Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The John Doe Amendment

For those of you who don't know, Rep. Peter King was pushing for an amendment that would have provided protection from being sued to people who make accusations against other flyers. This arises from the flying Imams who were thrown of a plane for acting weird (according to the airline) or for being visibly Muslim (according to the Imams). The Imams are suing.

This amendment would make such lawsuits impossible. And Debra J. Saunders has written an article in support of it.
King wrote the immunity amendment to prevent the chilling effect that a lawsuit might have on passengers who see suspicious behavior, but fear losing their homes -- or being stuck with huge legal bills -- if they report it. After all, citizen involvement could be key in preventing another 9-11 attack.
I don't know though. False accusations could be a problem as well. "Hey that guys brown skinned. I don't want him on my plane, what if he tries to take over?"

But of course false accusations would only be a problem for the accused; and this bill exists to protect the accusers. The accused are on their own.

Let's Twist Again (Like We Did Last Summer)

I like this song title. There's something perfect about the straightforward way they promise more of what they sold you last year.

In a similar vein, here's an article by John Stemburger entitled "The Upcoming Presidential Election Should Be All About The Supreme Court for Social Conservatives." You ever heard that one before?

Or how about this? "Most of all of the great culture war issues of our day can be directly traced to bad decisions by the United States Supreme Court. "

Yep, Social Conservatives. Ignore the war. Ignore the incompetence. Ignore the belligerent foreign policy. Just remember how much you hate abortion and hate Gays. And vote Conservative.

Social Conservative seems like another term for idiot.

"What are you, some sort of difference-between-a-cat-and-a-sasquatch-knowing nancy boy?"

I am a big fan of Paul O'Brien's The X-Axis, even though I don't follow the X-Comics as closely as I once did. But his deconstruction of a current Wolverine storyline is funny and well worth reading even without being up on what's going on. Because it's funny. And well worth reading.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Notes from the Overground

* The Simpsons Movie gets 4 and a half stars out of 5 - it's nearly perfect. It tells a story that legitimately uses up the big screen and the longer time, and yet remains true to the characters and the "world" of Springfield.

* The Chemical Brothers new album "We are the Night" gets 4.0 out of 5 stars. It's very good. What is interesting is that it is the tracks without guest stars, like Saturate and Das Spiegal, that are really holding my interest. But it's solid all the way through.

* Acoustic Africa, a collection from Putumayo is very very good - 4.5 out of 5 stars. Unfortunately the opening songs are not the strongest - it really kicks in about track 5, and then there's a string of brilliant songs.

That is all.

Spage Age Wasabi

Here's a helpful hint for those of my readers (and you know who you are) who use both conditioner and shampoo on a regular basis. Make them different colors. I currently have coconut shampoo and coconut conditioner, and while i love coconut (coconut cream pies, coconut crusted shrimp, coconut jelly bellies, and hucking coconuts at cars), I keep conditioning my hair and then shampooing it. It's very frustrating. If only I had gone for strawberry shampoo this might all have been avoided.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Clinton Vs. Obama; Foreign Policy

There was a dust-up this week between the Clinton and Obama camps. Obama suggested that he would be willing to meet with Castro and other world leaders who are not our buddies. Clinton reacted to this by calling Obama irresponsible and naive. Obama responded to this by suggesting that Clinton's vote on the Iraqi War Resolution had been more irresponsible and naive.

Patrick Buchannan took this dustup as a good starting point for an article today; one which makes an uncomfortable amount of sense. He argues that Obama might be naive, but he might have a point as well.
All of these rulers wish to be seen as defying the United States, but not one of them -- not North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela or Iran -- can seriously be seeking a major war with the United States that would bring wreckage and ruin to any or all of them.

What we have in common with them is that neither of us wants a hot war. As for a cold war, does any one of these nations represent a long-term strategic or ideological threat to a United States of 300 million, with 30 percent of the world's economy, and the best air force, navy and army on earth, and a nuclear arsenal of thousands of weapons?

If Bush can bring Libya's Muammar Khadafi, who was responsible for Pan Am 103, the Lockerbie massacre of American school kids, in from the cold, why cannot we talk with Hamas and Hezbollah and Assad and Ahmadinejad?

What has any of them done to us compared to what Khadafi did?
Makes sense to me; seems like avoiding and defusing conflict might be a more successful long term strategy than encouraging and seeking conflict.

Joe Conason has also written on this conflict in an article, noting forcefully that the two aren't as far apart as they would like to appear to be. He also praises Obama's position.
Obama deserves great credit for his courageous dismissal of the conventional stupidities of Washington's conservative establishment and the Beltway media. When he said that he would be willing to meet the leaders of Cuba and several other so-called rogue nations, without preconditions, the arbiters of respectable opinion swooned and sputtered. But his urge to break with bad old habits certainly makes sense. And it is refreshing that he doesn't much care when all the brilliant people who have created or abetted our present disaster attack him.

Obama's clear-cut debate answer showed a healthy skepticism of policies that are no longer in our interest if they ever were.
He also notes that the new President will need to be both reasoned and measured (like Clinton) and innovative and willing to change (like Obama).

For my part, I'm kind of an Edward's man, but Obama is a close second. And closer after this week.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

An Uplifting Story

I'm sorry - I was up late last night and am a bit spaced out. Normally that wouldn't stop me, but today I am having a hard time getting the old angriness. So here's something positive instead. E. J. Dionne has written an article on Ohio and how what was once a Republican Stronghold is now quite a bit more divided. Very heartwarming.
My interview with Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland was delayed for a reason that explains why this Democrat is so popular in a state that was once considered a Republican bastion.

In the course of his travels on Saturday, Strickland discovered that a farm in a heavily Republican area near Cincinnati was celebrating its 200th anniversary as a family-run operation. The governor decided that he had to drop by and chat with some folks who probably didn't vote for him. Strickland is one Democrat who tries to leave no Republican behind.

