Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Richard Cohen Has a Maureen Dowd Moment

There was a time back before she won her Pulitzer for whatever it is she does, when Maureen Dowd turned on Bill Clinton. I think it was the Monica Lewinsky scandal, what with Maureen having so obviously been the cheated on one so often in her personal life....but she turned on the President, and she turned on him hard. She rode her criticism of Bill Clinton for all it was worth, and she's been dining out on the fame it produced ever since.

I think we're beginning to see the same thing with Richard Cohen and Barack Obama. I think he's turning on our President, beginning to see what a superficial shell of a man he really is. And it is happening before our eyes. More please. Much more.

Caskets No Longer Interesting Without Bush

Back in the days of "Bush Lied, Soldiers Died", the media couldn't wait to get to Dover AFB to cover the arrival of flag-draped caskets. Bush said no--not on my watch. Well, on Mr. Obama's watch (April), the Department of Defense began to allow it, with a set of rules specified. After an initial flurry, the press has lost interest--even as deaths have begun to mount in Afghanistan.

According to Byron York--they've lost interest because there's no George Bush to connect to the deaths anymore. I'm inclined to agree.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Obama to "Isolate" Iran

President Obama, he of the "changed intelligence" on Iran that led to the new missile defense scheme in Europe, is now reacting to the "changed intelligence" on Iran that indicates the presence of a second, secret uranium enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom (on a side note, it seems to me that Islam has an awful lot of "holy cities"). That the President knew of this facility DURING THE TRANSITION has been widely reported--yet he still sent them a "why can't we just be friends" letter (which the Iranians ignored for six months), he still set up talks with them (starting October 1) and he still went ahead with his missile defense plan for Europe.

The Clinton and Bush Administrations have been warning the world about Iran for years, yet Russia, China, and often Old Europe have conspired to keep sanctions on Iran to no more than a trifling. This article mentions some interesting financial weapons (targeting the insurance market) being used against the Iranians, which is something I applaud.

But I don't see the international community coming together to the extent necessary to make a sanctions regime against Iran work, at least not yet. Hell, Roman Polanski drugged and raped a 13 year old, and the international community wants him set free. My friend Chris Preble at CATO has an interesting take on the issue, and advocates offering to end Iran's isolation in order to get them to give up their nuclear weapons program. I actually think that this is largely the policy goal of the Obama Administration, one that is unlikely to work and which will put us right back where we are now.

Here's one policy option that I haven't heard mentioned. Why not move right past the government in Tehran and start talking directly to the people? Why not start to educate the (recently restive, well-educated and relatively free) Iranian population as to EXACTLY what being a nuclear nation means. Western democracies and even the former Soviet Union had rich intellectual debates as to under what conditions nuclear weapons would be used (the Soviet Union's debates were of course, not conducted in the pages of The Atlantic Monthly as ours were) and how they would be controlled.

Let's get that debate started in Iran. Let's let the people of Iran know what the responsibilities of being a nuclear nation are. Let's acquaint them with the mathematics of nuclear weaponry, which go something like this: "you've been working for fifteen years on your nuclear program, and our evidence suggests that you don't have any weapons yet--but you may have 2-5 weapons in the next three to five years. We have 9000 nuclear weapons (including 6700 reserve/stockpiled warheads). At this moment, we have ten warheads each targeted at Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Qom. Should you use a nuclear weapon against any other nation, or should you supply a nuclear weapon to any other nation or group, we will consider that an act of nuclear aggression against the people of the United States, and we will retaliate with the full range of conventional and nuclear options." And then, of course, we have to be ready to carry this policy out.

The Mullahs have built their program in secret, and are defending it now (obliquely) with references to their place in the region, their greatness, etc. But their people have not heard what the consequences of their actions are. They have not heard what being part of the nuclear club means--and that is, your entire civilization will be on the target list.

Will such a declaration by us be popular? Of course not. Will the Iranian government foment huge demonstrations in the streets to protest our "aggression". Of course they will. But in house after house throughout the country, families will begin to talk over their dinner about what nuclear weapons mean and whether or not having them is such a hot deal. I think this is a conversation that will ultimately play out in our favor.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Preventive Healthcare I Can Believe In

Courtesy of Mark Steyn at NRO.

President Pushes Longer School Day, Year

Interesting statements here from the President; wonder if his stratospheric support from the teacher's unions will survive this call for them to work a day and year like much of the rest of the workforce.

By the way, I agree with President Obama on this.

The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy

Ex-President Bill Clinton revealed for all to hear today that the "vast right-wing conspiracy"--a term coined by his wife while he and she were its primary targets, is alive and well today.

I don't get it. George Bush the Younger governed for eight years in the face of virulent opposition, which often included the "mainstream" media. Yet there was no "vast left-wing conspiracy" either claimed by the right or left during that time. It was what we have always known as "opposition politics".

How come when the left is in power, there's a conspiracy at work?

WaPost Continues Its Role in the VA Gov Race

The Post LOVES to tilt elections in Virginia.....they're now so in the tank for Creigh Deeds it isn't even funny. Democrat ex-Governor Douglas Wilder is refusing to endorse Deeds, and it gets a Metro section below the fold mention. As Katherine Lopez of NRO points out, if it were a prominent ex-Republican governor withholding support for McDonnell, you'd read it on page one....

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Get the Pulitzer Ready

No, this is not another tale about media bias and lack of standards in journalism. That's such a given it's hardly even interesting anymore. What follows is an example of how hungry we apparently must be for the most insignificant details of the First Family's life, from Politico:
"The first lady, wearing a green sweater and slacks, was already on the scene when the motorcade arrived at the soccer field next to the school. The president, accompanied by Reggie Love, was wearing jeans, a black jacket and a White Sox cap. Bo was also there, though pool was unclear as to whether the first dog arrived with the president. After watching the second half of the game, the first couple headed back to the White House at 12:09 p.m. Michelle then walked BO, WHO OUR DILIGENT POOLER REPORTS PERFORMED HIS REQUIRED DUTIES, on the White House lawn."

George Will Hearts Marco Rubio

Interesting piece by Mr. Will here regarding Florida's Senate race next year, and the foolhardy judgment of Senate Republicans to endorse Charlie 'I support the stimulus' Crist. I confess to being one of those in Crist's camp early because I thought his popularity would ensure the GOP held on to that seat.

But once I started doing some research (and I believe CW had a post in the spring touting the guy as a start to that research), there's little not to like about Rubio. And let's face it, he's a looker. But beyond that and his conservative virtues, I think both his youth and his roots make him an incredibly compelling candidate at a time when our party consists of a lot of old white guys. (Not, of course, that there's anything wrong with old white guys). This will be an interesting race to watch.

What The Cool Girls Wear To A Posthumous Medal Of Honor Ceremony

I know--I'm out of my league on this one--but come on, isn't this a little much?

More Soft Bigotry....

There's been a good deal of talk this week in the blogosphere about the left-wing protesters in Pittsburgh for the G-20, their conduct, and the relative silence of the media to their activities as opposed to their endless hyperventilating about the grave dangers to the Republic posed by septuagenarians with the temerity to question their legislators.

Explanations for the press disinterest won't surprise any of us, mostly centering around common cause, and affinity politics. That said, I saw somewhere (I can't remember now where) a commentator who said it is the "soft bigotry of low-expectations" at work again, in that, well, that's the way leftist protesters are SUPPOSED to act--you know, the puppets, the masks, the violence, etc. It's in their DNA for heaven sake. But moderate and right of center people? Well first of all, they're not supposed to protest ANYTHING. But if they did, such protests should have been much better behaved because, well, that's the way such people are supposed to act!

