28 February 2009

CPAC Day 3

Matt & I agree, Saturday was the best of the three days of CPAC. And that's how it should be: Good conferences ought to build, day to day, with the final day and the final speech being the best of all. Given that Rush Limbaugh gave a great final address, I'd say mission accomplished. For the text of that speech, click here.

For most of the day, we sat dead-center, about 20 rows back from the front.

The first speech we heard was Bill Bennett's. He was President Reagan's Secretary of Education and is the author of the Book of Virtues. He was reasonable and insistent on not calling Obama's policies socialist. He said they are from the extreme liberal left wing and that they were bad, but that they weren't socialist. Fair enough.

On education, he said it is important that we teach children American history--that we teach them to be patriotic. Of course, I agree with all of this.

Ann Coulter is the funniest woman I have ever heard. She could be a straight stand-up comedian. She is all the more enjoyable because she skewers liberals. Sure, lots of what she says is inflammatory. But it's no worse, indeed, much less offensive, than what many on the left do to those on the right. She doesn't, for instance, use four letter words. Ace has got preliminary video of Coulter's speech.

Incidentally, it is one of my disappointments that I did not get to meet Mr. Ace O'Spades. There's always next CPAC.

The afternoon had panels on education reform (read: more choice--also a pet interest of ours), energy policy, and culture/Hollywood. Robert Davi, of Goonies & James Bond fame, participated in the latter panel and was fantastic. We also enjoyed an Irish couple who presented on their film which decries the human cost of global warming hysteria.

Before Rush, we got the results of the CPAC straw poll. For the 3rd year in a row, my guy, Mitt Romney, won the day. CPAC loves Mitt.

So, yeah, we came away optimistic, enthusiastic, having made a few more friends & contacts, have learned a little more about a few more issues, and with an improved vision of what we can and ought to do as conservatives in America.

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

27 February 2009

CPAC Day 2

So I guess this is going to be more end-of-the-day review than RNC periodic update. Blame it on the fact that I have few NewsBusters duties and the limited internet access. You'd think they would have wireless access in every conference room so that anyone could sort of liveblog whatever was happening at the moment. To my mind, that would improve the connectedness between the conservative community at large and whatever is going on at CPAC.

I passed my opinion along to people who have marginally more clout than me. Which is to say that they have "no" clout rather than "negative" clout.

Let's see, what was interesting about today? We started off with a blogger meeting with Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell. Nothing earth shattering emerged from that meeting. The Leader, as he is known, pointed out the obvious--that it is hard to oppose the Democrats and maintain the filibuster with just 41 Senators.

We (Matt & I) attended a luncheon with Tony Blankley. I interviewed Tony at the RNC and he was as gracious today as he was then. He encouraged Republicans to quit being so earnest & make fun of the opposition. His point was that we sometimes get so caught up in the principle and winning the point, that we lose the debate and are unpersuasive. If we can poke fun at the other side--especially if it is genuinely humorous--then that can be an effective tool. I think he's right, I am sometimes guilty of being too earnest in my advocacy.

In the afternoon we listened to Ron Paul (why do so many people love this guy?) and Mitt Romney. Dear readers, the CPAC folks love Mitt Romney. We missed Newt because of the luncheon (free food), so I can't say without absolute authority, but Mitt received louder & more sustained applause & more standing ovations (several, throughout his speech) than any other person at the conference. And in line, while we waited to get into and out of the various convention rooms, everyone was talking about Romney.

Patrick, a friend of mine and a non-Mormon fan of Romney's believes that if the election were this year, Romney would, without a doubt, have been the Republican nominee and he probably would have beaten Obama. Given the current economic climate and Romney's perfectly suited skills, I find it hard to disagree.

I still have my doubts re: whether or not a Mormon can be elected President in this country, but if one is ever to be elected, Romney seems to me to have the best shot. He is a talent.

After Romney, I went to a reception with Ward Connerly (anti-Affirmative Action initiative guy) and Evil Genius Karl Rove. Connerly is one of that rare species of political being--the conservative African-American. Not only is he that, he is a leading opponent of Affirmative Action. Very impressive guy.

