31 January 2009

Another Democrat With Tax 'Problems'

As you've all heard by now, former Senator Tom Daschle had to pay a bunch of back taxes in order to make the grade as Obama's nominee for HHS. Add him to the list with Tim Geithner and not nominee, but still Democrat, Charlie Rangel. What's with these guys?

The real kicker in all of this is the fact that these guys--the Democrats--are the ones who want to increase taxes and redistribute it to the poor. And yet here we have another one not paying his taxes.

Not only are liberals less generous with their charitable donations and whatnot (as proven by hard evidence here), but they don't even fund their fair share of pat-themselves-on-the-back, government nanny-statism.

They don't want to give any of their money--either through charitable giving or taxes--they want you to fund their programs so they can feel good about themselves.

(Disclaimer: Obviously this stereotype doesn't apply to all liberals. I'm sure there are some out there who walk the walk.)

(thanks to notropis for the image & DrewM @ Ace)

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

29 January 2009

Obama's Stimulus: 'Triumph Of Hope Over Experience' (UPDATED)

The title is not an endorsement, by the way.

Click here to see a long list of economists who think that Obama's plan to stimulate the economy is a very, very bad one.

(thanks to Fernando M.)

The WSJ's arguments against it are also pretty darn persuasive.
This is a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.

We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it. There's $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There's even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.


Another "stimulus" secret is that some $252 billion is for income-transfer payments -- that is, not investments that arguably help everyone, but cash or benefits to individuals for doing nothing at all. There's $81 billion for Medicaid, $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits, $20 billion for food stamps, and $83 billion for the earned income credit for people who don't pay income tax. While some of that may be justified to help poorer Americans ride out the recession, they aren't job creators.

As for the promise of accountability, some $54 billion will go to federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office have already criticized as "ineffective" or unable to pass basic financial audits. These include the Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, the 10 federal job training programs, and many more.


Any Blue Dog Democrat who votes for this ought to turn in his "deficit hawk" credentials.

This is supposed to be a new era of bipartisanship, but this bill was written based on the wish list of every living -- or dead -- Democratic interest group. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it, "We won the election. We wrote the bill." So they did. Republicans should let them take all of the credit.

Asking for someone, anyone, among the few remaining Obama supporters who read this blog to defend this bill is unfair. I would be asking them to defend the indefensible.

Obama is exactly what we thought he was--a traditional tax and spend liberal--a true nanny-stater. Give Obama and the Democrats your money, they know how to spend it better than you do.

There is no bi-partisanship or post-partisanship in this bill. There is no fiscal discipline. There is no tax cutting. None of what Obama promised during his campaign is in this bill. None of what the kool-aid drinking Obamabots projected into his airy rhetorical speeches is in this bill.

All that's in this bill is the patronizing spending 'wish list of every liberal Democrat for the last 40 years.'

$50 million for National Endowment for the Arts? Are you kidding me?

I got a stimulus plan for you: Collect fewer taxes and allow Americans to do what they will with their own damn money.

(thanks to Morgan H.)

UPDATE 12:43pm BST: I gave you Obama's stimulus plan. I gave you my stimulus plan. Now try on Rush Limbaugh's stimulus plan. Wear it around the store. See how it feels. More importantly, see how it makes you feel about yourself.

Do you feel that tingly feeling going down both legs? Yeah. That's the power of El Rushbo.
Fifty-three percent of American voters voted for Barack Obama; 46% voted for John McCain, and 1% voted for wackos. Give that 1% to President Obama. Let's say the vote was 54% to 46%. As a way to bring the country together and at the same time determine the most effective way to deal with recessions, under the Obama-Limbaugh Stimulus Plan of 2009: 54% of the $900 billion -- $486 billion -- will be spent on infrastructure and pork as defined by Mr. Obama and the Democrats; 46% -- $414 billion -- will be directed toward tax cuts, as determined by me.

Then we compare. We see which stimulus actually works. This is bipartisanship! It would satisfy the American people's wishes, as polls currently note; and it would also serve as a measurable test as to which approach best stimulates job growth.

I say, cut the U.S. corporate tax rate -- at 35%, among the highest of all industrialized nations -- in half. Suspend the capital gains tax for a year to incentivize new investment, after which it would be reimposed at 10%. Then get out of the way! Once Wall Street starts ticking up 500 points a day, the rest of the private sector will follow. There's no reason to tell the American people their future is bleak. There's no reason, as the administration is doing, to depress their hopes. There's no reason to insist that recovery can't happen quickly, because it can.

Let the great stimulation competition of 2009 begin.

