Friday, October 30, 2009

Accused Rapist in Custody

The headline on this story: "Accused Chester Twp. Rapist Detained," should have been "Accused Chester Twp. Rapist Detained, Finally."

With the spate of sex cases that our DAs office has lost in the last several months, here's hoping they have all their ducks in a row on this one.

Young Finkelstein

At Dolan's Bar they won't to some things for World Series tickets. My print column is up.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obama's Swing and a Mess

James Taranto: While the President golfs, Afghanistan burns.

According to The One (a 16 handicapper), the fight against the Taliban was once a "necessary war," now it's somebody else's "mess."

Beautiful Buxom Blond Busted

More on that Beautiful Buxom Blond from Bensalem who was "Desperate" for World Series tickets on Craigslist.

After meeting an undercover cop in a bar and allegedly describing the things she was willing to do for the tickets she was arrested on a prostitution beef.

Let's see, Susan Finkelstein is 43, married with children, a Penn grad student and some sort of assistant PR director at the school.

She's described herself on Facebook as "very very liberal." Go figure. It would certainly be a better story if she were Amish.

World Series tickets are going for more than $4,000. It appears some Ivy League females have a pretty inflated sense of their own value when it comes to sexcapades.

After her arrest Finklestein went to her facebook page to question the "integrity" of the police. Stupid police. Where do they get off enforcing the laws against prostitution?

As for the reactions of her husband and children, no comment yet.

Progressives Of the World Unite!

At HuffPo Robert Borosage says its time to lose our fear of "red ink" and spend spend spend.
We've done the whole small government, low taxes, deregulation number. We got top end tax cuts, declining wages, collapsing sewers and gridlock, a ruinous financial casino and global indebtedness through corporate trade policies. The result was growing inequality, a sinking middle class, over a fourth of America's children in poverty, increasingly destructive climate change, and a harsh financial collapse and recession. It is time to go another way.
Shout it from the rooftops: "Big government, high taxes, and more regulation!" Sounds like a winner. So how come so few Democrats have adopted it as their campaign slogan?

Washington's Suicide Watch

Holman Jenkins says Washington is on a suicide mission.

Sounds more like a homicide mission to kill the private economy. But this was a good line:
It's no exaggeration to say the Senate health-care bill taking shape is the equivalent of climbing aboard a train about to plunge into a canyon and deciding what it really needs is a bomb on board.
Read the whole thing.

Here's the Story of a Lovely Lady

Stabbing Mom gets 3 to 6 years.

According to the story:
Defense Attorney Michael Malloy, outside of the courtroom described the mingled family of the defendant and her second husband, Johnny Rodriguez, as like the “Hispanic Brady Bunch.”
I missed the episode where Carol kills Marsha and calls it self defense.

Standing Room Only

Of Phillies fans, Yankee fans and tabloids, my print column is up.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Soak the Rich and the Rich Flee

New York State is chasing away the rich. They should come to Pennsylvania. We can always use a few more Phillies fans.

Has She Got a Proposition for You!

Some people will do almost anything for a World Series ticket.

The Hammer Talks

Charles Krauthammer gives an interview to Der Spiegel, in which he proves his ability to suffer fools gladly but firmly.

Football = Dog Fighting?

In light of the injury to Brian Westbrook's brain last night, this becomes all the more distrubing reading.

I'm not convinced football and dog fighting are comparable (for one thing men are paid millions to risk their injuries). But Malcolm Gladwell's piece is both poignant and bracing.

E-Mail of the Week

Mr. Spencer,

Although an avid reader of the times and your column, I have never written in. After reviewing your column in Sundays paper, I felt compelled to say thank you. It seems as though if you have money, fame and power, you have to play by no rules. I was and remain disgusted at anyone who defends Mr. Polanski and his cowardly efforts to escape justice in the U.S. I don't know him, never really heard of him other than this case and quite frankly it wouldn't matter if I did.

I've read about his crime and he should pay. I wonder if the same people who are defending him would defend a murderer who was able to escape the law for more than 20yrs.

It's almost like crime has an expiration (date). Has everyone forgotten this guy took a plea and then disappeared in the night like the coward he's continuing to show himself to be.

Here's a suggestion, how about finally taking real responsibility for your crimes and do the time.

But again, a heart felt thank you for your ariticle. I find your articles to be both heart felt and enlightening.

Side note, has anyone ever told you you resemble Bob Knight?

Leonard N Staples

Mr. Staples,

Thanks for reading and the note.
As for my resemblence to Bobby Knight, I have only been told that once... by a referee at whom I threw a chair.


Al Gore, SuperFreaked

Bret Stephens takes a look at the new book "SuperFreakonomics" and its critics.
Suppose for a minute—which is about 59 seconds too long, but that's for another column—that global warming poses an imminent threat to the survival of our species. Suppose, too, that the best solution involves a helium balloon, several miles of garden hose and a harmless stream of sulfur dioxide being pumped into the upper atmosphere, all at a cost of a single F-22 fighter jet.

Good news, right? Maybe, but not if you're Al Gore or one of his little helpers.
Read the whole thing.

There Oughta' Be a Law!

I found this troubling photo while researching proposed hate-crime legislation.

The link claims "funny." I sense hatred.