And of course I loved listening to Rove. He talked about his experience, sort of "growing up" in conservative politics and how much fun it had been. He gave lots of anecdotes and said that one of the best parts of the whole experience was the development of good relationships and friendships.

He said that he used to read the WaPo and NYT op-ed pages first thing every morning and then go in to talk about them with the President. He said he was the "hot head" of the White House and that the President used to get a kick out of how upset those editorials would make him. Everytime Rove would start to tell the President about how one of those papers got something wrong, Bush would say something to the effect of "in 50 years, the history books will get it right and we'll be vindicated and in 50 years we'll also be dead, so don't worry about it."

Yes, I asked Karl about the ongoing book challenge he had with the President and told him that we had taken it up. He said that they (he & the President) were giving it a rest this year because they were both busy writing their own books but that he was glad to see it was inspiring fellow challenges. My parting shot to him was that BYU would be Utah in the bball game Saturday. He just laughed.

More tomorrow.

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

26 February 2009

CPAC Day 1

6:04pm: Just got done with a lengthy panel about 'building a conservative Hispanic coalition. This is a tough one--lots of ad hom attacks going on on both sides. Generally, we need secure borders, but everyone who wants to come here, live & abide by the law, ought to be able to come. I think part of the solution here is coming up with an easier legal way to immigrate.

And honestly, we're not going to deport or force people to deport themselves. Even if it were possible (which I doubt) we would lose a valuable ally--especially on moral & family issues--life, marriage, etc.

Word is that CPAC attendance is up 40% over last year--9000 vs. 7000. This affirms my earlier, superficial observation that people seemed to have recovered from the bad news of November 2008.

And they love Huck. From where I'm seated on blogger row, I can see the line stretched around the exhibition hall of people waiting, book in hand, to get it signed by the honorable former governor of Arkansas.

It will be interesting to see what sort of reception Mitt gets. IIRC, he won the straw poll here last year.

2:36pm EST:
Just got done listening to Mike Huckabee & Mike Pence. Gotta get all the Mikes out of the way.

Huck knows how to work a crowd. He made a pretty compelling argument against those who have argued that fiscal, social, & foreign policy--what he called, "fiscal, family, & freedom conservatives"--can and should remain together because collectively, they hold great appeal to a majority of Americans--that it was enough for a governing majority.

Pointed out that even in states Obama won, affirmation of marriage carried the day--Florida & California being the obvious ones.

After a bit of a late start, I'm on the ground at CPAC. This place is packed with conservatives of all ages. It seems as though most people have gotten over the 2008 Presidential election hangover as enthusiasm is high. I know I say this all the time, but we are happy warriors, after all. Sorry, Barry, conservatives have always been the party of optimism.

The first speaker I had a chance to hear was Michael Barone. Like everyone else, he thinks there's a good chance Republicans pick up some seats in 2010. He also believes that Republicans have a chance a knocking off New Jersey Governor, Jon Corzine, in 2009.

Matt arrives late tonight. I'm going to see if I can get him to add his own updates tomorrow & Saturday.

Per my RNC model, check back for regular updates throughout the day.

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

23 February 2009

Militant Atheism

Sorry for the dearth of posts over the last week. I've been traveling (NYC) and will be traveling some more this week. I'll be in DC for a little research and a whole lotta CPAC.

For those who don't know, CPAC is the big, yearly, conservative get-together. I'm going to try and blog it the way I did the RNC, as there will be lots and lots of good conservative speakers. If you're in the area and plan to attend, shoot me an email and we'll meet-up. I'm hoping for a little face-time with Mitt and my blogger-hero, Mr. Ace O'Spades.

In the meantime, here's a fantastic quote from Dinesh D'Souza about "evangelical atheists." These are the people who claim to not believe, but actively try to persuade people to not believe the way they do.
Atheists spend a lot of time thinking about the motives for belief. Why do religious people believe these ridiculous things? When you turn the tables on atheists and ask them why they don't believe, they will answer, "Because we don't have enough evidence. We don't believe because there's no proof." But if you think about it, this is an inadequate explanation, because if you truly believe that there is no proof for God, then you're not going to bother with the matter. You're just going to live your life as if God isn't there.