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

28 January 2009

Back At It (NewsBusters) Again

In case you aren't a regular reader of NewsBusters, my other writing gig, I thought I'd post a few links to my latest.

The first, and oldest, is a write-up of Karl Rove's videos of President George W. Bush's farewell at Andrew's Air Force Base:
Karl Rove Documents Bush's Farewell, MSM Absent
My second post explored the many wonderful possibilities of MSNBC filling their 10 o'clock slot with another personality as fantastic as Keith Olbermann & Rachel Maddow.
Rachel Maddow & Keith Olbermann Lonely, Look for New Friend
The 3rd post examines the excellent reportage of one Chelsea Isaacs, news editor for the Miami Hurricane. In it you will find a tour de force of fair-minded journalism as she reports on a speaking visit from Karl "Evil Genius" Rove.
Reporting Karl Rove: U of Miami J-School Student Gets It Right
The 4th & most recent post examines political cartoonists seeming inability to send up their man, Barack Obama. Apparently, they can't find anything satire-worthy about the man.
Liberal Cartoonists Complain: Obama Too Cool & Handsome to Satirize
So, enjoy those and keep sending me tips. I'm posting here about 5-6 times a week and there 4-5 times a week. If I had more time I'd write-up more of your good tips--but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate them, because I do.

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

27 January 2009

Conservatives & Obama

David Horowitz, '60's era radical, now conservative, & author of one of the books I'm currently reading, Indoctrination U., wrote an excellent take on how conservatives ought to view the election of Obama.
Today America welcomes Barack Obama as the first black president in its 232-year history. How should conservatives think about these events?

First we have to recognize and then understand that whatever happens in the Obama presidency, this Inauguration Day is a watershed moment in the history of America and a remarkable event in the history of nations, and thus a cause for all of us who love this country, conservative and liberal, Democrat and Republican, to celebrate.

Second, in order to do this as conservatives -- as conservatives who have been through the culture wars -- we need to get past the mixed feelings we will inevitably have as the nation marks its progress in moving away from the racial divisions and divisiveness of the past. These feelings come not from resistance to the change, but from the knowledge that this celebration should have taken place decades ago and that its delay was not least because our opponents saw political advantage in playing the race card against us and making us its slandered targets.

If we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday at a time of presidential inaugurals, this is thanks to Ronald Reagan who created the holiday, and not to the Democratic Congress of the Carter years, which rejected it. If Americans now have accepted an African American to lead their country in war and peace that is in part because an hysterically maligned Republican made two African Americans his secretaries of state. And if, after the passage of the Civil Rights Acts, race has continued to be a divisive factor in our politics over the last 40 years that is because the generation of Sharpton and Jackson and their liberal supporters have made it so. . . .

Only time will tell how successfully Obama manages to unite the nation in the face of the crises and enemies which confront it. . . . But today celebrating their new president are millions of Americans who never would have dreamed of celebrating their president before. Millions of Americans -- visible in all their racial and ethnic variety at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday -- have begun to feel a patriotic stirring because they see in this First Family a reflection of themselves.

The change is still symbolic and may not last. A lot depends on what President Obama will do, which is not a small question given how little is still known about this man and how little tested he remains. Some of this patriotism may be of the sunshine variety -- in for a day or a season, when the costs are not great. Or more cynically: in to show that their hatred for America is really just another form of political "dissent." Yet whatever the nature of these changes they cannot for now be discounted. Consider: When President Obama commits this nation to war against the Islamic terrorists, as he already has in Afghanistan, he will take millions of previously alienated and disaffected Americans with him, and they will support our troops in a way that most of his party has refused to support them until now. When another liberal, Bill Clinton went to war from the air, there was no anti-war movement in the streets or in his party's ranks to oppose him. That is an encouraging fact for us in the dangerous world we confront.

If it seems unfair that Barack Obama should be the source of a new patriotism -- albeit of untested mettle -- life is unfair. If the Obama future is uncertain and fraught with unseen perils, conservatives can deal with those perils as they come. What matters today is that many Americans have begun to join their country's cause, and conservatives should celebrate that fact and encourage it.

Incidentally, and as an aside, becoming a conservative is what happens to all "good" radicals.

The "bad" ones go to work as "professors" of "elementary education" at the University of Illinois at Chicago and ghostwrite books for successful politicians.

(h/t Scott L.)

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

26 January 2009

On The Promise of Obama

Like many of you, I watched President Obama's inauguration last week. I had mixed feelings about the whole thing--bittersweet feelings. Many of my liberal friends are surprised to hear that I am, as I describe it, "skeptically optimistic" about Obama.

