Sunday, November 30, 2008

LOL of the Day

Liz Smith, on Sarah Palin's possible $7 million book deal:

I really don't want to write the fol lowing item, but it's happening, so who am I to quibble? The hottest thing going in the fairly supine and dormant book publishing world is the ongoing question of the memoir, autobiography, or what have you yet to come from Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin.

The governor is said to now be seeking a hot, hot, hot agent to handle the onslaught of proposals asking her to write her own story in her own way. Rumor has it she could get $7 million for such a book if she could produce same! (I didn't know anybody could get $7 million for anything anymore, unless they ask Uncle Sam.)

What could Sarah Palin, age 44, write of a life still so young? Anything she damn well wants to write. The public, it seems, is just waiting to lap it all up like that finger-lickin' moose stew.


Gosh, such a tough question. I mean, just because she's been a business owner, mayor, governor of the largest state, popular vice presidential candidate, villain of the Left, mother of five, including a Downs Syndrome child. Nah, nothing there to write about. Not like a guy who did drugs, was a "community organizer," used the Chicago Way to get into politics, voted "present" a million times, ran a vapid election campaign and managed to be elected president.

Object Lesson

Hateful:












Tolerant:











Evil:














Good:



















Dangerous:















Peaceful:

India, Welcome to the Global War on Terror

Last week, India joined the league of civilized countries by being attacked by Muslim crazies. According to this terrorist, they were supposed to fight "till their dying breath."

I guess he didn't want to do that. Maybe he wasn't as anxious to get his virgins or something.

The only terrorist captured alive after the Mumbai massacre has given police the first full account of the extraordinary events that led to it – revealing he was ordered to ‘kill until the last breath’.

Azam Amir Kasab, 21, from Pakistan, said the attacks were meticulously planned six months ago and were intended to kill 5,000 people.

He revealed that the ten terrorists, who were highly trained in marine assault and crept into the city by boat, had planned to blow up the Taj Mahal Palace hotel after first executing British and American tourists and then taking hostages.

Thankfully, as usual, the terrorists underestimated the strength of the building and so, it still stands. But the Indian government should start policing its airports and transportation better, because, as our own history shows, if they can't blow up their target, Muslim terrorists are likely to fly planes into it.

Did I say "Muslim terrorists"? Oh, I know. I'm not supposed to point out that, yet again, the Religion of Peace has tried to kill Christians and Jews.

From Stop the ACLU:
OH my what a surprise. Are you as surprised as I am? No? Good, I really am not surprised here. You know what else didn’t surprise me in the least? The fact the mainstream media kept saying “gunmen” and “hostages” even though well into these attacks it was known it should have been saying “muslims” and “Jews” but we can’t go around demonizing a whole religion for the acts of a few “wackos” (unless it’s Christianity of course, then all those viles, hateful Christians are guilty as sin by association) after all, we are the MEDIA and have to stay objective and fair.

Excuse me while I choke on the bile from throwing up a little bit in the back of my mouth for having actually written that last sentence.

One of the best scenes in An American Carol is the discussion of "radical Christians" who take over buses and blow themselves up in marketplaces. Of course, what makes it hilarious is that Christians don't do these things, just as they aren't prone to fly airplanes into buildings. But that doesn't mean the nuts at Pandagon, Echidne of the Snakes and the rest of the moonbatosphere don't think a handful of people wanting a moment of silence or the questioning of Darwinism is a greater threat to Western civilization. Look at the lies they spread about Sarah Palin ("ZOMG!!!! SHE'S A CHRISTIAN!!1!!!11!!!).

These same kooks want to talk about Dominionist theology taking over America because Pat Robertson calls us "a Christian nation" on The 700 Club. Shockingly, neither Amanda Marcotte nor Jesse Taylor have found any time whatsoever in the last few days to discuss the Muslim terrorists killing a bunch of people and holding a bunch of others hostage. I guess looking for racism in derelict shopping malls and mocking conservatives just has a higher priority with the "enlightened" "writers" at Pandagon. But don't worry. The next time a Christian anywhere complains about the war on Christmas, I'm sure those intrepid truth-seekers will be right on it!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Thoughts and Prayers Are With Mike G. and His Family

Dana has a post up linking to a post by Jeromy Brown at Iowa Liberal that fellow blogger Mike Ganzeveld was mugged this weekend at a cash machine in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

From Jeromy's post:

I’ll try to do some more blogging this weekend while Mike recovers from a crazed attack by a bunch of disgruntled rightwing bloggers who were screaming, “Long live Sarah Palin!” They broke his hand and mashed up his face pretty well, but Mike managed to kill one and maim the genitals of another. He would have maimed the genitals of both, but as you already know one out of two rightwing bloggers are eunuchs.

The crazy thing is that only the part about the broken hand and the face is true, and it was a mugging at a cash machine in Fort Dodge, Iowa, folks. Fort Dodge. I blame the rap music. Okay, actually I mean Dana Pico blames the rap music. Let’s all hope for a speedy recovery and nice strong pain pills to tide him over in the meantime.


Dana's snarky response was awesome:
And, feeling some snarkiness license thanks to Mr Brown’s post, I’d point out the old maxim that a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged. I’m looking forward to Mike joining the staff of CSPT as soon as his hand heals!


I was upset by the news of this crime. I don't see eye to eye with Mike on everything, but I have enjoyed reading his posts and his comments always keep me on my toes. The blogosphere has its share of nutty, bad behavior, but rarely does it compare to real life. This is a reminder of the dangerous society we live in, even in places we don't think of as being unsafe. I mean, Fort Dodge, Iowa?

Here's praying for a speedy recovery for Mike and, as Dana has said, that the criminals are quickly caught, prosecuted, and jailed for this.

Shouldn't We Get to Blame the Clintons for the Economic Meltdown...

Since their Treasury Secretary is in charge of Citigroup? I'm sure if a former Bush official were in charge of some greedy financial institution, we'd be reading blog post after blog post about why George W. Bush is, somehow, personally responsible for the debacle. Why aren't lefty blogs castigating Democrats for this mess?

Oh, wait. I remember.

Shop Til You Drop?

This is why I don't shop on Black Friday.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sounds Oddly Familiar

I read about the verdict in this cyber-bullying case,

A Los Angeles federal jury today convicted a Missouri mother of misdemeanor charges in the nationally watched MySpace cyber-bullying case involving the suicide of a 13-year-old girl. But the jury rejected more serious felony charges against Lori Drew.

Drew, 49, was accused of violating federal computer statutes and one count of conspiracy for creating the MySpace account in the name of a fictitious 16-year-old boy and using it to engage in an online relationship with 13-year-old Megan Meier.

Meier, of Dardenne Prairie, Mo., hanged herself Oct. 16, 2006, after the fictitious boy, “Josh Evans,” told her the world would be a better place without her, prosecutors alleged.

and thought of a comment made by Jeromy Brown at this post:
to be honest, too deranged and dishonest to continue besmirching the Earth’s good soil and air with your existence


I have to admit that when Jeromy wrote that, I was shocked. Not because of the stupidity behind such hyperbole, but because it wouldn't occur to most people to write things like that, particularly over political disagreement.

Fortunately, I'm not a 16-year-old who doesn't realize there are lots of sadistic people out there in the world who like to hide behind the anonymity of the internet to say things that would get them, at the very least, a punch in the nose in real life. The slap on the wrist Drew received is outrageous.

I've seen a lot of bizarre things in the 10 years I've been trolling around the internet. I've always found it amazing the way people see anonymity as permission to behave in the most horrible fashion possible, usually over things that are not all that important. There are untold numbers of women bloggers, for example, who have been threatened with violence of every sort, and have been called crybabies or victims for pointing out the despicable nature of such acts. But these comments aren't acceptable in a civilized society, and most people recognize that.

Of course, there are whiners who behave as though such cyberbullying is directed only at them for saying unpopular things. Unfortunately, it's becoming de rigeur on the internet, so it does lose its potency after, say, the 500th attack of this nature. But even so, the Drew case should make people aware that these words, which would be actionable if said or written in real life, should not be tolerated in cyberspace.

Would a President Michelle Obama Still Have to Do the Housework?

