Friday, February 29, 2008

A Non-Moving Violation

At the Healthplex in Springfield, a guy with a badge on his coat was writing down the license plate of a car parked in a handicapped space, apparently illegally.

"What's that cost?" I asked as I walked by.

The cop barely looked up.

"We just tell their mothers," he said. "It's worse."


A Kick in the Head: Part III

In Roman times they gave the people "bread and circuses" to distract them from the political hijinks of their betters.

This MLS Chester deal is the same with a twist: Your bread. Their circus.

Prince Dirty Harry

Hey, check out Prince Dirty doing his royal duty in Afghanistan.

Prince Dirty Harry rocks!

UPDATE: Video of Harry giving those Taliban bastards "Hell!"

Do you think those al Qaida punks feel lucky to have Harry shooting at them? Well, DO Ya?

A Natural Born President II

From Hotair commenter 29Victor on the debate over whether McCain is a natural-born U.S. citizen:

“Good thing McCain wasn’t born on February 29th, they’d be debating whether or not he is over 35.”

Heh. Like Dorothy here

Of course, "Notch babies" won't find this funny at all.

A Kick in the Head: Part II

My print column on the Chester soccer deal is up. Sorry, I couldn't be more enthusiastic.

I gotta' admit though, the the MLS put on a pretty slick show. And I hope I'm wrong about the league's chances for success in Chester.

But if the public investment does work out, I promise not to be one of those carpers who says, "Yeah, but look at the neighborhood nearby. It didn't lift all boats like it was supposed to."

One thing that didn't make the column was Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland's line thanking Gov. Rendell for coming to Chester so often and everytime with a "pocketful of money." (I'm quoting from memory.)

Remember where that money comes from. Somebody's else's pocket.

Americans: We're Going to Win in Iraq

A new PEW poll shows most Americans believe America will succeed in Iraq.

I think it was Angelina's piece in the Post that put the war over the top.

Democrats, look away.

Where There's a Will

George Will praises William F. Buckley and skewers John McCain.

A good cop in both cases.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

And Now a Word from Our Sponsors...

Just saw that commercial on insurance fraud and had the following conversation with Spencerblog Daughter, 15.

SB: If I got busted for insurance fraud would you still talk to me?
SBD: Yes.
SB: Even if all your friends at school found out I got arrested?
SBD: They would say, 'Your Dad got arrested? AWESOME!"

I'm still not going to do it.

UPDATE: Mrs. Spencerblog convicted a guy of insurance fraud a couple of months ago. I wonder if his daugther is speaking to him.

Name That Team

The owners of the new pro soccer team in Chester are going to have a contest to name the franchise.

My editor has suggested The Chester Sun (for the old Sun Ship connection) and Chester United (you know like Manchester United? Oh, you don't know!)

Since those both stin... I mean, are brilliant, but probably won't fly, feel free to come up with your own suggestion.

Below I suggested the Pa. Taxpayer Screw Jobs, but I doubt that will fly either.

Any suggestions?

Mrs. Spencerblog likes The Whiz. Not bad.

Lara Croft to the Rescue

In a surprisingly touching and informative piece for the Washinton Post, Angelina Jolie suggests the surge of American troops in Iraq is working.

Money Q:

As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.

It seems to me that now is the moment to address the humanitarian side of this situation. Without the right support, we could miss an opportunity to do some of the good we always stated we intended to do.

UPDATE: Opinionjournal's James Taranto makes a strong point. (Warning: Democrats, look away.)

"It's quite a contrast with the attitude of Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama, who said last summer that even preventing genocide was not a sufficient reason for a continuing presence in Iraq. What does it say about the Democratic Party that it seems poised to nominate someone who, on the most pressing concern of the day, is less morally serious than a Hollywood starlet?"

A Liberal Laments Buckley's Passing

A classy and fun piece on the passing of William F. Buckley by a member of the loyal opposition.

Ain't This A Kick in the Head

I'll be headed down to the big ceremony announcing the coming of professional soccer to Chester and the building of the new soccer stadium shortly.

In the meantime, I'm was trying to think what would be a good name for the team and their stadium. So far I've come up with... The Pennsylvania Taxpayer Screw-Jobs, for the team. And Boondoggle Park for the field.

But then I talked Andy Reilly who tried to convince me the financials of the deal really are actually pretty good. I'll go into all that in my print column tomorrow.

For now, it appears professional soccer is coming to Chester along with something close to a half a billion dollars in waterfront development.

That can't be all bad.

UPDATE: Can it? Read tomorrow's column

A Natural-Born President

The question is being raised that because John McCain was born outside the United States (his mother gave birth to him in the Panama Canal zone while stationed there with his Naval officer father) he might not be legally eligible to be president of the United States.

One of the constitutional requirements of the job is be a "natural born" U.S. citizen.

It would be kind of screwed up that children born to foreigners illegally in this country could be eligible to be president but that the children of U.S. military officers posted outside the country are not.

I bet the McCain campaign would love this to be made an issue by his Democratic opponent. Not even Democrats are that dumb.

UPDATE: Here's hoping we find out that Mrs. McCain had a C-section so that the McCain's opponents start attacking for being a Caesarean.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Who Ya' Gonna Call?

The PorkBusters movement is going after one of Pennsylvania's favorite sons.

Hint: He WASN'T convicted in the Abscam scandal

The Surge is Working... in the Keystone State

Obama is "surging" in Pennsylvania, according to a new poll of Democratic primary voters.

Hillary supporter Gov. Ed "Bulworth" Rendell needs to figure out a way to get all those "conservative white" Democrats he opined would never vote for an African American candidate to turnout for Mrs. Clinton.

Here's the problem: Conservative white democrats aren't too enthused about Mrs. Clinton either, given that's she not very conservative. Though she is white, she's a woman and we all know how conservatives dislike women.

What's Gov. Bulworth to do? It looks like he's decided to proclaim his own virtue as a pathological truth-teller and depart the field.

That's a plan.

William F. Buckley, R.I.P.

