Saturday, May 12, 2007

Dedicated to John McCain

Is this the McCain campaign theme song? OK - a little behind the news cycle, but still a great listen:

By the way, I've assembled a bunch of my favorite songs under my profile at YouTube - where you can also find a number of conservative and GOP video channels. Check it out.

And while we're at it, PopConservative points out that this is obviously the theme song for Kansas's own Sam Brownback:

Rudy's Comments at Houston Baptist

The Giuliani campaign has posted a video of his speech at Houston Baptist University. It's the one that contains his first comments on abortion since his team revealed that he was going to revise his approach to the issue. I have not watched it yet, but will at some point later:

Sloppy Presidential Campaigns


Ooops. Shades of Dan Quayle.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Houston, We Have a Problem

Giuliani took yet another bite at the abortion apple in Houston today, near the site of Kennedy's address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in which he famously declared that in no way would his behaviour as President be influenced by such trifles as his religion and, you know, personal moral principles.

Giuliani today inverted Kennedy's formulation: on contentious moral issues such as abortion, Giuliani averred, government should take no action at all, leaving the moral decisions to individuals. While Kennedy proposed that war and hunger were not issues on which moral people disagreed on the need for government policy and that religion had no distinctive role in the moral understanding of these issues, Giuliani has declared that in cases where people reach differing moral conclusions, government policy must instead be limited (although he was unclear how completely) in deference to the conflicting moral structures of the population.

This clarifies Giuliani's thinking somewhat (unfortunately but unsurprisingly, in this writer's view), but it is not going to be enough. Giuliani will now be called on to explain to what extent he believes goverment can restrict or manage abortion, since people have conflicting moral opinions on that as well. Having already conceded the right of the states to legislate on matters such as partial-birth abortion and parental notification, he's going to have to explain where the "personal" component he believes mandates state inaction ends. On the basis of the speech delivered, it would seem that Giuliani as President would actively oppose the efforts of any state legislature to ban elective abortion entirely, for instance, which is some distance from merely respecting differences of opinion and having a personally permissive attitude--despite his pro-forma personal opposition to the procedure.

He's also going to need to demonstrate a rational framework for deciding where and on what basis morality and legality intersect, so that voters can have a sense for where his greatest political assets--his commitment to law and order and his defence of institutions of authority--will actually be engaged on issues of concern to them.

This writer has the impression that when Giuliani says abortion is something "something so very, very personal," he means it is something, like homosexual rights, centrally involved in the stability of the post-war sexual settlement (social indifference to illegitimacy, divorce, cohabitation, etc.) in which Giuliani is personally deeply invested in spite of the clear linkages between that settlement, the steady disintegration of the traditional American family structure and the most pressing social pathologies of our time.

Intel Bill: Pork & Hypocrisy

Read it at the Standard.

Plan "B" on Iraq

Read it at the Standard.

Effective Congress Watch

Read it over at the Standard.


Bottled water drinkers are destroying the planet.

Giuliani's team is passing word that his makeover on abortion probably won't be quite as dramatic as it sounded in the New York Times. It is all as I have foreseen...

Does Romney use donations and giving as a political tool?

Hugh talks War on Terror with Angelina Jolie's dad.

Why do we mistrust immigration and trade?

Shock of shocks: the Dem Congress is no more popular than Bush.

Sperm donor sued
for child support.

DeMint and Sessions lay down immigration reform principles.

Get ready for another earmark fight in the Senate.

A fairly dense discussion on the House floor of earmark rules. The gist (which occurs around the 4:30 mark) is that the new earmark rules instituted by Democrats require that committee reports include a list that purports to be a list of all the earmarks in the bill. However, it does not need to be an actual list of all the earmarks.

Did someone say 'The Birds?'
famous movie scenes.

I really liked the Terminator, but I don't expect I'll want to see three more movies and a TV series.

Ace on Lileks.

Little-noticed: Rudy's donations to pro-family groups.