Sarkozy Lives In The Real World

Interesting piece here about the differences between French President Sarkozy's address to the UN and The Dear Leader's. Sarkozy takes a more realistic, tougher stance with the Iranians and North Koreans, basically asking the question, "how's that dialogue thing working out for you?". I think it was telling that two day's after Mr. Obama's speech, the Iranians cop to a second enrichment facility. We have an amateur at the helm of the ship of state, someone who believes his ability to schmooze some of the other criminals in the Illinois Statehouse readied him to negotiate with the pros.

H/T: Instapundit

UPDATE: In the campaign, we heard "I'll talk to them". After he became President, he sent them a letter (they ignored it for five months, then answered with a ramblingly incoherent piece of diplomatic artwork). We've listened endlessly to the self-important utterances of the guy who knew better, for whom history and experience were but obstacles to be overcome. Now that he's in the job, he finds that the world doesn't work according to Obama rules.

Obama Will Get Healthcare Legislation

Back when I was in grad school, I had a professor who used to say that our system is not "majority rules"--but "the rule of a determined majority". That's what we have now--a determined majority. Read Keith Hennessey's assessment of the legislative landscape--listen to the signs and signals that are coming from Reid and Pelosi. While we'll all have a grand time watching the Blue Dogs make some noise, in the end, they just don't have the numbers to do anything but nuance legislation (which to a large extent, they already have).

What comes out of Congress is going to be something much like the Baucus Bill--no public option, but much of the rest of what the President wanted. This will be a bitter pill for many Democrats to swallow, but if they took a big breath they would celebrate 1) the largest expansion of government since the 1960's and 2) that the camel's nose is in the tent with respect to single-payer.

What we are seeing is the value of winning elections--and yes, I know that sounds obvious here. I'm talking about the "process" of winning. I'm talking about are the 2006 mid-terms....and the 2008 elections. The Democrats concentrated on winning. They fielded better candidates. They capitalized on discontent...all things Republicans should be doing. And for good or bad, they are effectively using their power to accomplish their goals. There's a lot hear to (re)learn. I hope we're paying attention.

Keith Hennessey Briefs The Baucus Bill

Providing an invaluable service, Keith Hennessey looks at the Baucus healthcare bill and provides a memorandum in the style that he would have prepared for the President. Hennessey is rapidly proving to be a national treasure for his ability to take complex issues and distill them into their constituent parts. This is unemotional analysis, and points out both the strengths and weaknesses of the legislation.

And his analysis of the legislative landscape ain't too shabby either.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Big Fat Friday Free For All

All Time High (April 1 2009): 192.2
Diet start (June 1): 189
Last Friday: 170.4
Today: 169.8
Goal: Sub 160

Finally--back into the 160's.

Lot's to talk about this week, no doubt about it. Schoolkids singing the praises of The One, UN speeches, healthcare slogging on--what's on your mind? Anything bothering you? Unburden yourselves!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Obama and The Good War

While running for President and hoping to avoid the perception that as a Democrat, he was naturally soft on national security issues, Barack Obama joined the chorus of Democrats trying similarly to burnish their defense bona fides by criticizing the Bush administration for the war in Iraq--and its concomitant distraction from what they saw as "the good war" in Afghanistan, being waged against people who actually attacked us.

Most of us realized what that was then--a campaign gimmick, easy to pull given that a Republican was in the White House.

But now that the Dems are in the White House and control the Congress....the "good war" belongs to them. And it is getting ugly. Our Viceroy in Afghanistan, General (Afghani)Stanley McCrystal, recently produced a 66 page report for the President that basically says, "if we don't pour a bunch of troops in, we'll lose within a year". So that's what he gave the President--two options. Do what I want, or lose the war. Apparently the President didn't like those options--so he began some independent thinking with his national security staff. Someone--I don't know who but I have my suspicions--leaked the McCrystal report to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post--who published it yesterday. Now the cat's out of the bag and the President's got a real turd on his hands.

A couple of things:
1. This does not appear to be good staff work. Giving the President two options--this or lose--is not the way we're taught to do things. Make your staff stretch--even if it results in a low probability of success course of action--and send that COA up with a statement of low confidence.
2. This leak is dirty pool, even in Washington DC. This was designed specifically to embarrass the President and to tie his hands.
3. The President should absolutely now seek another opinion, some other options. Even if he eventually does what McCrystal asks, he is obligated to listen to other opinions. Do I have one? No. I am so out of my depth when it comes to Afghanistan it isn't even funny. But there are good, smart people out there who can help.

Would Mandatory Healthcare Be Consitutional?

I don't know--but the folks at are on the job. At issue here is the Supreme Court's 20th Century predilection to expansively interpret the commerce clause. But Jacob Sullom asks a good question here--would NOT engaging in commerce be covered by the commerce clause (i.e, choosing not to buy insurance).

I have a feeling that mando insurance would pass constitutional muster.

Massachusetts Is A Banana Republic

Just watch machine politics on display, as the Democratically controlled (natch) legislature hands the Governor a measure that grants him the power to appoint a fill-in Senator to stand in Senator Kennedy's place now that he is dead. This of course, only five years after changing the law to ensure that the then Governor (Mitt Romney) could not do the same thing, just in case Senator Kerry won the Presidential election.

This is banana republic politics at its worst. Senator Kennedy knew he was dying for a long, long time. He could have resigned, and Massachusetts could already have had its special election. But no--he held onto his seat, and in the final days of his allotted time on earth, wrote the legislature a tear-jerker asking them to change the law back so that there could be a reliable Democratic vote in the majority leader's pocket when healthcare legislation moved forward.

The President holds Honduras up for contempt when its Supreme Court--in a Constitutionally mandated process--removed the President. Yet he has pushed this ridiculous sham in Massachusetts. Shame.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The One Takes on Mideast Peace

Word today of our Sermonizer-in-Chief delivering unto the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority a stern lecture to move them forward on peace negotiations.

So, if the Israelis and the Palestinians don't make peace, is it because they are racist?

Former Bush Speechwriter Writes Book; Gets Ass Kicked By Former Boss

Former GWB speechwriter Matt Latimer has written a tell-all in which he comes off as brilliant but disillusioned, surrounded at the White House by a bunch of idiots. The man who hired him, Bill McGurn, has written a superb take-down, one he asserts would never have been written if Latimer hadn't opened his yap.

Richard Cohen Sizes Up The President

It looks like New York Governor Patterson's feckless term has become of interest to the leader of the national Democratic Party, one Mr. Barack Obama. Richard Cohen does a fine job of describing what it is like to stand between Mr. Obama and his goals. Say what you want about the President--he clearly seems to know how to wield power in a fashion that would make Machiavelli proud.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

VDH on the War in Afghanistan

Victor Davis Hanson is one of my favorite conservative thinkers/academics. He's got a post up this morning on the war in Afghanistan that makes a lot of sense to me. I'd like to see the President be a bit more decisive about his support for General McChrystal's plans, and if/when he does, I'll be proud to see conservatives standing with the President while his "good war in Afghanistan" supporters from the left abandon him in droves.

Dick Morris Tells It Like It Is

I think Dick Morris is a kinda sleazy, and I think he'd sell his mother if the price is right. But that doesn't mean he isn't a smart political animal. Here he is with some analysis of the sinking ship that is Obamacare.

Mandatory insurance--an idea I am on record as supporting--is going to be yet another Achilles Heel to Democratic plans (the most prominent of which is the Baucus plan being considered in the Senate Finance Committee) and it is the President's own fault.

Everyone knew his "I won't raise taxes on people making less than $250K pledge" was a campaign ploy, likely to be abandoned when the realities of governing began. But I think most of us thought it meant he'd go after folks making $200K or maybe $175K. But the mandatory healthcare provision is going to hit folks all the way down to those who qualify for Medicare. No matter how you slice it, when the government tells you at the point of a gun (this is what coercive power is all about) that it is going to separate you and your money--this is a tax. And it is going to fall most heavily on constituencies that likely were big Obama boosters--the working poor and the young.