I was going to make that "Would a President Michelle Obama Still Have to Cook the Turkey?" since I was going to write this yesterday but got busy (and, frankly, too content to write about such contentious issues).

The inspiration comes from this post by Echidne of the Snakes.

To pretend that it can be done only tells us that women can be a little more than the ever-hovering but silent and undemanding female angels traditionally assumed to take care of every successful man: they can also be the junior assistant office managers in the families of famous men.

Women can balance their own work, their partners' work, the children, the parents and grandparents, the Thanksgiving turkey, the birthday cards, the care of the sick, the need to look young and sexy, the dustbunnies under the beds, the school menus, the parental chauffeuring services. They can balance all that, somehow, while walking on the tightrope of cultural femininity, the demands of a labor market which still assumes that every worker has a little lady at home to give succor and psychological counseling and cleaning services. And then the woman-haters write how women don't have the same genius as men do, how no woman has ever invented something like the automobile or designed a great church, how women therefore are obviously biologically incapable of anything but -- well --- playing the role of Girl Fridays for famous men.

So I'm angry. How very awkward for me. But really, why can't we keep the limelight on the real question Ruth Marcus asked, for longer than one fleeting second: What can be done to make the sexual division of labor within families more egalitarian? And if we don't want to make those changes, how do we provide women with equal opportunities in other spheres of life? The answer must not focus on all the ways that women alone could somehow achieve that. Days are still only twenty-four hours long, even for us of the girly persuasion.

To my knowledge, women have always been expected to take charge of the home and the children. I've always assumed this is in part because women give birth to children and, therefore, spend a lot of time caring for them first. So, the tasks women have traditionally worked on were things that could be done with children in tow. Men, OTOH, have had the freedom--and responsibility--to go out and do the dangerous, tough things, which spurred them to greater skill and innovation in those pursuits. After agriculture was invented and animals were domesticated, men had more time to spare, and thus began inventing and philosophizing. But women still had to do the things they'd always done as far as taking care of the house and children.

So, what does all this have to do with musing about a President Michelle Obama still having to cook dinner and wash the pricey uniforms that her children will wear to their over-priced private school (can't have them attend public school. Oh, no!)? Echidne referenced this Ruth Marcus column, she noted that Michelle is "Mommy in Chief," and that she is still faced with the age-old problems women face in this life: balancing your individual needs with the rest of the family and why women must do this and men don't have to.
When Michelle Obama took to describing her new role as mom in chief, my first reaction was to wince at her words. My second reaction was to identify with them.

I was okay, actually, with what Obama said. But I worried: Did she have to say it out loud, quite so explicitly? Is it really good for the team -- the team here being working women -- to have the "mommy" stamp so firmly imprinted on her identity?

And most of all: What does it say about the condition of modern women that Obama, catapulted by her husband's election into the ranks of the most prominent, sounded so strangely retro -- more Jackie Kennedy than Hillary Clinton?

She is, after all -- by résumé, anyway -- more Hillary than Jackie. But the painful paradox of campaign 2008 is that it came tantalizingly close to giving us an Ivy League-educated female lawyer in the Oval Office but yielded an Ivy League-educated female lawyer sketching out a supremely traditional first lady role.

I'm not really sure what Marcus would have Michelle do; it's not like First Lady is a governmental role voted on by the American people or an administration post nominated by the president. She's just the president's wife. That we've decided being First Lady means something doesn't make it something.

And so, Michelle Obama, executive and attorney, is reduced to Mommy in Chief, whose biggest decision will be whether Malia gets waffles and Sasha gets the Cocoa Puffs of if it's the other way around. Ok, maybe she'll have to figure out which dress designer to use and how to conduct the First Lady teas or something, too. But we don't expect her to sit in on cabinet meetings or anything.

That trivializing of her life and accomplishments brings us back to my musing. If Michelle Obama were president, would Barack be expected to be Daddy in Chief, making sure the girls' socks matched and the homework was done? Or would he be allowed to be Something More than Mr. Michelle?

This was a question asked quite a bit during the election when the Left was constantly bashing Sarah Palin. One of the accusations hurled early on was that she wasn't vice presidential material because she wasn't a Good Mother. And how do we know she wasn't a Good Mother? Because she was a governor, which meant she had so many duties to concentrate on that she wasn't home to make the cheese dogs and discuss Alaskan energy policy on a regular basis.



So, would a President Michelle Obama be expected to discuss foreign policy while making Christmas cookies with her kidlets? I have mixed feelings about this one.

First, the Left is much more forgiving of liberal women when they don't live up to traditional expectations for women. Like my British mom told me about the Royals, "They are not people like you and me. They're better." That's the way liberals view liberal women.

But on the other hand, as this past election cycle showed, being a woman--liberal or conservative--holds you to an entirely different set of standards from those expected of men. So, in that sense, President Michelle Obama would be expected to prepare the Thanksgiving stuffing just like her great-grandmother had done it back in 1910, even as she dealt with foreign policy crises and economic questions.

In short, we are not so advanced that women are allowed not to be Mommy in Chief, regardless of what other roles in life we have.

Where's Joe Biden?

Bidentity Crisis: Where's Joe?

More than three weeks into the transition, and Vice-president elect Joe Biden generates less buzz than the non-existent first puppy.

The vice president-elect has not spoken publicly since the election, and was at Barack Obama's side just once this week as the president-elect delivered a series of grim news conferences on the economy.

Obama instead appears to be at the center of his longtime Chicago circle.

Biden was just designed to give Obama foreign policy experience (even though Biden hadn't done anything, either). His job is done.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

For Thanksgiving

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.

John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary. Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer.

For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.

The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said, "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."

John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a traumatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

Happy Thanksgiving!

"The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations."

—George Washington, letter to Thomas Nelson, August 20, 1778

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The New Political Reality

I agree with Robert Stacy McCain, and, by extension, Matthew Yglesias when they say that, come January, Republicans will be irrelevant to the governing of the U.S.

There's plenty of talk about "bipartisanship," but that's just more Democrat bullshit trying to cover their asses and drag Republicans into making sorry-ass deals to get some pork for their constituents. If Republicans are smart, they'll allow Democrats to actually govern for the next two to four years and give Americans that government they supposedly voted for. Giving Dems bipartisan cover shouldn't be in the negotiations.

Democrats don't need Republicans to pass a single piece of legislation over the next two years. They have such big majorities in both houses of Congress, that they can do what they want. And that's what should scare the pants off all Americans.

One of the keys to organizing a GOP resistance will be denying Obama and the Democrats the mantle of "bipartisanship" for any of their key measures. That is to say, House and Senate Republicans need to make sure that they whip the maximum number of "no" votes on Obama's agenda items, so that in 2010, they are in position to hang that agenda around the Democrats' necks in the midterms.

Taking the Civics Test

The test is here. I scored 93.94%.

Evidently, most people--including, I assume those unfortunate Obama voters who didn't know who controls Congress--didn't do so well.

Kevin Drum notes that everyone did badly, but Baby Boomers did somewhat better.

Other ISI findings, by the way, include these: the more education you have, the better you do; it doesn't matter much what kind of university you went to, whether you go to church, or what your politics are; watching lots of TV is bad for your score; and reading lots of history is good for your score.

That 50 Miles Makes a Huge Difference

In crime rate rankings, that is.

CITIES OF 500,000 OR MORE POPULATION (33 CITIES)

Lowest Crime Rate

1. Honolulu, HI

2. New York, NY

3. El Paso, TX

4. San Jose, CA

5. Austin, TX

6. San Diego, CA

7. Seattle, WA

8. Los Angeles, CA

9. San Antonio, TX

10. Fort Worth, TX

Ranking Highest Crime Rate Ranking

1. Detroit, MI

2. Baltimore, MD

3. Memphis, TN

4. Washington, DC

5. Philadelphia, PA

6. Milwaukee, WI

7. Indianapolis, IN

8. Dallas, TX

9. Columbus, OH

10. Houston, TX


Notice that New Orleans, even smaller, is still the worst. Hmm.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The McCain Campain Ads that Didn't Run

I haven't spent much time in Coulda Shoulda Woulda Land since the election because there's not much point. In a year with everything against him, John McCain did incredibly well (and had a real chance to win until the financial meltdown). But, as most conservatives were well aware, there were plenty of ads that should have been run but were not because everything (skinny, community organizer, Jeremiah Wright, celebrity) was racism.

