Global Warmening Update

December 11, 2008

From the Weather Underground site (no relation to Bill Ayers, fortunately):

Updated: 9:16 AM CST on December 11, 2008
Observed at New Orleans Lakefront, Louisiana
Temperature 36°F 2°C
Windchill 23°F -5°C
Humidity 100%
Dew Point 36°F 2°C
Wind West at 28 mph / 44 km/h
Pressure 29.83 in / 1010 hPa (Rising)
Conditions Light Snow

Rest of Today
Cloudy early in the morning then becoming partly cloudy. Light rain and snow likely in the morning…then chance of light rain in the afternoon. Cooler. Snow accumulation up to 1 inch.

UPDATE: Check this out, courtesy of NOLA.com:
New Orleans snowfall

Beat the Hsiffies! Buy Bonds!

December 8, 2008

Heh:

– Rep. Maxine Waters, (D., Calif.), didn’t even bother to do her homework on how to pronounce the name of Chrysler’s parent company, Cerberus (a Wall Street investment firm). Waters repeatedly pronounced it “Cerebus.”

Dave Sim, call your office.

That’ll Leave A Mark

December 8, 2008

Andrew Breitbart:

Mrs. Clinton ignored the sexism and sexual assault the photo projected and accepted Mr. Favreau’s apology through her spokesman Philippe Reines, who weirdly joked, “Senator Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon’s obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application.”

This is not the first time, of course, that Mrs. Clinton has saved a man from exceedingly bad behavior with women. In fact, it’s her signature skill.

As we sometimes say down in these parts, “Dang.”

Let’s Play “Name That Party!”

December 2, 2008

From the AP today:

The mayor of Alabama’s largest city, Larry Langford, was arrested Monday on federal bribery and fraud charges connected to a multibillion-dollar sewer bond deal that has driven the surrounding county to the brink of bankruptcy.

Federal prosecutors in Birmingham said Langford, Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount and lobbyist Al LaPierre were charged in the 101-count indictment released Monday. The charges also include money laundering and filing false tax returns.

Langford is accused of receiving $230,000 in bribes from Blount, some of them routed through LaPierre, to influence the bond deals while Langford was president of the Jefferson County Commission. Blount’s firm made $7.1 million in fees from the bond work.

Shucky-darn, that sounds serious, if not terribly surprising. Chicago and New Orleans have nothing on Birmingham when it comes to political corruption. But hey, if it’s politics, shouldn’t at least one of these guys be part of a, you know, political party? Let’s check with CNN, the self-described “network of record:”

Larry Langford, 62, is named in an indictment that alleges criminal activity while he was a county commissioner, said U.S. Attorney Alice Martin.

As president of the Jefferson County Commission and head of its department of finance and general services from November 2002 until about November 2006, Langford put his personal affairs ahead of those of the county, Martin said.

“Our investigation has revealed, and the indictment alleges, that Langford sold his public office to his friends and political supporters,” Martin said.

Also named in the 101-count indictment are William Blount, 55, a Montgomery, Alabama, investment banker, and Albert LaPierre, 58, a Birmingham lobbyist, neither of whom returned calls from CNN.

Well, that’s odd. Still no mention of any party affiliation here. In fact, you have to go all the way down to the twelfth paragraph of the story in Langford’s hometown paper to find out that:

Blount, 55, and LaPierre, 58, have long been considered among the best politically connected players in the state. Blount is a former chairman of the state’s Democratic Party, and LaPierre is the former executive director of the party. Langford is a Democrat.

Well, go-lee! They have parties down there after all!

Anybody think those particular bits of information would have been reported by the AP or CNN if you replaced the word “Democratic” with “Republican?”

A Good Start

November 16, 2008

The next meeting of the South Carolina senatorial caucus is liable to be a bit chilly, given Lindsay Graham’s status as John McCain’s own personal Mini-Me, but fellow SC Senator Jim DeMint is dead on here regarding McCain’s unpalatability to his own party:

“McCain, who is proponent of campaign finance reform that weakened party organizations and basically put George Soros in the driver’s seat,” DeMint said. “His proposal for amnesty for illegals. His support of global warming, cap-and-trade programs that will put another burden on our economy. And of course, his embrace of the bailout right before the election was probably the nail in our coffin this last election. And he has been an opponent of drilling in ANWR, at a time when energy is so important. It really didn’t fit the label, but he was our package.”

Of course, identifying a problem is only the first step. DeMint makes a pretty good start at how the GOP might turn things around:

DeMint said he would introduce a Senate resolution next week to boot [Ted] Stevens out of the Republican caucus, and “force votes” on Senate seniority rules that have allowed certain members to hold onto power. However, DeMint twice confused Ted Stevens with Ted Kennedy, drawing chuckles from the audience of Republicans, who hold neither senator in particularly high regard.

