Monday, December 08, 2008

A Partridge In A Baobab Tree

This is the first version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" I've ever been able to stand. It doesn't hurt that they somehow find a way to work in, among other things, Toto's "Africa."

(HT: Pentamom)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Pass The Dramamine

Hey, now Bill Richardson is part of the new cabinet. Ooh, stop with all the change! You're making me dizzy here.

Donna Shalala, call your office.

Monday, December 01, 2008


One of the regular visitors and participants in our comment threads here, Anne Ivy (whose blog can be found near the top of my sidebar), suffered a real tragedy this weekend. Only a couple of weeks ago, Anne's husband of 37 years, Don, was diagnosed with pneumonia. A little over a week ago, he was hospitalized. A few days after that, the doctors discovered that what they thought was pneumonia was actually advanced (and aggressive) lung cancer, and Don died this past Saturday afternoon.

I know that Anne and her family (they have six grown children) could use all of our prayers over the coming days and weeks.

I've put myself in your place a lot of times over the past few days, Anne. I can hardly imagine the shock of this. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

We're Gonna Party Like It's 1999

So we are into the first few weeks of "Change We Need." Let's see:

Co-chairman of transition team: John Podesta

Chief of Staff: Rahm Emmanuel

Secretary of State: Hillary Clinton

Attorney General: Eric Holder (You'll remember him from the Mark Rich pardon)

Chief Counsel: Greg Craig

Veep's Chief of Staff: Ron Klain

Hey, Janet Reno and Robert Reich, make sure not to go on vacation without leaving a number you can be reached at in case they need you to help bring more "change" to Washington.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And Then I Woke Up

Real life intruded for a bit. Sorry about the long absence. I'd been feeling fatigued, so I laid down and had this crazy dream that Barack Obama became the Democratic nominee for president and then he actually got elected! I know, crazy, right?

Part of the reason I haven't posted is because I've felt the need to write something long about the future of conservatism, and I just haven't had the time for a long, thoughtful post. Which has never stopped me before. (Ba-DUM-bum.) I've also wanted to do my post-mortem of the McCain campaign. But most of it has already been said by now. Still, just for the sake of posterity, I'll throw a few of my thoughts out there over the course of a post or two (or three).

First, the future of conservatism. The election did not represent some massive shift in the electorate. The race was about even until the economy tanked. People were scared about it, and Obama appeared sure-footed while McCain was anything but. Obama won 52% of the vote. That's convincing (unless, of course, 52% of the people in, say, California vote to protect traditional marriage, in which case 52% is a practically laughable, meaningless number that we should all ignore). But it does not indicate some massive ideological shift.

McCain was a lousy, non-conservative candidate who (because of that) drew almost zero help from outside 527-type groups, had the entire national media working tirelessly against him, had no clear message, ran from the same party as a wildly unpopular incumbent president, was outspent in the campaign by several magnitudes, stumbled at a crucial point when the economy collapsed--and still finished within about 8 million votes of Obama in a 300 million-person nation. And since one more than 50% is a majority, that means that there were really only about 4 million actual voters separating McCain and Obama. Flip those 4 million and the election goes the other way. Considering the stacked deck, that's amazing. I predicted, because McCain was such a bad candidate, that he'd lose 40 states. He did much better than I expected. If nothing else, it shows that the country has experienced nothing close to a sea change, no matter what the pundits say.

The fact is, this is still a center-right country. Two states that Obama won also passed marriage amendments. 62% of people in Florida --which Obama won--voted to approve a marriage amendment. Social conservative issues are still a political winner when presented well. McCain inexplicably decided to minimize social conservative issues, and he lost as a result, garnering no real fervor from his own side while failing to win any converts from the other side either. But when social issues come up for a vote, the American public in general shows itself to be socially conservative.

For instance, every single state (more than 30 of them) that has had a chance to outlaw gay marriage has done it. Think about it: why did Obama feel the need to disguise himself as a social conservative? Obama came out in opposition to gay marriage (and if you believe him on that, I have some land just west of me here in Florida...) and claimed to want to reduce the number of abortions (though Planned Parenthood and NARAL ardently supported him). Why did he present himself that way? Because he knows that the country won't vote for gay-marrying, open abortion-without-restriction loving politicians, that's why. Even on economic issues, Obama made the most headway on McCain running to his right. Obama's main economic argument was that he was going to cut more of your taxes than McCain was. And he was able to accurately criticize Republicans for being irresponsible on spending. Ultimately, I'm confident that Obama will not prove to be better on any of these scores because he's a Democrat and will do what Democrats always do. But the point is, he won by stealing essentially conservative positions from the hapless Republican candidate.

Many voices in the Republican Party are calling for an abandonment of conservatism. To which I say once again, "How about trying conservatism?" So-called "compassionate conservatism" ends up being neither, and it has been a huge failure. The mortgage mess was caused by big-government policies. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were both created by big-government policies. The extremely unpopular bailout is a big-government policy. How do these things impugn actual conservatism? The answer is: they don't. They do impugn a chunk of the Republican Party. But not conservatism. When Republicans run for the presidency as solid conservatives, they win. When they run as mealy-mouthed middle-of-the-roaders, they lose. Sure, conservatism needs to have a smile on it. Nobody wants Newt Gingrich to be president (except perhaps Newt). But presented well, conservatism is still a winning proposition.

Whatever the pundits say, don't forget that at the end of the day, people elected a guy who said he was going to cut their taxes, curb federal spending, reduce the number of abortions, and opposes gay marriage. How exactly does this prove the death of conservatism?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Morning After

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

There will be plenty of time for criticism later (like, say, later today). But the people have spoken strongly, and they want Barack Obama to be the 44th president of the United States.

I believe in this system even when I don't like the outcome. For eight years, I've watched disgustedly while the far left says of George W. Bush, "He's not my president!" That's a sub-American position that I refuse to wallow in.

Barack Obama will be my president. I will mostly disagree with him. I wish it were someone else. But for better or for worse, he is now our representative to the world, and because I love my country, I want him to do well. If he's doing well, the country is likely doing well.

Because of that, my family and I are praying for President-elect Obama. We pray that he will have wisdom and strength to do a very difficult job. We pray that his eyes will be opened to the horror of abortion. We pray that he will lead justly and righteously. We pray that God might perhaps use Obama's election to finally heal some of the deep racial fissures that still divide this country. We pray for his protection and safety, as many would wish to do him harm.

I woke up feeling great today. Not because the election went my way, but rather because, in a sense, all elections go my way. The reason for this is that my God is an un-elected God, and He does not change with the winds of public opinions. He sits above all earthly rulers and authorities, and indeed He is their very creator. He builds up and He tears down. He raises up empires and overthrows them. He installs presidents and he removes them. In the words of the great Westminster Confession of Faith, "God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass." The president's authority is only a delegated authority--it's given by God, and God can take it away whenever He sees fit:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1)

The sovereign God is bringing about exactly what He intends to bring about. It may well be that He is executing judgment on our nation. He would certainly be just to do so. But in any case, the world (and our nation) is right on track toward the purpose He's established for it. There is no politician who gets in the way of that.

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)

So on this day after Barack Obama's election, I rejoice. Not because I think he's the best man for the job (though I will be praying for him nonetheless), but because God is God, and He is good. Everything--everything--He does is for the good of His people.

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!
(Psalm 146, ESV)

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Case For McCain

I've already voted here in Florida, and I cast my vote for John McCain. McCain is far from my ideal candidate, which I've detailed in this space ad nauseum. But ultimately, I cast my vote for him with a clean conscience. Following are my three major reasons (only the first of which really matters). I'd particularly like to communicate these to confused evangelicals who are considering casting an Obama vote tomorrow.