At a moment of festering polarization in national politics, Strickland is Mr. Consensus. He doesn't hide his progressive views -- he calls himself "pro-choice, pro-labor and pro-universal health care" -- and yet just about everyone thinks of this ordained Methodist minister as a moderate because he spends a lot of time in places where Democrats don't dare venture, offering soothing sentiments you're unlikely to run into on talk radio or the Internet.
Good article.

Ann Coulter Pulls Back the Fox News Curtain

Ann Coulter's latest article is on the Democratic CNN/YouTube debate, and it's not very good. Mostly it's about how Barack Obama claims to have had a hard time getting a cab in New York City, and that's probably a lie (because Guiliani fixed that problem, apparently. But it's the first paragraph of the article that I find most revealing.
Fox News ought to buy a copy of Monday's Democrat debate on CNN to play over and over during the general election campaign. For now, the Democratic candidates need to appeal only to their nut-base. So on Monday night, the candidates casually spouted liberal conspiracy theories that would frighten normal Americans, but are guaranteed to warm the hearts of losers blogging from their mother's basements.
For the record, I am not blogging from my mother's basement, which would be quite a feat in more ways than one.

For another, doesn't this make it clear, for those with any doubts, whose side Fox News is on?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tony Blankley on the Value of Sacrifice

Tony Blankley opens his latest article with an interesting comparison.
Just as our troops are fighting the terrorists in Iraq so we don't have to face them here at home, I watched the Democratic Party presidential debate on Monday so you wouldn't need to let those egregious people into your own living rooms. (Although, obviously, our troops in Iraq face deadly duty, while I only face deadly dull duty.)
Poor Tony Blankley, facing danger just like our troops, while sitting down watching TV. I don't think any of us can comprehend the sort of torture it must be for Blankley facing this sort of challenge.

Frankly I think we out to do a swap, and spare Blankely this suffering. Let's find some soldier in Iraq brave enough to take on sitting down and watching a debate. He can come back here and do Blankley's job, and Blankley can go over to Iraq, where presumably it's safer.

In case you are curious about Blankley's article; he spends considerable time on Edward's hair, which should tell you all you need to know.

Burden of Proof

Young Ben Shapiro's latest article is on the Burden of Proof; who's responsibile in an argument for proving beyond a reasonable doubt their case. Specifically he is talking about Gay marriage.
Proponents of same-sex marriage would be hard-pressed to show just why same-sex marriages should be allowed. If they had the burden of proof, they would surely fail. But by shifting the burden of proof to proponents of traditional moral values, same-sex advocates like Longcrier avoid having to make an affirmative case for tearing away tradition.
It should go without saying that the reverse is doubly true; traditionalist conservatives are trying to deny a right to a class of citizens, and their key bit of evidence is that this is the way, traditionally, it has been done.

Of course traditionally Blacks couldn't vote or own property. Neither could women.

Again, I think it should go without saying, that in a free society the burden of proof for the denial of rights is on those who seek to deny said rights. But perhaps young Ben isn't keen on living in a free society.

Conservatives Rejoice

Michael Medved's latest article is about a speech written by Kennedy speech writer Ted Sorenson, in which he suggested that Government has a role to play in making America better. The speech is apparently offered to whoever gets the nomination.
Conservatives should rejoice at the prospect of fighting out an election campaign on precisely this question: is government indeed the “best means of creating” a better America—or is it an intrusive, annoying, arbitrary, largely destructive force that consumes too much of out time, energy and money.
Medved is right; that's a lot better question that debating whether America is better off than it was 4 years ago, say. Or whether or not the Bush foreign policy, which all of the serious Republican Candidates promise to continue, is a success or failure.

But I don't think this upcoming election is going to turn on the views of the candidates on the role of Government.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Look our plans are bad but at least we have them

Such is the message of Bill Murchinson's latest article, in which he takes Democrats to task for criticizing President Bush (which is, apparently, bad). He lists caricatures of Democratic Positions (including such things as "rich people are too rich" and "taxes should rise") and asks if Democratic really believe those things and will fight for them once they get into power.

This is an easy way to paint your political enemies I admit; rather than grapple with their actual positions, just make up some. Easier all around.

And having made up positions for Democrats, explained why they don't really support the positions he's made up for them, Murchinson explains why they feel compelled to pretend to the positions he's made up for them.
So what eats at these people, these Democrats? One more reasonable guess and I'll quit: Opportunism eats at them, gnaws their ankles, consumes their innards. The Democrats frankly don't care what they say so long as whatever it is appears to inflame the voters, stir discontent with the present Republican regime; so long as it seems to lift the Democratic party a little nearer to the goal of power.

Yes, power, wonderful power! Power to stick it to those who took power from you; to pay them back good; to rub their noses in powerlessness and humiliation. I'd say that's the motive power of the Democrats right now: payback, vengeance, revenge.
Unlike Republicans who do not desire power, I assume. Or who aren't motivated by a desire to slash their enemies (See, for example, that delicate and loving soul, Ann Coulter).

Monday, July 23, 2007

Osama Bin Ladin favors Liberal Christianity

This is according to Frank Pastore's latest article.
The emergent church is an ally in the war against radical Islam–al Qaeda’s ally. Not in the sense they are supplying bullets and bombs to Osama, of course, but in the sense they are weakening our conviction to fight.

If those in the emergent “we’re-a-missional-not-an-institutional” church had their way, American church buildings would be just like European church buildings – empty. And the church, the people themselves, would be so intellectually, morally, emotionally, and spiritually lost, confused and uncertain, that they would be incapable of doing hardly anything more than inviting their Muslim oppressors in for a cappuccino and a good conversation about the sociology of knowledge, the absurdity of propositional truth, and the misplaced certitude of the Muslim metanarrative. All the while, no doubt, nodding in agreement that America probably deserved to die and mumbling something about carbon footprints.

The term “emergent church” refers to a loose association of people who share common values and attitudes toward, well, everything. It’s Christianity for postmoderns who don’t like truth, knowledge, science, authority, doctrine, institutions, or religion.
I'm not sure what to say about this one, except it does seem like Conservatives really want to hold on to Religious Conservatives.

