"Iraq continues to be a serious problem, and the Bush administration has done nothing but increase the problem and cause unnecessary deaths. It is a mess, but I have a solution: I would never have gone there.
The Iraq War will be a big problem to inherit, but it would not be if we hadn't have gone there. That's why that is my solution. People ask me, "Won't leaving Iraq now be abandoning the Iraqi people?" Well, it wouldn't be abandoning them if we hadn't had gone there. "What about a civil war?" others ask, to which I say there would be no civil war if Saddam were still in charge because we didn't go to Iraq. As you can see, not having gone to Iraq easily solves all these problems.
"I do have experience: Experience at not going to war." As for Al Qaeda in Iraq, I don't think they would be a problem if we hadn't had gone. Maybe they already were there and working with some support from Saddam, but I still think not having gone there is a risk worth taking. You may worry about all the terrorists there and whether they have intentions for attacking America, but you wouldn't if we hadn't had gone.
Senator John McCain questions whether I have experience enough to deal with Iraq, but the fact is that he's old. No one faints at his rallies... unless they forgot their heart medication because they're as old as he is. And I do have experience: Experience at not going to war. That's why not having gone to Iraq is the perfect solution for me. It's one I'm uniquely able to espouse and have been consistent on. Years ago I said we shouldn't invade Iraq, and that is still my solution.
A few have said that not going to Iraq isn't a solution anymore since we already have gone there. I hear your concern and I have three words for you: Hope. Change. The future.
That's right: The future. And not just any future; a future where we look forward and say, "We shouldn't have gone to Iraq."
Barack Obama is a U.S. Senator from Illinois who enjoys nap time and finger painting. He is running for president.
Friday, February 29, 2008
RUSH: Well, you know, Bill, you are a true renaissance man. You're in the clouds above so many other people, and it's a real treat to bring you to people who... You know, the audience in this program spans the demographic spectrum, many young people -- for example, who have not read God & Man at Yale which was one of the things that established you and put you on the map, and so let me ask you about that. What...? For people who have not read the book but maybe have heard about it, why did you write it? What was the point? What's its staying power?
MR. BUCKLEY: Well, what happened there was that as a student at Yale in my junior and senior year, certain paradoxes sort of crystallized. One of them had to do with Christianity. Although Yale was at least ostensibly a Christian-oriented college having been founded as such 200 years earlier, there was a kind of nagging inattention and sometimes hostility to religion in the classrooms, and then it was -- I'm talking about 1945, '46, '47, '48. There was a great infatuation with postwar socialism, so that the socialist government in Great Britain was spoken about here and there as sort of a high point of political sophistication. So when I pulled out, I thought that these paradoxes should be examined in the framework of a book that said, "What is a college supposed to do by way of furthering missions?" and who is entitled to vote on what should be in that mission, my point being that the alumni who sustain a college should have a significant voice in it. What really was extraordinary, Rush, was the reception to that book. It was just simply feverish. I quote some excerpts from it, very respectable people, in the book, people who spoke (scoffing chuckle) as though I was going to appear the next day as the head of the Ku Klux Klan. It is, in retrospect, amusing, but 50 years ago it was kind of off-putting to think that anybody would interpret a reasonable book making this point as an invitation to totalitarian intervention in the college.
RUSH: Yeah, it doesn't sound like things have changed too much (laughing) in terms of reaction to conservative thought, and if that was the reaction back in 1945, what is, how -- you've gone through the whole period since, that book and then National Review. You have gone through these years as arguably the leader and the go-to guy for the definitions, the explanations of modern conservatism. How have you been reacted to over the years, and did any of it surprise you?
MR. BUCKLEY: Well, what happened when we started National Review was that we acknowledged that it was necessary to excrete the kooks 'cause here were anti-Semites in the conservative movement, and there were -- well, there were people whose sense of balance was in disorder.
RUSH: I think you cited the John Birch Society.
MR. BUCKLEY: Yeah, for five years there was the John Birch Society. So we had to -- gently but very firmly -- say to these people, "Look, we consider the movement as very wide and as capable of many, many voices, many, many interpretations, but in the course of progressing, one has to engage in exclusion. If you believe a set of things today, that set of things is arrived at by rejecting certain other things," and that included, in our century, a rejection of the kind of racial animosity that culminated in Germany and what you and I both know and weep over. So that figured -- and you asked about the reaction to my own row. It was sometimes pretty feverish, pretty unfriendly. It would have been unthinkable back then to have somebody of your stature say, you know, pleasant things about my work. That has changed. By no means totally, but it has changed... (chuckle) It has changed in a direction you would approve. What are you going to do when somebody like Ronald Reagan, who was an early enthusiast for National Review, is elected president of the United States? You can't rule him out as a right-wing fanatic -- not that some people didn't try. (chuckle)
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Love with the perfect dictator: In the liberal breast beats a strange passion for normalizing dictatorships. Oh Castro!
But there beats in the liberal breast a strange passion for normalizing dictatorships.
"Saying he is no longer healthy enough to hold office, Cuban leader Fidel Castro has announced he will not seek re-election after 49 years in power" — the Miami Herald....
Hmm. Castro didn't really have to "seek" re-election, did he? He's a — what's the word? Oh, yeah — "dictator." If he "seeks" re-election, he's pretty much guaranteed to find it — assuming for the purposes of argument you can be "re-elected" if you've never been freely or fairly elected in the first place. In its own "news report," the satirical website The Nose on Your Face got closer to reality:
"Fidel Castro announced today that he would not seek a new term as Cuba's president, citing concerns that at 81, it may be difficult for him to serve the full, constitutionally-mandated 49-year term."
When a free man enjoying the blessings of a free society promotes an equivalence between real democracy and a sham, he's colluding in the great lie being perpetrated by the prison state. A generation ago, to their shame, almost every Western politician did it — Trudeau, Mitterrand, Carter, Helmut Schmidt. Today, the political class is more circumspect, but the broader culture, almost instinctively, drapes thugs in the accessories of legitimacy. Just before he was overthrown, Saddam Hussein "sought" "re-election," and on the big day CNN covered it like a down-to-the-wire gubernatorial or senate race — full of shots of Iraqis going to the polls as if it was in reality what it was merely pretending to be: an election.
In his previous submission to the people seven years earlier, Saddam got 99.89 per cent of the vote. And, given that the 0.11 per cent foolish enough to write in Ralph Nader were no doubt subsequently shoved into the industrial shredder, it seemed a safe bet that the old butcher would do even better this time round. Nonetheless, throughout the day, CNN kept up the Election Special excitement to the point where you half-expected a Gallup exit poll showing Saddam plummeting to 99.82 per cent, or Frank Luntz live with a focus group of Tikrit soccer moms who want more spending on health care and less on anthrax. Saddam "sought" re-election and happily found it, and, after the removal of his regime, survived in his spider-hole long enough to enjoy an increasing number of approving pieces in the Western press bemoaning the way the blundering neo-cons and their incompetent stooges among Iraq's democratic parties had destroyed a smoothly functioning dictatorship. From the London Spectator: "Things Were Better Under Saddam." Once Cuba begins the inevitably messy birth pangs of democracy, expect similar Castro nostalgia to the nth degree: Havana not as quaint as it used to be, full of ghastly American banks and fast-food outlets.
Pondering Western enthusiasm for Castro and Co., you wonder whether the free world's urge to normalize tyranny is entirely confined to its exotic overseas exemplars. If you believe in big problems that demand "big government" solutions, democracy just gets in the way. Take Mayer Hillman, senior fellow at the Policy Studies Institute in London and big-shot eco-panjandrum. "When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life, the end of life on it," he said recently. "This has got to be imposed on people whether they like it or not." David Suzuki, Canadian eco-messiah, is cool with that: he recently called for politicians who disagree with him on "climate change" to be thrown in jail. It would be nice to think that Mr. Suzuki's totalitarian tendencies would render him beyond the pale, unacceptable in polite society, exposed as a buffoon who wants brute force to compel what his lazy arguments cannot. But come Christmas season he'll still be getting the A-list invites and schmoozing with celebs.
Most published scientific research papers are wrong, according to a new analysis. Assuming that the new paper is itself correct, problems with experimental and statistical methods mean that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper are true.
Surprisingly, Ioannidis says another predictor of false findings is if a field is "hot", with many teams feeling pressure to beat the others to statistically significant findings.
