Saturday, January 2, 2010


Friday, January 1, 2010

How Carlsonism Was Averted, or
The Making of

After Thanksgiving, in response to constant nagging -- from Jimmie Bise, Paleo Pat and Cynthia Yockey, among others -- I finally resolved to switch the blog to a custom WordPress platform, and promised to do so by Jan. 1, 2010.

However, the technical wizardry involved was beyond the power of a primitive unfrozen caveman blogger. This project would require Smitty getting his geek on. Our first stab at the project rolled out in rough Beta mode on Christmas Eve using the free version of WordPress but we were informed, sadly, that this would not do -- no advertising permitted for freebie moochers.

Further complications developed and, as Smitty said a couple days before New Year's Eve, he was afraid that we were on the verge of Carlsonism -- replicating the repeatedly delayed debut of a certain site, now due to appear in all its glorious majesty 10 days hence, and it had better not suck.

Despite all hindrances and obstacles, Smitty remained determined and undaunted. Carol at No Sheeples Here worked on the new logo and, with the aid of Silver Logic and Forward Focus Media, success was achieved.

By 5 p.m. on New Year's Day, was minimally copacetic. Smitty has told his tale, and now we have produced a stunning video documentary, Behind of The Making of

Happy New Year! Roll Tide! Hit the Tip Jar!

New Site for a New Year: We're
Now LIVE at

Yes that's right, as of Jan. 1, 2010, Smitty and I have relocated our glorious blogospheric action to

Same wonderful content, new groovalicious WordPress format.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tweet of the Year Decade Millennium:
My Quest for the Ultimate Re-Tweet

Your quest to get re-tweeted by @Alyssa_Milano is the best non-porn thing about the internet.
-- Dave Weigel

She's the ultimate celebrity Tweep, with more than 500,000 followers but, as of noon today, was only following 499 people, whereas I've got about 2,700 followers and am following nearly 1,300 people.

This illustrates an enormous status disparity and ever since October, when Alyssa re-Tweeted a Slate column by Mickey Kaus -- who has about 1,700 followers -- I've been trying to reverse-engineer the Kaus magic: "Why Does Alyssa Milano Hate Me?"

Alyssa is to Twitter what Matt Drudge is to news, and what Professor Glenn Reynolds is to blogging. (On Twitter, Drudge has 46,000 followers and Instapundit has about 6,000 followers.) People tell me that my quest is hopeless, but as Vince Lombardi said, "A quitter never wins, and a winner never quits."

In addition to Lombardi's maxim, there's also the inspiration of my role model, Pepe Le Pew:

The wonderful thing about Pepe is that he cannot conceive that anyone would not love him.
Guys often ask how a homely guy like me got such a beautiful wife like Mrs. Other McCain. It's not just the Speedo-worthy physique, my friends. It's also the Pepe Le Pew persistence, the irresistible ardor of the relentless suitor.

That's how I am when I set my mind on a goal. I'm Pepe Le Pew, and the object of my desire is that cat who accidentally got a white stripe painted on her back. Excuse me if you're creeped-out by that analogy, but that's just how I roll.

Speaking of rolling, I've already booked my flight for Pasadena so I can go cover Alabama winning the national championship next week in the Rose Bowl.

Hit the tip jar! ROLL TIDE! Re-Tweet me, Alyssa!

2009 Year in Review: March

February's first stirrings of populist opposition to the Obama agenda gave way in March to an intellectual backlash against Rush Limbaugh, whose CPAC speech was denounced by Rod Dreher, spurring me to recall Thucydides' account of the siege of Plataea (my faulty memory was corrected by a homeschool mom in the comments field). During Rush's nationally televised CPAC speech, I found myself hanging out with Dittohead cab driver Wally Onakoya.

The contrast between Dreher's hostility and Onakoya's admiration for Limbaugh illustrates, I think, the extent to which Rush's popularity incites the envy of intellectuals. It isn't just that they disagree with Limbaugh -- I don't always agree with him, either -- but rather that they resent his lucrative success in reaching such a large audience. From my perspective, Rush's success is a phenomenon to be praised and celebrated, as I explained in March:
Whatever Limbaugh's faults, he has that one redeeming value: Courage to speak out, even when speaking out makes him the target of vicious personal smears.
One of the basic principles of military strategy is to reinforce success. If you see a man who fights and wins, give him reinforcements, and bid others to emulate his success.
March was also notable for Smitty's debut as co-blogger here, including his first 'Lanche-worthy post, "Where Did the Pleasant Cthulhu Go?" Among other March highlights:
Of course, as they say at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Ala., "Once you go Hayekian, you never go back." NTTAWWT. IYKWIMAITYD.

2009 Year in Review: February

The endless bummers of January continued into February, which meant that something had to be done to lighten the gloom. Ergo, a very special Cabinet post for Chris Dodd:
As Secretary of the Department of Unicorns and Rainbows, Dodd will face "daunting challenges in this time of crisis," the president said, referring to the distinguished silver-haired senator as "one of our nation's most visionary leaders."
Other insightful political commentary from February:

February also saw the beginning of the Tea Party movement, which sparked the beginning of a long-running argument with Rick Moran:

Rick doesn't seem to believe that opposition to Obamanomics could ever become a decisive groundswell. And he is entitled to that opinion. But to say that such opposition is not now a groundswell does not mean it will never become one.
Wow, did I call that one, or what? I followed up with a long post entitled "Tea Parties, Defeatism and Wolverines" -- the first of what became an informal series with a populist theme -- and quoted Jennifer Rubin: "The opposition party must oppose."

2009 Year in Review: January

Looking back through the archives, I note that this annus horriblis began with the sad realization that we were going to have to get used to saying those three dreadful words: Senator Al Franken. Which, of course, prompts three more words: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Exactly what is wrong with the Republican Party that it can't even beat a clown like Franken? I attempted to answer that question in a long post titled, "Fear and Loathing: Sarah Palin and the Conservative Intellectuals":
Just as the conservative intellectuals once projected their hopes onto Dubya, now they project their disappointments onto Sarah. But the fault is theirs, not hers.

It is a very long post, but I think it got to the nub of some very important issues that are fundamental to understanding how the GOP reached its ebb in 2008. Some other highlights and lowlights of the month:

You see, then, that January was in some ways a precursor of much that was to come in the months ahead.

Blog titles worthy of framing

by Smitty

The assertion that Christianity teaches Socialism is elegantly refuted here:
It isn’t generosity when you give away the money of others
The next step after this is to realize that the Gospels are equally a foreign policy tract, which is to say, not even slightly.

Blogging for 'The Cause'?
Nonsense! I Write for Money

You're a conservative, and what is conservatism? The belief that liberalism is wrong. Very simple, and you don't really need anybody to explain that to you. Given that Democrats are the party of liberalism, you oppose Democrats generally and specifically, both in terms of politics and policy, which is also pretty much self-explanatory.

