Thursday, January 31, 2008

Crego Pleads

So I go out of town and Keith Crego pleads guilty to a bunch of the charges brought against him after a year-long investigation and the slaughtering of two forests for all the newsprint needed to cover his shennigans.

A coincidence? Who's to say.

But the reaction by some Penn Delco community members to the 1-2 year jail term is borderline insane.

When you get right down to it, when you add all the disgrace Crego has brought on himself to the year in jail he will do is no insufficient punishment and it fits the crimes he has pleaded to. Some people wouldn't be happy unless he had gotten 20 years in jail or maybe drawn and quartered.

More later.

I'm BAAA-AACK... Sort Of

It's Super Bowl week and that means I'm in Vegas.

I am basically on vacation so that means blogging will be episodic at best. Too many other things to do out here.

Earlier in the week I attended the funeral for a friend in Cincinnati. On top of that I've had an interesting medical problem the last few days, which I may or may not write about .

So anyway, that's why Spencerblog has been on hiatus.

Back soon, though.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

You Can Fool Some of the Pundits...

Eugene Robinson is dazzled by John Edwards.

William F. Buckley is not.

Don't be shocked, I'm with Buckley.

UPDATE: Krauthammer too.

Money Q:

Edwards has made much of his renunciation of his Iraq-war vote. But he has not stopped there. His entire campaign has been an orgy of regret and renunciation.

As senator, he voted in 2001 for a bankruptcy bill that he now denounces.

As senator, he voted for storing nuclear waste in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. Twice. He is now fiercely opposed.

As senator, he voted for the Bush-Kennedy No Child Left Behind education reform. He now campaigns against it, promising to have it “radically overhauled.”

As senator, he voted for the Patriot Act, calling it “a good bill ... and I am pleased to support it.” He now attacks it.

As senator, he voted to give China normalized trade relations. Need I say? He now campaigns against liberalized trade with China as a sellout of the middle class to the great multinational agents of greed, etc.

Breathtaking. People can change their minds about something. But everything?

Ed's Environmental Gesture

"Let's understand something. Pennsylvania is the coal capital of the world (well, pretty much). So why is my governor, Democrat Ed Rendell, pushing to hike taxes on electricity (produced by burning coal) so he can subsidize alternative fuels such as ethanol, something the state produces very little of?"

Jerry Bowyer lays it out at Ed's expense.

Congrats To The Grad

Nice job by Phil Sheridan on Randall "Tex" Cobb graduating from Temple University.

Magna Cum Laude no less.

He fought Larry Holmes and starred in Raising Arizona.

I met Tex a few years ago when he was working construction rehabbing Media Elementary School.

He even came on my short-lived cable TV show. He was a hoot.

Now he's a college grad at 54. It's never to late to learn something.

A Little Angry Wolf

The "helpless" Naomi Wolf howls about the Bush Administration trampling of the constitution, warrant-less wiretapping and the "overhyped narrative of the global war on terror."

Her own narrative includes the words: "heedless, appalled, abuses, powerless,"
and phrases like "potential criminals" "possible wrongdoers" "voluntary self-emasculation" "the mild-manner gate-keeper of the first bolgia of Hell, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.

Overhyped? Who's to say?

But her most damning criticism is for Democrats:

"The Democrats in Congress cannot even get their own members together to defend the Constitution against a supremely unpopular executive who has essentially spit in their faces, eaten their lunch and the nation's, and publicly called them out as powerless. Not to mention the fact that they are setting a precedent for the future that any executive can emasculate any Congress and defy any subpoena after having committed possibly any crime. Still they are trembling under the barstools -- summoning up, perhaps, the courage to crawl out fully prone and toss their untouched guns humbly at the feet of the posse."

She closes her (dare I call it?) diatribe with this demand of her readers:

"Tell your representative to move forward with contempt. And if your representatives fail to act, the punishment should not just be removal from office in the next election; they should also be subject to investigations themselves -- for abetting crimes against the Constitution."

I doubt the cannibalization of Democrat Party is good for the country. But it is entertaining.

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Some students at the hoity toity boarding school Choate are not happy with the selection of Karl Rove to be the commencement speaker at this year's graduation.

You gotta love this quote:

"The man is great at what he does," said senior Alessio Manti. "It's just that it's not his place to be the one who shepherds us into the world."

The poor little lamb has lost her way. If only this guy were available.

UPDATE: Better yet, how about a Wolf to shepherd them. (See above.)

Friday, January 25, 2008


Strath Haven's Bobby Calderoni, the crutches-using soccer player on the school's JV, has won his appeal to the PIAA Board of Directors, after being banned from interscholastic play.

He was deemed too dangerous to the other players on the field by Brad Cashman, the PIAA executive director, after he received a complaint from the parents of a goalie who broke his finger and blamed Calderoni for the mishap. The board overturned Cashman's decision almost unanimously.

I wrote about Bobby in my print column today. Read it. It's good.

More Sunday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No More Mr. Nice Bill

Even The Nation notices the "Clintons play dirty when they feel threatened."

Personally, I'm shocked. SHOCKED!

Loan Gouging

My print column on so-called "predatory lending" is up and can be found here.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has taken out one of these "payday" or "Title" loans. Or from anyone in the loan biz.

Here's one response, I thought was pretty interesting:

Dear Mr. Spencer;

I read your article and was so pleased to have another point of view in print. As someone who has been in the mortgage business for 22 years, it has come to the point where many mortgage brokers, including myself, and lenders have left the residential mortgage business.

Why bother to try to service the markets that our big brother government insisted we serve when we are constantly faced with freebee lawyers filing suit against us for predatory lending.

We are accused of predatory lending when an adult makes an informed decision to accept a loan program that will enable that person to acquire a home when conventional lending sources such as banks refuse to offer a mortgage due to less than perfect credit or undocumented income. It then becomes the responsibility of the homeowner to MAKE THE MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENTS. When the homeowner defaults, the freebee lawyers state that the homeowner is ignorant to the loans terms and should not have to pay the higher than prevailing interest rate.