This is worth keeping in mind on "hot" topics such as the global warming hoax.
By the way, it's 28 degrees this morning in balmy Virginia.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
In their strongest language yet, federal prosecutors said Tuesday that Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration granted access and influence to Antoin "Tony" Rezko because of his prowess as a fundraiser for the governor.
Rezko's role as a key Blagojevich insider is essential to understanding how he was able to extort illegal payments and a campaign contribution from firms seeking state business, prosecutors said in a motion filed a week before Rezko's corruption trial is set to begin.
"Rezko parlayed his success in raising significant sums of money for Gov. Blagojevich into power by gaining access to high-ranking Illinois officials, being given deference in filing board and job positions, and by influencing how certain boards conducted business," prosecutors said. "At base, Rezko's power and importance flowed from his ability to raise money."
for a reminder of Rezko's connection to B. Hussein Obama, click HERE.
Roosevelt and his administration did things that, if implemented by George Bush, would have led to his impeachment.
As for the NRA logo, it’s a reminder of the happy days of FDR’s attempts to revive the economy by pouring a bowl of alphabet soup over its face. The NRA, among other things, was intended to prevent the depredations of competition, and “allowed industry heads to collectively set minimum prices,” as this rather scant wikipedia entry notes. (The same page relates the story of the tailor who was arrested for charging 35 cents to press a suit; the NRA rules specified the price at 40 cents. So he was arrested. Consider that the next time someone complains that liberty and civil rights have been eliminated in the last 7 years.)
Since the government-approved slogan for the NRA was “We Do Our Part,” businesses that didn’t display the logo were, by implication, not doing their part, and not with the general flow of the modern world, brother. Even movie theaters hastened to assure the public they were doing their part:
How is this for a Cult Of Personality?
Sowell discusses the outrage that is faculty tenure. Tenured faculty members, he says, run universities for their own best interests — not the interests of students. They schedule classes on their own time, not students’ time. They wield tremendous influence, in particular into areas where they have no expertise. Why, asks Sowell, should someone who teaches French literature decide whether ROTC should be allowed on campus? The trouble with tenure extends far and wide.
“Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon.”
This excerpt from William Ayers’ memoir appeared in the New York Times on Sept. 11, 2001 — the day al-Qaeda terrorists crashed hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Ayers, once a leader in the Weather Underground — the group that declared “war” on the U.S. government in 1970 — told the Times, “I don’t regret setting bombs,” and, “I feel we didn’t do enough.”
Ayers recently reappeared in the news because Politico.com reported Friday that Barack Obama has loose ties to him. Ayers, now a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is apparently a left-wing institution in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, and Obama visited Ayers’ home as a rite of passage when launching his political career in the mid-1990s. The two also served on the board of the charitable Woods Fund of Chicago, which gave money to Northwestern University Law School’s Children and Family Justice Center, where Ayers’ wife (and former Weather Underground compatriot who glorified violence) Bernardine Dohrn is the director.
I don’t think Obama supports domestic terrorism, and I’m sure he can offer eloquent explanations for why he shouldn’t suffer any guilt by association. The Hillary Clinton campaign, however, did try to score a few political points, meekly linking to the Politico story on the campaign website’s blog. The campaign probably couldn’t be more aggressive without calling attention to how Bill Clinton pardoned Puerto Rican separatist terrorists — perceived to be a way to gain support for Hillary’s Senate bid from left-wing Puerto Ricans in New York.
What fascinates me is how light the baggage is when one travels from violent radicalism to liberalism. Chicago activist Sam Ackerman told Politico’s reporter that Ayers “is one of my heroes in life.” Cass Sunstein, a first-rank liberal intellectual, said, “I feel very uncomfortable with their past, but neither of them is thought of as horrible types now — so far as most of us know, they are legitimate members of the community.”
Why, exactly, can Ayers and Dohrn be seen as “legitimate members of the community”? How is it that they get prestigious university jobs when even the whisper of neocon tendencies is toxic in academia?
The question of why Ayers isn’t in jail is moot; he was never prosecuted for the Weather Underground’s bombing campaign. Still, Ayers is unrepentant about his years spent waging war against the United States. “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that’s where it’s really at,” Ayers was widely quoted as saying at the time.
Ayers is merely symptomatic. Academia, the arts, even business have readmitted one former (and a few not-so-former) violent radical after another. Thomas W. Jones, a leader in the armed takeover of Cornell University’s student union in 1969, rose to the top of Citigroup and once ran TIAA-CREF, the pension fund of some of the very academics he threatened.
Hillary Clinton had her own brush with violent radical leftists during her years at Yale Law. The New Haven, Conn., trial of Black Panthers — racist paramilitary criminals who had murdered police and civilians in cold blood — was a cause celebre for The Yale Review of Law and Social Action, the journal she helped edit. According to some accounts, Clinton volunteered to monitor the trial to aid Black Panther leader Bobby Seale’s defense, and one of Seale’s lawyers, a major radical, was sufficiently impressed to offer her an internship.
I don’t think such associations should necessarily cost people their careers or place in polite society, particularly if some sort of contrition is involved. But shouldn’t this baggage cost something?
Why is it only conservative “cranks” who think it’s relevant that Obama’s campaign headquarters in Houston had a Che Guevara-emblazoned Cuban flag hanging on the wall? Indeed, why is love of Che still radically chic at all? A murderer who believed that “the U.S. is the great enemy of mankind” shouldn’t be anyone’s hero, never mind a logo for a line of baby clothes. Why are Fidel Castro’s apologists progressive and enlightened but apologists for Augusto Pinochet frightening and authoritarian? Why was Sen. Trent Lott’s kindness to former segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond a scandal but Obama’s acquaintance with an unrepentant terrorist a triviality?
I have my own answers to these questions. But I’m interested in theirs. In the weeks to come, maybe reporters can resist the temptation to repeat health care questions for the billionth time and instead ask America’s foremost liberal representatives why being a radical means never having to say you’re sorry.
Ordinary, everyday people understand these things. It's people who have the power to shape the public debate who have been able in the past to make Lott's comments toxic but pass over "Che" worship. That power in the hands of the MSM is eroding and people are starting to ask the question. And what is even more important, thanks to the Internet, they are no longer isolated. They are forming virtual communities, going over the heads of the MSM; the former gatekeepers are no longer in charge of defining what is respectable and what is not.
Let us celebrate the technology that helped create this new-found liberty.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Did Saddam Figure's Millions Influence Obama?
The Times of London follows the money in the journalistic tradition of Watergate and finds a strange connection between Tony Rezko, Barack Obama, and Nadhmi Auchi. The latter, one of Britain's richest men, has a long history of shady financial dealings as well as numerous connections to Saddam Hussein, who he helped to power. According to the Times, Auchi sent a lot of money to Rezko just before his wife bought property adjacent to the Obamas in a land deal that has already raised a lot of eyebrows:A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses.
The money transfer raises the question of whether funds from Nadhmi Auchi, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, helped Mr Obama buy his mock Georgian mansion in Chicago.
A company related to Mr Auchi, who has a conviction for corruption in France, registered the loan to Mr Obama's bagman Antoin "Tony" Rezko on May 23 2005. Mr Auchi says the loan, through the Panamanian company Fintrade Services SA, was for $3.5 million.
Three weeks later, Mr Obama bought a house on the city's South Side while Mr Rezko's wife bought the garden plot next door from the same seller on the same day, June 15.
Why is this important to the land deal?Mrs Rezko paid the asking price for the garden but the Obamas bought the house for $1.65 million, - $300,000 less than the asking price. The sellers deny they offered the Obamas a discount on the house because the garden had fetched full price from Mrs Rezko.
They took 15% less than the asking price? That's a rather remarkable discount. And how exactly did the Rezkos afford to buy the adjacent plot? It cost $625,000, and they needed to make a $125,000 down payment on the land. Yet at the time, Tony Rezko had "no income, negative cash flow, no liquid assets, no unencumbered assets [and] is significantly in arrears on many of his obligations" -- according to a sworn court statement a year later. His wife had an income of $37,000 and assets of around $35,000.
How could they qualify for a mortgage on the adjacent plot? Where did they get the money for the down payment? More importantly, why did Auchi lend so much money to Rezko, when Rezko had been in such financial straits? And why was Auchi so interested in Rezko in the first place?
