Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Note

The inmates have taken over the asylum.

A Note

I'm traveling today, so blogging will be light. There ought to be several posts from me over at the Standard during the day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Scoring the Debate

Read it at the Standard.


Will GOP opposition to fiscal reform lead to a new second party?

Greenpeace is building an ark
on Mount Ararat. What?

A former Nebraska Congressman considers a primary challenge to Senator Hagel -- if he decides to run for re-election.

Hoyer brings in a highly-paid lobbyist who made headlines for too-friendly loans to Members of Congress, to run his shop.

Michael Turk looks at the RedState/Calvert imbroglio, and argues that the Lefty blogosphere is ahead of the conservative blogosphere and is misusing its influence.

MSNBC uses a spoof site to try to embarrass the White House.

Michelle looks at a grisly crime the major media won't touch. The details are horrific.

Chavez is increasing his nation's dependence on the US.

Congressman Ryan on the Democratic budget.

The Senate defeats an amendment to assess the impact on climate change of pork-barrel projects. Guess we have to keep our priorities straight.

US forces closing in on AQ in the triangle.

Stossel notes that 'all governments find a use for as much money as they can raise.' Good line.

How can the Democrats be facing 'a tough Iraq vote?'

Ron Paul: the Republican Kucinich.

ABC releases the first clip of the 'Cavemen' series. It doesn't look good.

A surprising abortion poll.

The New Horizons probe flies by Jupiter and captures a video of a volcano erupting on Io. It's worth looking at.

The GOP candidates talk abortion, and Giuliani dodges a bullet:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Moment of the Night

The Giuliani camp is fast. Here's the moment that made Giuliani the winner:

Here's the key: going into the debate it was expected that Giuliani would have the hardest time, given the attention to his 'shift to candor' on abortion. The other candidates would be ready to press him hard and expose contradictions. But that didn't happen; Giuliani stuck with more general formulations on abortion - asserting his pro-choice view while promising to try to reduce abortions and promote adoptions - and didn't trip up. Further, he saw an opportunity to slam Ron Paul and burnish his terror-fighting credentials, and he took it. This was the most memorable moment of the night.

Avoided the negative that was expected; created a positive where there was none. He's the winner.

Live Blogging the GOP Debate -- Giuliani Wins

Live from SC -- how nice that you can be the first state to secede, but still host the first presidential debates.

Iraq: The Maliki government keeps failing to meet deadlines. Why keep fighting?

McCain - he's a little blinky, but he's right about the fact that AQ will follow us home. It's in our national interest. Strong answer.

To Giuliani: is your commitment to win limitless? He cites Fort Dix to demonstrate that AQ will strike us at home if we leave them in Iraq -- but he does point out that this cell was not directed by Al Qaeda. We must not show weakness, he says. Strong answer.

Hunter: he says that the Iraqi troops are doing much better and can be rotated onto the battlefield to replace US troops. I don't know if I agree that chairing the Armed Services Committee prepares you to be Commander in Chief.

Iran question for Gilmore, from the internet. He says we need a united international approach. The American people must agree that Iran cannot have nuclear weapons. It may call for a tough decision.

How many candidates are there?

Romey says Washington is broken. We need leadership to reform the government. Sounds good. We need benchmarks in Washington. Sounds a little like Al Gore's 'Reinventing Government,' though.

McCain on why we must make the tax cuts permanent, and why we need to rein in spending. Tweaks the drunken sailor line... it's getting old.

For Huckabee on the AMT: enact a Fair Tax and put the IRS out of business. What's a fair tax? Is that a national sales tax? Apparently not, because it helps those at the bottom... Congress spends money like John Edwards in a beauty shop... funny, but people will accuse him of being a homophobe.

To Giuliani on the line item veto: why did NYC spending go up so much. Giuliani trots out the Gold Card: the Club for Growth seal of approval. And he did it in NYC. Not sure if Goler has his facts right, but this was in Giuliani's wheelhouse. Wants to attrit the federal civilian workforce by 50 percent.

Brownback plugs biofuels... yech. Plugs ANWR and conservation. We can do better. Wants to be 'Energy Secure.' I'll drink to that.