“One of our principles is that power corrupts, and you need to disperse it,” DeMint said. “And if our own party allows ourselves to be destroyed by this idea, and are not willing to stand up, then we have to change everyone at the top.”

Good stuff. If DeMint’s party had taken that attitude over the past several years, they wouldn’t be in the mess they’re in right now.

Unintended Consequences

November 7, 2008

This is excellent news:

Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.

That’s directly from The Savior’s transition propaganda site, as quoted by Coyote Blog.

I couldn’t come up with a more effective way to throw away the youth vote for a generation if I spent a year working on it.

Just try and tell a bunch of teenagers and college students that they’re ordered to do, well, anything. Almost all of them will hold it against you for the rest of their lives.

UPDATE: Via the Blogfaddah, the “require” part has suddenly been airbrushed out of The One’s propaganda site.

Frum(p)

November 6, 2008

David Frum has weighed in on the election aftermath from his current perch at Canada’s National Post. Frum’s prescription is basically for the GOP to jettison Sarah Palin and her backwoods ilk, and glom on to David Brooks’ “bobo” philosophy in hopes of connecting with the electorate via a “less polarizing” message. This, Frum pontificates, is the “only hope for a Republican recovery.”

Frum has quite a history of being the GOP’s self-appointed Chicken Little. Most famously, his tome Dead Right proclaimed the intellectual and electoral barrenness of conservatism in general and the GOP in particular, and offered Frum’s own prescriptions for the renewals of both. The blurb on the original edition’s cover read, “The great conservative revival of the 1980’s is over. Government is bigger, taxes are higher, family values are weaker, and the Democrats are in power. What will the Right do next?”

Hilariously, Frum’s question was answered just over two months after the August 1994 publication of Dead Right, when a back-bencher from Georgia led a Republican takeover of Congress that lasted for nearly a decade and a half. Along the way they stopped Bill Clinton’s wave of tax increases, killed socialized medicine, ended Welfare as a permanent dole, balanced the budget for a couple of years, and later cut taxes under an eight-year Republican administration. They also did plenty of other, less salubrious things, of course, but one can imagine how far Frum’s jaw must have dropped when his soothsayings of doom were proven wrong before Dead Right–well reviewed by no less than Frank Rich–had even been remaindered.

Frum’s next book, somewhat apologetically titled What’s Right, included a foreshadowing of Frum’s recent dismissal of Sarah Palin and the flyover country folks with whom she connected with so quickly. In an essay on the not-then-completed 1996 primary campaign, Frum concluded,

Maybe we should be worrying less about the existence of elites and more about their quality, less about their excess of money and more about their deficiencies of public spirit. Maybe we should worry that American society’s primordial hostility to elites, its determination to force those elites to disguise themselves and deny their inevitable influence, nourishes their irresponsibility and stunts their sense of public obligation. Maybe we should accept as inevitable that those who care the most about politics can most effectively sway the political system, and should worry instead that this political elite itself is so easily swayed by charm and a home-state accent.

(Emphasis mine.)

What’s funny about this and Frum’s later calls to respect the authori-tay of the NYDC political class is how he again manages to ignore the actual facts on the ground while grinding his axe against the rubes down in Mayberry. Eight weeks ago, despite all the buffoonery of the spendthrift latter-day GOP congresses, the unpopularity of the sitting president, and a gale-force media wind at the back of his opponent, John McCain was not only leading in the polls, the wildly-popular Palin nomination had even erased the Democratic margin in the generic congressional ballot.

That all fell apart, of course, but not because the GOP went hard-over in pandering to the Bubbas, but rather thanks to two specific factors, one preventable, one not. First, McCain’s aides put Palin in a box and suicidally refused to let her out for anything other than what any idiot out here in the sticks could have told them were traps: two hostile, edited interviews with old media bigwigs anxious to discredit this dangerous (to the Democratic Party) new player at all costs. Then things got immeasurably worse in mid-September, when the combination of a financial crisis (with deliberate, but of course unreported Democratic malfeasance at its heart) and McCain’s own Senate-bred response killed any hope (no pun intended) of defeating The Messiah.

None of the above, you’ll note, would have been addressed by Frum’s call to repudiate the GOP base and move on to… well, something, perhaps a nice dinner party with some of Brooks’ “bobos,” where no one ever mentions all those grubby folks out there who don’t subscribe to the New Yorker. While there’s no excusing the incompetence of the McCain’s apparatus or the limitations of the candidate himself, it’s hard to imagine how McCain could have done much better than he did, given the economic crisis that stuck a knife in his electoral chances at the worst possible moment. No amount of pandering to the elites or “new class” hipsters would have prevented that.