William F. Buckley, publisher of the National Review and one of the conservative movement's brightest stars, died today at his home and, appropriately, in his study.

A lot will be written about him in the days to come.

He was a wonderful thinker and prolific writer.

His most recent book, a collection of letters and correspondences during his decades running America's foremost conservative periodical is called "Cancel Your Own Goddamn Subscription."

I laugh everytime I think of the schmoe who thought he could order a man like Bill Buckley around.

His own subscription to life on earth was cancelled by God himself. He writes with the angels now.

But then, he always did.

Meet Jahmir Ricks

My print column is up on meeting 14-year-old accused killer Jahmir Ricks.

But it's also about what goes on at our privately-run country prison and the importance of having good public oversight. Which is to say a good, smart superintendent making sure the prison runs according to Hoyle and the contract the county has with GEO.

Acting Superintendent John Reilly is such a guy.

He says he's proud of the professionalism of the staff out there and invites anyone who's interested to come out for a tour. It's an eye-opening and pretty interesting experience.

Of course, I went out so you don't have to. But all are welcome, says Reilly, come into the light. He'll show you a few things.

One thing that didn't make the column:

On our way out of the jail, Reilly pointed to a silver-haired, gentleman in a glass both. His name is Eddie Martin. He's been working at the prison for years.

When Reilly was a DA, he reminded me, he prosecuted the man who raped and murdered Eddie Martin's daughter. His name is Wayne Smith and he is on Death Row today.

It is unlikely, however, Smith will ever be executed. His appeals for a new trial continue to this day and the commonwealth would commute his sentence (essentially) to life but so far Smith refuses to go for it.

I remember the trial. I wrote about it when defense attorney Ray Williams dramatically announced to Judge Anthony Semeraro he was quitting the case because he didn't like one of the judge's rulings.

Eventually, they worked things out but Smith, I understand, is hanging part of his appeal on that jailhouse favorite: ineffectiveness of counsel.

Too bad, some will say, the people of Pennsylvania can't appeal Smith's appeal, charging ineffectiveness of justice when it comes to putting convicted murderers to death in this state. But then maybe an innocent man or two -- the name Nick Yarris springs to mind -- might not be alive today.

UPDATE: Let's remember, thanks to DNA testing such mistakes are less and less likely to ever be made.

BAM BAM Won't Work on Obama

If Republicans are going to defeat Obama in the fall, it will only be through a death of a thousand (surgical) cuts, not by pounding him with a giant sledge hammer.

So says Tony Blankley.

Looks like pretty good advice.

Guns Good for Gays

Is gun control bad for gay people? Gaypatriot thinks so. So do a lot of other people.

UPDATE: And gays ain't the only ones, according to John Stossel.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Truth About Racial Preferences

In an excellent piece about "affirmative action," Stuart Taylor attempts to hold Barak Obama's feet to the fire of his own rhetoric.

Down deep in the piece is this quote from Taylor. It's money.

"For the fact is that K-12 education, especially for poor blacks, is not getting much better and in some ways may be getting worse. And there appears to be little hope for changing that -- no matter how much more money we spend on schools -- unless and until we make it easier to remove chronically disruptive kids from classrooms and to reward the best teachers and fire the worst. That would require taking on other core Democratic constituencies by cutting through the regulatory and legal thickets that have paralyzed school discipline and overriding the power of the teachers unions."

An Immodest Proposal

Pajamas media reports the "Modesty Police" took a beating from an angry mob in Iran.

Hey, angry mobs have their place in this world. And Iran is definitely one of them.

A Nice Slippery Slope for Vets

While some towns like
Toledo, Ohio
and Berkeley, California make a point out of dissing our military men and women, it's nice to see a Pennsylvania college make an effort to attract wounded war veterans by offering special programs that suit their needs.

Before Bennifer, There Was Gennifer

I bid $1

Monday, February 25, 2008

And the Loser Is...

Just a few words about the Oscars...

Last year I was disappointed that "Pan's Labyrinth" didn't win Best Foreign Language film losing out to "The Lives of Others." Though I hadn't seen latter I couldn't imagine it being better than Del Toro's terrific fable which I thought was flat out the best film of the year.

But then I saw The Lives of Others and it blew me away. If it wasn't better than Pan's it was every bit as good in a different but powerful way.

Both dealt with the subject of totalitarianism and its effect on the innocent and powerless.

This year, my biggest disappointment was that Sidney Lumet's "Before The Devil Knows Your Dead" wasn't nominated.

No complaints that "No Country For Old Men" won Best Picture. It's a very good movie. But I far more enjoyed Lumet's dark, sexy, depressing, and very clever film.

You will too if and when you rent it. But pay attention. If you don't you won't get it.

As for the Oscar show itself, it was its usual bore. But full props to John Stewart. He was his funny, smart-alecky self and moved the show along as best he could.

It was also smart and classy of him to bring back Best Song-winner Marketa Irglova (from "Once") to say a few words of thanks when she was cut off. She was charming. Nice touch and good call.

Divided They Fall

Big news from Montco where two brothers-in-law, one a Hillary supporter, the other an Obama guy, got into a bit of a dust-up.

According to the avidavit of PC, the Hillary supporter claimed the Obama guy tried to strangle him. Somehow the Obama guy ended up being stabbed, but the Hillary guy can't quite remember how.

Interestingly, the Hillary supporter is a registered Republican.

We are being told this is "not a laughing matter."

So quit sniggering. And that means YOU!

A Guy Named Joe

My Sunday print column is up and can be found here.

It's about a guy named Joe who called Friday to tell me that he planned to kill two people in Chester. He asked me to call him back if I wanted the details and then said, "Thank you and have a nice day."

It's worth a read. So bizarre was the story, that after I filed it and called my editor, he wasn't sure if it was for real.

To update those who have already read it. I talked to Joe again on Sunday to see how he was doing and to make sure (at least in my own mind) he wasn't actually going to hurt anyone.