Thompson: name 3 federal programs you would cut. Thompson talks about all his vetoes as WI Governor, and the tax cuts. Wants agencies to prepare two draft budgets - one at 95% of current year, one at 100%. I only need the first one.

Ron Paul lists 3 Departments he'd eliminate. Makes Thompson's answer look weak.

Going to reduce the frequency of posts now...

Gilmore attacks candidates for not being real conservatives - but he won't name names. I don't expect to go to his website tomorrow to check. He should have said his piece tonight.

Hunter wants to give tax advantages to US companies. But they're illegal under WTO rules, so there will be penalties on US exports... doesn't sound all that great to me.

Grab a beer and come back to Chris Wallace...

Wallace asks Gilmore why he says that Romney, McCain and Giuliani are not real conservatives. Sounds like he flubbed his line on Giuliani though. And Wallace calls him on not naming names. Gilmore looks silly; why not mention them? So he does - attacking Romney, Giuliani, and Huckabee.

Giuliani takes it lightheartedly - good response. And he shifts to an attack on Hillary. Nice move. He wants to unite Republicans - effective.

But Wallace TOTALLY nails him - making him answer about being pro-choice and supporting Cuomo. Giuliani goes back to the George Will endorsement. His statement on abortion is pretty good - pro-choice, but I want to reduce abortions.

McCain-Feingold, stem cells, other issues - you haven't been all that conservative. Good line on 'blood relatives and paid staffers.' We need to act in bipartisan manner -- save it for the general. Turns to 'radical Islamic extremism.'

Huckabee with a good line about not getting attention when Gilmore attacks him. He says he got 94 tax cuts enacted - good for him.

Wallace goes after Romney as well. He supported the assault weapon ban... and talks about blue and black suits... says that he was as conservative as he could be in Massachusetts... Eh - ok

Brownback... gets dinged.

Goler gets specific to Thompson on stem cells. He says that they invented stem cells in Wisconsin. I thought only cheese was invented in WI. Oh wait - he says amniotic fluid was invented in Wisconsin as well. Take that Minnesota!

Giuliani on abortion - he sounds tremendously better when he speaks in generalities only. Much less space to trip up.

Huckabee... meanders. Something about how Islamic terrorists don't look for lost hikers.

Goler gives Brownback a 'Kitty Dukakis' question - about what he'd tell a rape victim who did not want to carry the child to term. Brownback gives a simple response - regardless of anything else, if the fetus is a child, then that child has done nothing wrong and deserves protection.

Wallace on immigration. He invites Tancredo to attack McCain, Giuliani and others. Tancredo slams McCain. Amusing line about conversions and the road to Des Moines. Thanks folks, I'll be here all week.

McCain says he would never support amnesty and he backs a bipartisan approach. He cleaves to Bush... not a great answer. But he turns it back to Islamic terrorists.

Wallace - have you pulled back from the immigration debate because it's bad politics? McCain says he's knee deep in it. And he will lead for results. The Senate better have a good bill...

Romney endorses the plan that Mickey Kaus hates - doesn't he? He attacks McCain-Kennedy. He says no special treatment for those here illegally. Sounds like he's flip-flopped though.

McCain doesn't like too much money in politics. He says he doesn't trim his sails for politics.

Giuliani liked illegal immigrants when he was Mayor. He thanks Tancredo for calling him soft -- good line. Giuliani wants a database... yech. He says he knows more about security than anyone on the stage. He wants a fence, a tamper-proof ID, and a way for 'people' to get into the database.

Hunter BUILT the border fence. He makes a big point of it. Did he really BUILD IT, or did he build it like Al Gore invented the internet? He loses me on the rest of the answer.

Ron Paul gives a terrible answer - about how the GOP is the party of ending wars. He wants us to be friends with people... Goler gives him a tough time about blaming the US for bringing on the attack.

10:05 Giuliani jumps in and b****slaps Paul - and says his explanation of 911 is absurd. He gets in Paul's face, and tells him to recant. Paul is thrown off balance. Giuliani took advantage of a nice opening and created a moment that will lead the highlights. He wins the debate.

