Friday, May 30, 2008

Obama's White Problem

Geraldine Ferraro has an interesting column on sexism and racism in the Democrat race this year, and how the identity politics of the party are going to tear it apart.

We've seen some pretty ridiculous rebuttals to the charges of sexism on the campaign trail. While I agree that Hillary Clinton's biggest obstacle hasn't been her sex but that she is a Clinton, it is quite understandable that so many women are angry and resentful at the treatment of their candidate by the MSM and Democrat power brokers. Hillary was a strong candidate when there were no good candidates in the field (quite frankly, there still are no good candidates in their field, but that's a different post for a different day). What Obama actually represented was the viable anybody-but-Hillary candidate for the Dems. This is largely why so many Obama supporters are willing to cling to him regardless of the number of gaffes he makes or the number of ridiculous or unworkable or dangerous policies he proposes. Hell, they don't even care when he backpedals and lies about his previous positions; they just want him to win.

For me, the most insightful and surprising part of Ferraro's column was this passage:

As for Reagan Democrats, how Clinton was treated is not their issue. They are more concerned with how they have been treated. Since March, when I was accused of being racist for a statement I made about the influence of blacks on Obama's historic campaign, people have been stopping me to express a common sentiment: If you're white you can't open your mouth without being accused of being racist. They see Obama's playing the race card throughout the campaign and no one calling him for it as frightening. They're not upset with Obama because he's black; they're upset because they don't expect to be treated fairly because they're white. It's not racism that is driving them, it's racial resentment. And that is enforced because they don't believe he understands them and their problems. That when he said in South Carolina after his victory "Our Time Has Come" they believe he is telling them that their time has passed.

I'm not sure I entirely agree with Ferraro's analysis of white resentment. She is correct that a white person cannot criticize Obama without being accused of racism, but it's difficult to understand why a loyal Democrat would have a problem with this. After all, accusing anyone who disagrees with them of being racist is part and parcel of liberal thought. If you think affirmative action is wrong because people should advance on merit, you will undoubtedly be told about legacy admissions, good ol' boy networks, and the like, and that you must hate black people. If you believe unending welfare limits personal freedom and creates dependency, you will be accused of arguing about "welfare queens" and black stereotypes. If you believe in law enforcement, you will be accused of racism because of higher black incarceration rates. I could go on, but you get the idea.

In short, Ferraro's statement about white resentment is the reason Dana has argued that Barack Obama can't win in the fall. It's odd that Obama started as the "I will transcend race" candidate, but as time goes on, he has defined himself and has been defined more and more by that immutable characteristic. It is, IMO, the difference between Obama and Hillary, who is defined by lots of characteristics besides her sex.

Expect More of This Before November

John McCain used the wrong verb tense in a comment on Iraq this week and the MSM, so eager to help their guy Obama, have jumped on it. John from Powerline was on a conference call with reporters who were clearly looking for ways to avoid the obvious: Obama was wrong about the surge not working and McCain--verb tense or no--was right.

Moonbats--including the George Soros backed variety--are making a big deal about this, as though it proves McCain doesn't understand Iraq. Oddly enough, they don't want to discuss whether Obama was right about the surge in the first place.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Somebody Better Tell Glenn Greenwald...

He should have saved his the media aren't liberal screed for the latest Pew report. As Ed Morrissey points out, the latest poll blows the idea that the media are in the tank for Republicans rather easily.

According to the Pew study:

On the Republican side, John McCain, the candidate who quickly clinched his party’s nomination, has had a harder time controlling his message in the press. Fully 57% of the narratives studied about him were critical in nature(.) (Emphasis mine)

More importantly, as Ed says, Newsbusters has the evidence to disprove today's meme that corporate executives pressured MSM types to support the Iraq War. Sadly for them, their own archives prove otherwise.
Contrary to prevailing liberal mythology, all three networks (especially ABC) tilted their pre-war news in favor of Bush administration opponents. Covering the congressional debate over using force, for example, the networks gave a majority of soundbites (59%) to the losing anti-war side. Reporters also sanitized the "peace" movement, masking the radical affiliations of left-wing organizers while showcasing more sympathetic "middle class" demonstrators.

Journalists are still trying to plead that they aren't liberals and that, even if they are, it doesn't affect their reporting. If anything, they try much harder to put conservative slant into their stories! Does anyone believe such drivel?

The Marketplace of Ideas

Why is it that so many pro-abortion people dislike debate? This is just the latest and most strident example of that approach.

In response to a series of controversies over abortion debates on Canadian campuses, the student government of York University in Toronto has tabled an outright ban on student clubs that are opposed to abortion.

Gilary Massa, vice-president external of the York Federation of Students, said student clubs will be free to discuss abortion in student space, as long as they do it "within a pro-choice realm," and that all clubs will be investigated to ensure compliance.

"You have to recognize that a woman has a choice over her own body," Ms. Massa said. "We think that these pro-life, these anti-choice groups, they're sexist in nature ... The way that they speak about women who decide to have abortions is demoralizing. They call them murderers, all of them do ... Is this an issue of free speech? No, this is an issue of women's rights." (Emphasis mine)

Maybe we should rename Canada Wonderland, because that's where this sort of logic makes sense. Or maybe I just don't understand Canadian-style debate. But I'm sure a lot of feminist groups somewhere who support the idea of free and open debate on campus. Just because I couldn't find a feminist site to link to really, really doesn't mean there aren't any. Really...

Texas Supreme Court Sends FLDS Kids Back to Their Parents

It's a "Well, duh!" kind of decision, but the Texas Supreme Court has affirmed a lower court decision that the state overstepped its bounds in rounding up more than 400 kids and trying to take them from their parents.

In a crushing blow to the state's massive seizure of children from a polygamist sect's ranch, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that child welfare officials overstepped their authority and the children should go back to their parents.

The high court affirmed a decision by an appellate court last week, saying Child Protective Services failed to show an immediate danger to the more than 400 children swept up from the Yearning For Zion Ranch nearly two months ago.

"On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted," the justices said in their ruling issued in Austin...

Under Texas law, children can be taken from their parents if there's a danger to their physical safety, an urgent need for protection and if officials made a reasonable effort to keep the children in their homes. The high court agreed with the appellate court that the seizures fell short of that standard.

No, the state decided to do a commando-style raid of the complex and grab as many kids as they could. It was a "grab first and ask later" sort of event.
Texas officials claimed at one point that there were 31 teenage girls at the ranch who were pregnant or had been pregnant, but later conceded that about half of those mothers, if not more, were adults. One was 27.

As I stated in a previous post, the state was hellbent on stripping these parents of their rights and adopting out the kids before there could be any sort of due process. It's a good thing that a number of lawyers prevented that from happening.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gaffe Guide

Can't separate the serious Obama misstep from the oopsy? Check out Karl's guide to gaffes at Protein Wisdom.

Weak, Confused and Downright Exhausted"

Darleen Click at Protein Wisdom describes a different sort of prisoner abuse.

They were confined in cramped quarters with inadequate food. The lights were kept on 24/7 and guards would shine flashlights into the prisoners faces at all hours. Guards threatened mental health workers who were assigned to the prisoners not to interfere with the guards’ questioning of the prisoners. After a week, the prisoners were “weak, confused and downright exhausted” according to testimony of the mental health workers.

No, it's not Guantanamo Bay. It's the way CPS treated the FLDS mothers and children.
Linda Werlein, director of a local mental health and mental retardation center who assisted CPS in the days after the raid, said CPS workers treated her staff with suspicion, told her they would be arrested if they interfered with the questioning of the mothers, and that the church mothers would not talk without their attorneys present.

"Each and everything we were told was either inaccurate or untrue," she said in her statement, adding, "I was struck by what wonderful mothers they were."

She said CPS workers appeared suspicious of the mothers. At one point, she said, a CPS investigator told her that the sect would "kill all of the children they deemed to be imperfect."

Another mental health worker described the coliseum where the children were staying after being seized by the state as "like a Nazi concentration camp," saying the children were given inadequate food and lived in cramped quarters.

She said the lights were kept on at all hours and that CPS workers would shine flashlights in the faces of the women. When the mothers were separated from their children and returned to the ranch, several mental health workers said, they were not given a chance to say goodbye to their children.