I don't believe in unicorns, so I just go about my life as if there are no unicorns. You'll notice that I haven't written any books called The End of the Unicorn, Unicorns Are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion, and I don't spend my time obsessing about unicorns. What I'm getting at is that you have these people out there who don't believe that God exists, but who are actively attempting to eliminate religion from society, setting up atheist video shows, and having atheist conferences. There has to be more going on here than mere unbelief.

If you really look at the motivations of contemporary atheists, you'll find that they don't even really reject Christian theology. It's not as if the atheist objects to the resurrection or the parting of the sea; rather, it is Christian morality to which atheists object, particularly Christian moral prohibitions in the area of sex. The atheist looks at all of Christianity's "thou shalt nots"—homosexuality is bad; divorce is bad; adultery is bad; premarital sex is bad—and then looks at his own life and says, "If these things are really bad, then I'm a bad guy. But I'm not a bad guy; I'm a great guy. I must thus reinterpret or (preferably) abolish all of these accusatory teachings that are putting me in a bad light."

Ace's commentary is also right on.
I would say more that Evangelical Atheists' zeal for fresh converts is due to their reductivist and juvenile thinking, wishing to reduce most of human evil to one underlying cause, religion. Take away religion and we live in a utopia.

I rather doubt that. I think the fault lies with us and not in the stars, or the god beyond the stars. People do all sorts of bad things and they hardly need religion as their motivation for doing so.

My experience with atheists in the academy (not as many as you might think) pretty well reflects D'Souza & Ace's.

That, and they always hate when you point out that the "great" atheist movements of the 20th century--Soviet Russia (specifically Stalin), Hitler's Germany, Communist China, the Khmer Rouge (really, I could go on)--have killed millions more than the reductivist-ly-argued, religion-motivated deaths of any or all centuries.

Take away religion--specifically, Christianity/Judaism--and the morality taught by these religions and the world becomes a pretty sucky place--do unto others, before they do unto you.

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

16 February 2009

'The Decline & Fall Of America'

In the spirit of my earlier Anglo-American post, here's Mark Steyn on a very disturbing & possible repetition of history.
America has a choice: It can reacquaint itself with socioeconomic reality, or it can buckle its mandatory seatbelt for the same decline most of the rest of the West embraced a couple of generations back. In 1897, troops from the greatest empire the world had ever seen marched down London’s mall for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. Seventy years later, Britain had government health care, a government-owned car industry, massive government housing, and it was a shriveled high-unemployment socialist basket-case living off the dwindling cultural capital of its glorious past. In 1945, America emerged from the Second World War as the preeminent power on earth. Seventy years later . . .

Let’s not go there.
The Brits were fortunate enough to partner with a strong friend (the US).

With whom will we partner to guarantee our future security and prosperity?

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

Barack Obama: No Fan Of Winston Churchill

The Brits said he could keep the Churchill bust for another 4 years (or 16, once he amended the Constitution), but President Obama said, "thanks, but no thanks."

Churchill was the subject of my masters thesis--specifically, his early wartime speeches and their reception. I've admired the man since I first became aware of WWII. He is one of the greatest wartime leaders in the history of the world. Historians who know better than me, say that without Churchill at the helm during a few key moments of the war, Hitler wins.

So, yeah, I think it's dumb that Obama is getting rid of the Churchill bust. Apparently British diplomats are worried it's about more than just a piece of art. According to the article, they are concerned about the state of the "special relationship."
The rejection of the bust has left some British officials nervously reading the runes to see how much influence the UK can wield with the new regime in Washington.
Historically, the Anglo-American relationship is without peer. To my knowledge, there has been no more successful alliance in the history of the world.

Before the election, I would have said that I thought Obama was smart enough to recognize the importance of this relationship. Of course, that's what I thought about economic issues and especially free trade. Given his willingness to bow to protectionist forces despite surrounding himself with free trade economists, I'm less willing to give him the "he's too smart to do something dumb like that" benefit of the doubt.

And speaking of those economists. Who would have thought they would so quickly abandon their principles and kowtow to the President's protectionist advisors? I guess that's a reminder for all of you who thought selection of an advisor with a given set of policy preferences/academic background does not = preferred policy for the administration.