I'm impressed by his thoughtfulness, intelligence, and speaking ability. I have deep doubts about his politics and preferred policy solutions to many of the problems we face.

But I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Peggy Noonan, who became a bit of a conservative turncoat this election, had a few interesting observations about the inauguration. The following observation, about a new order of inclusiveness, is one I've seen repeated elsewhere.
The whole experience the next few days was marked for me by a new or refreshed knowledge that those who had not felt included or invited in the past were now for the first time truly here, and part of it all, in great numbers.
I appreciate that President Obama, an black president, has made African-Americans feel more included or in some cases, included for the first time. I regret that this is so. I don't think a given group should only feel included when their guy--as identified by race--is in the White House.

Honestly, that's not what this country is about. Unlike many (nay, most) countries in the world, America wasn't and should not be organized along "tribal" lines. We didn't divide based on language or race or whatever but were found based on an idea--an idea that was and remains inclusive enough that anyone and everyone, regardless of race, creed, color, background, ought to be able to feel included and represented regardless of the race of the man or woman occupying the White House or any other office.

This idea that now, for the first time, African Americans can or are included in the political process is, to me, a double-edged sword. I am glad to have them included and feeling patriotic and American, but I am sad that they only feel included when someone who looks like them occupies the White House. Will the same be true of other races or religions? I hope not.

I hope that the breaking of this barrier will help all Americans, regardless of what they think makes them different, realize that what makes them American is a set of shared ideals, a shared vision, a collective memory and history that includes all the good things--what Obama called, "our better history"--and seeks to move past the bad parts.

Maybe that's what this election was about, an opportunity to put the stain of slavery and segregation behind us. If so, as a guy who voted for the other guy, I'd have to agree it is worth it. I just hope the opportunity isn't squandered. If the race-baiters, victim-creators--the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons have their way, a wonderful opportunity will have been lost.

If they have their way, black Americans will only ever feel included when someone who looks like them is in the White House. And that would be a shame.

If Barack Obama does nothing more than bring black Americans into the American body politic, he will have been successful.

Speaking as a conservative, I hope he keeps accomplishes that and keeps his policy prescriptions conservative.

(h/t Scott L.)

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

24 January 2009

Close Guantanamo, Release Terrorists For 'Rehabilitation,' Reap Consequences (UPDATED)

Did you think President Bush was keeping these guys in Gitmo for fun?

Maybe to jab Democrats in the eye?

Just because he could?

Rehabbed terrorist continues being terrorist, bombs Americans
The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda's Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order that President Barack Obama signed that the detention center be shut down within a year.

The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen's capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.

The lesson, as always: These guys aren't plain old criminals.

You can't treat them as such.

25 January 12:08am BST: And they come out of rehabilitation angrier and more determined than ever to be terrorists, rather than peace-loving, productive, members of society.
Two men released from the US "war on terror" prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have appeared in a video posted on a jihadist website, the SITE monitoring service reported.

One of the two former inmates, a Saudi man identified as Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shahri, or prisoner number 372, has been elevated to the senior ranks of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, a US counter-terrorism official told AFP.

Three other men appear in the video, including Abu al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi, identified as an Al-Qaeda field commander. SITE later said he was prisoner No. 333.

Honestly, I don't think Obama really intends to close Gitmo--that is to say, shut down the Bush administration's "enemy combatants" designation and treat these guys as regular criminals.

I don't think he's dumb enough to just ship them off to Jack Murtha's local minimum security prison. So far, what he's said and done (nothing, yet) on that front has been done to placate the angry lefties.

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

23 January 2009

Crazy Norwegians

Aka Politics Free Friday

wingsuit base jumping from Ali on Vimeo.

Seb D. says he's already seen it which means it's probably been around the web. Apologies to those who've seen this.

The activity itself isn't new to me, but the video is. And the, "let's see how close we can get to the wall while traveling 100 mph" part is also a new, albeit crazy, innovation in the sport of men impersonating flying squirrels.

(Thanks to Scott L.)

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

22 January 2009

Harry Truman & George W. Bush

If Harry Truman is the template for rehabilitation of a President's image, I'd say George W. Bush will do just fine.

According to the WSJ survey of Presidential approval polls
(the one I've been using a lot), Harry Truman matched Nixon for the lowest plunge in approval in the poll's history--outstripping W by nearly 10 percentage points. Similar to Truman, Bush's approval margin rebounded in the waning days of his Presidency to finish around 30%. Not great, but also far from an indicator of future historical review. That is to say, future historians and future generations may well look back on the shortsighted opinion polls of today and wonder why in the hell we so disliked an obviously successful President.