Confederate flag... global warming... chewing up the clock.

Torturing terrorists at Gitmo? McCain 'would take responsibility.' He wpuld never use torture. It's about what kind of country we are.

Giuliani endorses 'every method they could think of' short of torture.

Romney rejects the Kobayashi Maru scenario. He wants to prevent the attacks. We can't close Gitmo. He won't use torture either - only enhanced interrogation techniques.

UN? Hell no! We're attacking whoever we need to attack. So say Brownback and Thompson - and Hunter. But he WOULD use torture. McCain opposes torture because then the bad guys would do nasty things to our servicemen and women. Glad we're avoiding that.

Gilmore chaired a commission... so he's all set to deal with 911. Huckabee is, too. His face is so boyish though...

Tancredo wants to call in Jack Bauer... good line

And it's a wrap...

President Thompson Answers Michael Moore

Anyone who can do this will fare just fine in GOP debates:

Background is here.

Important to note that this is far from the good-natured response Reagan would have had, of course...

Politics in New York

So my friend bought some 'political glasses' in New York, featuring some of the heroes of each party. Take a look at the Democrat glass below, and you'll see some well-known faces: FDR, Bobby Kennedy, JFK, Bill Clinton and Harry Truman -- as well as others like Barack Obama, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter and Eleanor Roosevelt. A genuine stable of Democratic heroes.

But then you look at the GOP glass, and what conservative heroes are depicted? John Ashcroft, Newt Gingrich, Katherine Harris, Joe McCarthy, Tom DeLay, Strom Thurmond, Trent Lott, Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew...

Then I realized: she bought it in New York City. What did I expect?

Jerry Falwell, RIP

While certainly a fallible man, Rev. Falwell merits respect from all conservatives for his dogged willingness to cling to his convictions and stand athwart Progressive Liberalism shouting "Stop!" This writer extends his condolences to Rev. Falwell's congregants, the students and faculty of Liberty University, and all those who found a path towards truth in Falwell's defence of Christianity and traditional Christian morality.

An irony no doubt appreciated by Rev. Falwell was that his meteoric rise to prominence in the late 1970's was as much the result of the mainstream media seeking a public face to embody the populist resistance to the midcentury cultural revolution in social and especially sexual norms as it was due to Falwell's own success in presenting his traditionalist message through his Old Time Gospel Hour.

While Falwell became the public face of politically active Evangelical Christianity in the first few years after the movement finally reached the critical mass to force the mainstream media to notice, the long prehistory of Evangelical activism prior to the launch of Christian Voice and the Moral Majority in the late 1970's remains poorly understood by most. The caricatures of the agitprop play Inherit the Wind are the extent of most people's education on the issues involved in the collision of Progressivism, which became the official ideology/religion of the American ruling class of the 20th century, with the varied forms of American Christianity, most dramatically in the South.

While Falwell often implied that the Moral Majority grew in a few short years into a national clearinghouse of traditionalist activism, in fact the majority of his support remained regional and confessional, operating predominantly in the Southern communities with politically active Baptist churches. What catapulted Falwell to national attention more than anything was his fortunate ability to goad champions of bien-pensant progressivism or modernism into personal denunciations, which gave him media credibility far out of proportion to the actual organisational strength of the Moral Majority.

While tracing the complete trajectory of the Progressive movement from its post-Unitarian, transcendentalist origins in New England through its triumphant march, led by such men as Woodrow Wilson and John Dewey, through the institutions of culture in the bloody first half of the 20th century, to its nihilist exhaustion in cultural revolution in the 1960's, is beyond the scope of this essay, a brief tour of its great mid-century triumphs is necessary to appreciate Rev. Falwell's position in the media's estimation in the late 1970's and early 1980's.

Progressivism did not set out to make an enemy of Evangelicals. Indeed, they were long-time allies on many issues in American politics, two of the main pillars of the Democratic Party throughout the second half of the 19th century. Prohibition, it must be remembered, marked the last great accomplishment of the alliance of Progressivism and Evangelicalism. As Social Gospel thinking became predominant among mainline Protestant denominations at the beginning of the 20th century, though, the main currents of Progressivism fell out of dialogue with Evangelicalism, satisfying itself with the more like-minded religious allies it has maintained to the current day in such activities as the World Council of Churches and Call to Renewal.