1. McCain is solidly anti-abortion, while Obama is the most radically pro-abortion presidential candidate in history.

I am proudly, unapologetically a one-issue voter. To compare any other issue to the abortion holocaust is to engage in a breathtaking moral equivalence. It is not a viable Christian option to say, "Well, I disagree with Obama on abortion, but I agree with him on taxes [or whatever]." You cannot draw a moral equivalency between the wholesale eradication of human lives and other issues. To do so is to demonstrate one's self to be a moral midget. You can get away with this (indeed, it's expected) if you are a secularist, but it is not an option for a Christian. Imagine saying in 1860, "Well, I agree with Abraham Lincoln on the slavery issue, but I agree with the pro-slavery candidate John C. Breckinridge on taxes." You don't settle that with an eenie, meenie, miney, moe. As Doug Wilson has aptly said, abortion is the big E on the moral eye chart. If you don't get that one right, your eyesight can't be trusted on anything.

Many have been duped by Obama's simple assertion that his policies will lead to fewer abortions. It's just a flat-out lie, which is easily enough discovered by anyone wishing to dig an inch below the sound bite. Obama said in one setting that he views a baby as punishment that a pregnant girl shouldn't have to suffer, analogous to a sexually transmitted disease. The fact is that Obama has assured Planned Parenthood that he will immediately institute the "Freedom of Choice Act" (or FOCA) which will repeal almost all local restrictions on abortion. Michael New has crunched the numbers and determined that this would likely result in an immediate increase of about 125,000 abortions a year. How long would the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have to go on to kill that many people? If you are willing to overlook this issue, you need to take a serious look at where things stand between you and God.

2. He's not Obama.

Granted, this has seemingly been McCain's entire strategy, and I'm not sure that it's strong enough to win a national campaign, especially considering that Obama has been the beneficiary of an entirely, utterly uncritical media for the last several years. But it is still a powerful point in McCain's favor. Obama is the most radically leftist candidate to ever sniff the presidency, and the nation is perhaps one day from sweeping him into office. He's already been endorsed by al Qaeda and communist quasi-dictator Hugo Chavez.

Obama's life and career have been intimately intertwined with characters like Jeremiah "God damn America" Wright, William "I don't regret setting bombs" Ayers, and former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi. He lied when pledging to stick to public financing of his campaign. He threw the elderly white grandmother--who raised him--under the bus (calling her a "typical white person") in an attempt to defend the indefensible Jeremiah Wright. When defending Wright became too politically cumbersome, Obama threw Wright under the bus too. Just this past week, he also threw his Kenyan aunt (who even gets a mention in his memoir!) under the bus, in his relentless drive to the presidency. There soon won't be enough buses for all the people Obama wants to run over. And we're about to elect this guy president.

3. McCain is a genuine hero, while Obama is a complete neophyte.

Sarah Palin, quite properly, reminds voters that "only one person in this race has actually fought for you."

In the wake of the sad suicide of the author David Foster Wallace, I was reading some of his work online, which includes this piece [WARNING: graphic language--adults only] written in 2000 for Rolling Stone magazine about the first McCain presidential campaign. Reading the graphic description of McCain's treatment in Vietnam, I found myself actually brought up short for some of the harsh things I've said about McCain in the past. After being shot down,
He was delirious with pain for weeks, and his weight dropped to 100 pounds, and the other POWs were sure he would die; and then after a few months like that after his bones mostly knitted and he could sort of stand up they brought him in to the prison commandant's office and offered to let him go. This is true. They said he could just leave. They had found out that McCain's father was one of the top-ranking naval officers in the U.S. Armed Forces (which is true — both his father and grandfather were admirals), and the North Vietnamese wanted the PR coup of mercifully releasing his son, the baby-killer. McCain, 100 pounds and barely able to stand, refused. The U.S. military's Code of Conduct for Prisoners of War apparently said that POWs had to be released in the order they were captured, and there were others who'd been in Hoa Lo a long time, and McCain refused to violate the Code. The commandant, not pleased, right there in the office had guards break his ribs, rebreak his arm, knock his teeth out. McCain still refused to leave without the other POWs. And so then he spent four more years in Hoa Lo like this, much of the time in solitary, in the dark, in a closet-sized box called a "punishment cell." Maybe you've heard all this before; it's been in umpteen different media profiles of McCain. But try to imagine that moment between getting offered early release and turning it down. Try to imagine it was you. Imagine how loudly your most basic, primal self-interest would have cried out to you in that moment, and all the ways you could rationalize accepting the offer. Can you hear it? If so, would you have refused to go? You simply can't know for sure. None of us can. It's hard even to imagine the pain and fear in that moment, much less know how you'd react.

But, see, we do know how this man reacted. That he chose to spend four more years there, in a dark box, alone, tapping code on the walls to the others, rather than violate a Code. Maybe he was nuts. But the point is that with McCain it feels like we know, for a proven fact, that he's capable of devotion to something other, more, than his own self-interest.
Frankly, we no longer deserve a president with this kind of honor, but maybe God will be merciful and give us one anyway.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama has been groomed for the presidency since when, as a callow Illinois state senator, he was anointed to give the keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Then, after being elected to the U.S. Senate that same year, he spent 143 days in session, at which point he felt he was now sufficiently prepared to become president of the United States and launched his campaign. His entire national political career has been shorter than only the time McCain was imprisoned after refusing a dishonorable release. Obama's own running mate admits Obama is completely untested and unproven, saying during the primary campaign that "the presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training." And more recently (and famously), Biden predicted that other nations would try to take advantage of Obama's manifest inexperience.

I have no problem with someone who sees the two-party system as in need of drastic reform and decides to vote for a third-party candidate. I understand that and have flirted with it myself. But for a professing Christian to cast a vote for Obama displays either a naivete, an almost willful ignorance, or a hardening of heart that should be cause for deep concern. I pray that Christians will not participate in the national blindness that has befallen us. You will someday account for your vote (or your failure to vote) before a just and holy God. Think about that before you pull the donkey lever just because you think Obama's got some good ideas about tax rates.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Osama Bin Laden For Obama And Biden

This year, as in 2004, al Qaeda will once again be rooting for (and perhaps with the aid of ACORN even voting for) the Democrat:

DUBAI (Reuters) - An al Qaeda leader has called for President George W. Bush and the Republicans to be "humiliated," without endorsing a party in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, according to an Internet video posting.

"O God, humiliate Bush and his party, O Lord of the Worlds, degrade and defy him," Abu Yahya al-Libi said at the end of sermon marking the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, in a video posted on the Internet.
Hey, and make sure to get your bumper stickers before Tuesday!

O sb a m a - Bin Laden

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Pebble In Your Shoe

This column by Rich Lowry beautifully sums up everything I think about John McCain and his candidacy. Sure, a week before the election seems like an odd time to write a post-mortem, but c'mon, who are we kidding here?

While McCain likes to characterize himself as a maverick, in reality he's always been more of a gadfly--a persistent, annoying critic.

As a gadfly, McCain often attacked Republican campaign tactics. He denounced the Swift Boat vets in 2004. Still thinking like a gadfly, back in April he reprimanded the North Carolina Republican Party for running an ad featuring the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In ruling Wright out of bounds, McCain had taken off the table Barack Obama’s most damaging association. McCain had gadflied himself!

Not surprisingly, McCain has been badly outclassed in fundraising by Obama. As a gadfly, McCain always considered fundraising fundamentally distasteful. He celebrated the public financing rules that Obama has blown by on his way to raising some $750 million. McCain was so adamant about campaign-finance strictures that he harangued against independent groups, so-called 527s, and partly as a result, there are few of them to come to his aid in his desperate hour of financial need.
There's a big part of me that loves to see McCain lying on this bed of his own making, but it's unfortunate that it has had to come at such an important time for the country.

...Gadflies are loners because they spend so much time offending their own side. In his initial primary campaign prior to the 2007 meltdown, McCain staffed up with Bush loyalists — because there were so few McCain loyalists — who didn’t understand his appeal. Now, his general-election campaign is rife with former Bush staffers leaking to the press to save their post-McCain campaign reputations. Ah, the agony of the gadfly.