This is what has happened to Harry Truman.

I don't see a reason it can't or won't happen to George W. Bush.

[ed. note: BDS--Bush Derangement Syndrome--is one prominent reason.]

When Truman left office, his controversial war--Korea--was in a lot worse shape than George W. Bush's controversial war--Iraq.

Korea was on its way to what remains a permanent division between North & South. The North would go on to starve, kill, & re-educate millions of its people and be a nuclear obsessed pain in the posterior for American and the rest of the free world.

Contrast that with Iraq: A deposed dictator--by all accounts, the worse in the world at the time. Elimination of a aspirational nuclear/biological/chemical weapon threat. Establishment of a democratic ally/genuine friend to the U.S. in a historically contentious and unstable part of the world. The success of the surge and Bush's resistance to popular pressure to pull a Vietnam and leave Iraqis to certain genocide is another positive mark in Bush's column.

Given Truman's Korea precedent, how do you think President Bush is going to look upon further review?

Caveat emptor
: The aforementioned BDS and outright hate of Bush demonstrated by the media (and leftist intellectuals) make even a future, unbiased examination of President Bush a very tall order. The fact that Truman was, of course, a Democrat, adds to the comparative difficulty.

But it also makes for an interesting, counterfactual consideration: If Bush had done all the things he had done, but were a Democrat, do you think we (collectively speaking) would have a similar view of him now?

Be honest.

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

21 January 2009

End Of The Honeymoon (UPDATED)


Well, now, that didn't last long. From the comments in this WaPo article:
From the poor choice of anti gay, anti woman, creepy fundy freak Rick Warren, to the botchd National Anthem by way, way past her prime, Aretha Franklin in a crazy, tacky hat, to the flubbed up oath of office by Obama and Roberts, to the less than inspiring speech by Obama, to the racist Rev. Lowry, to the weired "poet", to the rude attendees who booed Pres. Bush, the ENTIRE EVENT WAS JUST NOT CLASSY!

I am a Democrat and I am embarrassed. If this is the best Obama's got he's going to be a one termer.

The fawning media is embarrassing itself again.
This is the same crowd that pelted the Presidential limo in 2001 with eggs--you know, before they knew that Bush was Bushitler and that they hated him more than their unloving alcoholic fathers.

"Classy," dear WaPo commenter, has never been a word to describe this crowd.

(thanks to Stephanie S.)

UPDATE 9:51pm BST: A few weeks ago, I noted a Military Times poll that showed U.S. troops were "skeptical" of Barack Obama. I guess that doesn't really make them a whole lot different to the rest of us who aren't drinking the kool-aid.

Well, they got theirs. The Obama administration reprisals have already begun. From This Ain't Hell, via Ace:
According to TSO who was at the “Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball”, this newly sworn-in President for the first time in 56 years blew off the ball (that’s 14 Inaugurations).

Some background on the ball;

The American Legion sponsors the ball, which recognizes recipients of Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award. It started in 1953 for President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first inauguration.

Event co-sponsors include 13 other veterans service organizations, among them the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

As DrewM notes, wounded vets ain't got nothin' on Kanye & MTV!

UPDATE 10:07pm BST: I "borrowed" this picture from Drudge: I call it, "Liberals, walking the green walk."

Remember, this crowd was filled with people voted "most likely to live in a cave, fashion their clothes from already-dead animals, & sterilize themselves, in order to reduce their carbon footprint & save the world" in high school.

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

20 January 2009

Thank You, President Bush (UPDATED)

Thank you, President Bush, for keeping us safe.

On 11 September 2001, I watched the news reports and listened to every last pundit say that terrorist attacks were the new reality. The question was not if, but when. Thank you, President Bush, for outlining and executing 7.5 years of policy that have protected America from further terrorist attack.

I think 70% of Americans (those who disapproved of President Bush in the last poll) are wrong. I think that future, fair-minded historians will re-evaluate Bush 43 and find a good and successful presidency.

His was a presidency marked, not by political expedience, as was that of his predecessor, but by one question: What's best for the country? President Bush is a good, honest, kind man. I believe he was right about Iraq. Iraq was the great test of his presidency.

He could have cut and run as the entire Democrat left and some on the right advocated, but he did not. And in so doing, by staying and fighting and finding a way, he spared untold millions of lives and through the instrumentality of an unparalleled fighting force, created a stable, peaceful, democratic friend and ally in the Middle East.