BTW, here's Steve Chapman explaining why federal hate-crime laws are nothing but empty symbolism.


President plays golf while soldiers are dying. Where's the OUTRAGE?

At least there's a smidgen that The One doesn't include enough women in his foursomes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gross(o) Negligence

Glenolden's Donald Grosso, on whose letter to the editor on Roman Polanski I remarked Sunday, has checked in to correct my impression that he didn't know the gorier details of the case.

He does, he said. But "I figured if I wrote the graphic details they would cut it out," he said in a message to me.

Still, he said, I "missed the main point" of his letter. Which was: The DA "wanted (the case) dropped. The victim wanted it dropped because the judge tanked the case. Once the judge tanked the case it was poison fruit. That was my main point. Not that I'm defending a child rapist... The judge went back on his word, can't have that."

My column can be found here. Readers can decide for themselves whether Grosso was defending a child rapist. It's pretty clear to me that he was.

As for the documentary to which he alludes, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired" Grosso would do well to read Bill Wyman's take on it in Salon. After reading Wyman, who is no right-wing kook, maybe Grosso will change his mind.

It begins:
Bad art is supposed to be harmless, but the 2008 film "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," about the notorious child-sex case against the fugitive director, has become an absolute menace.
Read the whole thing.

In the meantime, dozens of liberal commentators have reviewed the facts of the case, from Katha Pollitt to Eugene Robinson and come to the conclusion that Polanski's defenders have gone completely off the deep end. They're right. It's good to see there are a few decent liberals out there who "get it."

Grosso invited me to call him to discuss the matter. He sounds like an entertaining guy. So I think I will.

UPDATE: I just talked to Donald. He is entertaining. Nuts, but in a good way. He wants the paper to hire him as a columnist. I told him the paper isn't hiring. He told me I should hire him as my assistant. He said he could be my "conscience." Like, I said, he's entertaining.

Delusional Healthcare

Robert Samuelson on "The Public Plan Delusion."
The promise of the public plan is a mirage. Its political brilliance is to use free-market rhetoric (more "choice" and "competition") to expand government power. But why would a plan tied to Medicare control health spending, when Medicare hasn't? From 1970 to 2007, Medicare spending per beneficiary rose 9.2 percent annually compared to the 10.4 percent of private insurers -- and the small difference partly reflects cost shifting. Congress periodically improves Medicare benefits, and there's a limit to how much squeezing reimbursement rates can check costs.

Someone spray-paints an X on one of those gigantic Linda Cartisano for Judge signs and the whining starts.

The silly season has officially opened.

Frank "Bush Balloon Boy" Rich

Law Prof Bill Jacobsen waited, waited, and waited for someone suffering from the last fevers of Bush Derangement Syndrome to tie the former president to the Balloon Boy story. And who answers his prayers? New York Times ex-theater critic Frank Rich.

Wrote Rich:
The Colorado balloon may have led to the rerouting of flights and the wasteful deployment of law enforcement resources. But at least it didn’t lead the country into fiasco the way George W. Bush’s flyboy spectacle on an aircraft carrier helped beguile most of the Beltway press and too much of the public into believing that the mission had been accomplished in Iraq.
If only Rich had been writing back in 1944. Take it away, Frank...
The Colorado balloon may have led to the rerouting of flights and the wasteful deployment of law enforcement resources. But at least it didn't lead to the invasion of Europe and the killing of 6 million Jews.
Thank God.

And Thank Frank for putting things in their proper New York perspective.

Phils Vs. Yanks

World Champions get the World Series opponent they want and deserve.

Manning Up to Pass Healthcare, Etc.

Joe Queenan defends Obama from the angry left-wing chattering class.
I for one am sick of reading the "Man Up, Barack" editorial, which is then regurgitated by friends and neighbors as if they were the sole authors of this retread banality. Invariably, the person suggesting that Mr. Obama man up thinks of himself as a tough-as-nails hombre. In reality, they are usually the kinds of people who send their kids to Oberlin College, swoon over Andrea Bocelli, and think Jimmy Carter was a macho man. Teamsters they are not.
So who is going to defend him from the angry right-wing chattering class?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Enemy of the Peoples

Mopping Up After Obama

Rand Simberg on Obama's "Grab a mop" speech.
(S)peaking as someone who worked in a service station in high school, in which one of the duties was to clean the floor of grease and brake fluid at the end of the shift, and later as a househusband under the direction of a diligent clean-floor czar, I know my mops and mopping.

And you know what? The mopping technique really does matter. The kind of mop and cleaning solution you use really does matter. I had people criticize my mopping as a kid, as a station attendant, and as an adult. My response was not to say, “I didn’t make this mess. Stop criticizing me, and grab a mop.” If I had said that, I suspect that I’d still be mopping. Instead, I listened, learned, and got the floor clean. But I’m afraid that this president isn’t really all that much into listening or cleaning floors. He seems to be more into using what he imagines is the right mop, his way. And he’ll apparently brook no criticism.

Tears for Polanski?

Manufacturing sympathy for Roman Polanski is a tough sell. My print column is up.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Getting Priorities Straight

Bjorn Lomborg believes global warming poses a threat to mankind. But there are more immediate worries for the world's poor. How does he know? He talks to one of them.