If you think it is inconsistent for a guy who supports mandatory health insurance to revel in the political misfortune of a President who also wants it, keep in mind that there are a whole lot of other things he wants that I don't, and also, I'm not the guy who said he wouldn't raise your taxes.

TARP One Year Later

National Review's Kevin Williamson has a great piece on National Review Online in which he very publicly states that his opposition to the Troubled Asset Relief Plan (the bank bailout) was wrong. His concession is worth reading, if for no other reason than to get a quick dose of Uncle Miltie (Milton Friedman).

When the history of this recession is written, the TARP bailout--conceived by the Bush Administration's team as they were beginning to think seriously about what life out of power would be like--will be pointed to as the single most important thing the Federal Government did to avert depression and set the stage for a recovery. I wrote one of my favorite blog entries on the day the House Republicans handed the Bush Administration a defeat on TARP--I felt that House Members were voting to send the Republican Party into the minority for 40 years. Eventually, TARP passed the house, and it provided credit markets with the resources they needed to put their collective fingers in the dyke. We did not slip into depression, and more and more of the TARP money is flowing BACK into the treasury as banks recover and realize they don't like having Uncle Sam on their backs.

What have we done since TARP? How about a $800B in non-stimulative stimulus? How about a $900B health care plan that does not lower costs and covers about 5 million uninsureds? How about tripling the debt? None of this has helped.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What Will The Future Say About Us?

Now I know why I lost girls to guys like these:

It's the stories they tell! Lee Harvey - YOU are a maaaad maaannn!!
Hat Tip:

What all the cool chicks are wearing this season

Seen at the Emmys last night.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wherefore Flowchart Thou?

A handy, if not timely, racism determinator here from (h/t that, I believe, settles once and for all, the debate about who is racist and who isn't. I particularly like it because it does actually consider that a non-white might, just might, be racist. See where you fall in this assessment.

To be fair, I listened to a snippet preview of the President speaking on Meet the Press this morning before getting on the road wherein he addressed former and still reigning worst President of my lifetime Carter's decree that any and all who dare question Him (no, not Christ--even Christ is okay to critique these days, no, I'm talking about the new Savior) are racists. I was actually taken somewhat aback at the President's dismissal of (Not Welcome Back) Carter's sweeping edict. In it, he made a surprisingly cogent comment that while there are probably some who didn't vote for him because of the color of his skin, there where certainly those who voted for him precisely because of that AND that the real push back he is getting from the voters is a fundamental disagreement on the degree to which government should be involved in the affairs of the citizenry. It's the first time in a while that I felt compelled to say, "Thank You, Mr. President." I still don't like your governing. But I appreciate, greatly, that acknowledgment.

The Soft Bigotry Of Low Expectations

The New York Daily News is reporting that the Obama Administration, as well as some in the upper echelons of the Democratic National Committee, is subtly urging New York Governor David Paterson not to seek re-election in 2010. Is this an acknowledgment by Democrats of Gov. Paterson’s executive incompetence, or something more…sinister?

It would certainly help to fuel rumors of a Hillary run.

The First Lady Enters the Healthcare Debate

Michelle Obama has jumped feet first into the healthcare debate, choosing to frame the current system as sexist (a welcome respite from charges of racism). Ironic, given that women live longer than men under this system that "crushes" them. H/T Instapundit.

Ok--let's all get ready for it--the opposition to Democratic healthcare plans will now roll in on Mrs. Obama as a legitimate political target--which she has made herself. The Dems will then respond that this is an uncalled for and unprecedented attack on a First Lady, clearly a manifestation of the racism and sexism with which the Republican Party and the conservative movement are rife.


A Fantastic Take-Down of Paul Krugman

This is the way to fillet someone. Someday I'll be able to write and reason like this.

H/T: Greg Mankiw

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Your Stimulus Money At Work

Elementary school science project standards appear to have slackened somewhat following the death of Mr. Wizard.

Hat Tip:

Lost In Translation

Recent comments made by Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright may provide some context around this week’s decision by the Obama Administration to walk away from the Eastern Europe land-based missile defense strategy.

Russian media outlet Pravda reports that Albright, speaking at a forum in Omsk, Siberia, remarked that America no longer had the intention of being the first nation of the world. "We have been talking about our exceptionalism during the recent eight years. Now, an average American wants to stay at home - they do not need any overseas adventures. We do not need new enemies," Albright is quoted to have said.

With former secretaries of state like this, who needs new enemies?

Hat Tip: Powerline by way of Tigerhawk

An Analysis of The Obama Missile Defense Decision

President Obama's decision to scrap a major land-based portion of the worldwide missile defense architecture must be looked at along two major lines of analysis--military and political. I have blogged a bit about the military side here, but have remained largely silent on the political side of the equation.

First, on the military side of the equation, the President's plan is a sensible reaction to changes in the Iranian missile order of battle; more precisely, to our understanding of that order of battle. The Bush plan for land based sensors and interceptors (in Poland and the Czech Republic) was optimized against large, long-range ICBM's, which we believed would be operational in Iran in the 2015 timeframe. A new intelligence assessment indicates that Iran's long range missile programs have stalled in favor of short and medium range missiles, which are proliferating. The sea-based systems cited by the President--and land-based applications thereof and of existing land-based missile defense systems--are thought to be suitable to the threat as it is developing. It is my assessment--based on my knowledge of the threat, the sea-based systems, and the scrapped land-based system--that the President has not appreciably altered either European or American security with this decision. Clearly there is (military) risk in this decision, flowing from the possibility that the updated threat assessment is wrong, and that the Iranians have continued to move full steam ahead on their long-range weapons development program.

Now onto the politics of the decision.

First of all, the fact that that the intelligence assessment conveniently serves what was an openly stated policy goal of the Obama CAMPAIGN--cutting investment in missile defense and eliminating "unproven" systems--brings into question the legitimacy of the intelligence. Obviously, one can accuse the President of "pressuring" the intelligence community into reaching conclusions that support his policy (we've seen those charges before, haven't we. But don't hold your breath waiting for the media to make them against The One). But I don't think that's what was at work here. What I think is that the original Bush plan to cite weapons and sensors in Eastern Europe was a very forward leaning move--that is, that the Bush Administration sought to provide Europe and the United States with security against threats that were planned, rather than existed. But here's the interesting part--I think the Bush team KNEW that, and that they went ahead with their plan EXPLICITLY to rock the Russians back on their heels. The Russians objected to the Eastern European missile defense system from the start, claiming it was "aimed" at them. They claimed that it caused instability. Their breathless protests clearly went beyond a rational view (they were smart enough to know that missile defense systems are just that, defensive), but they were not going to sit idly by and watch the US operate openly in their sphere of influence. Russian pride was at stake here, and that pride was manifested in their Testostocrat President's (Putin) rhetoric, both private and public. The bottom line here: I think the Bush team went ahead with the system knowing all the while that at some point, they or some other administration might deal it away in order to get something tangible from the Russians.

So now we find ourselves having walking away from the system, unilaterally it would appear. What are the political and strategic consequences of that act? Firstly, we've hung the Czech and Polish governments out to dry in a big way. These former Soviet satellites gamely played along on the invasion of Iraq and put Western Europe to shame in the loyalty and support business. One cannot however, ignore the unpopularity of the missile system with both states' native populations. While the people didn't get that the system was defensive in nature, they did get that it pissed the Russians off, and that wasn't something they considered to be in their best interests.

By hanging the Czechs and the Poles out to dry (and now also Honduras, separately), we have placed in the minds of nations with whom we might do business in the future the seeds of doubt about the continuity of US foreign policy, and whether or not we can be considered a trustworthy friend.

