Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nina's Afraid, Very Afraid and That's Good

NPR's Nina Totenberg is afraid, very afraid, of this years elections. Evan Thomas less so. But you've got love his line about Paul Krugman being a "professional doomsayer."

The Nobel Laureate is becoming something of a joke even among the liberal elite.

What Nina Totenberg should be afraid of is that her corporate masters at taxpayer-funded NPR will end the double standard that allows her to express all manner of stupid opinion because she's a reliable Republican hater and not Juan Williams.

Trick or treat.

Eggheads Against Obama/Sestak

Even some Harvard Econ professors understand why the Obama/Sestak stimulus plan failed:
The Administration should have endorsed a stimulus package
based on a repeal of the corporate income tax and reductions in
employment taxes. This policy would have accomplished its
stated goals, and the budgetary implications would have been
less negative than those of the package ultimately adopted be‐
cause this alternative plan would have enhanced rather than de‐
tracted from economic efficiency. This approach would also
have been difficult for Republicans to oppose.

Yet the Administration did not take this approach, presuma‐
bly because its true goals were not just economic stimulus. In‐
stead, the Administration wanted to reward its constituencies
(unions, environmentalists, public education) and increase the
size and scope of government. This tactic is consistent with the
Administration’s policies in general. Across the board, it has
taken a big government, redistributionist approach, whether re‐
garding housing, unions, health, the auto industry, trade, anti‐
trust, or financial regulation. The Administration’s view appears
to be that government is better than individuals at deciding how
taxpayers get to spend their money and that government should
engineer large transfers from richer to poorer.
Pat Toomey couldn't have said it any better himself.

Take My Quiz

Sample question:
Joe Sestak’s cute little dog Belle actually poops in the state of Virginia because ...

a. Virginia is for Poopers

b. She doesn’t have a license to poop in Pennsylvania

c. That’s where Joe and his family actually live

d. Joe likes to take Belle on really, really, really long walks.
My print column is up.

Rigging Elections the Old Fashioned Way

Reason TV explains Gerrymandering, how it works for politicians but doesn't for good government.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Fall of the American Empire

Turns out Joe Sestak isn't the only one who can use fear of China to political advantage. Come to think of it, if there is an ad that better indicts Democrats like Sestak for their votes to spend, spend, spend, I haven't seen.

Hi, Jonathan!

A little boy hears for the first time, thanks to a cochlear implant. If you haven't seen this, you should. It will do your heart good. If you have seen it, watch it again. Because it works every time.

Watch Your Fanny... and Freddie

A timely trip down memory lane on the role that Fanny and Freddie played in the mortgage meltdown and just who defended the quasi-government giants from stricter oversight and regulation.

Hint: It wasn't Republicans.

Oops, I guess the screen shot gives it away. But watch the video anyway its quite revealing.

Sestak Campaign Catches Toomey Actually Praising Tea Partiers

The Sestak campaign just sent out this devasting quote from Pat Toomey concerning the Tea Party movement:
"In my experience, the Tea Party has been just an amazing organization - not an organization, that wouldn't be their way to describe it. It's just a movement, it's a group of folks who come from all walks of life, in my experience mostly middle class people who love this country. They're concerned about its future, they're very concerned about the debt that their kids are going to have to pay back and they decided to do something about it. They're justifiably skeptical about both parties and I understand that. But I think it's a very constructive movement, because what they can do is they can force politicians to get spending under control, to remember that opportunity really comes from the private sector, that politicians work for the public, not the other way around. These folks in my experience have been a very constructive force in this cycle."
Oh, well, maybe on second thought, it would have been smarter for Sestak not to have drawn attention to such a humble, grateful and common sense statement.

Better to stick with the Chinese gong and the whole Pat Toomey would make a better Senator from China thing. That Sestak's people didn't just complete the caricature and give Toomey a set of buck teeth and slanty eyes, just shows they want to keep their campaign on the high road.

Frack, Baby, Frack

The WSJ reports that Ed Rendell and fellow Democrats are holding drilling land on the Marcellus hostage to a whopping severance tax. Twice what neighboring West Virginia extracts from the industry.
Researchers at Penn State estimated in a May report that this gas boom will boost the economy by $8 billion and provide 88,500 jobs this year, and $14.4 billion and 160,000 jobs by 2015. They also noted, ahem, that this higher economic activity will generate almost $1.8 billion in additional state and local revenues in 2010 and 2011. Mr. Rendell said in a statement that "The moratorium is important to the state's economy because it protects some of our most valuable assets." Really, he said that.

Shale production holds vast potential for depressed regions like rural Pennsylvania and upstate New York, but naturally this has made it a target of the environmental lobby. Albany also imposed a moratorium earlier this year because the greens hate hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," which involves high-pressure underground injections to break up bedrock formations and release gas deposits.
Tough time to holding back one of the few job-creating industries in the state. We'll see how the voters in Marcellus region react. Are they more concerned about the government getting its "fair share," environmental worries, or jobs. Tuesday will tell.

Friday Funnies

Paul the Prognosticator

NYT's Paul Krugman predicts the coming Republican majority in Congress will be a disaster for the country, turning America into hellish place unfit for human habitation.
In fact, future historians will probably look back at the 2010 election as a catastrophe for America, one that condemned the nation to years of political chaos and economic weakness.
That's some prediction. So how good is Paul at making predictions about the economy.

Well, two years ago, he was urging the President of the United States not to lowball a stimulus package. What the country needed was a stimulus package that was "twice the size" of anything being contemplated by Congress. A bold and muscular spending spree that would get the economy humming again. So this is what he wrote on Nov. 10, 2008:
So we need a fiscal stimulus big enough to close a 7% output gap. Remember, if the stimulus is too big, it does much less harm than if it’s too small. What’s the multiplier? Better, we hope, than on the early-2008 package. But you’d be hard pressed to argue for an overall multiplier as high as 2.

When I put all this together, I conclude that the stimulus package should be at least 4% of GDP, or $600 billion.
Some voters might recall the president and Democratic Congress took Paul's advice and not only didn't "lowball" the stimulus, they went "big" and threw in an extra $200 billion in spending just to be on the safe side.

And the result? 9.5 percent unemployment, slug, slug, sluggish growth and deficits for as far as the eye can see. That Paul Krugman is really good a predicting things isn't he?

UPDATE: Makes you wonder whether Pat Toomey's idea of a 3-year payroll tax holiday for employers and employees might have made for better results.

How About a Nice Cup of Tea?

Tea Partiers have been misunderstood, mocked, insulted and smeared by liberal commentators far and wide. They are about to have the first of possibly many last laughs. My print column is up.

Whatever Means Necessary

Breaking from ABC News:
Democratic Closing Argument: Personal Attacks
Democrats Attack Over Personal Issues, Republicans Over Policy

Whatever it takes, right?
In one typical example, Democratic ads have transformed Kentucky Republican House candidate Andy Barr into "a convicted criminal" -- complete with images yellow police tape and fuzzy video of crime scenes. Not mentioned is his crime: As a college student 19 years ago, he was caught using a fake ID during spring break.
The old law school saw comes to mind: If you've got the facts on your side, argue the facts. If you've got the law on your side, argue the law. If you've got neither, pound the table.... and accuse the other side of worshipping the Aqua Buddha.

Know Your Enemies

Chucky the K wonders whatever happened to our Uniter in Chief:
In a radio interview that aired Monday on Univision, President Obama chided Latinos who "sit out the election instead of saying, 'We're gonna punish our enemies and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.' " Quite a uniter, urging Hispanics to go to the polls to exact political revenge on their enemies - presumably, for example, the near-60 percent of Americans who support the new Arizona immigration law.

This from a president who won't even use "enemies" to describe an Iranian regime that is helping kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. This from a man who rose to prominence thunderously declaring that we were not blue states or red states, not black America or white America or Latino America - but the United States of America.

This is how the great post-partisan, post-racial, New Politics presidency ends - not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a desperate election-eve plea for ethnic retribution.
Charles goes on to predict: "The Dems lose 60 House seats, eight in the Senate. Rangers in seven." That was written obviously before last night's contest. I say, Rangers in eight.