Let's take another look at Auchi:Auchi's brother was among the many Baathists killed by Saddam, but the execution did not inhibit Auchi's business dealings with Iraq which, he says, didn't stop until the Gulf war of 1991. His first coup in the West was to broker a deal to sell Italian frigates to the Iraqi Defence Ministry, for which he received $17m in commission. Italian investigators claimed that a Panamanian company owned by Auchi was used to funnel allegedly illegal payments. Auchi denied he had done anything wrong.
In the mid-1980s he got to know Pierfrancesco Pacini Battaglia, a man whose role in directing money to politicians led Italians to call him 'the one below God'. Saddam Hussein had ordered the construction of a pipeline from Iraq to Saudi Arabia. Battaglia and Auchi secured the contract for a Franco-Italian consortium. In a statement to New York lawyers Battaglia alleged he knew how. 'To acquire the contract it was necessary, as is usual, especially in Middle Eastern countries, to pay commission to characters close to the Iraqi government... In this case, the international intermediary who dealt with this matter was the Iraqi, Nadhmi Auchi.' Auchi has denied any wrong-doing.
Nick Cohen suggests that Britain only extradited Auchi to France to face fraud charges in 2003 because our invasion of Iraq had ended his usefulness as an expert on the Hussein regime for MI-6. In any case, Auchi also allegedly had a hand in defrauding the UK's National Health System after his fleecing of the French oil company Elf.
Rick Moran pines for the late Mike Royko, who would have known exactly what to do with these connections:At this point, unless there is a deliberate, concerted effort by the large media outlets to allow this story to die once Rezko is convicted, I find it probable that other revelations are yet to come that will show Obama to be just another machine politician, skirting the edge of ethics and the law – perhaps even going over the line and engaging in criminal activities.
Obama is not the Agent of Change. He is a calculating politician who plays the game the same way politicians have been playing it for hundreds of years – receiving money in exchange for favors from government for his friends and cronies. And if Mike Royko were alive, one has to believe that despite agreeing with his politics, Royko would have been relentless in taking Obama down, hammering away in his own inimitable style at the influence selling, the sweetheart deals, the pay for favors, and all the rest of this sleazy mess.
No Royko today. But we have an army of bloggers who can push this story into the mainstream and force the media to expend the resources necessary to get to the bottom of the Rezko-Obama enterprise. True, like Whitewater it is a very complex story and there is very little ease in the telling. But given the stakes, an effort should be made nonetheless.
There seems to be a lot more to Rezko than just slumlording. When a figure like Auchi gives a low-rent figure like Rezko that kind of money, he's not looking to expand tenement ownership.
Posted by Ed Morrissey on February 26, 2008
But he is mourned, and nowhere more heartily than on the editorial pages of the Virginian Pilot, which today mourns once again that the Forces of Darkness, those cursed blacks hats that waged a “conservative culture war” against Saint Gene whose only desire was to “open the campus.” Which he did by dissing it’s Christian community by deeming the symbol of their faith on display in their church so divisive that it had to be put in a closet lest it offend the unbelievers.
He also opened the campus to the thought police so prevalent on other campuses like Duke, where “enlightened” faculty and students tried to railroad the lacrosse team for a crime they did not commit. So Gene Nichol decided that the way to “open the campus” was to institute a way for students to snitch on each other if they felt dissed in any way. From the speech code:
A "bias incident" consists of harassment, intimidation or other hostile behavior that is directed at a member of the William and Mary community because of that person's race, sex (including pregnancy), age, color, disability, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. A bias incident may be verbal (whether spoken or written) or physical.
If you are not certain whether an occurrence meets the above definition, please report the occurrence under this protocol and allow the College to make the determination.
Stanley Kurtz has this to say about Gene's initiative to "open the campus"
I’ve heard of speech codes, but I’ve never heard of anything quite like this: a mechanism to anonymously report "bias related to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or other protected conditions" to the university administration, for possible action against the perpetrator. This system has been set up at William and Mary, and a website protesting it can be found here. Is this something new, or at least rare, or is it perhaps more common than I realize?
But the Virginian Pilot editors are perfectly fine with this because this bit of Orwellian repression is part and parcel of the way Liberals run things. You’re permitted to say anything, anything at all as long as you agree with them and share their belief system. You don’t and it’s the Gulag for you. We make the rules, Comrade and if you don’t like it you are part of that gang the even now is viciously “attack[ing] him, his family and any student with the temerity to disagree with them.”
I can’t link to this odious editorial because the Pilot has not posted it on-line, but I’ll keep looking for it and if it shows up, you’ll see a link.
Monday, February 25, 2008
White people love staions like NPR (which is equivalent to listening to cardboard), and they love shows like This American Life and Democracy Now. This confuses immigrants from the third world. The see the need for radio as a source for sports, top 40 radio and traffic reports but they don’t quite understand why people who can afford TVs and have access to Youtube, would spend hours listening to the opinions of overeducated arts majors....
All white people’s opinions are developed from Public Radio. So if you want to sound smart in front of White People, just bring up a topic that was discussed on Public Radio
Read the whole thing.
Why do people take the words “increase in minimum wage” literally, when with just a little tiny bit of thinking they could see what really happens is that jobs are outlawed unless the jobs meet a specific criteria. It’s easy to explain how nice folks could fall for this once or twice. How does it continue to happen for the better part of a century?
How come a young available lady is so attracted to bad boys and rebels, and once she manages to snag one of ‘em, works so hard to get him to be just like everybody else, eventually hittin’-the-road if he doesn’t shape up?
Why do people want stoicism and cool-headedness in their presidents, and pulse-pounding excitement and charisma from the people who are looking to become the next president?
So yeah, atheism is more in need of an explanation. Atheism says the reason fertile soil causes plants to grow in the ground is…process of elimination. If the plants didn’t grow in the ground, they would not be here, so if they’re here, of course they grow in the ground and we can use them to feed us. And if we couldn’t then we would not be here.
Just like the sculptor who explains that he simply starts with a block of marble and carves away everything that doesn’t look like a horse. Niiiiiice and simple…with a “you idiot” tacked on to the end, and the sculptor is explained-away.
But with the sculptor and with the deity, common sense says things aren’t quite so simple. I think the egghead’s second-thought is the right one. We need to study our atheists. I’d be particularly interested in the following conundrum: If rational, cool-headed thinking nods approvingly toward secularism, what has that to do with the last three or four years? How come atheism waited until the twenty-first century to really bask in the limelight? Wouldn’t it be more fitting if it came to popularity half a century ago, when we were launching satellites and smashing atoms? This is the age of fifty gazillion wonderful new inventions, all of which are dedicated to finding new ways to play personal music collections and carry dogs around in purses.
And this is the era in which the atheist’s view of the cosmos, is most popularly thought to be the correct one. If I were an atheist, that would be sufficient to make me seriously question my atheism. I’m glad I’m not one.
..the worldview in which “science” is openly substituted for religion, and the sciences (plural) are thereby opened to corruption, to regulation and censorship, to serving the agendas of various smelly little orthodoxies.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Political capitals are covered with lobbyists. Positively crawling with them. Which is only natural because elected officials are all about telling people what to do, how to do it and how much it’s going to cost you. For example, the Virginia legislature is currently in session. The decisions it makes and the bills it passes will affect everyone in Virginia.
One of the rights granted to the citizens is the right to petition our elected officials.
That’s what lobbyists do.
Who do lobbyists represent? Cities, for one. Virtually every city in the Commonwealth lobbies the legislature for something; so cities send lobbyists. So do business interests whose business is impacted by legislation. So do professional organizations like lawyers, doctors, and Indian chiefs. Environmental groups and anti-smoking groups send lobbyists. Religious groups send lobbyists. Hospitals send lobbyists. And blue-noses of the kind spawned by Ralph Nader send lobbyists while complaining about lobbyists.
And how do these lobbyists work? They stop in to talk to legislators and their staffs. The send them position papers on existing or proposed legislation or regulation. They participate in public hearings. They entertain, although I have yet to see this doing much good. And they make campaign contributions. They do this all legally and above board. Their contributions are reported to the public.
