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.