Exhibit A? The Spendulous.

(h/t Uncle Jimbo @ Ace)

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

13 February 2009

Happy Valentine's Day, From Barry

Send a sweet V-Day card to the delusional Democrat in your life (or, really, anyone who loves politics). My brother, Matt L. (who sent me the link) and I agree, the best one is Tom Daschle's.

Our suggestion didn't even make it out of the RNC brainstorming session. I'm not quite sure why. Judge for yourself.

Have you ever had a thrill go up your leg? Would you like to?

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

'Count It Off'

Longtime friend & partner in crime, Michael J. Mouncer, emailed me the happy news last night that he had produced another music video.

The song is called, as the title of this blog post suggests, "Count It Off." According to MJ, it was made an official selection in the Music Video category at South by Southwest 2009. Congrats, Mike.

"Count It Off" - The Saturday Knights from Lincoln Leopard Films on Vimeo.

Check out MJ's write up in Seattle Weekly & Direct Link.

One year ago this week, Michael's video for The Blakes played on MTV's Subterranean. You can see his new website and the link to that video by clicking here.

My policy here at OL&L is always to support friends and readers of the blog. If you have something worthwhile and want me to call attention to it, just email me and I'll see what I can do.

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

12 February 2009

I Am Pro-Life

If Sarah Palin doesn't become the first female President of the United States, it might be this little girl.

She's now 12 years old, the Constitution requires that she be 35, so, watch for her in 2032.

(h/t The Other McCain)

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

11 February 2009

Bi-Partisanship Is Overrated

Early Monday morning I finished Dickens' Great Expectations. I was interested to see that he used the term "overrated."

Apparently it's a term that's been percolating for longer than Barack Obama's political career.

My bad.

Today I received an email from Matt P. I hadn't heard from Matt P. for a long time so I was glad to read what he had to say about the Spendulous bill currently being considered in House/Senate conference.

Here's Matt P.:
Your most recent blog post mentioning our new "post-partisan" era made me think of an email I received from my quite liber... err... very liberal uncle recently. He asked "Why... is the majority party permitting the bankrupt policies of the elephant party to dominate so much of the discussion surrounding the stimulus package? They don't seem to value bipartisanship, why should the Democrats?"

To me the answer is quite clear, even when accepting the premise that Democrats are not partisan and that the minority party had a huge say in anything that happened with this stymie-ulus bill. My answer, in part:

"From a purely political standpoint, if this can be portrayed as a bipartisan effort, it can be claimed as such, which would drastically reduce the overall risks of such a bill failing while maintaining the positive political upside if it were to succeed. "If we hadn't reached out the Republicans, this wouldn't have failed." Or, "If we had reached out [to] the Republicans more, this stimulus would not have been as effective."

From an ideological standpoint, I don't think that either party should place such high value [on] bipartisanship as it's much over-hyped in its importance. If you truly believe in something, you should make every reasonable effort to bring it about, especially on something as important as this. It's about making sure that the application of principle does not pull you away from that core belief. If you believe that this is our economic armageddon and the only way to avoid that is to either borrow the money or make nearly a trillion dollars out of thin air, then bipartisanship is a non-issue."

That being said, I can't stand this thing for a host of reasons, but I don't have the time to go into that.
The Spendulous was always going to pass. Regardless of its particular impact if/when it comes to pass, the economy will, eventually, recover. Democrats can then claim (in a partisan, rather than post-partisan or bi-partisan way) to have effected the recovery by passing out free condoms and building dog parks and whatnot.

They just have to hope that things are looking better in 2010. Sure, they will still be able to blame Bush, but they will be less able to. Additionally, you should not conflate Obama's popularity (now off its historic high) with the Democratic Congress'. Throughout this process, Obama has cleverly positioned himself to be able to cast off the Democratic detritas (read: Reid & Pelosi).

If something bad happens, it's because they didn't pass the bill he wanted. He'll say, 'I signed it because it was the best I could expect from those idiots.'

Incidentally, I wouldn't disagree with his characterization of Pelosi & Reid.