Things are a bit more . . . nuanced for Booman's buddies in the progressive netroots community:
If you are doing full-time political blogging, something is motivating you. For most of us, that motivation was originally outrage at what the Bush administration and the Republicans in Congress were doing. . . .
What brought people together into progressive blogging communities and networks was related to policy (the invasion of Iraq, torture, illegal surveillance, regressive taxation, bad environmental policy) but also other things (a one-sided corporate media, incompetent government, and lack of meaningful and effective resistance by the Democrats). . . .
OK, with a set-up like that, perhaps you're starting to get an inkling of what comes next:
If we got into blogging and political activism to put the Democrats in power, should we not be focusing on helping them pass their agenda and stay in power? . . .
[I]f you are waking each morning to blog about what a bunch of corporate whores the Democrats and the president are, you haven't really adjusted your style to the new situation in Washington. . . . Is this first thing you do in the morning to look for ways to talk about how the president has disappointed you? How Congress sucks? Then you aren't interested in keeping the Republicans out of power any more. You are fighting a different battle. . . . No one is compelled to support the Democrats over the Republicans or to support policies they disagree with. But we should call this kind of blogging what it is, which is anti-Obama, and anti-Democratic Party . . . and anti-government, really.
Hmmmm. Wonder who that was aimed at? Jane Hamsher, perhaps? Three weeks after the 2008 election, I wrote about "Future Ex-Democrats." And it's important to keep in mind that the backlash against the Age of Obama won't be limited to moderates repulsed by the administration's radicalism. There will also be many sincere progressives repulsed by the cynicism and hypocrisy of Democrats in power.

I, Chump
Speaking as an ex-Democrat myself, I always tell my "cradle Republican" friends that Democratic disillusionment can happen in the most surprising ways. If you intervene at the right moment, you might find that your fiercest opponent today could be your staunchest ally in the future. When conservatives see the "progressive netroots community" issuing these calls for solidarity and threatening to excommunicate heretics -- "We must support the Democrats, no matter what they do!" -- you are being alerted to an opportunity.

For me, believe it or not, one of the breakthroughs was reading William Greider's Who Will Tell The People?, a left-wing critique of the Clinton administration's economic policies. (Remember that I actively supported Clinton in 1992.)

Having campaigned on promises of a "middle-class tax cut" and an economic "stimulus package," the Clintonistas abandoned those plans between Election Day and Inauguration Day. In part, this was a recognition of fiscal reality. In part, it was a sellout to the Clinton campaign's corporate sponsors.

It's hard to overstate the impact of Greider's revelation that the Clintons weren't really sincere about their class-warfare campaign promises. It was all just convenient political rhetoric, motivated by focus-group studies, and they were just as sold-out to "corporate America" as the Republicans. Once you cease to swallow liberal rhetoric as gospel and begin to examine the Democrats from a cynical perspective (i.e., "What's in it for them?"), you acquire a certain contempt for the kind of naive chump you used to be.

"Chump" is a very tough self-judgment to accept. And once a Democrat realizes he's been hoodwinked, bamboozled, sold out, backstabbed and betrayed -- do you hear me, Jane Hamsher? -- a revolutionary change in worldview becomes possible.

'Who Is John Galt?'
What happened to me was that friends and co-workers encouraged my second thoughts. One of my editors turned me on to The Freeman, the monthly magazine of the Foundation for Economic Education, a publication full of Austrian School economic insights. And then, in a heated argument one day with a Dittohead co-worker, I said, "Have you read Who Will Tell the People?"

"No," he said. "Have you read Atlas Shrugged?"

Heh. I hadn't. Personal pride in my own erudition was ruffled, and I was embarrassed by this literary one-upsmanship from my Dittohead friend. So I went out, bought Atlas Shrugged and spent a weekend reading it.

Thus I became one of millions converted to the capitalist cause by Rand's radical classic. I'm constantly amazed at how common that experience is, just as I'm amazed to discover how many "cradle Republicans" have never bothered to read it, nor even to read Leonard Read's brilliant free-market essay, "I, Pencil." How can you defend entrepreneurism and free markets if you haven't read these classics?

Once you understand that capitalism is not actually evil -- do you hear me, Jane Hamsher? -- then the fundamental corruption of the Democratic Party becomes transparently obvious: They gain money and power by hypocritically claiming to oppose money and power.

Screw the Democratic Party and all their cynical lies. Stop "blogging for The Cause" and come on over to the side of shameless greed. I Write For Money. There is no conflict of interest between my advocacy of capitalism and my practice of capitalism. So please hit the tip jar!

White House plays Flight 253 blame game

The Prowler reports at the American Spectator:
[A]s it became clear internally that the Administration had suffered perhaps its most embarrassing failure in the area of national security, senior Obama White House aides, including chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod and new White House counsel Robert Bauer, ordered staff to begin researching similar breakdowns -- if any -- from the Bush Administration. "The idea was that we'd show that the Bush Administration had had far worse missteps than we ever could," says a staffer in the counsel's office. "We were told that classified material involving anything related to al Qaeda operating in Yemen or Nigeria was fair game and that we'd declassify it if necessary."
The White House, according to the source, is in full defensive spin mode. Other administration sources also say a flurry of memos were generated on December 26th, 27th, and 28th, which developed talking points about how Obama's decision to effectively shut down the Homeland Security Council (it was merged earlier this year into the National Security Council, run by National Security Adviser James Jones) had nothing to do with what Obama called a "catastrophic" failure on Christmas Day.
"This White House doesn't view the Northwest [Airlines] failure as one of national security, it's a political issue," says the White House source. "That's why Axelrod and Emanuel are driving the issue." . . .
Read the whole thing. Disgusting.

UPDATE: "White House to Critics: Stop Blaming Us While We Look For a Way To Blame Bush."

When passengers become heroes

RiShawn Biddle at The American Spectator compares Jasper Schuringa to the passengers who stopped the Flight 93 terrorists:
[B]oth events prove once again that government alone cannot ensure security and freedom for Americans or citizens in other countries. Ultimately, it depends on ordinary people to rise to an occasion, even at the expense of their own lives.
Read the whole thing. RiShawn is editor of the education site Dropout Nation.

Rush Limbaugh reported 'resting comfortably' in Hawaii hospital

This seemed very serious when it was first reported, but it now appears to be a more or less routine health scare for a 58-year-old:
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh is resting comfortably in a Hawaii hospital after suffering chest pains while on vacation, his radio program says.
"Rush appreciates your prayers and well wishes and will keep you updated via and on his radio program," the program said in a statement late Wednesday night.
Limbaugh was rushed for medical treatment earlier in the day. The statement said "Rush was admitted to and is resting comfortably in a Honolulu hospital today after suffering chest pains."
Kit Carson, Limbaugh's chief of staff, told The Associated Press that he had no further information on Limbaugh's condition.
He said the 58-year-old left for his usual Christmas vacation on Dec. 23 and is due to return to his show on Jan. 4.
No new updates yet from but we can expect to hear more at noon ET.