Clinton's Folly

Former President Clinton stumps for Dems at Cheyney.
And there is no truth to the rumor that Mr. Clinton attempted to persuade Bryan Lentz to drop out of his congressional race so that his running mate Jim Schneller would have a better shot at winning.

Clinton said he understands the concerns of Americans.

“People don’t feel fixed,” Clinton said. “OK, we didn’t get out of the hole, at least we didn’t stop digging.”
Yes. We were in a hole. So the Democrats kept digging and digging and digging. Making the hole bigger and bigger and bigger. The lesson is supposed to be when you're in a hole, quit digging. Not in Washington. In Washington, if you've spent yourself into a deficit hole, you're supposed to keep spending and spending and spending until the hole is so big it swallows your Democratic majority.

During the Clinton presidency it was only after the voters handed him a Republican Congress the budget was ultimately balanced. Voters appear ready to do the same favor for Mr. Obama.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kill the Corporate Income Tax

Megan McArdle explains why we should eliminate the corporate income tax.

Among the reasons:
You can't tax a corporation; you can only tax a person...

The incidence of "corporate" taxes is not necessarily progressive.

The corporate income tax encourages firms to use debt finance, rather than equity. Debt finance makes companies riskier.

You can't eliminate all the loopholes

The corporate income tax encourages firms to waste resources on tax avoidance, etc.
She explains it all pretty well. But nobody tell Joe Sestak. He finds the idea "very scary."

Keeping Up Appearances

This looks a little fishy. Democrats borrow millions from the Bank of America, putting up little collateral to speak of. This after they bailed out B of A to the tune of billions of dollars. Now B of A will lend money to the Democratic party to pay for political ads claiming their own incorruptibility and trashing their Republican opponents.

Meanwhile, Democrat Barney Frank takes a bunch of money from financial institutions that he regulates after saying he wouldn't, which might help explain this.

How do these guys keep a straight face?

Get Outta Here!

The Obama Administration seems to keep our ex-president pretty busy trying to get Democrats to drop out of races when they don't like the look of how they're going to turn out.

Maybe Mr. Clinton offered Meek that "unpaid advisors job" Joe Sestak supposedly turned down last year. Anything more meaningful would, of course, be against the law.

It seems Obama's new strategy to beat Republicans is to secretly endorse them:

Dionne Slurps Joe's Bilge

WaPo's E.J. Dionne tries to prop up Joe Sestak from Inside the Beltway. Somehow he hopes Pa. voters will confuse Pat Toomey with Christine "I'm not a Witch" O'Donnell. Maybe they will. What can you expect from people who cling to their religions and guns and hatred for people not like themselves. Or so seems to go the thinking of some liberals these days.

Dionne writes:
You might also imagine, from all the times he cites it, that Sestak's favorite book is Toomey's 2009 supply-side manifesto, "The Road to Prosperity," which endorses private accounts for Social Security and a moratorium on all corporate taxes.

"Congressman Toomey is not a witch," Sestak loves to say, "but his book is very scary."
Ha! As if Joe Sestak has bothered to read Toomey's book, much less understand it. It's obvious he's had some staffer comb through it for anything that his campaign believes can be used to scare voters. During a meeting with the Daily Times Editorial Board, Joe cited Toomey's use of the phrase "creative destruction" when it comes to jobs. Ooooh.

When I pointed out to him that wasn't Toomey's phrase, it was economist Joseph Schumpeter's to explain how a modern industrial economy works, Sestak was mystified. "No, it's in (Toomey's) book," he said. What's scarier? Pat's book or Joe's ignorance?
A Sestak victory would be an especially powerful tonic for progressives because the former admiral has been brave in supporting trials for the Guantanamo detainees...
Dionne is either being evasive here or dumb.

Everyone supports trials for Guantanomo detainees, just not civilian trials. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is a foreign terrorist captured on foreign soil and responsible for planning the 9/11 attacks. Sestak supported trying him in Pennsylvania, of all places. KSM should be tried in a military court. As ads for Toomey have pointed out, neither Ed Rendell, Bob Casey or Arlen Specter believe in civilians trials for foreign terrorists. Just Joe. It's not only unnecessary and stupid, it's dangerous. No wonder progressives want it.

If Joe wins next week, and he's still behind in the polls, it won't be because of "brave" stance on where to try terrorists. It will be in spite of it.
What comes across when you talk with Sestak is an utter lack of defensiveness. Democrats, he says, "should be proud of what they've done."
Lack of defensiveness. Hmm. He told us voting for the stimulus made him "sick." No wonder he didn't sound defensive to Dionne. He was talking to a like-minded liberal, and one that slurps up junk like this:
"You don't run a ship from the bridge," he says. "You run it from the boiler room." Leaders, he says, need to persuade voters "that we know who they are."
That might sound good to a Beltway pundit but it's complete baloney. Ship captains do run their ships from the bridge, not from the boiler room. The idea that as an admiral, Sestak spent most of his hours below deck making sure the boiler worked is patently ridiculous. And only a progressive could buy such bilge.

Muslims Removed from Flight: How Convenient!

I recently started getting a lot of emails from CAIR (The Council on American Islamic Relations). CAIR is the muslim civil rights/victims group that pretends to be interested in combating Islamophobia but in reality fans those flames for its own ends.

This morning I discovered an e-mail with a link to a story about a family dressed in Muslim garb being removed from a flight to Memphis. To CAIR this is an example of how Muslims are mistreated in this country. But how coincidental. Just a week after Juan Williams was fired for expressing his concern whenever he sees people dressed in Muslim garb in airports, a "Muslim family" boards an airplane in Muslim garb and acts suspiciously enough to be removed from the flight.

If this wasn't a planned act to intentionally upset fellow passengers and force the airline's hand, I'll eat my hat. (Better yet, I'll eat the hat John Kerry brought back from Vietnam that was supposed to prove something but I can't remember what.)

CAIR was the first group to complain about what Juan Williams said and demand he be disciplined. Now it is pushing a story that purports to prove American intolerance against Muslims. It is far more likely that the "family" in question sought to provoke the very reaction it got by behaving suspiciously. It will be interesting to hear what the other passengers have to say about the incident over the next 24 hours.

Stay tuned.

The U.S. Senate is a Lawyer Joke

Here's one of the best ads of the 2010 campaign:

Pat and Joe in Dead heat? Not Really

The headline sez:
Polls show Toomey and Sestak locked in dead heat
But the story actually makes fun of the polls because they are all over the place. So how to make sense of them? You average them out, like they do at Real Clear Politics.

As of this morning, Toomey leads Sestak by an average of 3.2 percentage points. That's within the margin of error you say, fair enough. But the bad news for Sestak supporters is that Toomey has consistantly led by a little or a lot throughout the entire campaign. The only poll that has Joe ahead is a wildly unreliable PPP poll that is bought and paid for by Democrats.
RCP Average 10/17 - 10/26 -- 46.2 43.0 Toomey +3.2

Morning Call Tracking 10/23 - 10/26 457 LV 46 41 Toomey +5
CNN/Time 10/20 - 10/26 823 LV 49 45 Toomey +4
Reuters/Ipsos 10/22 - 10/24 400 LV 46 46 Tie
Franklin & Marshall 10/18 - 10/24 489 LV 43 36 Toomey +7
Rasmussen Reports 10/21 - 10/21 750 LV 48 44 Toomey +4
PPP (D) 10/17 - 10/18 718 LV 45 46 Sestak +1
This race isn't a dead heat. It isn't really within the margin of error. If Sestak is going win he is going to have to overcome being behind in the last few days of the campaign. He is also going to have to overcome GOP enthusiasm, anti-Democratic disgust and get a big turnout in Philadelphia. That's a pretty tall order.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Which Are You?

[Posted by Jake}

Cousin Sue, my loyal blog admirer, passed along this posting making the email rounds. I thought it was worth sharing as we moved into the election homestretch.