Of course this bothers the people who prefer to have unique undue influence on the public process: the press. Natuarally the press itself hires its own lobbyists, either directly (Washington Post Co. reported spending $1.1 million in federal lobbying spending between 1997 and 2004, and Dow Jones & Co. spent $985,000 between 1997 and 2001, the last date federal lobbying records were available for the company. The corporate owners of the major networks spend much more.) or through its professional trade organization: the Newspaper Association of America which spent $12 million lobbying between 1997 and 2004.
In my own “back yard” the billionaire Batten family, owners of Landmark Communications (The Virginian Pilot, Weather Channel, etc.) have been major givers to Democrats including gifts of $105,000 by Frank Batten, Sr. to Democrat Governor Tim Kaine, beating out such giants as the Teamers ($76,000), Norfolk Southern ($75,000) and Microsoft ($67,890), and making the coal lobby ($20,000 from the Virginia Coal Association) look like pikers.
But spending by the press is only a small part of the power that these lords of the media have over elected officials. How much is positive press or an editorial endorsement worth? Like the Master Card commercial, a full page ad in the Virginian Pilot costs anywhere from $26,000 to $35,000; a positive news story having much more impact? Priceless.
This is not paint Big Media and their barons in an unfavorable light by any means. That would make me as two-faced as any one of them. It is certainly possible that the media lords honestly feel that Tim Kaine deserves their support because they believe in good government and his opponent was viewed as favoring bad government. That is certainly a possibility. And I may be excused for believing the same about Norfolk Southern, the Teamsters, Microsoft and the Virginia Coal Association. But the media lords somehow don’t see things this way. They are acting from altruistic principles while their opponents (the ones wearing the black hats known as “lobbyists”) are acting from bad motives.
Which is a roundabout way of getting to the Times story about McCain cavorting (sexually? wink, wink) with lobbyists. Of course in some ways McCain brought this on himself with his loud and frequent denunciation of lobbyists, presumably the ones that don’t give him money or lend him their private jets. But that’s a story for another day.
There was a time when Supreme Court justices peered into federal statutes outlawing discrimination and found between the lines the right of the aggrieved to take his complaint to court. What good was the law, they reasoned, without a means to enforce it?
Those, Justice Antonin Scalia said last week, were "the bad old days."
The increasingly conservative court has said often of late that it is getting out of the business of finding a right to sue that is not explicitly stated in the law -- what lawyers call an "implied cause of action."
Read the comments for entertainment value.
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader, blamed by many Democrats for their loss of the White House in the 2000 election, said on Sunday he is launching another independent campaign for the White House.
Nader, who will turn 74 this week, announced his longshot presidential bid on NBC's "Meet the Press" saying that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans were addressing problems facing Americans.
Nader called Washington "corporate occupied territory" that turns the government against the interests of the people. "In that context, I have decided to run for president," he said.
We have not heard much of Nader in the last few years which, given his desire for publicity, must gall him. So what better way to gather attention that to run for President.
Ralph has run a number of times. Not nearly as often as Harold Stassen, but if he lives long enough he may give Harold a run for his money.
Roger D. McCrath was a professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author, among other works, of Gunfighters, Highwaymen & Vigilantes (1984).
While working my way through traffic snarls on the freeways of Los Angeles I listened intently to a radio talk show. When a caller urged that all citizens should go about armed, the program host exclaimed, "My God, that would be like the Old West. We can't go back to that." The host obviously thought that by invoking the image of the Old West he had made a damning argument against gun-toting. It was the umpteenth time I had heard such a response to a proponent of an armed citizenry. Yet the facts of frontier life suggest that the Old West had far less crime and far fewer innocent victims than America has today, and that the young, the old, and the female—those most vulnerable—were far safer in the most wild and woolly frontier towns than they are in any American city today. We could do worse than return to the standards and values of the Old West.
Two frontier towns with widespread reputations for violence were the mining camps of Aurora, Nevada, and Bodie, California. In their heydays, 1861-1865 for Aurora and 1878-1882 for Bodie, they each boasted populations that exceeded 5,000, were alive 24 hours a day, contained dozens of saloons and brothels, and produced gold and silver bullion worth a billion in today's dollars. The economics were boom and bust, with new veins being discovered and old ones being pinched out. The populations were transient, half were foreign born, and men outnumbered women ten to one. The people were adventurous, entrepreneurial, brave, young, unmarried, intemperate, and armed. A few had struck it rich, but most had not.
All the ingredients were there for an epidemic of crime, but none occurred. An examination of robbery, burglary, theft, rape, and homicide in Aurora and Bodie reveals not how far we have come but how far we have sunk.
Read the rest.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Chocolate. Peanut butter. Each great things on their own, but when Albert Einstein discovered the two could be combined into something even greater, he was rightly hailed as a genius. Hope and change are each great things on their own, but I say it's time we combine them into a tasty peanut butter cup of progress.
The American people seem to be desperate for hope and change. At each of my campaign stops, people come to me and say, "Osama..." -- not my actual name, but I'm used to it -- "...I like hope. I like change. I like kittens and bunny rabbits. But which should I choose?" I say to these future hopers and changers that there is no need to choose. We can have both hope and change, and then the kittens and the bunny rabbits will come when they sense the great hope and change that America has. With hope and change, anything is possible.
"I call that 'hange' which should not be confused with 'chope' which is the changing of hope." People talk about all the problems in the Middle East and how it seems America can do nothing but make it worse. To them I ask: Have you tried hope? Have you tried change? Have you tried hoping for change? I call that "hange" which should not be confused with "chope" which is the changing of hope. If we are worried about Iran getting nuclear weapons, then we should sit down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and offer him hope. Who needs nuclear weapons when you are protected by hope? As for Pakistan we should offer them change in the form of bombing them or something. If that doesn't work, then we can try offering them hope as well. And, as you know, I vow that we will get our troops out of Iraq. Better yet, I hope we will get our troops out of Iraq. Why? Because it's a change. A change backed by hope.
Some say I'm arguing we should change in small jumps, but a small jump is a hop, not a hope. What I offer you that no other candidate does it change together with hope. Try and keep that straight even if you keep confusing my name with America's number one enemy. And these are not empty words; hope and change are solutions. They are things I believe in. In the eight times I showed up for a vote in the Senate, when they called my name I said loudly and proudly, "I vote for hope!" When they told me I couldn't do that, I changed my vote to "present." But know that each of those are really a vote for either hope or change. Hope and change are what solve our problems. If you have a problem, I say you try applying hope to it. If that doesn't work, try change. If the problem persists, try hope once more. Then make sure it's plugged in. This should solve most any problem, or at least it helped when I had trouble with my new computer.
So why do we need both hope and change? Isn't hope enough? Let me tell you a story. One night when the baby was crying and smelled horrible, my wife and I tried to solve the situations through hope. It didn't work. Change was needed. Similarly, once a homeless man came to me and asked for change. I offered him hope, but he was not satisfied. You see, hope must be backed by change.
Am I saying all hope and change is good? No. One change I don't like is when people change my name to "Osama." Please stop that. I know it's only a one letter difference and easy to confuse, but come on. As for hope, I am against hope that America will be destroyed. That's just something my wife and I will have to agree to disagree about. Am I saying that hope and change can solve everything? No. I have yet to come up with a hope and change solution to an asteroid heading towards earth, but I am working on it. So as your president, I will do my best to sort good hope from bad hope and good change from bad change and occasionally use something other than hope or change if needed. Still, I will strive to use both hope and change for most everything, and I will task our best philosophers on using hope and change to protect us from all things, including asteroids. And zombies.
So, for the cause of a greater America, can we combine hope and change? Yes we can, America. Yes we can.
Or so I hope.
Bill is from Arkansas, which is not regarded as one of our national centers for ethics and subtlety in politics. Mrs. Clinton is from Chicago, and is a devotee of Saul "Rules for Radicals" Alinsky. Neither, despite the Old Media's unending dithyrambs, is particularly bright, and neither has enough scruples to register on the finest detectors science has devised.
Their much-vaunted political savvy turns out to be a big nothing: The supposed masters of “the politics of personal destruction” can’t turn up anything better on Obama than some ancient essay from his Jakarta grade school, plus a few limp charges of plagiarism. And instead of getting the surrogates to crowbar the enemy every time Hillary opens up on him she looks mean and petty and he gets to do his high-minded Obamessiah routine. Their star quality was also, as noted above, mostly a giant bluff. In his heyday, Bill could channel his narcissism into a famously sure “common touch” — he liked to bask in proof of his awesome empathetic powers. But, in the years since he left the Oval Office, he’s played too many gazillion-dollar-a-plate jet-set dinners in France and Switzerland, and the “common touch” has curdled. That was plain even by the 2002 midterms, when you could more or less correlate Democratic losses by his travel schedule. He’s a bust on the stump.