2012 will roll around and by then all the money he will have paid out to unions and ACORN will have filled their ranks with the real-employment-averse, but Obama-politically active, recent college graduates. This modern-day force of Obama brown-shirts will then, by hook or crook, get their man elected, again. Folks, his election team is working in the off-season.

The Spendulous is about fulfilling every liberal's spending dream of utopia and of creating a perpetual Obama machine.

It's like the water cycle we learned about back in elementary school: Vote Democrat, Democrats pass trillion dollar bill with billions of dollars for unions and "community re-organizing" groups who then contribute money and manpower to re-elect their Democratic patrons.

To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, the problem with this cycle is that eventually you run out of other people's money to spend.

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

10 February 2009

Copying George W. Bush

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

From today's Political Diary, Congressional Quarterly's Carl (Craig?) Crawford:
President Barack Obama's first prime-time press conference was most remarkable for how he borrowed a page from his predecessor, refusing to accept follow-up questions. . . . Until Bush, presidents since Calvin Coolidge had allowed reporters to ask another question based upon the answer to the first question. Often that first answer is a dodge, an attempt to stick to a talking point or a scripted answer. Bush was obsessed with avoiding follow-up questions, knowing that it is an effective tool for getting him off script. In last night's press conference, Obama cut off any attempt by reporters to follow up his answers to their questions. If he intends to maintain this Bush policy, reporters must work together and agree to ask the obvious follow-up to the previous question as they take their turns. Otherwise, these press conferences are nothing but one-sided speeches.
This is a new brand of politics.

And speaking of "post-partisan" politics, the reason they call themselves post-partisans is because they want to be able to label anyone who disagrees with them as partisans. As though partisan were a derogatory term.

Liberals have been playing this game for a long time. They were liberals (completely turning the meaning of the classical liberal on its head--turning it, in fact, so completely on its head that we now have to add the "classical" to liberal) who quit wanting to be liberals because liberal was turned into a bad word.

Now, some of them want to be called "progressives," suggesting, obviously, that anyone who opposes them must be regressive or, at a minimum, merely running in place.

The rest call themselves post-partisans, after their messianic leader.

I'm happy with conservative or partisan or, if you prefer, regressive.

(h/t Scott L.)

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

06 February 2009

Just Another Liberal Journalist

In yesterday's post at NewsBusters, I examined the stereotypical life of a liberal journalist: privileged upbringing, radicalized in college in the 1960's (If they're of that generation. Otherwise, they just wish they'd been alive during the '60's. Ah, the good ol' days.), becomes journalism student, and so on and so forth.

You could pretty much fill in any liberal member of the mainstream media and you'd be spot on.

For the sake of accuracy in reporting, let's say that this week's typical liberal journalist is Jennifer Siebens--CBS VP and London Bureau Chief. I'm not sure why I capitalized all of her titles, though I'm sure she'd appreciate it.
CBS VP & London Bureau Chief: 'Just Another Typical Liberal Reporter'
Mothers, don't let your children grow up to be liberal journalists.

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

05 February 2009

What A Difference Eight Years Makes

Just in case this email wasn't forwarded to you & you still think the media treats both parties & ideologies in an even-handed, fair manner:
January 21st
1. Outgoing President George W. Bush quietly boards his helicopter and leaves for Texas, commenting only: "Today is not about me. Today is a historical day for our nation and people."

Eight years ago:
1. Outgoing President Bill Clinton schedules two separate radio addresses to the nation, and organizes a public farewell speech/ rally in downtown Washington D.C. scheduled to directly conflict with incoming President Bush's inauguration ceremony.

January 21st:
2. President Bush leaves office without issuing a single Presidential pardon, only granting a commutation of sentence to two former border patrol agents convicted of shooting a convicted drug smuggler.

He does not grant any type of clemency to Scooter Libby or any other former political aide, ally, or business partner.

Eight years ago:
2. President Clinton issues 140 pardons and several commutations of sentence on his final day in office. Included in these are: billionaire financier, convicted tax evader, and leading Democratic campaign contributor Marc Rich; Whitwater scandal figure Susan McDougal; Congressional Post Office Scandal figure and former Democratic Congressman Dan Rostenkowski; convicted bank fraud, sexual assault and child porn perpetrator and former Democratic Congressman Melvin Reynolds; and convicted drug felon Roger Clinton, the President's half-brother.