VIDEO: 'A fat man flying!'

In Boston in 1773, Molly Far saw a horrifying vision:

From the Pasadena Tea Party Patriots and, in case you didn't recognize the actress playing Molly, it's SNL alumna Victoria Jackson. Molly's prophetic vision of the bounteous land of fruit turned into a barren wilderness on account of a smelt is, alas, all too real.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

No, Jennings hasn't been fired yet

by Smitty

Sorry, Nice Deb, you're still paying for a degenerate to influence school children.

After all, if the Administration can blow off the ACORN scandal with impunity, then why should peddling smut to minors trigger so much as the batting of an eye?

The solution: more demonstrations for the Community Organizer in Chief.

How to handle historical grievances

by Smitty (h/t USNI Blog)

This incident is less than a century old, but it contains a lesson.
SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian hospital ship torpedoed by the Japanese during World War Two with the loss of 268 lives has been located in waters off the coast of the northern state of Queensland, the government said on Sunday.

The loss of the Centaur in 1943 while sailing to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea was one of Australia's great wartime disasters. Survivors and their relatives have long pressed for the wreck to be found, fearing salvagers would reach it first.
As USNI notes:
I-177’s captain was never tried for the sinking, but was convicted on other war crimes by the Allies. The attack has long been a sore subject for the Japanese, who only acknowledged in 1979 that I-177 did indeed sink the hospital ship, after denying involvement since 1943. Furthermore, Tokyo claims it never ordered the attack, a fact if false would likely lead to Australian pressure for additional war crime charges. In a statement on the search for AHS Centaur, Japan said it "made the greatest efforts for world peace and prosperity as a responsible member of the international community and has also developed a close relationship with Australia." To their credit, the Centaur Association, the RSL, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have all made statements that Japan does not need to apology[sic] for the sinking of AHS Centaur. Apparently 66 years of good relations is enough time for some countries to let history be history.
Certainly, the Centaur pales in time, space, and body count to the Israeli/Palestinian situation.

Nevertheless, a positive example of two peoples coming to grips with a historical tragedy could prove a handy lesson.

Him who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Advice to Juicebox Mafia: surrender

by Smitty

Uncle Jimbo is not your natural enemy. Rather, he is somebody you want to befriend, carry a notebook whenever he condescends to share space with you, and take take copious notes the whole time. Jimbo introduces the JM (adding some formatting):
The Juicebox Mafia is a bunch of young, liberal pundits so-named by Eli Lake of the Wash Times including
  • Ezra Klein,
  • Spencer Ackerman,
  • Matthew Why-Glesias[sic] and
  • today's target Tim Fernholz.
I know a couple of them now and have proffered a challenge to debate a number of issues i.e. The Socialization of the America. I have received an acceptance of the gauntlet, and will advise as to a time and place for the inaugural debate between the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy & the Juicebox Mafia.
Uncle Jimbo's inaugural bludgeoning is: "Kill the filibuster".

Rule 4 at its finest. About the only thing Uncle Jimbo doesn't do is estimate the number of years (I'll say 20) between the time they remove the filibuster and the US Senate, like the Roman Senate after Julius Caesar, devolves into a mere decoration, like a hot water faucet in a third-world country.

A look at Stacy's CA trip

by Smitty (h/t Dodgeblogium)

Just a little peep at how much fun Stacy will be having at the airport while making his way west to see Alabama play:

The clip is from David Zucker's An American Carol. The screening for that flick in Arlington, VA is where I first met Stacy McCain, ~16 months and a few lifetimes ago.

Props to the readers who've supported his westward venture.
Update: Diversity Lane piling on,

Susan B. Anthony List: Winning

An interesting article in National Journal shows that, while pro-choice political groups generally raise far more money than pro-life groups, the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List stomps the crap out of the pro-choice National Organization for Women:

National Journal also features video stories including interviews with SBA List Chairwoman Marjorie Dannenfelser:

Tea Party Express official says liberal media used TPM's 'totally bogus story'

E-mail from Joe Wierzbicki of the Tea Party Express:
What's disgusting about the TPM Muckracker hit on us is that it's a totally bogus story - and the author knows it.
The $800,000 they cite was NOT paid to Russo Marsh + Associates. The vast majority of that money was to reimburse Russo Marsh + Associates for the efforts where we fronted the money in our capacity as the organizers of the Tea Party Express. . . .
And then Rachel Maddow of MSNBC last night (and the CBS blog, and dozens of other liberal blogs) have run with the story. I'm not sure how much these people in the secondary chain of this viral promotion understand that their advancing a bogus story. Maybe some of them do and they don't care.
What seems obvious is that the only reason someone would advance a bogus story like this if they knew it to be bogus, would solely be to try to take a shot at the tea party movement in general, and smear the Tea Party Express in particular. . . .
Read the rest at The American Spectator.

'Wingnut hysteria!'

Right. A Nigerian jihadist tries to blow up a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day, but if you think al-Qaeda was involved, you're a creationist neo-fascist ultra-nationalist nirther. (Safe non-LGF link.)

And we're the kooks, you understand. Me, you, Pamela Geller, Dan Collins, Mike Hendrix, Robert Spencer -- just a bunch of extremist wingnuts.

(Via Memeorandum.)

Because there are no coincidences

No sooner had I used a homecoming queen's friendly C-cup smile as a political metaphor than the bodaciously curvaceous Samantha of Day-by-Day makes a not-entirely-unrelated point. And at the same time we behold Shelby Steele touching, as it were, the hem of a garment that is not there:
America's primary race problem today is our new "sophistication" around racial matters. Political correctness is a compendium of sophistications in which we join ourselves to obvious falsehoods ("diversity") and refuse to see obvious realities (the irrelevance of diversity to minority development). I would argue further that Barack Obama's election to the presidency of the United States was essentially an American sophistication, a national exercise in seeing what was not there and a refusal to see what was there—all to escape the stigma not of stupidity but of racism.
Barack Obama, elegant and professorially articulate, was an invitation to sophistication that America simply could not bring itself to turn down. . . .
You should read the whole thing and also visit Day by Day, where Samantha has been known occasionally to appear as naked as the emperor in his new clothes. (Don't hate Samantha. It's not her fault she's as melanin-deficient as Molly Ringwald. Or, uh, Lindsay Lohan.)

What parents worry about

Today I went upstairs for a cup of coffee and noticed daughter Reagan watching the Disney Channel in rapt attention. When I came back downstairs, I posted a message on Twitter:
My 7yo daughter now watching "Parent Trap" starring young Lindsay Lohan. Considering how Lindsay turned out, should I be worried?

