29 December 2008

Journalistic Integrity & 'Cheerleaderism'

Courtesy of Michelle Malkin:
Fit Republican President = Selfish, indulgent, creepy-fascist.
Fit Democrat President = Disciplined, health conscious, Adonis role model.
Pecs McGee: I don't shave my chest, I wax it.

(photo courtesy of my Google search for "Obamaniacs love shirtless Obama")

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28 December 2008

Don't Blame Israel

Palestine, whatever that is, is ruled by a terrorist-cum-political party, Hamas. They launch attack after attack on Israel and usually, Israel doesn't respond. Mostly, they do this, because the world sympathizes with the Palestinians and hates Israel.

When Israel does respond, we get the usual. And by usual, I mean Israel is condemned, by everyone, for violating cease fires which had already been violated hundreds, if not thousands of times by Hamas.

And Hamas is just like their terrorist friends to the north (Hezbollah) and throughout the world: They use civilians as human shields and political tools. They hide their missile launch sites & HQs and whatnot in hospitals and schools and when Israel takes those launch sites out, some innocents die. It sucks.

They aren't ignorant about this. They know that pictures of hurt Palestinian children on the interweb will get them sympathy and credibility and a soapbox and probably most important, more funding, strike that--"humanitarian aid"-- (I wish I knew how to do the strikethrough) from Europe & the Muslim world and out and out support from Jimmy effing Carter.

Because Israel isn't willing to use its citizens as political props, they have to do whatever they can do to defend themselves. Look folks, if you think Israel is at fault here, you need to study a little history. Sure, they haven't always acted in good faith, but they are not the ones seeking the annihilation of another nation/people like many of their close-border enemies--including the ruling Palestinian political party.

In fact, I think it's written into Hamas's party platform--"Running water, Electricity, and above all else, death to every Israeli man, woman, & child." It's why they're friends with and effectively the proxy for Iran & Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Remember all that "stinking corpse" nuke-'em-off-the-face-of-the-earth rhetoric? Yeah.

But where was the outrage when "Palestinian militants" launched a rocket the day before that killed, rather than just wounding, two Israeli schoolgirls?

Do you think Israel would ever attack Hamas if not for the incessant bombing and rocketing and terrorizing of Israel by Hamas and their agents? Exactly.

According to this report, "Palestinian militants" have rained down more than 3000 rockets and mortars on Israel in 2008--during the supposed cease fire.

All the criticism of Israel? Pure moral equivalence and in some cases, blatant anti-semitism.

Blame Hamas for using kids as shields and props, not Israel for killing the bad guys.

(h/t Mr. Ace-O-Spades)

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25 December 2008

For One Soldier, A Christmas Miracle

Love these stories:
Cyd Leslie, an Army specialist who has served in Iraq, Afghanistan and other posts abroad for the past year and-a-half, has only seen her daughter’s steps on video.

The last time Leslie saw Cheyenne in person, she would take a few tentative steps and stumble.

So to finally see her walking, much less running, is nothing short of a miracle, a taste of everything her little girl will be able to accomplish in life.

For years, 24-year-old Cyd has been hoping “kids don’t tease” Cheyenne and “wondering if she’s going to have a boyfriend.”

But when Cheyenne bounded into her arms Tuesday night, she thought, “I’ll never forget this feeling.”

Whether they're friends, family, or strangers, take a moment to think about and thank the men and women in the military who keep us safe and protect our liberty.

(h/t Dave in Texas @ Ace)

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24 December 2008

Bush Pardons A Hero

Bill Clinton pardoned Marc Rich--in exchange for cash or favors or whatever (see Caroline Kennedy, Rod Blagojevich, etc.)

George W. Bush pardoned Charles Winters
, early defender of the modern state of Israel.
In the summer of 1948, Winters, a Protestant from Boston who exported produce, worked with others to transfer two converted B-17 "Flying Fortresses" to Israel's defense forces. He personally flew one of the aircraft from Miami to Czechoslovakia, where that plane and a third B-17 were retrofitted for use as bombers.

"He and other volunteers from around the world defied weapons embargoes to supply the newly established Israel with critical supplies to defend itself against mounting attacks from all sides," New York Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Gary Ackerman, Jose Serrano and Brian Higgins said in a Dec. 15 letter urging Bush to pardon Charlie Winters. "Without the actions of individuals like Mr. Winters, this fledgling democracy in the Middle East almost certainly would not have survived as the surrounding nations closed in on Israel's borders."

The three B-17s were the only heavy bombers in the Israeli Air Force. It is reported that counterattacks with the bombers helped turned the war in Israel's favor. In March 1961, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir issued a letter of commendation to Winters to recognize his contributions to Israel's survival as an independent state.

You be the judge: Who was more deserving of a Presidential pardon? Rich or Winters?

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23 December 2008

Democrat Double Standards (UPDATED)

Rich Lowry:
The three most prominent Democrats in national politics during the past two years -- Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton -- are all ascending from the U.S. Senate to the executive branch, creating open Senate seats for Democratic governors to fill. And, oh, what a spectacle it is -- of corruption, insider dealing, treacly dynastic politics and rank nepotism. . . . We might be witnessing the most brazen bout of cronyism since Napoleon made his relatives and minions rulers of conquered Europe. Or at least since the Kennedy family arranged in 1960 to have John Kennedy's pliable Harvard roommate keep his Massachusetts Senate seat warm until Ted turned 30 and could inherit -- er, get elected to -- it.
These things, these double standards, sometimes appear so blatantly obvious, I wonder if I'm playing the role of Captain Obvious when I bring them to your attention.

There are two groups who apply double standards to questions of nepotism, cronyism, & corruption in politics--they are, of course, the Media and the Democrat party. I get that these things afflict both parties (it's why Republicans got tossed out in 2006), my only point is that the response to them is not the same.

Democrats and their fellow travelers in the press do all they can to explain things away (see Rod Blagojevich, Caroline Kennedy--exhibits 349, 350) or, failing that, just drop their party identifier--the big "D" for Democrat--when they write about them in an article.

If, reading your local crappy newspaper, you start to think to yourself, "Wow. Republicans are always committing crimes and whatnot and are corrupt nepotistic hypocrites." Just remember, add the D for Democrat anytime you can't find the party identified and that ought to even things out.

(h/t Scott L.)

UPDATE 8:50pm PST: (h/t Ace) More Evidence: Ohio Attorney General, Mike Dann (D), is one of those corrupt Democrats I wrote about above. Some 20% of MSM reports about the man mentioned his party affiliation. Yup. I know.

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22 December 2008

Prepare For Overreach - Quote Of The Day

Philip Jenkins, American Conservative magazine, writing about 2008's similarities to 1976 (thanks to Political Diary):
The key mistake Democrats made [after Jimmy Carter won the White House] in 1976 was failing to realize what brought them to power. Democrats won because of public dissatisfaction with the previous regime, which had overseen the economic crisis, and also because of a wider fear that America would have to live with diminished expectations. But although they won on largely economic grounds, Democrats acted as if they had a sweeping mandate for cultural transformation -- for social libertarianism, affirmative action and egalitarianism, dovish internationalism, and idealistic notions of human rights. These ideas dominated a radical Congress and were enthusiastically adopted by the cohort of Carter appointments to the judiciary. They all ignored a basic principle: just because people are unhappy where they are does not mean they are willing to go anywhere you try to lead them.

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19 December 2008

Jerry Brown Is A Big Fat Idiot

Not that this comes as a surprise, but Jerry Brown has decided to oppose Prop 8 in his official capacity as California Attorney General.
In a surprise move, state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to invalidate Proposition 8. He said the November ballot measure that banned gay marriage "deprives people of the right to marry, an aspect of liberty that the Supreme Court has concluded is guaranteed by the California Constitution."
It's only a surprise because he's ignoring his legal obligation to defend Prop 8--no matter his personal preference (see what I did there?). He has been antagonistic towards the traditional marriage crowd for, well, ever.