Pardon me, but what ever happened to the principle of risk and reward ? Why should an adult not be responsible for his or her actions? It seems to me that government enjoys making these people wards of the state. After all, how else will the politicians ensure where their next vote is coming from? The politicians and lawyers have injured the industry so badly that unless one qualifies for a conventional mortgage the options available become so cumbersome that real estate investment is dying a very fast death.

Let's get back to the times when only those that could afford a home were getting mortgages. Homeownership, is for those that can pay the monthly bill. The convoluted political sentiments that caused this mess need to be addressed not the industry.

There is nothing wrong with the mortgage industry, only the bleeding heart politicians that are only good at ruining everything they legislate. Perhaps they should investigate the foreclosures on VA insured homes. Historically, VA mortgages default more than any other loan. Why not protect the veteran against insured loans that are sure recipies for financial ruin.

Frank J. Melfi III

NOTE: He's not the same Frank J. who runs IMAO.

The Clinton 'We Lose, We Win' Strategy

Former Clinton advisor Dick Morris accuses the Clintons of engaging in a Nixon-like Southern stragedy.

Money Q:

... if blacks deliver South Carolina to Obama, everybody will know that they are bloc-voting. That will trigger a massive white backlash against Obama and will drive white voters to Hillary Clinton."

Bill's never been above playing racial politics. This is his Brother Toldja moment.

Let My People Go

Good news for the charter schools (and school children) in Chester.

There is something perverse about a school district that seeks to limit the number of children who can leave it to find a better education elsewhere.

Money Q.

"This is a great legal victory for the students and parents of the city of Chester," said Chester Community Charter School CEO Steven Lee. "Now, families in the Chester community are assured of having the increased choice of educational options that was intended for them and their children under the law."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Debunking Krugmanism

NYT's Paul Krugman quotes Bill Clinton to debunk the Reagan Myth.

“The Reagan-Bush years,” (Clinton) declared, “have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.”

Bill Clinton said that in 1991. Ah, the Clinton Presidency: The Age of Gilded Lillies.

For years, the Clintons have been little more than their own "special interest."

After all, what was their holding on to the presidency during the Monica Lewinsky scandal if not a abject lesson in selfishness, irresponsibility, and excess. No doubt they did it to promote the "common good." Wasn't it great how Bill showed us all how to put "family" above his own selfish pursuits?

Obama deserves the Clintons' (and Krugman's) scorn because he had the indecency to notice that during the 80s, the Republican party led by a resurgent conservatism was the party of ideas while the Dems were moribund, running on little more than their own high self-regard.

You know who was great at talking about the "common good" and "public obligation?" Progressives like Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini. If only they hadn't gone in for all that ugly racism and genocide, they might have realized a Gilded Age of National Socialism.

All We are Saying...

It's Martin Luther King Day and lots is going on

Maybe Hillary and Obama can take time out to give peace a chance.

UPDATE: Maybe not.

Bay Yon Ain't a Town in N.J.

Austin Bay predicts a terrorist "Tet offensive" in Iraq within the next six months.

That's where the enemy loses the battle but wins the PR war.

Good thing Michael Yon is on the job. Not even the New York Times can screw up a stroy about this remarkable citizen journalist.

A Petty Purge in Media

Media Borough Council president and Democrat Frank Daly, asserting the prerogatives of his position, has decided to remove Republican Pete Alyanakian as head of the borough's Environmental Advisory Committee.

The comittee was Alyanakian's baby. He invented it and dreamed up most of the initiatives to put Media on the map as a Green town. How embarrassing that a Republican was the council's leader in environmental action. No longer.

Daly ran for Commonwealth Court judge in November and lost, thanks to the GOP machine. Maybe he's still irritable from the drubbing and taking it out on one of few Republicans in the county he has a bit of power over.

It all feels a bit petty and small.

Spencerblog thinks most of Media's green initiatives are feel-good measures that provide little in the way of real environmental benefit. (But there's nothing wrong with feeling good, as long as it doesn't cost too much.)

A few years back when Alyanakian floated a "no-smoking" trial baloon for the borough, I suggested that the borough's nickname would have to be changed to "Everybody's Hometown Nanny." He got off that kick in a hurry, but manfully took the crap for it in most every bar in town.

The EAC was Alyanakian's little rice bowl, and Daly broke it for no other reason, it appears, than small-town partisan pettiness. Media was supposed to be above that sort of thing. Guess not with Daly in charge.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Running Mate for Fred?

Frank J.'s Vision for America.

Let's see:

"Lawyers exiled. Disputes settled by kung fu." Check.

"Rocket shoes." Check.

"Criminals on fire, running around the streets." Check.

We're very close here. Very close.

L. Ron Cruise

Mrs. Spencerblog really hasn't cared for Tom Cruise since he jumped on Oprah's couch declaring his love for Katie Holmes.

She also thinks it's weird that father, mother and child all have "the same haircuts." (I hadn't noticed.)

I think she is being too hard on T.C. but he isn't helping me make my case with videos like this.

Safe, Legal and Rarer

Abortions are down. Births are up.

Everyone all right with that?

Iraqi War Vet?

Oops! He doesn't look like an Iraqi to me.

Still, a nice story.

UPDATE: The New York Times, in the meantime, gets the language right but the story of returning vets all wrong.

Ralph Peters pounds the Grey Lady for promoting the Wacko-Vet hoax.

UPDATE II: But this, I think, is taking thing a little too far.

Gutless, Not Gunless

A lot of people like Upper Darby police chief Mike Chitwood because he says things like this:

“Our concern is to get these bums off the street before someone gets hurt. These cowardly, gutless bums are throwing terror in our community.”