What has Rudy got against the ferrets?

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Will conservative Democrats vote with Republicans today on the House's version of the Iraq supplemental? It's a possibility - but it probably still means little. The Senate can't pass the House's two-month extension, so it even if it passes the House it's DOA in the Senate. Still, it would be a nice moral victory for the GOP to roll the majority.

Ace with a suggestion for the next Democratic debate. (Responding to this frightening item from John Edwards).

Mickey notes that David Brooks has picked up on a point I have made before: much as I love Ronald Reagan, we need to move past him.

Competing takes at the Spectator on Rudy's new stance on abortion. This one is closer to what I posted below. Welcome to Rudy, Mark II: jazz odyssey. Hope you enjoy the new direction.

Using the intel services to investigate climate change.

Jonathan Last on Spider Man 3 and George Lucas.

Is the Bush administration turning to September call-ups?

Democrats still learning how to run the House:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Giuliani to be Forthright on Abortion

Frankly, I welcome this news:

After months of conflicting signals on abortion, Rudolph W. Giuliani is planning to offer a forthright affirmation of his support for abortion rights in public forums, television appearances and interviews in the coming days, despite the potential for bad consequences among some conservative voters already wary of his views, aides said yesterday.

At the same time, Mr. Giuliani’s campaign — seeking to accomplish the unusual task of persuading Republicans to nominate an abortion rights supporter — is eyeing a path to the nomination that would try to de-emphasize the early states in which abortion opponents wield a great deal of influence. Instead they would focus on the so-called mega-primary of Feb. 5, in which voters in states like California, New York and New Jersey are likely to be more receptive to Mr. Giuliani’s social views than voters in Iowa and South Carolina.

That approach, they said, became more appealing after the Legislature in Florida, another state they said would be receptive to Mr. Giuliani, voted last week to move the primary forward to the end of January.

The shift in emphasis comes as the Giuliani campaign has struggled to deal with the fallout from the first Republican presidential candidate debate, in which he gave halting and apparently contradictory responses to questions about his support for abortion rights.

We've noted many times that Giuliani has been inconsistent and contradictory on abortion. Let's start off by saying that if this means he is going to clear the air about what he thinks, so much the better. His problems in speaking about the issue were undercutting his effectiveness as a campaigner in general.

We'll see how much changes substantively. I don't imagine the Mayor is going to suddenly announce an intent to impose a pro-Wade litmus test on Supreme Court nominees. Nor does it seem likely that he will backtrack too much on the Hyde amendment. This could all wind up much more about style than substance.

In many ways, Mayor Giuliani is the strongest candidate in the GOP field. It's clear that he has tried to moderate his positions to appeal to social conservatives, and it wasn't working all that well.

Let's see the real Rudy Giuliani and find out whether his views are all that bad.

WH: President Will Veto a Micro-Funding Bill

Read it at the Standard.

Pretty Funny

I'm told it's an oldie, but it's new to me. The sounds he makes are so crazy that it sounds almost staged:

Is Extremism in the Pursuit of Failure a Vice?

Read it at the Standard.


If a Republican made this error instead of Obama...

CNN poll shows public favors President's Iraq plan over that of the Democrats, and prefers a bill that has benchmarks and not a surrender date. But don't expect to read that on CNN.

Has John Murtha broken House ethics rules?

Is the conflict between public and private sector employees (and their unions) a defining one in modern politics? It is in France.

A strong field of challengers for Tim Walz.

The economics of the Godfather.

Senator Landrieu must be getting desperate about her re-eleciton prospects when she's making up legislation.

Watch Rudy's speech at Heritage.

Why Does AP Make Excuses for Obama in Its Lede?

Obama Overstates Kansas Tornado Deaths

The Associated Press
Tuesday, May 8, 2007; 11:33 PM

RICHMOND, Va. -- Barack Obama, caught up in the fervor of a campaign speech Tuesday, drastically overstated the Kansas tornadoes death toll, saying 10,000 had died. The death toll was 12.