Most everyone who followed wondered what, exactly, he would do to defend Prop 8 as AG. Many of us worried that it would be 'damned by faint defense.' Now we don't have to worry about that. Brown has been outed.

In other news, because the pro-Prop 8 people knew Brown to be unreliable, Ken Starr, a legal rockstar, has been named as lead counsel. This is good news.

Folks, the marriage fight is far from over. Remember, we are Happy Warriors.

(thanks to Jeff G.)

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18 December 2008

Rush Limbaugh To Colin Powell: 'Stuff It'

A lot has been made of Colin Powell's interview last week in which he called for wholesale changes in the Republican party. Of course, this comes from a man who has never really been a Republican. RINO/moderate Republican, maybe, but even then, has anyone ever heard him defend anything like a conservative principle? Apart from the fact that his career has been advanced by Republican Presidents--Reagan, Bush 41, Bush 43--he hasn't ever been politically conservative.

And really, folks, are you surprised that a liberal would want to change the Republican party--make it less conservative, make it more like the Democrat party? This surprises you? More importantly, does this really persuade anyone?

I intended to post something about this earlier, but American Thinker makes a persuasive case for Rush Limbaugh as a leading American intellectual--not the pseudo-intellectual that populates the places I frequent--but a genuine intellectual in the sense that he sorts through all of the crap and makes sense of and explains the world. (note: by "places I frequent" I mean higher education in general and not the specific universities I've attended and especially not the professors with whom I have worked.)
Rush Limbaugh is far closer to the great tradition of Western intellectuals than anybody in the celebrity freak-show of the Left. It is the Rush Limbaughs who became Socrates and Plato in the ancient world. They composed the Psalms and the Book of Proverbs. They were not professional scribblers. They did not found a revolutionary cult designed to overthrow all the good traditions. They were talented talkers, and even better listeners. All good thinking starts from dialogue.
Read the article, it's very good.

Back to Rush & Powell.

Powell says, essentially, get rid of the social cons, Sarah Palin, they're dragging down the party. Rush responds:
Here is Colin Powell telling the Republican Party what to do after he voted for Obama! [...] The Republican Party nominated Powell's perfect candidate. The guy's going after moderates, independents, Democrats, a guy who is not conservative at all, McCain, didn't stand up for much conservative [...]

Colin Powell ... insists that conservatives and Republicans support candidates who will appeal to minorities like I guess McCain who led the effort for amnesty. He insists that conservatives and Republicans move to the center like McCain, who calls himself a maverick for doing so. General Powell insists that conservatives and Republicans provide an open tent to different ideas and views, like I guess McCain, who repeatedly trashed Republicans and made nice with Democrats. I mean, their tent's big, they just don't want us in it. John McCain is and was Colin Powell's ideal candidate. All these moderates that crossed the aisle and voted for Obama, they got their ideal candidate, and they got their ideal campaign in McCain. Once McCain was nominated as the Republican candidate, largely by independents and Democrats voting in Republican primaries, Colin Powell waited 'til the last minute, when it would do the most damage to McCain and the Republicans and endorsed Obama.

So if we try to understand Powell's thinking, which is difficult since it's incoherent, we should have all voted for McCain in the primaries, and once he was nominated, we should have voted for Obama for president. [...]

What's going on here with this Colin Powell thing is that the Washington establishment -- Powell's not a Republican. McCain's not a Republican. These guys are not even mavericks. They are Washingtonians. Washingtonians have their own culture and their own desires, and it is to matter. They don't care who's in power, they just want to be closely associated with whoever is. That's the name of the game and they want press adulation. They want to be loved and adored by the media, they want fawning treatment, they want to be thought of as something special, unique, dignified and so forth, and that's the Washington establishment. [...]

As long as you are a Republican, but you buy into an endless array of liberal causes, global warming to amnesty for illegals, and somebody who has the same fetish for compromising principles that you do, then they are going to love you. Then you turn around and you stab this person in the back by endorsing the most liberal Democrat candidate ever nominated days before the election, General Powell? [...]

I also have to question something here. How can he say he's a Republican? He gets the perfect Republican nominee, exactly the kind of candidate he wants, it's McCain, and then he sabotages McCain a few weeks before the election by endorsing Obama. How can you even claim to be a Republican, General Powell? When have you ever stuck your neck out for Republicans and conservatives? Never. I mean sabotage George W. Bush with the Armitage leak and Scooter Libby, that's just one thing, but Ronald Reagan, Bush 41, Bush 43 all helped advance General Powell's career.

[...] I've noticed on the one hand General Powell claims to stand above politics as a big claim to fame. Yet, on the other hand, he jumps in from time to time, but only to attack the conservative base of the Republican Party. When's the last time, the first time, when is any time he has let loose or criticized a liberal Democrat on any issue? Now, here's the problem. General Powell, and folks, this problem I think is systemic in the Republican Party in Washington. People like General Powell seek to ingratiate themselves with the people who despise the Republican Party and despise the conservative movement. They're out there preaching moderation all along the way, when instead you should be preaching principle.

Principle is what got you where you are. Moderation is what keeps you where you are with this great reputation, great image but no substance, no principles, no core belief. If somebody had to tell you who Colin Powell is, what would they say? What does he stand for? What does General Powell stand for? ... You don't know. There aren't any core beliefs you can go rat-tat-tat down the list and say, yep, this is who they are. Was Abraham Lincoln great because he saw compromise during the Civil War or was he great because he insisted on total and complete victory? Great people take stands on principle, not moderation. Some of us think that individual liberty, limited constitutional government, and increased support for the military by civilians are principles worth defending. Maybe General Powell can enlighten us, since he's failed to do that so far on the great liberal or moderate Democrat principles that seem to intrigue him. What is it about Obama that intrigued him? What are these principles? Or was it the way Obama speaks?

[...] One of the things he said is he resents Sarah Palin because she kept talking about small towns. He said nobody lives in small towns and that's why they're small. "I'm from the Bronx. Something wrong with my values?" he asked. What is this hatred for conservatives and small town people and Sarah Palin? It's because they are effective. They represent challenges to the Washingtonians' control of the Republican Party. I know a lot of people that are from the Bronx, General Powell, and if you think the values there in the Bronx today reflect the ones you grew up with, take a trip back and see if the street corners and the activities there are the same as when you were growing up, General Powell.
(emphasis added)

There's a lot more there, I just quoted (generously. fair use, right? right.) from some of the best stuff. I can see why the left hates this guy so much. He is smart and persuasive and very, very good at deconstructing the elaborate myths of the left and laying them bare for all to see.

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17 December 2008

Where's Eliot Ness When You Need Him?

Joe Scarborough asks and no liberal/supporter of Obama has a good answer: Why were a couple hundred reporters scouring Wasila for dirt on Palin while no one dug up anything on Obama and his corrupt Chicago connections? Anyone? Anyone?

At least Blagojevich has got a mob lawyer (h/t Ace). Eliot Ness?

(thanks to my friends at NewsBusters for this)

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16 December 2008

Liberal Utopia

Where taxes are high and individual liberties limited, ah, New York, New York.
Gov. Paterson's proposed $121 billion budget hits New Yorkers in their iPods - and nickels-and-dimes them in lots of other places, too.

Trying to close a $15.4 billion budget gap, Paterson called for 88 new fees and a host of other taxes, including an "iPod tax" that taxes the sale of downloaded music and other "digitally delivered entertainment services."

"We're going to have to take some extreme measures," Paterson said Tuesday after unveiling the slash-and-burn budget.

The proposal, which needs legislative approval, did not include broad-based income tax increases, but relied on smaller ones to raise $4.1 billion from cash-strapped New Yorkers.