A real Conversation about Faith and Politics

Involves Democrats and Liberals admitting that they are basically bad Christians, apparently. This is the theme of Paul Edwards latest article.
The facts are that Senator Clinton, at every opportunity, has voted in lock-step with the liberal Democratic Party on abortion.

. . . If indeed Senator Clinton, as a devout Methodist, is morally opposed to abortion the courage of her convictions should prompt her to stand against the immorality of the Democratic Party platform on the issue of choice. But the Senator’s morality goes only so far. Her faith tells her that abortion is morally wrong. But her faith doesn’t seem to inform her morals on the issue of the behavior that produces the need for abortion in the first place. Which brings us full circle to my original point: Democrats read the Bible with the lens magnifying the social justice texts while seemingly blinded to the texts that call for upholding the sanctity of human life.

For there to be a real conversation on the faith of politicians and its influence on their candidacies there must first be agreement on the need to read and apply the whole Bible, not just the parts that fit our particular political ideology. It’s a lesson candidates from both parties need to master.
That last line, incidentally, is total CYA BS. He's not interested in looking at Republicans who constantly favor the oppressors over the oppressed, for example. He's only interested in making hay over the abortion issue.

What's doubly frustrating is that he asks stupid questions that Hillary Clinton has answered dozens of times before; it's not hard. Hillary Clinton opposes abortion, but doesn't feel it's the Governments role to decide whether or not individuals can choose to have an abortion. While I get that such an answer is not satisfactory to many Conservative Christians; you could at least deal with what she actually said, rather than pretending she's never addressed the conflict.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Low Posting

Sorry - haven't got much to say today - burnt out.

David Limbaugh vs. Glenn Greenwald vs. David Brooks. Also appearing, the Daily Howler and Christ Matthews

Talk about a battle of the titans! Nah - there's only one titan in this particular fight, and it isn't the brother of Rush Limbaugh. David Brooks, in the New York Times, wrote about a visit to the President, in which he said this (unfortunately from behind the firewall so I can't link to it).
But Bush is not blind to the realities in Iraq. After all, he lives through the events we're not supposed to report on: the trips to Walter Reed, the hours and hours spent weeping with or being rebuffed by the families of the dead.

Rather, his self-confidence survives because it flows from two sources. The first is his unconquerable faith in the rightness of his Big Idea. Bush is convinced that history is moving in the direction of democracy, or as he said Friday: ''It's more of a theological perspective. I do believe there is an Almighty, and I believe a gift of that Almighty to all is freedom. And I will tell you that is a principle that no one can convince me that doesn't exist.''
Glenn Greenwald picked up on that language in what is described as a fawning tribute to our "great leader" and wrote this.
This has been the great unexamined issue of the Bush presidency -- the extent to which Bush's unwavering commitment to Middle East militarism is, as Bush himself has made clear, rooted in theological and religious convictions, not in pragmatic or geopolitical concerns.

. . . At least in large part, Bush sees the "battles" he is waging in epic theological and religious terms, and as a result, political constraints and pragmatic limits are irrelevant to his actions. It is such an uncomfortable reality -- that religious fervor drives our wars and other foreign policy -- that it has been ignored almost completely over the last five years, even though ample evidence exists proving that it is true, beginning with his own continuous statements.
Daily Howler noted that this striking passage was not commented on in the letters the Time posted in response to the article, and suggested a reason why.
Our speculation: The Times did get letters about Bush’s statement; they got a lot of letters about it. But uh-oh! At the Times, it isn’t polite to discuss this pol’s religion—to let conservatives even imagine that you’re painting Bush as a “religious nut.” And so, the editors chose to ignore this striking part of Brooks’ column. Seven letters discuss Brooks’ piece—and its most startling passage is AWOL.

Is that what happened? We don’t know. But Greenwald surely wasn’t alone in his reaction to Brooks’ column. In truth, David Brooks provided a service when he quoted the commander in chief making this religious statement. But darlings! It simply isn’t done! That is where the discussion will end!
Chris Matthews was asked about this statement on the Tonight Show, and said, "Well, if he was going to play Joan of Arc, we wouldn't have elected him. Getting whispers from heaven is scary business. The guys we're fighting say that, too."" To which David Limbaugh had a response.
While I can't prove a negative, I am confident Bush never said that God is on our side in this war -- though it wouldn't bother me if he had -- or that God directed him to attack Iraq. He has said he continually prays for divine guidance and reads the Bible every day. That is wise, commendable and utterly no different from what Abraham Lincoln and many, probably most presidents in our history did.

This is not a distinction without a difference. Matthews is unequivocally implying that Bush has claimed to get his marching orders directly from God and that that is scary -- as if he's in some kind of spiritual trance. It simply isn't true, and Matthews is distorting the truth in suggesting it is.
Thank you for playing Mr. Limbaugh. But from what I hear, from David Brooks, that Bush, speaking from a theological perspective believes that history is moving in his way. That doesn't really sound all that different from saying that God is on his side.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


In his latest article, Cal Thomas takes a look at the Senate Shut down and finds that the Democrats are ridiculous. But then that's pretty predictable. He also urges Congress not to pull the plug on this war too early; after all we have to give President Bush's new strategy a chance to succeed.
Since the American Revolution, there have always been naysayers, doubters, fellow travelers and willing or duped enablers of America's enemies. There have been politicians, academics, clergy and journalists who claimed that U.S. foreign policy, whether promoted by a Democratic or Republican president, was the wrong policy and a different one should be tried.