By the end of their multiweek time in the emergency shelters, the women and children appeared "weak, confused and downright exhausted," wrote Bianca Spies.

Another mental health worker, Terre Reid, said she heard a CPS worker say, "These women will have to choose between their church and their kids."

I keep wondering where all the protesters are. You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones who are so concerned about the conditions terrorists are being kept in.

You Know Who Hasn't Released His Medical Records?

The Obamessiah! Maybe he's just modest and doesn't want to release reports from doctors amazed at Mr. HopeNChange.

Obama's a smoker. Shouldn't the same hypocrites--er, informed citizens who were so concerned about McCain's health be concerned about Obama's health? And, while we're at it, shouldn't they (like Amanda Marcotte) be demanding a mental health evaluation for Obama? With all those gaffes, you gotta wonder if he's all there.

So, Was Scott McClellan Lying Before

Or now?

Is it more likely that McClellan lied for more than two years as press secretary for President Bush or that he's lying now to sell his book? And if he was lying before, is he telling the truth now to sell more books? Or get more appearances?

And is it any wonder that liar--er, sockpuppeteer Rick Ellenburg believes McClellan in any event? Why, in fact, do liberals only believe conservatives when conservatives say they lied previously? Does it have more to do with the flexible meaning of "truth" to liberals?

Too Many Cokes

When I was a young adult, my parents used to lecture me on "too many Cokes." That was shorthand for frittering away one's money on unnecessary and temporary things. If you spent a buck on a Coke, after all, that was a dollar you weren't saving for something else.

Of course, like most young adults, I blew off my parents' wisdom and spent the dollar on a Coke. And another dollar on a bag of chips or a pack of gum or whatever. But I thought about Mom and Dad when I read this article on the difference $10 can make.

If a person were to save $300 a month (approx. $10 a day) and invest it to get a 5% yearly return, that person would have $20,402 in the bank after five years. On the other hand, if a person ends up spending $300 a month more than he has and puts it onto a credit card that he doesn't pay off over the same 5 year period, that person will owe $36,259, assuming a 26% credit card interest rate. After five years, the difference between saving $10 and spending $10 each day results in a $56,661 gap in net worth between the two.

Liberal nuts will argue that poverty is far more about victimization and historical discrimination than individual actions, but even the $10-per-day experiment shows that in large part, it's based on personal behavior. The problem is that the system we have doesn't encourage different behavior.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Supposedly, No One Cares About Social Issues

Except Democrats who know what a horror he is on abortion (h/t Brothers Judd)

Unlike McCain, a staunch prolifer, as abortion opponents call themselves, Obama's record on abortion is "extreme,'' according to conservative pundits and bloggers.

They point out that Obama not only voted against a ban on so-called partial-birth abortion, a procedure the late Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York once called "too close to infanticide,'' but opposed a bill to protect the life of an infant who survived a late-term abortion.

This could be a problem for Obama, who already has tripped over guns and religion. A majority of Americans support the right to abortion with some restrictions, generally approving the procedure in the first and second trimesters and in case of rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother.

Regardless of what the moonbats, radical feminists and Pandagonistas would have you believe, most Americans are not in favor of unfettered abortion, particularly after about 20 weeks. Why?

Because by 20 weeks a baby in utero looks--gasp!--like the baby one holds after birth. And lots of us know adults walking around who were born between 24 and 28 weeks--the same time period that pro-abortion supporters will tell you it's "critical" to keep that procedural option available.

Obama's ghastly position on abortion--that killing infants before and after birth is acceptable--won't be acceptable to more of the centrists Obama needs to win the election. It's not terribly hard to paint Obama as a monster. He is one.

Every adult in Britain should be forced to carry 'carbon ration cards',

That's according to certain members of Parliament quoted in the Daily Mail article.

Under the scheme, everyone would be given an annual carbon allowance to use when buying oil, gas, electricity and flights.

Anyone who exceeds their entitlement would have to buy top-up credits from individuals who haven't used up their allowance. The amount paid would be driven by market forces and the deal done through a specialist company.

Of course, such schemes hit families and rural people harder than those living in the city, but why should that matter, right?

Expect to See More of These Leading to the Election

Rumors of August--er, October surprises.

Setting Up Your Straw Man

Here's a nice straw man from Iowa Liberal (not surprising, really).

The link regarding poverty shows that in 1999, 5.6% of veterans lived in poverty. The first rightwinger that reads the link will crow that this is a lower rate than the general population, but I repeat my point: for veterans, that rate should be 0%. One veteran living in poverty is too much.

It's a nice attempt to set up an unwinnable argument. After all, who can argue that vets should be poor? The truth is, it would be nice if no one were poor, but there will always be a bottom 20% in any population. By definition, that would make them the poor, even if they were living in million dollar mansions and driving expensive sports cars.

Also notice that no solutions are offered for ensuring that 0% poverty rate for veterans. I'm sure it would involve taxpayer funding, though.

UPDATE: And, of course, Jeromy Brown makes more inane remarks at his site. There's just not much left you can say about the idiots in the back of the classroom.

Anatomy of a Buyout

Howard Kurtz waxes sentimentally about the slow decline of newspapers and the Washington Post's latest buyout offer in yesterday's WaPo. I can't really blame him; even after being out of the business for 14 years, I still get all misty-eyed about the newspaper life.

I discovered journalism my junior year in high school and instantly fell in love with it. I worked on college papers and our local fish wrap, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. I worked in a variety of departments in the 10 years I stayed at the Startlegram, and I generally enjoyed most of what I did, which was mainly clerical with just enough reporting and editing thrown in to keep me hanging around.

My life was the newspaper. My friends were there. My colleagues were there. My first husband was there. And we marked life by newspaper events. My first child was born the day the Soviet Union fell, but, to us, the really big news was that the Dallas Times Herald finally folded.

Kurtz doesn't really go into it much, but the truth is that newspaper life is hard, both personally and professionally, and newspapers have been in decline since the 1970s, long before I darkened the door of one. He talks about newspapers being slow to catch on to the digital revolution, but that was always the way of the press; we used antiquated equipment cast off from other organizations long after computer pagination was common.

The important part of Kurtz's column comes at the end, when he discusses the attitudes of Millenialists.

The ticking time bomb here is the wholesale abandonment of newspapers by younger people who grew up with a point-and-click mentality. When I was speaking at Harvard recently, a smug graduate student said, "I get everything I need from YouTube. What are you going to do about it?"

"What are you going to do about it?" I shot back. If people want to tune out the news, no one can compel them to change their habits. We can be smarter, faster and jazzier in providing information, but we can't force-feed the stuff. If newspapers wither and die, it will be in part because the next generation blew us off in favor of Xbox and Wii and full-length movies on their iPods. Network news faces the same erosion. Maybe, in the end, we get the media we deserve.

For Kurtz and other news junkies, it's difficult to comprehend that most people don't really care about the newspaper (unless they are paying for it and it doesn't show up on the porch one day). No one believes the press is objective, nor do they think the press is generally looking out for the U.S. over other global interests. Those on the left complain about corporate ownership and those on the right complain about liberal personal bias (both arguments have merit, btw). In the end, though, news will still be passed on, even if there isn't a quarterly profit margin to meet.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

It's more than about great sales.

It's more than about sleeping in.

It's more than about hanging out with family and friends at the lake or pool.

It's more than just another day to do all those chores you never get around to.

And it's damn sure more than about this.

Several commenters there got it right: Memorial Day is a day to honor the men and women who sacrificed all so that we can take it for granted. That means sacrificed in all our wars, whether you agree with the administration policy or not. It includes those drafted, those who thought they'd get drafted, and those who volunteered. It includes those who signed up because they wanted to fight, those who signed up to get job skills, and those who signed up to get G.I. bill benefits.

Maybe the death of my father has made me a bit pissy about anti-war B.S., but let me be blunt: nobody--not even George W. Bush--wants American soldiers to die in meaningless combat. But then, none of us want young people to die because they were reckless or impulsive, either. Memorial Day is about putting aside your petty politics long enough to say "thank you" for the people who fought for your right to be so self-righteous.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Scariest Thing...