Next, walking away from the land-based architecture in Eastern Europe emboldens an aleady hopped up Vlad Putin to think that he really is the Gangster of the Gulag. In the zero-sum game that is international power, we blinked. His position is made stronger, his rising dominance in European affairs is manifest, his shadow over Eastern Europe lengthens.

At the end of the day though, is there a strategic objective that might be worth 1) causing doubt as to US reliability and 2) emboldening Putin? Well, maybe. If removing the missile shield caused the Russians to lean on their lapdogs in Tehran in a manner meaningful to the policy goal of denying the Iranians nuclear weapons--well then maybe this was simply a natural and expected evolution of the Bush plan to site the weapons there in the first place. Do I think this is the case? I hope so. I have been resolute in the past that the higher you go in the two US political parties, the more alike they are on foreign and defense policies. The goals are similar, if not the same--what differs (sometimes markedly) are the methods. Only time will tell if this was a brilliant strategic move or a unilateral wave of the white flag designed to generate more money for domestic community organizing and socialized medicine. The Russians have the next move.

Meanwhile, GWB 3 Continues Elsewhere....

Anyone notice that the President has asked the Congress to extend the Patriot Act? That's right, the evil, vilified Patriot Act--long the darling whipping boy of the left and libertarians alike--appears to the suddenly sane and sagacious security team in the White House as legislation worth extending.

I don't know why anyone believes anything these people say.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Big Fat Friday Free For All

All Time High (April 1 2009): 192.2
Diet start (June 1): 189
Last Friday: 171.0
Today: 170.4
Goal: Sub 160

Things definitely slowing on the diet front, but I'm pleased not to have given anything back. Work/travel sked definitely plays into it (and my blogging!)

Here it is once again my friends, BFFFFA! What's on your mind? Glad the kiddies are back to school? Worried that the President is going to disband the 82nd Airborne Division to appease the Russians? Sound off here or forever hold your peace.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Biggest. Goober. Ever.

Watch Creigh Deeds explain how he won't raise taxes. Unless, of course, he raises them. It's a few minutes long but is priceless viewing.

Dear Poland, Happy Soviet Invasion Day. Love, Uncle Sam

"[T]he timing of today’s [missile defense] announcement was, at least for Poles, inauspicious: Today marks the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939 (pictured here), a point that has not been lost on the Polish press."

(Hat tip's Danger Room)

The Threat Of A Nuclear And Ballistic Iran Is Over

It would have to be for the administration to scuttle plans for a missile defense shield for Eastern Europe and to potentially undermine relations with our allies Poland and the Czech Republic.

I mean, the President was fairly clear last April:

“So let me be clear: Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran's neighbors and our allies. The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles. As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven. If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile defense construction in Europe will be removed.”

It’s a pretty safe bet that any decision to kill the deal will be based on the judgment by the administration that the current strategy was costly and unproven, not that the threat from Iran had been neutralized.

Because that would certainly be news to French President Sarkozy.

If Obama's approval ratings in Eastern Europe fall as a result, does that mean the Poles and Czechs are rascist?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Instant Karma Is Going To Get You

The House voted 240-179 last night in favor of a resolution rebuking Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) for shouting “You Lie!” in a crowded theatre of liars. The resolution admonishes the congressman for violating “basic rules of decorum and civility.” Um hmm.

For his part, the President took the outburst and ensuing apology in stride. “He apologized quickly and without equivocation, and I appreciate that,” Obama said. “I do think we have to get to the point where we have a conversation without…assuming the worst in people.”

“We are all Americans,” Obama added, “For the most part, we have the same motives.”

And apparently the same tactics. Isn’t this same “in your face” style of confrontation and disruption the preferred method utilized by the president’s previous employer, the Association of Community Associations for Reform Now (ACORN)? From an article detailing the inner workings of the group:

Acorn protesters have disrupted Federal Reserve hearings, but mostly deploy their aggressive tactics locally. Chicago is home to one of its strongest chapters, and Acorn has burst into a closed city council meeting there. Acorn protestors in Baltimore disrupted a bankers’ dinner and sent four busloads of profanity-screaming protestors against the mayor’s home, terrifying his wife and kids. Even a Baltimore city council member who generally supports Acorn said their intimidation tactics had crossed the line.

Wilson’s temper got the best of him, and he was wrong to use that particular forum to express himself. But spare me the hyperventilating and righteous indignation from the party that booed the previous president during the 2005 State of the Union, and whose party leadership continually referred to that same president as a “failure” and “loser”.

Their man in office should be used to such tactics - it was part of his curriculum.

“House Rules Ban ‘Liar’, ‘Hypocrite’, ‘Intellectually Dishonest’…”

The headline on Drudge this morning. Doesn’t this effectively wipe out the entire legislative body of the House?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Don’t Hate Him Because He’s Wrong…

…hate him because he’s black, or so it would seem (or not).

Now everyone's jumping into the Right-hates-Obama-because-he-is-a-black-man scrum, even irrelevant ex-presidents:

Carter should know of what he speaks. After all, he wrote the book on racism.

Knowledge Puffeth Up or Puffethetiness is Bad

In his Think Again Blog, Stanley Fish of the New York Times discusses curiosity. Is it a sin or an inalienable right?

As an (tongue-in-cheek?) aside, Fish offers up the Incredible Hulk as an additional example of cautionary tales such as Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” H.G. Wells’ “The Island of Dr. Moreau” and Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." I must admit Bruce Banner's torment actually made me more curious as a child about how experimentation could one day imbue me with super powers. What kid didn't want to be green, strong, and dare I say puffety?

The Importance of History

Without a knowledge of history, we would not be aware of these gems:

Victims of the Black Death grew boobs on their necks.

The Reformnation happened when German nobles resented the idea that tithes were going to Papal France or the Pope thus enriching Catholic coiffures.

The German Emperor’s lower passage was blocked by the French for years and years.

Taxation was a great drain on the state budget.

Problems were so complexicated that in Paris, out of a city population of one million people, two million able bodies were on the loose.

Perhaps I Should Re-Think My Stance On Czars

H/T Instapundit

Monday, September 14, 2009

New York Times Covers Opposition to Obama as Racism--Though It Is Clear That No Dems Think This

Yet another reference to the "because he is black" line. The logic is clear. Obama is right, whatever he says is sensible and indisputable. Therefore, opposition to him cannot possibly be based on the merits of the issues. Therefore, it must be because he is black. Eight years of vehement resistance to Bill Clinton by the right does not in any way shake the confidence of those holding this insipid narrative. And there continue to be those who won't even acknowledge the existence of the narrative--much harder to do when their chief propaganda sheet (NYT) is covering it.

A Favorite Photo From The 9-12 March

H/T Veronique de Rugy at NRO

A Change of Seasons on the Farm

We've had the windows open at night out on the farm the past couple of nights and by morning, we wish they'd been closed. There's on tree on the lane that has already begun to change its leaves, and most telling of all, I heard geese noisily honking away out in the cove two nights ago. Pretty soon the windows will be closed tight, both to keep the cold and the noise of the geese out. I love living on the Eastern Shore, but love living there in the Fall best of all.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

President Says Republicans Scuttling Healthcare For Political Gain

Last I checked, he's got the votes in his own party in both chambers. What's the problem?

While You Were Sleeping…

…the Obama Administration announced late Friday that it is willing to meet one on one with North Korea, signaling a shift from its previous position on insistence on multi-party talks. State Department PJ Crowley said the direct approach might get the Norks back to the nuclear negotiating table.

Oh dear. I hope Hillary doesn’t suffer poor Hans Blix’ fate:

Promise kept.

Further Evidence That I'm Crazy For Thinking Liberals Equate Disagreement And Racism

Maureen Dowd, today.