. . . There will be plenty of time for debate in September when the report on the effectiveness of the surge comes from Gen. David Petraeus. Do Democrats fear it will be a positive report and so they are doing their best to undermine it now? Has our politics become so cynical that some would prefer defeat for political advantage than victory because it might aid the "other side," meaning Republicans?
It is to laugh. Congress feels a need to reign in the Bush war machine, and they feel that need because that seems to be what the American People want. President Bush has made it clear that he will oppose any move towards ending the war; so Reid put on a little show, reminding the American people who wants the violence in Iraq to continue and who wants it to end. It was theater; the ending was known before the event started. But it was a positive theatre in that it reminded the American people this congress (the Democratic part, anyway), has heard their complaints.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Interesting Question

Douglas McKinnon would like television news to stop showing video of IED's taking out American Troops. Or such is the argument in his latest article.
Each and every aired roadside bombing was planned, executed, and filmed by Al Qaeda or other terrorists operating in that theater. Each and every one. Think about that for a moment. American network executives are eagerly showing “snuff” films of American soldiers so they can go after Bush, beat their competition, or both. In the most heinous way possible, our very networks have willingly entered into a relationship with those who mean to exterminate us all. Why?

Because of ideology and money.

If you speak with these executives and ask them to defend the indefensible, they will say, “Hey, we didn’t get this tape from Al Qaeda. We got it from the Al Jazeera network.” Okay, and who did Al Jazeera get it from?
I don't know if that is accurate or not - certainly the use of the phrase "each and every one" seems a bit of a stretch. But the idea that none of them are coming from the terrorists themselves is likewise a bit of a stretch. I certainly don't like the implication taht Al Jazeera is the same as Al Qaeda, but that's pretty typical on the right wing.

One could argue that these bombings are news no matter who films them, I suppose. I'm not sure how comfortable I am with that.

Above the Fray

Jonah Goldberg's latest article is on Partisan bickering and he tries to get above the fray, suggesting that both Republicans and Democrats are making accusations about Presidents that are kind of absurd.
At a candidate forum for trial lawyers in Chicago on Sunday, Hillary Clinton proclaimed that the Bush administration is "the most radical presidency we have ever had."

This is, quite simply, absurd. But such boob-bait for the Bush bashers is common today in Democratic circles, just as similar right-wing rhetoric about Bill Clinton was par for the course a decade ago.
Of course I don't recall President Clinton eliminating Habeus Corpus or torturing suspects or wiretapping American Citizens.

As a whole though the article is about the idea of the imperial presidency; Goldberg makes the case that both parties are in favor of a strong presidency when they hold the White House. That's not far from the truth, as near as I can tell.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Blowing Up My Cranium

I can't be in too bad a mood because I'm listening to the Chemical Brother's new album. For those of you who don't know, The Chemical Brothers are awesome. For those of you who disagree with this assessment, well, you are wrong!

But even with the Chemical Brothers thumping through my skull stuff, Burt Prelutsky's latest article has me a little upset.
These days, those who seem to come equipped with Teflon are the world’s Islamics. What’s so mystifying about this is that they share none of Reagan’s finer qualities. Theirs is a religion which calls for the domination of all others, and yet the majority of Christians, Jews, atheists and agnostics, continue treating them with the utmost respect and sensitivity. Frankly, I don’t think it’s even appreciated. Instead, I believe it’s perceived as fear and cowardice.

. . . The fact remains that Muslims hate not only the West, but the five billion non-Muslims on the face of the earth. As for their liberal defenders in this country, the sad truth is that they aren’t really pro-Islam as much as they’re anti-America.
For those of you who don't know, Burt Prelutsky is a humorist. He's also, apparently, a bigot. It must be very hard to fit those two occupations into one lifestyle, but I've noticed he skimps on the humor pretty regularly.

President Bush's Foreign Policy to Continue

Or at least, Bill Bennett and Seth Leibson would like Republican candidates for President to promise that, if elected, they will continue the same policies as President Bush. They state as much in their latest article.
. . . on one issue, the candidates should not run from the president, in fact they should run toward him and close any distance or doubt between them: the battle of our lifetime, the global war against Islamic terrorism and its battleground Iraq.
So there you have it, the Republican party really is the party that's willing to throw troops in the Iraq meatgrinder from now until the end of time.

Hannity and Dionne

Caught a bit of the Hannity radio show last night while driving home from work and getting stuck in traffic. He got a call from a lady who noted that all Christians have sinned and therefore we should forgive Vitter, because he's been a good representative. Kind of all over the place there.

Oddly enough, Hannity quoted a recent article by E.J.Dionne on why this isn't a viable response.
My defense of Vitter is qualified because I believe that married guys have a moral obligation not to seek the pleasures of "escort services."

Nor do I like hypocrisy. During the battle over the impeachment of Bill Clinton, Vitter wrote in the New Orleans Times-Picayune that if no "meaningful action" were taken against the president, "his leadership will only further drain any sense of values left to our political culture." Vitter, then a state representative, suggested that Clinton was "morally unfit to govern."
Of course it was fascinating to hear this woman, who frankly sounded pretty nasty, explain why this extension of Christian forgiveness was not applicable in the Clinton case. Naturally enough they don't count as Christians and so don't get treated as Christians.

And that in a nutshell is exactly how much the American Conservative Christian has stripped herself of any decorum or dignity.

Hannity, to his credit, wasn't having any.

The E.J. Dionne piece goes on to say that for Dionne's part he would like to see our nation and particularly our media culture move past needing to report on every stupid sex scandal that comes along. Unfortunately, I don't think that's very likely.

It takes a lot of Courage

I come before you with a new proposal that I am certain will save this planet and feed the hungry; we need to start eating more rocks. That is my proposal. Upon reflection, we humans eat very few rocks; and yet we are surrounded by them. If we would only eat rocks, think of the savings in effort and in labor; rocks are very easy to grow.

Now I hope you all appreciate the courage I'm displaying by expressing this opinion. It would be easy to argue that we need to improve our diet by eating more vegetables; most nutritionists already think that. It takes no courage to say "Hey let's eat more vegetables and less meat and sweets." Frankly anybody who says that is probably a coward. Rather it takes real moral courage to suggest eating Rocks. And I am full of it. Moral courage that is.