Movie tickets, taxi rides, soda, beer, wine, cigars and massages would be taxed under Paterson's proposal. It also extends sales taxes to cable and satellite TV services and removes the tax exemption for clothes costing less than $110.

(h/t Matt L.)

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15 December 2008

Nostalgic For Saddam OR Shoe Throwing Idiots

To the Bush-hating left, the shoe-throwing idiot in Baghdad is a hero--a hero that prompted more than 200 lawyers to offer their services, for free.

Imagine if the man had thrown his shoe at Saddam. If you've forgotten about Hussein's reign of terror, consider this short anecdote that relates what happened to a couple of young men who "competed" with Saddam's son, Uday, for the affections of some unfortunate young woman.
A chief executioner to one of Saddam's sons has revealed how he helped drag two victims into a cage to be devoured by lions.

The executioner said that he was ordered to seize two 19-year-old students and take them to a farm of Uday Hussein, Saddam's oldest son who was killed by American forces last week.

As soon as they arrived the students were dragged to a cage containing the lions and forced inside. "I saw the head of the first student literally come off his body with the first bite," he said. He then had to stand and watch the animals devour the two young men: "By the time they were finished there was little left but for the bones and bits and pieces of unwanted flesh."

He was told later that the two young men "had competed with Uday where some young ladies were concerned."
Yeah, things were a lot better back in the good ol' days.

The shoe-throwing idiot should be glad that instead of being fed to lions, he'll have America's best trial lawyers defending him in court.

(h/t James Taranto)

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12 December 2008

The Big GOP Comeback: Rove's Blueprint

This is good stuff.

Evil genius, Karl Rove, laid out 7 areas of focus for Republicans:

1. Create something like James Carville's Democracy Corps--an institution designed to identify popular issues through polling and further, how to give those issues a conservative spin.

2. Train the next generation so that they can match conservative principles to the problems of today.

3. Follow the Texas model and register new Republican voters--Catholics, Hispanics, suburban & ex-urban families.

4. Create cost-effective 3rd party organizations to help elect Republicans to the House & Senate.

5. Focus on state legislative races: 2010 will bring redistricting and with it, the power for state legislatures to be game changers.

6. Revitalize conservative new media and use this medium to reach out to younger voters and others, mentioned above.

7. Strengthen the relationship between GOP policymakers and conservative policy thinkers--think tanks, scholars, academics, and others.
The GOP has the right principles to become the majority party again. What it must have are fresh, energetic voices who apply those principles to meeting the needs of American families. And it must put in place the infrastructure that will take that message and amplify it.
Like EG Karl said, we've had a few wins (Chambliss, & LA congressional races) since Obama's Big Win in November. Ever the party of eternal optimism, we are Happy Warriors.

Here's to our own Big Wins in 2010 & Romney (or Jindal or Palin) in 2012.

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11 December 2008

The Day The Earth Stood Still: Craptastic Film Of The Year

I don't even know where to begin. Last night I attended an early premier of Keanu Reeves' latest at the BFI Imax here in London.

I guess the best way to sum up this movie is to say this: Imagine if Al Gore, Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, and those idiots who posted the anti-Christmas atheist sign in Olympia had an unholy trinity/wrote a screenplay--the result of this union, of all that environmental moralizing would be the The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Don't see it. It's worse, even, than The Day After Tomorrow--another couple of hours of my life I wish I could have back.

A little background. Aliens have been monitoring our planet and finally decided that we don't deserve it, that we are about to deserve one of the few planets in the universe capable of sustaining life. So, we are to be terminated. Reeves is the chief executioner. He brings mini ark/globes that collect samples of every other species for preservation. Meanwhile, humanity is wiped away by an alien plague of locusts. Really.

Briefly, in bullet points:

- I didn't stick around long enough to see, but did the writers give credit to Favreau for half of their lines? Every other sentence between Jennifer Connelly Keanu Reeves' alien creature/character (yes, another one) has Connelly pleading with Reeves insisting that humanity can change, "we can change! We can do it!"

- At one point, Connelly's mentor, her "leader of the world," a professor of bioethics, no less, tells her that she has to appeal to Reeves not with reason, but with herself. One envisions the emotional, angry Obamaniac advocating for change with airy rhetoric that means nothing. Change. Hope. Whatever.

- The alien (Reeves) likes Bach--Bach, the soundtrack of the Enlightenment. Of course he does.

- The destroyer of humans and all things created by humankind? Alien locusts. No kidding. Instead of the God of the Old Testament bringing locusts to cow the Egyptions into submission, Reeves brings alien locusts to consume humans and everything they have created--including, and specifically, Giants stadium, the oil fields (which figured prominently), and half of downtown Manhattan.

- At one point, when Connelly has persuaded Reeves to give humankind another chance, he says something to the effect of, "it's going to require a serious change in your way of life." Seriously? Did they get an advance look at Obama's innaugural speech?

- Did I mention the prominence of images oil derricks? Every version imaginable plus refinerys plus car manufacturing plants--hey, hey, the warming gangs' all here.

- Connely drove a hybrid Honda Civic. I suppose I should just be glad it wasn't the totally cliche Prius. Toyota probably didn't want to pay the product placement fee.

- The President and Vice President have been hustled off to separate bunkers where they are completely out of touch with the outside world and have left the female SecDef to monitor and manage things. Hurricane Katrina, anyone? Give me a break.

- At one point, Reeves-alien was cornered by a scared police officer who wants to detain him. Reeves starts a car with his hand and sends it hurtling forward, killing the man. His reasoning, as told to Connelly, "He was an obstacle." Sure, he brought the man back to life with the alien goo in his pocket, but still, this is environmental morality. Obstacles must be removed.

- I can't remember if this was a discussion between Reeves and Connelly or Reeves and Bates, but one of the latter two asks Reeves why he's saving samples of every other creature except humans. Reeves response, 'humans are just one species.' This is how the enviro-nuts view humanity--just one species of a gazillion, all of which have equal claim on the earth, none more important than the other.

- Scanning the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, I noted that one critic complained that at no point in the film is the phrase "global warming" uttered. Really, Katey Rich of cinemablend.com, they needed to say the words "global warming" for you to know that's what the movie was all about? The multitudinous pictures of oil, oil derricks, drills, refineries, gas guzzling cars, car factories, etc., I'msureI'mforgettingsomeoilisbadcliche, weren't enough?

- Lots of typical Hollywood diatribe about American intervention abroad, torture, violence, etc.

I'm sure there's more, but this is all that occurs to me at the moment.

Let me take this moment to say how glad I am that 650 scientists are now standing up to the whole "global warming consensus." My suspicion is that we will look back at this fad and say that it hit its peak in 2006-07 and that 2008 was the beginning of the end (for the Church of the Holy Environment, not the planet).

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Oil: It's Not Black & White (UPDATED)

As a general rule, I look to the efficiency and amorality of the market to solve economic issues. I guess that makes me libertarian. However, my libertarian-ness has limits. I won't get into those here.

From that general rule, I find myself hesitant of any plan that seeks to manipulate the market to attain some desired, utopian end. One example of this would be "an end to oil dependency." You see, I used to just accept, like everyone else, that dependence on oil for our energy use was an unmitigated bad--the blackest of black.

(nor should this be interpreted as a call for laissez faire, whatever)

My opinion is shifting. Like any other traded good, and especially one so vital to the operation of a country, I think oil forces the United States to make compromises and care about parts of the world which would otherwise receive no attention. And I don't buy the "blood for oil" arguments of the most ardent anti-Bush people. Sorry, folks, President Bush doesn't/didn't just take his marching orders from Exxon & Haliburton.

And I'm worried about the unintended consequences of "going green" or even of imposing some sort of pigovian tax. Sure, I'm sympathetic to a plan that trades cuts in income taxes for a carbon tax, but I'm worried that under such a scenario, the poor will pay--and not just the poor of this country. I'm reminded of the failure of the massive ethanol subsidy which contributed to worldwide food shortages and famine.