How The Game Began Yesterday...

A bad omen.

Credit Where Credit Is Deserved

News from London on growing tensions between anti Islamic militant factions and Muslim counterprotestors. What I found interesting here is where both the article’s author and the British Communities Minister are seeking to lay blame:

The violence that has hit Luton, Birmingham and London in the last few months has involved a loose collection of far-right groups - such as the previously unknown English Defense League - on one side and anti-fascist organizations and Muslim youth on the other.

In an interview published Saturday, Communities Minister John Denham accused the anti-Islam protesters of deliberately stirring up trouble. "The tactic of trying to provoke a response in the hope of causing wider violence and mayhem is long established on the far-right and among extremist groups," Denham was quoted as saying by The Guardian newspaper. "You could go back to the 1930s if you wanted to - Cable Street."

Denham was referring to a 1936 confrontation sparked by British fascist leader Oswald Mosley's decision to march through the then-heavily Jewish East End of London. Mosley's pro-Nazi followers were met at Cable Street by Jews, communists and anarchists, and a pitched battle ensued.

Now wait a tick – I know that they do things a bit differently over there, but aren’t Fascism and Nazism ideologies of the Left?

I Am Covered In Shame....

....for choosing to go to Charlottesville yesterday to watch the Al Groh-coached UVA football team stumble around the field. I should have been in Washington. I should have been there with the Tea Party crowd.

UVA lost 30-14 to the #19 TCU Horned Frogs. A couple of things:
1. The fourteen points all came at the end of the 4th quarter against the second team defense
2. TCU is good, but not that good. Our play calling was atrocious. Our offensive line is a sieve. And we chose to run out the clock with 90 seconds left in the first half from our own 40.
3. Listening to Al Groh after the game, I got the sense that he was fine with the effort and we just lost to a power-house. No sense of responsibility for a defense (he's the D-coord too) that can't tackle, or that blows coverage. No sense of responsibility for an unprepared team.
4. We did start Sewell at QB and stayed with him. I'm in favor of this. He won 9 games two years ago and can play--he's just saddled with this ridiculous "spread" offense, one that hasn't yet figured out that "spread" also means spreading short passes around the field to open up the running game.

I am not only publicly calling for Al Groh's firing, I'm calling for it to happen NOW. Don't wait until the end of the season. Get it over with.

The Dean of the Harvard Medical School Proposes Healthcare Sanity

I've read (and referred to) Jeffrey Flier's work before, and this latest bit gives me confidence that there are influential voices out there who are helping to shape the debate.

H/T--Greg Mankiw

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The March on Washington

Today, rank and file Americans who are absolutely unaccustomed to protesting, assembled on Capitol Hill to express their concerns about the difficult-to-imagine direction this Congress and Administration are driving our nation. Absent the checks and balances our forebearers believed they had cemented into the foundation of our government, we are on a course that I, for one, never even considered possible in my lifetime, absent losing a very bloody war with an adversarial nation intent on conquering us.

Congressman Mike Pence from Indiana spoke at today's gathering. Reading it made me regret, in a Saint Crispin's Day sort of way, not having sacrificed the time I set aside to catch up on my work at home so I could be a part of this movement. I certainly would have fought and even shed blood if an external adversary were attempting to eliminate the vestiges of Democracy and Capitalism that made this country so great. I wonder why I, and certainly others, failed to heed the call when the assault is occuring from within. I have included his speech below. I'm thankful we have fellow Americans so committed to stopping this madness and am reminded that I not only can, but must, do more if I love my country as much as I say I do. How about you?

"I am Mike Pence. I am from Indiana, and it is an honor to welcome the largest gathering of conservatives in American history to your nation's capitol.

There are some politicians who think of you people as astroturf. Un-American. I've got to be honest with you, after nine years of fighting runaway spending here on this hill, you people look like the cavalry to me.

We stand together at a historic moment in the life of the conservative movement and in the life of this great country. The coming weeks and months may well set the course for this nation for a generation. How we as conservatives respond to these challenges, could determine whether America retains her place in the world as a beacon of freedom or whether we slip into the abyss that has swallowed much of Europe in an avalanche of socialism.

While some are prepared to write the obituary on capitalism and the conservative movement, I believe we are on the verge of a great American awakening. And it will begin here and begin now and begin with you.

This Administration and this Congress are getting a badly needed history lesson, starting with just what our founders meant by 'consent of the governed.' If silence is consent, it is now revoked.

We the people, do not consent to runaway federal spending. We the people, do not consent to the notion that we can borrow and spend and bail our way back to a growing America. And we the people, do not consent to government-run insurance that will cause millions of Americans to lose the insurance they have, and that will lead us to a government takeover of health care in this nation.

This week, the president came to this hill and he gave one more speech about the same bad plan. Mr. President, America doesn't want another speech, we want another health care plan that is built on freedom.

And we the people, do not consent to Members of Congress passing thousand-page bills without anybody ever reading them. Members of Congress should be required to read ever major bill that Congress adopts. I've got to be honest with you, I think Members of Congress should read major bills, but I'd be just as happy if some of them read this just a little more often - the Constitution of the United States.

You know, there is a lot of good stuff in there and it reminds us that we are a nation led by the people, and not the elites and the bureaucrats and the politicians. It reminds us that the powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution are reserved to the states or to the people.

And nowhere in our Constitution can you find the word 'czar.' It is time Washington, D.C. became a No Czar Zone.

The American people are not happy. But it is not just about dollars and cents. It is about who we are as a nation.

As Ronald Reagan said in 1964, it's about whether 'we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.' My money is on the American people. My money is on freedom. My money is on the future.

This great national Capitol is filled with memorials to freedom's heroes. Americans whose faces are carved in bronze, whose names adorn monuments, and just across that river, lie the remains of Americans who paid freedom's price so we could gather here today. In their time, they did freedom's work as citizens and patriots. Now it's our turn.

Let us do as those great Americans we remember in this city have done before: let us stand and fight for freedom. And if we hold the banner of freedom high, I believe with all my heart that the good and great people of this country will rally to our cause, we will take this Congress back in 2010 and we will take this Country back in 2012, so help us God."

H/T -

Not only will he not raise taxes, he won't f***ing raise them

Ruh-roh. Two weeks ago the Bob McDonnell thesis bomb dropped in the VA governor race. Polls since then indicate the thesis hasn't had much of an impact on his healthy lead. So flush with confidence, McDonnell drops the f-bomb in a radio interview.

I guess this is good news. Now the Post something to put on Page One tomorrow.

And Now for Something Completely Different

According to the wikipedia definition, the technological singularity is the theoretical future point which takes place during a period of accelerating change sometime after the creation of a superintelligence, which is a speculative artificially enhanced human brain, a computer program or a device that is much smarter, more creative and wiser than any current or past existing human brain. Specifically, the Singularity occurs when this superintelligence continues to enhance its own capability and intelligence.

Which brings me to this article in h+, called Sex and the Singularity beginning on page 74. Here's an interesting response:

The primary purpose of the Singularity will be seen, after the fact, to be Awesome Sex. There will be exponentially more sex, with exponentially more interfaces, and with exponentially more measures of pleasure ... We will be installing bioports into our body, a la The Matrix or Sleep Dealer, each of which can stimulate our nervous system. In heterosex, men penetrate women, but with this, men and women will interpenetrate each other, multiply, and, as with USB 2.0 daisy-chaining, so will men, women, and androids be able to multiply-interpenetrate, locally or remotely. determine how many selves would be involved. The entire field of posthuman sex could give new meaning to sex freedom and gender differentiality — where a person could have different scenarios, depending on what form or type he/she is in.

No sir. I don't like it.

(H/T Andrew Sullivan @dailydish)

Is There Anything This Man Cannot Do?