To which question the only answer is, "Of course, you should be worried." Every halfway decent parent perpetually worries about how their kids will turn out. Even though I know my eldest daughter -- recently engaged to the Argentine Romeo -- watched and re-watched her VHS of The Parent Trap when she was about 10 without succumbing to moral corruption, I still worry about her baby sister.

My wife is worried about how we'll pay for the eldest's wedding, while I'm worried about whether the Pasadena trip will result in financial disaster. So, despite accusations of "whining," I'm still rattling the tip jar -- $5 or $10 might help soothe the parental jitters. Being a Dad is scary, when you consider that tabloid-trashy Lindsay Lohan (who has apparently rejoined the hetero squad and is on Twitter, BTW) was once so sweet and innocent:

P.S.: The photo at the top was found on a blog post by journalist Daniel Lehman:
Ask a Casting Director: What advice do you have for parents of child actors?
My answer: Don't let them become child actors! Your kid might turn out to be the next Lindsay Lohan or -- Heaven forbid -- Danny Bonaduce. (My 11-year-old redheaded son plays drums. That's got to be worth $20 in worry.)

Tea Party Leadership

by Smitty

Warner Todd Huston at Big Government is worried about the leadership question, emphasis mine:
The nature of the Tea Party movement was unusual at the outset. Regardless of what the half-wits on the extreme left said about them — whackjobs like your Keith Olbermanns or Rachel Maddows — the Tea Party movement was not orchestrated behind the scenes by some grand, right-wing conspiracy. They happened spontaneously spearheaded by all sorts of different groups, hundreds of them in fact. And to use the hackneyed old expression, trying to organize them into a single, national power will be like herding cats.

And therein lies the soon to be revealed mistake. Unless we are able to foresee this limitation of the Tea Party movement and take concrete measures to prevent it we will see the passion and engagement of these millions of Americans frittered away until just cynicism is left.

Passion about politics is great and likely the fervor of Tea Party participants will help fuel a 2010 resurgence of Republicans in the midterm elections. But what after that? In fact, what during it?

Here’s the problem and, as I see it, it’s a problem that is actually sort of built right into the Tea Party movement from its inception. That would be its essentially leaderless nature. Certainly this leaderless nature has suited the tastes of those suspicious of government, tired of failed party machinations, and the preternaturally aloof folks that populated them. Perhaps the gatherings could have occurred no other way and are born of this peculiar instant of political sensibility. Nonetheless Tea Parties have been disparate, unfocused, leaderless, and might prove to be pointless in the end.

There was no unifying single goal of the Tea Partiers and no agency or party directing them. This means that the raw power behind them just might go untapped because there will be no way to translate the passion to power. Every transformative movement has been led by a single man and his small group of powerful adherents but the Tea Party movement has no such leader and might just find that its passion will dissipate until there is nothing left but disgruntled followers.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the passion and was thrilled by the hundreds of Tea Parties with their millions of participants as it happened across this land in 2009. I was heartened that so many Americans were standing up to the anti-American left like that. But how do we channel that passion into something that can lead to positive change?

Without question powerful change needs a leader. Unfortunately, unless a leader steps forward that can gather all those many Tea Party strings into a single strong rope, it is likely that the whole thing will just pass away and be left a footnote in history. And what will this do to those yearning for change? What else could it do but cause them to become even more cynical going out than when they came in, leaving them thinking that nothing can be done and that we are doomed? This could lead to even worse societal strife down the road as frustrations build.
Considering history, I'd offer two things:
  1. Human nature is constant, favoring hierarchy.
  2. Technology is variable, with a positive slope, and has no affection for hierarchy.
Huston's argument favors (1), and I'll agree with him substantially. But pay attention to (2). Contrasting the Tea Party movement of today with that of the 1700s, bloggers are the pamphleteers. Sure, a George Washington wound up as the general in charge, courageously leading the army, serving as President, and scoring the accolades.

George Washington had decades of buildup, and the support of a variety of people. The Revolution was not about "George Washington", but the 2008 election was all about "Barack Obama".

Technology ought to be about de-emphasis of the individual in the government. Yes, somebody has to sign the legislation. Sure, there must be a name on the ballot. As with George Washington, let the person and the magic squiggle on the paper be more about the historical necessity than the personal ego.

Ways to bring about the destruction of the Tea Party spirit from within:
  • Put a libertarian extremist in charge. No matter how much you like small government ideas, anything workable has to solve the "Y'all can't get there from here" problem. Declaring entitlements un-Constitutional does nothing about the millions of people and the decades spent growing these fiscal dragons. Slay them, sure, but ensure a good plan for butchering the dragon carcass.
  • Put a Progressive in charge. Someone who will advocate that we swap out the current slate of degenerates for more of same. Continue to treat the Constitution as a historical relic, a navigation hazard around which to maneuver with fine verbal ballet.
  • Put an apparatchik in charge, who, despite making all of the proper anti-Washington noises, knows who the backers are and where the political correctness lines are drawn.
I'd contend that the final threat is the worst. The line between invariant principles and areas where reasonable people can disagree agreeably is the among the more challenging aspects of discussion.

Jumping in Pools says "The battering and blaming of the Republicans has to stop." Mr. Kat, when those GOP windbags threaten the invariant principles in, for example, the Constitution, then they are a tumor, albeit a benign one. The most you're buying from a RINO is time. The RINO's non-command of principles will feed the Progressive decline, albeit more slowly than a Democrat's. In a way, the Democrat is more admirable, because he's not blowing any sunshine up the public bottom about his task.

In summary, the Tea Party will shake itself out just fine. Keep the pamphleteering up on the blogs. Keep emailing the blog posts to those who don't read the blogs. The Tea Parties will produce a name for the ballot. However, by focusing on the invariant principles at stake, and letting the technology drive the communication, the name that lands on the ballot will understand that (s)he is blessed to serve an informed electorate, and steer the ship of state on a less perilous course.

If Obama's lost Maureen Dowd . . .

. . . he's doomed beyond Hope:
If we can’t catch a Nigerian with a powerful explosive powder in his oddly feminine-looking underpants and a syringe full of acid, a man whose own father had alerted the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, a traveler whose ticket was paid for in cash and who didn’t check bags, whose visa renewal had been denied by the British, who had studied Arabic in Al Qaeda sanctuary Yemen, whose name was on a counterterrorism watch list, who can we catch? . . .
Before he left for vacation, Obama tried to shed his Spock mien and juice up the empathy quotient on jobs. But in his usual inspiring/listless cycle, he once more appeared chilly in his response to the chilling episode on Flight 253, issuing bulletins through his press secretary and hitting the links. At least you have to seem concerned. . . .
Once Modo starts eyeing the exit of the Obama bandwagon, what next? Will David Brooks espy an un-meritocratic wrinkle in the president's pants?