Me included.

Read the whole story.

The Justice of Racial Blowback

Chucky the K has a slightly different take on the Hillary/Obama kerfuffle over MLK's and LBJ's contributions to the civil rights movement.

Pretty good analysis.

Money Q:

"The nation has become inured to the playing of the race card, but "our first black president" (Toni Morrison on Bill Clinton) and his consort are not used to having it played against them."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hatemongering Isn't Just for Right-Wingers Anymore

How do you measure hate and intolerance among liberals and conservatives? Prof. Arthur Brooks will show you.

Money Q:

"A politically progressive friend of mine always seemed to root against baseball teams from the South. The Braves, the Rangers, the Astros -- he hated them all. I asked him why, to which he replied, "Southerners are prejudiced."

The same logic is evident in the complaint the American political left has with conservative voters. According to the political analysis of filmmaker Michael Moore, whose perception of irony apparently does not extend to his own words, "The right wing, that is not where America's at . . . It's just a small minority of people who hate. They hate. They exist in the politics of hate . . . They are hate-triots."

What about liberals?"

They don't fare particularly well. Read the whole thing.

Penn Delco Super Search

I have been told that Upper Darby Assistant Superintendent Lou DeVlieger is going to be named the new superintendent of the Penn Delco school district.

I don't know DeVlieger but I have heard nothing but good things about him.

It just goes to show that even a school board as screwed up as Penn Delco's can do something right occasionally.

Hiring a good super is probably the most important thing a school board does. That, and holding the line on tax increases. The rest, like naming (and unnaming) auditoriums, is just minutiae.

Letter of the Week

Oxford's Steve Vogel writes in to complain about violence schools. Kids arrested and/or suspending for bringing steak knives, drawing pictures of guns, a preacher's wife who kills him and is out of jail in less than six months, border guards who are arrested and convicted of shooting a drug dealer and sentenced to 12 years.

And who's fault is this? You got it, George W. Bush's.

At least, he notes, Michael Vick, is in jail.

Vogel notes: "God and religion are mentioned less and less and it quite evident," though I'm not sure WHAT is quite evident.

He closes by asking "What have we become?"

Beats me. But no doubt, once we elect a Democrat or Mike Huckabee is elected president all be right again with America.

Keith Crego, RIP (Rest In Prison)

Who'd a thunk it? Keith Crego back in trouble with the law.

More later (and probably a print column tomorrow.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Keith Crego Solicitored

My Wednesday print column is up. Keith Crego is back in the news.

Here's a taste:

"Word out of the courthouse is that former Penn-Delco School Board president Keith Crego, who is awaiting trial on charges of bribery, forgery, theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, several counts of violating the state Ethics Act, felony drug offenses and two counts of racketeering, is looking to cut a deal.

Given that if convicted of all the charges against him he’s looking at a couple of hundred years in jail, that is understandable.

Why shouldn’t he see what the D.A. has to offer?

What isn’t understandable, however, is Crego’s recent clumsy effort to smear district Business Administrator John Steffy, in the eyes of Penn-Delco’s new Solicitor Mike Levin."

Click back to "Opinion" on for the whole thing.

Got MLK?

John McWhorter blasts (with cool reason) the overreactions (some of them, no doubt, phony) to Hillary's Martin Luther King remarks.

Money Q:

"To be able to hold in one's mind the notion that Mrs. Clinton would attack King suggests a bone-deep hypersensitivity that overrides sequential reasoning. "We have to be very, very careful how we speak about that era," Rep. Clyburn explains.

But why so very, very careful? What effect does it have on anyone's life if that era is occasionally discussed in less than perfectly genuflective phraseology? Is the Klan waiting behind a hill? Will a black man working at an insurance company in Cleveland have a breakdown because someone didn't give King precisely enough credit in a quick statement?

There is a willful frailty, a lack of self-confidence, in this kind of thinking. It suggests someone almost searching for things to claim injury about, donning the mantle of the noble victim in order to assuage a bruised ego."

Read the whole thing.


Old presidents never die and they don't fade away either.

This one paints his wife's opponent as the "establishment candidate."

As Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis used to say "Just win, baby!"

The ACLU and Senator Wide-Stance

Leave it to the ACLU to find precedent for a right to have sex in a public bathroom.

Congratulations, It's A Boomlet!

ATLANTA (AP) - Bucking the trend in many other wealthy industrialized nations, the United States seems to be experiencing a baby boomlet, reporting the largest number of children born in 45 years.

An American baby boomlet is good news. It means Americans are, overall, optimistic about the future.

But why would the AP call someone from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for comment? Since when is pregnancy considered a disease? Except by these people.

Which reminds me...

Saw the film "Juno" this past weekend. It's the feel-good teen pregnancy hit of the year. Very clever, very funny, very hip and even touching. But if you can find it, "The Snapper" is even better.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lethally Injected with Dishonesty

In an amazingly dishonest and sloppy column Flavia Colgan attempts to make the case for the "cruel and unusual" inhumanity of lethal injection currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.

She begins:

"In Tennessee and Texas, when animals are being put down, the chemical pancuronium bromide has been outlawed due to the excruciating pain it subjects the dying animals to.
Yet in lethal injections administered to death-row inmates, Texas, Tennessee and dozens of other states use pancuronium bromide, which stops breathing and causes paralysis before a final injection causes the heart to stop."

What Colgan conveniently declines to tell her readers is that before a convicted killer in either of those states is given pancuronium bromide, he is first given an general anaethetic like Sodium thiopental. So much for the excruciating pain, Ms. Colgan claims to be so worried about.

She goes on:

"Leaving aside your feelings about the death penalty for a moment, surely this is a terrible example for a nation as advanced as ours to set."

It might be if it were true but it's not so it isn't. As for leaving aside one's feeling about the death penalty, clearly Ms. Colgan can't or won't. The terrible example being set here is to commentary journalism.