From an AP story marking Obama’s first observance of 9/11 as president:

Nearly 200 White House staffers — from chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to kitchen workers — athered under a heavy downpour. Moments before the president and first lady stepped outside, the rain subsided and it held off as they placed their hands over their hearts and bowed their heads.

After the Obamas walked back into the White House, the rain resumed.

And perhaps I'm being overly sensitive, but it seems to me the AP can't resist getting in a parting shot at Darth Imperious. From a separate story:

George W. Bush, whose presidency was defined in part by that day, had no public appearances planned.

What Recession?

The Great Recession of 2008-09 is officially over. How do I know this to be true? We’ve had at least three general contractors out to the Goldwater compound over the last few weeks to provide an estimate to repair our tree-damaged roof (an unfortunate risk in choosing to live on a picturesque oak-lined street; the other, squirrels, is another matter entirely).

One of them said he couldn’t make it out to the house for at least a week; the other called the day of the scheduled appointment to reschedule. The remaining contractor said he would get back to us with an estimate “in a few days”. That was two weeks ago. We have yet to receive an estimate from any of the folks we’ve called.

I should have taken shop in high school.

Lazy Book Review: "South of Broad" by Pat Conroy

Here's a new feature for the CW--and I call it the "Lazy Book Review". Lazy, because it follows no known format for book reviews (sorry Mr. Sharon), and is shorter than a professional review.

I take on today Pat Conroy's new novel "South of Broad", the author's first work of fiction since "Beach Music" in 1995. Full disclosure time: I am a HUGE Pat Conroy fan, and "Beach Music" remains my favorite non-classic work of fiction ever produced. Additionally, Conroy's eulogy of his father--the inspiration for "The Great Santini", remains one of the most perfect eulogies ever considered.

But I most confess, fourteen years without a novel hasn't done Conroy much good with "South of Broad", a formulaic, melodramatic, derivative work whose dredging up of recurring Conroy themes (mother-son conflict, mental illness, the life of a writer, etc) suddenly seems stale.

The basic problem I had with "South of Broad" was that it was for me exactly what critics of "Beach Music" have always said about it--too melodramatic, characters who were simply "too" pithy (a novel of Aaron Sorkin dialogue), too perfect, too well-formed and too predictable. Part of the predictability here is that so many of the characters in "South of Broad" are just re-treads (with different names) of the characters from Beach Music. Our protagonist is a Charleston features columnist (vice food/travel writer) who is just so darned lovable and reasonable. He's got a conflict with his mother, he's married a woman with mental illness who eventually kills herself (a la "Beach Music") , he's got a repressed love affair for the wife of the aristocratic punk (yep, both characters appear in both novels), and there's a maniacal father of a friend--in "Beach Music" a Marine General, here a killer/rapist--to boot.

Is it an enjoyable read? Yes. Conroy still knows how to turn a phrase and there are still places where you'll laugh openly and cry involuntarily. But this book is just too much like "Beach Music, except less so, for any Conroy fan to truly enjoy it. If you've never read Conroy, you might love this book. If you love Conroy, you'll wish he just kept writing non-fiction until something better came out of him.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ah Yes, the Noble Uninsured.....

Here are the words of someone that the rest of our health insurance is going to be messed with the protect. H/T Mona Charen at the Corner:

"You write "According to Census and HHS data, 10 million have incomes more than three hundred percent of the poverty line, meaning they could afford coverage but for some reason choose to forgo it."
That "some reason" is: If you're a 29 year old software designer and you want to live in a one-bedroom apartment reasonably near where you work and you want a car and cable TV and a lifestyle that approaches normal for a college grad with a white collar job, you need to be making a lot more than 300% of the poverty level before you can shell out for health insurance. There just isn't enough money anymore in the pockets of anyone except the wealthy few. This is a market-created condition. Take it from me."

When I read these words, I wanted to come out of my chair. This is one of 10 million people with incomes in excess of 300% of the poverty level who CHOOSE not to buy health care. I thought about a post here in which I respond with all the vitriol I could muster. But I read further and came across this most appropriate response:

"Having seen the response from one of your correspondents that health insurance is too expensive for recent graduates, I thought I would check to see if much had changed in the last 15 years. When I finished my graduate degree, my first employer in Richmond did not provide health insurance, but I was able to get an Anthem (formerly Blue Cross) policy in Richmond, VA for about $75.00 a month. According to a brief internet search, a 25 year-old non-smoking male living in Richmond, Virginia can get a basic Anthem policy (much like an employer is likely to offer) for $111.00 a month with a $500.00 deductible and $30 copays or $79.00 a month for a $2,500 deductible and $30 co-pays. Thus, your other correspondent is not stretching when he referenced "Cable TV". Give up the Comcast Triple Play and get health insurance. Alternatively, give up one or two nights out a month, and cover your health insurance. What the correspondent seems to miss is that he cannot logically maintain that health insurance is so important that it is a moral obligation for the government to provide it to all of its citizens, but it isn't worth two dates at TGIFriday's a month for an individual."


8:46 a.m., The North Tower

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing at this time eight years ago today? I was in New Orleans, LA for a work-related training meeting. Mrs. Goldwater’s brother lived in New Orleans at the time, so we decided to make it a long weekend. And what a wonderful weekend it was.

My meeting had just started that Tuesday morning when my colleague’s cell phone rang – it was his wife. He got up from the table and left the conference room abruptly. He came back about five minutes later. He whispered, “a plane just hit the World Trade Center.” Too bad I thought, probably a novice pilot of a small plane veering off course and nothing more. A few minutes later, his cell went off again. This time, his face ashen: “Another jet hit the other tower”, he said. By now, other cell phones had been ringing with spouses and friends reporting similar events. I then remembered that Mrs. Goldwater herself was on her way to the airport for a flight back home. Confusion and curiosity quickly gave way to panic. Our facilitator, sensing she was quickly losing control of her audience, wisely cancelled the session so we could contact loved ones and make alternate arrangements.

I ran up to my hotel room to see if my wife was still there, hopefully I could catch her in time. She had already gone. I turned on the television, and saw the horrible events of that day unfold before my eyes. I attempted to call my wife several times to warn her, but could not make contact. I saw the first tower go down. I called my parents to let them know I was okay, and was nowhere near Manhattan (I used to make two to three trips to the island weekly). I then saw the second tower go down. “They’re gone!” I cried hysterically into the phone. “All those people! Gone!”

“It will be okay,” my mother said in a reassuring tone. “Life will go on…it has to.” A little while later, the door of my hotel room opened. It was my wife, her cab had been turned away at the airport.

Life will go on…it has to. But I think of the people that day for which that remark no longer has meaning. Eight years later, I still cry.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

On Campaigning Versus Governing

Insightful critique of the president's speech last night by Jay Cost at Real Clear Politics.

Another Solid Republican/Conservative/Market Based Healthcare Reform Proposal

H/T National Review.

Take a quick look at the link and its seven recommendations. I'm in, how about you?

The President's Speech on Healthcare

Sorry gang, didn't watch it. Recorded it to watch later.

What did all of you think? How about the heckling? Good? Bad? Appropriate? Inappropriate? Get it off your chest!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Some Sensible Talk On Healthcare From A Democrat

There's a lot to like in some of the things Matt Miller advocates here. I'll certainly lose some of my conservative/libertarian friends when I express support for the idea of making health insurance MANDATORY. There are several countries in which a thriving private insurance market serves a population that MUST buy insurance (Switzerland, The Netherlands, and Germany just to name a few). As long as MILLIONS of Americans continue to CHOOSE not to have health insurance (which is the case, friends) because they'd rather spend the money on NFL Direct or Cigarettes or two Quad Grande Pumpkin Spice One Splenda Latte's a day--we'll never get our arms around how many truly un-insurable people there are, and we'll never get our arms around cost.