If a Republican doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a Democrat doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products taken away from everyone.

If a Republican is a homosexual, he quietly leads his life, earning respect as an individual.
If a Democrat is a homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a Republican is down on his luck, he thinks and works to better his situation.
A Democrat wonders which government program is going to take care of him.

If a Republican hears criticism of the President, he understands that freedom of expression is a blessing of liberty.
A Democrat cries racism and and tries to stifle all debate.

If a Republican doesn't like a talk show host, he changes the channel.
A Democrat demands that ideas they disagree with be banned from the airwaves.

If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.

If a Republican needs health care, he shops for it or is rewarded with that benefit on his job.
A Democrat demands that the rest of us pay for him.

If a Republican reads this, he'll laugh and share it with his friends.
A Democrat will lament the abuse of Al Gore's invention and wonder why hate speech can't be unilaterally enforced whenever they find something offensive.

Well, I guess you know what side I'm on, because I chose to share this posting.

Dems Fake Tea Party Spoiled by Sunlight

What do John Runyan and Pat Meehan have in common? Both their campaigns for Congress have been victimized by Democratic subtrefuge to promote fake Tea Party candidates to split the anti-Liberal vote.
My opponent, career politician John Adler and his campaign,” Runyan says, “have been caught red-handed planting a fake Tea Party candidate in my race to defraud and disenfranchise voters. Newspapers across the district have criticized Adler for his lies and sleazy campaign, and the state's largest radio station called Adler's Tea Party plant scheme the dirtiest political trick they had ever seen.”

He adds: “I have asked Congressman Adler multiple times to answer for this despicable behavior and come clean, but he consistently dodges the question.” Runyan tells me that he feels he has been backed into a corner and forced to launch a Web site that exposes the truth about what is going on.

According to published reports, Steve Ayscue, a paid consultant to the Camden County, N.J., Democratic Committee, recruited volunteers to gather the signatures necessary to qualify Peter DeStefano onto the ballot representing the “NJ Tea Party” in the critical and highly competitive Third Congressional District.
This smarmy strategy seems to be backfiring all across the nation.

Vote Fraud in Bucks?

Peter Hall at the Bucks County Courier Times has a fascinating story about alleged voter fraud possibly committed by supporters of Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy.

The alleged scheme involved getting people to send in absentee ballots to a post office box so that they could be picked up by Murphy campaign operatives, filled out and turned into votes for their guy.

Anyone ever hear of the Pennsylvania Voters Assistance Office? If any of this is true, it could be jail time for those involved.

Partisan Political Rallies in Schools?

This hubbub over the use of Radnor High School for a Bryan Lentz campaign rally is actually pretty interesting. Makes you wonder what some people at the school were thinking in the first place.

It seems wholly inappropriate to use a public school for a partisan rally right before an election. It's one thing to have a president or a vice president or a senator or any other public official associated with a particular party visit a school and speak to students during the political off-season (if there is such a thing.)

But to stuff a school with political operatives and activists to ramp up voters within days of an election was sure to offend members of the other party.

Lentz campaign manager Kevin McTigue said it was "outrageous" that vice president would be prevented from speaking at a public high school. And school board member Brucie Rapoport said the students were being prevented from a "civics lesson" and seeing "living history."

Joe Biden, living history? That's a stretch.

Republican school board member Patricia Booker said, "Using our kids as a backdrop for a campaign rally (is) totally inappropriate.”

Even Rapoport admitted the district received numerous complaints about that from parents over the weekend. There's a civics lesson here all right. Partisan campaign rallies are better held in places other than schools that are supposed to be in session.

Shying away from such controversies is smart for school board members from both parties.

For Public Employee Unions, It's Payback Time

Let's see, Democrats made sure that public employee unionists of AFSCME were well taken care of with stimulus money - tens of billions of dollars - and now tens of millions are coming back in the form of campaign contributions.

Mike Barone reports:
The union's president, Gerald McEntee, reports proudly that AFSCME will be contributing $87.5 million in this cycle, entirely or almost entirely to Democrats. "We're spending big," he told the Wall Street Journal. "And we're damn happy it's big."

The mainstream press hasn't shown much interest in reporting on unions' campaign spending, which amounted to some $400 million in the 2008 cycle. And it hasn't seen fit to run long investigative stories on why public employee unions -- the large majority of which work for state and local governments -- contribute so much more to campaigns for federal office.

Nor has it denounced the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision last January allowing unions to spend members' dues on politics without their permission and without disclosure.
Any of you private-sector schmoes unhappy that these public employees are trying to buy the election with the money taken from you to pay them?

Among the Ruins

Radnor's Schneller, NPR's Shiller, and what happens if Joe Sestak loses. My print column is up.

An Extraordinary Woman

From a terrific interview of Condoleezza Rice about her memoir of growing up in Birmingham, Ala. in the 1950s and 60s conducted by Hugh Hewitt:
"HH: There’s a very sensitive and repeating discussion in Extraordinary Ordinary People about white kindness in a segregated society. You mention Dr. Carmichael, your mother’s doctor, and some of your dad’s friends in the education community, who would come through when he needed something. But it’s still, I mean, when you go to Burger Phillips, and you can’t try on a dress, I am amazed that it actually did not scar you. It does not appear to have scarred you.

CR: No, because my parents, and really, even their parents before them, and certainly the community that I grew up in, taught us that you might not be able to control your circumstances, but you could control how you reacted to your circumstances. And so this was not license to feel like a victim, or a license to complain. It was, if anything, a license to get highly educated and to overcome all of that. And nobody was going to be able to hold you down. I’ve often said that in this very segregated place, my parents and my community had me convinced that I might not be able to get a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, but I could be president of the United States if I wanted to be.
Read the whole thing.

Pa. Not Immune to GOP Landslide

New polls suggests GOP landslide. In the story, there is also this nugget:
Similarly, after a brief surge by Rep. Joe Sestak in the Pennsylvania Senate race, former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) jumped back up to an eight point lead in Muhlenberg College/Morning Call daily tracking poll.

The Foreclosure Uh-Oh

Holman Jenkins on the home foreclosure narrative fandango
You can't understand the latest mortgage mess without understanding the powerful appetite to cast borrowers as victims and banks as villains in the housing bubble. This tendency is present in claims that minorities have been especially victimized, that people were sold loans they didn't understand.

The battle of the narratives is reaching its climax in the robo-signer controversy, with lawyers seizing upon technicalities to let people go on living in homes they've stopped paying for.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Scoop on Schnellergate

Bill Bender writes the definitive story on Schnellergate for the Daily News.

Meet Alan DisGrayson

George Will brands Alan Grayson to be America's most despicable politician.
There are hundreds of plausible nominees for the title of America’s Second-Smarmiest Politician, but surely the top spot is un-contested. Americans of all political persuasions can come together in affirming one proposition: Public life would be improved by scrubbing Rep. Alan Grayson from it.
What could be more obvious than that Grayson doesn't want to be a congressman. What he wants is to have his own show on MSNBC. And after he loses, I bet he gets it.

Social Security and Democrats

Just came across this old story about how the former head of the SEIU Andy Stern and others think it is a great idea to allow the federal government to invest Social Security dollars on Wall Street.
Stern, taking a break from one of the few public meetings of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, said that Social Security "needs to be, like any pension fund, brought back into balance."

There were several ways to bring the fund into balance, he said, but one that he favors consists of "investing some percentage of government money in the stock market, as they do in Canada. Not individual taxpayer money, but government money."
Got that? Leftists and Democrats think it is a Terrible, Horrible, Irresponsible, Bird-brained idea to let individual American citizens invest their own Social Security dollars in the market. But the Federal Government? That's fine. No problem.

If the stock market is inherently too risky to allow individuals to invest their social security dollars in it, why should Americans be confident that some government bureaucrat should be allowed to do it with THEIR money?

Either the market is too risky or it isn't. The Democrats, as much as they would like to, can't have it both ways. This is just another example of how Democrats trust the federal government more than it trusts individuals with power and money.