I bring all of this up because of an article in the Wall Street Journal which argues, essentially, that oil dependency and the moderation in foreign policy it forces is good. It's a persuasive essay written by someone, Roger Howard, who has done his homework.
While there are, of course, circumstances in which oil can exacerbate tensions and be a source of conflict, it can also act as a peacemaker and source of stability. So to identify America's "foreign oil dependency" as a source of vulnerability and weakness is just too neat and easy.
It's at least worth considering because, like so many other things, the question of oil is not black & white.

12 December 12:50am BST: RD at Pendulum Politics responds.

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10 December 2008

Seen On eBay: For Sale, 1 'Illinoise' Senate Seat

Yup, Iowahawk is at it again. Per usual, beware the colorful language.
CHICAGO - The ongoing corruption probe into Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich took a dramatic turn this evening, as federal agents working for US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald announced that they had seized the governor's eBay account. It is as yet unknown how the latest seizure will effect the outcome of the case.

Oh, and apparently Dick Durbin is also for sale. He still works.

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Obama & 'Blago-gate': What Did He Know & When Did He Know It?

Not even in office and already the Obama campaign is doing the tango with a special prosecutor. Awesome.

Over at The Volokh Conspiracy, Jim Lindgren has a handy, pocket-sized timeline of Rod Blagojevich's Senate-seat bribe scheme. This is a great legal guide to exactly what we know about this case.

Like Lindgren, I honestly hope the story fits Obama's claims that he knew nothing about what was going on. But if he did, now's the time to come clean.

Keep denying, and my schadenfreude-istic tendencies will start to show.

(h/t Gabriel Malor @ Ace)

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Education Spending

We all know the key to a student successfully graduating from high school is a 2-parent home. But given the current state of affairs, that's going to be a tough one to accomplish.

As much as Democrats, many teachers, & definitely teachers' unions may dislike President Bush for No Child Left Behind, they can't justly criticize him for underfunding education. According to the numbers I've seen, under the Bush administration, education spending has increased by around 40%. That's significant.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), Doug Ross has done a little cost benefit/regression on spending vs. standardized test scores and found that--surprise, surprise--there is no correlation.

Don't get me wrong. I have many teacher-friends. I appreciate good teachers. But I despise teachers' unions and their opposition to choice in education and other initiatives that, though unfriendly to the bad teachers, would actually benefit good teachers and most assuredly, students.

You see, I've got this crazy idea in my head that education ought to be about the students and not guaranteeing tenure to people who have no business teaching anyone or anything.

Increased choice in education--vouchers, corporate scholarships, charter schools, etc.--isn't about helping the middle class students from 2-parent homes. It's about helping the poorer students whose dad isn't in the picture and whose mom is working 2 jobs just to keep the family off the street.

Education reform, left to the unions, will be about more money and less accountability. This set-up benefits neither the students nor the good teachers--it serves only to maintain the power and control of unions and the jobs of bad teachers.

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09 December 2008

Corrupt Change You Can Believe in

Another dirty Chicago Democrat close to Barack Obama?

But seriously, what did you expect?

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Humans vs. Zombies

Coming soon to a campus near you, a game that mimics all of your favorite zombie movies! According to this article in the Boston Herald, students choose sides--human or zombie--and then wear bandannas (on the arm or leg for human, on the head for zombie) to indicate which state of humanity they currently inhabit--fast moving & terrified or slow moving & terrorizing.

The rules, briefly: Nerf guns are used by "humans" to stun "zombies" for 15 minutes. If a zombiedoes not "eat" for 2 days, he or she dies. Stronger zombies (those adept at catching and, in effect, tagging humans) can share their "kills" with weaker zombies. And so it goes. Presumably, though I did not read the rules page to which the Boston Herald linked, once "eaten" the human joins the zombies. I would probably know the answer to that if I had seen more zombie movies.

Anyway, my favorite part of the article was the discussion of violence and use of nerf "guns" this game as prompted at colleges across America. You can imagine how the PC (politically correct, for the uninitiated) feels about a game of this sort--the same way they feel about the gift of a GI Joe to a young child.

At Goucher, the game has caused quite a bit of consternation for those concerned about the legitimacy of their degrees. Nevermind grade inflation or plagiarism, they're worreid about a game. Consider the case of Conor Moran, "honest college student":
many think Humans vs. Zombies doesn’t reflect well on Goucher. Political science major Michael Harmon said he would rather Goucher be known for its academics or for its requirement that all students study abroad. He’s disturbed some underclassmen chose to attend Goucher because of the game.

"It was definitely one of the things that made me want to come here," zombie player Conor Moran said.

Yep, Conor went to Goucher because he heard they had 'crazy, weeks-long games of Humans vs. Zombies,' yeah!

You can't make this stuff up.

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08 December 2008

Politically Correct Excuse-Making = BS

My patience for this sort of thing evaporated the moment I read Michael Moore write, the day after 9/11, that we deserved what we got.
It didn’t take long before the apologist industry was cranked up to explain the latest terrorist outrage in Bombay. Joshua Kurlantzick at the New Republic suggested that “After years of moderation, India’s Muslims—including even some middle-class Muslims—finally may be striking back at the discrimination stacked against them.” A piece in Time chimed in by noting that “the roots of Muslim rage run deep in India, nourished by a long-held sense of injustice....” So falls into place the usual response of Western liberals to any acts of intolerant savagery committed by Muslim “militants” —that it is somehow in some way caused by those they attacked, that “Muslim rage” over their mistreatment leads Muslims to slaughter Hindus, Jews, Christians, Orthodox Russians and even thoroughly secular Europeans.


Some intrepid, politically incorrect soul might even have the temerity to draw attention to the fact the Islamic terrorists seemed to have grievances against just about everybody, every ethnic or religious group that isn’t Muslim along with all those Muslims who refuse to fall in line with the Islamist project. Muslim terrorists have, after all, killed far more Muslims than non-Muslims in the past decade.

The sheer diversity of it all is part of the problem. There are so many rag-tag Muslim terrorist groups launching so many attacks based on such a bewildering array of grievances—infidels in the land of Mecca and Medina, the existence of Israel, disputes over Kashmir, Russian colonialism in Chechnya, etc. —that we bend ourselves into pretzels trying to define them all as understandable responses to mistreatment.

We are left to wonder why Muslims here, there and everywhere seem to be so badly mistreated and respond to such mistreatment in such drearily predictable fashion, which is to blow other people (and sometimes themselves ) up.

(h/t Ace)

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More Evidence Mormons Have Joined The Club

A couple of weeks ago I cited a story about the support Mormons were receiving from some of their Prop 8 coalition friends and suggested (with supporting statements from Dr. Wiseman (an alias)) that perhaps this was the issue (Prop 8) and persecutorial (word? word.) backlash that would bring Mormons into the mainstream of political Christendom.

An article run in the NYT last week further buttresses this argument. From the Deseret News:
Declaring "no mob veto," a full-page ad in the New York Times on Friday denounced the "violence and intimidation" directed at members of the LDS Church who supported California's ban on gay marriage.

"When thugs ... terrorize any place of worship, especially those of a religious minority, responsible voices need to speak clearly: Religious wars are wrong; they are also dangerous," reads the advertisement paid for by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, based in Washington, D.C.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has come under fire from gay rights activists across the country since coming out in support of California's Proposition 8, an amendment to the state's constitution that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

In a statement Friday, church officials expressed gratitude to the dozen civil rights and religious leaders, ranging from Catholic to evangelical Christian to Orthodox Jew, who attached their names to the advertisement.

"This was a thoughtful and generous gesture at a time when the right of free expression of people of faith has come under attack," said Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve, in a statement. "We join with those of all religious faiths and political persuasions who have called for reasoned and civil discourse on matters that affect our nation."