She has a melancholy dignity in decline. She knows she would make the better president, but every time she tries to explain why it sounds prosaic and unromantic. Bill gave the party an appetite for slick lounge acts, and this time round Barack’s the guy delivering it in buckets of gaseous uplift.
Steyn says it more poetically, but he has the same view of the older, meaner, less guarded Bill Clinton that I had HERE. I never saw Bill Cinton's charm; I loathed him ftom the start, now others are seeing the Arkansas grifter I saw. And it killed Hillary's chances.
Back on August 27th, Time magazine reported on the death of an officer who had hit an obstruction while escorting President Bush as part of a motorcade. I wrote about their outrageous headline here. The story itself is expired over at Time, but you can still see the headline here. Plus, I screencaped it for posterity. Here it is:
Today, Time reports on the death of an officer in Hillary Clinton’s motorcade. Here’s the headline from that story.
Nice eh... so damned typical.
God rest all cops killed in the line of duty and be with their families. God curse those who'd use their deaths to make political statements.
(2008-02-19) — As Cuban President Fidel Castro announced today he would end his half-century of totalitarian rule, sources close to Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tried to tamp down speculation that they were on “the short list” of potential replacements for the ailing Communist dictator.
Rumors in Cuba carry the currency of mainstream media coverage in the U.S., and many Castro-supporters are eager to find new leadership that combines Castro-like charisma with iron-fisted leadership tactics and revolutionary support for government-run health care, education and industry.
“A Clinton-Obama ticket,” said one unnamed Cuba scholar, “combines the power and the glory that was Fidel Castro, with the unshakable commitment to collectivism, controlled economies, and virulent resistance to the United States as a superpower.”
Experts suggest that as co-presidents of Cuba, Mr. Obama would be the mouthpiece, giving stirring six-hour speeches about the majesty and beauty of poverty in a Communist Utopia, while Mrs. Clinton would work behind the scenes to ensure full agreement with those speeches at all levels of government.
“The question now for Cuba,” said the scholar, “is can we continue to survive here on the ash heap of history? With these two great leaders at the helm, the answer would be a resounding, ‘Si, se puede! Yes, we can!’”
Iraq War veteran who spent a year there as an engineer and is now a professional anti-war agitator comes to town, and the newspaper falls all over itself to cover him. He gets a pre-appearance blurb. He gets a full interview article. He gets coverage when he speaks. Three different articles.
Meanwhile, local soldiers who serve quietly in Iraq and come home never even see their names in the paper. Nobody on staff here seemt to care what they did, what they saw, what they think. But it will let this paid agitator speak for all of them and be their face.
I listened to all this arranged on the phone, with the editor who is a regular at anti-Bush and anti-war protests taking orders from the head of the local anti-war group, with whom he is on first-name basis.
Newspapers have always been the personal toys of the editors, now more than ever.
In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn....
While Ayers and Dohrn may be thought of in Hyde Park as local activists, they’re better known nationally as two of the most notorious – and unrepentant — figures from the violent fringe of the 1960s anti-war movement.
Have Ayers and Dohrn repented of their violent past? Hardly. Ayers told the New York Times that he didn't regret setting bombs and using violence to intimidate people into adopting their demands. Indeed, he regrets not planting more bombs to effect the change he desired. Both Ayers and Dohrn have written about their continued support for the political terrorism of the 1960s.
Which brings us to the visit of Barack Obama and the apparent blessing he received from Ayers and Dohrn. This doesn't mean that Obama professes the same support for political violence as the Weather couple, but it does show a lack of backbone in rejecting those that do. If Obama can't stand up to two discredited American terrorists in Chicago ... well, you get the drift. What does it say about Obama's politics that Ayers and Dohrn approved of him, and what does it say about Obama that he felt he needed their blessing?
Let's also look at the mainstream media disinterest in this story. Imagine what the media would report if John McCain had met with Timothy McVeigh in 1995 to secure his blessing for re-election to the Senate, or if he had met with Eric Rudolph the following year. After all, both men planted bombs to effect political change in which they completely believed. Rudolph killed about the same number of people as the Weather Underground did. None of these people ever repented of their actions.
Would the media be as understanding? Would it fall to Politico to report it, or would the New York Times have it in a two-column, front-page spread next to a picture of a smiling Barack Obama?
The last qwuestion answers itself. The Times has run an unsourced story about a "romantic affair" mcCain is rumored to have had with a lobbyist a decade ago. McCain has denied it and the Times is backpedalling furously. But there will be no front page story about Obama's ties to unrepantant terrorists on the MSM.
Frank J. at IMAO:
Apparently Obama used to like to hang out with '60s terrorists... unrepentant ones at that. This may seem bad, but if you look at the record of Ayers and Dohrn, the only people they ever successfully killed with their bombs were their own members. That makes them heroes.
Anyway, this seems about right for Obama: He's too squishy to advocate violence, but he's a dumb enough lefty to think its cool to hang out with those who do.
So where does hanging out with '60s terrorists fall: Is it hope or change?
A day after insinuating that John McCain had an affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, all of the romance appears to have disappeared from the New York Times. Faster than one can say Roberta Flack, the flak taken by the Gray Lady has apparently resulted in a Soviet-style purge of the sexual allegations from their story.
Read the rest...
The word remains in modern usage in the phrase to be hoist by one's own petard, which means "to be harmed by one's own plan to harm someone else" or "to fall in one's own trap", literally implying that one could be lifted up (hoisted, or blown upward) by one's own bomb. Shakespeare used the now proverbial phrase in Hamlet.
Is Daffy Duck “really” Black?
Is he “authentically” Black? Or is he the creation of “The Man?”
Is he down for the struggle?
Has Daffy earned his “street cred?” Let’s check:
5 point- Born black - check
5 point- Born in a single parent home - no parent, most likely. Ever seen his Momma?
10 points- Born poor - check
50 points- Sold 'Hard' drugs.. crack, cocaine, Heroin – a black in Hollywood? What do you think?
65 points- Been shot and survived – yes!
75 points- Been shot multiple times and survived – YES!
70 points- Gang member of crips or bloods – Hangs with them.
65 points- Been to prison - check
40 points- Been to Jail - check
20 points- Have at least 10 tattoos – yes, all back making it hard to see.
20 points- Kicked out of high school or dropped out - better! Never been to school.
20 points- 16 years old and have a baby mama – don’t ask, don’t tell.
Daffy is so Black he makes Obama look like Wonder Bread!
Did Daffy come from a single-parent household, was he born poor, is he working-class, does he play a saxophone, does he eat McDonald's and junk food and is he even from Arkansas, like our first Black President?
Is his posse tough enough?
Is Daffy a pimp? Check it out!
Looking for other suggestions about Daffy's authenticity. Please comment.
Friday, February 22, 2008
I can't wait until Ralph Peters and the milblogs get ahold of Sen. Obama's claim that American forces in Afghanistan are forced to capture the ammo they need to fight.
It's the kind of ludicrous claim one expects to hear from a caller on late night talk radio, not from a potential president of the US. Does Sen. Obama have ANYTHING to back this up?
Ace of Spades chimes in:
The Messiah: US Troops In Afghanistan So Under-supplied They Must Capture The Very Ammo With Which They Fight
Really, Jesus 2.0?
You really going with that, buddy?
You sure of that?
thanks to CJ.
Just So I Understand This... But Afghanistan is apparently awash in NATO 5.56mm ammunition, which can be used to load NATO guns, if only it can be taken (via fisticuffs, I imagine) from the local Afghan warlords and Taliban fighters?
Really? NATO 5.56mm, huh? In a third world country? A third world country with tons of AK-47s and AK-74s because it is 1) a third world country and 2) a former conquest off the Soviet Union?
But they're, like, completely stocked with NATO 5.56mm rounds over there, huh?
Correction: Actually, he claims alternately that the US troops are "capturing Tally-ban weapons" and that they have to capture "the equipment" they need.
He doesn't say ammo.
But, of course, if we're capturing AK-47s, we also need to be capturing the Soviet or Chinese 7.62mm ammo that loads into it.