White House vs. FOX

In the war between the White House and FOX News, a Fox sniper scores a direct hit on Obama Communications Czar Anita Dunn.

Even Moderate Democrats are appalled by the White House's tactics.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Big O's Sinking Approval Rating

Pete Wehner explains why the Obamacrats are seeing their poll numbers drop.

Popping Balloon Boy

Dan Henninger: We're all Balloon Boys now!

Hoaxsters have been forever with us. For an excellent example of early 20th Century scam artistry pick up the very entertaining book "Charlatan" by Pope Brock.

Spencerblog Announcement

Because of what I believe is the abuse of one or two people who anonymously comment on this blog, Spencerblog is going to require comment registration for the time being. It's quick and easy and may improve the level of civility in the give and take. We'll see how it works. Thank you for your cooperation.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Old Glory Story

What do a Yankees jersey and an American flag decal have in common? My print column is up.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Should Rush Sue?

Should Rush Limbaugh sue the news organizations who attributed false quotes to him? Thomas Sowell, who has been a victim of such lousy journalism, lays out his options.

Oprah Goes Rogue

Palin on Oprah? Sounds like a ratings buster.

Marc Her Words

Ruth Marcus, who was last seen defending Roman Polanski, calls the Obama Administration "dumb" for declaring war on FOX News.

Even a stopped clock is right two times a day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Anatomy of a Green Smear

The environmental left goes after what appears to be a very thoughtful book and its chapter on climate change, even before it is published.

The New York Times does the right thing and gives the author space to respond. He does so compellingly.

What it says about the leaders of the climate change movement is not good.

Hitting the Sperm Lottery

In response to Sunday's print column, I received this nice, sharp e-mail from Richard Westervelt:
I find it interesting that you use the phrase "hitting the sperm lottery" to denote a person that has a position that they would otherwise never have been able to attain.

If ever a person was worthy of that designation it would have been former president George W. Bush who would never have gotten in to Yale were it not for his legacy - would in all likelihood never have graduated and certainly like Bob Irsay been head of a professional sports franchise let alone become the president given his academic record and elocution skills.

I would never demean the service record of Senator McCain but do you really believe he would have received admission to and graduated (next to last I believe) from the Naval Academy were it not for the "sperm lottery" of having a father and grandfather being four-star admirals.

At no time during the George W. Bush term or Senator McCain's candidacy did your column ever question their legitimacy. If Rush Limbaugh is to be admired and others excoriated for how they achieved their position(s) then perhaps our current president should be placed on a pedestal by you. To borrow a phrase "how small, petty, hypocritical and cowardly" to do otherwise.
This is clever but it misses a couple of points.

George W. Bush hit the sperm lottery but he also ran for governor of Texas and President of the United States and won. Jim Irsay didn't have to stand for election. His gig, like his team, was literally handed to him by his father.

John McCain hit the same lottery and proved his worth by fighting bravely for his country, enduring unspeakable pain and incarceration, and then returning to run for office on his own merits. As far as I have read, Jim Irsay has learned to play the guitar, follows rock bands around and produced a smoking-hot daughter.

Barack Obama deserves the respect and admiration of every American for his work-ethic, diligence and meteoric rise to the highest and most powerful office in the world. That office wasn't handed to him, he ran for it on his own merits and won it. But a pedestal? Nah. Not yet. Maybe someday, for some people. But I think he's taking the country in the wrong direction. Count me among the loyal opposition.

All that said, just to be born in America is to be something of a lottery winner. When you look around the world at the billions of people who are born into real hardship and poverty, how can you not think "I'm among the luckiest people in the world."

Jim Irsay may know how lucky he is. But his statements about Limbaugh were those of a silver-plattered snob. And his assertion that people need to "watch" their "thoughts," is not only offensive, it's bizarre.

Proof of Progress on Race

A Louisiana Justice of the Peace named Keith Bardwell refuses to marry a mixed-race couple.
"I don't do interracial marriages because I don't want to put children in a situation they didn't bring on themselves. I feel the children will later suffer."
Yes, they could grow up to suffer the slings and arrows of being President of the United States.

Bardwell is entitled to his opinion but when it comes to dispensing the duties of his public office he is not free to pick and chose based on the race.

In Louisiana, justices of the peace are the equivalent of notary republics. They have little responsibilty or actual power. Still, his actions in this matter are clearly illegal. Louisiana's Republican governor Bobby Jindal is working, as well he should, to have Bardwell removed from his little office.

The couple who sought to marry are reportedly considering a lawsuit, but to what point? All they have to do is go to the next town over and they will find a JOP not so eager to lose his JOB. Bardwell will be stripped of his duties soon enough.