Of course, when it comes to intramural scrabbles about religious matters, many of these churches will still attack the LDS. Prop 8 cooperation (and other, similar cooperation) will not halt the institutional jealousies that arise from the increasing growth of the LDS church, but when it comes to matters of shared values, I think they will remember the horsepower members of the LDS church brought to the issue.

Indeed, Dr. Matt Holland (full disclosure, this professor is a friend and former mentor) seems to agree. From the same article:

Matthew Holland, a political science professor at Brigham Young University, said he sees an unprecedented show of support for the LDS Church from a wide spectrum of coalitions, affinities, associations and even some unexpected groups.

"The fact that they are willing to step forward and, in such a prominent way, be so supportive is something that we haven't really seen before," Holland said Friday night.

Many of the individuals who signed the ad are prominent national and international figures, Holland said, including Richard Cizik, vice president for Governmental Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals; Nathan Diament, director of the Institute for Public Affairs of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America; William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights; Douglas Laycock, a law professor at the University of Michigan; and Chris Seiple, president of the Institute for Global Engagement.

Holland said he finds it significant that high-profile members of conservative Evangelical groups supported the ad because of divisive sentiments that emerged during LDS Church-member Mitt Romney's failed presidential campaign.

"These very prominent leaders from the Evangelical right are now stepping up to give voice and solidarity to the church," he said.

The next time Mitt Romney (or some other Mormon) runs for President and members of the religious right raise questions about his religion, whatever, he'll be able to point to his very good speech about religion in American and the important role Mormons have played in this country in defending marriage and the family.

I think these two things--the success of his 2008 campaign and Prop 8--will be a persuasive and unifying argument.

We'll see.

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06 December 2008

What Really Matters

(h/t Ace)

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Iowahawk In The UK

Dave Burge is back writing for Anorak. This time he tackles the topic of Gordon Brown's counter-terror policy--specifically, Brown's penchant for arresting those who "irritate" him.

COUNTER-TERRORISM POLICE today rounded up hundreds of Britons suspected of membership in organizations described as “irritating” to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The exact number was not released, but police officials said that many more are expected, “depending on the Prime Minister’s mood this morning.”

“Our sole purpose is to keep citizens safe from the threat of international terrorism,” said Thomas Ayckroyd, a spokesman for the Home Office. “While these detainees may all be British citizens, they were clearly engaged in treasonous acts designed to destabilize Her Majesty’s government by embarrassing, irritating, or otherwise inconveniencing the Prime Minister.”

For a more serious take on the very serious erosion of democracy in the UK evidenced by Brown's arrest of Damian Green, Shadow Minister for Immigration, read Roger Kimball.

Shouldn't be irritating our violent immigrants now, should we?

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05 December 2008

Blacklisting The Mormons

One of the courses I took while at UCL working on my MA in Modern History was a two part course (stretched over the fall & winter terms) that examined Hollywood history and American film & genre history.

I won't get into the nitty gritty of historiography of either one, other than to say that one of the things we learned about film, was that those which looked at historical periods, typically used the past anachronistically to teach or lecture or moralize about the present.
(oversimplification, but it gets the point across)

Thus, The Patriot, ostensibly a film about the Revolutionary War, but done in 2000, told us more about what the writers and producers and directors and actors thought about things in 2000 than they ever did about the actual period the film was supposed to treat.

Obvious, I know, but also important.

As many of you know, one of the results of so-called McCarthyism and HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) was to focus on the "reds" in Hollywood. Famously, the committee held hearings in which they examined the patriotism and support for communism of several leading talents in Hollywood.

Some, like Cary Grant, fled to the UK. Others collaborated and outed their friends and associates. Still others talked about their own involvement but refused to talk about their friends.

The long and the short of all this was to create a sort of Hollywood "blacklist" in which those who were communist sympathizers were no longer allowed to work in Hollywood as writers or directors or whatever.

In the years since this period, Hollywood has produced numerous films celebrating those who stood strong against the committee and condeming those who cooperated. What's that you say? A whole genre of film devoted to Hollywood congratulating and condemning those who agree and disagree with them politically (respectively)? I know, I know, hard to believe.

The Big Lesson to come out of all of this was that when another political question threatened Hollywood, they wouldn't blacklist people and force them out of the industry--they would be, in modern parlance, more open minded and tolerant.

Now I know I'm late with this news, but that doesn't mean it's not still relevant. In fact, in historical terms, I'm rather early to the game. That caveat said, consider exhibit A:
Under mounting pressure, Los Angeles Film Festival director Richard Raddon has ankled his post.

Raddon and Film Independent (FIND), the festival's parent org, have faced a barrage of protests over Raddon's contribution [ed. note: He contributed $1500] to the successful Yes on Prop. 8 campaign that banned same-sex marriage in California.

After bloggers published his name, culled from public records of donors, Raddon tendered his first resignation on Nov. 13 to Film Independent's board of directors. It was not accepted, and Film Independent released a statement saying, "Our organization does not police the personal, religious or political choices of any employee, member or filmmaker."

Yet Internet message boards and other published reports kept the issue at the center of a growing protest movement that has targeted "Yes on 8" donors including the Mormon Church and Cinemark Theaters, whose CEO was a contributor.

On Monday, Raddon submitted a second resignation. Those close to the org described Monday's conference call with the board of directors as emotional. While Raddon's contribution had caused some internal angst, he was well liked within the org.

On Tuesday, Film Independent issued a statement saying, "With great reluctance, Film Independent has accepted Richard Raddon's resignation. Rich's service to the independent film community and to Film Independent has been nothing less than extraordinary. He has always shown complete commitment to our core principles of equality and diversity during his long tenure."

Raddon, a devout Mormon who took the reins of the fest in 2000, said: "I have always held the belief that all people, no matter race, religion or sexual orientation, are entitled to equal rights. I prefer to keep the details around my contribution through my church a private matter. But I am profoundly sorry for the negative attention that my actions have drawn to Film Independent and for the hurt and pain that is being experienced in the GLBT community."

Unless I'm mistaken, this is exactly the type of unpopular speech and political opinion Hollywood spent the last 40 years making movies about that said, in essence, 'never again.'

Sanctimonious hypocrite, thy name is Hollywood.

(thanks to M. H.)

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Obama: 'I Didn't Really Mean It' (UPDATED)

About complete withdrawal from Iraq, that is.

Which, as you readers already know, pleases me a great deal. I'm glad to see the airy rhetoric of Obama's many inane campaign promises (rubber) hit the proverbial road. As us realists always knew, those sorts of ridiculous promises were never going to work for real.
On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to “end the war” in Iraq.

But as he moves closer to the White House, President-elect Obama is making clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq, even if he can make good on his campaign promise to pull all combat forces out within 16 months.

“I said that I would remove our combat troops from Iraq in 16 months, with the understanding that it might be necessary — likely to be necessary — to maintain a residual force to provide potential training, logistical support, to protect our civilians in Iraq,” Mr. Obama said this week as he introduced his national security team.

Publicly at least, Mr. Obama has not set a firm number for that “residual force,” a phrase certain to become central to the debate on the way ahead in Iraq, though one of his national security advisers, Richard Danzig, said during the campaign that it could amount to 30,000 to 55,000 troops. Nor has Mr. Obama laid out any timetable beyond 16 months for troop drawdowns, or suggested when he believes a time might come for a declaration that the war is over.

In the meantime, military planners are drawing up tentative schedules aimed at meeting both Mr. Obama’s goal for withdrawing combat troops, with a target of May 2010, and the Dec. 31, 2011, date for sending the rest of American troops home that is spelled out in the new agreement between the United States and the Iraqi government.