No Racist Charge Here, Move Along

The President's stratospheric popularity seems to be ebbing a bit (don't get too excited friends, it had to happen), and much of the decline is in white independents. Why, you may ask? Could it be that these voters tend (by dint of being independent) not to be particularly loyal? Could it be that white voters (in general) are move broadly distributed between the parties? Of course not. It is racially motivated (you don't say).

Here's Charlie "I Have to Pay What?" Rangel: "One black congressman, Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), was quoted last week alleging that opposition to Obama's healthcare policies was "a bias, a prejudice, an emotional feeling. Some Americans have not gotten over the fact that Obama is president of the United States. They go to sleep wondering, 'How did this happen?' " Rangel said, according to the New York Post.

Nothing here folks. Move along. (H/T Instapundit)

Monday, September 7, 2009

So Much Hate, So Little Time

I started to comment on the previous entry, but my comment got so long-winded that I deemed it worthy of its own post. I recognize I may be the only person deeming it so.

There are many fascinating sidebars to this story--the vetting process (or lack thereof), Mudge's comment on the media blackout, or the belief that many Dems are secret Truthers. What I find most intriguing, though, is the way many outlets are portraying this as 'first scalp claimed by the Right,' as though this man is nothing but a victim of Glenn Beck's hysteria. I'm not a huge Beck fan, but the man is certainly right at times, and has been right on highlighting this story of late.

Liberals have no need for concern, there will be justice for Van Jones. The course of retaliation has been established by the truly execrable Keith Olbermann. He has a Daily Kos post soliciting any dirt on Glenn Beck or his producers, promising to air on his show (to all three of his viewers) anything he can find. I went over the Kos site, and when lightning didn't strike, proceeded to read some of the comments. Some of the winning entries thus far? Whether to go after Beck's Mormon faith, and to determine how solid is standing is with the Church. Whether to go after the fact that his mother committed suicide. And whether to highlight the fact that Beck's mother and Karl Rove's mother both took their own lives. One charmer offered that it's unfortunate that their mothers didn't commit suicide before giving birth. Another helpful contributor even posted Beck's home address in Connecticut.

I once wondered who Olbermann and people of his ilk would go after once Bush was gone.

Van Jones Fired...

for signing up to something 35% of Democrats believed was true in 2007. H/T Tigerhawk.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy "Labor Day" from the Dept of Labor

Just the facts (monthly DoL unemployment figures plotted against Administration's dire warnings in arguing for immediate passage of the "recovery plan".

William and Mary 26 UVA 14

I've now had a few hours to digest the terrible performance I saw last night in Charlottesville. I found myself approaching this from a number of angles of incredulity, but the one that gave me the most heartburn was this elitist, Division 1 angle that kind of goes like this. UVA is D1, and though we are a middle of the road program among the big boys, we can and should make mincemeat of the little guys out there, even the "good" little guys. I am disabused of that notion forever, after last years terrible performance in barely beating Richmond and yesterday's thorough drubbing at the hands of a bunch of players the UVA scouts probably never bothered to look at.

Before I get to my defenestration of Al Groh and his hapless coaching staff, a few thoughts on the day itself.

--There are few places on earth that evoke more emotion for me than Charlottesville. Maybe Rome. Maybe the Outer Banks. But the first stroll down the lawn every football season en route to the tailgate (ably provided once again by Mark Senell and his crew) is a remarkably evocative event. So many memories, so many wonderful memories.
--I long for a day when the trip from my car to the stadium presents me with finished, working buildings, rather than a perpetual shell game of new construction. Just how many new buildings does UVA need, and why does it seem that every inch of open space must be turned into a new building?
--A moment or two on the venerable UVA ball cap, if you will. I have probably nearing a dozen UVA ball caps of one variety or another. Blue ones, white ones, orange ones, khaki ones. Selecting a new ball cap is a labor of love--low crown, fitted if possible. But I've noted a new trend in the caps that is most disturbing, especially to a conservative. And that is, the newer style ball-caps have a proliferation of little doo-dads and emblems on them, almost as if the cap is some sort of NASCAR automobile. I completely rejected this trend yesterday and bought a low-crown, fitted blue cap with the old school "V" in orange (no crossed swords underneath).

Now, onto the game.

--William and Mary beat us in every sense of the word. Their defense stopped us. Their offense rolled over us. They were more prepared. They didn't turn the ball over. They executed their game plan. Simply put, they were better coached.
--Al Groh must go, sooner rather than later. His defense was confused throughout much of the game by a relatively simple offense--coverage breakdowns in the secondary were routine. And HE is the defensive coordinator!
--But the defense was not nearly as bad as the offense--which was offensive. Virginia has three quarterbacks, each of whom could probably run the offense and win games--but because of the indecision in the coaching staff, all three presumably got a lot of reps in the Spring and in summer practices, leaving not one of the three ready to run the offense yesterday. The offense--by the way--is a version of the "spread" offense brought in by our new offensive coordinator--the former head coach at Bowling Green (who replaced the non-experienced son of the head coach Al Groh). The offense was ridiculous. I've never seen more poorly executed plays, nor an offense that just doesn't seem to be applicable to a wide set of circumstances. Every play is from the shotgun, there is no huddle, there was NO running game to speak of, and our QB's tried to run the ball way too often.
--We were beaten by a better football team yesterday. That they were better is the fault of UVA's coaching staff--and there need to be consequences for this. Groh must Go!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The President Wants to Talk with Your Children

There's a big kerfuffle out there about the President's desire to talk with the nation's schoolchildren, much of which is ado about nothing, some of which is worth discussing. So here goes.

1. George Bush The Elder did the same thing in 1991--Conservatives are not widely on record as complaining then.
2. George Bush the Elder did the same thing in 1991--Liberals WERE widely on record as complaining then.
3. The creation of a "lesson plan" and the like by the White House is overkill.
4. Making it an "all at the same time" kind of thing is overkill. The President could easily have created his message and appended it to the White House Web Page, then they could have publicized it and urged classroom teachers to visit the page--which individual teachers and systems could have done.
5. What's missed here by the "what's wrong with what the President is doing" crowd is that this action isn't occurring in a vacuum. It is occurring in the context of an already overexposed public figure with a record of fostering a messianic following.

Can't pay? No worries.

If you can take another story about a schlub who can't make good on a financial arrangement they entered into of their own free will and is turned into a sympathic figure by the press, you'll certainly love this story.
Seems Ms. Pat Hill entered into a 10-year season ticket package with the Redskins in 2007. Two years later she can't make good on the deal and the Redskins were going after her for $66K. Ms. Hill is a realtor who fell upon hard times when the housing market tanked. I'm sure that popular opinion will render a verdict of Dan Snyder: Villian/Pat Hill: Victim. A couple thoughts here-
1. The housing market didn't start to see problems in 2007. Perhaps Ms. Hill should have anticipated that she'd have trouble making the $5300 annual payment to the Redskins two years ago. If this were the last year of her contract, it'd be a different story.
2. I don't understand why people who weigh 400 pounds don't pause and take notice when they see 300 whizzing by them on the bathroom scale. I also don't understand how someone wouldn't explore all the pitfalls when entering into 10-year AGE 72.

But Ms. Hill's story has a happy ending for her. After the Post broadcast her sad plight earlier in the week, the 'Skins have decided to back off. And she is still hopeful that the Redskins' attorney will offer her some tickets this season. I would advise her not to hold her breath.

Socialists on the Run in Europe--Thrive Here.....

Interesting story in this morning's WaPost laying out the problems facing left-leaning parties in Europe as people there wake up to the staggering problems faced by years of "progressive" social policies. Too bad we're still in the fascination phase....