Get Your Shovels Out

Democratic Narcissisism

David Brooks sez:
When times get tough, it’s really important to believe in yourself. This is something the Democrats have done splendidly this year. The polls have been terrible, and the party may be heading for a historic defeat, but Democrats have done a magnificent job of maintaining their own self-esteem. This is vital, because even if the public doesn’t approve of you, it is important to approve of yourself.
Or how about this:
When you're down, and confused ...And you don't remember who you been talking to ...And if you can't be with the one you love, honey ... yourself instead?

It's a bit masturbatory, but as Woody Allen says, don't knock it, it's sex with someone I love.

Boys Will Be Boys and Girls Love Them For It!

Dave Shiflett reviews two books about the male of the species for the WSJ:
The very cultures that men have built, he (author Roy Baumeister) says, have considered males more "expendable" than women.

The expendability is reflected in wartime casualty rates, of course, but men also die more often in work-related accidents and die earlier, on average. Their energies are the motor for some bad things but also for a great deal of good, including the economic bustle and technological advance that we associate with progress. But men, Mr. Baumeister says, are often taken for granted and denigrated as the bane of female existence, with some gender activists insisting that women would be better off without them. In a feisty rejoinder, Mr. Baumeister says that "if women really would have been happier without men," they would have "set up shop" on their own long ago. "The historical record is overwhelming," he adds. "Women stick around men."
It's the men who don't stick around women who are part of the problem.

UPDATE: A friend reports: Thirty percent of the last words of men are "Hey y'all watch this!"

Jim Schneller: LIVE

Congressional candidate Jim Schneller has gotten his 15 minutes of fame. In fact, he got a whole hour from the Daily Times editorial board to explain why the voters of the 7th district should send him to Washington.

Anyone who watched the live stream yesterday saw what we saw. A nice and naive man who genially entertains all sorts of strange conspiracy theories but otherwise hasn't a clue about what it means to be a legislator.

Schneller still isn't sure that he was used by the Lentz campaign to play spoiler to Republican Pat Meehan. Like Bryan Lentz who is still trying to figure out whether he regrets using Schneller in such a way, Schneller is trying to figure out if he was used at all.


If Jim Schneller had managed to get the signatures he needed to get on the ballot all by himself, he might have been the spoiler the Lentz campaign was hoping for. But in quietly helping him, the only thing Lentz spoiled was his own reputation for acting honestly and above board.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cannons to the Right of Them...

Barney Frank gives advice to the press.
“Not to be condescending, but let me give you a little tip,” he tells National Review Online outside a convention hall on Massachusetts’ south coast. “Never ask a candidate if he’s confident he’s going to win: because the answer will always be ‘yes.’”
Shows you how little Barney knows about how reporters do their jobs.

Not to be condescending, but like lawyers, we frequently have to ask questions of politicians that we already know the answers to. We also know that politicians are built to spin, obfuscate, and avoid the truth when it is inconvenient. It is one of the things we enjoy most about them. And while we often admire their sheer brazeness to say things we can hardly believe we get a kick out of actually hearing the words come out of their mouths.

Like for instance WaPo's Dana Milbank listening to Democratic "confidence man" Chris Van Hollen tell reporters how "confident" he is that Democrats will retain their majority in the House of Representatives, when all indications are the party is in for the drubbing of its life.

When Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters last month that it was possible that Democrats would lose control of the House, he was blasted by his fellow Democrats for uttering such an obviously true statement. Such truths are seen as demoralizing to the party base and so dangerous of becoming self-fulfilling prophesies.

Better to ignore such political realities when riding into the Valley of Death, like the famous 600 from Lord Tennyson's poem.

Barney will probably survive but many of his colleagues will go down as victims to Democratic and Presidential condescension.

Obama urged them into this valley of Death on health care, cap and trade and stimulus spending. Now he's leading the Charge of the Fright Brigade, trying to scare Democratic voters into showing up at the polls Nov. 2. Only he's not actually leading the charge. He's ordered it from the safety of command headquarters in the rear. He won't be on the ballot for another two years.

The People Are Revolting

Michael Barone on the coming landslide:
Bigger government, in this view, helps the ordinary citizen, who is otherwise at the mercy of the masters of the marketplace. And those citizens will be grateful, especially in times of economic distress, to the politicians who expand government ever further.

This theory has been getting some empirical testing over the past two years. And it doesn’t seem to be working any better than Keynes thought the theories of defunct economists were working in the 1930s.

The Obama Democrats have been giving Americans more government, with a vengeance. But the voters seem about to wreak vengeance in their turn.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Funnies

Barbara "Don't Call Me Maam" Boxer gets the Zucker treatment.

Call Me Senator from RightChange on Vimeo.

Too Bad He Didn't Get Mrs. Spencerblog

My home phone rang a few minutes ago. It was someone asking for my wife. I told the caller she was working. The gentleman identified himself as Alex and said he was calling on behalf of Bryan Lentz.

Since my wife wasn't home, Alex asked me if Bryan could count on my support on Election Day.

"No," I replied.

Taken aback, Alex asked me if I had decided who was I going to vote for, I said I hadn't. He asked me if my choice was between Jim Schneller and Pat Meehan.

I said, "No" to that too.

He persisted. Alex asked me if I had any questions about Bryan he could answer. So, I told him I worked for the Daily Times and that I recently got to ask Bryan directly any questions I had for him.

Alex asked me if I intended to ask Pat Meehan any questions. I told him we already had Meehan in and asked him questions. I also told him Jim Schneller was coming in Monday.

Ok, he said.

Then, just for the hell of it, I asked Alex a question.

"Did you collect any signatures to get Jim Schneller on the ballot."

He hesitated for a moment before saying, "No."

"What do you think about that being done?" I asked.

"I think I better get on with my phone calls," he replied.

I told him I thought that was a good idea.

NPR Will Pay for Its Insulting Double Standard

The firing of Juan Williams by National Politically Correct Radio is not a scandal that will go away soon. Conservatives are flocking to the defense of the liberal Williams. Hopefully his fellow pro-free speech liberals should soon follow.

Stephen Hayes weighs in here, citing the flagrant double standard of NPR, which has allowed its Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg to say all sorts of partisan nonsense, without making a peep. (Totenberg's wishing AIDS on Jesse Helms is just one of her greatest hits.)

That NPR CEO Vivian Shiller would publicly suggest Williams should have kept his feelings "between him and his psychiatrist," is outrageous and grounds enough for her own removal.

What is clearly evident here is the sort of liberal arrogance and intolerance that have gotten the party of liberalism in such trouble with the voting public.

It is simply stunning, that just a few months after the Shirley Sherrod fiasco that NPR would ape the Obama administration's fumbling of her case. The backlash against NPR will be as painful as it is well deserved.

UPDATE: Howard Kurtz weighs in here.

UPDATE: Mickey Kaus weighs in here.

Coming Soon: Candidate Jim Schneller

Bryan Lentz is thinking about whether he has any "regrets" about creating Schnellergate. Maybe we should get him a pillow for his head. My print column is up.

By the way, Jim Schneller called the other day and asked if he could come in and be interviewed by the Daily Times editorial board. By all means, he was told. At this point, we seriously doubt it was Lentz's people who put him up to making the call. But, I guess we'll have to ask him.

He's scheduled to come in Monday. He's a nice, amiable guy. Should be fun.

Toomey in the House on the Phone

The Daily Times editorial board held an phone interview with U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey yesterday, in which many things but mostly the economy was discussed.

Toomey, as he has been doing throughout the campaign, criticized the $800 billion stimulus program, claimed it a failure and told us he'd have supported a payroll tax holiday for three years, which would have very quickly put money back into the hands of businesses and consumers. He said that money would have allowed many businesses to keep employees that they ended up having to lay off instead - and workers, money to spend to keep the economy churning.

Any other stimulus should have gone into real infrastruction projects. Instead most of the money was spent t bailing out state governments, allowing them to keep public employees on government payrolls and postpone cutting programs that are going to have to be cut next year because there will be no more stimulus. As Obama disengenously says, "We're out of money." We never had the money in the first place.