January 21st:
3. The Bush daughters leave gift baskets in the White House bedrooms for the Obama daughters, containing flowers, candy, stuffed animals, DVD's and CD's, and heartfelt notes of encouragement and advice for the young girls on how to prepare for their new lives in the White House.

Eight years ago:
3. Clinton and Gore staffers rip computer wires and electrical outlets from the White House walls, stuff piles of notebook papers into the White House toilets, systematically remove the letter "W" from every computer key-pad in the entire White House, and damage several thousand dollars worth of furniture in the White House master bedroom.

Headlines 4 Years Ago:
"Republicans spending $42 million on inauguration while troops Die in unarmored Humvees"
"Bush extravagance exceeds any reason during tough economic times"
"Fat cats get their $42 million inauguration party, Ordinary Americans get the shaft"

Headlines January 21st:
"Historic Obama Inauguration will cost only $170 million"
"Obama Spends $170 million on inauguration; America Needs A Big Party"
"Everyman Obama shows America how to celebrate"
"Citibank executives contribute $8 million to Obama Inauguration.
[ed. note: per an earlier correction to an earlier blog post, the $170 million spent on Obama's inauguration included security costs, etc., not included in the $42 million total spent on Bush's]

(h/t Valerie V.)

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

04 February 2009

Thomas Sowell On RNC Chairman Michael Steele

Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite thinker-writers. An economist by trade, he has applied his many skills and ability to explain things in simple terms to the problems that afflict America.

Also, he's African-American and conservative, so liberals hate him.

Either one of those reasons (wicked smart or enemy of my enemy) would be enough for me to read him regularly, it's nice that he has both of them on lock-down.

His recent praise and appraisal of Michael Steele, the newly elected RNC chair, is dead on.
Too many Republicans don't even seem to understand the need to talk. They seem to think it is something you have to go through the motions of doing but, really, they would rather be somewhere else doing something else. . . . Michael Steele not only knows how to talk, but also seems to understand the need to talk. In his appearances on TV over the years, he has been assertive rather than apologetic. When attacked, he has counterattacked, not whined defensively, like too many other Republicans. When criticizing the current administration, Steele won't have to pull his punches when going after Barack Obama, for fear of being called a racist.
I pulled for Steele to win the Maryland Senate seat back in 2006. It was a tough year for Republicans and Steele (obviously) lost.

2+ years later, he's making lemonade and I'm glad to have him as RNC chair.

(from WSJ Political Diary, h/t Scott L.)

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

02 February 2009

Global Warming Hits London (UPDATED)

The Daily Telegraph headline reads: Britain Paralyzed By Worst Snowfall in 20 Years.
Up to 1ft of snow fell in parts of the south east and the Pennines while most of the country was blanketed in at least four inches of it.

Forecasters are warning of worse to come and the Arctic blizzards are being treated as an "extreme weather event".

The Met Office said that it was the most widespread snowfall in Britain for 18 years.

With bus and train services out of action and drivers urged to stay off the roads, a handful of commuters took to skiing through the streets of London.

If only I had my "street" skis (as opposed to early-season, rock skis).

UPDATE 2:49pm BST: Do check out the snow-covered pictures of London posted by my flatmate, Seb.
Ice Age: Part 1
Ice Age: Part 2
Ice Age: Part 3
Ice Age: Part 4
Picasa Album
Last year, my brother, Matt, and I lived in a snowbound cabin the entire winter. From the time snow first fell in November, it persisted--w/o major melt--until April. One could climb, from the snow piles on either side of the entry, with very little difficulty, right onto the roof. The wild turkeys took shelter underneath our deck.

All of this is to say: I've seen snow, but I've never seen Londoners in snow, and let me tell you, it's great.

From our deck, overlooking the local cemetery (image courtesy Seb's Picasa album)

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

Of Liberalism & Movie Stars

I know, I know, I'm quoting Jonah Goldberg quoting himself. At least I'm not quoting myself. Or quoting myself, quoting myself.