What if the McCain campaign had run ads using footage of Barack Obama dancing with Ellen DeGeneres to show his coziness with celebrity? Or followed up on its Paris Hilton ad with others featuring Donald Trump and Jessica Simpson? All of that was on the drawing board of Fred Davis III, the advertising whiz that John McCain has used for almost all of his campaign media and one of the most talented conservative political operatives in America...

"My favorite ad of the campaign was as simple as it could be," Davis said. "And it started out something like, 'Long before the world knew of John McCain or Barack Obama, one of them spent five years in a hellhole because he refused early release to honor his fellow prisoners, while the other one wouldn't walk out of a church after 20 years of the guy spewing hatred towards America.' And the last line was, 'Character matters, especially when no one is listening.' " The ad never ran, however, because McCain ruled the topic of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the preacher of Obama's Chicago church, out of bounds shortly after he locked up the Republican nomination.

McCain's campaign was called racist from the get-go and don't think Obama didn't use fears of racism throughout his campaign, both against Hillary Clinton and John McCain. In fact, if times get tough, we'll be hearing that criticism of Obama as president is racism.
Davis says that concern about race played a major role in the entire aesthetic of McCain's ads. The photographs of Obama that the ads used, for instance, which often showed Obama elongated and smiling, were carefully selected, he recalls. "We chose them with only one thing in mind, and that is to not make them bad pictures because bad pictures would be seen as racist," Davis says. "How many shots in their ads did they use a John McCain [photo] looking decent and smiling?" He says the campaign also agonized over the music in the ads, paying special care not to play drum-heavy tracks that could be seen as an African tribal reference. "We were held to a totally different standard," he says.

The Affirmative Action candidate was held to a different standard. Will the Affirmative Action president be held to a different standard, as well?

Blacklisting?

Most students today learn about the evils of McCarthyism and the Hollywood blacklist. The point, of course, is that taking away someone's livelihood because of their political beliefs is wrong.

So, where do all those Hollywood types, who are always telling us how Republicans want to bring back the age of McCarthyism, to defend those who supported Prop 8 in California? Seems like some want a return of the blacklist.

Other targets include Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that puts on both the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Spirit Awards; the Cinemark theater chain; and the Sundance Film Festival.

In Film Independent's case, the board has defended the continued employment of Richard Raddon, the Mormon director of the L.A. Film Festival who donated $1,500 to support Proposition 8. Cinemark is under siege because Chief Executive Alan Stock gave $9,999 to support the same-sex marriage ban. And in a sign of a powerful ripple effect, Sundance, perhaps the American institution that has done the most to support gay filmmakers and gay cinema, is being targeted because it screens films in a Cinemark theater...

Gregg Araki, director of the critically acclaimed gay cult hit "Mysterious Skin" and an influential figure in "new queer cinema," has said he won't allow his films to be shown there, while others, such as "Milk" producers and gay activists Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, say they're going to "study in depth all the facets of our specific situation before making a decision."

Araki says Raddon should step down. "I don't think he should be forcibly removed. The bottom line is if he contributed money to a hateful campaign against black people, or against Jewish people, or any other minority group, there would be much less excusing of him. The terrible irony is that he runs a film festival that is intended to promote tolerance and equality."

Many liberals hate it when you point out that free speech includes speech with which you disagree, and that if one actually supports free speech, it naturally means that you support others' rights to it. That means that I may not have wanted to see Brokeback Mountain or Milk, but I respect and support the right of others to do so.

This concept seems to be lost on much of the Left, who thinks that disagreement equals "hate speech" and such must be suppressed. They'll tell you that supporting traditional marriage is "hate speech" but wanting to alter marriage irrevocably is "tolerance." But I can't see anything more intolerant than telling someone that they don't have the right to support propositions with which they agree because some subsection of society has decided it's wrong.

From Jeff at Protein Wisdom:
(I)n order to make such a lynch mob palatable, the framing has to be manipulated to turn a disagreement over beliefs and public policy into something far more sinister — namely, “hate” or an abuse of civil rights.

But of course, the question of gay marriage is only a civil rights issue to most of those who support it; to most of those who support a ban on gay marriage, the issue is not one of civil rights or hatred at all, but rather one of public policy, a fidelity to the sanctity of the traditional definition of marriage, and (in some cases) a check against what they believe to be a legalized slippery slope. To others, the issue is, in fact, a religious one, insofar as it goes against the teachings of their church — but religion should only matter to marriages sanctified by a church.

The Left likes to talk in terms of "hatred" for this group or that issue, rather than support for some traditional notion of the subject. But the fact is that, while there are many homophobic people who, I'm sure, voted for Prop 8 out of hatred, there were far more who voted for Prop 8 because they believe the traditional notion of marriage--between one man and one woman--is the one they wish to support. Some may do this out of tradition. Some may do it out of a religious obligation. Some may do it because it makes the most sense to them. But regardless, it's not hateful to think traditional marriage is what we should be supporting.

On the other side, though, blacklisting is permissible as long as it only hurts certain people.

Obama vs. Catholics

Remember when pro-lifers sounded the alarm on Barack Obama's extremely pro-choice record? Remember the liberals who came unglued when I pointed out that Obama wasn't just for abortion before birth, but actualy thought it was permissible to allow babies who survived abortion to die? And remember when conservatives pointed out that Obama has promised that "the first thing he'd do as president" was sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law, which would sweep away all state restrictions on abortion, including parental notification, waiting periods and informed consent?

Well, I guess some people are finally beginning to realize what it means.

What in the world were these bishops talking about, claiming that religious freedom in America was under attack? Keep up the hysterics, boys, I thought as I scanned the latest story, and this will be birth control all over again: Your lips are moving but no one can hear you. And the most ludicrous line out of them, surely, was about how, under Obama, Catholic hospitals that provide obstetric and gynecological services might soon be forced to perform abortions or close their doors. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago warned of "devastating consequences" to the health care system, insisting Obama could force the closure of all Catholic hospitals in the country. That's a third of all hospitals, providing care in many neighborhoods that are not exactly otherwise overprovided for. It couldn't happen, could it?

You wouldn't think so. Only, I am increasingly convinced that it could.

Like Catholic Charities in Boston, Catholic hospitals will simply shut down rather than be forced to perform acts against their beliefs. That's one thing about that Big C Catholic church: when they say abortion is murder and they won't perform them, they mean it.
Though it's often referred to as a mere codification of Roe, FOCA, as currently drafted, actually goes well beyond that: According to the Senate sponsor of the bill, Barbara Boxer, in a statement on her Web site, FOCA would nullify all existing laws and regulations that limit abortion in any way, up to the time of fetal viability. Laws requiring parental notification and informed consent would be tossed out. While there is strenuous debate among legal experts on the matter, many believe the act would invalidate the freedom-of-conscience laws on the books in 46 states. These are the laws that allow Catholic hospitals and health providers that receive public funds through Medicaid and Medicare to opt out of performing abortions. Without public funds, these health centers couldn't stay open; if forced to do abortions, they would sooner close their doors. Even the prospect of selling the institutions to other providers wouldn't be an option, the bishops have said, because that would constitute "material cooperation with an intrinsic evil."

Who would be the ones hurt if Catholic hospitals close? Why the poor, of course. The same people that we're told need taxpayer-funded abortions. I guess there are those who think no hospital is better than hospitals which don't kill inconvenient babies.

As the author points out, the good news is that FOCA, in this form, has not been voted on in 15 years, and there are a number of pro-life Democrats in Congress now. There's no way of knowing whether FOCA would even get sent to a President Obama for a signature. But that's the same thing we said about McCain-Feingold and we all know where that got us.

Plenty of Catholics voted for Obama on the appeal of "change" and a disaffection for George Bush and Republicans in general. Somehow, I don't think FOCA was the "change" they were believin' in.

Monday, November 24, 2008

LOL of the Day

Via Brothers Judd, this post:

The polling data on these voters released last week by John Zogby may have confirmed what many of us had suspected for months - - that millions of Americans who supported the Obama candidacy knew essentially nothing about him - - but that doesn’t dismiss the fact that Obama sold people on the idea of “change.” And based on the left-wing reaction to the Clinton re-emergence, “change” was taken to mean not merely a reversal of the past eight years, but an un-doing of the past couple of decades.