The universal condemnation of Bardwell's action is proof of the progress our society has made on matters of race. The prevalence of attitudes like his are on the wane, even in backwaters like Louisiana. When they are acted upon, even by small-town office holders they are stigmatized and quickly punished.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thorns, Darts and Jack

From Tony Phyrillas and the Merc:
THORNS to Pennsylvania lawmakers for racking up a tab for food and lodging during their shameful 101-day budget stalemate — and giving themselves a raise in their per-diem rates to make matters worse. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the amount lawmakers get reimbursed for food and lodging expense while in Harrisburg recently increased to $163 a day. The Tribune-Review reported that House and Senate members of both parties collected $532,000 in per diems in July and August, the first two months of the stalemate. It's money that taxpayers would not have paid if lawmakers had done their job by the July 1 deadline. Legislators can collect $111 a day for lodging and $52 for food for days in Harrisburg if their home district is some distance away. Perhaps the system should be changed to charge lawmakers per day instead of reimburse them. That could speed up the process.
We give Darts and Laurels. The Merc gives Thorns and Roses. Our State Legislators give us Jack and Squat.

Given The Bum's Rush

My print column on the NFL vs Rush Limbaugh is up.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

E-Mails of the Week

Friday's column featured an e-mail from a retired Philadelphia police detective named Brian Grevious. Here's a follow-up.
Hi Gil,
After reading your subsequent column on the Kevin Leonard story I felt that perhaps it was appropriate for me to follow-up.

For the record I am African American, Although I do reside in Collingdale I don't any of the parties involved in the incident nor have ever seen them and would not know any of them if anyone would have pointed them out me in public. I felt compelled to respond to the your subsequent article because the issue race was mentioned to place the matter in context.

When I responded to your article it was solely based on the facts as they were presented and the issue of ethnicity or race never was an issue of consideration. As a retired law enforcement officer I find it troubling that even the suggestion of the consideration of race was an issue when the detectives and district attorney's office decided to make their decision on who to charge and who not to charge in this case. I could not fathom race being considered as to who would be charged within the context of how the facts of the case were spelled out.

When I was a Police Detective I have arrested and charge defendants of all stripes Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Arab, "wealthy", poor, highly educated, un-educated. A person's status or ethnicity should not be a consideration if it is not germane to the facts in the case. The depiction of Lady Justice being blindfolded must be paramount if we are remain a Country/State of laws regardless of the way political winds may be blowing. Law enforcement officials should not be concerned about whose "yelling in the corner" whether it's Al Sharpton or David Duke, their responsibility is to seek justice for all.

Brian, Collingdale
What can anyone say to that but "Here, here."

Another Bryan also sent in an e-mail about the case, State Rep. Bryan Lentz.
Good article about the Collingdale teen who got arrested. My two cents: The decision to decertify doesn't have to be left up to Judge Hazel. The DA can (and should) agree to have the matter sent to juvenile court without a hearing.

I prosecuted some of the first so called "direct file" juvenile cases in the state back in 1996 when the law was changed to put enumerated felonies directly into adult court. I was responsible for prosecuting exactly the kind of dangerous juvenile this law was aimed at taking into the adult system. This case clearly is not the type the legislature had in mind when they passed the direct file law. There was nothing that required the case to be charged as an adult offense in the first place. That decision is always with in the discretion of the DA. If it had been charged as a juvenile offense then the stay in adult prison could have been avoided.

Again, "Here, here!"

Mao's Biggest Fan

White House Communications Director Anita Dunn tells school children that one of her two favorite philosophers is Mao Tse Tung.

He was also one of the greatest mass murderers in history. What is it that Obama's communication's director finds so admirable about Mao?

And here's another question: Would her gushing endorsement of such a tyrant prevent her from ever being the owner of an NFL franchise?

UPDATE: As to the question of what Dunn finds so admirable about Mao, she said that when he was asked how he intended to defeat his enemies he said, "You know, you fight your war and I'll fight mine."

But that's not a philosophy. That's not even a strategy. That's just telling someone to mind his own business. His philosophy was that of a Marxist totalitarian tyrant. So, again, what's to admire? The fact that he succeeded in becoming the head of one of the most blood-thirsty regimes in human history? That's admirable? Well, I guess it is if you're a supporter of communist ideals and understand that you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Free Kevin Leonard V: The Race Card That Wasn't Played! Did It Play Anyway?

More on Kevin Leonard in today's print column.

Spencerblog readers will notice I plagiarized myself for the benefit of our print readers. But there is more here. Keep reading.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Free Kevin Leonard IV

In response to my interview with 17-year-old Kevin Leonard (it can be found here) I got this interesting response:
Dear Mr. Spencer

I was somewhat disappointed in your take in the matter of Kevin Leonard titled "Collingdale teen learns lesson in Prison"). In the article you recounted how the young man Kevin Leonard stabbed another young man after he (while accompanied by several other young men) approached Leonard in what appeared to be a robbery attempt and the alleged victim in the incident (Mickal Higgins). The alleged victim claimed it to be "prank".

For the record I am retired Philadelphia Police detective and a former private investigator. As a police detective I have investigated well over three thousand criminal investigations from homicides, to robberies, to assaults, etc... too numerous to mention.

From what you described to me Mr. Leonard was the victim in the his incident. Moreover, why weren't all of the alleged "pranksters" arrested and charged with robbery? I think the police detective and the district attorney need to take another look at their Pennsylvania Crimes Code, because what you described to me was a robbery attempt gone bad where the victim got th upper hand.

Gil, I am surprised that your "lesson" was to advise the young man to "keep ridin" when he did not know if the group had a gun or not. During my time as a police detective in Philadelphia I can't count the number of times where crime victims minding their own business attempted "to keep ridin" and winded up with a bullet in the back.