Give me some time. I'll get there.
....So, while "Let them eat cake" has come to symbolize how rich liberals think rich conservatives see the world, it actually signifies how rich liberals screw things up by creating "compassionate" schemes that only make things worse for the poor. It even holds true to the modern tendency of liberals to distort, spin, and most of all blame the heartlessness of conservatives for all of the poor's problems. So what was actually an example of well-intentioned liberal gitchy-gooeyness on the part of Marie-Therese became, in Carvillian fashion, a slander against Marie-Antoinette as a heartless and cruel conservative. Despite the fact that Antoinette was a kind and generous woman, the French Revolutionaries dubbed her the "Austrian Whore" and "Madame Deficit" for all time, because it was good for the cause.

I got to thinking about all of this when I stumbled on an article explaining that Jennifer Lopez won't allow anyone to photograph her elbows.

Stick with me.

I've long been of the opinion that celebrities, specifically movie stars, behave and, more importantly, think like old European royalty. Before I get into that, some tidbits.

The article detailed some of the typical demands that Hollywood "Divas" make on their staffs and producers. The phenomenon was hardly new to me, but this piece offers some nice additions for my file. Mariah Carey has an assistant whose only job is to hand her towels. Also, wherever Mariah goes, her courtesans must first remove posters of rival "divas," lest they offend her delicate sensibilities: Thou shalt have no divas before me!

Incidentally, if you read your supermarket tabloids you'd know that Carey is now in some sort of psychiatric rehab clinic — the modern equivalent of a fainting couch or royal baths, I suppose.

It goes on: Kim Basinger is "allergic" to the sun and requires an assistant to carry an umbrella to protect her on the off chance she might be exposed to dangerous solar radiation. John Travolta has a staff of 12 assistants, including a personal chef. Sylvester Stallone once refused to continue with an interview until his hotel room was painted a more "likable" peach. Mike Myers (whom I like) almost quit the filming of Wayne's World because he didn't have any margarine for his bagel. Sean Penn made an assistant swim the dangerous and polluted currents of New York's East River just to bring him a cigarette.

And then there is the increasingly commonplace demand from numerous stars that no one be allowed to look them in the eye uninvited. For example, only members of Jennifer Lopez's "double-digit entourage" are permitted to gaze into the windows of her soul. Sylvester Stallone, Tom Cruise, and of course Barbra Streisand are just a handful of the folks who think they're on the same plateau as Japanese Emperors, Turkish Pashas, and Medieval Kings.

There's also all the stuff in my files about people like Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, and countless others who require full time aromatherapists, masseuses, acupuncturists, etc., etc. Or people like Alec Baldwin, who demands scripts be written out fö-net-tick-ally bee-kauz hee'z 2 stoopid 2 reed wurds that R speld fun-nee. Okay, I'm making that last one up, but it's a reasonable assumption.

Now, it goes without saying that the overwhelming majority of such people are dyed-in-the-wool Democrats. I would also venture to say that many of them are as ill-informed about economics (and politics and history and pretty much anything not on the room service menu) as Marie-Therese was. Oh, let's just say it: Some of them are too dumb to breathe without a cue card.

But, while stupidity rarely gets in the way of anyone being a prominent liberal, it's hardly a requirement. No, what makes these people committed lefties has nothing to do with their needing to be reminded it doesn't matter which end of the straw is "up." I think it goes directly to the fact that they live the lives they do.
I never bought into Bono's Live 8 crap. I tell anyone who asks that I don't care at all for U2. I couldn't care less what most of these boneheaded stars have to say about anything.

The smartest pop cultural observer/comedian/whatever/thinker is Dennis Miller. I said this before he became a 9/11 conservative (just ask my buddy Michael J.), and I stand by it now. I don't normally watch Bill O'Reilly, but Dennis Miller on the O'Reilly Factor is must see TV.

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

01 February 2009

Gen. Petraeus, American Hero, To Be Honored At Super Bowl (Bumped)

It's worth watching just for this.

I agree with Ace: if only we could get Petraeus to run for elected office in, oh, I don't know, 2012. Mind you, I'm not saying he won't, just that it's unlikely.

Petraeus/Jindal 2012.

Can you say President Eisenhower, Part II?

And for the curious, I'm supporting the Arizona Cardinals. The West is best, folks.

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