Soft bigotry of low expectations? I do think that we'd have seen much more on this if any other leading candidate had so baldly and blandly misspoken on the matter of the life and death of thousands of Americans.

Benchmarks and Consequences

Read it at the Standard.

Giuliani's Abortion Problems

As others are noting, it doesn't really seem that the Mayor is being candid on abortion. In fact, in this interview with Laura Ingraham he pretty clearly implies that he did not agree with the initial Roe vs. Wade decision - a big concession for one who says he has no opinion on it now:

RG: ...and you'll understand this Laura. I would seek a judge who I believe is going to interpret the Constitution with intellectual honesty and try to determine what somebody else meant when they wrote things; what the framers meant, what the people who amended the Constitution meant or what Congress means at any particular time or the people...

LI: Right, but Mayor with all due respect you can't believe that the framers intended to write an implicit right to abort in our Constitution - you can't believe that?

RG: Nor do I think the framers wrote an exclusionary rule into our Constitution.. nor did the framers write in the Constitution that you should issue Miranda warnings...

LI: Well those are other issues...

RG: Now what has the Court done with those that - including...

LI: Well, make a lot of mistakes.

RG: What the Court has done is they've limited those decisions...

So he thought the initial decision was unfounded, but he has no opinion on it now? How likely is that?

And the Mayor says he hates abortion, but the Politico reports that he donated to Planned Parenthood multiple times. Is that probable?

If the Mayor wants to win the support of conservatives, it's critical that he come across as believable, sincere and trustworthy. These abortion answers aren't helping.

Note too that in the Ingraham interview, he continues to say that he doesn't agree with those who want to throw people in jail. It's my pet peeve...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

IP Tackles the Tough Ones

Just remember - the Influence Peddler is the first to bring you the answer to this question: what would World War II have looked like if Hitler had had giant, heavily-armed, amphibious robots (which apparently were capable of walking from Berlin to Pearl Harbor)?

If you want to see the ending, part II is here.

Will Harry Reid Jump Under the Bus?

Read it at the Standard.

Lowering Thompson's Expectations

John Mercurio and Amy Walter of Hotline TV examine Fred Thompson's 'disappointing' performance in his speech before the Orange County Republican club:

Disappointing though it may have been, I wonder if it doesn't help Fred a little that his potential supporters come back to earth a little. Thompson would have had to stage the second coming in order to satisfy the expectations of the GOP faithful. It might be better to have those hopes toned down just a little.


The Democrats are the consensus party; the GOP is the party of diverse views.

Make sure to read Philip Klein's piece on Giuliani's appearance yesterday at Heritage. It sounds like he's beginning to flesh out his thinking about how to fight 'the war of terrorists against us:'

...In hindsight, the so-called "peace dividend" of the 1990s was a big mistake, he said, and noted that even with the Bush defense buildup, the U.S. is only spending 4.1 percent of its GDP on defense, which compares to 6.2 percent during the height of the Reagan era. Giuliani called for a much larger military, an additional 10 combat brigades more than President Bush proposed...

In a proposal that is sure to be met with skepticism among non-interventionist conservatives, Giuliani called for establishing a "hybrid" military/civilian force that would deal with the nation building aspect of modern conflicts, saying one of the lessons from the Iraq War was that our military is trained for combat and we don't have a force to deal with redevelopment.

Should the US pay reparations for atrocities committed by the Japanese during their occupation of Guam?

Barack Obama is revealing himself more and more to be an old-line political liberal. And he really has very little understanding of economics. Why only pay $3 billion to retool plants? Why not give $20 billion so they can build great cars and sell them cheap, too.

Victor Matus on why Carmela reads Barnes.

A 'rival campaign' tips the Politico that Giuliani & spouse gave to Planned Parenthood at least 6 times during the 1990s.

Democrats move forward with largest tax increase in American history.

