Club
Seeing the Lefty Big Picture
  • Bob Belvedere offers a playful take.
  • The Classic Liberal has a large, expansive roundup mapping some of the strategies. Some.
  • The Rhetorican picked up the Python clip. Rhetorican also gives us a mention on the Domestic Right-Wing Terrorists topic. But we really used nothing heavier than a loud guffaw, honest.
  • Teach at Stop The ACLU had the Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists action. After all, that whole thing worked so well for Janet Napolitano, no?
  • A Conservative Shemale makes an interesting point about the tension level in politics:
    It’s the same mistake that Republicans made in 1996 with the budget showdown only in reverse. In 1996 it kept Clinton’s popularity up and helped keep him in office, now it is driving Obama’s popularity down and may help drive democrats from office.
  • Paco thinks Organizing for America is more easily understood as Antagonizing Americans. With bonus Shakespearean insult generator.
Seeing the Righty, Small, Friendly Fire Incident Picture
Look: shun the birthers and every other peripheral, no-value added argument out there. Tell me my broken record Federalist arguments are stupid if you think so. I think it's the Alinsky Rule #4 suppository the left secretly craves, at a medium pace. The point isn't that we disagree. The point is that, faced with disagreement, we listen to each other! Humbly! And, as adults do, learn how to avoid serving the enemy by dissent when we absolutely, positively cannot reconcile a point.
  • Bob Belvedere offers an overview.
  • Dan Riehl calls for common sense.
  • Lead and Gold and the Urge to Purge.
  • Daily Pundit:
    And Stacy has the right of it here. The blunt truth is that unless the intellectuals are able to mobilize the grassroots, all their plans and hopes are for naught.
  • Political Byline's take:
    Robert Stacey McCain basically agrees with me about WND and the Birthers. Now McCain and Palin are another story. He loves that feckless Woman. I, on the other hand, think that she is an idiot.
    It is, sadly, true. I did detect a flaw in Sarah's derivation of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. No, that didn't happen.
  • Kathy Shaidle directed snark at a certain Mr. Frum.
  • Lead and Gold calls the bluff of Mr. Brooks on Edmund Burke:
    Detailed explanations might be uncomfortable. It is pretty hard to reconcile Burke's principles with Obama’s actions. At the core of Burkean conservatism is a rejection of , even revulsion for, the grand plans of ambitious intellectuals who wield power.
  • In 2010 race news, Right View from the Left Coast endorses Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, and hoists a 74% figure for the number of Republicans that, (my phrasing) think the NRSC couldn't lead two nuns in one minute of silent prayer.
  • Western Experience linked the C-130 call for Mr. Will.
  • Joshuapundit listed us amongst other interesting headlines.
  • Dustbury honed in on the Marlboro Reds angle of the Brooks flogging.
  • Dyspepsia Generation thinks Stacy is having a lot of fun.
  • Axis of Right comes out as a Brooks fan. Except for the part of his thought they hated. Which was pretty much all of it.
  • Bonzai doesn't understand the moderates, but makes a gallant effort.
  • Another Black Conservative juxtaposed Carrie Prejean with David Brooks. Brooks wins the estrogen war.
  • Liberalsmash rounds us up in appreciation for Brooks flogging.
  • Lead and Gold linked us in "The Astonishing Mr. Brooks."
  • Dan Riehl engaged in a casual flogging of Conor Friedersdorf. You know how a bored cat will play with a mouse. Kinda like that.
  • Jimmie Bise took up the fashion angle.
  • Paco: David Brooks is a Conservative in the Same Way that I am a Marxist. Let me guess: you both speak Engels? Ba-dump bump *crash*. Paco will flog me for that, no doubt.
  • Dustbury picks up the Marlboros.
  • Fishersville Mike thinks Frum needs some education.
  • Bob Belvedere: Brain Bleach Stat!, hammering Brooks. Also, a combination linkage of Batchelor and Friedersdorf.
  • Carolyn Tackett didn't hesitate to embed it the Batchelor portrait.
  • The Daley Gator talks about education beyond one's hat size.
Did You Make Your Town Hall?
The Mercurial Peter Stark an Iron Man is Not
  • Roth & Co. clue us in on a key point: "Ever wonder why the House leadership is reluctant to depose the embarrassing Charlie Rangel as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee? Because Fortney "Pete" Stark is next in line for the job."
  • Brigette at Moralia has done the research and confirms that Stark has an MBA. We're still awaiting a report on what sort of car he drives, and the psychological implications thereof. Speculate in the comments.
  • The Lonely Conservative says that the Stark clip is a few years old. Hmm. I thought it recent.
  • The Rude News says Stark is 77. Retire, Representative Stark. What do you have to fear? Your personality?
Beck Under Siege
  • Chris Barna serves up some lefty moral equivalence for Beck. I guess perhaps if you're a lefty, you can see how murder would be a laughing matter. But he didn't pick up my irony of nominating Beck for a Senate seat, based upon the joke. Where is the love, Mr. Barna?
  • Rhetorican seems to think the whole thing actionable.
Silly Conehead
  • There was an exchange of links with the Sundries Shack. Grrr, what a creepy situation, Honduras.
The Digital Age
Norberg: Financial Fiasco
  • Obi's Sister links the Norberg book post, and asks if the election has been worth it. I've got the book, but haven't read it yet.
  • Jimmi links us, too. he says:
    the TARP program quickly mutated from a way of buying and holding trash financial assets until they were not quite so trashy into a cash giveaway to banks, car companies, and anyone else Democrats felt needed a few bucks
Re-framing 9/11 Into Something More in Keeping with the Current Policy of Cretinism
Forget the White House nonsense. Support Project 2,996
Cultural Apocalypse
A Dead Senator Who Keeps Bobbing Up, the Way a Poor Woman Didn't
The Chelsea Clinton Bit
The Kill Switch Amendment Idea
  • A Conservative Shemale likes the idea, but thinks there may be some issues. In response, I wouldn't accuse the original forumalation as being final. Senators, if flagged for no-run, could have that lifted by membership in a subsequent passing Congress. I'd rather see the 17th Amendment scuttled, anyway, and return Senators to representing the 50 States, who've become rather a permanent political class this last century--decidedly not the Framer's intent.
The Shears of All Fears
  • Rolling Doughnut (a blog irresistable to a Surface Warfare Officer) offers a critical review of the circumcision post.
The Watson Thrashing
How is it that you can criticize a female politician without howls of sexism, yet you can't criticize a minority member of the Executive Branch for being a Commie without charges of raaaaacism?
The Most Famous Finger in America
Miscellaneous Shouts
  • Valley of the Shadow links us while comparing two goth clubs in LA. "Bar Sinister in Hollywood and Malediction in Korea Town. How do these clubs define the style of political campaigns? Look deeper." You don't see the obvious connection? Peasant. ;)
  • We're starting to grow on the Bride of Rove, probably the most visually stunning blog I've seen in some time.
  • Public Secrets linked the finish the sentence game.
  • Instapundit picks up the economic gloom.
  • Steynian links us, but if I try to discover where, I'll never finish this. That guy's a nut.
  • Lonely Conservative linked us on the Afghan Embassy kerfluffle:
    ...if all of this frat boy behavior was occurring while on duty, why did the State Department renew their contract? Could it be that this sort of thing happens in Washington, DC and Massachussetts all the time and is considered normal, as RS McCain subtely points out?
  • Anti-Republican culture mentions us in a survey piece about, well, anti-Republican culture. Highly interesting and worthy of attention.
  • The Classic Liberal lifted granny from the garage sale post.
  • A Conservative Shemale has a roundup and links us on economic news. Two concepts: national debt, and deficit. Unless Pete Stark is as smart as his behavior is overbearing, we're in a Grand Canyon of debt. ACS also linked us on Rule 5 Sunday last week, amidst a New York Times meditation.
  • Ruby Slippers did their FMRJA.
  • The Daley Gator liked the pig wresling post amidst a sizeable roundup.
  • Little Miss Attila gives VodkaPudit an 'attilla-boy', slamming me en passant. Yet I'm still slavishly devoted to her blog. *sigh*
  • VodkaPundit says Stacy has the last word on primary education.
  • Troglopundit has the temerity to notice OediPOTUS Wrecks. *weeps* Thank you.
  • And there is a dash of Rule 5 as well as a roundup from The Camp of the Saints
  • Here is a really interesting post on unions in general, and Oregaon's in particular, from Word Around the Net. Take it from an old squid: a union is a mutiny awaiting its moment. These days, they're scaling it up to a mutiny against the Constitution.
Apologies in advance if this was so big it required a browser upgrade to load. There is some time involved in prepping this post, yes. Mostly I do this in lieu of a diary, as I will one day look over these posting "just to try and recall the whole year". Insights, questions go to Smitty. Ponder the tip jar, ye scalawags.