This has left-wingers outraged. Obama spent much of the past two years vowing to end the “senseless war in Iraq.” As he stood on stage with Hillary Clinton and John Edwards for those seemingly never-ending Democratic debates, he took every opportunity imaginable to remind us that he was the only candidate who had always opposed the war in Iraq. Yet, now he may be about to appoint a “war supporter” to head up the Department of State. That’s not “change,” and it’s not hopeful - - at least not to those who have been caught-up in the Obama trance.

Similarly, Obama spent a lot of time and energy earlier this year brutalizing Mrs. Clinton in front of fearful blue collar workers, assuring them that “free trade,” and Mrs. Clinton’s previous support of the “N.A.F.T.A.” agreement, were the reasons that jobs were moving overseas and their futures were uncertain. He also assured voters that “N.A.F.T.A.” would be reigned-in when he became President. Yet now, Obama has appointed as his Chief Of Staff Rahm Emanuel, a man who, along with Bill Clinton, bucked the Democratic party’s wishes, and helped bring about the N.A.F.T.A. agreement in the 1990’s.

And then there is Obama’s selection of Timothy Geithner for Treasury. When the news broke last Friday afternoon that the New York Federal Reserve Chairman had been tapped for the new administration, Wall Street surged upward and ended in plus territory. Seemingly, Obama’s choice provided some calm and assurance to a financial world gripped with the fear that Obama would actually attempt to radically realign America’s economic structures, as he promised from the campaign trail.

Yet once again, Obama’s selection of a man who arguably has ties to both the Bush Administration, and the centrist policies of the Clinton Administration, is a slap in the face to those who were hypnotized by his campaign rhetoric about impugning “the rich.”

And after months of running against the “failed policies of George W. Bush,” Geithner’s selection painfully suggests to the Obamanicas that maybe, just maybe, Bush 43 wasn’t such a failure after all.

It would be reassuring if Obama were not the radical his past has suggested, but it will be way more fun watching liberals defending what they've opposed for eight years.

Why Aren't We...

Going after the lenders?

This discrimination is at the core of a number of lawsuits advocates have filed across the country over the last year. Several of the cases focus on a particularly devious practice: Without borrower knowledge, many mortgage brokers received a commission from the lender for persuading a borrower to accept a higher loan interest rate than what the bank was otherwise willing to offer. The lawsuits claim that such commissions were paid more often in loans to African-Americans and Latinos than in loans to whites, revealing, again, that lenders often charged borrowers of color more than their white counterparts. As these suits progress, and the groups suing gain access to lenders' and brokers' records—e-mails, internal memoranda, training materials, and other documents—we are likely to learn more about the practices of the lenders who are the defendants and about the industry in general.

Discriminating lenders were not the only problem with the housing market that courts should now address. Mortgage brokers rushed into poor communities with exotic subprime loans during the early part of this decade, because these communities were underserved by traditional banks. During the height of the market, nearly half of all subprime loans went through a broker, compared with only 28 percent of prime loans. Brokers also dominated loans made to borrowers of color: 64 percent of African-American borrowers used a broker, compared with only 38 percent of white borrowers.

The problem with this wasn't the mortgage brokers per se. It was that many prospective borrowers wrongly assumed that the brokers were working in the borrower's best interest. But in most states, mortgage brokers do not owe any duty to the borrower to find the best possible deal. Many brokers relied on borrowers' ignorance of the mortgage market to pursue higher commissions and other financial perks for themselves. In much of the country, there's no legal remedy for this. But a few states require that brokers avoid conflicts of interest and pursue the best deal for the borrower. These states include California, home to about one-quarter of the mortgages in the United States that are in some stage of foreclosure. The Department of Justice, the state attorney general, legal-services attorneys, volunteer lawyers, and law students should all be poring over California loan documents to smoke out the brokers who violated their legally mandated duties to their clients. If a significant number of loans in California alone could be altered, consistent with the borrowers' abilities to pay, either through litigation or its threat, the federal government wouldn't have to pay as much for a national bailout.

To date, none of the proposed homeowner-rescue plans acknowledges that a significant number of the homeowners who are in distress were the victims of predatory and illegal practices. Opponents of the plans currently on the table raise three serious objections: First, any massive loan rescue would be costly; second, borrowers in good standing might intentionally default on their mortgages to benefit from a bailout; and third, investors holding securities backed by subprime loans will balk at loan modifications that diminish their already depreciated investments and will sue to stop such efforts.

Going after the lawbreakers helps to address these concerns. It would not only lower the cost of the rescue plan by reducing the number of borrowers needing help, it would also direct assistance only to those people who were victims of illegal conduct and insulate the loan modifications from litigation by investors looking to preserve their investments. Investors won't challenge loan restructuring when the underlying loans were made on illegal terms. You don't lend your horse to Jesse James and then sue the stagecoach he robbed to get it back. Investors will have to redirect their fire from the borrowers to the brokers and lenders who did the fancy loan footwork—and perhaps the ratings agencies that blessed it.

There's been a lot of finger-pointing as to who is responsible for the subprime mortgage mess we're in. Democrats, specifically, deserve a very large helping of the blame, since it was their regulations that allowed and encouraged the sorts of lending practices that created this problem.

Borrowers, willing to believe in the Tooth Fairy, deserve another heaping helping of the blame. You can't believe that an interest-only loan is a good investment. I'm sorry, I don't believe that anyone is so ignorant as to not understand such loans on expensive homes are very risky. I think people took these types of loans knowing they would be kicked out in 3-5 years, but at least, they would get to live in a nice home until then.

But then there's the lenders, who were not merely compelled to offer loans to unqualified borrowers. They made the loans knowing they could shuffle them off to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and, eventually, the taxpayers. There was little or no risk in these situations, so why shouldn't the lenders make the most ridiculous loans possible? And just as the banks have used the bailout money to buy up other institutions, it's perfectly obvious that some businesses are not going to do the right thing now, just as they didn't do it before. Why aren't we pursuing criminal charges?

Lunatics on the Left

Liberals can be cute in that puppy-peeing-on-the-carpet earnest way they have about them, but then, you have the lunatics who think Iran is wonderful (even as they have to keep their heads covered because women are stinky, y'know) and the useful idiots who compare America with Hitler's Germany. Stop the ACLU has the analysis.

One question: what will these people do when Obama doesn't reverse all (or almost any, really) of George Bush's policies?

Forced Unionization and Bailing Out the Auto Industry

Bismarck sent me a link that went to this video:



I live in a right-to-work state, so, I'm always amazed when I hear about people who are forced to pay union dues, then watch the union use their money for candidates and positions they don't support.

Barack Obama is a big union supporter, and has promised to do everything possible to force companies to accept the unionization of employees (whether those employees want it or not).

All of this comes to mind while watching the Big 3 fat cats fly to Washington on private jets to ask for taxpayer money to bailout their companies...again. Regardless of how much more a worker for Ford makes versus a Toyota employee, the bottom line is that Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler aren't making cars people want. That's why they are losing money. I can't see why we should be on the hook for more terrible business practices.

Everybody Deserves a Trophy

Down in this comment thread, Thomas Tallis said the following:

Actually, the reason Democrats claim to want universal health care (most don't, or we'd have it already) is twofold - first, it would cost the country less in the long run and in the fairly short run; preventative medicine is much, much cheaper than the alternatives; second, the accusation that Democrats believe in a "nanny state" is partly accurate - Democrats are into the idea of taking care of people, that one of the jobs of the state is to care for its citizens. Whether 1) that's true or 2) desirable or 3) sustainable is something people can have an honest debate about. What's not open for debate is that this:

The reason Democrats want universal health care is because, like Social Security before it, it will shift an entire generation to the Left.
is one of the dumbest things I've ever read, and I've read a fair amount of dumb things. Congratulations on your totally unsubstantiated tinfoil hat conspiracy thinking! It's a riot!

I always like when someone tries to make their political party sound all altruistic, like it's not about getting votes by promising, oh, say, 95% of Americans are gonna get a tax break or something ridiculous like that.