That status-of-forces agreement remains subject to change, by mutual agreement, and Army planners acknowledge privately that they are examining projections that could see the number of Americans hovering between 30,000 and 50,000 — and some say as high as 70,000 — for a substantial time even beyond 2011.

Like Ace, I wonder what his supporters will say now to excuse his betrayal of what was the most important issue to them during this campaign: The complete and total withdrawal of American "occupying" forces from Iraq.

Obamaniacs, commence tying yourselves in nuanced knots.

(h/t Hot Air & Ace)

UPDATED 2:28pm BST: Typically, I'm content to just mention some point about how Obama's not living up to his promise, make a snarky comment, and leave it at that. Fortunately, people like Ryan D. at Pendulum Politics exist to actually look at the substance of the situation.

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03 December 2008

Kill NPR, Please

Can someone remind me why Pravda, er, NPR is necessary? I mean, doesn't it cannibalize listeners from liberals' other left-wing radio option, Air America?

My latest NewsBusters post examines lazy NPR journalism that blames Tennessee Democrats loss of state legislature control on, you guessed it, racism.

They even found some poly sci professor to use academic speak in calling Republican voters 'poor, ignorant, religion-deluded hicks.' I'm sure he's a very nice man.

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'Economists Have Abandoned Principle'

Oliver Hart, Harvard econ professor & Luigi Zingales, Chicago Booth finance professor:
This year will be remembered not just for one of the worst financial crises in American history, but also as the moment when economists abandoned their principles. There used to be a consensus that selective intervention in the economy was bad. In the last 12 months this belief has been shattered.

Practically every day the government launches a massively expensive new initiative to solve the problems that the last day's initiative did not. It is hard to discern any principles behind these actions. The lack of a coherent strategy has increased uncertainty and undermined the public's perception of the government's competence and trustworthiness.

Yup. You can say that again. "Willy-nilly" is the operative hyphenated word.

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Iowahawk: 'Apologetic Mumbai Killers: 'We Didn't Get The Memo About Obama''

As Iowahawk's story of sorrow points out, electing Barack Obama and bringing peace and love and brotherhood to the world doesn't work unless everyone knows Obama won.

(per usual, beware Iowahawk's colorful language)
MUMBAI - Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole surviving member of the 10-man team of Pakistani gunmen that left hundreds dead or wounded after a bloody three day rampage in Mumbai, today blamed the mayhem on an "email mixup" that left him and his colleagues unaware that Barack Obama had won election as President of the United States.

"What? Oh bloody hell, now you tell me," said Kasab, as he was led away in handcuffs by Indian security forces.

Kasab, 21, apologized to Indian President Pratibha Patil, explaining that no one in his group had known about the recent U.S. election results.

"Boy, talk about having egg on the face," said a visibly embarrassed Kasab. "If we knew Bush was on his way out, obviously we would have called off the crazy random baby-shootings and martyrdom stuff, and signed on with the Peace Corps or Habitat for Humanity. At this point I guess all I can say is 'my bad.'"

Soon the moonbats won't have Bush to blame for the world's problems. Strike that. They'll be blaming him for everything for years to come. Oh, I get it now. Nevermind. That's why Iowahawk's satire is so smart. And funny.

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02 December 2008

'It's The Ideology (And The Demographics), Stupid'

(with apologies to James Carville)

Mark Steyn's take on the Mumbai attacks and how they fit in to the broader picture is a must read. Sure, he pounds the demographics drum, again, but it's an important part of the advance of jihadism as an ideology:
[...] we’re in danger of missing the forest for the trees. The forest is the ideology. It’s the ideology that determines whether you can find enough young hotshot guys in the neighborhood willing to strap on a suicide belt or (rather more promising as a long-term career) at least grab an AK and shoot up a hotel lobby. Or, if active terrorists are a bit thin on the ground, whether you can count at least on some degree of broader support on the ground. You’re sitting in some distant foreign capital but you’re minded to pull off a Bombay-style operation in, say, Amsterdam or Manchester or Toronto. Where would you start? Easy. You know the radical mosques, and the other ideological-front organizations. You’ve already made landfall.

It’s missing the point to get into debates about whether this is the “Deccan Mujahideen” or the ISI or al-Qaeda or Lashkar-e-Taiba. That’s a reductive argument. It could be all or none of them. The ideology has been so successfully seeded around the world that nobody needs a memo from corporate HQ to act: There are so many of these subgroups and individuals that they intersect across the planet in a million different ways. It’s not the Cold War, with a small network of deep sleepers being directly controlled by Moscow. There are no membership cards, only an ideology. That’s what has radicalized hitherto moderate Muslim communities from Indonesia to the Central Asian stans to Yorkshire, and co-opted what started out as more or less conventional nationalist struggles in the Caucasus and the Balkans into mere tentacles of the global jihad.


This isn’t law enforcement but an ideological assault — and we’re fighting the symptoms not the cause. Islamic imperialists want an Islamic society, not just in Palestine and Kashmir but in the Netherlands and Britain, too. Their chances of getting it will be determined by the ideology’s advance among the general Muslim population, and the general Muslim population’s demographic advance among everybody else.

So Bush is history, and we have a new president who promises to heal the planet, and yet the jihadists don’t seem to have got the Obama message that there are no enemies, just friends we haven’t yet held talks without preconditions with. This isn’t about repudiating the Bush years, or withdrawing from Iraq, or even liquidating Israel. It’s bigger than that. And if you don’t have a strategy for beating back the ideology, you’ll lose.
(emphasis added)

This is the ideological challenge: Making "moderate" Islam (broadly speaking, the ones who don't use violent means to achieve a worldwide caliphate) more appealing than radical (is there any other kind) jihadism (aka, Islamofascism or whatever other word you like to use).

Look, whatever you may have originally thunk about Iraq, it is quickly shaping into exactly the type of pluralist, muslim, moderate state President Bush always hoped it would be. Sure, Obama will take credit when that happens, but still, Iraq will be there as an example to the rest of the Middle East (and world, for that matter).

Democracy allows for Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds and Christians to all get along.

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The Future Of Conservatism, Part 24

I don't entirely agree with Rod Dreher's analysis of the election (that Sarah Palin was a net negative) or on his prescription for the way forward (that we should follow, lock-stock-barrel, David Cameron's metamorphosing of the Tory party), but I do agree with him on two important points:

1) Social/Religious conservatives were not to blame for John McCain's loss


2) Kicking out the aforementioned wing of the conservative tent is not the way to win future elections.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

Thankful For Economic Incentives (And Private Property Rights)

I would have posted this one sooner, but I just found it over at Volokh Conspiracy.

American history, economics, & political science--sounds like American Heritage.
Many people believe that after suffering through a severe winter, the Pilgrims’ food shortages were resolved the following spring when the Native Americans taught them to plant corn and a Thanksgiving celebration resulted. In fact, the pilgrims continued to face chronic food shortages for three years until the harvest of 1623. Bad weather or lack of farming knowledge did not cause the pilgrims’ shortages. Bad economic incentives did.

In 1620 Plymouth Plantation was founded with a system of communal property rights. Food and supplies were held in common and then distributed based on equality and need as determined by Plantation officials. People received the same rations whether or not they contributed to producing the food, and residents were forbidden from producing their own food. Governor William Bradford, in his 1647 history, Of Plymouth Plantation, wrote that this system was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. The problem was that young men, that were most able and fit for labour, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. Because of the poor incentives, little food was produced.

Faced with potential starvation in the spring of 1623, the colony decided to implement a new economic system. Every family was assigned a private parcel of land. They could then keep all they grew for themselves, but now they alone were responsible for feeding themselves. While not a complete private property system, the move away from communal ownership had dramatic results.

This change, Bradford wrote, had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. Giving people economic incentives changed their behavior. Once the new system of property rights was in place, the women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability.