Dennis Prager, in his latest article, is looking for that kind of moral courage; the kind that lets you ignore the opinions of the American people and reality itself, and finding precious little in the United States Government.
The sad truth is that moral courage is rare -- whether among private citizens or among political leaders. Even opponents of the war have to admit that, given the polls, it takes no courage for a politician to call for American withdrawal from Iraq.
Unlike my tongue in cheek rock proposal, however, Prager apparently believes that Victory in Iraq is still possible and even likely if we just hang around long enough. He also believes history will be harsh towards those who want to withdraw from Iraq. Apparently the wisdom of eating rock . . . I mean occupying Iraq will be clear to future generations.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Republicans own the Iraq War

Rush is fond of saying that Democrats own Defeat, by which he means that since Democrats have questioned the wisdom of staying in Iraq, if we fail in Iraq America will not blame the people who created, guided, and managed the Iraq war. Rather it will be those who noted that it didn't seem to be going well. Kind of weird, but he might be right. The American people are funny that way.

On the other hand, the Republicans are clearly the party that favors continuing the Iraq war, and despite some people's opinions, the Republican Party Base (aka Republican Primary Voters, requires them to support it. Or such is the theme of a recent post by Glenn Greenwald over at Salon.
It is not support for the Iraq war which dooms a GOP presidential candidacy, but the opposite: any real questioning of the wisdom of the war or any agitating for withdrawal or opposition to Bush's commitment would immediately and single-handedly destroy the viability of a GOP candidacy.
We need to underline this; if you feel like President Bush's policies in Iraq haven't been ideal, than you need to ask yourself if you want to put a Republican in the White House who has promised, more or less, to continue them.

General David Petraeus and President Bush

Think Progress notes that President Bush has been even more complementary of General Petraeus than I had thought. They also come to the same conclusion I have as to why he's so popular; President Bush wants someone out front to hang failure on.

Lieing about Sex

For those of you not in the know, Sen. David Vitter, legitimate champion of "family values," has confessed that he frequented a New Orleans Brothel. He hid this from the American people and his own wife, apparently, for quite a while, but recent events have forced him to come clean.

Just keep that in mind as I direct you to the latest article from Kevin McCullough, entitled "Why Liberals lie about Sex."

As it turns out this article is about Sex Education; but I get the impression McCullough must write his articles long in advance or he might have named this one a little better.

It starts out with this promising paragraph.
Liberals want your child to have sex. They want this to occur in spite of your religious, health, or parental objections. They are willing to substitute false thinking for solid fact on the consequences of what will happen. And they do so while simultaneously insulting you and your child's ability to comprehend, discern, and choose behaviors that make the most sense.
That's pretty scary. I guess it'd be even scarier if I had a child to have sex.

The whole article is crowing about how the number of kids claiming abstinence has gone up a bit since Clinton Left office (it's up to 53% apparently. Using the Kevin McCullough Method of Analysis (AKA Wishful Thinking), this means that American kids are rejecting the liberals message of "Hey kids, have sex and be stupid." Hooray for American Kids.

You don't need to make sense when you are Traditional

Doug Giles latest article is about how much traditional Americans need to fight against the secularists, by which, as near as I can tell, he means the inhabitants of America's insane asylums.
Of the many mental things the secularist suffers from, two primary pains motivate them to work against the universe: 1) a repulsion towards God and 2) a massive American History memory loss.

Being saddled with these sicknesses, instead of seeking healing or having an exorcism or joining MA (Misguided Anonymous) or just moving to Holland where they’ll be nice and comfy, they have chosen rather to create a new United States of Sassy Secularists in which the traditionalist is kicked to the curb and their novel material girls get to govern.
I'm a secularist, and I suffer from neither a repulsion towards God nor a massive American History memory loss. Instead I am struggling with a repulsion towards Giles.

He encourages his fellow traditionalists in the Conservative movement to resist the evil secularists, drawing, parable like, on an experience or image they can all understand.
The traditionalist who’s worth his salt will not put on ButtSmacker lip balm and kiss the chunky backside of the secularists when they jam it in his face for an acquiescing smooch. No sir. No way. Not now. Not ever.
ButtSmacker Lip Balm? I must have missed that one, last time I was buying lip balm.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Stop Picking on the President

Such is the theme of Mike Gallagher's latest article, and his target audience is his fellow Republicans. The main reason to leave the President alone? It makes people like me happy when I see Republicans attacking President Bush.
Watching a steady stream of Democrats like Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, and Chuck Schumer each take their turn delightedly pummeling President Bush over the war in Iraq today, I couldn’t help but think of fellow conservatives who are starting to give aid and comfort to these Democrat Party loyal oppositionists.
"Aid and comfort" is a key phrase incidentally; loyal Republicans recognize those words as part of "giving aid and comfort to the enemy" - a definition of treason. For years Republicans of a certain stripe have been keen on punishing those who give "aid and comfort to the enemy" by criticizing President Bush and the war on terror.

As I've noted in the past, treason is a capital crime.

He basically urges his fellow Republicans to remember that in another year and a half they get a new President anyway; why not hold their fire till then. What he fails to acknowledge is that there is a possible political advantage to backing away from President Bush; America is pretty tired of him. Promising four more years of Bush-like insanity may not be a winning salespitch in 2008.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Further Thoughts on Bush and Iraq

Cal Thomas echoes President Bush's desire that we give Gen. Petraeus a chance to turn the war in Iraq around, in his latest article. He also repeats Bush's contention that now that we are in Iraq we have to win.
. . . the political season has begun and between Democratic politicians who are conducting their own insurgency against a weakened president - a president they have helped weaken by their non-support of the war effort - and a few Republican politicians whose only interest seems to be not the establishment of a stable Iraq, but the preservation of their jobs - reasonableness has become a casualty of this struggle.
One minor correction - the Political Season is pretty well constant.

Thomas urges the President to open a surge of rhetoric against his political enemies, to show the American people the consequences of failure in Iraq. Perhaps President Bush should have considered the consequences of failure a bit more before invading.

For a contrasting view, let's check out Matt Towery's latest article about the effect of President Bush's intransigence in Iraq on the Republican Party.
This White House simply will not admit that their plan for stabilizing Iraq has failed. Tap-dancing around the inevitable for another year likely will accomplish nothing more than politically weakening or destroying the very people who have been the most supportive of our military, and of the fight against terrorism.