President Bush supported many good causes. He was a friend to Israel and a friend to the oppressed in Cuba & China and anywhere that felt the boot of tyranny. He brought attention and care to Africa--more than any President or any leader of any nation before him. Africa loves George W. Bush. On the life issues--stem cells and abortion--he was a right good defender of the defenseless.

I am overwhelmingly grateful to President Bush and proud to have had him as my President.

21 January 1:26pm BST:

Found at Little Green Footballs, add your thanks to President Bush to this long list. I was #11,737.

Given that his #1 responsibility was to keep us safe, I'd say, hell yeah, Mission Accomplished.

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19 January 2009

What Does $170 Million Get You? (UPDATED)

In 2005, the leftists and the media (but I repeat myself) complained about the $42.3 million price tag of President George W. Bush's 2nd inaugural. They trotted out all sorts of numbers about how much body armor that money could buy, how many children it would insure, etc., etc.

Barack Obama's inaugural will cost $170 million.

Where are the critics now? How much body armor, kiddie insurance, recession relief, whatever, would $170 million buy?

The truth is this: I don't begrudge Democrats their little self-congratulatory post inaugural parties. Live it up & enjoy it while it lasts.

All I'm asking for is a little less hypocrisy out of them and their fellow travelers in the media.

20 January 5:28pm BST: Catherine C. emailed and corrected my math. According to the article I cited, the party/parade portion of Bush's 2nd inauguration was $42.3 million & Obama's is estimated at "roughly $45 million, maybe a little bit more." No word on the security costs associated with Bush's inauguration.

OK, so the 4-1 spending difference was inaccurate, but the point remains. In 2005 the Democrats & the media (again, repeating myself) hammered on the Bush administration for the extravagance in a time of war.

4 years later, we remain at war in Iraq & Afghanistan. Add to that the current economic crisis. Things have improved (vastly) in Iraq but remained the same or gotten worse in Afghanistan. Is Obama's inauguration cost any less extravagant? Yet the tone of the media has changed. "For inaugural balls, go for glitz, forget economy."

Again, I don't begrudge the Democrats their party day. It's private money, let them spend it how they like. I'm just calling for a little more equity, a little less hypocrisy, a more evenhanded evaluation by the liberal media. That's all.

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

16 January 2009

Sweatshops Are Awesome

What's worse than working in a sweatshop? Try living in a dump.

Hip students who routinely protest Western "imperialism" in Iraq & elsewhere frequently campaign for economic imperialism.

Take, for instance, the protesters outside local low-cost retailer, Primark.

Like so many other liberal causes, their good intentions pave the path to even more suffering by the already-suffering.

Nicholas Kristof, NYT (see, I'm speaking their language), expounds on the manifold goodness of sweatshop jobs in places like Cambodia. There, people aspire to these positions and see them, rightly, as a way out of abject poverty.
Mr. Obama and the Democrats who favor labor standards in trade agreements mean well, for they intend to fight back at oppressive sweatshops abroad. But while it shocks Americans to hear it, the central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don’t exploit enough.

Talk to these families in the dump, and a job in a sweatshop is a cherished dream, an escalator out of poverty, the kind of gauzy if probably unrealistic ambition that parents everywhere often have for their children.

“I’d love to get a job in a factory,” said Pim Srey Rath, a 19-year-old woman scavenging for plastic. “At least that work is in the shade. Here is where it’s hot.”

Another woman, Vath Sam Oeun, hopes her 10-year-old boy, scavenging beside her, grows up to get a factory job, partly because she has seen other children run over by garbage trucks. Her boy has never been to a doctor or a dentist, and last bathed when he was 2, so a sweatshop job by comparison would be far more pleasant and less dangerous.
Meanwhile, the self-congratulatory do-gooders protesting in London & elsewhere pressure policy makers to keep these jobs--which people choose to do--away from those who most need them.

Rather than telling other countries and people's what we think is in their best interest--like not working at a sweatshop--we ought to relax trade standards, making trade free-er and let them choose for themselves.

Remember, one 10-year-old boy's sweatshop is another 10-year-old boy's totally awesome way out of living in a friggin' dump.

(thanks to Scott L.)

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

15 January 2009

Abstinence vs. 'Safe Sex'

I'm only just now beginning to get caught up on all the reading you all have been sending me.

Conventional wisdom holds that parents who teach and encourage abstinence rather than proper condom use are fools and idiots who put their children at risk for STDs and teen pregnancy.

There are even scientists out there manipulating samples and outright misinterpreting the data to arrive at these conclusions.

A very liberal press--a press completely unfriendly to the religious (unless they're Muslim)--parrots these "findings" and spins them even further than the spin given them by some of the researchers.

Folks, beware statistics.