This case reeks of a miscarriage of justice and questionably trained police officers and or uninformed assistant district attorneys. I hope the judge has better sense to correct the matter. I also would hope the District Attorney's office takes second look at the others involved, READ THE PENNSYLVANIA CRIMES CODE.

I think Brian makes some pretty points here, especially when it comes to the decision to charge Leonard without considering the potential criminal actions of his tormentors.

However, if it turned out that someone in the group actually had a gun, Leonard would have probably ended up the worse for it. The old saying is: You don't bring a knife to a gun fight.

If Leonard himself thought it would have been possible to avoid the confrontation by riding away from it, I have no reason to second-guess his Monday morning quarterbacking of his decision. After all, it ended up with a 16-year-old kid almost being killed.

While I am the first to admire people who stand up to bullies, I try to be the last who would suggest they do so if there is a good likelihood of their being shot and killed.

Fight or flight is often a tough call.

One of my main concerns in writing about Leonard and his willingness to stick up for himself was that such publicity might give him a street rep he would feel the need to live up to. So when I met him I was pleased he was somewhat circumspect about the incident. Ignoring a teen-age bully sometimes is the best course to the best outcome. Not always but sometimes.

In any case, I fully agree with Brian, Leonard shouldn't be prosecuted or punished for refusing to capitulate to what looks very much a robbery attempt and certainly not by the criminal justice system.

That's just wrong.

Saletan's Error of Judgement

Patterico backhands Slate's Will Saletan (Swarthmore '87) on his woefully thought-out and poorly researched Roman Polanski musings.

Europe Flirts, Throws Hissy Fits

Dear Europe: Obama is just not that into you.

Good stuff from Victor Davis Hanson.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Free Kevin Leonard III

My jailhouse interview with 17-year-old Kevin Leonard of Collingdale is up.

After 43 days in prison on charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault, he'll be released by the end of the week. Has he learned any lessons about standing up to bullies and being in jail? Maybe.

Vandals 4 Obama?

This just in:
LAKEVILLE, Mass -- Police along with the Secret Service are investigating after a local country club discovered a symbol that represents eastern religious beliefs carved into the green.

Lakeville Country Club workers discovered the vandalism early Monday morning.

Police believe the vandals meant to carve a swastika next to President Barack Obama's name on the 18th hole; however, the symbol was backwards and means hope and peace in some Eastern countries.
Interesting that police have jumped to the conclusion that the vandals don't mean what they say. Basically "I Heart Obama." Check out the photo and story here.

It is quite possible that the vandal in this case made the backwards swastika by mistake. It is also quite possible that in a town represented in congress by Barney Frank, the vandal meant exactly what he said.

The political left has for the most part derided golf as a bourgeois game enjoyed by corporatists and selfish, exclusionary capitalists. (Hugo Chavez recently closed a bunch of courses in Venezeula. But the game's popularity world-wide has transcended all social and ethnic classifications.

Lakeview Country Club is a public links, open to all and affordable to most ($40 to walk on weekdays.) But that doesn't matter to the politically-minded, who see any golf club's very existence as a symbol of bourgeois corruption.

The irony here is that President Obama has been bitten by the golf bug. He's lousy but he loves it. And he adheres to Spencer's First Rule of Golf: It's OK to play bad, just play bad fast.

Repairing the sort of damage perpetrated at Lakeview can cost thousands of dollars. Even worse, it detracts from the enjoyment of those who loyally play the Lakeview course as a matter of routine.

Maybe it was done by an Obama hater, maybe not. But the victim of this crime, besides the owner of the course, was the Lakeview golfing public. Here's hoping they catch the bastard(s) and prosecute him (them) to the full extent of the law.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Meet the Haters: You!

Eugene Robinson asks:
Somebody explain this to me: The president of the United States wins the Nobel Peace Prize, and Rush Limbaugh joins with the Taliban in bitterly denouncing the award? Glenn Beck has a conniption fit and demands that the president not accept what may be the world's most prestigious honor? The Republican National Committee issues a statement sarcastically mocking our nation's leader -- elected, you will recall, by a healthy majority -- as unworthy of such recognition?
Why, oh why, do conservatives hate America so?
What a great question. I'm stumped.

When 53 percent of Americans joined al Qaeda in supporting Obama for President I didn't realize it was because they hated America. I thought it was because they hated al Qaeda and believed that Obama had the best ideas and best interests of the country at heart. Silly me.

The Human Torch Bearer

No wonder Obama won the Peace Prize. He can make peace with anything. Even a wildfire.

And the commitment of his Secretary of States is awe-inspiring.

Phils Win, No Yawn!

What a game! Bring on Manny and the Dodgers.

Monday, October 12, 2009

So That's What They Were Smokin'!

Praise Obama and pass the Hopium.

Women Hardest Hit By Recession? Wrong!

The head of the Pennsylvania Women's Commission was in Delco last week doing what the heads of these sorts of commissions do; she moaned about how unfair America is to women and how tough they have it compared to men.

In her lecture to the Delco Women's Commission, Leslie Stiles repeated a number of hoary feminist myths and cliches, including: “The hardest hit in what is a down time is women and children," she is talking through her hat.