Political moralism and the self-defeating impulse toward totalitarian 'purity'

Carl Milsted on a meaningful distinction:
Liberty. Some love it because it provides wealth, opportunity, and other good things. Others declare that any denial of liberty is unacceptably evil, that liberty is a fundamental right of man. Both call themselves libertarians, and so they gather together at political conventions, seminars, and blog forums -- to call each other nasty names and do battle over the meaning of a word.
Read the rest, which is from the December issue of Liberty, which has been advertising on the sidebar for a couple of weeks.

Milsted makes a distinction between what he calls "consequential" libertarians and "moralist" libertarians, a distinction that replicates itself everywhere in politics. Some people are just natural-born fanatics who turn to politics in a search for totalitarian purity.

Fanatical demands for ideological purity in politics represent a totalitarian impulse, and are the bane of any really practical program for political action in a democratic system. To gain an effective governing majority requires the building of a coalition organized on fundamental principles and shared interests.

Zealous fanaticism can be useful in politics, boiling issues down to their stark fundamentals. I still remember the evening in 1995 when, having slipped the moorings of my Democratic upbringing, I sat down to dinner with a Republican Party official and the conversation turned to abortion. I mentioned my (small-L) libertarian opposition to taxpayer-funded abortion -- why should Catholics, for example, be taxed to pay for what is contrary to their expressed doctrine? -- and my host responded bluntly: "Abortion is murder and it ought to be against the law."

The Litmus-Test Trap
That statement has the virtue of simplicity, and has radical implications. Those who agree with it have a clear mandate for political involvement and it is thus scarcely surprising that pro-lifers remain the unbreakable backbone of the GOP today. Nothing makes me more furious than those "sophisticated" Republicans who sneer at pro-lifers. Without hard-core pro-lifers, there might never have been a Reagan presidency or a 1994 "Republican Revolution."

Yet the tendency toward fanaticism -- the radical certainty of the True Believer -- can have disastrous consequences in politics. There are many pro-lifers who make that issue a litmus test in such a way that it compels them to vote for bad politicians.

A perfect example of this problem is Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, the "pro-life" Democrat whose sellout cinched the Senate vote for ObamaCare. Many pro-lifers in Nebraska told themselves they could vote for Nelson because his partisan allegiance was negated by his declared pro-life principles.

Of course, many Republicans elected on the strength of their pro-life bona fides have proved incompetent, corrupt or politically untrustworty, which creates the environment within which the election of pro-life Democrats becomes likely. And it is the single-issue litmus-test approach of the True Believers that is both cause and effect in such a scenario: They elect a bad Republican because he's "right" on their single issue and then, when he disappoints them, they replace him with a Democrat who is clever enough to position himself as pro-life. Whether this pattern ever actually results in the enactment of pro-life policies . . . well, that's an interesting question, isn't it?

'Anarchy Next Wednesday'
Let us return, now, to Carl Milsted's attempt to deal with libertarian fanatics, in which he describes a platform fight at the 2006 Libertarian Party convention:
At the time I was leading a major effort to reform the LP (the Libertarian Reform Caucus) to widen the LP's definition of "libertarian" so as to include a large fraction of voters who say they support both personal liberties and economic liberties, and to soften the party's platform away from its call for anarchy next Wednesday.
If you've ever attended a Libertarian Party gathering, you either smile at that description or become enraged by it. There are some Libertarians who oppose even the mildest concesion to pragmatism. They want an LP that is fanatically pure and, as an inevitable result, politically impotent.

Purity is one of those ideas that have consequences and I made a reference to LP fanatics when describing those consequences after the November 2008 election:
LGF -- which lately has been trying to purge Pam Geller as a Nazi (!) sympathizer -- doesn't mind saying "we blew it." And I agree: You blew it. And in fact, you still blow. Purge-happy partisan fanatics! Purge the Buchananites! Purge the libertarians! Purge the creationists! Purge the pro-lifers! Bobby Jindal is "political suicide!"
Purge, purge, purge, until the Republican Party is only you, and then maybe people will understand that this was your objective from the very beginning, you intolerant assholes. I am reminded of Bob Barr's description of the more fanatical Libertarian purists -- they don't want to belong to the Libertarian Party, they want to belong to the Libertarian Club.
Let these purging purists have their way, and you can plan to hold the 2012 Republican convention in Charles Johnson's living room. And I'll vote Libertarian again.
In the end, of course, CJ purged himself, but the fundamental point remains. It's this "club" mentality, the desire to act as membership chairmans of an exclusive sect composed entirely of one's fellow True Believers, that makes the fanatical quest for purity such a disastrous impulse in politics.

Big Boobs and Big Tents
Successful politics requires a gregarious attitude, what we might call the Sheila Mosely Principle. In fall 1976, Sheila was a candidate for homecoming queen at Lithia Springs (Ga.) High School. Sheila was a popular cheerleader with an impressive C-cup rack, but there were other popular cheerleaders running for homecoming queen, one of whom was at least a D-cup.

So one day a couple weeks before homecoming, I was walking down the hall and encountered Sheila, who flashed a friendly smile and said, "Hi, Stacy." Maybe that wasn't the first time Sheila had ever spoken to me, but it was certainly the friendliest she'd ever been, and it made an impression.

Of course, I knew this unexpected gesture was politically motivated, but it was nonethless impressive that Sheila had condescended to solicit the support of a stoner hoodlum like me. Impressive -- more impressive even than Kim Cantrell's D-cups -- and therefore Sheila got my vote.

Sheila understood that every vote counts. She wasn't going to let my stoner hoodlum status be an obstacle to her quest for homecoming queen. And that gregarious impulse, that willingness to solicit support from outside one's own social or political niche, was what made Ronald Reagan such an unequaled success in politics.

Reagan's "Big Tent" approach has been misunderstood and misapplied by many of his would-be successors, who have used it as an excuse for Clintonesque "triangulation," the politics of pre-emptive compromise. But Reagan was an unapologetic conservative, who did not feel the need to talk about being "kinder and gentler" or employ defensive modifiers like "compassionate."

From C-Cups to Tea Parties
Never renouncing his firm belief that liberalism was wrong -- a sound fundamental principle -- Reagan could nonetheless work with liberals and solicit their support for his agenda (rather than cooperating in a "kinder gentler" pursuit of the liberal agenda) because he had the same kind of winning self-confidence that permitted Sheila Moseley to smile and say "hi" to a hoodlum stoner.

The problem of fanatics who insist on purity is that their intolerance of dissent betrays a lack of confidence. If your ideas are so self-evidently true, what explains your totalitarian impulse to purge the impure?