When he first called, I debated about calling the police. But after talking to him I got the sense while he might actually be capable of violence, what he really wanted was someone to tell his story to.

He'd already spoken to a minister, who, he said, convinced him to not to do anything violent. After speaking to him myself for an hour or so, my best sense was he had decided not to act on his darker thoughts.

I know that playing amature psychologist is a dicey thing for any writer to do.

Sunday, I heard from a female friend who thought I should immediately call the police and warn Joe's wife about had threatened to do. She was that convinced lives were in danger.

I was glad to report to her that I had been in touch with both Joe and his sister, with whom he is staying and that he seems to be doing fine. No threat to others or himself.

Joe reported he'd gotten to have his son over to his sister's house on Saturday, his son's birthday. He said he bought his kid something like $200 worth of video games. He also said he was in "spiritual counseling." So he felt good.

He also said he'd gotten a lot of positive feedback after Sunday's column (which he called "beautiful"). What to make of that, I'm not sure. But I hope it means that he just wanted to get some strong feelings off his chest and he felt better for doing so.

I don't, however, want to encourage others to call me with threats to do bodily harm to others, thinking it will help them get their stories of vicitimization in the paper.

Many years ago, I had a caller ring me up with a domestic relations problem. After 15 minutes or so of talking to him he told me that the way his wife was treating him made him so made he felt like killing her. As quickly and as forcibly as I could told him that was no way to talk, no solution, no nothing. And he agreed with me.

Then he killed her.

I testified at his murder trial without a moment's hesitation. The prosecutor put me on the stand to make clear to the jury the man had formed the intent to kill his wife quite a while before he did it. This was not a crime committed in the heat of passion. It had been considered sometime before hand.

Anyway, I'm not sure I've handled this right. But so far, I think so. I hope so.

I liked Joe, I liked talking to him, and I hope things work out for him.

Want Good Schools? Here's Watts Up!

Comedian Drew Carey doesn't think there is anything funny about failing public schools.
Got 10 minutes? He explains on ReasonTV how they can be made better.

It ain't rocket science.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Good Night Nurse

Kevin Lee, who identifies himself as an RN and Democratic Candidate for the
Pennsylvania State House of Representatives for the 163rd District wrote a Letter to the Editor mentioning me and a recent column. Find it below with my comments.

"To the Times:

"I am writing in reference to Gil Spencer’s column from Feb. 12 regarding the treatment of Jahmir Ricks in the Delaware County prison. Mr. Spencer’s comments suggest that young Mr. Ricks is actually better off somehow in jail."

(Guilty. I think Jahmir is better off for now in jail than he would be at home, in his community. He did, after all, allegedly stab his brother to death. Does Nurse Lee think he would be better off back in a public school classroom? Hmmm. Let's see.)

"In an apparent swipe at Charlotte Hummel, a Democratic school director from Lansdowne for the William Penn School District, Mr. Spencer states Jahmir seems to be learning better in prison then in the WPSD."

(Well, if Jahmir's lawyer Mike Malloy can be believed, Jahmir is getting straight As under the guidance of the Intermediate Unit teachers who tutor him at the prison. Malloy told me Jahmir is a smart kid but had become something of a discipline problem in the WPSD with his grades falling off the last couple of years. Does Nurse Lee know this to be untrue?)

"He also suggests 'some children' need a more structured environment."

(That is one of the more obvious truths I have written in my 25 years as a newspaper columnist.)

"He also suggests it is a shame that Antwan Ricks had to die and Jahmir had to go to prison to have that better instruction and a more structured environment than the William Penn School District has to offer."

(It IS a shame.)

"As a resident of Lansdowne, I am disturbed by the comments that suggest our children would have a better education in jail than in our communities."

(Whoa there, Nurse Lee. I said "some children," Jahmir, obviously being one of them.)

"I am sure the hundreds of teachers and employees, thousands of students and parents and the residents of the school district would respectfully disagree with Mr. Spencer’s assessment."

(Really? I haven't heard from any of them. Are hundreds of WPSD teachers clamoring to have Jahmir sprung from jail and put back in their classrooms? If they are, could the good nurse provide some of their names?)

"These comments, which I hope were just off the cuff and not intentionally offensive, are reminiscent of Barbara Bush’s comments made in Houston after the Katrina disaster. She said people in the shelters, after losing everything, were somehow better off because they were 'underprivileged' before Katrina."

(Sorry, I don't get it.)

The facts do show that the William Penn School District and many districts like it are struggling. They are struggling with unfunded mandates from Harrisburg and the federal government. They are struggling with a historic lack of funding and support from the government officials that are supposed to be representing our needs in the General Assembly. And they are struggling due to social issues exacerbated by poor economic policies, the antiquated tax code and a lack of real involvement from our representatives in Harrisburg.

(So that's why Jahmir stabbed his brother? Allegedly.)

Every child in Pennsylvania deserves a quality education. The current practice of using the value of local property, in addition to one’s zip code, to determine the amount of funding for a child’s education is ineffective, outdated and dangerous.

(Not as dangerous as playing a video game with the Ricks boys.)

Columnists like Mr. Spencer and our state representatives and senators should be making this issue priority one.

(I get it. Nurse Lee wants more money for the William Penn School District. Fair enough. He's free to ask. But lack of money isn't William Penn's biggest problem. What the district is really struggling with is an anti-learning street culture that is brought into schools and makes it difficult for teachers to teach and children to learn.

(None other than philanthropist Oprah Winfrey has practically given up trying to help urban schools in the U.S. because, as she said, "I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn't there." And so she spent $40 million starting a girls' academy in South Africa. That problem of instilling the "need to learn" seems to have eluded Nurse Lee but he goes with his speechifying.)

The time has come to change this state. A well-funded, cost-efficient, quality public school system benefits the entire commonwealth.
It allows for all children, not just those from privileged backgrounds, to receive an education.

(Well, it's not very cost efficient having to educate Jahmir in prison, but I'm all for it.)

Until we have the will to change what happens in Harrisburg, we will continue to see a decline in our education system and our communities.