She continues:

"During lethal injections, proponents of the method say, prisoners are first euthanized, so they can't feel the effects."

Prisoners are not "first euthanized," they are first anaethetised. They are rendered unconscious. Euthanasia is the process of "mercy killing."

"Not so, not all the time. In a number of cases, says Amnesty International USA, lethal injections took from 20 minutes to an hour to kill, leaving inmates grimacing, gasping for air and convulsing. Mistakes are often made and prisoners are not "put under" deeply enough, suffering a long and cruel death."

Amnesty International is perhaps the leading opponent of capital punishment in the world. It would deem being "loved" to death by Angelina Jolie cruel and barbaric.

"Additionally, severe foot-long chemical burns to the skin and abandoned needles have been found in the autopsies, with the initial paralysis masking the prisoner's ability to show the pain that was caused."

Wrong, the anaethesia prevents the prisoner from FEELING pain.

"For all these reasons, the American Medical Association and the Society of Correctional Physicians have urged their members not to administer lethal injections. The American College of Physicians calls it "unethical."

Wrong again. It's not the method that has these groups opposed, it's the politics. These groups are anti-capital punishment. Would they be involved if the method being used were a firing squad?


"Why is this important? Because the use of lethal injections was in front of the Supreme Court last week, with almost no coverage. But I was there to hear the arguments in Baze v. Rees loud and clear.
The case is fascinating because the two prisoners, Ralph Baze and Thomas Bowling, aren't challenging their convictions, or even their death sentences. Rather, they're challenging the method that the state of Kentucky uses to kill by lethal injection.
They argued that there is a well-demonstrated risk of the process going wrong, subjecting them and others to cruel and unusual punishment.
They also argued that there are other chemicals that are more effective and less painful, and that courts should step in to evaluate the procedure. Basically, they're asking to be killed in a way with as little risk of drawn-out, excruciating pain as is possible."

Complete baloney. This is just another example of the anti-death penalty movement seizing on anything it can to delay an execution or executions. Let's cut to the chase...

Coglan writes:

"There was one other troubling outcome from the Supreme Court hearing.
Justice Antonin Scalia, while hearing arguments, mused that if the court took too long to consider this case, or sent the case back down to lower courts for additional consideration, there could be "a national cessation of executions" that could last for years.
"You wouldn't want that to happen," he said.

Coglan is outraged:

"Heaven forbid! Putting a hold on executions while we examine the methods we use to ensure they are as humane as possible? What a cruel, cruel world!"

You get it, even if Coglan doesn't.

Scalia sees through the motives of the anti-death penalty lawyers in the case and sardonically calls them on it. He's on to their game. And so are most reasonable people. These complaints about the "excruciating" "pain" caused by lethal injection are ridiculous. The method itself was specifically devised to diminish unnecessary pain from the process and it does. Ask any honest anaethesisologist and they'll tell you.
Again, the ultimate goal of the anti-lethal injection crowd is to outlaw capital punishment, period.

As Colgan makes clear:

"I HOPE THIS TREND toward slowing and eventually ending the death penalty continues because I don't believe it's our place to play God.
But, at the very least, I hope the court and the American people think deeply about whether we can consider ourselves an advanced nation when a method of execution deemed too cruel to subject dogs to is perfectly acceptable for killing humans.

The deep thinker is wrong again. In most places, it is perfectly legal to euthanize a dog with a single shot of sodium pentibarbitol to the heart. Many vets don't render the animal unconscious first. However, every state that uses lethal injection to execute a human murderer does. The least Colgan can do if she wants to be considered a deep thinker is get her facts straight.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Seems Like Only Yesterday

If you have the stomach for it, Timesonline has a rehash of Monicagate, 10 years later and where they all are now.

Money Q: “Mr President, if there is a semen stain belonging to you on a dress of Ms Lewinsky’s, how would you explain that?”

It depends on what do you mean by "belonging?"

Come On, Get Happy

Danny Bonaduce doesn't look so tough. I bet Jack could take him.

"That's My Teammate"

Terrell Owens breaks down defending his quarterback from malicious media attacks.

Make up your own joke. These guys did.

Sir Edmund Hillary Clinton

A pro-war atheist makes the The Case Against Hillary.

Money Q:

"What would it take to break this cheap little spell and make us wake up and inquire what on earth we are doing when we make the Clinton family drama—yet again—a central part of our own politics?"

We? What you mean we, you Godless warmonger.

Not So Pretty in Pink

Last week, it was Chris Hedges who was so "tired" of America's crimes against humanity.

This week, it's feminist Erica Jong.

She "tired" of "pink men bombing brown children."

What about brown men bombing brown or pink children? Or blowing themselves up after murdering brown women. (Benazir Bhutto was "brown" right?)

Does Jong have a problem with brown on brown murder? Should pink people try to stop that? Or should they mind their own business?

What's color have to do with it anyway and when did pink become the new white?

Isn't Jong's real beef with the white men and women who are trying to bring democracy to the brown people of Iraq who clearly she believes aren't ready for it?

Money Q:

"Don't tell me about women who kill. I know there are some--but fewer. So let's just remember our mothers--who bore us, protected us against our fathers and grandfathers and all the pink or brown men who wanted to rape us or kill us or starve us because we were girls."

I am sorry Erica Jong needed so much protection from her father and grandfather who wanted to starve her and rape her and kill her just because she was a girl.

"I am not stupid," she writes. "I know all generalizations are false."

Talk about generalizations! But as for her being "not stupid." She coulda' fooled me.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"I Am Not A Sexually Violent Predator"

Just so you know, this guy is no relation to Spencerblog.

Can't speak for Lady Diana and her kin.

The Greatest Story Rarely Told

The "surge" of troops in Iraq combined with the hard work of our soldiers and Gen. David Petraeus brilliant military strategy is working. It has snatched potential victory from the jaws of a humiliating defeat.