There are five A's in 'raaaaacism'

The Van Jones controversy is addressed with blunt brutality by Angry Bear:
[T]here’s a subsection of the left who have made their bones and fortunes using interest group grievances and get caught flat-footed when they’re suddenly thrust into a position where results actually matter. Actually strike that. He’s the “green jobs czar.” His results don’t matter but they will be measured which is roughly the same level of kryptonite. What’s happening to Jones is probably what would happen if Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton were forced to get a real job.
Ouch. Welcome to the Obama Nation, where all criticism is subject to the accusation of raaaaacism. If Obama throws Jones under the bus, the Leader's minions will depict it as a sop to right-wing hatemongers, and Jones will walk away with a platinum Victimhood Card, immediately redeemable for a six-figure book contract.

Hesitant myself to call attention to the "interest group" aspect of the Van Jones situation, journalistic curiosity gets the better of me. How many UT-Martin graduates have been admitted to Ivy League law schools in the past 20 years?

Remember: Five A's in raaaaacism . . .

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Just because the Professor went to Yale Law, doesn't mean his spelling never needs correction. Nevertheless, Insty remains our up-to-the-minute source, informing us that the esteemed T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII has at last weighed in.

UPDATE II: "Prescient." Aw, shucks. T'weren't nothin' . . .

UPDATE III: Linked by Dyspepsia Generation and, coincidentally, Pundette just discovered she's a raaaaacist.