Outside his campaign, meanwhile, McCain is getting abandoned by all the Republicans who usually pronounce themselves “troubled” by Republican tactics. If McCain weren’t running for president, and it were some other Republican who had attacked Obama for his associations and picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, surely McCain himself would be on some Sunday show clucking his disapproval.
That last paragraph is it exactly. Mark my words. It will only be a few months after the election before McCain himself will be taking shots in the press at Sarah Palin and attempting to align himself with Obama and the new Democratic majority. It's what he does. He'll be the first Republican lining up to praise the other party, which has always been his role in the media.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's All About The Children

Two months ago, Democrats on the Left were pretending to wring their hands about how would Sarah Palin be able to raise her children if she were to become Vice President of the United States. Now, the same people are complaining that Palin takes her youngest children with her on the road when she has to travel.

Here's a clue to keep things simple for you: when liberals claim to care about family values, they're lying. As I pointed out last month, the utter, disingenuous hypocricy of liberals asking, "But how will she take care of little Trig?" was nothing but laughable. The fact that she didn't have his brain sucked out of his body already put Mrs. Palin up 1-0 over the liberals in the Caring About Trig department. Taking the child with her on the road while liberals caterwaul now puts her up 2-0.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First Things First

If you know clueless, confused evangelicals who are considering casting a vote for Obama this year (and sadly there seems to be many of them), make sure to send them this short video:

I'm not a big email forwarding kind of guy, but this is something I'd like anybody who cares about being pro-life to see.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A General Consensus

A lot of predictable media hay is being made about Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama. All it proves to me, of course, is that I was (if I may humbly say) right on target in my recent post about the corrupting effects of the vast foreign policy bureaucracy. As I said there, Powell (like most Secretaries of State) is the very definition of squishy moderate and simply a strategic chess player with no moral clarity or big picture.

However, what's highly amusing is to watch Gen. Powell's overnight transformation. For at least eight years, liberals have been calling Powell an evil "Uncle Tom." Now suddenly he's an all-around great guy and a true statesman. Here's a hint that will help you discern how these things work: when liberals hail an American military figure as a "hero," you're being conned, because in reality they do not believe there's any such thing. It's one of the surest warning signs that something has gone fishy. Turns out the problem wasn't that he was "in the house," it's that he was in the wrong house.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Blip Of Life

After two desultory debate performances, John McCain finally came out strong last night. I'm no cheerleader (as my past posts will prove--I've seen Obama as the clear winner of the first two debates) and it may be too little too late, but for the first time in the campaign, I was able to watch McCain for more than a few minutes without wincing. He even got a couple of fist-pumps out of me. If nothing else, I'd love to see the "Senator Government" slip of the tongue stick.

Of course, the pundits didn't know quite what to make of it all. I'm discovering more and more how useless the immediate post-debate analysis is. The analysts are all afraid of looking silly a day or two later when the debate narrative finally gets fixed in the public consciousness, and history shows that it doesn't always go as it seemed to the journalists. So what happens is that each analyst throws out careful little trial balloons and then they all watch each other to see if they can come to a consensus. I happened to be watching ABC News last night (since I wanted to see the debate in HD, but CNN's ridiculous little "Ohio Undecided Voter" running dial is driving me nuts; undecided female voters in Ohio are officially the stupidest species on the planet). At the end of the debate, former Clinton flack George Stephanopoulos opined that McCain had done unusually well. After about five minutes of other analysts like George Will and Donna Brazille pouring water on the fire, they went back to George, who now was saying that McCain didn't accomplish what needed to be done. Stephanopoulos basically switched positions on the debate within a five minute period.

So, all of that said, I think McCain won handily last night. Here would be my unsolicited advice for the remainder of the campaign. First, I would continue with the "I'm not George W. Bush" line of argument. It was very effective, and he should've been using it earlier. If I were advising him, here's exactly what I'd have him saying: "If Senator Obama wanted to run against George W. Bush, he should've run four years ago. Back when Senator Obama was still working with Bill Ayers, I actually ran against George W. Bush for president. I knew he didn't have all the answers. That's why I opposed him. I didn't think he had the answers then, and I don't think he has the answers now. Let's make one thing clear here: Senator Obama talks a good game, but when the chips were on the table, I'm the one who stepped up and ran against President Bush."

I would also keep going on Obama's tax-raising plan. He lets Obama squirm out of this too easily. I would have McCain say, "Senator Obama says he's not going to raise your taxes--he's only going to raise taxes on your employer. If you work for a corporation or a company that has more than three or four people working for it--which is all it takes to be a $250,000 business--Senator Obama is going to raise taxes on your business. He's been telling us that over and over again. He told Joe the Plumber that. So when he does that, do you think your job is going to be more secure, or less secure? When Senator Obama begins cutting into the profits of your employer, how do you think they're going to make up the loss? Does that put you in a better situation at work, or a worse one? This is common sense, folks. The good news is, Senator Obama might not raise most of your personal income taxes. The bad news is, when he's done with your workplace, you might not have any income. I don't think we should raise taxes on anyone. That's the difference between us."

I was glad to finally see McCain get in some shots on abortion, and Torie Clarke was dead wrong on ABC when she said this was a waste of time because it "only appeals to the base." Generally the country is pro-choice in the first trimester, when the health or life of the mother is at risk. However, once you get past the first trimester, American opinion becomes overwhelmingly, decidedly anti-abortion. McCain didn't pin Obama down on this nearly as hard as he needs to--though it was at least a good start after months of silence. Obama is for infanticide, plain and simple. As Robert George of Princeton shows, Obama is not merely pro-"choice," he is pro-abortion (despite his empty denials), and the more the better. His position is wildly outside of the American mainstream (as McCain pointed out), and he needs to keep hitting the fact that Obama is in the infanticide lobby's pocket. Late-term abortion is a winning issue for Republicans, and it's time they wised up to this.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Someday You Will Give An Answer To God

This piece by Princeton professor Robert George ought to be required reading for any Christian who would even consider voting for Barack Obama. It should probably also be required for all Christians under about 30, who seem unusually confused on political issues. George makes the case that Obama is the most radically pro-abortion national politician in history.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Wanna Lose Some Sleep Tonight?

Have a look at these words of wisdom from Louis Farrakhan, in which he gives Barack Obama a promotion:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


As they used to say on "ER" back when anyone was watching it, "Okay, I'm calling it."

Stick a fork in Senator McCain, folks. He's done. I began this campaign back in February by predicting that Obama would beat McCain 40 states to 10. It may be closer than that...slightly...but when all is said and done, I'm still predicting a landslide. And the Republican establishment will have nobody to blame but itself. McCain was a terrible candidate from the git-go who inspires nobody. Even now, less than a month out from the election, I have no idea what the raison d'être of his campaign is. As best I can tell, it's "I want to be president. And I'm not Barack Obama." Unfortunately for him (and for the country), that's not nearly enough.

All McCain has to offer is squishy, centrist palaver that fails to differentiate him much from either Bush or Obama. His main solutions to the economic disaster are merely lighter versions of Obama's socialism. He's never once made a solid public case for the fact that Democrats are knee deep in the current crisis, and that the disaster can be easily traced back to Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Bill Clinton. Instead he's sat there dumbly while Democrats (who've held the Congress for the last two years) amazingly pin a meltdown on their watch to free market economics.

The fact is, McCain deserves to lose. He's not a conservative. He's really not even a Republican. For all the "maverick" talk, he's always been a moderate Democrat in Republican garb. For years he was the media's favorite Republican-bashing Republican, and he let it make him think that their favor would extend to a run against an actual Democrat. He was spectacularly wrong.

At root, the whole evening is summed up best by Andrew McCarthy, writing at National Review Online's "The Corner," and I think it also summarizes the whole campaign:

We have a disaster here — which is what you should expect when you delegate a non-conservative to make the conservative (nay, the American) case. We can parse it eight ways to Sunday, but I think the commentary is missing the big picture.