It also has political consequences here at home.

It will be fascinating to see how history judges this war, even 10 years from now. But I have a strong feeling the screechers on anti-war left will not fare well.

UPDATE: The National Journal debunks a John Hopkins "study" published in a British medical journal meant to discredit the war effort. You can read more about it here.
Not only debunks, but reveals the political effort to get it published before the 2006 elections without peer review. Appalling.

CORRECTION: The study was commissioned MIT and done by a Columbia Unversity professor.

Shooting Fish in Media Barrel

Armed Liberal tries to make sense of a NYT story about soldiers who return from one George Bush's wars and commit murder.

So far, according to the story, a massive 121 soldiers have returned home so screwed up they kill.

What does that number mean?

The way Armed Liberal figures it, not much.

DOJ figured put the murder rate for 18 to 24 year-olds at 26.5 per 100,000, for 25 to 34 year olds its 13.5 per. For returning soldiers? Based on available deployment numbers, its about 7.0 per, so about half (or a quarter) the rate of murder in the general public.

Hmmm. Maybe going to war has a pacifying effect on people.

Anyway, it seems to us we have read a number of stories recently about college professors killing their wives (Rafael Robb), sexually assaulting students (Tracy McIntosh), possessing child porn, etc.

We look forward to a NYT story that compiles the numbers and reveals the debilitating psychological effects that teaching at a modern university causes.

UPDATE: Prof. John Dilulio also weighs in. His numbers are a little different but he reaches the same conclusion.

More at Powerline.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Good Reason to Vote Against Hillary

Bonnie Squires inadvertantly provides a good reason NOT to support Hillary Clinton: She voted against the obviously qualified and now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts.

Not something she brags about on the stump. Nor should she.

Quick Draws in Philly

It seems Philly cops are little quicker on the trigger since recent cop killings.

Don't blame 'em a bit.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Shooting Questions

One thing jumped out at me from Rose Quinn's account of the shooting ("Bullets Fly") in Chester.

"When one of the shooters — a juvenile who is out on bail awaiting trial involving a school bus shooting last year — turned his gun on police during a subsequent pursuit, the officer fired back, injuring three in the car."

I hope someone finds out a little more about this juvenile and how he was involved in the school bus shooting. And, more importantly, why he was out on bail pending trial.

Snowflakes in Iraq

For the first time in recent memory snow falls in Baghdad. Delighted residents see it as an "omen of peace."

Al Gore will, of course, also take it as an omen, blame global warming and George Bush.

UPDATE: Operation Phantom Phoenix is an even better omen. Happy Birthday, Surge.

Life Imitates Scrappleface

Dennis Kucinich, winner of 2 percent of the Democratic vote in the NH primary demands a recount.

You can't make this stuff up. Oh wait, yes you can.

Scott Ott is Nostradamus.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Take/Give The Money and Run

So exonerated death row inmate Nick Yarris has settled his $22 million lawsuit against the county for millions (unofficially $4m). He spends 22 years in jail under threat of a death sentence. And all he gets is $4 million. That $181,818.18 for each year of incarceration.

Is that enough?

My boss, Heron's Nest, says no. He says not even $22 million is enough. And who am I to disagree with him?

I'll tell ya' who: I'm F. Gilman F. Spencerblog, that's who! (And that F doesn't stand for Frederick.)

Here's how I look at it. Would I take $22 million to spend 22 years in jail? No.
But would I take $4 million after the fact to get on with my new life? You betcha.

Nick is now married, living in England with a wife and baby. He's 46, young enough to have to have a pretty nice and comfortable life ahead of him.

He took the money and ran. Good for him. That's what I'd do.

Compare him to H. Beatty Chadwick, who has spent 13 years in prison to hold on to a crummy $2 million of his own money, instead of sharing it with his ex.

Of course, when Chadwick went to jail he didn't expect to stay there on a contempt charge for 13 years.

Just goes to show a law degree doesn't confer wisdom and 21 years on death row don't necessarily remove all common sense.

An Obama Souffle and Other Morsels

Good stuff on the primaries from George Will:

Money Q:

The wrong question about Obama has been "Where's the beef?" -- "beef" meaning policy substance. Policy papers in profusion can be ginned up by campaign advisers, of whom Obama has plenty. The right question is whether he is a souffle -- pretty and pleasing, but mostly air and apt to collapse if jostled. Presidential politics is an exhausting, hard, occasionally even cruel vetting process -- necessarily so, given the stakes -- and now that he has been bumped hard we shall see if there is steel beneath the sleek gray suit.

And more about the other candidates and the primary process here.

A Liberal Dose of Anger at Hillary

From Liberal Fascism to Liberal Neurosis, Jonah Goldberg may be on to something,says Dr. Sanity.

A Stunt, Not a Protest

Turns out the "Iron My Shirt" guys at the Hillary event were part of a sophomoric radio stunt.

They were not "plants" of the campaign. But neither were they real anti-female protesters. The whole thing was an adolescent goof that allowed Hillary to look good and remind her base that sexism was alive and well.

As radio stunts go, it wasn't nearly as good as Stuttering John asking former Bill Clinton mistress Gennnifer Flowers whether she planned on sleeping with any of the other candidates.

Both worked to the advantage of the Clintons but the first was actually funny, the second, not so much.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Moment of Truth in Iraq

Nobody has reported on the Iraq war with more authority than Michael Yon.

He recently wrote:

"There’s only a small group of writers who honestly spend enough time in Iraq to make serious claims based on firsthand accounts. But I’ve seen the Iraqi Army with my own eyes. I’ve done many missions in 2005 and 2007, in many places in Iraq, along with the Iraqi Army: please believe me when I say that, on the whole, the Iraqi Army is remarkably better in 2007 and far more effective than it was in 2005. By 2007, the Iraqis were doing most of the fighting. And . . . this is very important . . . they see our Army and Marines as serious allies, and in many cases as friends. Please let the potential implications of that sink in."