But don't take my word for it. Ask the stream of strategists and veteran staff who are bailing out of Sen. John McCain's foundering campaign.

I maintain now what I always have: First, that George W. Bush is a decent, honorable human being. Second, that he has been catastrophically undermined and misled by various advisers and staff, to say nothing of Dick Cheney. Their collective attitude has been "the public be damned." Well, now the public "damns" the president in return. According to one national survey this week, Bush has a 26 percent approval rating.
Oy. That doesn't sound good does it? So should President continue, full steam ahead? Or should he admit his error and let the Republican Party work with Democrats to correct his errors?

The first option is more likely, regardless of what the right answer is.

President Bush needs to pull out if Iraq

According to Dick Morris and Eileen McGann's latest article, Bush needs to pull out of Iraq in order to save the Republican Party and his own legacy.
But Bush faces a stark choice: If he doesn't begin pulling out, his party will lose the White House, lose Congress by stunning and likely filibuster--proof margins, and his tax cut and education reforms will be repealed. His footsteps will be obliterated from history. It will be as if he never served.
That last line is a bit hopeful I think. I don't think people will forget President Bush served as our President.

His larger point is that President Bush can make symbolic gestures towards pulling out, which will mollify the American people, while leaving enough troops there to accomplish our goals (whatever those may be).

I'm listening to President Bush, and he keeps mentioning Gen. David Petraeus. He also talks about needing to trust the generals. It just kind of feels that if Iraq fails (assuming it hasn't already), he's laying the foundation for it not being his fault.

The forthcoming purge

Hugh Hewitt's latest article contrasts the differences between how Republicans see the war on Terror and how Democrats see it. Short viersion; Democrats are sissys and pansies; Republicans are manly men. Of course once you open the door to questioning judgment, Democrats might look a little better. But that's not Hugh Hewitt's point; his point is that there's the Republican (or stupid) way of fighting the war on terror, and then there's the Democrat way.

But what really gets me excited is the idea that Republicans are willing to purge from their ranks those who do not suppor the Bush/Cheney way of fighting this war.
I think most Republican senators up for re-election in 2008 who are seen by GOP voters to side with Harry Reid on the war will be swept away by Democratic challengers powered by fierce grassroots organizations even as they are deserted by Republican activists for whom resolve in the war is a non-negotiable priority. These races won’t even be close. The divide between the parties on the war is deep, and the base of the GOP simply will not turn out for, much less work for, round-heeled Republicans.

Parties matter, and the Republican party will purge the defeatists from its ranks, even if it means a horrible cycle or two. Clarity on this issue matters more than a couple of more votes in the Senate.
This sounds pretty good from my perspective; move the Republican party more out of line with the American people? Go for it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Faith of A Liberal

Joe Conason has an article on the interesting juxtaposition of faith and politics. Specifically he talks about the criticisms of Liberal/Democratic politician's faith by people who may or may not be as pure as the driven snow.
Too many times in recent years the blustering enforcers of family values and public piety have turned out to be frauds. The unhappy examples range from Ralph Reed’s gambling connections and Newt Gingrich’s infidelities to Ted Haggard’s secret gay lifestyle. The latest episode involves Senator David Vitter (R-LA), another conservative Christian moralist, whose name just turned up in the D.C. madam’s phone book.

When these Christian gentlemen are caught with their pants down or their hands in the cookie jar, they invariably claim that they have repented and prayed for forgiveness. In a spirit of generosity that they often lack, let us hope that they are sincere and that they cleanse themselves of wrongdoing. But let us also be skeptical whenever an ostentatiously pious conservative presumes to judge the religious sincerity of liberal Christians—including candidates for president.
It's well worth thinking about.

David Limbaugh's Qualifications

At the bottom of every article at Townhall they put a little blurb that tells you about the author of the piece - here's David Limbaugh's.
David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert in law and politics and author of Bankrupt: The Intellectual and Moral Bankruptcy of Today's Democratic Party.
I like how they underline his qualifications in the correct order - certainly the fact that he's Rush Limbaugh's brother is number 1.

As for today's article, he shows the same gift for repetition that his brother has, albeit his repititions don't tend to be as entertaining. Basically his point is that we are in a war with terrorism and if you take it seriously you support President Bush. And if you don't agree with President Bush's take on how to win this war, you must not be taking it seriously.
What is profoundly disappointing is the growing number of Republican politicians who, apparently corrupted by beltway hubris and toxicity, have abandoned the mission just when it looks like we have captured momentum.

These tired elephants appear more concerned with achieving some abstract bipartisan consensus -- as if politicians rubbing each others' backs is a higher moral aspiration than protecting the nation -- than in dealing with the concrete threat of an enemy trying to subjugate and kill us. It's disgraceful.
Of course it's also disgraceful to blindly support a program that has already failed, particularly one in which so many are dieing, merely for political gain and an unwillingness to admit error.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Congress and the President

Bill Murchinson's latest article is designed to make people see what a bad job Congress are doing. For one thing, they've been critical of the President.
The cold war bipartisanship that obtained as to foreign policy is itself cold. Every time the leader of the Senate's majority Democrats, Harry Reid of Nevada, opens his mouth about Iraq, out pours a torrent of scorn and abuse more likely to inspire al-Qaeda than the 160,000 troops giving the war their last and best shot.

A few days ago, the noted Democratic statesman and Delaware Senator Joe Biden pronounced the president "brain dead." We all have to admire the senator's gift for delicate and constructive expression.
Yes if only Congress would unite behind President Bush, surely they'd be popular once again. He ends with this poetic image.
A point upon which the Democrats might reflect is that -- bad as the Republicans are -- they don't impart to Congress the look of the snake pit: coiled cobras hissing, slithering, striking from the darkness.
Poetic yes. Accurate? Not so much.