Here's what Obama needed to do tonight: Convince the country that he was an utterly safe, conventional, centrist politician who may have leftward leanings but will do the right thing when the crunch comes.

Now, as the night went along, did you get the impression that Obama comes from the radical Left? Did you sense that he funded Leftist causes to the tune of tens of millions of dollars? Would you have guessed that he's pals with a guy who brags about bombing the Pentagon? Would you have guessed that he helped underwrite raging anti-Semites? Would you come away thinking, "Gee, he's proposing to transfer nearly a trillion dollars of wealth to third-world dictators through the UN"?

Nope. McCain didn't want to go there. So Obama comes off as just your average Center-Left politician. Gonna raise your taxes a little, gonna negotiate reasonably with America's enemies; gonna rely on our very talented federal courts to fight terrorists and solve most of America's problems; gonna legalize millions of hard-working illegal immigrants.

McCain? He comes off as Center-Right .. or maybe Center-Left ... but, either way, deeply respectful of Obama despite their policy quibbles.

Great. Memo to McCain Campaign: Someone is either a terrorist sympathizer or he isn't; someone is either disqualified as a terrorist sympathizer or he's qualified for public office. You helped portray Obama as a clealy qualified presidential candidate who would fight terrorists.

If that's what the public thinks, good luck trying to win this thing.
This was way too important an election--and Obama was way too dangerous a potential president--to have left this in the hands of John McCain. I shudder to think at the price the country--and my family--will pay for this mistake.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Wall Street Greed

An excellent comment from Doug Wilson on the current financial mess, and the role of (and consequences for) greed:

I am preaching on Psalm 49 tomorrow, and I will be going after [the issue of greed]. But whenever politicians go after it, all they do is create regulatory mechanisms for the next round of greedy businessmen to manipulate at will. The very best way to address business greed in the public sector is to insist that the greedists, and those foolish enough to do business with them, be required to eat their own cooking.

Capitalism in good times and safety net socialism in hard times is not capitalism. Capitalism is not riding the bubble until it bursts, and then to suddenly discover the need for government intervention "from time to time." Graspers and grabbers need to be hit a whole lot harder than the Feds will ever hit them. Yeah, greed on Wall St. was a big problem. Let gravity deal with it.
If you were at the casino playing blackjack, and the casino had an unwritten policy of giving you all your money back if you lost your life savings, would you be more likely or less likely to go all-in on that 15 you were dealt?

Proper, capitalistic risk assessment did not cause this catastrophe. Government guaranteed, risk-free speculation did.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Is That Supposed To Be Bad?

Today Barack Obama accused John McCain of launching "Swift boat-style attacks" on him for pointing out (and thank goodness somebody has) Obama's cozy relationship with unrepentant, America-bombing terrorist Bill Ayers.

I've heard other Democrats use this as a pejorative as well--"Swift-boating." My question is, what do they mean by "Swift boat-style attacks?" I assume they must be referring to the media campaign in the 2004 election by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. In case you've forgotten, that was the humongous group of hundreds of veterans who personally served with John Kerry in Vietnam, who witnessed his actions there and pointed out that he was systematically lying about his experiences. How is this somehow a slam against what McCain is doing?

Judging by what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth actually did, I must assume that when Obama accuses McCain of launching "Swift-boat style attacks," what he's actually condemning is "telling the truth about my past, possibly using massive numbers of actual witnesses," since that's precisely what the Swift-boat veterans did with John Kerry.

Democrats have also tried this with the infamous Willie Horton ad that George Bush 41 ran against Michael Dukakis in 1988. Invocation of the name "Willie Horton" is now supposed to make us gasp with horror at the dirty politics Bush supposedly employed. In reality, Dukakis was running on his supposedly stupendous prison reform program in Massachusetts, and the ad pointed out that part of Dukakis' program involved giving weekend passes from prison to extremely dangerous criminals. One of those criminals was Willie Horton, who'd been convicted of robbery and murder after stabbing a boy 19 times and leaving him to bleed to death in a trash can. Horton had been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for that crime (and Dukakis opposed the death penalty, by the way.) Dukakis "innovative" system gave Horton at least ten weekend passes from prison. While on one of those weekend passes, Horton (not all that surprisingly) broke into the home of a young couple, raping the woman twice and binding, gagging, and stabbing her fiancée. The whole episode lasted over seven hours.

Every single word of the ad was absolutely true (though wildly understated considering the magnitude of the crime), and in reality, the prison furlough program was and is an utter blight on Dukakis' record, certainly disqualifying him as any kind of "justice reformer" as he was trying to claim at the time. So how is it that the phrase "Willie Horton" is now somehow seen as a slam on Bush 41 and Republicans? It ought to stand as a monument to the everlasting shame of liberal notions of criminal rehabilitation.

Incidentally, as far as the supposed "racist" component of the Horton ad, here's a little trivia question: do you know who was the first person to bring up the prison furlough issue against Dukakis? That's right. It was that noted racist Al Gore, running against Dukakis in the Democratic presidential primaries that year.

So instead of somehow being cowed by claims of "Swift-boat attacks," I hope Republicans will have the guts to stand up and say, "Oh, you mean factual attacks in which the truth is told? Where the candidate's proven historical activities and associations are actually brought into the forefront by lots of people with impeccable credentials and the candidate is held responsible for them despite pronounced media silence? Yes, that is exactly what we're doing."

Friday, October 03, 2008

What Else Are You Not Hearing?

Here's a story published by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics in July, well before the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They give the highest cumulative donations from Freddie and Fannie to political coffers over the last 20 years, from 1989 to 2008.

Of course, this is a bi-partisan problem, as we are continually told. Here are the top four recipients of Fannie and Freddie's political largesse since 1989:

1. Dodd, Christopher J

2. Kerry, John

3. Obama, Barack

4. Clinton, Hillary

In other words, Barack Obama, after three whole years in the Senate, has had more money showered on him by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac than all but two other people in the entire 535-member Congress. Dodd has been in the Senate since 1981 and is the longest-serving senator in Connecticut history. Kerry's been in the Senate since 1985. Obama has nearly equalled both in just three short years of drinking out of the Freddie and Fannie spout.

Hmmm. I wonder how it is that in the middle of a presidential campaign where the primary issue has become a financial catastrophe initiated by the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, nobody in the media seems to mention that on a per-year basis, Barack Obama is more in the pockets of both than any other memeber of Congress by far?

But at least we're getting to the bottom of that important "what magazines does Sarah Palin read?" story.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Foreign Policy Experience

Regardless of what one thinks of Sarah Palin (and while I'm inclined to like her, I'm waiting for the debate to see if she's got what it takes to lead the country), it's time to put to bed this canard about "foreign policy experience."

Liberals and the media hold up so-called "foreign policy experience" as the Holy Grail of the presidency--except when they're trying to elect someone with absolutely none of it (see: Clinton, Bill). But all that the vaunted "foreign policy experience" really means is "worships at the altar of the U.N. and pays obeisance to the Council on Foreign Relations and the massive State Department bureaucratic apparatus."

The best foreign policy president of my lifetime was Ronald Reagan, and it was always the same knock against him: "no foreign policy experience" (and a governor to boot). I would argue that it was Reagan's very lack of such "experience" that allowed him to win the Cold War, since entanglement in the State Department miasma leads to an utter inability to distinguish good from bad, up from down, and black from white. It's no coincidence that most Secretaries of State are mamby-pamby functionaries so lost in nuance that they can't see what's straight in front of them and almost always wind up unable to even distinguish a dictator from an elected president. They are always the very definition of squishy moderate (or, in some cases, outright Leftist), even if that wasn't the case when they were appointed. Mere proximity to the foreign policy apparatus of the nation turns them into chess players with no moral clarity or big picture. (See Powell, Colin; Albright, Madeleine; Christopher, Warren; Eagleburger, Lawrence; Baker, James; Muskie, Edwin; Vance, Cyrus; Kissinger, Henry; Rogers, William, etc. etc. ad nauseum. There's not one single person on that list I'd want to be president.)