(I wonder, just how many more millions of dollars William Penn School District will need to stop the decline? Nurse Lee doesn't say.)

Our community will continue to pay escalating property taxes to fund a state system that is broken while some members of the General Assembly vote to raise its own pay and pension.

(Nurse, I'm with you here. They shouldn't have done that.)

Mark Twain was quoted that for every public school that closed, we would have to open a jail.

(Mark Twain also said, "In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made School Boards."

The Ricks family might be in a very different place today if we stopped playing politics and put more emphasis on fixing the problems in our schools instead of ignoring them.

(The Ricks family might be in a very different place today if the boys had stopped playing video games and had more adult supervision at home. Let's not be ridiculous here. Nurse Lee is running for the state legislature allegedly to help solve the problem of inequitable school funding. He doesn't offer an opinion on whether 14-year-old Jahmir should be tried as a juvenile or an adult. Based on what I know, I think he should be tried as a juvenile. But reasonable people can disagree on that. I don't think reasonable people can disagree that Jahmir needs to be in a structured and corrective setting. So should Nurse Lee. And I don't think the state house is it.)

Super Under House Arrest?

Just put an ankle bracelet on him so we know where he is.

Super Freaks

The Politico worries that Obama is not sufficiently familiar with the "conservative Freak Show" that is out to get him.

As for the liberal Freak Show that out to get Republican John McCain, it is still officially going by it's old name of The New York Times.

UPDATE: Mark Hemmingway says the media is "Swiftboating the Swiftboaters."

I met a bunch of those guys back in 2004. I liked them. There is a new book out about their efforts to set the record straight about John Kerry, his service and what he said about their fellow warriors. Kerry picked the wrong guys to mess with.

Dine and Dash

Hillary Rodham Clinton, deadbeat? No just her campaign.

But if this is the way she treats her supporters, how do you think she'll treat the rest of us?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Story of Unintended Consequence

John McCain turns the tables on the NYT for its story alleging feared blowback among his staff for his friendly relationship with a female lobbyist eight years ago.

If my description of the story sounds weird, it's because the story IS weird.

NYT has succeeded where the McCain campaign had failed, driving conservatives into McCain's arms (or is it the other way around).

Not since Dan Rather has a liberal media outlet done so much to help a Republican, inadvertently of course.

Let History Judge

Some people put a lot of stock in presidential approval ratings, especially since George Bush's is so low.

But the lowest since they've been measured belongs to "Give 'Em Hell" Harry Truman, who is generally considered by historians to be a pretty decent president.

Truman's unpopularity was certainly tied to the Korean War that, in the long run, saw 58,000 Americans killed.

Preventing South Korea from being overrun by the communists of the North was certainly a good thing for the citizens of that now properous country. Especially compared to the gulag that passes for a country under Kim Jong Il.

History has been kind Truman. Whether it is as kind to George Bush will depend on whether Iraq continues on its path to being the only functioning Arab democracy in the Middle East.

We will see.

Talk About a Bad Sport

File this under bizarre but true:

In a fit pique, Fidel Castro banned golf and
golf courses
in Cuba after he lost a match to Che Guevara.

Now with Fidel's retirement, Raul Castro and his henchmen are talking about building 10 new upscale golf resorts on the island to lure golf-playing tourists.

Next up: casinos and back to the good 'ol Batista days.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Emotionally Invested in Defeat

In his column, Chucky Hammer quotes a former critic of the Iraq occupation.

"No one can spend some 10 days visiting the battlefields in Iraq without seeing major progress in every area. ... If the U.S. provides sustained support to the Iraqi government -- in security, governance, and development -- there is now a very real chance that Iraq will emerge as a secure and stable state." -- Anthony Cordesman, "The Situation in Iraq: A Briefing from the Battlefield," Feb. 13, 2008.

He also quotes former Democrat Joe Lieberman.

"Democrats have remained emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq."

Sounds right.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Remember Those Two Women?

The U.S. Military is now reporting that the women al Qaida used to blow up that pet market, killing 99 people, probably didn't have Down syndrome as first reported.

They were only being treated for schizophrenia, depression and other mental problems.

What a relief! Al Qaida isn't all that bad after all.

Peace In Our Time? Hello...?

Mark "The Alarmist" Steyn responds to his critics and other sleepyheads who are not at all troubled by the capitulation of Western multi-culti elites to Muslim demands for Shiara law.

A Father's Plea to His Daughter...

Mallory, come here. I want you to see this!

Uh O!

The ever reasonable Robert Samuelson was impressed with Obama when he first met and listened to him.

Upon greater scrutiny and reflection, not so much.

Money Q:

"If you examine his agenda, it is completely ordinary, highly partisan, not candid and mostly unresponsive to many pressing national problems.

UPDATE: Don't blame the Clintons. They've been trying to expose the man behind the curtain for months. He's not a bad man, he's just a very bad wizard.

An Inconvenient Truth?

Right-winger John Derbyshire predicts Al Gore will be the Democratic nominee and next president of the United States.

He doesn't sound like he's kidding.

So Long, Fidel

Making sure a retiring dictator gets a fair shake CNN risks being mocked as the Castro News Network.

UPDATE: In the meantime, the WSJ gives a more biased view of Fidel's career.

That is biased by concerns about human rights, freedom, economic opportunity, anti-anti-Americanism etc.

He did impose universal health care on his country and it's universally pretty bad.

UPDATE: And no gold watch from the editors of the National Review

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mama Mia: China Supports Genocide

When it comes to athletic competitions, I was charmed to learn several years ago that Communist China's motto was "Friends First."

Not if you live in Darfur. There it is genocide first.

Having convinced Steven Spielberg to walk away from Olympic games in Bejing, Mia Farrow and her son are trying to convince others. They make a pretty case.

The Obama Wave is Cresting

Meanwhile, over at the Candidate of Change and Hope Headquarters, concern that Obamania could be short-lived.