Is letting your teenage daughter drive you somewhere for the first time.

Pomposity of the Press

Journalists like to claim that they need access to high-level newsmakers because they are the "eyes and ears" of America. In reality, most journalists have a rather inflated opinion of their own self-importance, which leads to behavior that excludes them from events they would like to cover.

Take the case of the self-important New York Times, which is having a caniption fit because John McCain ain't including them in his press conferences. As Ed Morrissey at Hot Air notes:

Perhaps it’s because the Times has delivered biased hit pieces disguised as news, and an outrageously unfair editorial accusing McCain of a cover-up while noting his scheduled release on the 23rd. Bumiller herself got caught in a lie by reporting that McCain’s temper had flared in a Q&A with reporters, which a video taken of the exchange showed Bumiller’s dishonesty.
Now the Gray Lady shrieks at getting frozen out of campaign events. If they hadn’t made themselves into such obvious partisans, they would have better access. When the Times ran the piece that accused McCain of having an affair with less evidence than it takes to get a story in the National Enquirer, they ceased being a newspaper and became a gossip rag. If they don’t like that reality, then the Times needs to fire the editors responsible and hire responsible editors in their place.

The new media, from talk radio to blogs, has severely diminished the clout of the dinosaur media, particularly highly partisan outlets like the NYT. If John McCain succeeds in freezing out the NYT throughout this election cycle, expect serious panic to set in at the "paper of record."

How Many Gaffes Do You Get When You're the Obamessiah?

As many as you want, evidently.

Can you imagine the field day the MSM would have if this were a Republican?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What Was She Thinking?

Bringing up Robert Kennedy's assassination?

I've never thought there was a level the Clintons were unwilling to sink to, but this is bad even for them. There's no doubt that lots of people have thought about the whole assassination thing with Obama, but that's what the Secret Service is there to guard against.

Californian's "Narrowly Reject" Gay Marriage...By 19 Points

Patterico has a terrific post on how the L.A. Times skews its own poll numbers to try to say Californians aren't really for traditional marriage. Read all for the latest example of liberal bias on display.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Growing Up as a Child of the Feminist Revolution

According to Alice Walker--and lots of feminists--motherhood is just a form of slavery. I suppose that's why so many feminists are so desperate to avoid having children to the point where they support killing babies up till birth (maybe a few wouldn't mind killing babies after birth, but I don't have hard evidence to support that conclusion).

But her daughter Rebecca Walker wants to set the record straight about what it's like growing up in that doctrinaire household.

A neighbour, not much older than me, was deputised to look after me. I never complained. I saw it as my job to protect my mother and never distract her from her writing. It never crossed my mind to say that I needed some time and attention from her.

When I was beaten up at school - accused of being a snob because I had lighter skin than my black classmates - I always told my mother that everything was fine, that I had won the fight. I didn't want to worry her.

But the truth was I was very lonely and, with my mother's knowledge, started having sex at 13. I guess it was a relief for my mother as it meant I was less demanding. And she felt that being sexually active was empowering for me because it meant I was in control of my body.

Now I simply cannot understand how she could have been so permissive. I barely want my son to leave the house on a play-date, let alone start sleeping around while barely out of junior school.

A good mother is attentive, sets boundaries and makes the world safe for her child. But my mother did none of those things.

I've never really understood parents who don't want to be involved with their children. I'm not a helicopter parent by any stretch of the imagination, but among the happiest times in my life have been when I could be a full-time stay at home mom, taking care of all the day-to-day necessities of life and being there to listen to all the stories three children come home with on a daily basis.

There's something fascinating in having your teenager use you as a sounding board as she works towards adulthood, listening to your son discover the wonders of volcanoes, and having your youngest child explaining the latest melodrama of second grade. Maybe having a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is an enormous accomplishment--and I wouldn't turn that down at all!--but I know that, in the end, those closest to you are the people you invest your time and effort in. Your greatest influence isn't on millions of readers who will sell your book once they are done with it; it is with your family and children who will care for you long after the world has forgotten your accomplishments.

What's most cherished is when your child tells you you're a "good cooker" because you'll make macaroni and cheese or ham when they want it. Certificates and honors are wonderful accomplishments, but I would be devastated if, as an adult, my child thought I had been self-absorbed, selfish, distant and disinterested in him/her. But, unfortunately, there are too many of those parents out there.

Will Immigration Sink John McCain?

It's hard to believe John McCain would still be harping that amnesty--er, comprehensive immigration reform will be his top priority as president, knowing, as he does, that conservatives (already uncomfortable with his as their candidate) consider it to be a deal-breaker.

More from the Right will bail on McCain because of this issue than any other, and it is perfectly understandable. It makes me wonder if McCain has been included in Barack Obama's Team of Rivals.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey at Hot Air explains why we can't not vote for John McCain. Two words: Barack Obama.

"a good performer with an ear for how to make white liberals like him"

According to someone who has followed Obama from the beginning. Read all. Calling Obama "lightweight" is kind.

The Genius of George W.

Via Brothers Judd blog, Linda Greenhouse laments the demise of the Kennedy court.

Something is happening, clearly. The question is what. The caveats against drawing any hard conclusions at this stage are obvious. For one thing, the term is functionally only half over, with 35 cases down and 32 to come. And it is common for the hardest-fought decisions to come at the very end. The District of Columbia gun control case, the latest case on the rights of the Guantánamo detainees and a case on whether the death penalty is a constitutional punishment for raping a child are yet to be decided.

Still, there is a clear pattern in the cases the court has already decided this term. The court upheld Kentucky’s method of execution by lethal injection by a vote of 7 to 2. It upheld Indiana’s law requiring photo identification at the polls by a vote of 6 to 3. The justices voted 7 to 2 on Monday to uphold the latest federal effort to curb trade in child pornography.

All were major cases, all plausible candidates for 5-to-4 outcomes. All were government victories, hardly surprising coming from a conservative court. But even Justice John Paul Stevens, the leader of the court’s beleaguered liberal bloc, voted with the majority in all three cases. The surprise was that the government side won each so handily.

It would be too simplistic an explanation to say that the liberal justices, at least some of them, have simply given up. Something deeper seems to be at work. Each of those three cases might have received a harder-edged, more conclusively conservative treatment at the hands of the same five-member majority that controlled the last term.

Instead, the lethal injection and voter ID decisions hewed closely to the facts of each case. Kentucky’s lethal injection protocol passed muster, but the court left open the possibility that another state’s practice might not. The voter ID challenge reached the court on a nonexistent record, so perhaps a stronger case could be made at a later time. Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in the child pornography case construed the statute so narrowly as to allay the First Amendment concerns of Justices Stevens and Breyer and win their full concurrence.

As Orrin Judd points out, the point of nominating Roberts was to change the atmosphere on the court in such a way as to allow more unanimous decisions and fewer splintered ones. It's only natural that it took a term for that to bear fruit.

Gaffe Morphs into Policy

Jeromy Brown, as well as other useful idiots, has tried to argue that negotiating with rogue states has always been a policy of the U.S. and that Obama is no different in wanting to meet with Ahmadinejad. Charles Krauthammer has a wonderful takedown of this argument.

Most of the time you don't negotiate with enemy leaders because there is nothing to negotiate. Does Obama imagine that North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela are insufficiently informed about American requirements for improved relations?

There are always contacts through back channels or intermediaries. Iran, for example, has engaged in five years of talks with our closest European allies and the International Atomic Energy Agency, to say nothing of the hundreds of official U.S. statements outlining exactly what we would give them in return for suspending uranium enrichment.

Obama pretends that while he is for such "engagement," the cowboy Republicans oppose it. Another absurdity. No one is debating the need for contacts. The debate is over the stupidity of elevating rogue states and their tyrants, easing their isolation and increasing their leverage by granting them unconditional meetings with the president of the world's superpower.

Obama cited Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman as presidents who met with enemies. Does he know no history? Neither Roosevelt nor Truman ever met with any of the leaders of the Axis powers. Obama must be referring to the pictures he's seen of Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, and Truman and Stalin at Potsdam. Does he not know that at that time Stalin was a wartime ally?

During the subsequent Cold War, Truman never met with Stalin. Nor Mao. Nor Kim Il Sung. Truman was no fool.