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Smoking Gun…So To Speak

The editorial board of the CW vigorously debated whether this next story was indeed “newsworthy” for inclusion on the daily roundup. It was then pointed out that the CW’ masthead plainly states, “A compendium of thoughts on politics, world affairs, economics, pop culture and social issues…”, and the decision was made to go forward.

Pop star Lady GaGa is denying reports that she’s a hermaphrodite. GaGa, aka Stephani Germanotta, dismissed internet speculation about her condition, saying “it’s too low brow for me to even discuss.” But the singer, best known for her hits “Poker Face” and “Love Game”, once commented on a blog “I have both male and female genitalia, but consider myself a female.”

Judge for yourself here – it’s a long video clip, but you only need to see the first 1:30.

I feel so…conflicted, not unlike the feeling I had when I first watched The Crying Game.

Big Fat Friday Free For All

All Time High (April 1 2009): 192.2
Diet start (June 1): 189
Last Friday: 173.2
Today: 171.0
Goal: Sub 160

Here we are again ladies and gentlemen, the weekly return of BFFFFA! What's on your mind? How excited are you for the start of college football? Looking forward to your kid's date with the President? Let it rip!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Football could be very very good to you

Interesting story here about why football coaches tend to be Republicans. Lou Holtz opines that in football "you aren't entitled to anything. You don't inherit anything. You get what you earn—your position on the team, you're held accountable for your actions. You understand that your decisions affect other people on that team…There's winners, there's losers, and there's competitiveness." Bobby Bowden offers that "in coaching, you've got to have more discipline and you've got to be more strict and just conservative, I think. It fits with the Republicans."

An interesting description of party philosophy akin to the Mommy-Daddy party parallel that CW wrote about a year ago. And the perfect (and shameless) segue into recruiting folks into my suicide football pool. I'm guessing most of CW's readers are college football fans, but for the pro football fans out there, each year I run a Survivor-style pool. All you have to do is pick the winner of ONE game each week (but once you pick a team you can't pick them again). And you keep picking until you lose-losers go into a consolation bracket, but the last man standing walks away with all the marbles. (Last year's winner's pot was $2500, consolation winner $650). Buy-in is $50.00. And all you have to do is pick ONE winner a week! Nothing could be simpler! If you're interested, let me know.

The Sexual Politics of "Mad Men"

Hat Tip: Jonah Goldberg of NRO

Jonah Goldberg references a great blog post by Will Wilkinson on his reasons for watching "Mad Men", and it got me thinking about my regard for the show.

Firstly, I think the show is incredibly stylish--the men's suits, the furniture, the careful attention paid to period references (the flight to Baltimore's reference to "Friendship" airport--classic). all add up to a very visually pleasing hour.

Secondly, while Will Wilkinson's interlocutor tries hard to convince him of the sadness and miserable state of the guys on the show, he or she (is Mischa a man's name?) doesn't seem to get the concept of "relative" misery. Yes, Draper and Sterling and the little weenie guy all are portrayed with a great deal of angst and some lingering sadness---but then again, they are smoking whenever and wherever they want, they are drinking in their offices, their lunches are bacchanalian orgies, and they are stacking up secretaries like cord-wood. The home is the province of their wives, they have little or no expectation to provide "parenting" (except to be stern when required), and male friendships seem to have a place of honor.

Now cut to today's poor schlub, who works just as hard as these guys did (nay, harder), does not have booze in his office, does not have three-martini lunches, has voice-mail rather than a pliant 22 year old hottie, smokes "al fresco" if he chooses that habit, wears Dockers and vile company oriented polo shirts to work, and spends a good part of his Saturday morning standing around at the park with the other fathers so that there might be a 1:1 ratio of glum, ridiculous looking fellows to children actively playing.

I'm not saying there aren't tremendous upsides to being a man in today's world, but Garrison Keillor got it best a few years ago in a book he wrote called "The Book of Men". In it, he compared a monogamous man to a bear riding a bicycle in the circus. It was something you could train him to do, but on the whole, he'd rather be out in the woods doing things bears do. That's what is being portrayed in Mad Men--bears doing what bears do (did). It can be trained and civilized out of us (and thankfully, it mostly is), but there is a rawness, a uber-maleness portrayed there that today's more civilized bear at some very elemental level--longs for.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

National Taxpayer March on Capitol Hill

Here's a newsletter/announcement. It is a terrible injustice that the UVA home opener is the same day, so I'll be in Charlottesville.....

Dueling Krugmans

A comparison of the good doctor’s views on deficits and debt, 2003 vs. 2009. Which Krugman won the Nobel again?

Courtesy of

Times ARE Tough!

News here of a 15-20% increase in applications from would-be sperm donors. As the article points out, there's money to be made peddling this renewable resource. My only problem here is the blatant size-ism at work (no, not THAT size) in the application procedure of at least one bank, who requires the little devils to be produced by men of "5'10" or taller". Scoundrels.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Video Commentary on the Hitler/Nazi Thing

In which I beseech my readers to lay off the Hitler comparisons....

Risk and Insurance

A well-put letter to the editor at the Washington Post defending denial of insurance to people with pre-existing conditions. Should these people be denied care? No. I think this is a place for government "involvement". But MAKING insurance companies take on patients with pre-existing conditions makes the system more expensive for the rest of us.

For Those of You Who Want More Navy Stuff....'s something I've posted over at Information Dissemination where I am a guest blogger.

VA Governor Race Heats Up

As Sally predicted on this blog, reports of Republican Robert McDonnell's 20 year old thesis have caught the attention of the press and threaten to erode his lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds. Only time will tell whether McDonnell's views will drive moderates--who have been flocking to his pro-growth candidacy--to Deeds.

Like I said yesterday--this is fair game. Jim Webb's indiscreet musings in the late 80's found their way into his Senate race, where the public was able to hear them and he was forced to defend himself. Likely, McDonnell will do what Webb did and claim to have evolved politically and personally--which is really all one can do anyway in this situation.

I've talked about this phenomenon before, this "evolution" in people's political thinking. We had a wee taste of it when the New York Times dogged investigative team turned up editorials written by a youthful Barack Obama in his college newspaper (5 months AFTER the election) that showed his strong identification with theories of social justice, income redistribution, and collectivism. Obama's "evolution" was one in which he grew to realize that such views were not mainstream, and that they needed to be leavened by moderation in order to appeal to the electorate. Now in power, we see fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and Barack's gotta socialize.

In the interest of fairness, I think the same is true of Bob McDonnell. Nobody held a gun to his head when he wrote what he wrote. There was no fawning crowd of campaign toadies to tell him how wonderful he is. There was only him (he?) and his word-processor, and into it he poured out his deep inner leanings. Has he leavened them with moderation over the years, the years that coincided with his rise as a statewide political figure? Yes. Do I suspect that he continues to hold those views? You betchya. Is Bob McDonnell likely to be hostile to gay marriage? I think so. Is he going to promote pro-nuclear family policies? Yes. Is he likely to support state benefits (like medical insurance) to the gay partners of state employees? Probably not.

Conservatives must not get a case of the vapors over this. Fiery, ideological rhetoric is the plaything of the university thinker--be he Barry Obama or Bob McDonnell. It is good and right that the press bring forward these stories because youthful views often are at the political kernel of the adult person, layered over with the realities of what is necessary to be elected. There are of course, instances in which one starts out in one ideological direction and then switches course, but that involves a thoroughgoing repudiation of one's past political thinking, something neither Obama nor McDonnell has done.

McDonnell only has to point to Ted Kennedy being pro-life (before Roe v. Wade). Or Robert Byrd's well-known KKK days. All he needs to do is point to more famous and more egregious cases of political "evolution" to show that he's really not all that different....he just grew up. He'll lose some folks in the middle over this, that's for sure. But he can still win the election.
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