One might even say that Frum is… dead wrong.

What HE Said

November 5, 2008

Ed Driscoll:

Barack Obama’s victory should once and for all finally break the notion that race is a barrier to any goal in the United States. And those who’ve built their power from anger and racial divisiveness, like Ayers, the Panthers, and Reverend Wright should now be mocked like the small men they are. It will be up to Obama as president to transcend the figures of his past–and it’s up to the rest of us as a nation to finally put them into the rearview mirror.

Just so.

The Day After

November 5, 2008

On The Day After, Jonah Goldberg’s column, “Now Govern,” is as good as a place as any to begin:

[N]ow the Democratic Party is for all practical purposes America’s super-majority party. It has complete control of the presidency and Congress. It’s time to put away childish things and govern.

If Democrats govern from the center, good for the country. If they govern from their instincts, good for the Republicans.

I strongly suspect we’re going to see Jonah’s Option Number Two out of a unified Democratic government. After effectively fourteen years out of power, I do not think this bunch can stop themselves from indulging their fundamental instincts, i.e., abandoning our allies in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, yanking up taxes, slashing defense spending, regulating anything that moves and subsidizing anything that doesn’t, trying to rig election and media laws to maintain their current majorities, and seizing and/or nationalizing 401(k) accounts.

The latter, should the Democrats actually be dumb enough to try it (it’s already being pushed by leftie academics and out-there Representative George Miller of, you guessed it, San Francisco), would be an instant Waterloo for Hope and Change, at least in Congress. That kind of lunacy would never pass in a million years, even with this congress, but simply trying it would make the 1994 backlash against Hillarycare look like a mild disagreement over restaurant reservations. Given Barack Obama’s history of having a tin ear to leftie radicalism and going along to get along with the Chicago machine, I think we can expect to see plenty of such nuttiness trotted out in the next 18 months.

Here’s another big red flag to watch out for. The price of oil has dropped by more than 50% since peaking on July 14. What happened on July 14? That was the day none other than George W. Bush lifted the federal ban on offshore drilling (what, you mean you never saw that connection noted in the press? Sur-prise, sur-prise, sur-prise). Bush’s action popped the oil price bubble, and it’s been in free-fall ever since. This, of course, will not do in the eyes of the Democratic Party, regardless of the damage expensive energy does to our economy or the benefits expensive oil bestows on the balance sheets of our enemies. Appeasing the “global warming” cultists is far more important, so look for the next Congress to re-instate the ban on Day One, and then watch as gas prices start leaping up towards $4 a gallon again.

Then sit back as The Savior and his media minions try and convince the rest of us it’s all for our own good. I’ll bring the popcorn for that one.

While I suspect Obama will be a disaster for this country, I confess to being rather relieved at not having to even pretend to defend a McCain Administration for four years. After championing “campaign finance reform,” mostly in a huff over being out-raised by George W. Bush in 2000, McCain richly deserved what happened to him, namely being crushed by a wave of private money while priggishly insisting on having the taxpayers foot the bill for his own campaign.

Obama’s fundraising was certainly not all on the up and up, but his campaign’s success should have the salutary effect of ending “public financing” as anything more than a goo-goo slogan in presidential politics. Whether it will also lead to the more realistic ideal of full disclosure, well, I’m not holding my breath. Anybody who thinks Obama’s no-rules credit card fundraising will be investigated by an Obama Justice Department or Obama appointees to the Federal Elections Commission is also welcome to stay up all night waiting for the Tooth Fairy, for all the good it will do them.

Back when McCain was pushing McCain-Feingold, he used to dismiss conservative opponents who brought up pro-Democratic media bias by asking, if the bias of his media friends against the GOP was so severe, how was Ronald Reagan ever elected? As McCain should have learned by now, the reason was that Reagan could buy airtime to go over the press’s heads, most notably in the 1980 election-eve special that ran on every broadcast network (sound familiar?).

McCain’s defeat now serves as an object lesson to future GOP nominees on not one but two fronts. First, 2008 has demonstrated conclusively that Big Media is not just biased, it is part and parcel of the other side. Five of the six networks with news divisions (counting taxpayer-funded PBS), along with virtually every major newspaper and all the news weeklies served as free opposition researchers and unofficial press offices for the Obama campaign. That’s all the next nominee needs to know about how to treat with all of those organizations: as hostile forces.