The coalition investigates and destroys an IED factory:

Feds Bust Plot to Attack Fort Dix

If history is any guide, Allah will do a great job of covering it here.

As of this writing, it's reported that the would-be attackers were (at least) inspired by watching Osama videos. They don't sound like the sharpest crayons in the box however:

The would-be attackers, ethnic Albanians who had been under surveillance by the FBI for months, practiced by shooting paintball guns and real weapons in a rural area of the Poconos, one source said. They also allegedly watched jihadist videos in which Osama bin Laden urged them toward martyrdom.

“They were prepared to die,” said the law enforcement source. “We became increasingly convinced this was for real and these guys were ready to roll.”…

The men - several of whom were in the same family - had videotaped their practice sessions in the Poconos, the source said. That videotape, in which they railed against America, led to their arrests.

The men made the mistake of bringing it to a retail store seeking to get a copy burned to a DVD, according to one of the sources. A store employee who later watched the tape called the FBI who began immediately investigating.

Sometimes you have to be amazed at the mistakes that people make.

Coolest Show Ever?

The other night I caught Man vs. Wild on the Discover channel. It features a former British SAS officer who is stranded somewhere in the wild and has to find his way to civilization. Contrived? Of course. But very cool. Check out this highlight reel - but don't watch if you're not prepared to see a guy eat a live snake and raw... zebra:

And it probably drives animal rights activists nuts. (Video highlights are here).

Monday, May 07, 2007

MKH on the Debate

A day late, but not a dollar short, Mary Katharine Ham and Katie Favazza assess the first GOP debate:

Amusing comments on McCain. Also, Favazza's comment that she has concerns with Giuliani's statements on social issues make me wonder: is this becoming a standard throw-away line among conservatives?

Let me preface by saying that I have concerns with Giuliani's stances on social issues. I have many friends who do as well. That said, it seems as if every conservative who professes support for the Mayor must first say, 'well, I have concerns about his views on abortion' or something similar. There's no specific person whose sincerity I doubt, but it's become so prevalent that I suspect some are no longer saying it because they believe it, but because its become de rigeur to say.

Perhaps Giuliani's conservative support is stronger than would seem to be the case?

Obama-Squatters and the Liberation of Value

As the Obama camp continues to sift through the media fallout of their decision to wrest control of the Barack Obama myspace site from its founder, Joe Anthony, I was reminded of the insights of Hernando de Soto’s study of the differences between capital-accumulating cultures and the rest of the world, The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else

De Soto’s thesis, well-advanced, is that a major distinction between successful, capital-accumulating societies and the rest of the world is the body of processes capital-accumulating societies have to recognize and record the creation of value, regardless of the legal framework in which the value is created. The classic example to which de Soto returns throughout his book is the status of squatters during the settlement of the American West. While the Homestead Act resolved most of the confrontations, the right of squatters to fair compensation for improvements made upon non-legally possessed property upon their eviction in favour of legal tenants was a crucial facilitator to the settlement and development of all the wealth-creating potential of the United States from the earliest colonial settlements down to the current day.

While the right of legal titleholders to the land is ultimately defended in the U.S., the rights of squatters to compensation for improvements allowed the value the squatters created to be recognized and liberated to serve as collateral for further investments and improvements, creating a virtuous cycle of settlement, improvement and development which allowed the U.S. to bootstrap itself successfully, with the initial foreign investment primarily from Great Britain, into a major industrial power within 100 years, in contrast to the many other, failed colonial or neocolonial investment schemes undertaken by the British at the same time in other parts of the world—most notably in Latin America and Africa.

What the Obama campaign has done, instead, is to strand the social capital created by Mr. Anthony’s efforts, resulting in the necessity of recreating the friend list and creating a completely unnecessary media distraction which undermines Obama’s efforts to portray himself as the champion of the little guy and advocate for the efforts of grassroots social activism. For $39,000, all of this could have been avoided, leading one to question whether Obama’s campaign truly understands either economics or public relations.