OK, Jon, how about naming the 'demagogues' you'd ban from CPAC?

Jon Henke apparently e-mailed CPAC Director Lisa DePasquale to ask if Joseph Farah would be speaking next year -- these things are decided six months in advance? who knew? -- and got a response:
Farah asked if he could speak on the issue (birther movement), but that isn't something we're interested in.
Well, I guess that issue's resolved. But then Henke adds:
There are a couple other demagogues who appeal to our baser instincts that I would like to see CPAC decline to host, too . . .
OK, Jon, name names. As I tend to keep busy schmoozing my way around the lobby or the exhibition hall, exchanging business cards, I usually only cover the really big speeches. Maybe I missed something. If CPAC has been scheduling speeches by "demagogues who appeal to our baser instincts," please name these dangerous influences, so we can all join your campaign to oust them.

Meanwhile, as promised, let's deal with Conor Friedersdorf, who in the course of a single blog post, manages to take shots at:
  • Human Events
  • Fox News
  • Sarah Palin
  • Glenn Beck
  • Rush Limbaugh
This, in addition to his long-running war against Mark Levin. So it's Conor vs. Damn Near Everybody and, to the extent that the object is to influence the conservative movement, I don't think Andrew Sullivan's guest-blogger is likely to win that fight.

Whence this rage, this desire to antagonize virtually the entire conservative movement as we know it? To begin with, let's observe that Conor has a habit of hating the exact same conservatives whom liberals hate and of aligning himself with the exact same conservatives whom liberals tolerate.

Furthermore, Conor does not bother to disguise the fact that his ambition is to be an intellectual -- not a mere journalist, nor even strictly a political commentator, but a genuine Trilling-class thinker. Peruse his encomium to Katie Roiphe or his engagement with Ben Domenech as examples of Conor in intellectual audition mode.

And then there is Friedersdorf's defense of Douthatism, which contains this roundhouse putdown:
I'll merely add that it is very difficult to write for the publications where Mr. Douthat made his mark -- the print Atlantic, the print National Review, The New York Times -- and comparatively easy to write copy for Human Events, Newsmax, Townhall, or any number of other places where a talented twentysomething actually interested in maximizing their profit per hour worked would write all their copy, if they really didn't care about anything else.
Well, I gave up any thought of ever writing for National Review long before I attributed Rich Lowry's decline to tertiary syphilis, but it never occurred to me to trash conservative journalism in bulk, as Friedersdorf has done here.

Can this career strategy work? We don't know, for it has no parallel in history. Yet the man has clearly chosen to play the role of my doppelganger. It seems I never get into an online argument with anyone without finding Conor quickly siding with my antagonist. Something of an anti-Other McCain, as it were.

OK, so where did this begin? I'd been teasing Friedersdorf for months -- his extreme sincerity struck me as amusing -- but it was probably my rebuff of his Culture 11 "conservative" argument for same-sex marriage that did the trick. Why?

Well, that AmSpecBlog item was posted on Jan. 2 and, by the end of the month, Culture 11 ceased to exist. The reasons given for the demise of Culture 11 were strictly financial. In just five months of publication, David Kuo had burned through his start-up capital and -- given the economic meltdown -- no more funding was to be had.

Still, in retrospect, I've occasionally wondered if maybe someone didn't see my AmSpecBlog item and bring it to the attention of Culture 11's funders (reported to be Bill Bennett and Steve Forbes) who experienced an epiphany as a result: "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? This is the 'hip, smart cultural conservatism' we're paying for?"

Quite unlikely, but nevertheless possible, and when I later indulged in some extremely vicious schadenfreude over the demise of Culture 11, this probably didn't endear me to Friedersdorf, a victim of the spectacular implosion. And like a certain Austrian art student, whose rejection from the Vienna academy permanently embittered him, now Friedersdorf stalks not only me, but every conservative who reminds him of me, in a campaign of bloody-minded vengeance.

So you see that the blame for Conor's jihad against the conservative movement is mine alone. It's always a good rule of thumb: When in doubt, blame McCain.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) is arguably the hottest Democrat in Congress . . .

She's clearly no match for Michelle Bachmann (R-Hotness), but still . . . she's cute. However, being a cute liberal atheist baby-killer commie Democrat was not enough to save her from the wrath of the "angry mob":
When "facts" were presented by Giffords or her supporters that everyone knew to be false, she was met with a loud round of boos. When she declared her support for the public option, the boos and jeers could have toppled buildings with their intensity. . . .
From what I could tell by last night, the American people are truly waking up to what their government is doing. They are becoming motivated and involved. The tide is finally changing.
If an election were held today, Rep. Giffords would surely lose.
Alas, the defeat of Giffords would increase the Ugly Quotient of the Democratic caucus to intolerable levels, perhaps even into the deadly Mikulski range. So enjoy her hotness while you can. There's video, too:

Via Instapundit. Remember that it was at one of Giffords' town-halls last month that an Obama thug slammed his elbow into an opponent's face.

Just because it's obvious doesn't make it unfunny

by Smitty

You sort of knew that eventually student-quiddick, a karaoke disk, and suitable beverages would produce this:

Note for frequent commenter Young 4 Eyes: the video includes BHO in a Wall of Shame. It speaks of indoctrination. There is no mention of deoxyribonucleic acid anywhere.