Read the whole thing here.

Some Things Never Change

Robert Samuelson exposes the "Change" hustle.

He's especially hard on Barack Obama but there isn't a candidate running for president talking about the medicare and SS bills that are going to come due sooner rather than later.

See, I Told You We Need Voter ID

Scott Ott "reports" things are getting ugly in New Hampshire.

What Next? A Trip to Guantanamo?

I just saw this headline at

"Lane restrictions on Platt Street Bridge today to prepare for new speed limit."

I know she's accused of punching a cop for going too slow in New York but this is getting ridiculous.

Whose Sorry Now?

The woman who used her 4-year-old granddaughter in a shoplifting scheme and then threatened a defamation lawsuit pleaded guilty and apologized to her family.

There goes her career as a KYW-TV news anchor.

Dead Men Don't Joke with the Media

Nice piece by Slate's John Dickerson with the McCain campaign.

"Too tough to die."

No doubt. But that doesn't mean he won't just fade away.

Lots of primaries left. Lucky him. Next up, Michigan. McCain country.

Protecting Hearth and Home

Never bring a knife to a gun fight. Even if it's a great big one, you're gonna lose.

Is Insuring Voter Integrity Legal?

John Fund makes the case for Voter I.D. to combat fraud.

In our increasingly close elections the integrity of the system matters more and more.

But not to some people.

Night of the Living Dead

So much for polls.

They had Hillary 13 points down on Monday. She wins by 3 on Tuesday.

Not only that but her victory speech was terrific. Far better and more focused than Obama's graceful but rambling and uninspired concession.

Lost in the hoopla could be John McCain's solid win. He was also written off for dead just weeks ago. Now, he's back too.

Just goes to show, nothing means anything until the voters actually vote. Especially, this early in the primary season.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ron Paul Exposed

Looks like James Kirchick over at the New Republic has the goods on Ron Paul.

Wonder is this will cause his supporters to rethink their support. It should.

Changing Lane

WHAT? We won't have Alycia Lane to kick around anymore?

This is awful.

Management says:

“After assessing the overall impact of a series of incidents resulting from judgments she has made, we have concluded that it would be impossible for Alycia to continue to report the news as she, herself, has become the focus of so many news stories."

Why the hell not? What's one have to do with the other? Katie Couric is the focus of "many news stories." Oh, I see. Not ones where she is accused of punching a female cop in the face and calling her a "dyke."

Still. I didn't know squat about Lane until I read about her hijinks in New York. I'd be more likely to watch her do the news now than ever. But I guess that's why I'll never be in management.

This was clever though.

“We wish to make clear that we are not prejudging the outcome of the criminal case against Alycia that is pending in New York," said KWY-TV station manager Michael Colleran in a statement. “We understand that Alycia expects to be fully vindicated in that proceeding. We hope that is the case and we wish her the best in all her future endeavors."

No sense in giving her lawyers extra meat to chew on.

At least they'll be saving her $700,000 a year salary. For the time being.

Heat Packers Bring Down Violence

What do anti-gun zealots have to say about this?

"Six years after new rules made it much easier to get a license to carry concealed weapons, the number of Michiganders legally packing heat has increased more than six-fold.

But dire predictions about increased violence and bloodshed have largely gone unfulfilled, according to law enforcement officials and, to the extent they can be measured, crime statistics. The incidence of violent crime in Michigan in the six years since the law went into effect has been, on average, below the rate of the previous six years. The overall incidence of death from firearms, including suicide and accidents, also has declined."

My hunch is they will just ignore it and go on being scared of all guns in any hands but the cops.

Beware Chris Hedges

OK, so Frank J. IS a fascist.

So what?

A Choice; Not an Echo

David Brooks has written an interesting piece comparing the different styles of Barack Obama and John McCain

He ends it:

"The central issue in this election is the crisis of leadership. Voters are reacting against partisan gridlock. Obama and McCain both offer ways to end this gridlock. Obama wants us to rise above it by rediscovering our commonalities. McCain hopes smash it with fierce honesty and independent action.

Today in New Hampshire, independent voters get to pick the model they prefer.

Even more interesting will be which model the voters pick in November. I wouldn't mind seeing the choice being between these two.

UPDATE: Bret Stephens columnin the WSJ today is even better, broader and wiser.

Iron Her Skirt?

Sexism rears it's ugly head at a Hillary campaign event in New Hampshire.

But wait... Does anyone think it is possible that the knuckleheaded "Iron My Shirt" guy was... a plant? You know, to rev up the female vote.

After all, Hillary campaign staffers have been caught planting softball questions at debates, why not a phony sexist foil for Hillary to play against?

I hate to be so suspicious and cynical but some reporters ought to check that guy out to make sure he's the real deal.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Chrissy Throws a Hissy

Author Chris Hedges is tired. He says so here.

"I am tired of living in a country where 16-year-old girls die because insurance company profits are more important than human life.

"I am tired of a government that runs offshore penal colonies where the detained are tortured and denied the basic protections of the Geneva Convention.

"I am tired of living in a state that makes war against countries that do not threaten us.

"I am tired of watching basic constitutional rights, such as the right to privacy, taken away from citizens."

Question: What country do you think Chris Hedges lives in? Russia? Cuba?

Actually he lives in the nightmare that is the United States of America.

He is the author of a book called "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America." I haven't read it but I bet it's really good.

Because he's so tired of living in such an awful country, Chris is voting for Dennis Kucinich for President.

If you don't know who Dennis Kucinich is, here is a picture of him.

If only more people would vote for Dennis, America would be a nice place to live, instead of this hell hole.

But Americans are stupid. Many of them don't know that they are living in a concentration camp run by corporate fascists. Or they don't care.