Dems Split on Iraq; Heading for a Showdown?

Read it at the Standard.


Read up on the Milbloggers conference.

Zawahiri explains how Al Qaeda is failing.

Rob covers the Top Ten ways Nancy Pelosi can change the House. It's a good list.

Allah finds a video of 9/11 truthers.

John Fund offers a very good profile of Sarkozy. Daniel Drezner is not overly optimistic. Fausta has good commentary as well.

How little respect does Bush get from the press? Jules notes one story.

Flying through a thunderstorm in Iraq - scary and cool, with pilot's naration. It's nine minutes long, but definitely worth watching:

From the Onion: do you remember life before the Segway?

In The Know: Do You Remember Life Before The Segway?

Scientists convinced man can see the future.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Awkward Car Pool

Something light for a Sunday night. I don't see too much of Saturday Night Live, but thought this was pretty funny:

Alec Baldwin and Kristin Wiig do a great job in this one.

Regime Change, French Style

Remember the attention the media gave to the defeats of Bush allies Jose Maria Aznar in Spain and Silvio Berlusconi in Italy?

Well, do you think anyone notice that Britain, Germany and now France are ruled by leaders who want closer ties with America/George Bush, and/or who back Bush on Iraq? Will that get the attention that the defeats of Berlusconi and Aznar got?

Are you expecting a spate of 'Europe turns to Bush' stories?

Update: Looks like I was beaten to the story, anyway.

Nuclear Power Making a Comeback

The TVA's Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant is coming back online:

All signs from regulators and operators point to a startup within days of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Unit 1 reactor at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Ala., culminating a five-year, $1.8 billion restoration.

Mothballed since 1985, TVA's oldest reactor was the scene of a major fire sparked by a candle three decades ago. It has been reborn as a modern 1,200-megawatt atomic generator capable of lighting 650,000 homes.

The reactor is the last of three Browns Ferry units designed in the 1960s, run in the 1970s, idled in the 1980s, and revived since the 1990s. It will be this country's first "new" nuclear generator of the 21st century -- the 104th active commercial reactor.

Though no one has applied to build a new nuclear plant in the United States since the 1970s, several are now being planned.

It will be interesting to see to what degree nuclear power will be embraced by the environmental community, and whether it will lead to nuclear power advocacy among leaders in both parties.

Headline of the Day

Clemens to the Yanks. Wang, Clemens, Pettitte, Mussina -- there's a top 4 that can get you to the playoffs.

Second biggest headline of the day: Sarkozy wins the French presidency.

Meet the New Dem Power Brokers

The NYT looks at the anti-war coalition which has forced the Congressional Democratic leadership into ever more dramatic anti-war stances. It is they who pushed for the date-certain for withdrawal, and are now pushing against a full-funding measure with benchmarks:

Every morning, representatives from a cluster of antiwar groups gather for a conference call with Democratic leadership staff members in the House and the Senate.

Shortly after, in a cramped meeting room here, they convene for a call with organizers across the country. They hash out plans for rallies. They sketch out talking points for “rapid response” news conferences. They discuss polls they have conducted in several dozen crucial Congressional districts and states across the country.

Over the last four months, the Iraq deliberations in Congress have lurched from a purely symbolic resolution rebuking the president’s strategy to timetables for the withdrawal of American troops. Behind the scenes, an elaborate political operation, organized by a coalition of antiwar groups and fine-tuned to wrestle members of Congress into place one by one, has helped nudge the debate forward.

On Iraq at least, it seems that Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid have largely subsumed their leadership to this council. From their stance after election day - where they wanted at all costs to do nothing to take responsibility for what happened in Iraq - they have been pushed to ever more novel ways to end the war. And if they could do it without cutting off funds for the troops, it would have happened long ago.

It's this coalition that's responsible for the lack of progress on energy and a host of other issues that the Democrats wanted to address.