William McGurn of the WSJ recently analyzed the latest such story
The real difference is their more conservative and religious home and social environment. As she notes, when you compare both groups in this study with teens at large, the behavioral differences are striking. Here are just a few:

- These teens generally have less risky sex, i.e., fewer sexual partners.

- These teens are less likely to have a teenage pregnancy, or to have friends who use drugs.

- These teens have less premarital vaginal sex.

- When these teens lose their virginity they tend to do so at age 21 -- compared to 17 for the typical American teen.

- And very much overlooked, one out of four of these teens do in fact keep the pledge to remain chaste -- amid much cheap ridicule and just about zero support outside their homes or churches.

Let's put this another way. The real headline from this study is this: "Religious Teens Differ Little in Sexual Behavior Whether or Not They Take a Pledge."

Did you catch how far this data was spun by the press/"researchers?" It should have read, as McGurn points out above, "Conservative/religious teens, regardless of taking an abstinence pledge, are far more conservative about sex than their peers." Instead, the media, taking their cue from the researchers, somehow parsed the data to show that chastity pledges don't matter.

This, of course, is not the significant variable. And if they'd been honest about their data, they would have pointed that out. The significant variable--the point of McGurn's article--is the conservative/religious home & family life.

Religious, conservative teens from religious, conservative families are far more conservative about sex than their, ah, less conservative & religious peers. Seriously, does this surprise anyone?

(thanks to Branden B.)

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

13 January 2009

GOTV for Ace

Now that I'm back in London, I expect to be blogging more regularly, owing, of course, to the normalization of my schedule and whatnot.

Given that today is my first day back and I'm still unpacking and recovering from the effects of jet-lag (much worse going forward than back), this one will be short and really, just an appeal for all y'all to go and vote for Ace of Spades HQ as the Best Conservative blog. It's easy and it's true.

Vote here.

Reasons for voting Ace? Well, he and his co-bloggers are all ardently pro-Israel which, you know, makes them "good guys." That ought to be enough right there. And if that isn't enough, they're pretty funny.

It's the last day and the voting is close, your vote could put Ace Over The Top
(good movie).

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

10 January 2009

More Military Times Poll Goodness (UPDATED)

Found out about this from Ace (who else?) and Hot Air. I have to assume that this bit of info about "don't ask, don't tell" comes from the same poll, but I'm not 100% certain and don't want to take the time to do the research to confirm.

Anyway, the gist of it is this: 10% of active-duty troops have said they would not re-enlist if the policy of "don't ask, don't tell" were stopped. That is, if gays were allowed to be openly gay in the military, 10% of the troops would look for work elsewhere.
Most active-duty service members continue to oppose President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign pledge to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy to allow gays to serve openly in the military, a Military Times survey shows.

Moreover, if the policy was repealed, nearly 10 percent of respondents said they would not re-enlist or extend their service, and 14 percent said they would consider terminating their careers after serving their obligated tours.

Why is this significant? Because Obama's press secretary has promised to kill "don't ask, don't tell."

A great many progressive liberals find fault with this policy and they desire a military that embraces people's various sexual lifestyles in an open, respectful way. Unfortunately, a great many progressive liberals have absolutely no desire to serve in the military -- whether don't ask, don't tell is the law or not -- which means that the military will continue recruiting from a population which does not share the enlightened, humane, pro-homosexuality goo-goo of the progressive liberals.

Don't ask, don't tell makes military service less attractive to gays and progressive liberals. But they, largely, are not inclined to serve in any event. Repealing the code makes service less attractive to traditionalists and, yes, conservatives (as well as blacks and Hispanics) who tend to be liberal on many issues but not particularly progressive about homosexuality) who actually are inclined to serve.

One can argue about the fairness but those actually willing to join the club ought to have some say in its rules. Those unwilling to join should have far less a say.

If Gleen Grenwald and other humane, compassionate, forward-thinking liberals announce their intention to sign up in great enough numbers to offset the losses among the current cohort of recruits, fine, we can dispense with the issue of how this policy affects the military's actual purpose -- to fight and win wars. And then we can have the debate solely on the grounds the liberals wish to have it on, on the questions of fairness and dignity and openness to diverse sexual orientations. And other gay [stuff] of this nature.

But somehow I doubt that any such large-scale pledge to serve will be forthcoming.

Me too.