Winners understand teamwork, and thus exhibit a cooperative, gregarious tendency in politics that rightly ought to be called populism. When I see intellectual idiots denouncing the Tea Party movement as "populist," I understand that they mean the term as a pejorative, a synonym for angry ignorance. But while Tea Party crowds are indeed angry about the current direction of policy in Washington, as individuals they are some of the most cheerful, friendly people you'd ever want to meet -- and certainly far less ignorant than their critics would have you believe.

Furthermore, the Tea Party people exhibit a very Reaganesque "Big Tent" attitude. Go to these rallies, and you'll find hard-core evangelical pro-lifers and libertarian bikers in happy coexistence, united by opposition to the big-government menace of Leviathan-on-the-Potomac. This is what I've called "Libertarian Populism" and -- despite the dismissive snobbery of Julian Sanchez -- it is wrong to suppose that such hostility toward the elite is mere ressentiment., when a two-decade bipartisan succession of Ivy-educated White House occupants (Yale, Yale Law, Yale/Harvard MBA, Columbia/Harvard Law) have led the nation to its current predicament.

If elitists can get over their fears of the populist mob, and if libertarians can get over their purist demand for "anarchy next Wednesday," there is a glimmer of hope for a real breakthrough. But we're not going to get there unless people start thinking like Sheila Mosely, whose friendly smile was enough to triumph even over a D-cup rack.

P.S.: Don't forget to visit Liberty magazine. If they're smart enough to advertise here, they must be geniuses!

Cartoons that leave a mark

by Smitty (h/t Anorak)

And the latter would be on the Endangered Species list, if...

America loves a fighter

While I'm not sure I agree 100% with SusanAnne Hiller's lengthy post at Red State -- taking on Byron York, of all people -- she's clearly on to something here:

The GOP should have called out the media, rather than retreating into a corner so as not to be branded as racists, obstructionists, the party of no, or worse, conservatives.

Again, it was at this time that the MSM started its ground assault of the Bush administration and mauling of the GOP. And the GOP never fought back. Bush never fought back.
With this defeatist attitude, the MSM reshaped conservative thought to hate Bush, creating apathy and division in the Republican party, and ultimately causing Republicans to vote Democrat or stay home on election day in 2008.
In reality, the American people crave a party to take on the media, Democrats, and corruption. Just look at Joe Wilson, Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, Andrew Breitbart, Rush, Hannity, Beck, Tea Partiers, and our own Erick Erickson. Look at Fox's sky-high ratings. All signs of the American people's thirst for knowledge and someone --anyone -- to stand up against Obama, Congress, the media, and the left. And those who do get major support from the GOP base.

Read the whole thing and make up your own mind. The point which strikes me most strongly is SusanAnne's emphasis on the courage to fight, which requires the willingness to become a target. Americans love a fighter.

The reason I'm not sure I agree 100% with SusanAnne is because Byron York also makes very good points. When York says Republicans are to blame for their own woes, I believe he means the GOP establishment (elected office-holders, party officials, staffers, consultants, etc.) rather than Republican voters.

That's an important distinction. The rank-and-file of the party -- the ordinary GOP voter in Iowa or Oklahoma or Ohio -- have too often been ignored and ill-represented by the people they've elected. You can't really blame ordinary Republican voters for the Abramoff scandal or the Bush administration's lack of a workable plan for post-war Iraq.

So both York and SusanAnne are onto something, and I'd be willing to bet that York probably agrees with most of what she says. BTW, SusanAnne is on Twitter. and is also a contributor to

Update: (Smitty)
Dan Riehl:
But other than some scolding for what has long been known and already widely discussed, I'm not sure York's item says much at all. Net net, the GOP has to find a way to bond with the base and the American people as a whole. They shouldn't think they're going to win any election prizes simply for not being Democrats.
I'm not sure, Dan. Didn't BHO win by saying he would not be Bush? You know Progressivism is killing the country. The real danger would seem to be fragmentation, as voting for 20 different "not being Democrats" effectively elects the Democrat. So the principles should always trump the personality, in a thinking electorate. Oops.

Collective Bargaining for Screeners?

by Smitty (h/t Hot Air)

Senator Jim DeMint connects the nomination of Eroll Southers to head the TSA, and the likelihood of screeners coming under collective bargaining.

I understand the historical context in which unions were born. As someone who's served in the Navy, however, the modern union seems a mutiny awaiting its moment. In the absence of acute, legitimate issues of worker exploitation, unions offer chronic problems in all directions. They are the Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy written across the base of the organization chart.

Unions: frequently a cure worse than the disease.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

CBS totally objective about 'teabaggers'

In the sense that Andrew Sullivan is totally objective about Sarah Palin's uterus, I mean. And I'm not complaining about getting linked by a major news organization, but see if you can guess editor Charles Cooper's agenda:
All through the spring and summer of 2009, Tea Party media hands portrayed their anti-government - and anti-Obama - protests as the voice of a genuine grass roots movement. Now it's clear that any retelling of that story also must include a discussion of the Republican operatives who were whispering play calls behind the scenes. What with so many folks out and about for the holidays, this TPM Muckraker piece failed to garner wider attention.
That would be the same TPM article I linked earlier, the one which asserted that because the Tea Party Express PAC paid $800,000 to the public relations firm which organized the tour, something foul was afoot. Anyway, Cooper linked my post, and it wasn't hard to discover that he was also the author of this August headline:
Teabaggers Shout Down Tampa Bay Town Hall
OK, it's free country, and Cooper is free to seek readers from the HuffPo/MSNBC axis. But I've covered the Tea Party movement pretty extensively and actually met Sal Russo, the former Reagan campaign aide who is accused by Cooper of "whispering play calls," whatever that means.

As a matter of fact, my good friend Barbara Espinosa interviewed Sal Russo in Orlando. Far from being a furtive, nefarious figure, he's a nice guy. I'm sure his skills -- organizing, fundraising, communication, management -- were very helpful to the Tea Party movement.

Why is Russo's involvement being used to insinuate that the protests are not "a genuine grass roots movement"? I've heard the same argument made about FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, Campaign for Liberty and various other free-market organizations that have supported the Tea Party movement.

The Left and Democrats coordinate their activities through scores of individuals and organizations (George Soros, ACORN, SEIU, NARAL, GLSEN, etc.) and any conservative who sees a pattern there is denounced as a conspiracy-theory kook. But let mainstream political organizations on the Right become involved in . . . uh, mainstream politics, and liberals insist there must be something shady going on.

Anyway, thanks for the link, Charles Cooper. If CBS News ever decides to hire anyone who isn't a liberal, please send me a press release. That would be a huge story!

A. They spent everything trying to put in the fix for Charlie Crist in Florida

Q. Where is the national GOP in the Massachusetts special election?

Well, supposing Ed Morrissey actually wanted an answer to his question, it's obvious enough: The national GOP only spends money in an election when the party establishment sees a Dede Scozzafava-type opportunity to screw over conservatives.