There seems to be a personal fixation, a deep need within you, to take principled political criticism somewhere it hasn't been, isn't now, nor has any interest in going.

I don't think you, yourself, a racist. I think you're acting like someone who feels the need to control the dialogue, to manage the definitions of terms, to get on the remote control and drive the motorized goalposts all over the field. Cut that out. It makes you appear a tool, a fool, and highly uncool.

Peace, out.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ready for the Mother Of All Bailouts?

The FHA is on the hook for lots of "underwater" loans, taken out by low-income homeowners who got special low down-payment deals and -- in case you didn't notice -- unemployment hit a 26-year high in August, with no prospect the 9.7% jobless rate will go down any time this year. Dave Hogberg of Investors Business Daily reports:
FHA-insured loans have more than tripled from 530,000 in fiscal year 2007 to 1.7 million thus far in 2009. The Government National Mortgage Association, which securitizes FHA loans, has boosted its mortgage-related issuance to $287 billion from $85 billion. Yet during that same period, the FHA's loan delinquency rate has climbed to 14.4% in Q2 from 12.6% two years earlier.
OK, so guess what the consequences are now?
As job losses continue to mount, why would someone facing economic difficulties try to keep a home that is worth less than the money owed on it?
More at the Hot Air Green Room.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! This story has now been front-paged at Hot Air -- thanks, Ed Morrisey!

UPDATE II: Proving that some bloggers know more about economics than Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke, Jimmie Bise explains this predictable disaster in four sentences:
See, it turns out that the FHA, prompted of course by Congress, gave out a bazillion loans to people who were on the very edge of being able to pay them back. As long as our economy kept booming, they'd probably -- probably -- be okay. But if the economy wavered even a little bit, they'd be hosed and all those loans would come back to the FHA so fast you'd think they were attached by rubber bands. That's exactly what's happening now and the FHA is watching their cash reserves dry up like a shallow mudpuddle in the middle of Death Valley in July.
Or, in three simple words: IT WON'T WORK!

Worth 1,000 words

Founding Bloggers has a lot of commentary on the Obama Mass Indoctrination, but this Photoshop sums it up best:

Senator Warner uses the word 'Constitution'

by Smitty

CNSNEWS has Senator Mark Warner from his ObamaCare town hall.
But one thing, listen, there is,
there is no place in the Constitution that specifically says health care.
There’s no place in the Constitution that specifically says education.
There is no place in the competition, in the Constitution,
there is no place in the Constitution,
there is no place in the Constitution,
there is no place in the Constitution,
there is no place in the Constitution
that talks about you ought to have the right to get a telephone, but we have made those choices as a country over the years.

What my Senator says is certainly true, though one could draw a sharp distinction between the telephone, and health care, which is older than Washington's false teeth:
...the most interesting part of the story about George's teeth is the mechanism of their fabrication. The upper and lower gold plates were connected by springs which pushed the upper and lower plates against the upper and lower ridges of his mouth to hold them in place. Washington actually had to actively close his jaws together to make his teeth bite together. If he relaxed, his mouth would pop open. There is speculation that this is the reason that the Father of Our Country always looks so stern in his portraits. Take a look at a dollar bill. George isn't upset - he's just trying to keep his teeth in!!!
Or, possibly, he's peering into the future at what a mess would come when a free people would allow a permanent political class (read: aristocracy) come along and steal the liberty he literally, not politically, fought so hard to obtain.

How many orbits would 'Astronaut' Jones make in a George Washington administration sworn in today? Might not even make it off the launch pad, much less to the pad, would be my estimate.

Pat in Shreveport does some PuffHo work so you don't have to, in addition to rounding up other "Astronaut" Jones coverage.
She does, sadly, miss the real reason VJ has to go: an IRS review revealed he'd paid his taxes.

Update II:
Oh, and Thomas Friedman was a Van Fan. Nitwit.

Van Jones thrown under Obama's bus?

Twittered by Ed Morrissey comes this report from Slate's Mickey Kaus:
[T]oday is the day the MSM (not just Tapper) officially turns on Van Jones, the White House "green jobs" adviser who signed a 2004 Truther petition. 'Gone by midnight' is the prediction. . . . Soon he'll meet with his death panel and be under the bus! . . . Obama presumably doesn't want the controversy to bleed into post-Labor Day Speech Week.
If true, Michelle Malkin and especially Glenn Beck can hang this scalp on their belts. Accusations of raaaaacism in 3, 2, 1 . . .

UPDATE: Pat Austin notes that Van Jones was a HuffPo contributor, brooding over "dreams . . . eaten away by the AIDS virus, laid off by down-sizers, locked out by smiling bigots, shot up by gang-bangers and buried in a corporate-run prison yard."

Think about this. Van Jones is a Yale Law School graduate (just like Glenn Reynolds) who according to a 2005 interview, had already landed a D.C. job after graduation but instead decided to move to the San Francisco area to become involved in a radical protest movement. He subsequently received a Rockfeller Foundation fellowship and, eventually, landed a "czar" job at the White House.