Secondly, and in no small part because no non-Democrat can count on the legacy media to accurately report on either a non-Democrat’s campaign or on their Democratic opponents, it’s very clear that future Republican nominees cannot afford McCain’s self-righteous posturing on taxpayer funding. As McCain’s campaign aptly demonstrated, if you do, you’re going to be buried by the combination of your opponent’s money and the media’s cheerleading for that opponent. Felicitously, this problem has a solution that appeals to conservatives and libertarians alike: just take responsibility for yourself and raise your own money. You’d better, because otherwise you might as well not bother running at all.

There was plenty wrong with McCain the candidate beyond not having enough money and having to campaign against the press and a financial meltdown (although it didn’t help any that the press obligingly failed to point out said meltdown was caused by deliberate policy actions of the Democratic Party). McCain has always been obsessed with his own biography and reputation, and like many a decorated politician before him, always seems amazed that it isn’t enough to win a national election.

McCain proved again why so few senators (and almost no long-serving senators) win the presidency. Having been in the legislative branch for so long, where he had the ability to pick and choose which issues to focus on and which to ignore, McCain was completely unable to define any kind of platform for his campaign beyond being a “maverick.” As Mark Steyn noted today, “maverick” is an attitude, not a philosophy. That stance won him points with the press when he was poking his own party and its base in the eye, but once electoral push came to shove, that same press corps left McCain out in the cold to mumble about minutiae and process. You almost felt sorry for the guy, but he only had himself to blame for not accepting the political facts of life. In addition, McCain was simply a bad campaigner who could not shake off half a lifetime of Senate “collegiality” reflexes to take a political fight to the other side, and worse, he lacks the personal discipline to stay on message for more than five or ten minutes.

While he almost certainly would have been better for the country than Obama will be, McCain probably would not have been an effective president, and very likely would have signed on to the media definition of “bipartisanship” (i.e., Republicans deferring to Democrats) on most issues, and he would have whined incessantly about being criticized for it. I can’t make myself shed any tears over McCain’s failure. To be blunt, I didn’t want either of these guys to become president, and the real shame is that both of them couldn’t lose.

It’s telling that the legacy media is still rushing to condemn the one big thing McCain did right as a candidate, which was naming Sarah Palin as his running mate. Despite the onslaught of fanatical anti-Palin invective that’s swept the airwaves and internet over the past two months, Palin shored up a conservative base that had little interest in voting for McCain beyond, “Well, he’d be better than the other guy.” Looking at the numbers today, it’s clear that Palin’s presence on the ticket played a major part in denying Obama the landslide-level victory that so many in the media were predicting 24 hours ago.

Which brings us to the Attack Of The Snobs.

Much of the revolt of the allegedly conservative NYDC pundits against Palin can be credited, I’m sorry to say, on little more than snobbery. The leading offenders are David Brooks, who’s spent the better part of the past two decades looking down his nose at the foibles of flyover country for the amusement of the Upper East Side, and George Will, who it ought to be remembered regularly dismissed one Ronald Wilson Reagan as an empty-headed rube as far back as the late ’70’s. Brooks and Will carry a lot of weight in the big media punditocracy, and their sniffy dismissal of Palin quickly became accepted wisdom in the Manhattan/DC media corridor, even while Palin was drawing record audiences both in person and on television.

This tremendous error, I strongly suspect caused by simple fatigue over having to defend an inarticulate Texan president against endless attacks in newsrooms, dinner parties, and various social situations (“Oh, no, I’m not going through that again”), is most likely going to backfire, and badly, on the legacy commentariat. I hesitate to join in declarations of Palin as “the next Reagan” (as Glenn noted, at Palin’s current age, even Reagan wasn’t Reagan yet), but like The Ron, Palin’s popularity and appeal to the country at large trumps any derision from The Better People Who Went To All The Right Schools by a vast margin. Pointing out that Palin in 2008 was not an exceptionally qualified candidate for vice president (even while her qualifications outstripped those of the current president-elect) was a reasonable criticism. Getting on a high horse about her being a hick from the sticks with too many kids and not even a whiff of Ivy League odeur most definitely was not, and the latter is not going to age well among the actual electorate.

Obama supporter Mickey Kaus noted after the veep debate, “Big loser, again, is Hillary. In two years Palin will be so much better she won’t even be in the same league.” I suspect that will also apply to Mitt Romney and probably any other Republican who’s imagining himself mugging for the cameras on a flag-encrusted stage 1460 days from now. The lone exception might be Bobby Jindal, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Jindal winds up playing second fiddle to Palin’s star power, just as Hillary got left behind by Obama. We’ll see, but at this remote date, a Palin-Jindal ticket looks like it’d have a hell of a lot of upside.

9:38 PM

November 4, 2008

That’s going to do it for me. Have to go to work tomorrow in anticipation of paying higher taxes in the very near future.

Steve is still going on PJM at this link, so click over for more drunken commentary.