13 January 3:44pm BST: Matt P. weighs in with an angle that hadn't occurred to me:
The one thing that hit me right away about this is that repealing don't ask don't tell is just one more way for BHO to reduce defense spending. Not only that, he could point to the decrease in spending being a result of "natural" attrition and possibly not have to pay as much of a political consequence because, "People just aren't willing to sign up like they used to."
I read an article awhile back on the Op-Ed page of the WSJ in which the author argued for Keynesian-style spending on the military. At least, he said, if you're going to spend huge amounts of money, you might as well spend it on things that are useful rather than just making stuff up like, "green jobs." He specifically outlined increasing the military budget to pay for big ticket items--new jet fighters, expensive parts for destroyers and carriers and other things along those lines.

Though the whole Keynesian approach doesn't appeal to me the way it does to (apparently) Obama, I could at least support spending large amounts of money of military modernization projects & recruiting.

I'm afraid, however, that Matt P. is right and the military won't be getting a dime. More "green" jobs!

At this point, I think people would just like "jobs"(!).

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

07 January 2009

Harry Reid's Nuts 3

A report on the contraction, not the possessive.

I've kind of neglected this feature over the last few months. Not for lack of material, but for lack of interest. Even when Reid said or did something ridiculous (on a fairly regular basis), I just couldn't seem to find the motivation to post anything about it.

Given that he's now saying outrageous things about Iraq, like, he had anything at all to do with the success there, I couldn't help myself.

Of course, Ace says it best:
This is the spin that we all knew was coming. Indeed, we've already seen it a dozen times, but not from Harry "The War is Lost, the Surge Has Failed" Reid. The claim, of course, is that by arguing for surrender and defeat, the liberal defeatists were actually arguing for a change in strategy that would result in victory.

Bear in mind, this is especially galling coming from him, as he did not merely say the war is lost. He also was a prime opponent of the surge, arguing it could never work. And then, when the surge began, he said it was doomed. And then, even when it succeeded, he declared the surge a failure.

And now that the surge is so obviously a victory that even he can't deny it, he says You're welcome. I did that.
Whatever else you may believe about Iraq, the myth that Democrats had anything whatsoever to do with the positive outcome, ought not enter into the realm of the remotely possible.

And that's one of the great disappointments: They could have been constructive. They could have worked with people like John McCain, who called for something approximating The Surge at least 2 years ahead of The Surge.

But they didn't. They played politics with the war, called it "lost," accused our troops of all sorts of bad things--terrorizing women and kids, for instance--and on and on. Now that things are hunky dory, they--Harry Reid in the forefront--want to take credit for the very thing, against which, they actively worked.

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

05 January 2009

My New Year's Resolution

Evil Genius, Karl Rove, from whom all good Right Wing Stormtroopers take our orders, recently wrote about a competition in which he and President Bush have engaged for the last few years.
It all started on New Year's Eve in 2005. President Bush asked what my New Year's resolutions were. I told him that as a regular reader who'd gotten out of the habit, my goal was to read a book a week in 2006. Three days later, we were in the Oval Office when he fixed me in his sights and said, "I'm on my second. Where are you?" Mr. Bush had turned my resolution into a contest.

The president jumped to a slim early lead and remained ahead until March, when I moved decisively in front. The competition soon spun out of control. We kept track not just of books read, but also the number of pages and later the combined size of each book's pages -- its "Total Lateral Area."

We recommended volumes to each other (for example, he encouraged me to read a Mao biography; I suggested a book on Reconstruction's unhappy end). We discussed the books and wrote thank-you notes to some authors.

At year's end, I defeated the president, 110 books to 95. My trophy looks suspiciously like those given out at junior bowling finals. The president lamely insisted he'd lost because he'd been busy as Leader of the Free World.

Mr. Bush's 2006 reading list shows his literary tastes. The nonfiction ran from biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, Babe Ruth, King Leopold, William Jennings Bryan, Huey Long, LBJ and Genghis Khan to Andrew Roberts's "A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900," James L. Swanson's "Manhunt," and Nathaniel Philbrick's "Mayflower." Besides eight Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald, Mr. Bush tackled Michael Crichton's "Next," Vince Flynn's "Executive Power," Stephen Hunter's "Point of Impact," and Albert Camus's "The Stranger," among others.

Fifty-eight of the books he read that year were nonfiction. Nearly half of his 2006 reading was history and biography, with another eight volumes on current events (mostly the Mideast) and six on sports.

To my surprise, the president demanded a rematch in 2007. Though the overall pace slowed, he once more came in second in our two-man race, reading 51 books to my 76. His list was particularly wide-ranging that year, from history ("The Great Upheaval" and "Khrushchev's Cold War"), biographical (Dean Acheson and Andrew Mellon), and current affairs (including "Rogue Regime" and "The Shia Revival"). He read one book meant for young adults, his daughter Jenna's excellent "Ana's Story."