In the modern era, probably the epitome of the "foreign policy experience" president was Richard M. Nixon. He's the one who opened relations back up with the Chicoms (propping that regime up for another 35 years and counting) and established the policy of detente with the Soviet Union (which the State Department functionaries hallowed), a series of endless treaties and maintaining a "balance of power" where the U.S. tacitly agreed to never try to actually win the Cold War. Thankfully, Reagan, who had never been blinkered by the State Department establishment and wasn't crippled by what the liberals called "foreign policy experience" came in with his own policy of "we win, they lose." Needless to say, all hell broke loose among the establishment foreign policy wonks. Every step along the way they whined as this "cowboy" with no foreign policy experience called the Russkies on the carpet, walked out of summits, amped up weapons systems, and ultimately put 'em out of business.

George H.W. Bush was another so-called "foreign policy president" having been CIA director and an ambassador, as well as a former director of the Council on Foreign Relations. A proponent of the so-called "New World Order," he's the one who actually tried to prop the Soviet Union back up at the last minute before their collapse and help Gorbachev maintain his power. He also stopped short in the Gulf War despite the advice of many around him, leaving hundreds of thousands of Kurdish rebels who'd helped us in the war to be exterminated by Saddam Hussein, as well as leaving Saddam in power to be dealt with again later, the repercussions of which we're still dealing with on a daily basis.

So in my estimation, "foreign policy experience" ain't' worth a hill of beans. Give me someone with simple moral clarity a thousand times over the experienced, amoral wonks like Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon and the like. This isn't brain surgery; most times all that's required is to know right from wrong.

(Most of these thoughts I first posted the other day over at A Better Country.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Peace Of Angels

I saw this photo and caption at from today's bailout hearings:

Rep. Barney Frank speaks today as Sens. Charles Schumer and Christopher Dodd confer. (Getty Images)

Oh yeah, they'll fix it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Tour Of The Liberal Heart

"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm - but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." -- T.S. Eliot

[HT: Doug Wilson]

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cheap And Unavailable

Presumably the authors of this story (nor the doltish politicians who trumpet this kind of thing) can see the connection here. From today's South Florida Sun-Sentinel, in a story headlined "Many South Florida gas stations on 'E' as shortages continue":
Despite state officials this week assuring motorists there's an adequate supply of gasoline statewide, scattered gas stations in South Florida on Thursday continued to grapple with shortages in the wake of Hurricane Ike.
And then in a later paragraph:
Last Friday, before Ike struck the Gulf Coast and headed toward Houston's refineries, the wholesale price of gas spiked for many gas retailers. In turn, gas stations quickly increased prices, which triggered a slew of price-gouging complaints in Florida. Earlier this week, state Attorney General Bill McCollum opened an inquiry into the gouging allegations, sending subpoenas to several gas suppliers and dealers.
For what it's worth, lest anyone think I'm a partisan, Bill McCollum is a Republican, as is Governor Charlie Crist. They're also both idiots. Neither has wasted a chance to jump on the air this week to beat his chest over gasoline "price gouging."

But, of course, if the market had been allowed to set the price of gasoline rather than addled politicians doing it, there would be no gas shortage in Florida. Higher prices would've provided more incentive for quickly moving gas to Florida. And higher prices would have encouraged many motorists to merely use enough gas to get to wherever they were going, rather than rushing to fill up the tank with artificially cheap gas. Instead, once again, politicians get to portray themselves as virtuous, holding the line on prices for gasoline that a lot of stations don't actually have.

The good news is, it's cheap. The bad news is, you can't get it.

[For more in the same vein, see my old posts "A Cautious Defense of Price Gouging" and "Hot Gas."]

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh, The Humanity

From what I'm hearing, things are very bleak right now on Texas' decimated gulf coast. Not that I'm hearing much. Doesn't it seem strange that less than five days after an entire American city was virtually wiped out, we're hardly hearing anything about it? We're still getting more coverage of Katrina three years later (witness the media frenzy as Hurricane Hanna was approaching Louisiana a few weeks ago) than we're getting of a current disaster area.

Where is Anderson Cooper crying in the floodwaters and demanding governmental compassion for the victims? His entire career was built on standing around in the Katrina aftermath emoting for the victims, yet I can't even find anything about Hurricane Ike at the website for Anderson's program. Where is Sean Penn in his rowboat and flack jacket?

Could it be that, because Galveston doesn't have a big jazz music community and the kinds of activities that people who listen to NPR consider "cultural," the elites simply don't care? (By the way, I've been to New Orleans. And I can tell you that New Orleans' main "cultural activity" is vomiting elaborate frozen drinks.) Could it be that because there is no rioting and looting in the streets in Texas and nobody is having press conferences demanding that FEMA "do more?" that the press has lost interest? Could it be that because nobody needs to wear a flack jacket, and folks there are simply going about the business of digging out that the media thinks it's boring? Is it possible that there are victims that the media elites thinks are hip, and others they don't really care much for? Might, perhaps, the gulf coast of Texas simply not have the kind of demographic makeup that elicits the pious paternalism of the mainstream media?

I'll look forward to that Hollywood telethon for Galveston that I'm sure will be coming up soon, like the one that was carried on NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, MSNBC, CNBC, BET, and Pax after Katrina. Perhaps noted philanthropist Kanye West can get bailed out long enough to appear on the show and tell us that George W. Bush doesn't care about white people.

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's Not Fair Unless You Spot Us More Points

I predicted some months ago that John McCain would lose in a 40 state landslide. My reasoning was sound--no candidate wins because voters are voting against someone else. They need to be inspired to vote for you, and John McCain inspires virtually nobody. I didn't know a single person who was jazzed about McCain's candidacy. The best reaction I got from anyone was, "I guess I'll vote for him. He's the lesser of two evils." But Sarah Palin has proved to be a complete game-changer. In my opinion, neither McCain nor his team could have been smart enough to foresee the ultimate reaction to her. They decided to poke a hole and ended up hitting a gusher. Nobody still is inspired by McCain. That remains true. But it turns out that a whole bunch of people are being inspired by Sarah Palin.

As a result, liberals are now starting to wring their hands about a possible Obama loss. One recent example that caught my eye is from that Harvard political scientist and Brookings Institution Fellow Adam McKay (perhaps better known as the director of the avant-garde art house films "Anchorman" and "Talladega Nights.") As Glenn Beck likes to say, reading this will make blood shoot out of your eyes. Writing in the Huffington Post (warning: there's some salty language in the article, despite McKay's normally patrician sensibilities), McKay sputters:
Something is not right. We have a terrific candidate and a terrific VP candidate. We're coming off the worst eight years in our country's history. Six of those eight years the Congress, White House and even the Supreme Court were controlled by the Republicans and the last two years the R's have filibustered like tantrum throwing 4-year-olds, yet we're going to elect a Republican who voted with that leadership 90% of the time and a former sportscaster who wants to teach Adam and Eve as science? That's not odd as a difference of opinion, that's logically and mathematically queer.

....So what is this house advantage the Republicans have? It's the press. There is no more fourth estate. Wait, hold on...I'm not going down some esoteric path with theories on the deregulation of the media and corporate bias and CNN versus Fox...I mean it: there is no more functioning press in this country. And without a real press the corporate and religious Republicans can lie all they want and get away with it.
One wonders what it would actually take to get Barack Obama elected if they don't feel that they can do it now. All of the major networks have been completely in his pocket for several years now (just ask Hillary Clinton's supporters), he's received almost no questioning over his questionable personal associations (like Tony Rezko and Bill Ayers), and he has an entire cable news network (MSNBC) entirely devoted to annointing him the new Messiah. And still liberals think it's not enough.

In 2004, Newsweek's Evan Thomas (a liberal; his grandfather was Socialist Party of America leader Norman Thomas) said, "The media, I think, want [John] Kerry to win...that's going to be worth maybe 15 points." Of course, Kerry still lost, and one wonders how wide the margin would have been had he not had the media doing his bidding 24/7 heading into the election. Now ask yourself this: is the media less supportive of Obama than they were of Kerry, or more?