Obama cites John Kennedy meeting Nikita Khrushchev as another example of what he wants to emulate. Really? That Vienna summit of a young, inexperienced, untested American president was disastrous, emboldening Khrushchev to push Kennedy on Berlin -- and then near fatally in Cuba, leading almost directly to the Cuban missile crisis. Is that the precedent Obama aspires to follow?

A meeting with Ahmadinejad would not just strengthen and vindicate him at home, it would instantly and powerfully ease the mullahs' isolation, inviting other world leaders to follow. And with that would come a flood of commercial contracts, oil deals, diplomatic agreements -- undermining precisely the very sanctions and isolation that Obama says he would employ against Iran.

As every seasoned diplomat knows, the danger of a summit is that it creates enormous pressure for results. And results require mutual concessions. That is why conditions and concessions are worked out in advance, not on the scene.

What concessions does Obama imagine Ahmadinejad will make to him on Iran's nuclear program? And what new concessions will Obama offer? To abandon Lebanon? To recognize Hamas? Or perhaps to squeeze Israel?

Having lashed himself to the ridiculous, unprecedented promise of unconditional presidential negotiations -- and then having compounded the problem by elevating it to a principle -- Obama keeps trying to explain. On Sunday, he declared in Pendleton, Ore., that by Soviet standards Iran and others "don't pose a serious threat to us." (On the contrary. Islamic Iran is dangerously apocalyptic. Soviet Russia was not.) The next day in Billings, Mont.: "I've made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave."

That's the very next day, mind you. Such rhetorical flailing has done more than create an intellectual mess. It has given rise to a new political phenomenon: the metastatic gaffe.

Obama lies. Obama panders. Obama makes ridiculous statements then his adoring fans make excuses. This is presidential material?

Maxine Waters Wants to Nationalize the Oil Industry

You can't make this stuff up. Allahpundit at Hot Air has the outrageous video where Democrat whacko Maxine Waters gets pissy with the head of Shell Oil for telling her the truth about oil prices.

John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil, stated that he could "guarantee ever increasing prices unless demand comes down."

This is just a restatement of how supply and demand works. If everybody wants something, the price of that thing skyrockets whether you are talking about oil or Beanie Babies. Of course, we don't need Beanie Babies to get to work or get goods to stores, but demand is the only explanation for the high prices of both things. When way more people want something than the thing available, the price spikes until enough people don't want it anymore. In the case of oil, this means people quit using so much.

The outrageous part of the exchange came when Maxine Waters, in full don't-you-tell-me-I'm-the-one-in-charge mode, threatens to nationalize the oil industry, even though she can't come up with the right word for it.

"And guess what this liberal will be all about?" she snapped. "This liberal will be all about socializing--uh, uh, will be about (pause) basically taking over and the government running all of your companies."

It's bizarre to me that a Congresswoman can threaten to nationalize an industry she is angry with and it isn't hitting the news cycles. Maybe, like so many liberals, Waters agrees with Hugo Chavez. Amazing!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Texas Court Rules for FLDS Moms

In a case of common sense over governmental overreaching, "A Texas state court of appeals ruled Thursday afternoon that the state of Texas had no right to seize more than 400 children from a polygamist ranch in Eldorado, in the western part of the state, because there was not sufficient proof that they were in immediate danger."

The ruling asserted that the state’s child protection agency acted hastily in removing the children from the Yearning for Zion ranch in April and did not make a reasonable effort “to ascertain if some measure short of removal and/or separation from parents would have eliminated the risk” of abuse toward the children of 48 mothers who filed the suit. The district court was ordered to remove its restraining order giving the state custody of those children, but it was not immediately clear how the hundreds of other children, now in foster care, would be affected.

At news conference in San Angelo, the closest city to Eldorado, a lawyer for the sect said it was not sure when the families would be reunited, and that the team was reviewing the next legal steps in the process.

Typically, in cases of suspected abuse, the abuser is removed from the home and the child or children are left with the other parent because plucking children from their homes to be sent to live--and possibly adopted--by complete strangers can be a tad disturbing for said children.

The Difference Between Barack Obama and John McCain

Via Marc Ambinder, here is John McCain's rebuttal to Barack Obama's disgraceful politicking of the veteran's spending bill:

"It is typical, but no less offensive that Senator Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of. Let me say first in response to Senator Obama, running for President is different than serving as President. The office comes with responsibilities so serious that the occupant can't always take the politically easy route without hurting the country he is sworn to defend. Unlike Senator Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America's veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim.
"When I was five years old, a car pulled up in front of our house in New London, Connecticut, and a Navy officer rolled down the window, and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. My father immediately left for the submarine base where he was stationed. I rarely saw him again for four years. My grandfather, who commanded the fast carrier task force under Admiral Halsey, came home from the war exhausted from the burdens he had borne, and died the next day. I grew up in the Navy; served for twenty-two years as a naval officer; and, like Senator Webb, personally experienced the terrible costs war imposes on the veteran. The friendships I formed in war remain among the closest relationships in my life. The Navy is still the world I know best and love most. In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home to the country they loved so well .

"But I am running for the office of Commander-in-Chief. That is the highest privilege in this country, and it imposes the greatest responsibilities. It would be easier politically for me to have joined Senator Webb in offering his legislation. More importantly, I feel just as he does, that we owe veterans the respect and generosity of a great nation because no matter how generously we show our gratitude it will never compensate them fully for all the sacrifices they have borne on our behalf.

"Senators Graham, Burr and I have offered legislation that would provide veterans with a substantial increase in educational benefits. The bill we have sponsored would increase monthly education benefits to $1500; eliminate the $1200 enrollment fee; and offer a $1000 annually for books and supplies. Importantly, we would allow veterans to transfer those benefits to their spouses or dependent children or use a part of them to pay down existing student loans. We also increase benefits to the Guard and Reserve, and even more generously to those who serve in the Selected Reserve.

"I know that my friend and fellow veteran, Senator Jim Webb, an honorable man who takes his responsibility to veterans very seriously, has offered legislation with very generous benefits. I respect and admire his position, and I would never suggest that he has anything other than the best of intentions to honor the service of deserving veterans. Both Senator Webb and I are united in our deep appreciation for the men and women who risk their lives so that the rest of us may be secure in our freedom. And I take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans. And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did.

"The most important difference between our two approaches is that Senator Webb offers veterans who served one enlistment the same benefits as those offered veterans who have re-enlisted several times. Our bill has a sliding scale that offers generous benefits to all veterans, but increases those benefits according to the veteran's length of service. I think it is important to do that because, otherwise, we will encourage more people to leave the military after they have completed one enlistment. At a time when the United States military is fighting in two wars, and as we finally are beginning the long overdue and very urgent necessity of increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps, one study estimates that Senator Webb's bill will reduce retention rates by 16%.

"Most worrying to me, is that by hurting retention we will reduce the numbers of men and women who we train to become the backbone of all the services, the noncommissioned officer. In my life, I have learned more from noncommissioned officers I have known and served with than anyone else outside my family. And in combat, no one is more important to their soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, and to the officers who command them, than the sergeant and petty officer. They are very hard to replace. Encouraging people not to choose to become noncommissioned officers would hurt the military and our country very badly. As I said, the office of President, which I am seeking, is a great honor, indeed, but it imposes serious responsibilities. How faithfully the President discharges those responsibilities will determine whether he or she deserves the honor. I can only tell you I intend to deserve the honor if I am fo rtunate to receive it, even if it means I must take politically unpopular positions at times and disagree with people for whom I have the highest respect and affection.

"Perhaps, if Senator Obama would take the time and trouble to understand this issue he would learn to debate an honest disagreement respectfully. But, as he always does, he prefers impugning the motives of his opponent, and exploiting a thoughtful difference of opinion to advance his own ambitions. If that is how he would behave as President, the country would regret his election."

Here's what Obama said:
I respect sen. John McCain's service to our country. He is one of those heroes of which I speak. But I can't understand why he would line up behind the President in his opposition to this GI bill.
I can't believe why he believes it is too generous to our veterans. I could not disagree with him and the President more on this issue. There are many issues that lend themselves to partisan posturing but giving our veterans the chance to go to college should not be one of them.