And so it looks like Dennis Kucinich is not going to be our next president.

This is terrible.

What will Chris Hedges do? Move to a nicer, more respectable country? Like Venezuela?

I hope not. What would we do without him?

A Rebel Angel?

Speaking of liberal left-wing fascists, this one takes the cake, with the help of a useful idiot in the media/fashion industry.

UPDATE: "Environmentalist" Joe Kennedy is also in business with this "angel." This is an old story but I saw a new TV ad just yesterday during the NFL Playoffs.

Wal-Mart Care

While the Democrats debate the importance of the federal government taking over healthcare, check this out.

The free market, it works.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty But...

Is it fair to accuse this guy of being unpatriotic?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

No Freedom from Mumaniacs

Diane McNamara, widow of slain Upper Darby police officer Dennis McNamara, noticed a guest column on our web site written by one Mary Shaw, Amnesty International spokeslady and Mumia supporter.

"More crap about Mumia!" Diane writes, and asks, "When will it ever end????"

It won't. But it always deserves a reply.

Mine will be in tomorrow's paper. Here's a preview:

"Mary Shaw wants closure. Or claims to.

"The human rights "activist" from Philadelphia recently wrote a guest column (it can be found on our web site) arguing for a new trial for convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal.

"This, she bizarrely suggests, will bring "closure" (kind of like opening a wound and pouring salt in it, I guess) for those involved in the 26-year-old case."

Read the whole thing in tomorrow's paper.

Friday, January 4, 2008

There Will Be Generosity

Actor Daniel Day Lewis is getting excellent reviews for his part in the new film "There Will Be Blood."

I have long been a Lewis fan but never more so than when I read what he did for his long lost brother-in-law.

Lewis is married to Rebecca Miller, daughter of the famous playwrite and liberal icon Arthur Miller.

It was recently reported that Miller had another child, Daniel, whom Miller had institutionalized when he was an infant. Daniel has Down Syndrome.

Today he is 41 (or 42) years old but his father, for whatever reason, could never acknowledge his son's very existence until, it seems, Lewis convinced him to.

The story about Miller and his long-forgotten son appeared in Vanity Fair some months ago. (Read it here.) It is sad beyond belief. But if it has a hero it is Daniel Day Lewis whose heart is as big as his acting talent.

UPDATE: After re-reading the article, I should say there are definitely other heroes in this tale besides Lewis. They include all the people who took care to raise and educate Danny Miller, who comes off as a bit of a hero himself.

Now, He was BRRRRRutal!

An excellent place to worship Vladimir and everything he represented.

Hollywoodland Hates Hillary

Striking Hollywood screenwriter David Kahane (a pseudonym) gives Hillary the old Bronx cheer while poking fun at himself and his colleagues.

This guy is obviously underpaid.

NRO liked his piece so much, they printed it TWICE.

The Great Race

With Mike Huckabee's win in Iowa, the headline over at The Politico is "GOP race in total disarray."

No. It is simply a race with all the horses bunched up together and no discernable leader. In other words, a good race.

A race in "total disarray" would have the horses jumping over fences and into the crowd, leaping into the infield and drowning in ponds, jockeys being killed and the race caller drunk and passed out behind the mike.

Total disarray? Please. But it reads, I guess.

A Surge in Negative Ads?

The Big O wins in Iowa.

What will Hillary do now?

Here's a hint: There was a time when the Clintons decried the "politics of personal destruction." They'll still decry them. But they'll use them.

Don't Worry, Be Fascists

Jonah Goldberg has written a smart book with a clever title: "Liberal Fascism." The happy face with the Hitler mustache on the cover is perfect.

Leftists are always calling Republicans fascists. See how they like it, especially with all the historical evidence Goldberg has marshalled to make his case.

Ron Rodosh reviews it here.

The Key to Stupidity

An anti-military, anti-war lawyer in Chicago has been charged with allegedly keying a Marine's car.

It happened in early December but it has captured the attention of the blogosphere. It appears one Jay Grodner will rue the day.

UPDATE: More thoughts on keying for justice here.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Attention CeaseFire PA...

The problem with stories like these is that they are reported at all.

There must be a way to keep them out of the newspapers. Maybe by threatening editors at gunpoint.

Ouch, I Got Hit in the Caucus

Mark Stricherz explains why media types complain about the "un-democratic" nature of the Iowa caucuses.

It's not so much because of they are un-democratic but because they are elitist -- and worse, hurtful to Democrats more so than to Republicans.

Mooreons Await Marching Orders

Michael Moore announces he hasn't decided who to support for president.

Who is he kidding? It's got to be this guy...

Carry On Jeeves

Some 200 returning British serviceman were ordered to change out of their uniforms and into civies to catch a flight home.

Money Q:

"We weren't told who gave the order. It might have been the designated senior officer on board, the chartered airline or the airport security people. It's an insult to the entire Army to force guys who've been fighting in Afghanistan to obey some jobsworth rule when all they want to do is get home soonest to their families. So much for a nation proud of its servicemen."

Great Britian used to be a great nation. Not so much anymore.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

You Talkin' To Me?

This guy probably watched Taxi Driver one too many times.

The First Primary

I wish I lived in Iowa so I could vote for this guy

On second thought, that would be a pretty high price to pay to vote for anyone.

Catching A Little Flak

At the end of a fascinating article (on our website) about Gov. Rendell's appointment of a new state dog warden was this paragraph:

"The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell’s initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web:"

We need to do a better job when it comes to rewriting the governor's press releases.

The New A.I.

Artificial Intellisex, anyone?

Click here.

UPDATE: So Gigolo Joe is the future of sex? Mrs. Spencerblog would prefer Clive Owen.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Gallup is reporting that Americans are mostly "very satisfied" with their personal lives.

Yet, we are mostly dissatisfied with the "direction of the country."