The fact that polls are even showing this thing as close are utterly astounding. You have a clearly charismatic candidate running against a 73-year-old personality hole, at a time when the incumbent president is one of the least popular in history, with a declining economy, an unpopular war, and the entire apparatus of the mainstream media and entertainment industry behind him, and he's tied--at best.

I don't know whether it's sad or amusing, but how much more clear could it be that the reason these people don't seem to be able to win national elections is that they live in a parallel universe? In this universe, the wall to wall media worship of Obama somehow isn't pro-Obama enough, and their man would run away with it if somehow he could just get some good coverage. It couldn't be that the American people have utterly rejected, time and time again, the "progressive" vision.

Cloak And Dagger

Read this little line from TIME Magazine a couple or twenty times and see if you can get your mind around it:
Her daughter's pregnancy is beyond her control, but the fact that she did not inform McCain's team about it until a day before he offered her the job has chagrined even her Republican backers.
In other words, TIME magazine sees potential scandal in the fact that Sarah Palin only told the McCain campaign about her daughter's pregnancy when they came to talk to her about being on the ticket, after which McCain, who knew all the facts, then went ahead and named her the veep candidate.

It's an outrage! As we all know, telling them about the situation before the nomination--when they actually approached her--isn't enough. Three months ago, she was supposed to send a postcard to the McCain campaign announcing that the rabbit had died, just in case they were interested.

Of course, this is TIME simply making stuff up. There are no "Republican backers" who are "chagrined" that Palin fully disclosed the situation to McCain when things got serious. I haven't talked to a single human being who has been miffed about the internal timing of Palin's notifying McCain of the pregnancy. Notifying him the day after the nomination is a problem. Notifying him the before the fact is how it's supposed to....oh, forget it. I can't even finish this paragraph. This is utter idiocy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bristoling With Fairness

Pointing out liberal media bias is so easy it's almost not even fun anymore. It's like shooting fish in a barrel, or winning a stuffed animal by guessing the over/under on Ann Wilson's weight. (Hint: always take the over.)

Nonetheless, certain blatant incidents of it still need to be pointed out, if for no other reason than that it acts as an encouragement for all of America outside of New York and D.C. to keep the mute button on.

We live in a country where we now know (and knew within a couple of days) every possible detail about Sarah Palin's daughter, her daughter's pregnancy, the boyfriend of the daughter (even the guy running out into the street to wash your windshield can tell you that his name is Levi and he plays hockey), and even the scurrilous rumors that Sarah Palin's baby was actually her daughter's. (Incidentally, this sounds about like how a liberal would conceive a cover-up: Sarah Palin will cover for her pregnant daughter by pretending the baby is actually hers, while simultaneously announcing to the world that her daughter is pregnant. Why, it's brilliant! I see the maleficent, plotting genius of the Bush years will be continuing through a McCain presidency.)

But while we know every detail of 17-year-old Bristol Palin's pregnancy, virtually no mainstream news organization is willing to ask any questions at all about the Muslim school Barack Obama attended in Indonesia (unless, of course, it's to quickly jump in to say, "No, it's not as bad as you think! There was no actual dynamiting taking place!). Of course, there was actual dynamiting taking place with Obama's friend William Ayers, yet the only questions asked him about the Ayers association have come from Bill O'Reilly and the hated Fox News. Have you seen Bill Ayers on the cover of people magazine or on the front page of your local newspaper lately? Why would you? He's only a self-identified communist and one of the leaders of the Weathermen who participated in terrorist bombings in the U.S.--and is a guy with whom Obama has a longstanding friendship. Ayers was quoted in the New York Times (on September 11th, 2001, no less, if you can believe that) as saying, "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough." This is a friend of Barack Obama's.

Keep in mind, Obama is his party's presidential candidate. Bristol Palin is the daughter of the other party's vice-presidential candidate. Yet how much would you say you know about Barack Obama's formative years, or the friends he keeps, that you learned in the mainstream media? How many of you could pick Barack Obama's friend Bill Ayers out of a lineup?

And, of course, as my friend Brad points out, none of this is even to mention the fact that the media sat on the John Edwards love child story for nearly a year, including while he was still a viable, active presidential candidate.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What To Make Of It All?

The fact that Sarah Palin is a woman and a mother has drawn questions from both the political Left and the Right. Of course, the questions from the Left cannot be taken seriously on this; the utter, disingenuous hypocricy of liberals asking, "But how will she take care of little Trig?" is nothing but risible. The fact that she didn't have his brain sucked out of his body already puts Mrs. Palin up 1-0 over the liberals in the Caring About Trig department.

On the right (particularly among Christian conservatives), the questions are more pressing and thoughtful, and deserve real answers. If you're interested in that question from a biblical perspective, I've found some of the things Doug Wilson has written over the last few days to be enormously helpful.

From a piece listing some of the pros and cons, Wilson writes from the con side:
One of the central lies of pop feminism has been the enticing fiction that "you can have it all." You can have a thriving family, and a career in academic physics, and be a sexpot, and have a fascinating and exciting life with numerous parties to go to, just like in the movies. In fact, just like in the movies -- because the movies have been celluoid shills for the pop feminists on this one. You can do anything you want in the movies, and to generate this impression you don't even need special effects. But it ain't true in real life, as numerous women have discovered....[W]hen the false promises of feminism are set before young girls, quite a few of them can seriously screw up their lives, and in the last go around with feminism, quite a few of them did. So put this con under the heading of role model problems.
He also lists quite a few "pros," including:
File this next one under the heading of "husbands of accomplished babes." I speak as an expert here. Feminism is not the only heterodox gender-idea we have to deal with. There is a significant stream within conservative Christian circles that is more Muslim than Christian. In my writing on family, I have called this error masculinism, the counterpart to feminism. This selection of Sarah Palin enables us to address that problem. The Bible does not teach that a woman's place is in the home. It teaches that a woman's priority is the home. If a woman accomplishes a great deal outside the home without surrendering the priority of the home, there is nothing whatever unbiblical about it.
This post caught me by surprise, and actually made me choke up (if you can believe that coming from your grizzled, emotionless correspondent).

And this post is also essential reading from a biblical perspective. This situation offers Christians a real, beautiful occasion for some thinking. What a great chance to build a more biblical worldview. Let's not let it slip away.

Heart Doesn't Heart Sarah Palin

One of the traditional rituals of the election season is some old classic rock song being used by a Republican candidate, followed by the old, grizzled, nearly forgotten performer of said classic rock song coming out of the woodwork to demand that the candidate stop using it since he/she hates the candidate and the candidate's conservative politics. (See: Tom Scholz, John Cougar Mellencamp, Jackson Browne Mellencamp, Bruce Cougar Springsteen nearly every year, et. al. ad nauseaum.)

This year, someone decided to play the old Heart song "Barricuda" at the Republican National Convention because apparently Sarah Palin's high school basketball playing nickname was "Sarah Barracuda." Predictably, within about 10 minutes, sisters Ann (see photo above) and Nancy Wilson halted their between-puppet-shows set at Six Flags to demand that the Republicans stop using the song, and to announce that Sarah Palin does not speak for American women.

This leads me to wish to say to "Barracuda" singer Ann Wilson: have another pork chop. And be glad anyone is still listening to your song.

Back From Vacation

Man, did I pick a bad time to go away. Anything happen while I was gone?

So much to post about, so little time. Hopefully we can get caught up on a few things this week.

Friday, August 29, 2008


On the Palin pick: the short answer is, I like it.

McCain is a terrible candidate. He at least needed a running mate who wouldn't hurt him with conservatives. She doesn't. And she's far easier on the eyes than Joe Lieberman.