I'm sure the usual idiots will try to say this was not political posturing on Obama's part, but it looks like a potshot to me.

Cross-posted at Common Sense Political Thought.

What Does Gulf Coast Relief, NASA and Billions in Pork Have To Do with the War in Iraq?

Everything if you are the free-spending Congress.

But the committee's plan contained so many smaller items favored by senators in both parties — including money for Gulf Coast Hurricane recovery, NASA, and additional food and drug safety inspectors — that even GOP conservatives such as Larry Craig and Mike Crapo of Idaho rebuffed the White House. The duo were strong supporters of $400 million to subsidize schools in rural counties hit hard by declines in timber revenues.

The bill also contained $490 million for grants to local police departments, $451 million to repair roads damaged by natural disasters, $200 million for the space shuttle program, and $400 million for National Institutes of Health research projects.

And more and more and more pork.

Remember how Democrats argued about how much money George Bush and a Republican-led Congress blew? Is this merely an attempt to regain the tax-and-spend title?

Just One More Little Tax Won't Cripple the Economy, Will It?

San Francisco has decided that the way to combat global warming is to kill business. At least, that's my take on the new tax imposed on businesses for emitting greenhouse gases.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District's board of directors voted 15-1 to charge companies 4.4 cents per ton of carbon dioxide they emit, an agency spokeswoman said.

Experts say the fees, which cover nine counties in the Bay Area, are the first of their kind in America. The new rules are set to take effect July 1.

The modest fee probably will not be enough to force companies to reduce their emissions, but backers say it sets an important precedent in combating climate change and could serve as a model for regional air districts nationwide.

"It doesn't solve global warming, but it gets us thinking in the right terms," said Daniel Kammen, a renewable energy expert at the University of California, Berkeley.

Of course, as anyone knows, fees imposed for doing business aren't really borne by the businesses. Those fees are passed through to customers or the business goes under.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Of Dancing with the Stars and Sexism

I hate to reference the same blog twice in the same day, but this post at Echidne of the Snakes gives me a chance to both agree with her and disagree.

The part I agree with is that there is a certain degree of sexism involved in Dancing with the Stars. It is, after all, a program geared around ballroom dancing, an activity with very strict gender roles. So, the charge that different things are expected from the men and the women on the show are correct.

Echidne referenced this article to bolster the sexism argument, then makes a note that, perhaps, the largely female audience votes for the men because they are cuter.

Now Echidne admits up front that she's never seen the show. Unfortunately for her, this is a case where not following a program means not really knowing what you are talking about.

I've watched Dancing with the Stars since about the middle of Season Two, so I probably have a better perspective on why certain people win and other people don't. As I've said, the criticism that the judges are sexist have some validity. There's no doubt that the more visible role of the woman in these dances make them more susceptible to criticism than the men.

But more than just the judging--which only accounts for half the points--is the opinions of viewers, and there is more room for speculation there. My opinion is that visibility and popularity has as much to do with who wins this competition as anything. Many of the women picked for the show have been models or beauty contestant winners. Many of other women contestants were either not as well-known or didn't come out and grab the audience.

In other words, the people who do well in the competition have a combination of technique and fan appeal. Of course, that doesn't explain Billy Ray Cyrus making it to week 8 last season...or maybe it does. In the end, however, it comes down to fan appeal.

In this season, Kristi Yamaguchi was the clear favorite week after week. Her technique was fabulous and she clearly outperformed every other competitor. Moreover, she's a well-known and popular Olymic gold medal winner who remained visible as a professional skater long after leaving the amateur ranks. The combination made Kristi the obvious winner both with the judges and with the fans.

Fans are a notoriously finicky lot, and that is evident on other dance shows, as well. Cuteness may influence some viewers, but charm, talent, technique and personality have as much to do with winning as beef or cheesecake.

What's in a Joke

Echidne has one of her rather regular posts on why feminists aren't funny, or, rather, why jokes against feminists aren't funny.

To a certain extent, I can understand the point she tries to make: that jokes which victimize some particular subset say more about the speaker than about the subject.

So why are feminists not funny? Or rather: Why is accusing someone of not being able to take a joke a legitimate form of defense? A lot of jokes are boring or contrived or just not very funny. A lot of jokes base the laugh-line on a shared understanding that Other People are stupid. Take the Blonde Jokes, for example. Those jokes are only funny if you really think that women with fair hair are very stupid people. I might not laugh at them for a very personal reason, a reason which has nothing to do with my sick sense of humor. Or its absence. Or hair color.

Can funniness be analyzed and understood? Probably not in the sense of creating a formula that would always work, and the very work of doing so would be extremely unfunny. But all humor depends on surprise. How that surprise is delivered varies, and different folks laugh at different sources of surprise: slapstick, situational comedy, word puns, story jokes and so on.

The surprise is needed. It also needs to trigger the laughter reaction. Why feminists don't find certain surprises funny is for the same reason that you throwing a cake in my face might make me surprised in a way not conducive to laughter. You, on the other hand, might get a nice belly laugh out of that. At least until you have figured out what happens to people who throw cakes in the faces of goddesses. Burp.

It was interesting that she should bring up pies in the face, considering that it is the method of attack liberals like to use to silence conservative speakers. I can agree with her there that pies in the face are, indeed, not funny. They are designed to be insulting.

And there is all sorts of humor which this group or that might not find particularly funny. Sure, there are feminist jokes and blonde jokes and religious jokes and racist jokes and sexist jokes and liberal jokes and conservative jokes. There are jokes about short people, fat people and bald people. There are jokes about doctors, lawyers, engineers, hairdressers and jokes for practically every profession under the sun. And this isn't including redneck jokes and husband and wife jokes. (I don't vouch for the funniness of any of these jokes, btw)

Echidne usually complains about female and/or feminist jokes because there is a stereotype of feminists as not funny. But that's largely because of the strident tone of much of feminist writing. So, for example, this Jonah Goldberg column from 2002 in which he explains why feminists aren't funny is exactly why she complains about feminists not being "humorous" today.
What studies and polls do show is that most young women don't want to be called "feminists." Why? Because the term has become synonymous with "unreasonable ideologue," "chronic complainer," "crypto-lesbian," and perhaps most of all, "humorless toothache of a human being."

This annoys professional feminists to no end — but then again, what doesn't? Their main gripe is the ingratitude of young women who "betray" the cause of the "founding sisters" who brought us so much. When you read feminist junk — and most of it is, quite simply, junk — there's a lot of guilt mongering about "continuing the revolution" and "finishing the work of our foremothers." But, the unfinished work invariably involves such picayune and marginal issues as "transgender equality" and homosexual adoption. Insisting these are the same issues as women's suffrage doesn't make it so. This desperation to infuse the cause with new passion is the chief reason feminists are so humorless. Because there are so few specific meaningful issues, all sorts of minor or nonexistent issues get injected with outsized and outlandish meaning. See the letter Ramesh received yesterday for example. Make a joke about women or use the word "chick" in the wrong company, and you will likely receive a barrage of dragon breath about how "the degradation of women is no laughing matter!" You will be educated on the great chain of oppression, which begins with a dumb-blond joke and ends in female circumcision in Africa.

Are there jokes one group or another will find offensive? Sure. That's why I don't watch The Daily Show or Stephen Colbert. But I don't think funniness is necessarily tied to Otherness or putting down some other groups. Some jokes are just funny.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Student Suspended for Giving Noogies

I love reading legal opinions like this one.

On Dec. 5, 2007, Ethan, represented by counsel, appeared for a school disciplinary hearing on charges he "forcibly pressed his knuckles against [the] scalp" of a teacher on two occasions and violated the academic code of conduct by entering his former middle school without permission.

Terence E. Smolev, a partner in the Mineola, N.Y., firm of Forchelli, Curto, Schwartz, Mineo, Carlino & Cohn, presided over the hearing.

According to Phelan's decision, on Nov. 2, 2007, during a school-sponsored basketball game, Ethan approached his former teacher, Sharon Cantante and "forcibly pressed his knuckles against her scalp, grinding them into her scalp and causing her pain."