If Scott Brown were a corrupt closet homosexual running against a pro-life conservative with grassroots support, John Cornyn would spend every cent in the NRSC budget in an effort to defeat the conservative.


UPDATE: Leo Pusateri at Blogs for Victory says:
Having just gotten off a blogger conference call with Mr. Brown, I can categorically state that Brown denies any lack of support for his campaign by the RNC. . . .
It would appear that the story from the Boston Herald was designed not to report on the status of, but rather to outright sabotage the momentum of Brown’s Senate campaign.
Pusateri says give directly to Scott Brown's campaign, and who can argue with that?

UPDATE II: Professor William Jacobson details the strong blogger support for Brown.

The Tea Party Express non-scandal

Zachary Roth of liberal TPM tries to make the relationship between the Tea Party Express and its organizers look sleazy:
The political action committee behind the Tea Party Express (TPE) -- which already has been slammed as inauthentic and corporate-controlled by rival factions in the Tea Party movement -- directed almost two thirds of its spending during a recent reporting period back to the Republican consulting firm that created the PAC in the first place.
Our Country Deserves Better (OCDB) spent around $1.33 million from July through November, according to FEC filings examined by TPMmuckraker. Of that sum, a total of $857,122 went to Sacramento-based GOP political consulting firm Russo, Marsh, and Associates, or people associated with it. . . .
Well, duh. All this means is that the consulting firm used its own personnel, and paid the bills, to organize the Tea Party Express tour -- which, BTW, was a huge success. The people who worked on the tour got a paycheck from Russo Marsh, which functioned somewhat in the same role that the promoter of a rock-music concert tour would do.

There is no scandal here. No crime is alleged, and there is nothing fraudulent or shady involved. TPM is being disingenuous to insinuate otherwise.

Pasadena, Here I Come!

Just booked my flight to cover next week's BCS Championship Game between the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and whatever second-rate outfit they've scheduled as 'Bama's opponent at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

My request for media credentials is still being processed, but I'm sure Gina and Stephanie in the Rose Bowl press relations office will understand the publicity value of my presence at this event, providing neutral objective coverage of the Tide's glorious triumph.

Talked to Donald Douglas of American Power blog about my travel plans, and I understand Little Miss Attila may also be interested in hanging out in Pasadena next week. I haven't booked a hotel yet, so L.A.-area readers interested in having a notorious blogger sleep on your sofa should be sure to drop me an e-mail.

UPDATE: The Tide will be practicing at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, which is 52 miles from the Burbank Airport, a 2-hour drive in traffic. So figuring 100 miles round-trip at 20 cents per mile, that's $20 for me to go hang out with the team (and the cheerleaders).

That doesn't include the $7 pack of smokes and coffee (4 cups at $2 per cup = $8) I'll consume on that trip, not to mention $55 a day for a rental car. Just called a hotel in Costa Mesa, and it's $139.40 (including tax) for one night. So if you haven't hit the tip jar yet, here's your chance. Roll Tide!

Ethics, schmethics

The New York Times is under fire again. Synopsis: Trying to go cheap on a technology and business column, the paper hired a Harvard professor who took a free trip from the 3M company and then wrote about it for her column. This amuses Virginia Postrel, who turned down that same NYT columnist gig:
I am, in fact, ethically ineligible to write about innovation for the NYT.
I occasionally do paid speaking for companies that might conceivably be sources for a column on innovation. (Those speaking engagements generally pay quite a bit better than writing for the Times.) As an old journalism pro, I naturally know enough not to take a speaking gig and then turn it into an article, at least not without getting my editor's OK and disclosing any potential conflict to readers. But that's no longer enough for the Times. Its ethics guidelines now prohibit freelancers from taking honoraria or even travel expenses from anyone who might, in some theoretical future state of the world, be a source.
Read the whole thing. This goes back to my basic beef with the Grand Poobahs of Journalism Ethics. Their standards -- including their hostility to press junkets, free food and other "conflicts of interest" -- always favored the big media outlets, which can afford to pay expenses for travel, meals, etc., that smaller operations can't afford.

Back in the day when big newspapers and magazines were rolling in ad revenue, a staffer for Time or the Washington Post could go where the action was, put the whole thing on his AmEx card and get reimbursed for all expenses. You couldn't do that if you were working for a smaller paper.

The ability to pay correspondents to go trotting off to Rio and Riyadh was a basic element of the prestige of major news organizations, and the Grand Poobahs of Journalism Ethics codified the rules to protect the status quo. A clever racket, and if you let the big boys set the rules, don't be surprised that the rules favor the big boys so decisively that you never get a scoop.

Well, now the big boys' budgets are getting tight, see? And they're discovering that Journalism Ethics was actually a luxury item that they can no longer afford.

Screw 'em. I forfeited all claim to "Journalism Ethics" more than two decades ago, when I was a small-town sportswriter scarfing up all the free chili dogs I could get from the ladies at the Gordon Central High School Band Boosters concession stand. And I recall some good advice from my Old School editors: "Just get the facts right and you're OK."

Or, as I once remarked to Bob Barr, "Ethics, schmethics." We were walking to a seafood restaurant in Orlando called Fish On Fire, and if you think I was going to pay for supper, you're nuts. If I'd been worried about tithing the mint and cumin of "ethics," I wouldn't even have been on that trip. A reporter's job is to get the facts. How I get the facts is my own business, and if the facts are in Orlando, let's not clutter up the story with a lot of "full disclosure" crap about my travel arrangements, OK?

Open mockery of "Journalism Ethics" is not going to win you any friends at the New York Times, but what kind of self-respecting gonzo journalist cares about making friends at the New York Times?

The facts are the facts, and the fact is that the Grand Poobahs of Journalism Ethics have been running a racket for years. Now they're running out of money and having to rely on Harvard professors to do the job, which is a sure sign of desperation.

Meanwhile, it's about time for me to book my flight to Pasadena for the BCS Championship Game -- Roll Tide! -- so please hit the tip jar. While Mrs. Other McCain doesn't worry too much about Journalism Ethics, she is kind of worried about certain neutral objective facts we can't avoid, including the heating bill.

(Via Memeorandum and Professor Glenn Reynolds, who went to law school at Yale, not Harvard, and whose bias against the University of Alabama does not require "full disclosure.")

UPDATE: Just booked my flight for Pasadena, if you're interested.