Big C or Little c, Cut the Crap

The reasonably conservative Chris Buckley tells big-time, big mouth (big C) Conservatives" to "shut (the f---) up" when it comes to McCain bashing. (Or he would have it he weren't writing for a family newspaper.)

Good stuff.

No Stone Left Unturned

Yes, but was she wearing any underwear when she said it.

Free Speech Fight in Canada

A rather amazing story out of Canada that shows the absolute banality and perniciousness of so-called Human Rights Commissions.

Ezra Levant a writer and publisher, published the famous Danish Mohammed cartoons two years ago.

He has now been hauled before this government star chamber on the charge of being insufficently sensitive to the feelings of fascist Muslims throughout Canada.

But like our own Joey Vento, Levant has turned the tables on the HRC, accurately calling them illiberal thugs and menaces to free speech and free thought in the Great White North.

He videotaped his own inquisition by a bumbling bureaucrat and posted the interview on You Tube. Hundreds of thousands of people have watched it and are cheering Levant's aggressive and brilliant defense of free speech for all people.

The public backlash could see the entire Human Right Commission apparatus collapse in Canada.

Just like my friend, Penn Professor Alan Kors who led the fight to banish speech codes and PC thought crimes from college campuses in the 1990s (remember the "Water Buffalo" case?) so Levant is working to embarrass and demoralize government censors in his country. It's already working. His own inquisitor has quit after the shellacking she took at Levant's hearing.

It helped that others joined Levant's fight, which continues.

Watch the interview here.

It's comes in about 9 parts, but it's worth every minute.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Finally, Michelle Obama is Proud of America

“For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country," Michelle Obama told a crowd in Milwaukee, "because it feels like hope is making a comeback.”

For the first time in her adult life? Has America been particularly hard on the former Michelle Robinson.

Let's see:

She was born in Chicago, Illinois to Frasier Robinson (who died in 1990),[1] a city pump operator and Democratic precinct captain, and Marian Robinson, a secretary at Spiegel's catalog store;[2] she grew up in the South Shore community area of Chicago.[2][3] Unlike her husband, she was raised in a conventional two-parent home where the family convened around the dinner table nightly.[4] She and her brother, Craig (who is 16 months older), skipped the second grade.[2] Michelle, who is 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall,[5] graduated from Whitney Young High School in 1981[6] and went on to major in sociology and minor in African American studies at Princeton University, where she graduated cum laude with an Artium Baccalaureus in 1985.[2]
She obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1988.[7]


Even if she has never been proud of America for the opportunties it has offered her, America has every reason to be proud of Michelle Obama.

UPDATE: has just scratched the quote attributed to Mrs. Obama by I'm not because it still looks essentially accurate to me. Rico does make a good point about people who talk a lot in public are going to occasionally misspeak. No doubt. He husband recently was caught lifting the words of Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick. The Hillary campaign accused him of plagiarizism. His friend Patrick didn't. Obama said he should have given his friend credit.

Let's Hear It for International Law

According to a recent poll: "Europe favours Obama but Britons like Clinton."

And if either wins and gets to appoint Supreme Court justices maybe soon Europeans will actually be awarded the right to vote in this country.

When a Stranger Calls

Tired of being bothered by those annoying telemarketeers? Tom Mabe has the solution.

This may be old but I stumbled on to it just the other day.


Riddle Me This, Smokeman...

Riddle Hospital is going smoke-free.

Does this mean emergency-room visitors will get treatment faster because staff aren't outside catching a smoke? I doubt it.

Money Q:

“As a health care provider, our role in the community is to promote health,” Dennis Burt, Riddle’s environmental management/safety administrator, said. “We see this as a positive opportunity. It’s an opportunity for us to reach out to our community and to our staff. We’re not saying that smokers are bad people.”

What a relief!

"He stressed that the policy was not an indictment or a value judgement against smokers."

Nope, wouldn't want to jumped to any "value judgements" that would be intolerant.

“We are not telling people that they have to quit smoking,” Burt said.

Just that if they do it on hospital property and get caught they will be written up, disciplined and eventually fired.

Better if he had said, "Look cigarette smoking kills people. And if we didn't discourage unhealthy behavior on our own grounds we'd be a pretty poor hospital. Not that we're that great to begin with."

And why not add in a little blather about the dangers of second-hand smoke? I don't buy it but most anti-smoking zealots do. That should have been thrown in too as a rationale. That and how the burning of cigarettes adds to global warming.

The Sinatra-Like Clinton

Lawrence O'Donnell explains (or simply asserts) at HuffPo that Hillary is going to lose and she knows it. He says she should embrace it.

Money Q:

"It was her best ever performance on a campaign stage. She was working without a script, without Teleprompters, moving freely with a hand-held mic and demonstrating a Sinatra-like command of the stage and the audience."

Too bad she doesn't have Sinatra's voice. When she gets excited, her's sounds more like a cat getting its tail slammed in a screen door.

At least, she did her way. Or did she?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

There Will Be Disappointment

Just saw "There Will Be Blood" with Mrs. Spencerblog.

I have never seen such a great movie run out of steam so fast and fall to earth with such a thud.

Grim Fairy Tale for the Clintons

Quick question:

Does anyone deny that if Barack Obama were not "black," his appeal to most voters would be severely diminished? (In so far as he is bi-racial: black father, white mother, I think it's fair to put his race quotes.)

I'm not saying Obama isn't a smart guy and an excellent speaker. But he is woefully short on political experience. He has no governing record and his legislative accomplishments are basically non-existent.

Isn't it his racial make-up his most interesting quality? His message of "hope" would sound vapid, if not ridiculous, coming from a white politician.

There really is a "fairy tale" quality to his candidacy. No wonder Bill and Hillary Clinton and being driven nuts by him.

UPDATE: Terrence Corcoran raises some of the same questions about Obama I've been wondering about.

Cruel and Unusual Cruelty

My Sunday print column is up. It's about Whiskers the Cat and the lawsuit brought by his owner against the SPCA.

As believe I make clear I don't much care for this lawsuit, but then I don't much care for most lawsuits.