And yet, somehow, despite all his success, this Ivy League-educated Fortunate Son sees nothing but misery and oppression everywhere. Am I the only one who finds this bizarre?

UPDATE II: Welcome, Instapundit readers! The Professor loves that Yalie stuff, eh? Anyway, just in case you hadn't noticed, FHA delinquency rates are now over 14%, which means it's time for . . . The Mother Of All Bailouts! (The Professor loves the gloom-and-doom, too.)

Some like Thaddeus McCotter for the dry humor

by Smitty

Update: through a triumph of non-planning, this 'Heh' has the honor of being the Five Thousandth Post on this blog. I did point this milestone out to Stacy a couple of days back. It's great to be the Porch Manqué here, but I'm keenly aware of my status as guest. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to share my screwball humor with the world, Stacy.

Thaddeus McCotter on Uncommon Knowledge manages that juggling act of staying mostly on topic while still being quite funny. In this clip, he expounds GOP principles in a way that makes the Republicans not sound like Democrat-lite. For example, Peter Robinson goes on the demographic attack, pointing out that the House GOP is substantially a WASP nest*, and McCotter handles the charge deftly. Well worth your time.

Some like TM for the dry humor. I dig having a rock 'star' in Congress. Here he is on Red Eye with his hair down, such as it is. He really is an arguably less attractive, slightly toned down Ann Coulter. Asked 50 days into the current administration if he was ashamed of listening (at the 4:00 mark) to Rush, he allowed that no one should be ashamed of enjoying a Canadian power rock trio. He then mentions his defunct band, The Second Amendments.

Props to Michigan for electing someone of intellect, wit, and talent. Instead of a rock star, I'm left with a garden-variety rock, who compared the POTUS to Pharaoh at the health care town hall.
*Radical paraphrase there.

Do we need a purge? I don't think so

Patrick Ruffini waxes nostalgic for the days when Bill Buckley might purge any uncouth rubes who threatened to undermine the intellectual prestige of conservatism. In doing so, he calls to my attention something I had previously ignored -- my friend Jon Henke's call for a purge of WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah -- to which Matt Lewis had previously replied at

This points to the gap between the interests of young political professionals like Ruffini and Henke, and the interests of the grassroots, as I explain at The American Spectator:
Grassroots conservative activists are, by their very nature, not engaged in the political process as a career. They tend to be older, well-established in non-political occupations and less concerned about the Big Picture questions than in finding immediate, practical ways to oppose the menace of liberalism. The question one hears from the grassroots is not, "Whither conservatism?" but rather, "What can I do?"
The Tea Party movement -- which will host a major rally in Washington next weekend -- has given the grassroots something to do, so that joining en masse to voice their opposition to the Obama agenda, they are actively engaged in the political process.
However, grassroots activism has consequences. One of the consequences of a ressurgent conservative grassroots is that their concerns, beliefs and attitudes are sometimes not in sync with the concerns, beliefs and attitudes of smart young Republican activists like Patrick Ruffini. . . .
You can read the whole thing. As always, no matter how much I share certain concerns of the intellectuals, my strongest sympathies are with the grassroots. Intellectuals need the grassroots more than the grassroots need intellectuals.

UPDATE: Catching up on the reaction that roiled the online Right while I was politely ignoring this dispute, Around the Sphere has a list of links, including my favorite acromegalic bride-to-be, Megan McArdle:
If the right ever wants to get back in power, it needs to start policing its lunatic fringe.
Why is it always the Right, and never the Left, that is urged to suppress its lunatics? Are our Birther kooks so self-evidently more dangerous or more embarrassing than left-wing kooks like Van Jones? What is at work here, I suspect, is that those who travel in intellectual circles -- where the influence of liberal academia is pervasive --almost inevitably become intimidated by the prestige-claims of liberalism.

A concern for debunking liberalism's prestige -- the persistent notion that liberal ideas possess a presumed legitimacy that conservative ideas do not -- is why I wrote "How to Think About Liberalism (If You Must)":
The simplest way to define conservatism is this: The belief that liberalism is wrong.
Once you conceive of ideological combat in these terms -- and I urge you to read the whole thing -- then you lose patience with soi-disant "conservatives" whose two basic instincts are cringe and flinch.

By God, stand up on your hind legs and fight! Grab some liberal pet idea by the scruff of the neck and pound the crap out of it. Destroy the prestige of liberal ideas, and attack the prestige of liberal spokesmen, so that it is they who are compelled to cringe and flinch.

Pussyfooting around, concerning yourself with civility and respectability -- the Marquis of Queensbury rules that liberals insist conservatives respect, while they're rabbit-punching us and kneeing us in the groin -- is a tactical error that will inevitably lead to defeat.

This doesn't mean that conservatives must be rude and uncouth. Rather, it means we ought not be defeatist and cowardly, displaying the characteristic attitude of the man whose pride in good sportsmanship is closely related to his habit of losing.

UPDATE II: Bill Quick at Daily Pundit:
Careerism and credentialism are as big a problem for the conservative establishment as for the liberal one. . . .
The blunt truth is that unless the intellectuals are able to mobilize the grassroots, all their plans and hopes are for naught.
Exactly -- the electorate will not respond to rhetoric cluttered by qualifiers or ideas expressed in dry, dull, language. "Herewith, A Brief Primer" is not a fighting creed.