Once the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Plantation abandoned their communal economic system and adopted one with greater individual property rights, they never again faced the starvation and food shortages of the first three years. It was only after allowing greater property rights that they could feast without worrying that famine was just around the corner.
Be sure and read the full Volokh post to learn things like, Native Americans understood private property rights before they traded away Manhattan for beads and a few deer skins.

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My Kind Of Bailout

Jonah Goldberg:
The latest number, which includes the Citigroup rescue, is $7.7 trillion. That’s roughly half of America’s GDP.


[A]ny way you slice it, we are talking about really, really large amounts of money here. Barry Ritholtz, a financial blogger and Wall Street analyst, offers some perspective. Adjusting for inflation, the Marshall Plan cost $115.3 billion. The Louisiana Purchase: $217 billion. The race to the moon: $237 billion. The New Deal: $500 billion (estimated). The Korean War: $454 billion. The Iraq war: $597 billion.

You can add all of these things together and still not come close to what taxpayers are on the hook for already. You could even throw in the Savings and Loan bailout ($256 billion), the Vietnam War ($698 billion) and all of NASA ($851 billion) and still come up short.


Obama says he doesn’t want spending as usual when it comes to formulating his impending mother of all stimulus packages. (Estimates vary from $500 billion to $700 billion, but who knows how high that number will go?)

So far, all we know for sure is that he wants massive increases in infrastructure “investment.” That’s fine with me, so long as it’s the infrastructure we need (though history shows such expenditures usually come on-line well after a recession is already over).

But rather than blow money on a lavish reenactment of the New Deal, or continue bailing out undeserving corporations, why not really think outside the box? Rep. Louie Gohmert (R., Texas) suggests an across-the-board reprieve on paying 2008 income taxes. This would leave an extra $1.2 trillion in the hands of Americans, who are the best stewards of their own money. Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Mundell proposes a one-year moratorium on corporate income taxes in order to stimulate investment, job creation and the like. That wouldn’t be as popular, for understandable reasons.

The details can be negotiated, but this sort of approach would certainly create more jobs and spur more consumer demand than paying for a lot of asphalt. It would buy a lot more prosperity than any corporate bailout. Politically, it could buy Obama and Congress a year to formulate a serious tax-reform proposal. And — here’s the amazing part — it would be much cheaper than what we’ve spent already.
Really? You think everything they've done so far is just hunky dory?

How about we follow the advice of both Mundell & Ghomert and not collect corporate or personal income taxes?

Is that something you might be interested in?

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01 December 2008

I Love Alta

Thanks to Matt L. for this one: On 3 December at 7pm, KUED will broadcast "The Alta Experience." From what I can tell, it's all about all of the reasons I (and people like me) love Alta.

It's not just because no snowboarders are allowed, no, there's more to it than that. It's because regular, Deer Valley skiers don't like Alta much either, because at Alta you have to hike for the really good snow.

No poseurs allowed.

Check out the site and watch some of the Alta-love testimonials.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

And They Say Conservatives Are International Narcissists

In Bill Kristol's latest column about the Mumbai attacks, he takes University of Chicago professor Martha Nussbaum to task
Consider first an op-ed article in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times by Martha Nussbaum, a well-known professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago. The article was headlined “Terrorism in India has many faces.” But one face that Nussbaum fails to mention specifically is that of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Islamic terror group originating in Pakistan that seems to have been centrally involved in the attack on Mumbai.

This is because Nussbaum’s main concern is not explaining or curbing Islamic terror. Rather, she writes that “if, as now seems likely, last week’s terrible events in Mumbai were the work of Islamic terrorists, that’s more bad news for India’s minority Muslim population.” She deplores past acts of Hindu terror against India’s Muslims. She worries about Muslim youths being rounded up on suspicion of terrorism with little or no evidence. And she notes that this is “an analogue to the current ugly phenomenon of racial profiling in the United States.”

So jihadists kill innocents in Mumbai — and Nussbaum ends up decrying racial profiling here. Is it just that liberal academics are required to include some alleged ugly American phenomenon in everything they write?
(emphasis added)

Lots of pundits want to paint last week's attacks as something other than what they really were: Terrorist attacks by "a jihadi group of Wahhabi persuasion, 'backed by Saudi money and protected by Pakistani intelligence services.'"

They have essentially the same "maximalist" aims as their friends in al-Qaeda--elimination of Islam's "existential" enemies (the United States, UK, India, Israel) and establishment of a global caliphate.

The motivation for these attacks was no more complicated than that.

It's as nose as the Anne on plain's face.

(h/t Scott L.)

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29 November 2008

This Idiot Goes To Cornell

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about six kids preparing and applying to sundry universities across the United States. Normally, I would read these stories of over-achievers and maniacal parents and move on, but one of the six stories really stuck out to me--for all of the wrong reasons.

Consider Ramond King. Given that his parents hiply-misspelled his name, nothing in this story should come as a surprise.
When Dartmouth College rejected Ramond King last December, he blasted Radiohead's "Let Down" and tried to figure out why he wasn't at least put on the wait list. He had a 3.9 grade-point average his senior year, took five Advanced Placement courses and won the headmaster's cup, an award to the student who showed the most personal growth at the Branson School in Ross, Calif.

A few weeks later, as he was finishing 13 applications, Mr. King's college counselor called with a possible explanation. On his application, where he'd described his course load, Ramond had spelled chemistry as "chemestry" and literature as "literatre." The errors appeared six times.

"When it happened, of course, I'm freaking out," Mr. King says. Before he'd sent that Dartmouth application, his mother, father and sister had studied each word, scouring for mistakes. But the errors were on a page he filled out on his own and gave to the guidance office to complete with recommendations.

In his next round of applications, the errors were corrected. This time, he was accepted to five schools, including Cornell, where he is now a freshman. He says blatant misspellings can be fatal to an application (ed. note: seriously?): "I try and laugh about it now," he says.

Advice: Check every section of an application immediately after finishing it, as well as before sending it. Many college counselors recommend printing out an online application and proofreading the hard copy.

In 13 applications, he misspelled the same two words 6 times. One time on one application--that I would understand, but 6 times out of 13 applications makes me think this kid is a complete idiot who still isn't sure how to spell "chemestry" or "literatre." And it's not like he consistently misspelled those two words in all 13 applications. He only screwed it up 6 times. Presumably he got it right the other 7? Who knows?

Cornell, you deserve whatever you get from Ramond King.

Also, I'm no longer accepting the "Cornell is a 2nd tier Ivy" crap I've been hearing all of these years. Sorry, not when your frosh applicants are pulling stuff like this.

[ed. note: if someone emails me in a couple of years to tell me that King became a Rhodes scholar, I'll eat my words.]

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28 November 2008

Health Care Reform

For the record, I am not (nor have I ever defended) defending the status quo.

I dislike the health care status quo for two reasons broad reasons:
- It is inefficient and costly.
- It gives impetus to the useful idiots clamoring for universal health care.

I am for a reform of health care that would at least do the following:
- correctly align incentives
- eliminate the tax incentive in favor of employer provided health care thereby freeing labor movement AND allow wages to rise
- reduce regulation allowing for greater instate and intrastate insurance competition
- expand Health Savings Accounts and use of "catastrophic" health insurance
- encourage greater use of statistics-based health care evaluation & best practices
- I'm sure there's something I'm missing ...

I further propose that we avoid a federal, one-size-fits-all prescription for health and instead eliminate government-caused, market distorting interventions such as tax free employer provided health care. Wherever possible, the federal government should encourage and allow various states to attempt reform at that level--in the mode of Wisconsin's welfare reform in the early-mid 90's.

As an example & case study, I offer Bobby Jindal's plan to reform Medicaid in Louisiana.

This is the type of reform we should be encouraging.