Hit hardest by the current recession is men, to the point that it is being called a "mancession." Even the New York Times admits it.

As the NYTs Catherine Rampell reported in August:
We’ve pointed out before that that recession has disproportionately hurt men, who are more likely to work in cyclically sensitive industries like manufacturing and construction. Women, on the other hand, are overrepresented in more downturn-resistant sectors like education and health care.
But Ms. Stiles has victimhood to sell and a lot of willing purchasers among a certain type of female.

Phils Win, Yawn!

That yawn has nothing to do with the easiness of the win. It has to do with staying up until 2:15 a.m. to watch it

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Obama Well-Deserving of Prize

Conservative John Podhoretz argues that Barack Obama well deserves the Nobel Prize.
I can’t agree with my colleagues here on CONTENTIONS that a) Barack Obama should reject the Nobel Peace Prize or b) be embarrassed by it. The Nobel Committee chose him wisely because he does, in fact, represent the organization’s highest ideals.

He is an American president queasy about the projection of American power. He is an American president who rejects the notion of American exceptionalism. He is an American president eagerly in pursuit of legitimacy to be granted him not by those who voted for him but by those who do not cast a vote and who chafe at American leadership. It is his devout wish that America become one of many nations, influencing the world indirectly or not influencing it at all, rather than “the indispensable nation,” as Madeleine Albright characterized it. He is the encapsulation, the representative, the wish fulfillment, the very embodiment, of the multilateralist impulse. He is, almost literally, a dream come true for the sorts of people who treasure and value the Nobel Peace Prize.

Eyes On the Prize

Those who were passed over for this year's Nobel Peace Prize. My print column is up

Friday, October 9, 2009

Not so Noble, A Nobel

President Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Well, the Nobel Committee has certainly raised its standards since awarding one to Yasser Arafat. But not by much.

Accomplishments obviously don't mean much to the Nobel committee. Airy feel-good speeches and personal dreams of a nuclear-free world are good enough.

If they has a Nobel Prize for Comedy, the committee itself would win it.

UPDATE: If Obama wanted to show some real class he would turn back the prize saying it is too early in his tenure to warrant or accept it, and suggest it be given to the brave Chinese dissident Hu Jia, instead.

UPDATE II: And from the Times:
Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush Administration, approval for the election of America’s first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world.

Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.

Free Kevin Leonard II

17-year-old Kevin Leonard is in jail for successfully defending himself against a gang of bullies. My print column is up.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Here's To You, Arlen

PJTV makes good fun of Sen. Arlen Specter and his fence-straddling, finger-in-the-air lack of principle.

Carbon Is Our Friend

Another heretic on CO2 emissions who needs to be burned at the stake.

UPDATE: Better make that microwaved, you know, to lower our carbon footprint.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Poor "Hounded" Polanski

Patterico effectively takes down Pulitzer-Prize winning TV critic Tom Shales for his efforts to diminish the charges against Roman Planks (and the memory hole they were shoved down).

Shales tried to wittily slough off the criticism of a reader. The criticism was dead on.

Free Kevin Leonard

So a bunch of teenagers think it would be a funny joke to gang up on a kid they don't know on a Collingdale street and have one of them "pretend" to demand his bike from him. All so they could video the incident and put it on You Tube.

The result: The victim of this "prank," 17-year-old Kevin Leonard defends himself and his property. He pulls a knife and stabs the aggressor in the chest.

The DAs office charges Leonard with attempted murder. That charge was rightly thrown out of court yesterday by District Judge Laurence J. McKeon. The kid remains in jail and charged with aggravated assault as well as other things.

Based on the testimony of the prankster who was stabbed, 16-year-old Mickal Higgins, he admitted to being the aggressor. This was a bully job meant to humiliate and it backfired big time.

Leonard had every right to defend himself from these callous young jerks. No, he doesn't have the right to carry a concealed weapon. But that's all he should be charged with and convicted of.

If Higgins was my son, I'd make HIM apologize to Leonard.

And what are the other punks involved in this "prank" learning from the Delaware County justice system? That bullying and humiliating others isn't a crime. Defending yourself from a mob is. Nice lesson.

UPDATE: I have just learned that knife Leonard used to defend himself was pocket-knife, which means it wasn't a concealed weapon. He was perfectly within his rights to be carrying it on the street. So I stand corrected. And Leonard stands even more innocent of any criminal wrong-doing in this matter. (More in my print column tomorrow.)

Censorship at the Linc?

Michael Vick is a loser, a dog killer and a felon. So says Kori Martin's T-shirt. When she tried to wear it into an Eagles game, she was stopped by security and told she couldn't.

My print column is up.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Abortion and Obamacare

Obamacare has a Bob Casey problem and his name is Bart Stupak.

Kill All the Republicans, He Explained

Famous wit and Republican-basher Garrison Keillor wonders
if Republicans should be cut out of the health-care system entirely and simply provided with aspirin and hand sanitizer. Thirty-two percent of the population identifies with the GOP, and if we cut off health care to them, we could probably pay off the deficit in short order.
What an interesting observation. But wait, Republicans in this country pay more taxes, contribute more to charity, are less of a drain on the social services system, and commit fewer violent crimes than the population that identifies with the Donkey Party. Wouldn't it be smarter to cut off health care to Democrats if we want to pay off the deficit in short order?