The fact is, Democrats are always looking at ways to create more straight ticket voters, the sorts of voters who don't bother thinking about each candidate, but who reflexively vote for one party. Of course, Republicans do this, too, but given the fact that Democrats controlled the purse strings for the vast majority of the 20th Century, it's safe to discuss this in terms of their giveaways.

Social Security, the most successful entitlement program to date, made one generation beholden to the Democrats by eliminating most elderly poverty in this country. Of course, the fact that it was a Ponzi scheme and the Day of Reckoning is coming was irrelevant in the 1930s. FDR wasn't too concerned about my kids being forced to pay for all those people who thought having kids was a problem (and their old folks, to boot).

But to argue that universal health care is the latest way Democrats are trying to create a permanent Democrat voting bloc is neither original nor crazy. Just as each party will try to prevent Social Security reform when the other party is in power, universal health care has the same political risks. Whoever gets it passed will be a savior for at least a generation, until all the wheels start falling off and the engine stops running.

I could go into the reasons universal health care doesn't work and is, in fact, being changed because it is bankrupting most countries that have it, but I've discussed that before (see here, here, here, here, here, and here for a few examples). But the fact is, Americans think the idea of somebody else paying for their health care is a great idea. Most Americans don't have experience with socialized medicine and the downsides of it (say goodbye to new drugs and hello to 12 hour waits to see a doctor you didn't choose!), so they won't realize till it's too late that socialized medicine can be summed up in two words: it sucks.

How is it possible that we've gone from a large majority of Americans supporting private medicine (67% in 1998) to a similar majority insisting on socialized medicine (55% in 2006)? I suspect there are a couple of reasons:
1. Democrats have spent 15 years telling us we need universal health care and that Americans want it.

2. Everybody deserves a trophy.

What's that? You haven't heard of Everybody Deserves a Trophy? Then maybe you don't have kids in sports, where even the last place losers get trophies.

I'm using EDT as shorthand for the moocher class we've created in America, where people think they deserve something without having to actually do anything to get it. You see this in many areas in life, but we've now got a whole generation of 20-somethings who have been raised to think they deserve a certificate just for showing up (perfect attendance!). So, if people think they deserve praise just for existing, why not assume that the government is going to make all those tough decisions about things like retirement and health care, too?

Look, I've lived without health insurance and it sucks, there's no way around that. But the government already has programs to cover the poor, the elderly, and even children. The idea that able-bodied adults are not capable of either buying health insurance on their own or getting a job with benefits is ridiculous. My beef with the insurance industry is that once you'd had something like cancer, you couldn't even buy catastrophic insurance.

I could be a hardliner and point out that insurance shouldn't be paying for doctor's visits and pills, because doing that just encourages more of both. That's why most insurance charges some sort of fee for emergency room visits; people were (and still are) using the E.R. like their general practicioner. The fee keeps that down some.

But I'm not even going to go that far. I agree with rules that require insurance companies to offer insurance at reasonable rates (don't ask me what that is) for everyone. And I don't even mind mandatory insurance requirements, although it doesn't work very well for car insurance, as anyone who's been hit by an uninsured motorist knows. But once the government starts paying the bills, it will start telling you the kind of care you can get, when you can get it, and how much you get to have. That's called rationing.

In Everybody Deserves a Trophy land, it's just unfair that some people don't have insurance and that they might have to pay full price for their birth control pills. But one thing my experience has taught me is that pain (in the form of not having insurance) will spur you to change (we found a job with excellent insurance). Once the government offers health insurance, companies will stop, and that means that we all may get the same trophy, but no one will want that ugly, cheap, stinky thing on their mantle.

Happy Endings

Sent to me by an old friend:

You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus:

1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.

2. An old friend who once saved your life.

3. The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car?

Think before you continue reading. This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application.

You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first.

Or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back.

However , you may never be able to find your perfect mate again.

The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer. He simply answered:

'I would give the car keys to my old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital.

I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams.'

Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations. Never forget to 'Think outside of the Box.'

HOWEVER...

The correct answer is to run the old lady over and put her out of her misery, have sex with the perfect partner on the hood of the car, then drive off with the old friend for a few beers.

God, I just love happy endings!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Start

This video outlines the Southwest-to-Northeast-Rail corridor that is supposed to be operational by 2013 (I'll believe that when I see it.)



The rail line goes through some of the heaviest populated parts of the city and can take people to the airport, as well, which is a big plus. But this is only a start. It isn't particularly useful for me because the stations are nowhere near where I live, and I'm not sure how close they are to places people really shop. If Tarrant County adds buses around these stations, it might be more helpful, but I'm not certain what the plans are.

Certainly, Fort Worth and Dallas desperately need transportation alternatives to cars. The roads that have been planned are toll roads (I won't use those) and most people are not going to be happy with that. The current freeway system is completely inadequate for handling the traffic, and that will only get worse with time.

This is a good and exciting first start for mass transit here.

Now That the MSM Are Acknowledging Their Bias...

What are they going to do about it?

WPA 2.0

Obama's job creation program sounds an awful lot like the We Piddle Around program from the 1930s.

"We'll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges; modernizing schools that are failing our children; and building wind farms and solar panels, fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technology that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years head," he said.

Compare that to
Between 1935 and 1943 the WPA provided almost 8 million laborers to build public buildings, projects and roads

Is this any different?

From The Other McCain:
This is nothing but orthodox Keynesianism, and it won't work, because Keynes was wrong. The secret to economic growth is not government "investment," it's increasing the capital supply. And it's not exactly a secret, either.


But--but it's Uber-Obama Keynesianism so it's bound to work this time!

Go to a thriving Southern or Western state (North Carolina, Arizona, Texas, etc.) and you'll find yourself traveling on well-maintained modern roads, occasionally obstructed by construction of improvements -- extra lanes, upgraded exit ramps, repaving, etc. Now travel around the Rust Belt states and note the general dilapidation of the highways. You can't miss the poorly-designed freeway ramps built 40 years ago, or the narrowness of highway shoulders because the state went cheap on right-of-way acquisition.

It's hard to argue against roads and bridges, and if Obama is determined to expand the government, this is a better way than hiring a bunch of bureaucrats to decide if someone making $40k a year is poor or not.

But when Obama announces the "raking leaves in the park" initiative, we'll know where he got that idea from.

Trolls

Why do trolls try to get banned? I've been at a couple of sites recently where someone bragged about creating so much trouble on someone else's site that the person had been banned. That behavior leaves me scratching my head. What is the point?

I'm sure if you want, you can get banned pretty quickly at most sites. But I fail to see the point of that. When I go to liberal sites, I like to argue and debate a topic or else drop a comment and move on. I can't imagine being proud of being such an annoying jerk that you get banned.

Whiners

I really hate whiners.

Last month, mike g complained that I had referenced a post at Iowa Liberal without the courtesy of a link. I could think of two occasions when this had happened: one I deliberately didn't link and the other, the link was broken.

But in an attempt at civility, I decided to link while knocking down every argument in this post. And what did that get? More of the typical non-arguments.

Well, ok. I won't bother linking to ya anymore, even while snickering at the pathetic arguments made (Republicans wrote the legislation the last two years? Really?) But when reality sinks in that your party is in charge and you still try to blame Bush/Republicans/conservatives/Christians/the sun/the moon, you'll at least be able to retreat to your echo chamber in peace.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Killing Conservatism?

This is frightening.

The reason Democrats want universal health care is because, like Social Security before it, it will shift an entire generation to the Left. Worse, once implemented, it will be nearly impossible to eliminate, and change will become a third rail.

Republicans would face the same problem with healthcare that they currently do with Social Security, persuading people to trade one in the hand (the current system) for two in the bush (a reformed system). And we see how well that has worked out. Combine Obamacare with plans to take away the tax-advantaged status of 401(k) plans and IRAs and you would end up with government responsible for both healthcare and retirement. The big-government constituency would grow and deepen. And remember that fewer and fewer people are paying the incomes taxes that would help pay for increased government services. That breakage of the linkage between taxes and government "benefits" creates toxic incentives for more of both — and an economy more shackled than ever by taxes, debt, and regulation.