Like Matt Lewis, whose engagement with Henke prompted Ruffini's counter-blast, I consider Henke and Ruffini friends. Jon's critique of the errors of the Allen '06 gubernatorial campaign -- the failure to get ahead of the Allen-is-a-racist smear that was already well-developed before "Macaca" -- was atom-splitting accurate, and his phrase "the eyes of the influentials" has stuck in my mind for more than three years.

Yet Jon's attack on Farah and WND strikes me as wrong-headed and harmful, and I think Ruffini's defense of the attack included some erroneous ideas, too.

So, having ignored all this for three days, I at last felt obligated to engage. Not because I want to purge anyone, but because I want my friends Jon and Patrick to have the benefit of my ideas (which are 100% correct, as usual).

UPDATE III: Speaking of 100% correct, Matt Welch:
All signs are pointing preliminarily to a Republican resurgence in the 2010 elections, even as a growing number of political thinkers–many of them on the right–conclude that conservatism as we know it is verging on a self-inflicted death.
Which points, I think, to the issue of careerism among conservative intellectuals, each of whom wishes to claim credit as the far-sighted visionary who mapped the way to the spectacular comeback victory. I think Matt Welch and I should agree in advance to flip a coin for those honors.

UPDATE IV: Now a Memeorandum thread, and Dan Riehl reminds us of Buckley's populist side:
I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.
Also linked by Bob Belvedere at Camp of the Saints, by some Goth-club conservative(?) and by our old friend Conor Friedersdorf.

I'm not going to argue with Conor just now. This thread's already way too long and to address his "substantive" arguments would take too much effort on the Friday night before Labor Day. Also, my wife just brought home two large cheese pizzas from Little Caesar's. Party time!

Random thought on public officeholders

by Smitty

It just occurred to me, reading through a blog post on Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN), that more people know more names of more Congresscritters than ever.

Whether or not that level of attention has arrived in time to stave off economic collapse in this country is another question.

Whatever emerges on the other side of this crisis administration, I think the sun has set on the days of Congresscritters forming a quasi-aristocracy.

To Chris Lehane: Heh

by Smitty (h/t Insty)

From Politico on student-quiddick, emphasis mine:
Democratic strategist Chris Lehane said the protest against the presidential speech "shows at some level how desperate the right is to find an issue to challenge Obama on...They have gotten some traction on health care, but the mere fact that they have jumped on this reflects that this is a party without a voice. Are they going to run in the mid-terms on a "Presidents shouldn't talk to kids" platform?
No, Chris, it's about finding an issue upon which to agree with the gentleman even slightly.

The article does a fine job focusing on how unreasonable these conservative reactionaries are for opposing the words and lesson plans of the President's speech, while not discussing the whole "Indoctrinate U" context in which the thing will be delivered.

The other point of note is at the end, when comparisons with past presidents who've addressed the nation's children are drawn. It's fair to consider an unwritten rule that all citizens who will be too young to vote in the next election are off-limits as distinct targets of political communication. It's also fair to compare the transparency of the academic records of the people talking to the children. One would still like to see records for the current president made as available as those of the last.

Pundette thinks the POTUS should use the 'undo' feature (CTRL+Z for you CUI keyboard shortcut freaks). This blog thinks that the Zelaya rule will apply: "Drowning in dimwittery? Double down on dumb".

Also on this topic, Scott Ott, the mighty Scrappleface, brings teh funny:
"Obama will urge kids to go to private school"

Teacher Says 'No' to Obama Speech

Our blog buddy Pat Austin teaches in Shreveport, La.:
In my own school district, they've decided to let individual teachers make the call whether or not to show the speech. I won't be showing it in my classroom because I have a scheduled quiz and a curriculum to meet. In an age where every single school minute of the day is counted and documented, I don't have 20 minutes to spare for Obama. . . . .
Read the whole thing.

How timely and awesome

by Smitty (h/t Knowledge is Power)

Dr. Richard B. Rafal provides a rhetorically lethal injection of common sense into the health care debate, by proposing that doctors regulate legal services, if lawyers can regulate medicine. 11 excellent points, including:
Legal "death panels." Over 75? You will not be entitled to legal care for any matter. Why waste money on those who are only going to die soon? We can decrease utilization, save money and unclog the courts simultaneously. Grandma, you're on your own.
He concludes:
Enthusiastically embracing the above legal changes can serve as a "teachable moment" and will go a long way toward giving the lawyers who run Congress a taste of their own medicine.
Interestingly enough, at my Town Hall with Jim Moran and Dr. Howard "Arrrghhh" Dean, the only time the Constitution was mentioned was in discussing why none of the proposals include tort reform. Going from memory here, not an official transcript at all: "Everyone is entitled to a trial by jury. That's in the Constitution."

Health careObamaCare is a brick in the wall of the mausoleum of your liberty, people.