In short, the Obama Administation and the Democratic Congress blew it. Even Democratic congressional candidates, who claim it staved off even higher unemployment in the short term, admit the stimulus was ill directed. There were no "shovel ready" projects as claimed by the Team Obama. And their claim that the stimulus would hold unemployment to 8 percent, proved to disastrously wrong, both for workers and Democrats.

Toomey spoke credibly about what led up to economic collapse, the housing bubble, which was created government policy that encouraged people who couldn't afford to buy homes to buy them anyway. Quasi-government agencies Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac blew the bubble even bigger by guaranteeing mortgages (with taxpayer dollars).

Even Barney Frank, who was one of the driving forces behind allowing Fannie and Freddie to accept these risks, now admits it he had his "ideological blinders" on at the time. And Joe Sestak, who may know something about commanding an aircraft carrier, but very little about credit default swap and derivative trading, voted with Barney and the rest of the party to expand the bubble ever bigger.

It was apparent that it annoys Toomey to no end to have Sestak claim that he (Toomey) is responsible for the economic crisis, when he was one of the first people to recognize the dangers of such loose money. He points out that when he was in Congress he was one of the few who tried to reign in Fanny and Freddy but failed thanks to lack of support from Democrats and a few Republicans who refused to see the writing on the wall.

It also annoys Toomey that Sestak continues to question his motives in arguing for smaller government, lower taxes and fewer burdens on small businesses so more jobs can be created. The Sestak campaign suggest all Toomey is interested in is helping his greedy Wall Street buddies make more money. That's pure demagoguery, Toomey said. He doesn't question Sestak's motives for arguing for greater stimulus spending, cap and trade legislation, government mandates in healthcare and the like. He just thinks Sestak's approach is wrong for the country.

What they have, says Toomey, is a philosophical difference in what the best direction is for the country to go. He thinks less government intrusion into the economy and more freedom and creativity in the private sector will do a better job in creating prosperity than government-run and directed programs.

For his free-market beliefs, the Sestak campaign suggests in its ads that Toomey would make a better senator for Red China, than the United States. Actually, it's Joe who is closer philosophically to the Red Chinese model of governing.

Toomey doesn't say that. I say that.

But it couldn't be more clear. Sestak supports a heavy government hand over the entire U.S. economy. He and many of his fellow Democrats think the problem in this country is that government doesn't have enough control of things. He thinks if the government exercised more power, spent more money, it could help more people. He's a government man. He has been his whole life. Government has been good to him, rewarded him for all his hard work. Why shouldn't he like it and admire it back?

At the end of his interview Toomey said that if voters think the stimulus program was a good thing, that cap and trade and greater government intrusion into the healthcare system and other industries have been good for America, they should vote for Joe.

If not... well, the choice is pretty clear.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Phils Win

What a relief. Contrares. Romero. Madson. Lidge. Especially Madson.

Liberal Speech Police Fire Juan Williams

The firing of Juan Williams from National Public Radio has the media world agog. He is a victim of liberal political correctness run amok.

WSJ's John Fund is referring to NPR now as National Pussillanimous Radio. Here's his take on NPR's foot shooting.

The Strange Justice of Ruth Marcus

Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas did an odd thing the other day. She phoned the woman who accused her husband of being a sexual harrasser two decades ago and left a message asking her to apologize.

The woman, Anita Hill, did an even odder thing: She called the cops.

WaPo's Ruth Marcus says it isn't Ginni Thomas or her husband who deserves an apology but Anita Hill.

Marcus claims to understand that as a wife she knows where Ginni Thomas is coming from, but she covered the Thomas confirmation hearings for the Washington Post and, having weighed the evidence, such as it was, she believes Hill.

Not very shocking that, especially given the fact that Marcus met her future husband at those hearing, a man she identifies a "Democratic staffer."

It was Democratic staffers like Ruth Marcus' husband who were out to get and stop Thomas from being confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice by whatever means necessary. His conservative views and beliefs were just too much for them to stomach in such an important position of power, especially for a black man.

So they found and used Anita Hill to embarrass and smear him. And it was only thanks to Thomas' angry but dignified response to this crude attempt at character assassination, that the Senate confirmed him. They were too embarrassed not to.

As Camille Paglia wrote at the time:
Hill woodenly related the content of conversations without any reference to their context or tone. The senators never asked about joking, smiles, facial expressions, hers as well as his. Every social encounter is a game being played by two parties. I suspect Hill’s behavior was compliant and, to use her own word about a recent exchange with a Thomas friend, “passive.” Judging by her subsequent cordial behavior toward Thomas, Hill chose to put her career interests above feminist principle. She went along to get along. Hence it is hypocritical of her, ten years later, to invoke feminist principle when she did not have the courage to stand on it before. For feminists to make a heroine out of Hill is to insult all those other women who have taken a bolder, more confrontational course and forfeited career advantage.

In this case, the sexual harassment issue was a smoke screen, cynically exploited to serve another issue, abortion rights. Although I am firmly pro-choice, I think there should be no single-issue litmus test for nominees to the Supreme Court. And the strategy backfired. Thomas, who had seemed bland and evasive for the prior hundred days of the hearings, emerged under fire with vastly increased stature. He was passionate, forceful, dignified.

Make no mistake: it was not a White House conspiracy that saved this nomination. It was Clarence Thomas himself. After eight hours of Hill’s testimony, he was driven as low as any man could be. But step by step, with sober, measured phrases, he regained his position and turned the momentum against his accusers. It was one of the most powerful moments I have ever witnessed on television. Giving birth to himself, Thomas reenacted his own credo of self-made man.
One of those smarmy accusers, in so far as he was working for the Democrats on the committee, was Ruth Marcus' future husband.

They were meant for each other.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Witchy Woman

[Posted by Jake]

There are few things in the world you can absolutely count on, but here's one:
If Bill Maher says it, it's probably wrong.

On MSNBC, that beacon of journalistic integrity, Maher ridiculed Christine O'Donnell for pointing out, in her recent Delaware Senatorial debate with "bearded Marxist" Chris Coons, that he was confusing the establishment clause, which is in the Constitution, with the separation of church and state, which is not.

This was a sophisticated observation, inexplicably ignored by the spoon-fed law school audience and the mainstream media. Could O'Donnell have explained herself better? Absolutely. One could even question, sadly, whether a modern political debate is the best place for this theoretical argument.

But a strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution is a fundamental tenet of the Tea Party revolt against an overbearing and intrusive Federal government. Even a celebrity nitwit like Maher should have acknowledged that simple fact.

Let's face it...if Christine O'Donnell was a pro-abortion, global warming, big government apologist espousing Constitutional nuance in the context of a pre-election debate, the media sycophants and the NOW sisterhood would be tripping over themselves anointing the ascension of this next great liberal mind.

But since they disagree with her positions, Bill Maher and his condescending, elitist brethren will resort to petty cheap shots over style, rather than risk being exposed as intellectual posers by this "witch" with substance.

Dem Fear Factor

The WSJ's Mike Kaminski tries to get a handle on the senate and congressional races in Pennsylvania. Democrats are left trying to scare voters about what Republicans would do if they were back in power.
Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania's outgoing Democratic governor, calls it playing up the "fear factor." "Mike Fitzpatrick may be a reasonable guy, but Michele Bachmann [the Minnesota Republican congresswoman] isn't," Mr. Rendell tells me. "Toomey's a good candidate who doesn't appear to be a wacko. But Toomey gets hurt every time Christine O'Donnell opens her mouth."
If Pennsylvania voters can't tell the difference between Pat Toomey and Christine O'Donnell they deserve Joe Sestak.

I Have Met the Enemy...

... and it is PRONTO! The LCB's latest insult to the drinkers of Pennsylvania. My print column is up.

A Blast from the Past

Just after the 2008 election, Iowahawk's Dave Burge predicted the economic and adminstrative disaster we find ourselves in today. I missed it then, but its still worth reading today.