People like the idea of something for nothing. And the fact that more and more of the tax burden is being shouldered by a smaller and smaller fraction of the population makes it more attractive to the moocher class. Sadly, these same people will be shocked and perplexed when knee replacements, heart surgery, cancer drugs and MRIs become unavailable to them because the cost is too high. But rationing is the only way socialized medicine controls costs. Sure, it's not too bad for children; but if you are 63 years old and want a hip replacement, you won't get it.
John McCain's healthcare plan was perhaps the most provocative policy proposal of the entire 2008 campaign. Too bad he could neither fully explain how it worked nor persuasively argue why it was better than Barack Obama's plan. Also too bad since his plan would have smartly reduced healthcare costs by getting companies out of the healthcare benefits business and empowering individuals to buy insurance on their own. This would have helped fix what economist Arnold Kling calls the insurance vs. insulation problem: "Insulation relieves the patient of the stress of making decisions about treatment. The patient also does not have to worry about shopping around for the best price. The problem with insulation is that it is not a sustainable form of healthcare finance."

Republicans need to do all they can to block Obamacare. It is not only terrible from the patient's point of view, but a disaster for the GOP.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Speaking the Truth

Michael Steele:

"The problem is that within the operations of the RNC, they don't give a damn. It's all about outreach ... and outreach means let's throw a cocktail party, find some black folks and Hispanics and women, wrap our arms around them - 'See, look at us,' " he said.

"And then we go back to same old, same old. There's nothing that is driven down to the state party level, where state chairmen across the country, to the extent they don't appreciate it, are helped to appreciate the importance of African-Americans and women and others coming and being a part of this party, and to the extent that they do appreciate it, are given support and backup to generate their own programs to create this relationship."

Demographics are the new politics.

Headed to a City Near You: The Bad Manners Police

Via Lone Star Times, comes this.

Practicing bad manners by refusing to give up your Sun Metro seat to an elderly or disabled person could get you in trouble, and not just with Mom.
Starting this week, the police could become involved, too.

The City Council on Tuesday voted 7-0 to adopt a new ordinance that makes it a Class C misdemeanor for an able-bodied person younger than 65 to deny a seat to elderly or disabled passengers in specifically marked areas of each Sun Metro bus.

Violators of the new ordinance could be fined up to $500.

What about pregnant women? When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I took a trip to England to visit relatives and was surprised at how many people would not give up a seat for me. Amusingly, elderly women were most likely to give me their seats. But men, generally, would make it a point not to look at me, even with my protruding belly at eye level. ;)

Frankly, I think mandating good manners in this way is silly. But can't you see the incremental creep here? First elderly and disabled, then pregnant women, then the obese, then...

This is Progress?

eHarmony Forced to Offer Same Sex Dating Service.

eHarmony, a Christian-targeted dating website, gets sued by a gay man demanding that the business match him up with a same-sex partner. The New Jersey Attorney General intervenes on behalf of the gay plaintiff and forces eHarmony to change its entire business model. To be clear: The company never refused to do business with anyone. Their great “sin” was not providing a specialized service that litigious gay people demanded they provide.

These sorts of suits always irritate me because they are invariably brought by someone just wanting to make a fast buck. Are there really lots of gay people clamoring to use eHarmony's 29 dimensions of compatibility to find a life partner? Somehow, I expect that homosexuals looking for love go to LGBT dating services.

Shakesville is exasperated, but for different reasons.
Another aspect of this story that is irritating me is that "winning," in this case really means setting up a portal for LGBTQI folks to send their money to a group that hates them. In case you weren't aware, eHarmony is run by a evangelical with strong ties to the ultra-right wing Christian community. He was buddies with James Dobson, for Maude's sake (although he's "distanced" himself from Dobson, for a variety of reasons). Let's just say they were probably voting Yes on 8.

Maybe this will set up more protests, complete with threats and press coverage, for the No on 8 crowd.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

California Supreme Court Set to Overturn the Will of the Voters (Again)?

One of the differences between the Left and the Right is our approach to problems. When liberals lose, they call people names, issue threats, march in the streets and assault people. They threaten the tax exempt status of churches which have the nerve to preach from the Bible. They try to intimidate businesses and get employees fired for the audacity of supporting causes with which the Left disagrees.

The Right is not like this. Before the election, there were claims that if Obama won, angry, white McCain supporters would riot, burning down businesses and possibly killing people (ok, I made that last part up, but the link about rioting was real). Of course, McCain supporters did not do this. They accepted the election results and, in fact, have stated that Obama is America's president, not just the Democrats'. There's a statement you've never heard from the left.

But if there was a situation that could induce angry protests, this just might do it.

The California Supreme Court agreed today to review legal challenges to Prop. 8, the voter initiative that restored a ban on same-sex marriage, but refused to permit gay weddings to resume pending a ruling...

Gay rights advocates argue that the measure was actually a constitutional revision, instead of a more limited amendment. A revision of the state Constitution can be placed before the voters only by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or a constitutional convention.

Lawsuits to overturn the initiative contend it was a revision because it denied equal protection to a minority group and eviscerated a key constitutional guarantee. Supporters of Proposition 8 counter that it merely amended the constitution by restoring a traditional definition of marriage.

Crushing the will of the voters for the second time in a year would, quite possibly, cause the sort of uproar we're always warned that conservatives are guilty of. Frankly, I find it disgusting that the court seems to be so hellbent on defying democracy.

Is Kathleen Parker Trying to be Andrew Sullivan

I have to agree with Jonah Goldberg that this "let's eat our own" schtick that has infected certain pundits, causing them to debase and denegrate certain factions in the GOP. Here's from Parker's column today:

As Republicans sort out the reasons for their defeat, they likely will overlook or dismiss the gorilla in the pulpit.

Three little letters, great big problem: G-O-D.

I'm bathing in holy water as I type.

To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

If Kathleen Parker wants the Republicans to become the permanent minority she remembers from her youth, that's her opinion. But I fail to see how mocking and sneering at a certain faction of the party is going to make us a majority.

Calling committed Christians "oogedy-boogedy" will get you a lot more invites to Chris Matthews show (and probably Keith Olbermann's), and that may be the point. But as Jonah Goldberg writes, it's getting old really fast.
I don't know what's more grating, the quasi-bigotry that has you calling religious Christians low brows, gorillas and oogedy-boogedy types or the bravery-on-the-cheap as you salute — in that winsome way — your own courage for saying what (according to you) needs to be said. Please stop bragging about how courageous you are for weathering a storm of nasty email you invite on yourself by dancing to a liberal tune. You aren't special for getting nasty email, from the right or the left. You aren't a martyr smoking your last cigarette. You're just another columnist, talented and charming to be sure, but just another columnist. You are not Joan of the Op-Ed Page. Perhaps the typical Washington Post reader (or editor) doesn't understand that. But you should, and most conservatives familiar with these issues can see through what you're doing.

For the record, I have no problem with arguments about how the GOP has become too religious. I ended my book with pretty much that argument. I opposed Mike Huckabee vociferously because he seemed the quintessential rightwing progressive imbued with a rightwing social gospel. These are all good arguments to make and they have good responses to them. But please drop the nonsense about how the G-O-D people or the Palin people are low brows and beasts. There are low brows and beasts everywhere, on every side of the ideological spectrum. Maybe if you got more ecumenical hate email you'd realize that.


Parker's not courageous or "speaking truth to power." She's a whiner. She gets hate mail? Really? Gosh, like no one who writes anything anywhere doesn't get that. Left, right or centrist, you're gonna get a large volume of hate mail from time to time. Some people will argue that you should be dead or (if a woman) raped. Others will try to threaten your livelihood. Some people are low enough to say disgusting things about your family and children.

Well, guess what, Kathleen? Time to put on your big girl panties and stop acting like a whiny baby. You're no martyr. Just a whiner. You don't like the fact that Sarah Palin was hugely popular with the base and you aren't.

There are arguments that can be made about the place of religious people within the GOP, or the emphasis the party should place on social values. But insulting a committed constituency isn't going to grow the party at all. But maybe, like Andrew Sullivan, you aren't really all that concerned about the party.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Parallel Universe Inhabited by Democrats

That's really the only explanation I can come up with for posts like this one.