Evidently, the student did this a second time, which is when the suspension was put into place. Nine months seems like a lot for a noogie, but this kid definitely had some boundary issues.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ted Kennedy Hospitalized

Hope for a speedy recover.

Oddly (or not), KOS can keep comments on for a Democrat's issue.

Obama Adopts Bush Policy on Iran

Ed Morrissey has a great column at Hot Air regarding Barack Obama's shifting positions on Iran.

Last summer, especially during the YouTube debate, Obama railed against the Bush administration policy, with “failed” being about the kindest term he could muster. Now, however, he has adopted the Bush policy towards Iran in toto. No talks with Iran until they end their nuclear-weapons programs, progressively tougher sanctions until they comply with international non-proliferation regulations and UN Security Council resolutions — that is exactly what the Bush administration has done since 2003.
What prompted this turn towards neocon policy? Obama can’t shake the consequences of his answer during that July debate and the promise of unconditional direct presidential-level talks with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the first year of his presidency. Even our allies, even those who thought Bush to be too hard line on Iran, don’t see what this would accomplish, other than boosting the prestige of Ahmadinejad and the mullahcracy’s hard-liners and further entrenching them in Iran. As John McCain put it yesterday, what exactly will Obama negotiate with Ahmadinejad? The destruction of Israel’s “stinking corpse”, or their grievances about the falsity of the Holocaust?

The moonbatosphere is filled with arguments that Obama's "quick response" shows how engaged he is on foreign policy. What it really shows is that Obama recognizes how stupid his original let's-negotiate-with-terrorists-and-radicals policy was.

The Republican 2012 Game Plan

From the I don't know what I'm talking about files, Pam Spaulding opines on what Republicans really want.

I think they want Obama to win the White House and the Dems to have strong control on the Hill. (Emphasis hers)

For the record, I'll state right now that I don't want the Democrats to own Congress and the presidency at the same time because they'll consider this a mandate for all their batshitty ideas from the war in Iraq to domestic spending to taxes to judges.

Some are arguing why we should vote for John McCain over Democrats, but the issues have always been clear to me: the war in Iraq is too important to lose and judges will make all the other decisions we care about. Those two reasons alone make it imperative that John McCain hold the veto pen over Democrat looniness.

Spaulding and a lot of other liberals overestimate the thinking of the GOP leadership at this point. I can't see any great "plan" to revive the Republican name brand at this point. Part of the problem is that most GOP faithful like President Bush and agree with him on a majority of his proposals. That's not to say they haven't protested big government expansions like the prescription drug benefit or revolted against amnesty for illegal aliens, but on issues that matter most to conservatives--taxes, moral issues like embryonic stem cell research, the military, judges--President Bush has been right.

The other part of the problem is that eight years with one president makes the electorate weary and open to even the idiotic ideas espoused by the Left. That's why HopeNChange is the Democrat candidate: it isn't his qualifications, it's the fact that he's not the establishment.

There's also been a lot of talk about Howard Dean's 50 state plan and how effective it has been. What is amazing isn't that Democrats have picked up seats that were considered Republican safehouses, but that the Democrats who have run have been far more conservative--and blue dog--than the Democrats that have been running Congress. This is why Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have been unable to enact any of their nuttiness.

In the end, I'm betting Americans are smart enough not to elect a leftwing radical with little experience and horrible ideas.

Gay Marriage and Suspect Classifications

I'll admit that Justin Levine was the first blogger to point out that the California Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage was significant mostly because it made homosexuality a suspect classification.

There were many moonbats extolling this portion of the ruling, so Justin shouldn't break his arm patting himself on the back with this one. What I find most interesting is the women who are ecstatic that their sexual orientation is considered a more immutable (if there is such a thing) characteristic than their sex.

Here is a definition of strict scrutiny (the level used by the courts for suspect classifications). "You'd better have a damn good reason for this law and no other way to solve it" is the shortest explanation. Intermediate scrutiny is applied to sex discrimination cases.

In other words, who you sleep with has now been elevated over whether you are male or female. It boggles my mind.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More Democracy on Display in California: Traditional Marriage Ruled Unconstitutional

Liberals don't like democracy, which is why they like the courts to ram through ideas most people don't agree with. Now we have the California Supreme Court deciding voters shouldn't get to determine its own laws.

The California Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples should be permitted to marry, rejecting state marriage laws as discriminatory.

The state high court's 4-3 ruling was unlikely to end the debate over gay matrimony in California. A group has circulated petitions for a November ballot initiative that would amend the state Constitution to block same-sex marriage, while the Legislature has twice passed bills to authorize gay marriage. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed both.

I don't mind if states allow gay marriage provided the voters want it. After all, that is the point of democracy.

Naturally, nutroots hail the decision and seem worried that democracy might still win out.
the initiative to strike down their ruling has already gathered over a million signatures and is just waiting for verification from the Secretary of State before it goes on the November ballot. It's 14 words long, identical to the wording of Prop 22 back in 2000: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." This time, however, it's a constitutional initiative, not a statutory initiative, so if it passes it will be immune to court challenges.

Yeah, it would be a shame if people actually got to determine the laws in this country instead of having judges find hidden meanings all over the place.

Cross-posted at Common Sense Political Thought.

UPDATE: Aphrael makes a compelling argument for the court's decision in the comments.

President Bush Got It Right

President Bush got it right while addressing the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's birth.

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.

Hmm. I wonder who suggested negotiating with terrorists and radicals? I guess it was the presidential candidate who thinks negotiating with terrorists and radicals is a good idea.
In a statement, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., shot across the bow: "It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 6Oth anniversary of Israel's independence to launch a false political attack."

The problem for Obama is that there was no false political attack. If he sees himself in President Bush's statement, maybe the problem is his policy proposal, not the president's speech.

Press Secretary Dana Perino denied the speech was an attack on the Obamessiah. Hell, Democrat leaders denounce the speech as politics while playing politics with it.

The nutroots lie--er, mischaracterize President Bush's speech (more nutroot hysteria here, here and here).

Here's a suggestion: if Obama doesn't like the comparison--even when he wasn't being compared--he could clarify why he thinks negotiating with terrorists and radicals is a good idea!

Cross-posted at Common Sense Political Thought.

Vagueness and Curiosity

This vague philosophical good-bye from Anthony McCarthy got me thinking about the way people leave blogging and say their farewells.

I can't tell from this post if McCarthy got booted from this blog, if he needs to focus his attention on real life issues of health or family, or if he's just going to make some money. Certainly, all those are possibilities at Echidne's site, where disagreement will get you banned.

I've never known whether this sort of post is just a nice way of saying "I'm bored" or "Hasta la vista, baby!" Why don't people say what they mean?

Free Speech for Students

This time, it's about students and stickers.

17 year old Heather Gillman, a junior at Ponce De Leon High School has won her suit against the school’s principal and the Holmes County School Board. She says the school forbids students from wearing clothing or putting stickers on their books that show support for the fair treatment of gays and lesbians. Gillman says that’s a violation of her First Amendment Rights.

In day two of court, School Board Superintendent Steve Griffin took the stand. He said the District did not restrict homosexual slogans and symbols until they caused a disturbance in school, thus violating School Board policy.

You'd think after nearly 40 years of Tinker that school districts would realize you can't infringe upon students' right to free speech. But maybe after the muddled Bong Hits 4 Jesus case, they don't really get it.

Students still have the right to express themselves, even if the school district disagrees.

There's Not Enough Popcorn in the World

If Hillary takes the bait and runs as a third party candidate.

The Car for Environmentalists

Here's just the car for all those Pandagonistas arrogantly sneering at SUV drivers: the smart fortwo. Don't laugh.

The promo materials does the best it can at making this car sound attractive: it's zippy. You can parallel park in a snap. Ain't it cute?

Of course, what it's not is family friendly. You aren't getting any car seats in this baby. But then, Amanda Marcotte doesn't want kids and doesn't like you having kids, either.

I wouldn't have minded this little car for my long commute to Dallas when I was doing that, but other than the commute, such a vehicle would be worthless.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Population Explosion and Natural Disasters

While this post of mine was largely about the arrogance and narrow-mindedness liberals display regarding high gas prices and SUVs (they think people bought SUVs for political reasons), a curious side issue concerned families and the number of children each family had. The undercurrent of the conversation was that if people were just smart and didn't have so many damn kids, then a Honda Fit would be plenty big enough.