And another thing, haven't Democrats been voting like crazy to impose higher deficits on America, not lower?

A caustic wit and satirist doesn't have to be logical or take facts into account when amusingly advocating genocide, but it sure helps if he trying to make a serious point.

It's the Totalitarianism, Stupid!

At Widener, Fidel Castro's renegade daughter explains Cuba's problems. It isn't the American embargo. It's that the government controls everything.

She described Castro as “enormously charismatic” and a true “political animal,” but whose presence would make her mother light up.

“Only grandma called him the devil,” she said.
Discerning woman, that one.

Obama's Feckless Narcissism

Obama loses another liberal, at least for the time being.

Meanwhile, a conservative observes the I's have it when it comes to the president and his wife.
Both Obamas gave heartfelt speeches about ... themselves. Although the working of the committee's mind is murky, it could reasonably have rejected Chicago's bid for the 2016 games on aesthetic grounds -- unless narcissism has suddenly become an Olympic sport.

"The Man Who Waited"

Nice piece about patience, commitment and talent personified in an artist named Robert Bergman.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ho Ho Ho, Green Giant (Fraud)

Socialism: A Love Story

Ann Althouse went to see Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story. She learned, among other things, that Barack Obama is a socialist.
Amusingly, Barack Obama is presented — outright — as a socialist. We see a roomful of people exulting over the election night announcement that Obama has won and, in context, we're made to think that it's the downtrodden people celebrating that socialism has arrived. I don't think Obama really wants Michael Moore's help.
No, probably not.

How To Waste $3 Billion

Cash for Clunkers a clunker.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood declared in August that, "This is the one stimulus program that seems to be working better than just about any other program."

If that's true, heaven help the other programs. Last week U.S. automakers reported that new car sales for September, the first month since the clunker program expired, sank by 25% from a year earlier. Sales at GM and Chrysler fell by 45% and 42%, respectively. Ford was down about 5%. Some 700,000 cars were sold in the summer under the program as buyers received up to $4,500 to buy a new car they would probably have purchased anyway, so all the program seems to have done is steal those sales from the future. Exactly as critics predicted.

Teresa Who?

A former aide to Ted Kennedy who has not lived in Delaware County for almost 20 years has returned here to run for Joe Sestak's vacated seat.

It's hard to imagine what makes Teresa Touey think she can beat out Rep. Bryan Lentz or even Rep. Greg Vitali, should he declare for the nomination.

She does have a connection to Sestak, she was a deputy field campaign manager or something, but that sounds pretty tenuous. She was born in Delco, she still has family here and apparently spent some time here to help get Sestak elected but past that, she seems to be a Massachussetts Dem, through and through.

Her announcement speech at the Drexel Hill train station was a symphony of fecklessness. Only about 10 people showed up and at one point she was drowned out by a passing train. (You can see it here on You Tube.)

She seems like a nice enough woman but if anyone it vulnerable to a charge of carpetbagging it is her.

Who would have encouraged her to run or to think she could win here? Sestak? An old aunt?

She says that competitive primaries produce the best candidates but forgive me if I don't buy her "I'm doing it for the good of the party" routine.

We'll try to find out the real reason she's in this race over the course of the next several months. Whether it be plain vanity, the machinations of Joe Sestak or something else, we'll find out. In the meantime, any guesses?

UPDATE/Correction: It was the Drexel Hill trolly stop, not train station. What a train was doing going by I have no idea.

Dems & EPA: Bad Cop, Bad Cop

Our politicized EPA seeks to undemocratically impose costly carbon regulations on the country.
The EPA has now formally made an "endangerment finding" on CO2, which will impose the command-and-control regulations of the Clean Air Act across the entire economy. Because this law was never written to apply to carbon, the costs will far exceed those of a straight carbon tax or even cap and trade—though judging by the bills Democrats are stitching together, perhaps not by much. In any case, the point of this reckless "endangerment" is to force industry and politicians wary of raising taxes to concede, lest companies have to endure even worse economic and bureaucratic destruction from the EPA.
And David Letterman thinks he was a blackmail victim.

There Is No "I" in President! Oh Wait, Yes There Is.

Is our president a narcissist?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pretty (Lousy) Woman

Did you hear the one about the blind lawyer and the hooker? My print column is up.

Cochrane on Krugman

The University of Chicago's John Cochrane reveals Paul Krugman for what he really is: a partisan hack not interested in economics or how the world works, but promoting a left-wing political agenda.

Read the excerpted New York Post version above or, better yet, this one, the unexerpted version which begins:
Many friends and colleagues have asked me what I think of Paul Krugman’s New York Times Magazine article, “How did Economists get it so wrong?”
Most of all, it’s sad. Imagine this weren’t economics for a moment. Imagine this were a respected scientist turned popular writer, who says, most basically, that everything everyone has done in his field since the mid 1960s is a complete waste of time. Everything that fills its academic journals, is taught in its PhD programs, presented at its conferences, summarized in its graduate textbooks, and rewarded with the accolades a profession can bestow, including multiple Nobel prizes, is totally wrong.  Instead, he calls for a return to the eternal verities of a rather convoluted book written in the 1930s, as taught to our author in his undergraduate introductory courses.  If a scientist, he might be a global-warming skeptic, an AIDS-HIV disbeliever, a creationist, a stalwart that maybe continents don’t move after all.