Amazing. Fucking amazing.
It's All Too True: Below, captured footage of US soldiers forced to fight hand to hand against a Taliban Warlord/dragon-man for lack of ammo.
Winess the plight of the undersupplied Captain that Obama was speaking of.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
For one thing, Bill Clinton lost his “charm” and showed the mean streak that was carefully cloaked during his first presidency. Combine that with the fact that Hillary by herself is has all the rhetorical skills of a high school valedictorian; when the Deadly Duo hit the campaign trail and exposed themselves to the American people the response was “anyone but Billary.”
So why not Edwards? Simple, on a national level, class warfare really does not sell well. It may rock the rubes in the backwoods hollows and urban slums where poverty is always someone else’s fault. But on the national stage where most people consider themselves middle class, putting it to “the man” does not get majority support, especially when the message comes from an oily trial lawyer with a band new multi-million dollar mansion and a $400 haircut.
So the race for the nomination is being lost by Billary and Obama is the improbable beneficiary of this self-immolation.
And this is a danger for the Democrats, because they are about to nominate an empty suit. I could not be more happy about this because no matter what happens, the MSM is going to go all out to support whoever gets the Democrat’s nod. The hit job on John McCain in the NY Times today is only an example of what the general election will be like.
The Belmont Club has a good, even poetic, analysis.
The Barack Obama phenomenon is probably a compound of three things. Mr. Obama's own considerable talents as a politician and speaker; the reaction against the Clinton Machine and the absolute dearth of new ideas in the Democratic Party. It has nothing to do with renewed excitement in the Democratic Party message; it is intensely personal. The enthusiasm is generated by Him; the hope is engendered by the Face.
And to Barack Obama's credit he has carried a near-empty hand to triumph. That alone is testament to his political skill. But he has done it at the cost of not talking about the platform of his own party, which truth to tell, consists of a collection of rotting planks left over from the 1960s and which no one is safe treading upon. Instead of embarssing himself by talking about higher taxes, more appeasement and more special interest politics, Barack Obama has done the smart thing. He's talked about himself; about "us"; about the future, about Hope and most of all, about Change. The subliminal message is that we want to Move On. And part of what the electorate wants to Move On from is all the fermenting baggage that Hillary Clinton keeps hauling along. It's as neat a piece of conjury as has been seen for the last fifty years.
Thus the Obama "bubble" isn't his personal problem, it's his party's problem. He's throwing a personal force shield around a decrepit core agenda and if it fails sometime in the next few months it will be no fault of his. He's already done the unbelievable. Any collapse will be foreordained by the Democratic Party's agenda.
Comparisons to McGovern and 1968 are all the more painful because they highlight how little has substantively changed from then. McGovern gone from politics, but the dead agenda lives. And poor Obama, having to carry the moldering corpse on his shoulders!
Watching Obama struggle forward, keeping up his momentum with the thin gruel of speeches, charisma and bravado is almost like watching a champion who you know is eventually going to be overwhelmed by uneven odds continue a game fight. Whatever one thinks of Obama, he doesn't deserve so tragic a fate. Obama's worst enemy isn't the conservatives. It isn't even liberals. It's the dead hand of the past. The Spirit of '68, cackling and wheezing from the closed room which no one goes into. Except Hillary, who emerges each time to pronounce Mother alive and well.
And used the headline to minimize the number of illegal aliens who are sex offenders.
36 convicted sex offenders arrested in Virginia on immigration violations
Now compare the first paragraph of the story to the headline (most readers never go beyond the headline)
State and federal law enforcement officials said Wednesday they have identified 255 sex offenders convicted in Virginia who - unbeknownst to authorities - are not American citizens.
How did we get from 225 to 36?
Of those identified, 36 are sex offenders who had served their sentence and had been released. In recent weeks, federal immigrant agents detained the 36 people and deportation proceedings have begun, Attorney General Bob McDonnell said.
Those cute cuddly “undocumented workers,” when they’re not killing teen agers in Virginia Beach they are diddling our children. Doing the jobs that Americans won’t do.
A missile launched from a Navy ship successfully struck a dying U.S. spy satellite passing 130 miles over the Pacific on Wednesday, a defense official said. Full details were not immediately available.
It happened just after 10:30 p.m. EST.
"Star Wars" Senator Kennedy?
Captain Ed has a point:
Over the last twenty years and more, we have heard from a variety of experts explaining how this is impossible. A rocket, they claimed, could not reliably be expected to target another rocket. They derided missile defense systems as "Star Wars" fantasy and demanded that we stop pursuing destabilizing efforts to actually defend ourselves from potential missile attack.
The Patriot missile systems began proving their abilities against Scud attacks in the Gulf War. They didn't have a perfect record, but they did have an impressive run of mid-air intercepts -- so impressive that the Israelis bought Patriot batteries from us. In the last seven years, we have continued to develop these defense systems, after the Clinton administration tried to mothball it.
Now we see that we can precisely target moving objects that aren't specifically intended as tests. The missile and the satellite had a closing velocity of 22,000 miles per hour, and yet the Navy hit a bullseye on the first try. It sends a message to people like Kim Jong-Il and Ali Khameini that their ballistic missile systems have just been made obsolete. It also sends a message to the defeatists and naysayers from the last quarter-century that, like so many other times, they have been proven wrong in their defeatism.
Eventually, this could end the ballistic missile era. If effective defenses become widely available, there will not be much point in maintaining ballistic missile inventories at all. Ronald Reagan had that very vision when he first proposed SDI and tried to get the Soviets to partner with him on it.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sharia in Britain? Taxpayer-subsidized polygamy in Toronto? Yawn. Nothing to see here. True, if you'd suggested such things on Sept. 10, 2001, most Britons and Canadians would have said you were nuts. But a few years on and it doesn't seem such a big deal, and nor will the next concession, and the one after that. It's hard to deliver a wake-up call for a civilization so determined to smother the alarm clock in the soft fluffy pillow of multiculturalism and sleep in for another 10 years. The folks who call my book "alarmist" accept that the Western world is growing more Muslim (Canada's Muslim population has doubled in the last 10 years), but they deny that this population trend has any significant societal consequences. Sharia mortgages? Sure. Polygamy? Whatever. Honour killings? Well, okay, but only a few. The assumption that you can hop on the Sharia Express and just ride a couple of stops is one almighty leap of faith. More to the point, who are you relying on to "hold the line"? Influential figures like the Archbishop of Canterbury? The bureaucrats at Ontario Social Services? The Western world is not run by fellows noted for their line-holding: look at what they're conceding now and then try to figure out what they'll be conceding in five years' time.
Read the whole thing.
Please note Fidel did bring social reforms to Cuba – namely free education and universal health care, and racial integration. in addition to being criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech.
All that stuff about political prisoners, dictatorship, and a destroyed economy?
Did Castro make the trains run on time too? Judge for yourself:
Don't expect western standards on the trains, take your own toilet paper, and allow for the odd breakdown
Say, there is free education and health care in US prisons. And you can leave when your sentence is up. When will the Cuban people's sentence be up?
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Danish newspapers have demonstrated solidarity with Kurt Westergaard and Jyllands-Posten today. After the arrests of conspirators determined to assassinate the editorial cartoonist, the other newspapers in Denmark today have reprinted the cartoon that aroused the ire of Muslims in the first place. They want to make the point that no one can intimidate them into silence:
American newspapers and media outlets do not appear interested in expressing the same solidarity. CNN doesn't include the image in its report, and so far, I haven't seen any newspaper cover it yet, although they may tomorrow. Only the New York Times gave any coverage to the arrests in today's editions.
Who are they? The Virginian Pilot editors and writers, and by extension all the Drive-by-media folks who censor the news or write their opinions.
As the old joke goes …take Gene Nichol, please.
Paul Mirengoff at Powerline has some comments and links that are worth going to.
We've written many times about the needless controversies generated by William & Mary's president Gene Nichol, especially the furor that resulted from his unilateral decision to remove the Wren cross from the altar of the Wren chapel. Today comes word that the college has decided not to renew Nichol's contract and, consequently, that Nichol has resigned effective immediately.
Among several lessons that might be learned from Nichol's rocky tenure, the one of broadest applicability is this: when a religious matter has been settled, in the sense that it's not generating any real controversy, one should be extremely hesitant to upset that settlement, imperfect though it might be.