It begins:
Although I have not always been the most outspoken advocate of President-Elect Barack Obama, today I would like to congratulate him and add my voice to the millions of fellow citizens who are celebrating his historic and frightening election victory. I don't care whether you are a conservative or a liberal -- when you saw this inspiring young African-American rise to our nation's highest office I hope you felt the same sense of patriotic pride that I experienced, no matter how hard you were hyperventilating with deep existential dread.

Yes, I know there are probably other African-Americans much better qualified and prepared for the presidency. Much, much better qualified. Hundreds, easily, if not thousands, and without any troubling ties to radical lunatics and Chicago mobsters. Gary Coleman comes to mind. But let's not let that distract us from the fact that Mr. Obama's election represents a profound, positive milestone in our country's struggle to overcome its long legacy of racial divisions and bigotry. It reminds us of how far we've come, and it's something everyone in our nation should celebrate in whatever little time we now have left.
Read it all.

Lentz on Schnellergate

Bryan Lentz was in yesterday to make his pitch for the Daily Times editorial endorsement and I asked him about Schnellergate.

For the first time, as far as I know, he admitted to advanced knowledge of the plan of his campaign workers to help Jim Schneller get on the ballot.

He defended his actions by pointing out that he didn't initially encourage Schneller to run. He said some Democrats across the country have sat down over a cup of coffee and intiated talks with Tea party-type candidates to run, obviously in the hope of drawing conservative and independent votes away from their GOP opponents. That wasn't done in this case. Schneller, Lentz said, was already running. In collecting signatures to make sure he got on the ballot, Lentz said he wanted to force Pat Meehan to "take a position one way or another whether he was the Tea Party candidate."

He added that having Democratic campaign workers work to get Schneller on the ballot wasn't "illegal or unethical." (He is most certainly right about it not being illegal - as for it being unethical, each individual voter in this year's election will be the judge of that.)

Asked by our editor Phil Heron, if he regretted involving his campaign in getting Schneller on the ballot, Lentz sighed and said, "I regret a lot of things."

When I followed up and asked if this was one of them, Lentz replied "It's an open question in my mind. I'll have to think about it."

More later.

UPDATE: My own sense is if Schneller pulls 3 percent of the vote and Lentz wins by 2, he won't regret it. If he loses by 7 and hears from a few voters that his campaign's little scheme turned them off to voting for him, he will regret it.

Comeback Joe?

Huffpo's Sam Stein hopefully cites a couple of polls indicating the senate race between Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey is tightening.

He quotes the usual analysts citing the effectiveness of Sestak's negative ads blaming Toomey for the economy for being a "Wall Street trader" and another accusing him of being an actual traitor, saying he'd be a better senator for red China, than the United States. And then there's the one that claims he against helping returning soldiers and veterans. Pretty rough and nasty stuff.

Toomey has pretty much stayed on the high road, focusing on Sestak's record of big spending votes and showing video clips of Sestak saying he would have voted bigger stimulus ($1 trillion), more punative cap and trade bill, and greater government control of healthcare.

Sestak continues to sail into political headwinds.

At the bottom of Stein's piece, he gets real:
The likelihood of a Sestak win still remains remote. Earlier in the week, Nate Silver, the polling analyst for FiveThiryEight, penned a piece casting doubt on both internal polls showing a closing gap and the broader prospects of a Sestak comeback. The underlying skepticism of prognosticators, meanwhile, hasn't gone away. In a year in which Republican enthusiasm has dwarfed the opposition, the challenge of getting registered Democrats to the polls is difficult. But in Pennsylvania, it's not impossible.

"I think, until elections are over, everyone is concerned. All you have to do is win by a vote," said Bravacos. "The Republicans always win in September and Democrats always house their money until the end.... So of course it is going to tighten. If you get a 52-48 win in Pennsylvania that's a big margin."
Essential for Sestak is the black vote. If African Americans don't turn out in large numbers, he's sunk.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hating Hate Crime Laws

Richard Cohen comes out against hate crimes laws, sort of. But in so doing he asserts:
Hate-crime laws combine the touching conservative belief in the unerring efficacy of deterrence (which rises to its absurd and hideous apogee with executions) with the liberal belief that when it comes to particular groups, basic rights may be suspended. Thus we get affirmative action in which certain people are advantaged at the expense of other people based entirely on race or ethnicity. This tender feeling toward minorities must account for why civil liberties groups have remained so appallingly silent about hate-crimes legislation.
Seems to me that Cohen, being a man who travels in liberal ciricles, has the liberal belief pretty much right, but not so much the conservative.

What conservative has ever expressed confidence in the "unerring efficacy of deterrence"? When it comes to the death penalty, most people who support it do so out of a sense of justice, not so much because it unmistakeably deters. Nevermind, that the death penalty, as imposed in this country, is something of a cruel joke. But this is thanks primarily to liberal lawyers and judges who have created a legal system that makes it so. A consistent, quick, and fairly imposed death penalty might marginally (not unerringly) deter some killings.

Cohen's falsely characterizes the conservative view for his liberal readers to make them feel better about themselves. There is nothing "conservative" about hate-crime laws. But many Republicans don't challenge them or end up supporting them out of fear of being labeled racist, sexist or homophobic... by liberals, of course.

Cohen deserves credit for seeing hate crime laws for what they are; wrong-headed, ineffective, and illiberal. But being illiberal and conservative are two very different things. Cohen is smart enough to know that. Hate crime laws are an invention of the liberal left. Blaming conservatives for them in any way is wholly disengenuous.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ace In the Hole

"Obama Is Like a Chilean Miner, Harry Reid Says"--headline,, Oct. 18

Kinda,' but not exactly, suggests cartoonist Michael Ramirez:

The Treamsters Retraction

I am, at the moment, utterly confused by the Teamsters withdrawal of its endorsement of Bryan Lentz, supposedly over his sponsorship of HB 400.

From what I have read, the bill that would make it harder for businesses to hire independent contractors easier for unions to sue employees who hire independent contractors.

According to the conservative group Pennsylvania Coalition for Responsible Government:
This is a REALLY bad bill that makes hiring of sub-contractors a very risky proposition and allows unions to sue employers over mis-classification. All of the Democrats are likely to support this bill and we must let the Republicans on the Committee know that the people of the state demand that they put a stake through the heart of this job killing bill.
Can it be that even the Teamsters understand that more state regulations on business is a bad way to go in this economy?

Teamsters boss, Bill Hamilton, said HB 400 did not address transportation needs of the union's members, whatever that means. But the the very public loss of the Teamsters' endorsement is real loss to Lentz campaign, and it sees dirty work afoot.

"... you have to what (Republican Pat Meehan) promised the Teamsters leadership to get them to go against their members interests," Lentz spokesman Kevin McTigue told a reporter.

I've got to admit that was the first thing I wondered too, not that I accept McTigue's characterization of the union leadership going against its members interests.

The county GOP has always managed to have a pretty good relationship with the big unions. When Curt Weldon was in Congress he worked the bosses pretty darn well. It would be interesting to know if there were any talks between the Meehan campaign and union leaders before this decision was made.

Of course, it is possible that Hamilton and his boys are just reading the writing on the wall. They believe Lentz is going to lose and don't want to be on the outs when the seat reverts back to Republican hands. But it is very unusual for a special interest group to retract an endorsement, especially so close to the end of a campaign. I've never heard of it being done. Has anyone else?

Joe's Dog Belle

Joe Sestak has a new ad featuring his dog's poop. Here it is:

Cats for Pat Toomey respond:

I have a question: Where does Joe's dog Belle actually live... and poop?

It's Gotta Be the Shoe

Eagles win despite three misses by David Akers.
Akers didn't make those attempts while wearing a special pink Reebok shoe signifying the fight against breast cancer. He said he wore it in honor of his mother, who battled the disease. But he discarded it in favor of an old reliable for the one FG try that would be successful.

“I kicked with it in the pre-game – a 63-yarder, then a 54-yarder toward the locker room. I had a great pre-game,” Akers said with a reference to the pink slipper. “I kicked with it all week and didn't have an issue with it. I just went back to a trusty one for the last one. But I don't think it was the shoe. I think it was the person that was wearing the shoe.”