Hey, it's only the veep. But as veeps go, I think Sarah Palin is an inspired choice. And Joe't. It gives McCain some "new and fresh" zing that he deseperately needs. For the moment, I'm still standing by my prediction that McCain will get slaughtered. He's just a terrible, terrible choice (see link above). But it's getting more interesting.

On another note, if I'm Joe Biden, I think I'm going ahead and punching Barack Obama after this kiss.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Huh. Weird.

O b a m a - B i d e n

O s a m a - Bin Laden

I'm just saying. Visually, you have to admit it's odd.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Do You Have John Edwards In The Can?

Well, I see that John Edwards, finally feeling the weight of public pressure after Rabe Ramblings blew the lid off his illegitimate child scandal yesterday (okay, maybe there were some other people reporting it too), has now admitted an affair with Rielle Hunter, but insists he's not the baby's father.

So let's think this through a little bit.

First, the media. Will they admit now that they were utterly wrong all along to be suppressing this story? It's the headline story at every media outlet right now--even the Los Angeles Times. Will they apologize to the National Enquirer? Why did Edwards find the allegations compelling enough to respond to, while the media didn't even find them compelling enough to report in most cases?

Second, what about baby-faced liar John Edwards? He denied the affair for months and now admits he was lying the whole time. But he claims the child is not his. Is he lying again? The evidence is strong that he is. Edwards claims that the baby could not be his because the math doesn't work out with the baby's birth on February 27, 2008. He says the affair ended before he could have been the father. He also, according to ABC, made a special point of saying that the affair took place before his wife's cancer recurrence.

Elizabeth Edwards' cancer reoccurred in March 2007. Assuming normal gestation, this child would have been conceived in May 2007. If that child belongs to John Edwards, he's the world's biggest cad, and as a politician he knows this. It's over for him. So he claims that the affair ended in 2006. That's convenient if it's true. Yes, it makes him a jerk who cheated on his wife, but at least he's not a complete jerk who cheated on his dying wife.

But does that claim withstand even a moment's scrutiny? If the affair ended in 2006 as he claims, why was John Edwards in his "former" mistress's hotel room at 2am a couple of weeks ago, which he now admits? Why was he photographed in his former mistress's hotel room holding some other guy's baby? Why didn't his wife know about it, as he also admits to ABC? And if it's important to him that we know his wife didn't have terminal cancer when he had the affair, did she have less terminal cancer when he decided to visit his former mistress in California last month?

And perhaps the biggest question: as a trial lawyer worth tens of millions of dollars, is this really the best this clown can come up with?

UPDATE (5:31pm): Edwards has now released a public statement. It's a lot of fun. Here's a sampling:
Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99% honest is no longer enough.
Get it? John Edwards is 99% honest! Why, that's almost perfectly honest! The only thing he lied about was cheating on his dying wife. He's only a little bit of a liar. 99% honest is a wonderful thing. Is that kind of like how his mistress was only a little pregnant?
In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic.
Gee, you don't say. I think that comes as a stunning surprise to all of us. How much did that haircut cost again?
If you want to beat me up – feel free. You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself.
Oh, I'll bet I can. Self pity is a nice note to strike when you've just been busted cheating on your dying wife and lying about it, though. And his statement still contains no explanation for why he was in Rielle Hunter's hotel room 2:40am only 2 1/2 weeks ago if the affair ended in 2006, and he says he will answer no more questions on the issue.

Well, I beg to differ, because I think the missus is going to have quite a few questions. "No, honest, honey. I broke it off two years ago, just like I told you then."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Radio (And TV And Print) Silence

I saw a hilarious ad on television the other day from Media Matters, the leftwing organization devoted to discovering conservative bias in the media. They were making the claim that....wait for it....the mainstream media was favoring John McCain over Barack Obama. But for the rest of us who are not experiencing feverish delusions, can there still be any doubt about the pronounced leftward bias of the media?

For the vast majority, this issue was settled long ago. But if there are still any holdouts, I offer to you as irrefutable proof, the mainstream media's utterly astounding handling of the story about John Edwards' illegitimate child. That is to say, they haven't handled it. At all. And yet, Edwards has been busted dead to rights.

Of course, the MSM's excuse is that the story was originally broken by the National Enquirer and so, they sniff, it's not worthy of them. The only problem is, whether it was the Enquirer or not, the story is, by all appearances, actually true. Former (and possibly future) vice-presidential candidate John Edwards, who was one of the three major Democratic presidential candidates, whose wife is terminally ill with cancer, has apparently fathered a child out of wedlock with a woman named Rielle Hunter. He even allowed a political crony to take the blame for him last December when the story first started dribbling out. Yet the story is utterly ignored by the mainstream media.

Let's imagine for a moment. Imagine that it's Dick Cheney. Or Mike Huckabee. Or Mitt Romney. Or any of a hundred other Republicans. Does the media hold back on the story? Do we not even see any of the "we're not reporting it as true, we're reporting it as something people are talking about" or the "can you believe this horrible smear campaign?" stories they've become famous for? Not a chance.

So why the total media blackout? The L.A. Times even ordered its reporters not to blog on the subject. Slate magazine is among the few liberal outlets arguing for sanity.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Eating The Eggs While Killing The Chicken

I noticed in Slate that Christopher Hitchens has written an appreciation of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Russian writer (who died over the weekend) who exposed the atrocities of the Soviet gulag in the 20th century. Of course, Solzhenitsyn was a great man and a true hero. But there's an irony in Hitchen's eulogy. He writes:

This is a kind of fortitude for which we do not have any facile name. The simplest way of phrasing it is to say that Solzhenitsyn lived "as if." Barely deigning to notice the sniggering, pick-nose bullies who followed him and harassed him, he carried on "as if" he were a free citizen, "as if" he had the right to study his own country's history, "as if" there were such a thing as human dignity.
The irony is that these "as ifs" were produced by Solzhenitsyn's strong Christian faith. Hitchens' belief system not only has no basis for producing such behavior, but none for even consistently praising it. Hitchens, in his radical atheism, believes that human life is nothing but the product of energy, time, and chance. We are, at bottom, nothing more than atoms banging together. Yet he lauds Solzhenitsyn for living "as if" there were such a thing as human dignity. If Hitchens believes there is such a thing, he didn't get that from his atheism--and is actually being inconsistent with it.

The irony is that, while Hitchens commends Solzhenitsyn's stand against the gulag, it was the gulag that was produced by Hitchens' atheism. Solzhenitsyn's stand on human dignity was produced by the Christianity that Hitchens hates, which views people not only as if they had inherent value, but as actually having it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The IOC: On The Case!

The International Olympic Committee has banned Iraq from competing in the upcoming Summer Olympics because of what it says is the government's political interference in sports.

CNN received a copy of the letter, which was sent to Jassim Mohammed Jaffer, Iraqi minister of youth and sports, and Ali Mohsen Ismail, acting secretary general of the Iraqi general secretariat of the Council of Ministers.

"We deeply regret this outcome, which severely harms the Iraqi Olympic and Sports Movement and the Iraqi athletes, but which is unfortunately imposed by the circumstances," said the letter, signed by two IOC officials.
It's good that now the IOC is cracking down on government interference with the Iraqi Olympic team. As opposed to back when when the IOC used to allow them to participate, when the late Uday Hussein was running things for the Iraqi Olympic Committe:
As president of the Iraqi National Olympic Committee, Uday allegedly tortures athletes for losing games. He sticks them in prison for days or months at a time. Has them beaten with iron bars. Caned on the soles of their feet. Chained to walls and left to stay in contorted positions for days. Dragged on pavement until their backs are bloody, then dunked in sewage to ensure the wounds become infected. If Uday stops by a player's jail cell, he might urinate on his bowed, shaven head. Just to humiliate him.
And, of course, the IOC has scheduled this years games for that bastion of governmental non-interference, China. Way to stay on it, IOC. The world rests a little better because of your vigilance.