A glutton for punishment, Mr. Bush insisted on another rematch in 2008. But it will be a three-peat for me: as of today, his total is 40 volumes to my 64. His reading this year included a heavy dose of history -- including David Halberstam's "The Coldest Winter," Rick Atkinson's "Day of Battle," [ed. note: am currently reading this and it, as well as its preceding volume in the trilogy, is excellent] Hugh Thomas's "Spanish Civil War," Stephen W. Sears's "Gettysburg" and David King's "Vienna 1814." There's also plenty of biography -- including U.S. Grant's "Personal Memoirs"; Jon Meacham's "American Lion"; James M. McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief" and Jacobo Timerman's "Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number."

Each year, the president also read the Bible from cover to cover, along with a daily devotional.

The reading competition reveals Mr. Bush's focus on goals. It's not about winning. A good-natured competition helps keep him centered and makes possible a clear mind and a high level of energy. He reads instead of watching TV. He reads on Air Force One and to relax and because he's curious. He reads about the tasks at hand, often picking volumes because of the relevance to his challenges. And he's right: I've won because he has a real job with enormous responsibilities.

In the 35 years I've known George W. Bush, he's always had a book nearby. He plays up being a good ol' boy from Midland, Texas, but he was a history major at Yale and graduated from Harvard Business School. You don't make it through either unless you are a reader.

There is a myth perpetuated by Bush critics that he would rather burn a book than read one. Like so many caricatures of the past eight years, this one is not only wrong, but also the opposite of the truth and evidence that bitterness can devour a small-minded critic. Mr. Bush loves books, learns from them, and is intellectually engaged by them.

(emphasis added)

As Christopher Hitchens suggested on that idiot Bill Maher's show recently (h/t Morgan H. also, beware language--f-bombs--and colorful hand signals), it has become the stupid person's easy joke to send up President Bush's supposed lack of intelligence.

This isn't the point of this post, but I don't know many stupid people who read as many books as President Bush.

The point of this point is this: My dad, brother and I have all taken up Evil Genius Karl Rove & President Bush's challenge. We will read a book a week and compete on number of pages read (thus, reading a bunch of children's books won't cut it). And I'm opening up the competition to any of you, dear readers, who would like to join us. Periodically, say, monthly (maybe weekly) I'll update with a list of books and pages read by those who throw their hats in the ring. We can also do mini book reviews.

This is, I think, a good New Year's resolution. Sacrifice a little time every day--time you might have spent watching TV, movies, whatever else you do--and read.

(h/t Matt L., Scott L.)

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

03 January 2009

'Good Guys' Don't Do This

From Ace:
Hamas Declares "Day of Wrath:" The Day of Wrath will join the other days of the Hamas week, Day of Vengeance, Day of Massacre, Day of Murder, Day of Senseless Bloodletting, Day of Explosively-Expressed Grievances, and of course Day of Intense Cultural Inferiority Complex and Extreme Sexual Confusion which Leads to Outbursts of Psychopathic Violence.

Day of Wrath. Also known as "Friday."

srael is on heightened security alert today after Hamas declared a "day of wrath" after the killing of a senior Hamas leader in Gaza.

Thousands of security personnel were on alert after the Islamists called for "massive marches" after the main weekly Muslim prayers, starting off from the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem and from all other mosques in the West Bank.

Witnesses said that violent scenes had been reported in east Jerusalem, with protesters throwing rocks at soldiers. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that thousands of extra officers had been deployed to deal with the ongoing clashes.

You know who gets my sympathy & wrath? The Palestinian people get my sympathy. For the most part, they do not deserve to be ruled by a bunch of Iran-proxy, terrorist thugs. Hamas and the people who put them in power (some of the former) get my wrath.

Israel is doing about what you would expect of any country who has received over 3000 rocket/mortar attacks in the last year and, you know, believes strongly in self-preservation.

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

02 January 2009

U.S. Troops Skeptical Of Obama

Doubting Obama.
"Being that the Marine Corps can be sent anywhere in the world with the snap of his fingers, nobody has confidence in this guy as commander in chief,” said one lance corporal who asked not to be identified, because he feared reprisals from the Obama administration.
Okay, maybe I added that last clause.

You'd think that after George W. Bush, these guys would be relieved to see anyone else as Commander in Chief.

Or not. From the same article:
When asked who has their best interests at heart — Obama or President George W. Bush — a higher percentage of respondents picked Bush [...]
It's nice to see that members of the military are more skeptical and not as susceptible to Obamania as other Americans in their age group.

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