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Green Giant Buffoonery

Walter Russell Meade on how envrionmentalists and the mainstream media joined hands to screw up environmental policy for decades.
People who care about the environment, who worry about the potential harm that our increasingly technological civilization can do to the natural systems on which we all depend, are making a literally planet-threatening mistake when they fail to subject policy proposals to serious analysis and critique because those proposals are labeled ‘green’. I don’t know what it will take to get this simple lesson through the surprisingly thick heads of the chattering classes.  How many times do widely hailed, ritualistically praised and endorsed green policy initiatives have to go down in flames before the press realizes that the way to help the environment is to subject such proposals to critical scrutiny before they flop?

How long will it be before serious people who seriously care about the environment realize that the clowns, poseurs and hotheads currently shaping the movement’s public agenda constitute a grave and urgent threat to the health of the only planet we’ve got.

Not Debatable

Bryan Lentz' reputation for square dealing went out the window with his campaign's backhanded success in getting flakey spoiler Jim Schneller on the ballot. That made Wednesday's debate a joke that Pat Meehan refused to play along with.

My print column is up.

UPDATE: Meehan has agreed to a final one-on-one debate against Lentz at Neumann College.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Trip to China

Peter Robinson interviews historian and gentleman famer Victor Davis Hansen in a five-part series at NRO. Here is Segment II of five parts. But watch them all and learn a lot from one of America's most thoughtful and knowledgable citizens.

I picked segment II to link to because it deals with China and I just heard a fascinating story from my brother about that country just the other night.

In the Hansen interview above, Robinson quotes New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and his infatuation with how the Chinese get things done, crediting it's autocratic form of government as if it is the way of the future.

Hansen smiles and points out people were saying almost exactly same laudatory things about the Nazis and Mussolini in 1939. He said China has a myriad of problems it is going to have to deal with in the near future from demographic issues to nuclear threats on its border.

He said it is one thing to fly into Bejing airport and be impressed with how new and beautiful it is, but to see the real China, he should go further inland, get on a bike and ride through the equivalent of Nebraska. He would see a very different world than what he sees in the big cities.

Which brings me to the story my brother, the Obama supporter, told me.

A business acquaintance of his was opening a potato chip plant somewhere in the interior of China. He was going to be there for a while so he asked his fiance, a Indiana girl who had never been out of the Hoosier state, to join him. So she goes. She flys to L.A. then to Bejing where she is greeted by a car and driver arranged by her fiance. She is driving along this superhighway, where hers is the only car on the road.

Thousands of Chinese are on bicycles and walking on this highway, when, suddenly, BAM! her driver hits one of them. The victim, a woman flies over the roof of the car and lands on the roadway, obviously killed. The Indiana girl is horrified but the driver keeps going. She implores him to stop. He shakes his head and say four words in English:

"We stop, they kill."

They continue on, and are only driving another few minutes when the driver hit a SECOND pedestrian, killing her too.

By the time, she reached her destination, she was a wreck. After being consoled by her husband to be, she woke the next morning and looked outside. She saw dense gray smog hovering the landscape. The yard of their resident contained the only patch of grass for blocks. Looking out the window, she saw to two Chinese peasants. They were on the grass, squatting and evacuating their bowels.

Welcome to China. It's not futuristic, autocratic paradise Thomas Friedman seems to think.

The Failed Rescue

The Lentz-Schneller Debate?

Isn't there something patently silly about paying attention to a debate wherein one candidate made sure the other got on the ballot so he would have a straw man to beat up on?

UPDATE: Since the Lentz campaign collected the signatures to get Jim Schneller on the ballot, Pat Meehan's people have taken to calling Schneller Lentz' "running-mate."

Pretty clever that. And it makes this debate all the funnier. Has a candidate ever debated his own running-mate before? Maybe that explains the big turnout of 25 people at Delaware County Community College.

Even worse for Lentz, from what I read of it, Schneller won.

UPDATE: My frend Bill Bender (who works for another newspaper) called last night's debate a lesson in "Farcical Politics." His amusing story can be read here.

He has the race a lot closer than I do based on a couple of recent polls. I'm skeptical. My prediction is that Meehan will win by 6 to 8 points, thanks to his name recognition, the county GOP get-out-the-vote operation and voter disgust with Democratic spending and policies in Washington.

Following Joe On the Road to Nowhere

Listening to Joe Sestak explain something is like being stuck between radio stations. You can pick out a few recognizable phrases and ideas but mostly it's a lot of mind-numbing static.

My print column is up.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Looking For a Tease-Free Zone

A group of gay and straight students at Widener University held a march against bullying yesterday. But who's for bullying? Not even bullies defend it, they just do it.
Among those in the audience were Chris, 50, and Kate, 48, a lesbian couple from Middletown who will celebrate 21 years in January.

They understand all too well the pressures facing youth.

“It’s terrible,” said Kate.

Both Kate and Chris said they’re often stereotyped simply by their short hair.

“For me, with short hair, I hate it when people call me sir,” Kate said.

Both women said they’ve gotten vibes, both good and bad, from strangers they pass walking into a convenient store.
Coming soon: The March against Bad Vibes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This Just Isn't Right. Cute! But Not Right!

This guy's name must be Miguel Vick.


Transgender golfer sues to play on the LPGA. It was bound to happen.

The Coming Purge

Valey Girl

Sherry Poole, a staight A student at Academy Park High School, was mystified when her class ranking came out last spring. She was sixth in a senior class of 283. Not bad, but not Sherry.

It turned out that due to a miscalculation, she was ranked lower than she should have been. In fact, Sherry should have been the class Valedictorian.

My print column is up.

That Unfathomable Mosque Thingy

Drexel Hill resident Sid Holmes finds opposition to the Ground Zero mosque to be "unfathomable."

In an Op-Ed piece in today's paper, Holmes, the communications director for a children's health advocacy group, attempts to compare the sacrifice of Muslim Americans to that of African Americans throughout the nation's history.

His argument goes like this: American blacks were once denied the same rights as other citizens in this country even while serving in the military to protect it from harm. The same is now true of Muslim Americans, specifically a 20-year-old American soldier named Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, who died fighting for this country Iraq. The African American standard bearer for Holmes argument is a Lt. Norma Greene, who in 1942 was beaten by police down South for refusing to exit a whites-only bus.

It is pretty poor analogy. Greene was the victim of old Jim Crow laws in the aftermath of slavery that this country fought hard to overcome. Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan was no such victim. He was a casualty of war.

It is America that was vicitimized on 9/11 in the name Islamic jihadism just nine years ago.

Writes Holmes: " is shameful that our president, on the eve of the 9/11 commemoration, was placed in the unfortunate position of chiding our countrymen with the understanding that Muslims are indeed serving in our nation’s military – in Afghanistan and Iraq, no less – and that “part of honoring their service is making sure that they understand that we don’t differentiate between them and us. It’s just us.”
Yes, our poor president having to explain such things to the great American boobacracy.

Does Mr. Holmes actually believe there are a significant number of our citizens who don't know that Muslim-American are allowed to serve - and do serve - in our armed forces? Or know that among the people killed on 9/11 there were some muslims?

The controversy over the $100 million mosque and Islamic community center was generated mostly by people who lost loved ones in the attack on New York City. These people, and the Americans who joined them in opposition to what can be reasonably perceived as act of Islamic triumphalism in the shadow of the World Trade Center, don't need to be "chided," by the President of the United States or anyone else. Neither do they need to be brow-beaten and called religious "bigots" by the supporters of the project.

At least, and to his credit, Mr. Holmes avoided doing that. But his attempt to compare the experience of African Americans in the deep South during WWII with that of Muslim Americans in modern America is weak in the extreme.

It is, nevertheless, perfectly fathomable as an example of liberal thinking and argument.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I have been behind the lines in enemy country (Cincinnati, Ohio) since Saturday morning, keeping a very low profile. I came to root the Phillies to victory Sunday night, the rest is history.