I have no problem with people who don't want to have kids. If you don't want them, then you better make sure you aren't going to have them. But while some people don't want children, others of us see them as far better investments than the stock market.

That's why I found this story about the unintended consequences--er, results of China's one-child policy to be so interesting. (Via Brothers Judd):

Fears were mounting today that almost an entire generation may have been wiped out in the China earthquake as the death toll leapt to at least 20,000.

China's one-child policy, an attempt to curb the nation's soaring population, means the quake will have robbed many families of their only hope of a future.

With thousands caught in school buildings as the quake struck in the middle of Monday afternoon, children are among its most conspicuous victims.

Every child is precious.

The Real Reason for High Gas Prices


More Hypocrisy from the Left

Republicans face a bleak election cycle this fall, so we have to take our jollies where we can find 'em now. That's why I have to giggle at all the anti-woman ranting from the Left regarding Hillary Clinton.

I've spent so much time on lefty blogs (and even my own) being told that I hate women that, I must confess, it's refreshing seeing liberals eating their own. How else to explain the rabid misogyny on display by supposed liberal commenters as well as bloggers and other assorted pundits.

FWIW, I find nothing odd or anti-feminist that NARAL would endorse Barak Obama. As I've pointed out previously, Obama is the most liberal Senator serving today. But more importantly, Obama is more pro-abortion than NARAL, voting against saving infants who survive abortions.

Unfortunately for the left, however, there are those who think organizations dealing with women's reproductive rights should support female candidates. It makes sense on one level. But sense has never been important when leftwing politics are concerned.

So, while I watch the GOP unable to figure out why people are unhappy with the party, I'm enjoying the hypocrisy from the Left concerning racism and sexism. Remember, they'll tell you that Republicans are the bigots and sexists!

In the Racism Vs. Sexism Fight, Sexism Always Loses

Found this video at Echidne of the Snakes, discussing the rampant sexism of the current Democrat campaign.

It's an interesting and thought-provoking commentary. Of course, it doesn't discuss the blatant racism involved in much of Hillary Clinton's appeal, but then, it's a site devoted to feminist politics, so why would race matter?

I've argued for years against the sexism and hatred of women shown by many on the right, but it's interesting watching the same phenomenon from the Left. What it tells me is that the such divides aren't conservative vs. liberal; when you build your party on identity, that's what you get.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sometimes, Even When They Are Trying Not to Sound Like Jerks, They Do

There's a term for a certain class of commenter who pretends that they are interested in your arguments and are really just trying to educate the blogger and other commenters: concern troll.

I would say it is almost impossible to be a concern troll poster, but this Amanda Marcotte post comes close. Starting out with a sympathetic pout about those poor SUV owners having to spend 100 bucks to fill up, Amanda then launches into the strangest explanation-sneer I've ever read.

On an individual level, it’s easy to feel superior to people who bought SUVs and are paying for it now. But that’s foolish, because we all rationalize our choices like this, so it was inevitable that a high percentage of people would like SUVs not in spite of their low mileage, but because of the low mileage. Instead of wishing human nature to change, then, I’m going to suggest that the people who exploited this rationalization tendency hold the lion’s share of the blame. For people who wanted to engage in wishful thinking about the relationship between oil and environmental problems, right wing pundits, car companies, and oil companies did all the hard psychological rationalizing work for people. They painted critics as effeminate hippies that are just trying to tell you what to do because they’re sanctimonious and nosy. (That some really are sanctimonious only made the situation worse.) They gave people pseudo-scientific explanations they could latch onto.

Pandagon is tiresome to read most of the time because everything--and I mean everything--is political in nature. So, if you are making hamburger tater tot casserole, it isn't because it's a cheap and filling meal your kids like, it's because evil Republicans like George W. Bush and Satanic radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh told you to.

For the record, I own an SUV. I didn't buy it as a status symbol or because I was making a political statement about gasoline. I bought it because I had three kids (two in car seats) and typically hauled a lot of stuff around that wouldn't fit in, say the Honda Fit referenced in Amanda's post (I love this photo because it tries to make the Fit look like it comfortably seats 5. I guess if you're all anorexic contortionists, maybe, but I dare them to try to load three kids--two in carseats!--into that thing and then survive the drive to soccer practice).

I seriously doubt many other people bought SUVs as fashion statements about their belief that oil would last forever. Most people bought SUVs because their families had more than 1 1/2 people and they needed the room. It's sort of the 21st century equivalent of the station wagon.

None of this changes the fact that gasoline prices hurt when you drive a car or truck that doesn't get good mileage. But, honestly, SUV owners are not victims of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, nor are theyzombies who dragged their rotting limbs into car dealerships to buy gas-guzzlers because a radio show host told them gas would remain 50 centers a gallon forever.

For 20 years, people have talked about the coming high price of gasoline. Well, the price is here and will get worse and guess what? We will all adjust (seems I've made this argument before). We'll drive less, get smaller cars for commutes, use public transportation and/or move closer to jobs we assume we'll have for 10 years. And liberals will still have their snooty noses in the air telling the rest of us how "sorry" they are about high gas prices.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 09, 2008

It Matters Who the President Meets With

Jeromy Brown, in defending Barack Obama, has argued that it isn't a bad thing for us to meet with our enemies and/or negotiate with them. His examples included China and the Soviet Union.

Of course, one of the big differences between either of those countries and, say, Hamas is that Hamas is a terrorist group. And Hugo Chavez, the fruit running Venezuela, is a nut. But Jeromy thinks it is just fine to negotiate with such people.

That's why I found this pst at JustOneMinute to be so fascinating.

John McCain, in his appearance on Jon Stewart, reprised his observation that Hamas favored Obama.

Barack Obama, in an interview with Wolf Blitzer, engaged in a bit of agesim by deploring this "smear" and asserting that John McCain had "lost his bearing".

McCain aide Mark Salter fires back. His gist - a Hamas spokesperson did say exactly that, and has a perfectly good reason to say so - Iran trains and funds Hamas and would welcome the publicity coup of the unconditional meeting with an American President promised by Barack.

Obama may try to soft-pedal his appeal to our enemies, but our enemies know he's no Republican.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Hysteria from the Left: Rush Limbaugh Incites Violence!

I felt obliged to continue the "H" theme in headlines, so forgive my indulgence.

There are people who like to accuse anyone who disagrees with their dogma of drinking to excess, but that question sounds reasonable after reading Jeffrey Feldman's idiotic and paranoid screed about Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos.

For weeks, now, Rush Limbaugh has been trying to incite political violence by giving on-air military-sounding orders, effectively 'commanding' his listeners to wage war against the U.S. electoral system.

The right-wing pundit's 'orders' to his Republican listeners have been clear: vote in the Democratic primaries as a coordinated tactic for sewing division in the opposition party. The goal of such 'chaos,' Limbaugh has stated explicitly, is to foment hatred between different parts of the Democratic Party leading, ultimately, to street riots during the Denver convention.

The ongoing incident raises a serious question:

How does Limbaugh's bid to incite political violence with radio broadcasts differ from previous instances where radio has been used to that end (e.g., Rwanda)? (Emphasis his)

Most Americans would agree that using radio to incite political violence is not only wrong, but the attempt itself represents a massive failure in our democracy. How Limbaugh's broadcasts differ from, say, radio broadcasts that incited violence in Rwanda and Kenya, for example, can help us to understand exactly what Limbaugh was doing and the exact danger it poses.

Yes, the zombies have been commanded by their fearless leader to incite violence. This is the sort of idiocy one gets from people who never listen to Limbaugh's show and are so--dare I say it?--elitist as to think Republicans are the sorts of thugs Democrats have repeatedly revealed themselves to be (think 1968 Democratic National Convention).

Indeed, what has the MSM and lefty bloggers tied in knots is that they can't stop people from voting when, where, and how they want. There was plenty of talk during the election season of 2000 about Democrats crossing party lines and voting in the Republican primary.