I wonder...

Americans experience their personal lives directly while they experience what is happening in the rest of the country indirectly, usually through the filter of the media.

Could the discrepancy be OUR fault?

Just asking.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Irwin Stelzer reports similar findings about the U.S. economy:

"Only 36 percent of us approve of our president, and fewer still (18 percent) approve of our Congress. We say our confidence has been shattered, and three out of four think our country is “on the wrong track.” So we tell pollsters, as we slink into the new year.

"Surprise: The economy added more than 1 million new jobs last year. It grew at an annual rate of between 3 percent and 4 percent. Share prices rose by over 5 percent, with tech shares up by double digits, these gains being recorded in weeks in which the financial markets are said to be in turmoil."

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Letter of the Week (Last Week)

Before Christmas I wrote a column about the unfortunate break-up of business partners John Tajirian and Colleen Lacombe (now Akins) both of Drexel Hill

It prompted this letter:

Mr Spencer,

After reading your editorial on December 20th concerning Colleen Lacombe, I was compelled to write you and ask you exactly why such an article was written in the first place.

I don't see any connection or relevance to a business venture going under, and you taking advantage of this situation to continue to trash and defame someones character. I believe it calls into question your own journalistic motivation and integrity. It is very apparent that you had nothing more significant to write about, nor do with your time then to waste your energy continuing an assault on a woman you know nothing about. Two people went into business together and it didn't work out. This simply puts them in the majority, as a very small percentage of business ventures are actually ever successful.(check the stats Gil).

The fact that you seized the opportunity to attack someone in such a situation, to me is disgraceful and unacceptable. You created a story where there was none there, and destroyed a families holidays by doing so. I am sure you are a very proud man Mr. Spencer.

I have heard for years that this papers subscription rate has been plummeting. Are your ratings and reader subscribership really that bad that you could find nothing better to write about then someones small business going belly up? What is your next blockbuster editorial going to be about? How Pizza Huts pizzas have fewer pepperoni then they did last year at this time?

Perhaps you could look into volunteering some of your time to helping the Red Cross, United Way, or some other charitable organization like that? At this point, it seems to me you have very little to offer society, or your subscribers by continuing with such rediculous (sic) editorial articles. I have spoken to dozens of people about this, and every one of them agree completely, you are way off base here Sir. I'd like to see an article written in the very near future apologizing to Mrs. Lacombe and her family, for using her past mistakes as an opportunity to create a story where none existed.

This is malevolent journalism, and should not be accepted or tolerated. Perhaps you will find the courage to post this letter in your "Readers Views" section, so that you can get a accurate gauge of just how cowardly this article was. I certainly hope so.

Al DiTullio
an ex - Delco Times subscriber as of today

I don't know how much courage it takes to post Mr. DiTullio's letter but there it is.

Certainly it took no more courage to post his missive than it took Colleen Lacombe to steal $325,000 from the First Church of Lansdowne a few years back.

I'm not sure what Mr. DiTullio thinks is so "cowardly" in writing about what Ms. Lacombe/Akins is up to today. But, no doubt, we disagree on whether it might be of interest to others.

That her former partner John Tajirian feels somewhat victimized by Akins/Lacombe is HIS story. That he went into business with her will she was still serving her sentence and remains under house arrest is interesting, at least to me and I think, to many if not all of our readers. That he now regrets doing so, given his unfortunate experience, is, again, his story.

I called Ms. Akins/Lacombe seeking to get her comments, instead I heard from her attorney. Fair enough. What Mr. DiTullio thinks is so "malevolent" about that is a mystery to me.

What he refers to as her past "mistakes" are actually pretty significant felonies. She didn't mistakenly steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from that church. She did it on purpose. People who do such things and then spend the money on vacation homes and boob jobs shouldn't be surprised when their crimes make headlines.

No doubt, Mr. DiTullio is right when he says that small businesses like the one started by Lacombe and Tajirian fail all the time. It is rare when such a failure would be "news."

However, when one partner has a cripe against the other, and that other partner happens to be in the midst of serving time for stealing from a church, that's kind of interesting.

If newspapers are in financial trouble today, it's not because they report too many stories with headlines like "Stolen Church Money Used for Breast Implants."

Such stories still sell newspapers and they will continue to so despite Mr. DiTullio's sanctimonious and angry objections.

A Wilsonian Approach to the Cold War

I'm reading "Charlie Wilson's War."

Haven't seen the movie but it can't be as good as the book. It's a hoot!

I highly recommend it.

UPDATE: You can't come away from this book without a little more respect for red-blooded anti-Communist American Democrats, the CIA and its cold warriors and even some muslim jihadists. (They were a lot cuter when their guns and knives with being used against the Rooskies.)

George Crile's book came out in 2003, the year the liberation of Iraq began. Maybe it should have been a covert war with Charlie and Company running things.

Learning from the Surge

Michael Barone "There are lessons to be learned from the dazzling success of the surge strategy in Iraq."

Read the whole thing.

Somehow, I don't expect HuffPo readers/writers will be dazzled.

HuffPo Readers Make Views Kristol Klear

The Huffington Post is reporting that conservative Bill Kristol will become a weekly columnist for the New York Times.

HuffPo's readers are not happy about it.

My New Year's Resolution...

... is the same as Frank J.'s

Except for punching a hippie.

Peters Pulls No Punches

Not everyone has nice things to say about murder victim Benazir Bhutto.

Check out this column.

UPDATE: Bad link fixed. Thanks Randal. Happy New Year!

UPDATE II: David Warren seconds the motion.

Water Over the Bridge (of the Nose)

Mark Bowden explains why and when waterboarding is justified and well describes its (and his own) noisy and sanctimonious critics.

May You Live in Interesting Times

Last year seems like only yesterday. Here's hoping that 2008 is every bit as interesting. I have a feeling.