Taylor Reveley, dean of the law school, will become William & Mary's interim president. Reveley was the managing partner of my old law firm. Before that, as the firm's hiring partner, he hired me. That decision notwithstanding, Reveley is a brilliant and extremely capable man. Why William & Mary passed him over at the time it selected Nichol is something I'd like to hear the powers-that-be explain.
Nichol has been a one-person disaster as president of William & Mary in Williamsburg. First, in removing a cross from the Wren Chapel – a church on school property – he exhibited – at best – gross insensitivity toward people of faith. At worst he showed hatred for them.
Then there’s the travelling sex show that has been paid for with student funds. This he defended on the basis of “free speech,” claiming that while he personally did not like the sex show, he allowed it to continue to honor the Constitution.
And they say that the first refuge of scoundrels is patriotism.
So on the basis of protecting the delicate sensibilities of non-Christians he banishes a cross … but the sensibilities of people who are offended by sex shows on campus should get over it.
And then there is the imposition of Nichol's speech codes which curiously DON'T seem to interefere with Nichol's death grip on free specch and the constitution.
For this and various other outrages Nichol has been told that his contract would not be renewed and, in high dudgeon, he quit.
Come now the ink stained wretches of the (soon to be sold) Virginian Pilot have a front page story of 200 !!!!! 200 !!!!! students protesting Nichol’s resignation … out of a student body of over 7000. Missing the sex shows already, are we?
And then of course when the controversy was still brewing and the Board of Visitors was considering what to do about Nichol, the Pilot’s cracked staff were busy name-calling, perhaps remembering their sophomore years at W&M.
fire-breathing crowd… the anti-Nichol crowd wants a
scalp, the attacks will get grubbier..
No possibility that the people opposing Nichol do so for honorable or logical reasons. They are – according to the Pilot – obviously know-nothing yahoos who should not be listened to.
Well they were listened to and Nichol is out.
And what do we get with that perfect weather vane of Liberal thinking, Donald Luzzatto? An op-ed titled “Who owns William and Mary?”
Interesting question because the answer is that W&M is a state school. So the answer is technically the people of Virginia do.
So Don decides to re-define the word “ownership.”
You don’t own the college like the students who spend every day in the classrooms and on the lawns. Not like the faculty and staff who work there. Not like the parents of kids who attend. You don’t even own it like you did when you were young and watched the alumni during homecoming and thought you would never get that old.
This is BS on stilts. He is outraged, outraged that the Virginia General Assembly should get involved. We realize that many in academia and its bootlicking lackeys like Luzzatto just want the people who pay the bills shut up and sit down while the students and faculty do whatever they damn well please. But the REAL owners thought their representatives actually decided to make their voices heard. An amazing thing in this world; almost unheard of in academia.
A fresh wind is blowing and the old guard doesn’t like it.
Better put some ice on that Don.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
His resignation followed a decision by the Board of Visitors, W&M's governing board, not to renew his contract.
His resignation is as full of self righteous sound and fury as his tenure.
For my original comments on Nichol, click HERE.
Mark Steyn explains McCain’s challenge better than anyone else.
For a certain percentage of voters, McCain is tonally a conservative, and that trumps the fact that a lot of his policies are profoundly unconservative. He won New Hampshire because if you stuck him in plaid he'd be a passable Beltway impersonation of the crusty, cranky, ornery Granite Stater. The facts are secondary that, on campaign finance, illegal immigration, Big Pharma and global warming, the notorious "maverick's" mavericity (maverickiness? maverectomy?) always boils down to something indistinguishable from the Democrat position.
As it happens, on the Woodstock museum, McCain's absolutely right: If clapped-out boomer rock is no longer self-supporting and requires public subsidy, then capitalism is dead, and we might as well Sovietize the state. In a sense, it's the perfect reductioof geriatric hippie idealism: We've got to get back to the garden, but at taxpayer expense. A McCain presidency would offer many such moments. But, in between, he'd be "reaching across the aisle" to enact essentially Democrat legislation on climate change, illegal-immigration amnesty and almost everything else.
So, if Republicans went for McCain because he's the "national security sheriff," I think it's the sheriff part they like, rather than the national security. It's easy to see him moving down a dusty Main Street in a low crouch, hands ready to draw. Actually, now I do try to picture it, he's less like the sheriff and more like Yosemite Sam, and that doesn't usually work out as well.
Still, Republicans seem to have decided that McCain matches their mood. George W. Bush, you'll recall, was reviled by Dems and Europeans as a shoot-from-the-hip, dead-or-alive Texas swaggerer, but Republicans could never quite match the Dubya caricature with the guy who cooed all the religion-of-peace mush while strolling hand in hand with King Abdullah or announced homoerotically that he'd gazed into Putin's eyes and got a glimpse of his soul. It's hard to imagine McCain offering such effusions, yet at the same time, insofar as he has anything that could be regarded as a grounded political philosophy, it lies in the same "compassionate" direction as much of the Bush era.
Meanwhile, in this primary season, as the field has winnowed on the Republican side, the gap between GOP and Democrat "enthusiasm" has widened. John McCain is supposedly the man who'll bring "moderates" and "independents" and even "anti-Hillary Democrats" into the big tent. Look at the Super Duper Tuesday turnout figures. One reason why the tent feels big is because it's getting emptier.
I don’t want to see either Hillary or Obama win. But if, at age 72, McCain can’t learn to bend, can’t learn to appeal to Conservatives between now and the election, and appeal to them with more than rhetoric, he’s going down to defeat.
So far McCain’s message has been: “I’ve got the nomination so pipe down and get on board.” That’s too much like the punch line of the joke that starts with “If rape is inevitable…” It’s not funny and it’s not appealing.
Remember also that virtually all of the “courageous-speaking-truth-to-power” American media outlets refused to publish the pictures?
At first the paper that published the pictures, an exercise in press freedom, refused to apologize but it finally did.
Well the apology apparently did not do the trick. A group of Islamofascists were planning to kill one of the cartoonists.
Danish police said Tuesday they have arrested three people suspected of plotting to kill one of the 12 cartoonists behind the Prophet Muhammad drawings that sparked a deadly uproar in the Muslim world two years ago.
Two Tunisians and a Dane of Moroccan origin were arrested in pre-dawn raids in western Denmark, the police intelligence agency said.
according to Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the drawings on Sept. 30, 2005, the suspects were planning to kill its cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
"There were very concrete murder plans against Kurt Westergaard," said Carsten Juste, the paper's editor-in-chief.
Westergaard, 73, and his wife Gitte, 66, had been living under police protection, Jyllands-Posten reported.
"Of course I fear for my life when the police intelligence service say that some people have concrete plans to kill me. But I have turned fear into anger and resentment," Westergaard said in a statement published on Jyllands-Posten's Web site.
It shows how in-touch with their own oh-so-precious skins the American media is. The Virginian Pilot gave a mealy mouthed excuse about not wishing to offend Muslim sensibilities.
Christian sensibilities are an entirely different matter. Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians are not about to blow you up.
“I may not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it?”
I don’t think so.
Not our media.
Now, Pat Robertson: No problem.
Here's Captain Ed's take on the issue.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
at America's top schools today, white gentile males are about as underrepresented as African Americans.
As Glenn Reynolds would say:
"They told me that if George W. Bush were re-elected, certain racial, ethnic, religious, and gender groups would be grossly underrepresented on campus. And they were right!"
The headlines and opinion pieces are as inevitable as crabgrass.
Trust me, I could write the headline (and save the for-sale Pilot a lot of money):
“Vital Services to Be Cut Without Tax Increases, Women and Children Hardest Hit.”For a change of pace:
“Tax reductions ahead. Women and Minorities Hardest Hit.”These are the ONLY two expressions the Pilot ever has on the issue of taxes.
Taxpayers, to the Pilot staff are a nameless, faceless, herd of sheep that only exist to be sheared. They have no lives of their own, no dreams that are not delivered by government, and no money worries that can be made worse by tax increase after tax increase. They are a bottomless pool of money; an endless source of government revenue for all the vital things that government MUST DO. And whatever the government does, it must do more, never less. The sheep may tuck in their belts because the government cannot do with less, EVER.
For a fine example of Pilot thinking, re-read "A Tale of Two Cities" where you will find the Pilot's editorial staff's ancestors in the persons of French aristocrats who spurn the peasantry whose only function is to pay taxes to their overlords ... and die of starvation.