Bush got nearly all of the appointments he wanted along with a blind eye turned to rampant illegal surveillance. I can’t think of a single case outside of SCHIP where there was a substantial ideological debate that would fall into the category of gridlock inducing partisanship. “Liberal” Democrats routinely fell in line and cow-towed to any and all Republican demands not to mention the fact that several Bush proposals were stymied by Republicans and not Democrats. That’s why I find this pearl-clutching by the wingnuts over the trad and ritualistic kid-glove treatment Obama is receiving from the press completely baffling considering that during the Bush administration the media ran right along with the idea that anyone who disagreed with the president’s policies was a seditious coddler of terrorists. How dare they question our Commander In Chief during war time!? The press has always been more deferential to Republican presidents than it is to Democrats and pretending that the media is perpetually stacked against them has been part of the radical right MO for the past twenty years and it is absolutely ridiculous to recommend bipartisan ship after eight years of the most partisan administration this country has ever seen.

I've been blogging the last two years, which has included post after post after post after post with examples of biased and negative coverage in the MSM and the fact is, the MSM is overwhelmingly positive when it covers Democrats and overwhelmingly negative when it covers Republicans. I'm not just talking about campaign coverage, which was so lopsided that only a complete idiot would believe the coverage was fair. No, I'm talking about coverage of every issue for the eight years George W. Bush has been president.

Let's put the above mentioned statement in perspective: When Democrats swept Congress in 2006, Nancy Pelosi promised civility and bipartisanship. But that's not what we got. Instead, we got massive spending bills, calls to slowly bleed our military dry (and thus lose the war in Iraq), and the filibustering of Bush's judicial nominees. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have tried repeatedly to steamroll over Republicans and the sitting president by threatening, insulting and cajoling them at every turn. This includes multiple attempts to defund the war (without taking the blame for it) and rolling back various measures such as the Patriot Act and FISA laws.

If Democrats haven't accomplished these things, it's not for a lack of trying. The fact is that a presidential veto has prevented a variety of disasterous and foolish legislation from becoming law. But in no way does that constitute Democrats rolling over (or, more laughably, the press fawning over Republicans).

This is why I think Democrats inhabit a parallel universe, one where Democrats haven't been in charge of Congress for two years and are responsible for what has come out of it. Rather, they must live in a world, like those set in comic books, where Republicans are always evil geniuses who seemingly defy all laws, both manmade and natural, to win every battle until the end when Captain Democrat figures out how to save the world. Because in the real world, the MSM has never been nicer to Republicans than Democrats and Dems have run Congress like the Keystone Cops. And arguments that contain hyperbole like "eight years of the most partisan administration this country has ever seen" just sounds like someone who's been out of touch for a while.

How Obama Got Elected

You gotta visit this site and watch the video to understand Obama voters.



See what's important?

The site adds results from the Zogby poll, which shows how uninformed Obama voters in general were. These are the people telling us we have to give Barack Obama a chance. Why? Because they were too stupid or busy to actually pay attention to the election but just decided to vote for Obama anyway?

Ed Morrissey says,

It’s not that the voters couldn’t absorb data provided to them by the Tanning Bed Media; these voters quite obviously learned plenty about Sarah Palin. In the video, the subjects demonstrate that by assigning every stupid thing said on the campaign trail to Palin whether she said it or not. Meanwhile, no one can figure out what Barack Obama said, how he conducted his campaign, or his political history.
As for the video, without the Zogby poll, it would be hilarious but without context. Anyone can find fools for “man on the street” interviews; Jay Leno does it as a regular staple for the Tonight Show. Zogby’s poll shows that Ziegler’s video is no anomaly. Wait for the end, where the ignorant endorse their favorite media outlets, which is the real highlight of this project.

Norm Coleman Wins Minnesota Senate Seat

This is good news. The bad news is that the closeness of the race (Coleman wins by 215 votes) triggers an automatic recount. Can Dems cheat their way into another seat?

Yes, they can!

Monday, November 17, 2008

What Pro-Choicers Do Not Accept About Pro-Lifers

Pro-life supporters do not believe the government should support abortion, considering it to be a barbaric and antisocial practice. They believe that private citizens should and will support mothers and babies both before and after birth, and that this in and of itself should encourage women not to kill their children.

Many pro-choicers do not understand this simple concept. They argue that if we want to reduce the number of abortions, we need governmental mandates to subsidize women and children through direct support (WIC, AFDC, tax credits) and indirect support (regulations on business requiring paid leave, for example). The argument is that pro-lifers do not really want to reduce the number of abortions because they don't typically support more government interference in these areas.

But it really does miss the point, doesn't it? Most abortions are not sought by the poor, who would takethe most advantage of government subsidies. They are sought by middle and upper middle class white women who would most likely want the abortion regardless of government support for women and children. As much as pro-choicers hate to admit it, these abortions are about convenience versus inconvenience. Not just the inconvenience of a nine-month pregnancy, but the inconvenience of a lifelong commitment to someone else who might interfere with other life goals (for example, career advancement, educational pursuits).

Poor women desire abortions less often than richer women because having more children does not change their lives as dramatically. If you make $20,000 per year as a clerk, have two children, get both WIC and AFDC, and live very close to the vest, another child, while inconvenient, is not earth-shattering. These women make other sacrifices to make their lives work.

The women who typically seek abortions are well-to-do, the kind who see 2 a.m. feedings and daycare as threatening to their financial well-being and privilege. For a woman, say in college or working on a professional certification, the rigors of childrearing can interfere with their ability to concentrate. For the professional woman, a day's absence from work can harm the client or one's chances of advancement. For the woman with two almost grown children, the desire for life outside dirty diapers and teething and the pursuit of her own interests--career or otherwise--might justify abortion.

But to put it simply, greater governmental support wouldn't really change the decisions of any of these women. Their decision to abort or keep the child is based on internal factors, not external ones. Which is why pro-lifers do not believe any of the proposals pro-choicers trumpet would reduce abortions at all. And why they look at greater restrictions on abortion as a better way to reduce abortions.

The New Tolerance How Not to Show Tolerance and Respect



I'm not sure why any group would think they could go into a gay neighborhood and try to convert homosexuals to heterosexuals, particularly after the passage of Prop 8. It just seems to me that emotions are so high that it doesn't take much--even just prayer and singing--to rile people up and start fights.

Having said that, I've watched street ministers work hostile crowds on college campuses and it's amazing to me that there are people willing to take such abuse on the off chance that someone will listen and change his or her mind and behavior. In any event, this one didn't go too well.

UPDATE: I've changed the title to this post to reflect my opinion that, while I don't condone harassment and assault, going into a well-known homosexual neighborhood right after Prop 8 passed wasn't merely a dumb thing to do. It was a highly disrespectful thing and was probably designed to get the results shown on the video.

The Fawning Press

The other day, I was standing in the checkout line at WalMart, waiting to put about 100 bucks worth of groceries on the conveyor belt (it was actually more like $140, but still) when I decided to scan the magazine headlines out of sheer boredom.

The Obamas' New Life! blared the headline from People Magazine.


"New home, new friends, new puppy! All about the move to the White House," read the tagline. "New home, new friends, new puppy?" Who writes this stuff? It sounded like something off of Blue's Clues or maybe a sentence out of Barney's mouth. Granted, we are talking about People Magazine, not a more austere periodical. But still. When does the fawning stop? Not soon enough, evidently.

There were other magazines on the racks: the obligatory plastic strips covering Cosmo's latest "How to Keep Your Man Happy In Bed So He Doesn't Run Off With That Slut Next Door" article; holiday cookie recipes from Betty Crocker, Word Find puzzle books. But mostly, there were the blaring "Teh One Has Arrived!" magazines.

Look, I know these things aren't aimed at me and the four other sane people in the U.S., but is it possible for the MSM to be slightly less obvious in their genuflection? When Howard Kurtz notices the adoration, you know it's deep.

Perhaps it was the announcement that NBC News is coming out with a DVD titled "Yes We Can: The Barack Obama Story." Or that ABC and USA Today are rushing out a book on the election. Or that HBO has snapped up a documentary on Obama's campaign.