What Feldman can't understand is that many Republicans were already crossing party lines before Limbaugh launched Operation Chaos. More to the point, there is no Limbaugh army, nor can he cause or create rioting at the Democrat National Convention. It is Democrats who will be doing the fighting if there is any. And that will be--dare I say this, too?--their choice to do so.

Unlike the left, conservatives don't riot and don't resort to violence to settle electoral differences. Any sane person listening to Limbaugh would know that the violence he's discussed isn't from conservatives. It's that liberals will eat their own.

Hypocrisy from the Left: Jeremiah Wright Is OK, Jerry Falwell Is Satan

James Kirchick has an excellent piece at on the hypocrisy of the moonbatosphere and liberals in general when it comes to religion.

Open the pages of a liberal magazine or peruse the liberal blogosphere, and you’re bound to come across denunciations of the religious right, if not religion itself. The “reality-based community,” as self-satisfied liberal bloggers call themselves, was a term created in direct response to the “faith-based community,” what the Bush administration called recipients of money from its Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Given the religious right’s use of “faith” to justify hoaxes such as “intelligent design” and the ruinous attempt to convert homosexuals into heterosexuals, the left had good reason to criticize, and sometimes mock, the absurdities that are the inevitable result of religion mixing with politics.

Yet the left, with its healthy skepticism toward religion, has shown itself to be cynically flexible over the past few weeks in response to the utter insanities emitted from the big mouth of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Sen. Barack Obama’s pastor, mentor and friend of 20 years. Suddenly, some liberals have discovered a newfound love for extremists who hide behind the cloth to justify their radical views.

The lunatic remarks made by Wright in videotaped sermons released in March — which, lest there be any doubt that these pearls of wisdom were taken “out of context,” Wright reaffirmed at the National Press Club last week — are indefensible, and it is beyond pedantry to quibble over whether a spirited defense of Louis Farrakhan is more or less offensive than blaming abortion doctors and gays for Sept. 11, 2001, as Jerry Falwell infamously did two days after the terrorist attacks.

But in the warped minds of some on the left, uttering such inanities is not only “understandable,” it’s laudable. That is, of course, if the person alleging that the government created AIDS to kill African-Americans is an aggrieved black man lashing out at the rapacious, capitalist and irredeemably racist United States. Wright, you see, is actually a “patriot” for speaking uncomfortable “truths” about his country.

I've watched with fascination as moonbats have tried to defend Wright's comments as unimportant or just "telling the truth." These same people have tried to tar and feather John McCain for accepting the endorsement of John Hagee, as if, in accepting that endorsement, McCain had spent 20 years in the man's church, gotten married there and had Hagee baptize his children. One can accept an endorsement without embracing every statement from a stranger, can't one? Evidently not to the moral equivalence crowd on the Left.

What's amazing is how far the lefties go to try to excuse bigot Wright's racism and indict the religious right. Yet, as Kilchick notes, the left's hypocrisy when it comes to religion is glaring.
Don Wycliff, former public editor of the Chicago Tribune, was perplexed as to what all the fuss over Wright was about. “I’m trying to figure out what it was that got everybody’s shorts into a twist,” he wrote in Commonweal magazine. (Wycliff’s bewilderment over the reaction to Wright’s lies and hyperbole does not speak well to his skills as an ombudsman.) The double standard some liberals have employed in response to Wright makes one seriously consider their oft-stated preference for rationality, reason and secularism over superstition and prejudice.

I've never seriously questioned their preference for rationality, reason and secularism. Conservatives have always known they are hypocrites willing to excuse any excesses on their side for a price.

I Told You It Would Be About the Racism

I've stated for several months now that I thought Barack Obama would be a harder candidate to beat in the general election than Hillary Clinton. My opinion isn't based on his qualifications; it's based on his race. Or rather, it's based on the way Democrats always play the race card.

My argument was that white voters--specifically, white men--would not be allowed to vote for John McCain (or anyone else, for that matter) based on qualifications (a philosophy that is very white, according to Whoopi Goldberg) because a vote for anyone other than Obama would be seen as racist. You haven't had to look very far to see this play itself out. This white-people-are-racists argument is being used to explain why Hillary Clinton doesn't drop out.

With Clinton posing alongside pioneering Indy speedster Sarah Fisher, there were almost no African-Americans to be seen. Many in the white, working-class crowd were simply not ready to back Barack Obama - for reasons that are disturbing.

Yes, whitey is afraid Obama will lynch 'em, right?

DRJ at Patterico's Pontifications points out that this argument would be more convincing were white people voting for Hillary in the same proportion as black people are voting for Obama (about 9 to 1). Is anyone willing to accuse black people of racism for supporting Obama? Of course not.

I'm not saying that there aren't people who won't vote for a black man. But because some percentage of people do this doesn't mean that every, or even most, of the white people who vote for someone other than Obama are racists.

This election, more than any in recent history, highlights the problems with identity politics. Obama started out saying he wanted to "transcend race," yet his past and his connections speak otherwise. It's perfectly normal that black voters are excited at the prospect of electing someone from their race. Yet women have been told they shouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton solely on her sex. I haven't heard any arguments that not voting for Hillary was sexist. I guess that shows the difference between the sort of discrimination that has taken place in virtually every society and culture on Earth and that that took place in this country during a specific time period.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

That's Entertainment...Or a New Lecture from the Left

I don't know about other people, but I watch TV for entertainment, not to get another liberal lecture. I guess that's why I don't watch much regular television.

David Kelley, the creator of Boston Legal (another show I've never watched) decided it was time to rip into the Supreme Court because he doesn't like the fact they won't read shit into the Constitution anymore.

"We went right after them," Kelley acknowledges, asserting that the Supreme Court does not deserve the "hands-off treatment" it usually gets in the media and in political discourse.

The anti-Roberts Court screed, improbably enough, is delivered to the justices to their faces during the episode titled "The Court Supreme." Co-star James Spader, who plays Boston lawyer Alan Shore, lights into the Court as he argues before look-alike justices on behalf of a Louisiana child rapist facing the death penalty. The episode aired just six days after the real Court heard arguments in Kennedy v. Louisiana, an actual child rape/death penalty case.

A sample of the rhetoric: Shore attacks the "overtly and shamelessly pro-business" Court, and takes a sharp detour from the rape case to slam Justice Antonin Scalia for his seemingly likely support for Exxon Mobil in the case -- also argued recently -- involving punitive damages awarded after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. "Nineteen years after the Valdez oil spill and the plaintiffs are still waiting to be fully compensated," Shore says.

When the Scalia character interjects sharply, "You are getting so far off point," Shore shoots back: "My point is, who are you people? You've transformed this court from being a governmental branch devoted to civil rights and liberties into a protector of discrimination, a guardian of government, a slave to monied interests and big business and today, hallelujah, you seek to kill a mentally disabled man."

The story takes a light-hearted angle at this liberal claptrap, rather than pointing out its insulting nature. I question whether liberals like Kelley would approve of television shows that had conservatives lecturing Warren Burger on his despicable court's ruling in Roe v. Wade. I guess Shore wouldn't have had a problem with any of that, though.

ExxonMobil: They Paid Their Fair Share

You won't find this info at the moonbat sites, but ExxonMobil--you know, one of those spawn-of-Satan oil producers?--paid $30 billion in taxes for 2007.

Over the last three years, Exxon Mobil has paid an average of $27 billion annually in taxes. That's $27,000,000,000 per year, a number so large it's hard to comprehend. Here's one way to put Exxon's taxes into perspective.

According to IRS data for 2004, the most recent year available:

Total number of tax returns: 130 million

Number of Tax Returns for the Bottom 50%: 65 million

Adjusted Gross Income for the Bottom 50%: $922 billion

Total Income Tax Paid by the Bottom 50%: $27.4 billion

Conclusion: In other words, just one corporation (Exxon Mobil) pays as much in taxes ($27 billion) annually as the entire bottom 50% of individual taxpayers, which is 65,000,000 people! Further, the tax rate for the bottom 50% is only 3% of adjusted gross income ($27.4 billion / $922 billion), and the tax rate for Exxon was 41% in 2006 ($67.4 billion in taxable income, $27.9 billion in taxes).

Bookmark this for the next time moonbats scream that corporations don't pay their "fair share."