Conspiculous by It's Absense

Dennis Prager has taken on the recent set of books promoting Atheism, in his latest article. Surprisingly he believes these books have a point. He notes that our enemies in the war on terror are giving religion a bad name, while in the west, Judaeo -Christianity is either liberal and weak, or fails to give a good account of itself.
Finally, many of the traditionally religious have gravitated away from rational beliefs into irrational, mystical and emotional religiosity. And on those occasions when they speak to the irreligious, they often talk to them just as they would to fellow religionists.
Of course what Prager fails to discuss (hence my title to this post) is the power that Conservative Christians already clearly wield in this administration. I mean, yeah, Homosexuals are still allowed to exist and Roe V. Wade is still the law of the land, but The President has been very careful to underline his Christian Faith as he led us into the foolish Iraq conflict. But I can see why Prager wouldn't bring that up, as he also supports attacking Muslims.

Sometimes you just know

Like when I read the title of Cal Thomas's latest piece o' crap "Hillary on her Faith." You just know you are going to write about it before you even read it. His central point is that Hillary's Christianity is Liberal Christianity and thus not Christianity at all.
Liberal faith, which is to say a faith that discounts the authority of Scripture in favor of a constantly evolving, poll-tested relevancy to modern concerns - such as the environment, what kind of SUV Jesus would drive, larger government programs and other "do-good" pursuits - ultimately morphs into societal and self-improvement efforts and jettisons the life-changing message of salvation, forgiveness of sins and a transformed life.
That's a pretty biased way of looking at it, but no more I suppose than suggesting that Mr. Thomas's faith is a way of separating himself from a rabble of mankind he clearly looks down his nose at, a sort of cosmic "get out of jail free" card that excuses one all one's mistakes so long as one is careful to condemn the right people.

Thomas then says that since Hillary Clinton's faith doesn't count, she shouldn't mention it on the campaign trail.
Sen. Clinton is entitled to whatever faith she wants to practice, but when she uses it as an election tactic, she should not be allowed to alter classic Christian theology.
President Bush's Christianity apparently allows him to bear false witness and excuses him of the classic Christian theology of doing an honest days work. But I suspect that since he hates gays, Cal Thomas isn't bothered by that.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Kevin McCullough wonders whether Jeapordy Champ is a Terrorist

On week after eight Muslim doctors were taken into custody for plotting three car bomb attacks in the U.K. only a week ago, and following the discovery of a plot in which forty-five Muslim doctors intend to penetrate America's borders and do the same thing - the reigning champion on Jeopardy this very weekend - is a Muslim doctor.

He's smart, well put together, and very, very knowledgeable about all of the categories in his two day run that relate especially to American politics, relatively unknown heads of state in the Middle East, and fared very well on some relatively obscure chemistry questions too.

Does that make him a jihadi bomber?
Of course his larger point is we shouldn't trust Muslims, until they prove they are our friends.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Blog Business

I have been working on adding tags to most of my posts; a big job as you might imagine. Since at least 80% of this blog is commenting on various conservative commentators, I've decided to tag my posts with the names of the commentators I am commentating on.

Eventually I will have a link to the big dogs (people like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Cal Thomas, and so on and so forth) that I've commented on the most over there, so you can check them out.

President Bush to Stand Test of Time

Townhall columnist Donald Lambro explained today that President Bush's legacy will stand the test of time. Although it seems like he's a dangerously incompetent ideologue today, future generations will revere him. People, are apparently going to get stupider in the future.

But wait, some are stupid right now. Check out this evaluation of our efforts in Iraq.
But whatever happens on that score, Bush's decision to invade Iraq -- toppling its terrorist government and installing a democratic government that I believe will outlast its enemies -- will remain a significant achievement of his presidency.
Significant? Yes. Achievement? Well, that might be more of an uphill climb.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Yippi Ki Yi Yay

Michael Serazio has written a review of the Die Hard movies that's a little off the mark in my opinion. Specifically he casts John McClane, Bruce Willis's alter ego in the movie, as a Neo-Conservative. Let's give credit where credit it is do - any action hero has a bit of the Neo-Conservative about him. A Neo Conservative wants to solve foreign policy problems with military force and is suspicious of and contemptuous of peaceful or negotiated resolution. If an action hero can negotiate his way out of his problems, well, let's just say that's a very different kind of movie.

That said I think he's a bit harder on McClane that is really necessary. First of all he takes a bit of a piss at McClanes blue-collar origins; positioning him as a red-state slob. Then he suggests that McClane's reaction in the first movie mirrors would be approved of by Dick Cheney. Let's remember the plot of the first movie. The building is taken over by terrorists and his wife is one of the prisoners. In response to that fictional situation, what would Serazio advocate? I mean what's the next move if we aren't going to be like John McClane/Dick Cheney? Open up a dialogue?

It only works, of course, if you see the terrorists that invaded the Nakatomi tower are the moral equivalents of, well, the nations of Iraq and now Iran. They aren't. One are a bunch of cartoon characters; villains with no hope of redemption. The other are whole nations, made of millions of innocents and admittedly problematic governments at the top.

Using this logic, any story that has villains that much be defeated by combat has Neo-con undertones.

Soft Bigotry

Walter E. Williams is out there shilling for racism again, in his latest article. Admittedly this isn't as bad as the time(s) he compared seeing a black male to seeing a tiger, but it's still not very good.

His point is that rather than conspiring against Blacks, Whites are simply not thinking about them at all.
Are white people obsessed with and engaged in a conspiracy against black people? I'm guessing no, and here's an experiment. Walk up to the average white person and ask: How many minutes today have you been thinking about a black person? If the person wasn't a Klansman or a gushing do-gooder, his answer would probably be zero minutes. If you asked him whether he's a part of a conspiracy to undermine the welfare of black people, he'd probably look at you as if you were crazy.
Well of course there are pretty well known conspiracies to keep black people from voting, but let's agree with Williams and pretend that nobody is after black people. What he forgets is that you don't have to be after someone to hurt them or to oppress them. I mean how often do you think about chairs, and yet you sit in them all day long. By the same token, it takes very little conscious thought to see blacks as inferior and shove them aside in your mind.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I'm Down

Bush has commuted Libby's sentence, ensuring that justice will not be served. This shouldn't depress or even surprise me, but somehow it does.