Let's play 'Finish This Sentence'

"If I were magically given an hour to help Barack Obama prepare for his health care speech next week, the first thing I'd do is . . ."
-- David Brooks

The facing-both-ways headline

God help the copy desk when unemployment increases during the Obama administration:
Unemployment Hits 9.7%, but Job Loss Slows in August
-- New York Times

U.S. Payroll Losses Slow, Unemployment Rises to 9.7%
-- Bloomberg

Job Losses Moderate, but Unemployment Rate Hits 9.7%
-- Wall Street Journal
The disastrous fact is that 9.7% of Americans are unemployed, and that the number increased again last month.

Yet this blunt truth cannot be allowed to stand alone, not with a Democrat in the White House. There must be some good news. And therefore the fact that the rate of increase in unemployment slowed slightly is promoted to equality with the 9.7% unemployment number.

What a disgusting performance.

Liberal Democrats will kill ObamaCare?

Be still, my beating heart:
In a letter delivered to the White House moments ago, the two leaders of the bloc of House progressives bluntly told President Obama that they will not support any health care plan without a public option in it -- and demanded a meeting to inform him face to face. . . .
"Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, a public option built on the Medicare provider system and with reimbursement based on Mediare rates -- not negotiated rates -- is unacceptable," reads the letter . . . signed by Reps. Lynn Woolsey and Raul Grijalva, the two leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
"A health reform bill without a robust public option will not achieve the health reform this country so desperately needs," the letter continues. "We cannot vote for anything less."
This goes to something I've been saying all along. The correct GOP position on this bill can be summed up in one word, "No." If certain Republican members of Congress would stop talking about what changes are needed to the bill to get their support, the Democrats will self-destruct over this thing.

The gap between the Blue Dogs and the Progressive Caucus on this bill is so wide as to be irreconcilable. The only reason Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid haven't already been forced to admit defeat already is that there are too many Republicans making noises as if -- with a policy tweak or two -- the bill might be made acceptable to them.

Polls clearly show a solid political basis for Republican opposition to ObamaCare. Defeating this bill would be a clear win for the GOP, but there are some Republicans in Congress who don't want to be seen as being against "reform." It's an image thing.

Yeah, well, screw your "reform" image. KILL THE BILL!

Levi Johnston will pose in his underwear for a magazine purchased mainly by closeted small-town gay guys

Playgirl wants "Ricky Hollywood":
Funny thing is that Playgirl's biggest get in years doesn't have a clue about who reads the male flesh mag. . . .
Oh Levi, don't be ashamed to go down the gay icon route.
Via Hillbuzz. NTTAWWT.

WWF Hijacks 9/11?

Ed Driscoll has rescued from the memory hole a video by the World Wildlife Fund, which graphically compares global warming to the 9/11 attacks. WWF tried to pull the video off the Internet after conservatives complained about the heinousness of their twisted analogy.

Ashley Dupre is a whore

Which makes her different than other bloggers . . . somehow:
I read the front page of the NY Post this week . . . .
(News flash: The whore can read!)
. . .and was happy to see that Mr. Spitzer is moving on with his life and considering getting back into politics . . .
(Ashley Dupree: A Constituency of One!)
Everyone makes mistakes.
(Hiring call girls is a "mistake"? Maybe you should have thought of that before you became a vagina merchant, Ashley.)
Everyone deserves a second chance. Me too, right? Well, apparently not. Why? Because many people are liars and hypocrites. Let me give you just a few examples of what I keep encountering, despite my best efforts to move on.
(Move on to the next $4,000 client?)
First, I’m often referred to as the "woman who brought down the Governor" -- excuse me people, I didn;t call the tabloids, I didn't blow the whistle . . .
(OK, so what did you blow, Ashley?)
I did nothing to shine a light on my indiscretions . . .
("Indiscretions"? They're called "transactions," Ashley. You are a whore. You rented your vagina by the hour. Denial is not a river in Egypt.)
. . .or to "out" anyone else. Second, I keep being accused of "cashing in" on the scandal – wrong again.
(Actually, you "cashed in" on your vagina. Whatever you do from here on out, I think you shouldn't be so sensitive about accusations of "cashing in.")
People think I made money off music that was exploited when the scandal first broke, that I am doing reality television, and that I made millions posing nude for magazines. The truth is none of those things happened. This situation closed far more doors than it ever opened. I didn’t see a dime for my songs, but other people certainly did. I didn’t pose nude for a magazine, but other people made money off of photos of me that they sold to tabloids. Even photos I posed for ages ago were sold to the highest bidder. I never sold any photos of myself - but people who I trusted did.
(Once a girl starts hiring out her vagina by the hour, she's likely to meet a lot of untrustworthy people.)
And the "millions" for the nude pics? I was offered that, repeatedly – and turned them down because I didn’t want to perpetuate the problem or feed into the stereotype.
("Feed into the stereotype" about women who rent out their vaginas? Like they might be . . . I don't know, vacuous and amoral?)
Third, speaking of perpetuating the problem and feeding into the stereotype, let me tell you about most book publishers – they are worse than the tabloids.
(OK, Ashley, NOW you're doing some serious truth-telling!)
I won’t give them the "tell all" they are demanding and won't glorify and sensationalize "how exciting the life of a high-priced NYC escort must be," as one major publisher put it. Sorry folks, my life wasn't like a “Sex And The City” episode. . . . Oh, and I also love how some publishers who were interested in my story and had offers on the table suddenly pulled them because executives in the company had "personal and political reasons” about publishing the book. What does that mean? Did this hit too close to home for you because your husband cheated on you with an escort? Or would your wife feel insecure if she heard you were working with me?
("Working with me." Heh. Heh heh heh.)
I will write the book regardless and do it for the right reasons.
(Because I'm a whore like that!)
Fourth - ladies, ladies, ladies - so many of you have been cool, supportive and loving. But there are those of you out there who just love to judge.
(As opposed to those "who just love" renting out their vaginas by the hour.)
Let me say this - most girls, to varying degrees of course, want to be pampered and have nice shoes, designer handbags and gorgeous clothes. I know many women who target guys with money and use them to get these things. They toy with them, flirt, go on dates, have sex and then drop hints about that new dress at the store down the street or being short on rent money – and the guys deliver it. This is a dishonest relationship. I see this all over New York City.
(Care to name names, Ashley? Because "Call Girl Puts Down Gold-Diggers" might be an interesting story.)
Some women aren’t as vindictive, but still dive into relationships with wealthy guys who they don’t love or even find attractive, but they stay in it because they have a nice home, a car and spending money – they would rather stay in an unfulfilling or loveless relationship than lose that security.
(Or hire out their vaginas by the hour.)
This, too, is a dishonest relationship. I see this type all over the suburbs of New Jersey with the housewives who are strung out on mood stabilizers or the couples who put all their attention on their children so they don’t have to deal with their own issues. What about going to those sugar daddy websites? Is that legal? Should it be? Is what I did any more dishonest? Get real and get over yourself.You’d be shocked at some of the messes I’ve gotten myself into....and, more importantly, how I got out of them. I have so much more to say, and I will – but it’s time for Yoga class! Om Shanti!
(Coming soon: Ashley Dupre joins George F. Will in calling for a tactical U.S. withdrawal from Texas!)