Perhaps it was the Newsweek commemorative issue -- "Obama's American Dream" -- filled with so many iconic images and such stirring prose that it could have been campaign literature. Or the Time cover depicting Obama as FDR, complete with jaunty cigarette holder.

Are the media capable of merchandizing the moment, packaging a president-elect for profit? Yes, they are.

What's troubling here goes beyond the clanging of cash registers. Media outlets have always tried to make a few bucks off the next big thing. The endless campaign is over, and there's nothing wrong with the country pulling together, however briefly, behind its new leader. But we seem to have crossed a cultural line into mythmaking.


For anyone still arguing that we just need to "give Obama a chance" before criticizing him, ask yourself this question:
Would John and Cindy McCain have been given this much fawning attention?


I thought not.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The First Step in Solving Your Problem Is To Admit You Have One

The good news in Deborah Howell's latest column is that she actually admits there is a bias problem in the media.

But some of the conservatives' complaints about a liberal tilt are valid. Journalism naturally draws liberals; we like to change the world. I'll bet that most Post journalists voted for Obama. I did. There are centrists at The Post as well. But the conservatives I know here feel so outnumbered that they don't even want to be quoted by name in a memo.

Ed Driscoll quotes James Lileks who has, perhaps, the best answer for this:
The first question in any J-school application ought to be "do you want to change the world?" And anyone who answers yes gets kindly turned away. Your job is to describe the way the world changes. Not pretend you're there to nudge it along towards utopia.

The bad news in Howell's column is that many journalists are still in denial.
Journalists bristle at the thought of their coverage being viewed as unfair or unbalanced; they believe that their decisions are journalistically reasonable and that their politics do not affect how they cover and display stories.

Tom Rosenstiel, a former political reporter who directs the Project for Excellence in Journalism, said, "The perception of liberal bias is a problem by itself for the news media. It's not okay to dismiss it. Conservatives who think the press is deliberately trying to help Democrats are wrong. But conservatives are right that journalism has too many liberals and not enough conservatives. It's inconceivable that that is irrelevant."

Journalists weren't trying to help Obama win? Really? That's a rather difficult whopper to swallow when so many journalists admit they vote for Obama and when studies show coverage of Obama was overwhelmingly positive compared to John McCain's. This isn't even bringing up Howell's other column in which she admits the WaPo's coverage was undeniably favorable to Obama.

Journalists could do a lot to rectify the bias most Americans see if they tried to be more even-handed in their coverage and more critical of their own behaviors.

The biggest problem in the campaign coverage was the MSM's incuriosity about Barack Obama and their reluctance to dig for dirt. They had no problem trying diligently to portray Sarah Palin as unqualified and unfit to be president (when she wasn't running for the job), but completely dismissed the relevance of arguments about Obama's experience (or lack thereof), his voting record, his past, etc.

Comparing, for example the questions Charlie Gibson asked Barack Obama versus Sarah Palin, it's difficult to disguise why Obama was given softball questions while Palin was scrutinized on the finer points of public policy.

The problem isn't just the perception of bias. It's the fact that many journalists have abandoned objectivity and actively slant their coverage the way they decide it should go. In other words, many, if not most, journalists think their job is to change opinions, not just present information for readers/viewers/listeners to chew on. Until Howell can admit that the problem is journalists' behavior, not the public's perception, there will be little change.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Has George Bush Really Been a Social Conservative?

The left has castigated George Bush as having been in the pocket of social conservatives, but has he really?

Not according to this article from The American Conservative.

President Bush has supported some family issues, from the 2001 increase in the Child Tax Credit to increased funding for abstinence-only sex education. And the Bush administration did put a halt to allowing the United Nations to dictate American policy in terms of women and children.

But in many other areas, George Bush cannot be called a "family values president."

Even before the end of his first term, however, there were signs of trouble. Trying to find a middle way that would placate social liberals, the White House backed federal funding for certain forms of stem-cell research. Most pro-life and pro-family groups favored a total ban. Meanwhile, HHS projects to promote marriage and fatherhood were moving instead toward a punishing noncustodial fathers, pleasing feminists, and creating perverse incentives for divorce.

Most curious was this revelation:
The Bush administration also refused to embrace a broader package of pro-family economic initiatives. The proposed Parents’ Tax Relief Act, sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback and Rep. Lee Terry, would make the Child Tax Credit permanent and indexed to inflation, double the personal income tax exemption for children, give parents at home a tax benefit equal to that given to daycare users, encourage home-based businesses, and treat full-time parenting as real work relative to Social Security credits. The bill has enjoyed broad support from pro-family groups, small business associations, and home-based entrepreneurs. But the Bush domestic policy team turned up its collective nose, insisting that any new tax relief should go to corporate America, not parents and children or even family businesses.

While George Bush has certainly been more pro-family and pro-life than any Democrat would have been, his record is certainly a mixed bag.

The Gay Enemies List

Stick up for traditional marriage? You'll end up on the gay enemies list.

A National Protest Against Prop 8 organized by JoinTheImpact.com is scheduled for this Saturday. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which opponents say donated more than $20 million to the Yes on 8 campaign, has already become a focus of protests, with demonstrators gathered around Mormon temples not only in California but across the country.

group being singled out for criticism. African-Americans, 70% of whom voted yes on Proposition 8, according to a CNN exit poll, have become a target. According to eyewitness reports published on the Internet, racial epithets have been used against African-Americans at protests in California, directed even at blacks who are fighting to repeal Proposition 8. Said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, "In any fight, there will be people who say things they shouldn't say, but that shouldn't divert attention from what the vast majority are saying against this, that it's a terrible injustice."

The vast majority? I doubt that seriously. If there were a national referendum, I'm pretty sure that the number of Americans who support traditional marriage would be more than the 52% who supported it in California.
In addition to protests, gay activists have begun publishing lists online exposing individuals and organizations who have donated money in support of Proposition 8. On AntiGayBlacklist.com, individuals who gave money toward Proposition 8 are publicized, with readers urged not to patronize their businesses or services. The list of donors was culled from data on ElectionTrack.com, which follows all contributions of over $1,000 and all contributions of over $100 given before October 17. Dentists, accountants, veterinarians and the like who gave a few thousand dollars to the cause are listed alongside major donors like the Container Supply Co., Inc. of Garden Grove, Calif., which gave $250,000. "Anyone who steps into a political fight aimed at taking away fundamental rights from fellow citizens opens themselves up to criticism," said Wolfson. "The First Amendment gives them the right of freedom of speech and to support political views, but people also have the right to criticize them."

Does this mean it's ok to use these same guerilla tactics against gun control supporters?

The Left has become obsessed with intimidating opponents into obeisance. It doesn't matter whether we're talking about gay marriage or the latest political campaign. This isn't about persuading anyone or changing minds. It's about shutting up those with whom they disagree. We cannot let them win this fight.

EBay Find of the Day

Enough of this grumpy politics stuff. Here's something really important!
1963 LeMans Tempest sells for $226,521

The eBay auction for this 1963 Pontiac LeMans Tempest started out innocently enough. Obtained after owner died. Appears to have original interior but no motor, no transmission. Body has a little rust and some dents. There's stuff in the trunk, but no key to open it. Opening bid nine days ago was a mere $500. After one week, eBay seller 123ecklin will pocket $226,521 before auction fees. What happened between Day 1 and Day 9 is an amazing story.












The car's plexiglass windows, unusual suspension setup and a dash plate bearing the name of a racetrack tipped the owner to its racing history. But what he didn't know is that the car is one of only six 1963 Pontiac LeMans Tempest Super Duty coupes ever made. Hemmings recently did a story on the rare cars in which they listed all ever built. This one looks to have been driven by Stan Antlocer and was the fastest drag car in 1963 before disappearing.

Reading through the questions on the auction gives us reason to believe the seller truly didn't know the car's provenance. In his answers, he seems both surprised by the car's potential value as well as overwhelmed by the attention. He turned down an offer of $160,000 to end the auction early because he feared getting negative eBay feedback. That decision paid off. With only seven minutes remaining, the highest offer was $95,000. When the virtual gavel fell, eBayer ccsi2000 had bought a very rare, if a little rusty, LeMans for $226,521. Thanks for the tip, Trevor!

H/T: The Other McCain.