That said, I have nothing against such suits being brought against people who intentionally and maliciously harm animals specifically to cause pain and suffering to their owners. (Like the ex-husband who kills his ex-wife's beloved cat to get even with her for leaving him.)

Few jurisdictions legally recognize the "pain and suffering" of pet owners when and if their pets have been intentionally harmed or killed.

Legally speaking, pets are considered personal property, no different than a waffle iron. If somebody steals or destroys your waffle iron you can recover the value of it but you can't sue for the pain and suffering of losing it. (Or you can but you won't win.)

Clearly though the emotional connection most people have toward their pets deserves some amount of legal respect.

I would be very supportive of a law that allowed pet owners to recover not only punitive damages for the malicious and deliberate killing of their pets but also awarded them dollar amounts for pain and suffering.

The key word here is "malicious." Mere negligence (running a red-light and hitting a dog) should not, in my view, be actionable.

What the SPCA workers did in the Whiskers case doesn't fall into the category of maliciousness.

The SPCA humanely puts hundreds of stray cats down a year in the course of doing business. What happened here was just plain stupid and negligent. While the cover-up was technically criminal, it was done to protect the guilty not to intentionally wound the cat owners.

While I don't believe in animal rights, I do believe in human rights and responsibilities. Human beings, to be worthy of the title, should never gratuitously or maliciously hurt lesser creatures. When they do they should be punished for it. And more severely than they are today under current criminal law.

For more on the case law concerning this sort of thing click here.

UPDATE: I just got this e-mail on today's column:

Your article was right on! We adopted a dog on December 24th and when we took him to our vet. He found a lump that had to be removed. The SPCA paid for the procedure without question. We now have a beautiful, healthy six-year-old Labarottie
I am sorry about Whiskers and maybe a couple hundred in compensation is ok. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.
Maureen and Kevin Ferry (Max too!!)

UPDATE II: And this e-mail from Mike Wallen, the neighbor who called the cops on Whiskers. He's not nearly as crazy as I made him sound.

I'd like to set the record straight about how Whiskers ended up at the SPCA. It was a Friday night and it 20 degrees outside. My next door neighbor called to tell me something was in our bushes and making loud noises. I went outside and listened and it was a cat making these loud moaning noises. I thought it was in labor. I could'nt get it out because it seemed to be wedged in the bushes.

You should understand that the only way to get your local police officer to come to your house is call 911 and tell them it's a non emergency. You can't call your local police any more. The Ridley Park officer came out to the house about 20 minutes later. At that point the cat had come out of the bushes and was on my other next door neighbors doorstep. The cat was still making those noises but it must have been because it was cold and scared. The officer called animal control. He asked if I had a box to put the cat in while we waited for animal control. I put the cat in a box with an old pair of jeans to keep it warm and put it on my back deck. The officer left at that point. The cat seemed harmless enough and my neighbor was even petting it while we waited. We did'nt know the owners of the cat. They were living in a house two doors down on the street behind us about 150 yards away. When animal control showed up about 30 minutes later she transferred the cat into a cage. I asked her where the cat was going in case someone came around looking for it the next day. She said the SPCA. I asked her how long they hold the cats before they euthanized them and she said 72 hours. The next day was a saturday and we had snow all day. On Sunday we were out front shoveling the driveway and I noticed a couple kids going from door to door putting something in the doors. I yelled over are you looking for a cat? They said yes and we looked at the picture they had on their flier and said that the cat was at the SPCA. They kept going down the street putting fliers in the doors and we asked them why and they said just in case it's not the same cat.

That's about it from my perspective. It was the police that called Animal Control not us. Weeks later the lady that lost the cat came to our house and gave my wife a thank you card for trying to help her cat.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Attention Arlen: Mr. Waxman Regrets...

Henry Waxman (D-Cal) claims to regret holding the hearings at which Roger Clemens testified denying his use of performance enhancing drugs.

He's still getting grief.

Nothing compared to what Arlen will get if he continues his silly crusade against the NFL.

Doing a Good Deed

Excellent piece and suggestion from the Inky's Kevin Ferris in today's WSJ on the Boy Scouts in Philadelphia.

Because the BSA doesn't accept openly gay scout leaders, certain cities and organizations have declared war on them. Philly included.

Gay organizations have used their political muscle to end the Cradle of Liberty chapter's rent break from the city.

Ferris suggests new Mayor Michael Nutter sell the building, which the scouts have been in since 1928, to the chapter, at "fair market value minus a generous allowance for the improvements the scouts have made to the property and the resources they have devoted to its upkeep..."

Sounds like an excellent idea.

The Black Dahlia

A Gen-Xer bails on Obama.

Pretty funny.

Sir Charles: Dumb Republican, Smart Democrat

Former Sixer and Republican Charles Barkley has announced his antipathy for conservatives ("fake Christians) and declared he will vote for whatever Democrat in the fall election.

Good. Both Democrat and Republican constituencies just got smarter.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sen. Specter and his Crusade for "Honest" NFL Games

See my print column today on Patriots coach Bill Belichick going over the "videotapes" on Arlen Specter.

My boy, Patterico (a lawyer and prosecutor in L.A.) has his own opinion of Sen. Specter's witch hunt.

Hint: It isn't flattering.

Tuning In to the New WB

Patterico has a waterboarding quiz.

Take it.

UPDATE: I passed with flying colors.

UPDATE II: Be sure to read the comments at Patterico. Very interesting (Here, too.)

Obi-Wan Obama

Many, both on the left and right, are starting to notice the "cultish" aspects of Obamania, including Chucky Hammer.

There has been a lot of swooning, lately. Could Obi-wan be in for a backlash? Count on it.

A Toy for All You Jimmy Bonds

Can something be fascinating, cool and stupid all at once?

I think this is.

Question: Does it come with a waterproof tuxedo?

Post V-day, Suck Up, Alert!

As usual, my editor (see the Heron's Nest) is right.
When your wife says for Valentine's Day "let's just do cards," she's lying.
She may not even know she's lying, but she is.
Don't be fooled. I wasn't.