Bristol Palin seeks full custody;
no comment from 'Ricky Hollywood'

Juicy details about Levi "Sex on Skates" Johnston:
Relations between the Palins and Johnston and his family have frequently been strained since the couple broke off their engagement after their son was born in late December 2008.
Johnston denies in court documents that he has avoided his responsibilities. He is seeking shared custody. . . .
Bristol Palin's custody petition calls Johnston's recent nude photo shoot with Playgirl magazine "risque."
The document also notes that Levi's mother, Sherry Johnston, should not be allowed unsupervised visits with the baby following her drug arrest. Sherry Johnston, who is serving out most of her three-year sentence under home confinement, was sentenced last month on a guilty plea to one count of possession with intent to deliver the painkiller OxyContin.
Palin's custody petition also suggested Levi Johnston may have his own issues with substance abuse, saying he made statements about seeking "weed" on Twitter.
Johnston denies making such a statement, saying the Twitter account "is a fraud" and that he doesn't have an account on the popular online social networking site.
Hey, Bristol, look on the bright side: At least Levi didn't put a knife to your throat. Yet. In a related development, Andrew Sullivan is reportedly seeking custody of Sarah Palin's uterus.

Speaking of gay, if Bristol gets custody, will the judge be investigated for homophobic bias? After all, Levi is so proud to be a gay icon.

Celebrity scumbag update: Charlie Sheen put a knife to her throat, wife says

What a sweetheart!
Charlie Sheen's wife told police the actor pinned her on a bed, put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her in a Christmas Day fight in Aspen that began when she said she wanted a divorce.
An arrest warrant affidavit released yesterday quotes Brooke Mueller Sheen as saying that the actor straddled her on the bed with one hand grasping her neck and the other holding the knife. She said Sheen told her, "You better be in fear. If you tell anybody, I'll kill you."
He also warned, "Your mother's money means nothing. I have ex-police I can hire who know how to get the job done and they won't leave any trace," according to the affidavit. . . .
I'm thinking this bit of news might put a kibosh on Charlie's plans to meet with Obama and discuss his 9/11 Truther theories, eh?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Adventures of the Anti-Semitism Czar

Actually, Hannah Rosenthal is the Anti-Anti-Semitism Czar, according to Jeffrey Goldberg, who finds himself squabbling with Atlantic Monthly colleague Andrew Sullivan:
Why is an American diplomat criticizing a foreign ambassador for his choice of speaking engagements in America? I asked three people who currently work in the State Department if they could recall an instance in which an official of their department ever criticized a foreign ambassador for such a thing -- or for anything -- and they said no. In fact, the State Department is fairly upset at Rosenthal for speaking at all about the alleged political proclivities of a foreign ambassador, not about her specific criticism.
What this is about: Barely a month after being appointed to a State Department post, Rosenthal slammed Israeli ambassador Michael Oren for turning down an invitation to speak to the liberal Jewish group J Street.

Why Sully stuck his nose into this argument: ?????

My suggestion to Jeffrey Goldberg: Ignore Sully. It's a lot easier than you may think.

UPDATE: Sammy at Yid With Lid has background on the Rosenthal dust-up. Anybody surprised to learn that J Street got its start with funding from . . . George Soros?

Armageddon alert? Israelis convene meeting of diplomatic corps

Readers of Middle East tea leaves will want to pay close attention to Kenny Solomon's post at Red State:
Nothing like this has ever happened before with Israel . . . Sure, they called home an ambassador or two for odd expense accounting, a chief of mission for offending some peace-lover via a newspaper quote and maybe even had real problems with a few of the folks they thought were on the side of their own homeland . . . They even had all European ambassadors back a few times for conferences on the Lisbon thing. Every nation holds "home field" events with their foreign staff members.
But nothing like this meeting that started today . . .
He's talking about a conference now in progress where "Israel's ambassadors and consuls general serving throughout the world will discuss broad diplomatic and strategic issues." Every top Israeli diplomat -- all of them.

That which is unprecedented is never routine and seldom insignificant. If the current unrest in Iran doesn't overthrow the Ahmadinejad regime . . . Well, put it this way: If you're the night watchman at an Iranian nuclear facility, make sure you don't miss a payment on your insurance premiums.

The possibility of an IDF strike in the near future? Perhaps more real than we imagine. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but when you see something like this, however, the line between paranoid and realistic becomes blurred.

Thanks to my good friend Nathan Cossey for the heads-up.

'Redhead Roundup'

You know that Lincoln City, Oregon, has got their "targeted marketing" program down to a science when I get an e-mail from the city's Visitor and Convention Bureau informing me that they will host a "Redhead Roundup" Feb. 5-15.

I talked to Nichole Le Sage of the Visitor and Convention Bureau, who explained that "Redhead Roundup" used to be a major annual event in Lincoln City, bringing as many as 60,000 visitors, and now they're bringing it back.

Among other things, they'll have "favorite redheaded celebrity" contest. I'd probably vote for Molly Ringwald, which is not to take anything away from Ann Margaret.

While I'm currently rattling the tip-jar for the Pasadena trip, I'd be willing to consider going to Oregon for "Redhead Roundup," but only on condition that the lovely brunette Mrs. Other McCain got to make the trip, too.

This is a mission too dangerous to do alone. Me? In a town full of redheads? That would be like sending serious conservative commentator Dan Collins to a gathering of cute chubbettes.

UPDATE: Here are front and back of the "Redhead Roundup" promotional postcard sent out by the Lincoln City Visitor and Conventions Bureau:

UPDATE II: Aleister at American Glob calls my attention to a site about Roodharigen, "Redhead Day" in the Dutch city of Breda:

Roodharigen: It's like Mardi Gras for the melanin-deficient!

Roman Polanski 'overwhelmed by . . . messages of support and sympathy'

Mostly from Charlie Sheen I'd guess:
My dear Bernard-Henri Lévy, what you have said in the Swiss press is true -- I have been overwhelmed by the number of messages of support and sympathy I have received in Winterthur prison, and that I continue to receive here, in my chalet in Gstaad, where I am spending the holidays with my wife and my children. . . .
Nick Gillespie -- whose libertarianism evidently doesn't encompass the right of award-winning film directors to anally rape Qaalude-dosed 13-year-olds -- notes the reaction of the Feminist Majority Foundation: "It's bad a person was raped. But . . ."

Bite Me! Comics Presents:
The Green Lizard

Don't know how I missed this one earlier, but it's brilliant beyond words. A few choice panels:

Meanwhile, Noemie Emery -- say, doesn't "Noemie" sound vaguely Belgian? -- reports on the rise of Johnsonoid mind-reading in the Obama era:
"Hate" is no longer what you do or say, but what a liberal says that you think and projects on to you. You are punished for what someone else claims you were thinking. It hardly makes sense, but it does serve a political purpose. You could call it Secondhand Hate. . . .
Why have a routine tug of war over taxes when you can replay a great moral drama, casting yourselves as the just and the righteous, and your foes as the ignorant and benighted rabble you know in your hearts that they are?
Read the whole thing. Meanwhile, notorious neo-fascist ultra-nationalist Darleen Click sees Obama as a "mood ring" and cites the latest eruption from Andrea Mitchell, comparing Sarah Palin to . . . wait for it . . . George Wallace.