What brings these thoughts on?
I should say what brings these thoughts on today?
Well, gentle readers; take a peek at today’s Pilot editorial on the evils of tax relief for home owners.
House Speaker Bill Howell admitted to Chamber of Commerce leaders last month that a plan to discount property taxes would penalize Virginia’s businesses and harm its communities.
In the same breath, however, Howell said he would do nothing to stop a bad idea from becoming law. His reasoning: “My guys are up for election next year.”
State legislators this winter are giving constitutional and statutory permission for the most sweeping changes in a half-century to the way residential property is assessed and taxed.
Real estate taxes are the largest source of revenues for local governments and the largest source of complaints from taxpayers. As the housing boom widened the gap between the value of a home and the income to pay the property taxes, the complaints became a cause across the commonwealth.
Now it is being propelled to passage by a popular myth and bad math. Theoretically, it would allow local governments to grant every homeowner a real estate tax discount of 20 percent. But as a practical matter, the expectations for tax breaks would greatly exceed the ability of government to deliver them, and any savings would at best be short-lived.
Unfortunately, many lawmakers have only a shallow grasp of such details, of the corrosive effect on municipal services, or the unintended consequences of shifting the tax burden from the wealthiest homeowners to the poorest.
My real estate taxes have risen 50% in the last 5 years, and many have had their taxes raised much more. For those on a fixed income, increases of this magnitude are serious; so serious that people have been forced to move from their homes because they could no longer afford to pay their property taxes. It is a serious matter when your property tax bill exceeds your grocery or you utility bill.
Republicans proposed a fixed annual cap on assessment increases, an idea that has forced dramatic cuts in services and caused havoc in other states. Many local officials rallied around Kaine’s homestead proposal, hoping it would inoculate them from demands for the more pernicious caps.
Like the “Wild West Shootouts” that the Pilot predicted when the right to carry concealed weapons passed, the “dramatic cuts in services and havoc” have not happened in other states. I defy the Pilot’s editorial writers to refer me to just one state where havoc now rules due to caps on property taxes.
It’s the Pilot’s constitutional right to lie, it’s our right to call them on it.
If legislators endorse the tax plan, voters will approve it overwhelmingly in a November referendum.
Imagine that. The legislature passes something that and the voters approve! Of course the Pilot is not always opposed to the will of the people. In fact, just the other day it castigated Terry Suit for opposing a smoking ban in restaurants because polls show there is broad backing for restaurant smoking bans in Hampton Roads. Terry Suit should vote a smoking ban because polls show it is popular. The Virginia legislature should not pass a tax cap despite its popularity.
I was going to say that consistency is not something that the Pilot’s cracked staff is known for, but I would be wrong. They are consistently for higher taxes. That is as sure as death ... and taxes.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
McCain has the Republican nomination and this does not sit well with many conservatives. Is this dissatisfaction irrational? Not really. There are a number of issues that Senator McCain supports that conservatives and Republicans in general do not support.
Rush Limbaugh refers to them … by referring to an AP article:
1. Campaign finance reform. ...
2. Immigration. ...
3. Tax cuts. ...
4. Gay marriage. ...
5. Stem cell research. ...
6. Global warming. ...
7. Gang of 14.
Let’s not even go into the Senator’s personality, which has included seeming to take pleasure in sticking it to Republicans when he sides with democrats like Kennedy and Feingold. There is a self-righteous streak a mile wide in the Senator which does not wear well. But leaving personality issues aside, we can say with a high degree of assurance the Senator McCain is not beloved of Conservatives.
It is conventional wisdom that neither the Republican nor the Democrat nominee can win without getting his base out. Perhaps McCain believes that enough independents and moderate Democrats will be so disenchanted with the Clintons that they will vote for him, but that is a gamble that no oddsmaker would want to give even money on.
So how is the McCain bandwagon going about wooing the unhappy Conservative camp?
Ed Morressey of Captains Quarters calls us “Bitter Enders.” I love it when you sweet talk me that way Ed.
Michelle Malkin tells us to “Grow Up Righties.” It’s actually a pretty good article, too bad the headline does not want to make you read any farther.
McCain tell us to “calm down.”
I’m waiting for the suggestion to put some ice on it.
Over the last three years, Exxon Mobil has paid an average of $27 billion annually in taxes. That's $27,000,000,000 per year, a number so large it's hard to comprehend. Here's one way to put Exxon's taxes into perspective.
According to IRS data for 2004, the most recent year available:
Total number of tax returns: 130 million
Number of Tax Returns for the Bottom 50%: 65 million
Adjusted Gross Income for the Bottom 50%: $922 billion
Total Income Tax Paid by the Bottom 50%: $27.4 billion
Conclusion: In other words, just one corporation (Exxon Mobil) pays as much in taxes ($27 billion) annually as the entire bottom 50% of individual taxpayers paid in 2004 (most recent year available), which is 65,000,000 people! Further, the tax rate for the bottom 50% was only 3% of adjusted gross income ($27.4 billion / $922 billion) in 2004, and the tax rate for Exxon was 41% in 2006 ($67.4 billion in taxable income, $27.9 billion in taxes).
And for a comparison of Exxon's profits vs. it's taxes, see here.
Thanks to Dr. Mark J. Perry, Professor of Economics and Finance in the School of Management at the University of Michigan.
Hat tip to the Gartman Letter.
Friday, February 08, 2008
From the beginning of the War on Terror, the mainstream media has been working to bring home the bad news on the war, virtually to the exclusion of any good news., Even if they've had to fabricate it on occasion.
For the better part of five years, we've listened to the steady drumbeat of bad news on Iraq. Today, with the progress of the surge, there's some truly good news to report and yet there's a virtual blackout on it. In our upside-down culture, it seems that failure has a hundred fathers but success is an orphan, and we're paying an enormous price. Already the overwhelmingly negative articles about the military and the war have had a profoundly depressing effect on our society's ability to raise an army. The more difficult it becomes to raise an army, the more difficult it will be to protect ourselves and the less successful our military can be. It's a kind of negative feedback loop created by the media and the popular culture.
On the front page of the January 26th Wall Street Journal appeared: "The Waiting -- Just Four U.S. Soldiers are Missing in Iraq. For Their Parents, it's a Lonely Vigil." This is a depressing and heart-rending story about the lives of those families whose solider sons are missing in Iraq. It's a subject especially disturbing to military families.
In a time of war, this could be a good story to run if it were written to, let's say, provide a little balance to what otherwise might be an overwhelming supply of gung-ho-support-the-troops kind of stories. You know, a little sobering counterpoint to a plethora of overly flattering articles about the troops and the war. But do you think that's what's going on here? Of course not. There is no balance because there are virtually no favorable stories being written about the troops. From the MSM to Hollywood the media have an overwhelmingly negative view of our troops and they make that clear to us every day as they portray them as stupid, pathetic, often victims, often murderers, or against the war. And boy do they ever love stories about the infinitesimally small number who have turned against the war.
The contempt that I have for the MSM knows few bounds.
People were reduced to burning the wooden legs of their dining room tables in wood stoves before the power came back on.
But as the program neared its conclusion, National Geographic made the case that global warming would be the trigger for the next ice age! You see, ocean current would be disturbed by melting ice which would lead to global cooling and bring in a thousand year ice age. It was all neatly scientific with diagrams of ocean currents and pictures of the British Houses of Parliament shrouded in ice with snowmobiles in the foreground. It was all sweetly scientific until your drew back and realized the ridiculousness of it all.
And Tigerhawk says:
Whatever your personal weather, around the planet January 2008 was the second coldest in 15 years. The linked post, complete with graphs and everything, does not suggest that this says anything in particular about the climate or the long-term direction of local temperatures.
To me, the most interesting thing about this story is the complete absence of discussion in the mainstream media, which manages to induce a scientist or politician to blame anthropogenic global warming for any bit of idiosyncratic weather. See, if you can stand it, the latest comedy gold from John Kerry.
If you are going to live by idiosyncratic weather, you should die by it. The cherry-picking of specific weather events to bolster the case for greenhouse gas regulation actually makes the advocates and their propagandists in the media look like fools. Among smart people, at least, there would be less skepticism about climate change if the media and activists were not so disingenuous and opportunistic in their publicity of it. But maybe they are not trying to persuade smart people.