My present (which involved her dogs) led her to declare this, "The best Valentine's Day ever."

Tip to you girls: Guys like such fawning.

To further celebrate we watched "War of the Roses" one of the darker comedies about a failed marriage. She picked it. And later, the surprisingly good 1995 version of "Bye Bye Birdie."

This morning, I got coffee in bed and the slack to make fun of it.

"This better be Fair Trade Coffee."

For those of you not in the know, I live in (actually near) the "Fair Trade Town" of Media.

As Media's web site, advises:

"Most Fair Trade certified coffee, tea, and chocolate in the US is certified organic and shade grown. This means that the products you buy maintain biodiversity, provide shelter for migratory birds, and guarantee a future for the earth."

I say that better be a money-back guarantee.

But then I hear from the kitchen: "It's Folgers."

Oh well, men, women, dogs. That's enough biodiversity for one household.

UPDATE: Check out the logo for Fair Trade here. Do you think maybe they stole it from this Star Trek episode.

Don't Blame Brownie

"I'm from the government and I'm here to help"

UPDATE: Mickey Kaus has an interesting observation on this:

1) Hmm. Isn't the issue why anyone is building trailers in the first place that are dangerous? This doesn't seem like a FEMA scandal. It seems like a trailer-industry scandal. Most victims of poisonous trailers are probably a) not Katrina victims and b) actually paying good money for their carcinogenic trailers.

2) Is FEMA using the formaldehyde issue as a prod to move people out of the trailers--something it's apparently been trying to do for a while, perhaps to avoid creating a permanent class of free-trailer dwellers? In other words, maybe FEMA wants this scandal (and the press is obligingly giving it to them). ...

Lower G.I. Jane

Finally, Jane Fonda is relevant again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Uno is the first beagle ever to win Best in Show at Westminster.

Toonie and Lulu watched and are very proud.

I'm just glad this bitch didn't win.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Can You Torture a Dead Horse?

On a rare occasion, Patterico agrees with the L.A. Times editorial board.

So do I.

Diablo, read this and learn something.

Call Him A Cock-Eyed Optimist

Victor Davis Hanson says Iraq is no longer the main problem.

Money Q:

Most of the conventional pessimism about Iraq is being proven wrong. For example, the recently translated captured diary of the dead al-Qaeda terrorist — Abu Maysara, a senior adviser to Abu Ayyoub al-Masri — reveals a sort of hopelessness. The dead Maysara laments that al-Qaeda has lost the hearts and minds of the people to the U.S. and its Iraqi allies, while suffering terrible battlefield losses. Abu Maysara did not write as some civilian defeatist, the equivalent of our own antiwar protesters. He was instead a frontline fighter, once confident of victory in the field, but realistically broken by defeat — before he was killed.

"For all the Western gloom, the forces trying to break up Iraq are not as strong as the fears of seeing it so trisected. Federal Iraq has survived Iranian subterfuge, the House of Saud terrorist subsidies, Turkish invasion, and Kurdish nationalism — and is still there. It won’t be quite Kansas, but the Iraqi state has a good chance to evolve into something no more violent than the usual Middle Eastern state, but without either murderous dictators or theocrats — or, of course, the genocidal murderer Saddam Hussein."

Democrats: The Party of Racism?

At a recent meeting with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette editorial board, columnist Tony Norman says Gov. Ed Rendell suggested Barack Obama would have a tough time beating Hillary Clinton in this state because of his race.

Norman wrote:

"You've got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate," he (Rendell) said bluntly. Our eyes only met briefly, perhaps because the governor wanted to spare the only black guy in the room from feeling self-conscious for backing an obvious loser. "I believe, looking at the returns in my election, that had Lynn Swann [2006 Republican gubernatorial candidate] been the identical candidate that he was --well-spoken [note: Mr. Rendell did not call the brother "articulate"], charismatic, good-looking -- but white instead of black, instead of winning by 22 points, I would have won by 17 or so."

Think about it. Here you have white, moderate/liberal Democratic governor suggesting that "conservative whites" might "not be ready to vote for an African American candidate in a DEMOCRATIC primary.

Given that Lynn Swann, a black man, was the nominee of the Republican (read: "more conservative") Party, it takes quite a bit of chutzpah for the Guv to blame racist "conservatives" for his defeat.

I doubt the governor, an announced Hillary Clinton supporter, is referring to himself. I suppose there are some "conservative" DEMOCRATS left in this state but aren't they few and far between.

Doesn't Ed really mean "racist" Democrats?

If Hillary wins the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, it seems, at least in Ed's opinion, she'll have a good number of racist Democrats to thank.

UPDATE: Who would have thought there would have been so many fewer racists in Virginia's Democratic Party?

UPDATE II: If Hillary loses, will Ed blame Pennsylvania Democrats for being too sexist?

A New Low

I missed this when I was on vacation.

But isn't it amazing what George Bush has caused our enemies to sink to?

A Terrible Reminder of the Clinton Pardons

Debra Burlingame has a devastating piece on the Clinton pardons of the FALN terrorists.

It will dismissed by the Clinton campaign as old news. It is. And it is still awful to read that a U.S. President would pardon 16 terrorists responsible for the maiming and deaths of N.Y.C. police officers and civilians if only to get his wife the support of a few Hispanic politicians for her senate run.

Clinton fans, look away, look away.

UPDATE: Corrected 19 to 16 terrorists.

Reminds of Sarah Silverman's gag about correcting her niece's assertion that Hitler killed 60 million Jews.
It was six million, Sarah corrects her.
What difference does it make? Six million or 60?
60 million, Sarah explains, would be "unforgivable."
Funny, huh?

Why Do They CAIR?

Investors Business Daily has a question for Democrats.

With the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors detailing the ties between the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and known Islamic terrorists, why are so many Democrats - including our own Joe Sestak - not renouncing their ties to this anti-American, pro-terrorist group?