My Jedi mind-bending techniques worked on the Reds' batters and fielders with an even better success rate than the command center at Buffalo Wings bar headquarters.

I will be working my way back to the Philadelphia area in short order.

In the meantime, my Sunday column, which explains a lot can be viewed here.

UPDATE: I am furious with my colleague Ryan Lawrence for posting a recent photo of me, jeopardizing all my undercover work and actually putting my life at risk. I'll get you for this, Lawrence!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Worst Democrat in the World

If you don't know who Alan Grayson is, you haven't been watching MSNBC where he is a beloved lefty star. Lot of good it will do him.

Byron York has the story

Friday, October 8, 2010

Watching the Game with Arlen

Went to the game tonight. Had pretty good seats. One section and one row from where lame duck Sen. Arlen Specter was sitting. He went up the aisle in the fourth inning with the Phils down 4-0 and returned wearing a Cinncinnati Reds jacket. In the 7th he was suddenly wearing a Phillies sweatshirt and swinging a rally towel.

I am lying, of course. Arlen is a big Phillies fan.

Ugly game. But big win.

UPDATE: The Conan Blimp was spotted hovering over Citizens Bank Park. It rocks.


UPDATE II: My favoritie Conan Blimp moment;

DUI Fighter Busted for DUI

There's a joke here, somewhere. Me, I think it's the .O8 blood alcohol level that it takes to get you charged.

It's the Incompetence, Stupid!

Krauthammer: For Democrats, it's not just that lousy economy and the overhanging debt. It's the monumental incompetence at the most basic elements of governing.
For the first time since modern budgeting was introduced with the Budget Act of 1974, the House failed to even write a budget. This in a year of extraordinary deficits, rising uncertainty and jittery financial markets. Gold is going through the roof. Confidence in the dollar and the American economy is falling -- largely because of massive overhanging debt. Yet no budget emerged from Congress to give guidance, let alone reassurance, about future U.S. revenues and spending.

That's not all. Congress has not passed a single appropriations bill. To keep the government going, Congress passed a so-called continuing resolution (CR) before adjourning to campaign. The problem with continuing to spend at the current level is that the last two years have seen a huge 28 percent jump in non-defense discretionary spending. The CR continues this profligacy, aggravating an already serious debt problem.

As if this were not enough, Congress adjourned without even a vote -- nay, without even a Democratic bill -- on the expiring Bush tax cuts. This is the ultimate in incompetence. After 20 months of control of the White House and Congress -- during which they passed an elaborate, 1,000-page micromanagement of every detail of American health care -- the Democrats adjourned without being able to tell the country what its tax rates will be on Jan. 1.
Read it all here.

Accused of Rape...

... sitting in jail, waiting for trial. My print column is up.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

She's a Witch! Burn Her!

Christine O'Donnell's "I am not a witch" ad is getting a lot of attention. I think it's sort of cute.

But liberals and Democrats have gone all Monty Python over it.

I say people who live in glass houses, shouldn't throw stones.

Obama: Carter or Clinton?

How, after getting his party creamed in the mid-terms, Obama could very well win reelection. Victor Davis Hanson speculates.

UPDATE: Ramirez picks Carter.

What the Frack?

Holman Jenkins reports and opines on the coming Marcellus Shale boom, the hyped controversy over "fracking" and why environmentalist and NIMBYs won't be able to slow down this big bit of energy development:
As a report from the Houston investment firm of Tudor Pickering shrewdly predicted in June, there will be no fracking ban. Too much money, too many jobs, too much revenue for state government is at stake. Instead: "The gold-rush-like endeavor called shale drilling will morph from trial-and-error into a more institutionalized affair. . . . Bigger companies will have a growing advantage, because they can better afford to prevent spills and leaks and correct them when they happen."

Yep, the sound and fury of the fracking debate is really just the noise of the fracking phenomenon being domesticated.
Read the Hol thing.

The Paranoid Style of Liberalism

And for those interested in the paranoid shennigans of the liberal media, Andrew Ferguson reviews The New Yorker's scary story about the billionaire Koch brothers.
Over the past 30 years, Charles and David Koch, owners of a Kansas-based family business called Koch Industries, have given hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations that advance their political views. Those views can be described as unevenly conservative and generally libertarian (pro-gay marriage, anti-ObamaCare). The donations are readily observable in foundation tax records posted on the Internet, as all such transactions are, and the brothers themselves have made many public appearances on behalf of the think tanks and magazines they fund, given speeches and media interviews, issued statements of support, sat on boards—even, in David’s case, made a hopeless and expensive run for the vice presidency on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1980.

Oddly, it took a while for the Inspector Clouseaus of the American left to smell a rat. And in fairness, it should be said that hiding in plain sight can often be the most sinister form of disguise for billionaires like the Kochs, the tricky bastards. About a year ago, the alarming rise of the Tea Parties inspired researchers at a website called ThinkProgress to start Googling. Among their discoveries, breathlessly reported, was the news that one of the Kochs’ foundations had funded Americans for Prosperity, a group instrumental in the Tea Party movement.
Read it all, it's good.

UPDATE: Especially, this part:
The only support in (Jane) Mayer’s article for this extravagant charge (that the Tea Party movement has been completely manufactured from the top down) comes from second-hand assertions, usually in quotes from the brothers’ critics. Many are anonymous. Others are incompletely identified. Conservative think tanks and activists are carefully pinned with the ideological tag; liberal think tanks and left-wing activists are, well, just think tanks and activists. A man named Gus diZerega is hauled in to describe David Koch’s “wayward intellectual trajectory” toward conservative activism; Mayer describes diZerega only as a “former friend” and “political science professor.” In a bio note on his blog, diZerega is more definitive: after working “to prevent the triumph of what he feels are the moral monsters that long controlled the U.S. government and still dominate the Republican party,” he says he quit poli sci for the study of “Neo-paganism, the earth religions more generally, and shamanic healing.” Talk about a wayward intellectual trajectory.
Well, to be fair. If you sympathized with Democrats and looked at the polls, you'd think the world was out to get you too.

Say It Isn't So, O!

Dan Henninger sez:
On the morning of Nov. 5, 2008, the Republican Party lay in ruins. The Democrats had just obliterated its candidates, and after the Franken-Coleman recount achieved the holy grail of a filibuster-proof Senate majority. In time, a senior congressional Republican visited the offices of the Journal's editorial page to talk about the carnage.

Someone asked how George Bush's low approval rating, at 30-something, had affected the congressional races. "Bush killed us," came the reply. "He just killed us."

Now it looks as if another president's depressed approval rating is about to kill his party.
Say it isn't so, O!

The Delaware Strangler

Joe Biden sez:
If I hear one more Republican tell me about balancing the budget, I am going to strangle them... To the press, that's a figure of speech."
One, we trust, he didn't steal from Neil Kinnock.

Enemy Mine

Arlen Specter, who was defeated by Joe Sestak, will campaign for him against Pat Toomey whose primary challenge forced Arlen to jump parties in the first place.

File this under "The enemy of my enemy isn't my friend but, what the hell, I'll campaign for him."

Philadelphia vs. Cincinnati

Last night's text message exchange between two Reds fans and Spencerblog:
Reds fan: We just wanted u guys to feel like you had a good team.

Spencerblog: The Reds did the best they could. That walk was awesome, wasnt' it?

RF: Best ever. He might enter the MVP race after that walk.

SB: Tell Kev (aka Undercover Corporate Titan), we'll root for the Reds to get a hit Friday night.

RF: Thanks, I would like 2 home games. But we might need two hits for that.
And this to the Undercover Corporate Titan who ordered an underling to make an unusual bet with Spencerblog:
Spencerblog: I fell asleep. What happened in the game?

UCT: I think Bob is trying on kilts.

SB: No pantaloons allowed.

UCT: Commando all the way.
Mr and Mrs. Spencerblog expect to attend the proceedings Friday night with UCT and his daughter. We will try to be good hosts. But this IS Philadelphia. They will wear Reds paraphenalia at their own risk.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010