(Undoubtedly, however, this little Iraq problem can go away if some moolah finds it's way into the right hands. For more on the utter sham that is the bribe-hungry International Olympic Committe, go here.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bush Kills A Poor Guy

The odd story of a burglar who got stuck in a ventilation shaft in a sports bar trying to make his way in after closing hours--presumably to clean out the cash register--has been in the news here in South Florida.

I'll let the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, in a story that has to be read to be believed, take it from there:
The man, identified Monday as Benjamin Rodriguez, 46 and homeless, had been dead up to 72 hours before his body was discovered Saturday, according to officials and state records. He was found upside down in the shaft, with his arms at his sides, according to the Broward Medical Examiner's Office.

His death left people wondering why anyone would take such a dangerous route, and if perhaps this is a reaction to a rough economy.
This seemed to me about the oddest possible angle somebody could put on this story. But the Sun-Sentinel's account offers opinions aplenty:
"That's crazy. It sounds like a horror movie," said Estefania Nevial, an accountant's assistant in the strip mall just south of Mayo Street. "I couldn't believe it. I guess that's how desperate people are."
I guess so. The bad economy forced him to climb down a ventilation shaft to try to rob a bar. Local officals agree:
"Desperate times bring desperate measures," Hollywood fire-rescue spokesman Battalion Chief Mark Steele said. "People will do anything right now. We're seeing a lot of weird calls. Every day you jump on that truck you're going to see something different."
Ventilation man was suddenly forced into a life of crime by the economic downturn. We want change! We want change! Barack Obama certainly wouldn't have let this man die. In order to save these people, we clearly need change to get us out of this sluggish economy perpetrated by the Evil Bush.

Almost as a footnote, the story adds:
Florida criminal records show Rodriguez has been arrested 22 times on various drug possession-related, theft and criminal traffic charges dating back to 1991. His most recent arrest was in June, when the Broward Sheriff's Office picked him up on a warrant charging grand theft, resisting a law enforcement officer and traffic violations.
Huh. That's one long, crazy, burglary-inducing recession.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Revered By Whom?

In all the furor surrounding Jesse Jackson's recent overheard comments about Barack Obama, the thing being largely ignored is the thing I find most offensive: this clown is supposed to be a minister.

Of course, as with his friend/rival Al Sharpton, we all know that the title "Reverend" is just a fig-leaf cover for his real work, which is race-baiting and hucksterism. If there were any holdouts on the issue of Jackson's piety, I think they were pretty conclusively dislodged earlier this decade by the news of his illegitimate child. (Though to his credit, Jackson was embarrassed enough about the incident that he announced he was dropping out of public life for a period of time, which ended up being exactly one weekend.)

Nonetheless, it's unseemly for someone who claims to be a preacher of the gospel to be speaking this way. In reality, the only "gospel" Jackson is selling is the good news that a corporation that it will not be boycotted if it pays him hush money. Theologically, Jackson is not a Christian. As a graduate (though he never completed the work and was awarded the degree in 2000 because of "life experiences") of the Chicago Theological Seminary (which recently launched it's Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer Religious Studies Center), Jackson holds to a liberal theology that, as the scholar J. Gresham Machen pointed out, is an altogether different religion from Christianity, despite stealing some terminology.

So I shouldn't be surprised. Jackson's not about Jesus. He's about Jesse.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The "Pregnant Man"

Undoubtedly, you've heard the story the media has been relentlessly hyping about the so-called “pregnant man.” "Thomas Beatie," has made the rounds of the tabloids, gossip shows, cable news networks, and predictably enough, Oprah. Some have even called it a miracle.

But since people rarely read past headlines, I've found there to be some confusion on the matter among many folks. Is a man miraculously pregnant?

Well, not quite. The fact is, Beatie was born as--and lived 24 years as--a female named Tracy LaGondino. She did modeling work, and was even a finalist in the Miss Hawaii Teen USA pageant. When she decided she wanted to be a man, she had some cosmetic surgery and took some male hormones. But as even Beatie herself told Oprah, “I opted not to do anything with my reproductive organs because I wanted to have a child one day.” In other words, biologically this person is female, and still capable of carrying a baby, just as she was designed.

What we’re seeing here is not a result of some confounding medical phenomenon, but rather the outworking of silly "social science" programs that have been darkening college campuses for years. In such programs, originally instigated by the feminist movement, there is a push to separate the concept of gender from biological sex. In this view, while sex is biologically determined, gender is not, but rather is a social identity we choose for ourselves. Some choose one gender, some choose another, and some change their minds. Whatever you decide you are is what you are, and none of it is tied to your biological makeup or immutable.

While such ideas might make sense in the halls of addled university gender studies departments (and in fact, it's actually a lot of fun to Google "gender studies programs" and just look at the bios for faculty at the schools that pop up, where you'll never see a more hilarious stew of pseudo-scholarship and pretense), most people still tend to know better. According to a Reuters story, “The couple said an earlier attempt at pregnancy failed when he developed a tubal pregnancy, resulting in surgery that removed his Fallopian tubes.” The story went on to say that Beatie was artificially inseminated.

However somebody wishes to identify themselves, only confused reporters and gender studies professors would call someone a "man" who has Fallopian tubes, a womb, can be inseminated, and is pregnant. The fact that Thomas Beatie calls herself a man doesn’t make it so, because male and female are not simply arbitrary identities we can shed at will. There’s no miracle here, and there’s no medical mystery. It’s simply the normal pregnancy of a gal who likes to dress up and identify herself as a man.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Kill And Eat

I've noticed with passing interest the phenomenon among my fellow evangelicals of adopting fad diets that market themselves as somehow being "biblical." Certain authors (not to mention "Christian" chiropractors and dieticians) have made a mint putting Christians back under the Old Covenant law.

The unexamined assumption here, almost universally believed, is that God gave Israel the dietary laws primarily for health reasons. But such a view of the law is not sustainable by the text. As if God somehow wanted to take away these health blessings from the church when He pronounced all foods clean again in Acts 10:15.

Nonetheless, such diets have found a fertile market among food-phobic evangelicals. In a fascinating ongoing series, Doug Wilson looks at how we got that way and why it's wrong. Start at the bottom and read up.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Around The Horn

Some links for the weekend:
  • Maybe everybody else already knew about this, but I just discovered this amazing site where you can watch episodes of classic and current television shows (like "Hill Street Blues," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Office") as well as movies (like "Raising Arizona," "The Jerk," and "The Usual Suspects").
  • Salon offers this complete de-pantsing of Keith Olbermann, who spent ten minutes on his program in January comparing President Bush to the Third Reich for wanting to amend the Foreign Intelligence Survellience Act (FISA) to give telcomm companies retroactive immunity for warrentless surveillance conducted under presidential authority. When Barack Obama said the other day that he also thought maybe it was a good idea, Olbermann turned out to be all for it. But while Salon strips Olbermann bare, at least they leave his toupee largely intact.
  • Jonah Goldberg at NRO must have read my blog yesterday. His piece on the Supreme Court nails it, saying, "Today, that despot has a name. It’s Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy rules — thanks to his status as the court’s swing vote — as the true King of America." Commenting on the despicable act committed by President Bush--who is sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution--in signing McCain-Feingold while admitting the unconstitutionality of it, Goldberg also writes:
    Aside from a legalistic-yet-lawless despotism that makes the meaning of our Constitution hinge on how much fiber Justice Kennedy’s diet has on a particular day, the result of this pathetic state of affairs is that the first branch of government doesn’t take itself seriously.
  • Mona Charen is equally excellent, writing:
    In fact, when you consider that the court is pretty well divided between four liberals and four conservatives with Justice Kennedy swinging from one side to another as the spirit moves him, we now enjoy a Republic of Kennedy. All this fuss and bother about the presidential race is misplaced. The most powerful man in the land is someone most Americans couldn’t pick out of a lineup.
  • Canada's National Post points out a difficult but obvious Canadian truth: Mike Myers just isn't funny anymore, and hasn't been for some time.
Have a great weekend, and don't kill each other stampeding into the theater for that new Pixar film, "We Print Our Own Money Now."