For some commentary on what this means, let's check in with Glenn Greenwald.
It it no surprise that we have political leaders who are corrupt and abuse their power. Our whole political system is premised on the expectation that this will happen. But that expectation was accompanied by the attempt by the Founders to create as many safeguards and checks on those abuses as possible. Over the last six years, all of those safeguards have failed completely.

We have a radical and lawless government that has run rampant over the last six years precisely because the institutions designed to stop that abuse have not only stood idly by, but have actively defended and participated in it. We actually have a press corps that holds, as its central belief, that our highest government officials should be free of investigation and accountability. In every country ruled by a lawless government and a corrupt political and media elite, powerful political officials do not go to prison for crimes. That is why convicted felon Lewis Libby will remain free.
Yeah, that's about it.

The Obvious Question

Bruce Bartlett asks an interesting and key question in his latest article.
One of the things that surprises me so far in the race for the White House is that none of the Republicans is positioning himself clearly as the anti-Bush. I think there is a yearning for such a candidate among the Republican electorate.
I would expand past the Republican electorate, and perhaps that gives a key to the problem. The Republican Base wants one thing, the general electorate something else. The base would like to hear a candidate talk about further tough action against Iran, Syria and North Korea. The general electorate seems a lot less excited about new wars.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The largest tax increase in history.

When you read conservative pundits as often as I do, certain phrases seem to show up with surprising regularity. Well, not really that surprising I guess. John Boehner uses this phrase in his latest article, in the middle of a long list of Democratic Crimes.
Democrats have worked to weaken our national defense and retreat from the global war on terror. They’ve voted to impose the largest tax increase in American history; proposed hundreds of billions in wasteful, unnecessary spending; crafted multibillion-dollar slush funds for secret earmarks; . . .
I just find myself wondering how many largest tax increases in American history there can be.

Immigration Bill Post Mortem - Those Opposed

Continuing from earlier.

Debra J. Saunders is clearly pleased at the failure of the bill, but spends most of her article discussing how it could have succeeded.
Wait until you've ramped up border enforcement and then take a stab at broadening citizenship. There are people who, like me, opposed this bill, but would agree to a narrow amnesty measure under the right circumstances. The fact is, many of today's naturalized citizens and legal residents at one point were illegal. Some overstayed their visas, then married. Others petitioned a judge for legal status so they could care for a legal resident. Congress has passed laws, now expired, which allowed qualified residents to apply for legal status if they paid a fine.

Pundits have been quick to call the bill's failure bad for the GOP -- and it was a loss for President Bush. Still, Democrats looking to 2008 should be afraid.
I'm not sure what this bill battle actually does for or to Democrats. Certainly those Republicans who are opposed to it will want to link it to Democrats (on the somewhat tenuous grounds that "Democrats like this sort of thing"). And Harry Reid was fully in support of it.

Perhaps Austin Hill is right in his latest article, when he says it's a setback for Congress as well as the President.
And with dismally low approval ratings from the American people, this very unpopular Congress needs to stop appearing as though they're working hand-in-hand with a slightly less unpopular President - - and begin working against him!

I know, it may sound crude or insensitive to describe these things in such raw political terms. But let’s be honest: the Democratic leadership in Congress worked in a very close, bipartisan way with their Republican colleagues AND the White House on the immigration issue - - and they are now paying a steep price for it, in terms of their popularity around the country.
The bulk of his article is on how the appearance of Executive Privilege as an issue is a boon to Congress; lets them look like they are resisting President Bush.

Meanwhile over in Rush Limbaugh's neck of the woods, he's taking credit for having defeated the Amnesty bill.

So that's comforting, eh? Of course Rush sees clouds on the horizon, because he's currently obsessed with the Fairness Doctrine.
In fact, I know for a fact that Democrats were telling Republicans in the Senate yesterday, "Well, just go ahead and vote for this thing, by the time you're up for reelection, we'll have dealt with talk radio." There were Democrats telling Republicans that they shouldn't worry about it because we're going to deal with talk radio. Now they're really going to deal with talk radio. This Fairness Doctrine stuff is going to really heat up. What's going to make it different this time, I think, at least on the side in the Senate is that Republicans are going to join Democrats in all this. But don't worry, folks, we are geared up for this and ready for it.
Rush Limbaugh really seems to believe himself the center of the universe.

Immigration Bill Post Mortem - Those in Favor

There's a whole spate of articles on the immigration bill up at Townhall, so let's see what they have to say, starting from articles that seem to be unhappy that that bill failed.

Robert Novak writes about Mitch McConnel's role in the breakdown, in his article.
I asked one of the few conservative Republican senators who stuck with President Bush on immigration to assess how Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell handled the issue. Asking not to be quoted by name, he replied: "If this were a war, Sen. McConnell should be relieved of command for dereliction of duty." Not only did the minority leader end up voting against an immigration bill that he said was better than the 2006 version that he supported, but he also abandoned his post, keeping off the floor during final stages of Senate debate.
Novak suggests that McConnell's inertia is just a symptom of the Party's malaise as a whole, and that makes sense. The party has less power, and a base that is riled up and expects more; it has to be frustrating for them just now.

Not that I mind Republicans being frustrated.

Michael Barone takes a more philosophical tack, asserting his support for a comprehensive bill, while acknowledging that the base certainly didn't seem keen on this comprehensive bill.
We have to start by recognizing why the voting public was strongly against the bill. "We have met the enemy, and he is us," the comic strip character Pogo said, and the enemy here is the us that have not enforced the law -- the executive and legislative branches, which have let the promise of the 1986 immigration law to become a dead letter and the voters who have not punished elected officials for doing so. The 1986 law purported to penalize employers who hired illegal immigrants. But because of the ease of obtaining forged identification documents, that has long been a dead letter. The 1986 law envisioned strict border security. But for too long the border remained a sieve.
He notes that it is unlikely that congress will address immigration for two or three years.

Next up, those who didn't like the bill celebrate.