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27 November 2008

George Washington's Thanksgiving

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

Thankful For Education

They came first for religious freedom. Now, descendants of the ones who stayed behind, come for the education.
In the media telling, America during the Bush years has been an unpopular and insular country. But one group would seem to differ: young people. The U.S. remains the top destination for students from around the world, while Americans are studying abroad in record numbers too.

The New York-based Institute of International Education's "Open Doors" report, published this week, shows that more foreign students than ever are flocking to American colleges and universities. International student enrollment increased by 7% to 623,805 in the 2007-08 academic year -- the largest annual increase since 1980. The survey, funded by the State Department's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, accumulates data from 3,000 institutions of higher education.

The easy answer is that American universities are the most liberal, anti-Bush places in America (maybe the world)--that if they don't like us, they will find people sympathetic to their viewpoint at Berkeley & Columbia.

Of course, they aren't attending universities in such high numbers in other countries they supposedly don't like, or of whose leaders they so strongly disapprove.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

26 November 2008

The Moral Hazard Of Secularism

Another reason religion and morality matter. Prop 8 & doing away with Christmas and everything else--it's all of a piece.

Daniel Henninger:
It has been my view that the steady secularizing and insistent effort at dereligioning America has been dangerous. That danger flashed red in the fall into subprime personal behavior by borrowers and bankers, who after all are just people. Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions.

The point for a healthy society of commerce and politics is not that religion saves, but that it keeps most of the players inside the chalk lines. We are erasing the chalk lines.

Read the whole article. I'll take Dan Henninger over Tom Friedman every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

Hopefully We Can All Hang Out

You know, when Michelle Obama sends those of us in the loyal & conservative opposition to liberal re-education camps, to teach us not to be racists for voting for John McCain & that Prop 8 is bad. Bad! Bad! Bad!

Since my daily blog readership doesn't quite break 4 digits--yet (haters), I'll probably last a little bit longer than my heroes Ace & Iowahawk.

But rest assured, when Michelle's T800s (all designed to look exactly like Rachel Maddow. sick & wrong, I know) put me in the camp, all you'll have to do is look for those guys, and you'll find me. No doubt we'll be planning a little Great Escape-style escape. We'll name our tunnels Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley Jr. (WFB, for brevity's sake), & Milton Friedman.

Be sure and check out Iowahawk's latest offense against his lordship, the high Obama:
WASHINGTON DC - Ending weeks of speculation and rumors, President-Elect Barack Obama today named Bill Clinton to join his incoming administration as President of the United States, where he will head the federal government's executive branch.

"I am pleased that Bill Clinton has agreed to come out of retirement to head up this crucial post in my administration," said Obama. "He brings a lifetime of previous executive experience as Governor of Arkansas and President of the United States, and has worked closely with most of the members of my Cabinet."

Clinton said he was "excited and honored" by the appointment, and would work "day and night" to defeat all the key policy objectives proposed by Mr. Obama during the campaign.

To all my liberal friends: Please show mercy on me now, in your moment of supreme power and might and dominance. I mean, all I did was use Obama's middle name in my posts over and over and over again in a vain attempt to scare Americans into thinking he was a jihadist in disguise.

That's not so bad, right?


If I promise to take some of those lame 48 loves 52 pictures, will you let me off with a simple, Berkeley-style brainwashing, and a little bamboo under the fingernails? Please?

I don't think I can take the John McCain Experience. (heh. you see what I did there, with "experience?")

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

25 November 2008

National Review Sticks Up For Mormons, 1st Amendment

I'm tempting the Fair Use fates (again) by posting this, but I just don't see any other way around it. If you care about the 1st Amendment, you must read this article.
Last week in a Denver suburb, someone lit a Book of Mormon on fire and dropped it on the doorstep of a Mormon temple, presumably as a statement about the church’s support of Proposition 8 in California, an initiative that amended the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In a move that may make gay-rights supporters’ heads spin, the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

The outbreak of attacks on the Mormon church since the passage of Proposition 8 has been chilling: envelopes full of suspicious white powder were sent to church headquarters in Salt Lake City; protesters showed up en masse to intimidate Mormon small-business owners who supported the measure; a website was created to identify and shame members of the church who backed it; activists are targeting the relatives of prominent Mormons who gave money to pass it, as well as other Mormons who are only tangentially associated with the cause; some have even called for a boycott of the entire state of Utah.

The wisdom of hate-crimes legislation aside, there is no doubt that a lot of hate is being directed at Mormons as a group. But why single out Mormons? And why now?

Dozens of church bodies — including the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian bishops of California, and a wide variety of evangelicals — supported the proposition. It’s also worth considering that, while gay-rights advocates cannot discuss same-sex marriage for more than 30 seconds without making faulty analogies to Jim Crow-era anti-miscegenation laws, some 70 percent of blacks voted for Proposition 8. While there have been a few ugly racist statements by gay-rights supporters, such vile sentiment has been restricted. Not so the hatred directed at Mormons, who are convenient targets.

To date, 30 states have voted on initiatives addressing same-sex marriage, and in every state traditional marriage has come out on top. But somehow the fact that Mormons got involved during the latest statewide referendum constitutes a bridge too far? In truth, Mormons are a target of convenience in the opening salvo of what is sure to be a full-scale assault on much of America’s religious infrastructure, which gay activists perceive as a barrier to their aspirations. Among religious groups, Mormons are not the biggest obstacle to same-sex marriage — not by a long shot. But they are an easy target. Anti-Mormon bigotry is unfortunately common, and gay-rights activists are cynically exploiting that fact.

There are no websites dedicated to “outing” Catholics who supported Proposition 8, even though Catholic voters heavily outnumber Mormons. And the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not remarkably strident in its beliefs on the subject. So far, no gay-rights activist has had the brass to burn a Qu’ran on the doorstep of a militant mosque where — forget marriage! — imams advocate the stoning of homosexuals.

Churches oppose same-sex marriage in part because it represents an implicit threat to freedom of conscience and belief. California already had one of the broadest civil-unions laws in the country. There was little in the way of government-sanctioned privileges that a state-issued marriage license would confer. But the drive for same-sex marriage is in practice about legislating moral conformity — demanding that everybody recognize homosexual relationships in the same way, regardless of their own beliefs. Freedom of conscience, or diversity of belief, is the last thing the homosexual lobby will tolerate: In New Mexico, a state civil-rights commission fined an evangelical wedding photographer $6,637 for politely declining to photograph a gay commitment ceremony. In California, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously against two San Diego fertility doctors who refused to give in-vitro fertilization to a lesbian owing to their religious beliefs, even though they had referred her to another doctor. And just this week, evangelical dating site eHarmony, which hadn’t previously provided same-sex matchmaking services, announced it had been browbeaten into doing so by New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights and the threat of litigation. The first 10,000 same-sex eHarmony registrants will receive a free six-month subscription. “That’s one of the things I asked for,” crowed Eric McKinley, who brought the charges against eHarmony.

Where do they go from here? Gay activists are already using the legal system to try to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Mormon church. If you believe that churches and synagogues, priests and rabbis won’t eventually be sued for their statements on sexuality, you’re kidding yourself. Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown University law professor and gay activist who helps draft federal legislation related to sexual orientation, says that, when religious liberty conflicts with gay rights, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” A National Public Radio report on the conflict noted that if previous cases are any guide, “the outlook is grim for religious groups.”

Given their cavalier disregard for the freedom of conscience, it’s little surprise that the gay lobby is equally disdainful of democracy: They began pursuing legal challenges to Proposition 8 practically before they were done tallying the votes. Lamentably, the state attorney general defending the will of the people will be former Jerry Brown, the liberal former governor who was an open opponent of the measure and tried to sabotage it. The legal challenges will be heard by the same state Supreme Court that overturned California’s previous law forbidding gay marriage back in May. There’s a real possibility the will of the people will be spurned a second time, democracy be damned. They’ve already burned the Book of Mormon. The First Amendment is next.
(emphasis added)

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.