Good question.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Allgood Was Allbad

Talk about giving prosecutors a bad name. This guy makes Mike Nifong look like Atticus Finch.

What a disaster!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hugo Schmugo

Hey check out what Joe Kennedy's oil fairy is doing to the poor people of his own country.

Al Qaida On the Run

Al Qaida in Iraq is singing the blues.

More proof that the surge has and is working. No wonder all the Democrats want to talk about is... well, anything else.

If only we'd quit and pulled out all our troops when THEY said to. Where would Iraq be then? Better not to think about that.

A Supreme Consideration

A good reason for conservatives to support the not very conservative John McCain: Supreme Court nominations.

Think of Hillary or Barry as President Homer Simpson.

Aide: Mr. President, Ruth Bader Ginsberg has just announced her retirement. Who shall we nominate?

Homer: (Dropping his beer and hitting his head) KOH!

Aide: I'll call Yale. Excellent choice, Mr. President.

Money Q:

"... Justice Koh would handcuff the police and intelligence community by judicial fiat. A Law Blog reader quipped that, “other than that he’d be a sure vote for declaring Gitmo detainees have a constitutional right to Social Security benefits, I do not see the appeal.”

A Rosie End to the Clinton Years

In 2000, Rosie O'Donnell cut her finger and it was George Bush's fault.

Read her horrifying personal story about the "Bush years" except that it happened, as WSJ's James Taranto pointed out, during the end of the Clinton years.

It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp Reference

Outrage over MSNBC's David Shuster's "pimped out" comment about Chelsea Clinton's role in her mother's campaign.

Does anyone think some of this outrage is manufactured?

UPDATE: Some MSNBC "pimping out" references, though, need not be apologized for.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Kitty Can Scratch

Maureen Dowd, as usual, let's Hillary have it.

More importantly. Do you think there is enough space between Maureen's nose and her upper lip? Not that she's not a cougar.

I don't know, it's just the kind of thing, I think she might notice in another woman.

It's Not the Economy, Stupid

The always reasonable Robert Samuelson explains why voters are wrong to assume presidents can control a $14 trillion economy.

Of course, political candidates pretend they can and too many voters are fooled into believing them. They deserve what they get.

Another Gal in the Soup

Former Daily Times reporter William "Willy" Bender notes the crime du jour in Delco.

A pretty impressive list of white-collar Ma Barkers.

UPDATE: But, hey Willy, you forgot this one. She's my favorite, anyway. Too bad, ABC fails to mention the breast implants.

On Torture: Pro-choice

After all the bloviating about America "torturing" suspected terror suspects, it turns out three, count 'em three, top al Qaida operatives were waterboarded to elicit information about pending terrorist attacks.

And it worked.

Similarly rough interrogation techniques have not be ruled out in the future. Good.

Terror suspects shouldn't be able to count American skittishness when being questioned.

It should go without saying that such tactics should be used very sparingly.

Kind of like abortion, the torture of known al Qaida terrorists should be safe, legal and rare.

The Devil Made Him Do It

You would think there would be a special place in hell for guys who do things like this.

My sense is guys like this already live in their own private versions of it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Meet Monique; Non-Partisan Impeachocrat

Ardmore's Monique Frugier raises a few provocative questions in a recent Letter to the Editor.

She writes: "If a Democratic president had lied to Congress and to the American people in order to launch an unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq, would he be impeached?"

Well, Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, arguably lied to the American people about the Vietnam War and he wasn't impeached.

She writes: "If a Democratic president had ordered a domestic wiretapping on American citizens without court authorization, would he be impeached?"

Well, John Kennedy, a Democrat, allowed his brother Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, also a Democrat, to illegally wiretap the home of Martin Luther King, and he wasn't impeached.

She writes: "If a Democratic president had approved torture of detainees and suspended the right of habeas corpus by holding American citizens without charges, would he be impeached?"

Well, Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, ordered the imprisonment of thousands of Japanese Americans during WWII, including the parents of my Uncle Ben.

Also during FDR's presidency seven German POWs were tortured until they confessed to the murder of a fellow U-boat sailor and prisoner at Papago Park POW camp in Arizona. And he wasn't impeached.

She writes: "If a Democratic president had ignored the faithful execution of the laws of the United States, breaking the oath of office by attaching signing statements to bills passed by Congress, would he be impeached?"

Well, actually Bill Clinton, a Democrat, issued many more signing statements than George Bush and he wasn't impeached, at least for that.

She writes: "If a Democratic president had abused his power, undermining our constitutional system of checks and balances, would he be impeached?"

Well, Abraham Lincoln arguably abused his presidential powers, undermining our constitutional system of checks and balances but then, he was a Republican. Still, he is revered today by most Democrats and Republicans alike for saving the United States of America. He wasn't impeached. But he was shot.

According to her blog, Monique is a naturalized American citizen. She is originally from France. She should bone up on her American history.

Monique favors the impeachment of George W. Bush.

"Impeachment," she writes, "is not about partisanship but for the good of the Republic and the preservation of our Constitution."

No, nothing partisan here. Just the French being the French. Even after they've become American.

Morons Meet Molotovs

This is what happens when some people spend too much time playing video games.

I hope there is more to this story than meets the eye, like a real motive.

At Sea 100 Days

In Chester Upland, Greg Thornton is rearranging the deck chairs.

Hey, he came up with the "Titanic" analogy, not me.

Still, I wish him all the luck in the world. When it comes to running an inner-city school district, comedy is easy. Changing culture is hard.

Call Him Loveshame

Is there a more inappropriately named person in Delaware County?

We're Number One?

That does it. I'm moving.

Fishy Analysis

In anticipation of Super Tuesday, Prof. Stanley Fish takes on Hillary Hatred.

“She is,” (Jason) Horowitz concludes, “an empty vessel into which [her detractors] can pour everything they detest.” (In this she is the counterpart of George W. Bush, who serves much the same function for many liberals.)

What Fish seems to miss is that much of the so-called Hillary Hatred comes from the left.

Those aren't neocons who call her a "warmongering hawk" are they?