OK, I'll drop the italic snark riff now to make some serious points:
  • Notice how our celebrity culture blurs the line between fame and infamy. Ashley Dupre is a whore -- if she hadn't been the sexual equivalent of a vending machine, nobody ever would have heard of her. And yet, as she says, major book publishers were willing to pay her to "write" a book.
  • Not everybody is a professional writer. Thanks to the Internet, being a published writer has never been easier. Getting paid as a writer? Not so much. Getting paid as a writer -- being a professional writer -- usually involves either (a) getting hired for a staff job or (b) hustling freelance assignments. And it helps to be a good writer if you want to get paid for it. Exactly why Michael "Herewith, A Brief Primer" Gerson gets paid, I don't know, but Ashley Dupre is not Michael Gerson.
  • Cheap grace isn't really cheap. There is a price to be paid for failing to make moral distinctions. When Jesus saved the woman caught in adultery from being stoned to death, he then told her, "Go, and sin no more." He didn't say, "It's OK, go be a whore." By misinterpreting "judge not, lest ye be judged" as a commandment not to make moral distinctions, the advocates of this bogus "Cheap Grace Gospel" invite us into a world without any standards or guidelines. It is in such an unlandmarked terrain of moral relativism that the Ashley Dupres of the world go so blindly astray.
  • Sinners don't respond to the Cheap Grace Gospel. For all the vicious snark I've rained down on Ashley Dupre, I guarantee she's more like to be led into righteousness by someone speaking blunt words than by wishy-washy, touchy-feely stuff. Being myself a most wretched sinner, deserving nothing but destruction by a righteous God, I don't claim any personal standing of moral superiority vis-a-vis Ashley Dupre. Nobody ever offered me thousands of dollars for a night's companionship, so that's one temptation I've been spared.
  • Book publishers really are swine. The fact that a "major publisher" would offer a book deal to Ashley Dupre is bad enough. That the publisher would then ask her to write "how exciting the life of a high-priced NYC escort must be" -- and turn her down when she wanted to tell her own story her own way -- tells you that they don't believe that truth has value.
That's what I despise about the publishing industry. If Friedrich Hayek submitted The Road to Serfdom to a major publisher today, nobody would be interested -- even though it was a bestseller and now, more than 60 years after its publication, it's still selling.

Truth has value, but you wouldn't know this by talking to a book publisher. There have been times when I've informally proposed a book idea to a publisher who then responds to the effect, "Hey, that's a great idea. But instead, why don't you write this . . ." and then they proceed to tell me their idea for the book they want me to write.

And I actually used to let crap like that get to me. At some point, however, I just said screw it. If you're such a genius you know better than me what kind of book I should write, write it yourself and stop wasting my time.

If you cooperate with swine -- bending over backward, offering to write anything at all, just to get that book deal -- you are helping neither yourself nor your publisher. You are also doing a disservice to other writers, because you're enabling publishers who have developed an abusive habit of pushing writers around.

If a publisher really wants to publish you, if they really believe in you as a writer, they'll treat you right and show some respect for your judgment. The fact that you're not being treated right is therefore your own fault, because in your desperation to make a buck, you are willing to tolerate insulting behavior from publishers.

Don't be a book-whore, Ashley Dupre. Whatever the truth of your story is, the truth has more real value than whatever lies a publisher wants to buy.