Friday, October 2, 2009

"I Guess This Means Signing Our Petition Is Out of the Question"

The Nation's Katha Pollitt joins Liberals Against Rape.

Money Q:
It's enraging that literary superstars who go on and on about human dignity, and human rights, and even women's rights (at least when the women are Muslim) either don't see what Polanski did as rape, or don't care, because he is, after all, Polanski--an artist like themselves. That some of his defenders are women is particularly disappointing. Don't they see how they are signing on to arguments that blame the victim, minimize rape, and bend over backwards to exonerate the perpetrator? Error of youth, might have mistaken her age, teen slut, stage mother--is that what we want people to think when middle-aged men prey on ninth-graders?

The widespread support for Polanski shows the liberal cultural elite at its preening, fatuous worst.
She's got that right. Good for her.

Blame It On Rio?

Nah, loss of Olympics for Chicago falls into Obama's lap.

The Times says it raises more doubts about his presidency. Whatever.

Speaking Truth to Hollywood

Hollywood writer/producer Ed Bernaro tries to speak some sense to his community when it comes to Polanski.

Money Q:
I have a question for those supporting Roman Polanski: Is there no line? Is there no line at which you won’t blindly support someone? He’s an artist? So what? Charles Manson was a decent guitar player. Hitler could paint. Roman Polanski is a good director. So-the-hell what? This man drugged and anally raped a thirteen-year-old girl. The transcript of her testimony can be found online. Read it. It should horrify you.

Polanski Dragneted

Jack Webb explains things to Roman Polanski. But where's Andy Sipowicz when you need him?

Don't miss the credits.

Obama: Appeaser-in-Chief

When the French are accusing you of appeasement, you're in serious trouble.

Money Q:
Bismarck is said to have said: "There is a providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children, and the United States of America." Bismarck never saw Obama at the U.N. Sarkozy did.

Diligence in Penn Delco?

The Penn Delco school board has reached an agreement with its teachers union. The teachers will get a 3.5 percent raise this year. And a 3.75 percent raise over the next three years after that.

In a down economy (one that could get worse before it gets better) you might think holding the line on public employees salaries and benefits might be advisible. But no. While other people are losing their jobs and their homes, teachers salaries continue to rise, thanks to amiable school boards.

Penn Delco shouldn't be singled out. Most districts in this county will continue to offer their teachers raises, while the people who pay their salaries have seen their own stagnant for years.

To quote our story:
Nine months of diligent negotiations bore fruit Thursday when the Penn-Delco School Board and the Penn-Delco Education Association ratified a new four-year contract.
Who's says the negotiations were "diligent" and how do we know the "fruit" they "bore" isn't rotten as well as expensive?

I mean, I'm just askin? I'm willing to be convinced - depending on the details of the new health plan - that it's a decent deal. But from what I've read, it sounds like another school board (and the taxpayers they're supposed to represent) have, once again, been had.

Energy Hypocrisy & Rent Seeking

Kim Strassel exposes Exelon, PNM and Pacific Gas & Electric for the rent-seekers that they are.
The three utility giants have made news recently by quitting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Their finer sensibilities, they explained, would no longer allow them to associate with an organization lacking in environmental fervor. How dare the Chamber demand the Environmental Protection Agency be transparent about the science it is relying on to regulate all carbon energy use. Heresy! "As a company with a clear and strong position on the importance of addressing climate change," we must go our own way, lamented PG&E's CEO Peter Darbee.

Fortunately for Mr. Darbee, that way leads to the bank. As much as supporters of cap and tax would like to spin this as a new corporate ethic, the reality is less edifying. The lesson here is that big business political rent-seeking is alive and thriving.
Read it all.

The country's in the very best of hands.

DA on Defense

My print column on the recent spate of Delaware County sex case acquittals is up.

I talked to DA Mike Green and a number of defense lawyers about why either innocent people are being charged with crimes they did not commit or guilty people are walking free.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Capitalism: A Dumb Story

A not-so-hot review for Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story

To sum up:
Moore’s hatred of capitalism blinds him to the fact that no other economic system in the history of the world has proven as effective at reducing poverty. It does, however, guarantee a win-win for him personally. If Bush’s departure diminishes the public’s appetite for Moore’s shtick, he can blame capitalism for failing to reward his genius. If, on the other hand, Capitalism draws big numbers to the box office, conservatives will have no choice but to meet Moore halfway: Any system that remunerates such dreck is not without its flaws.

And In Sports...

John, Liz, Andrew and Rielle

The John Edwards story gets creepier

As Luc Would Have It

The Confederacy of Dunces grows. But not all of Polanski's friends are joining.
The French director Luc Besson refused to sign the petition calling for Polanski's release.

He said: "I have a lot of affection for him, he is a man that I like very much but nobody should be above the law. I don't know the details of this case, but I think that when you don't show up for trial, you are taking a risk."
If Luc knew the "details" of the case he might feel even more strongly.