The great drama of the breach between fundamentalist Evangelicalism and Progressivism was played out throughout the first half of the century, in such episodes as the Scopes Trial, the propaganda campaigns of Progressive writers such as Sinclair Lewis and H.L. Mencken, and the apparent triumph of the Progressives in the face of the crisis of the Great Depression. The thorough institutionalisation of the Progressive, technocratic style of governance brought about by the New Deal ultimately entailed the rationalisation of all aspects of public society, including education. The initial response of most Evangelical communities was introspection and advocacy of Christian withdrawal from the corruptions of the worldly, coupled with a proportionate alienation from the increasingly secularist mainstream organs of culture.

As the Progressive spirit matured into the received wisdom of the American ruling elites and into a majority on the Supreme Court at the end of the Roosevelt era and beginning of the Truman administration, though, the series of Supreme Court decisions which precipitated the complete rupture of the Evangelical-Progressive alliance drew increasing attention within Evangelical circles to the gap between the Evangelical worldview and the one which increasingly dominated American culture, politics, and the increasingly imperial judiciary.

Beginning with Everson v. Board of Education (1947) and McCollum v. Board of Education (1948), the Supreme Court embarked upon a series of decisions redefining the traditional relationship between religion and government throughout the United States. The flashpoint of most of the early Court rulings were educational questions, and while the Evangelicals resented the summary dictates of a distant body on these questions, the traditional Baptist suspicion of government involvement in questions of conscience moderated the Evangelical reaction.

When the Supreme Court moved beyond education into matters actively destructive of traditional public standards of morality, though, in such decisions as Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) and Roe v. Wade (1973), the Evangelicals were finally goaded into political action.

This long-simmering resentment and sense of betrayal of the populist alliance between Progressives and Evangelicals figure largely in the energy and urgency with which Evangelicals reentered the political arena in the 1970's. The spectacle of their reemergence after nearly a half-century of quiescence increased the media interest in their causes, and Rev. Falwell, for better or worse, found himself the spokesman best able and most willing to attempt to frame the political concerns of Evangelicals for a media audience almost completely ignorant of the community.

Democrats Look to Beijing Model

Denver will have all the homeless off the streets during the 2008 Democratic convention, and back on the streets again afterward:

Denver plans to clear downtown streets of the homeless during the Democratic National Convention here in 2008.

The city will open an emergency shelter normally used during winter deep freezes, and keep other shelters in the city open 24 hours during the August gathering. In addition, an army of outreach workers will fan out across downtown to persuade the homeless to come inside during the convention.

"Shelters will be open the entire time to make certain everyone can go inside and that the outreach folks have a place to take any person from the streets," said Roxane White, Denver's manager of human services.

White said the effort is motivated by security concerns and is not just an effort to spruce up Denver's image at a time when the city will be under a media spotlight.

You'd think the Democrats would avoid comparisons to Beijing's Olympic planning.


Club for Growth LOVES Giuliani's record on fiscal issues in New York.

Barone points to an E-mail from an Urban Institute expert that suggests that 'soaking the rich' doesn't produce much.

Declaring war on the House GOP. It's garnering attention in lots of places.

Lowry suggests that Rudy's new tone on abortion is less than meets the eye. Conventional wisdom tells us he'll be forced to talk about it a lot at the GOP debate tonight. Can you handle a GOP debate without Chris Matthews?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Any Colour--As Long As It's Black

Consider the following exchange from ABC's Sunday talkfest (the one hosted by the diminutive Clinton operative, not the one hosted by the Cuomo operative), courtesy of Hotline On Call:

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've also said that with Social Security, everything should be on the table.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Raising the retirement age?

OBAMA: Everything should be on the table.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Raising payroll taxes?

OBAMA: Everything should be on the table. I think we should approach it the same way Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan did back in 1983. They came together. I don't want to lay out my preferences beforehand, but what I know is that Social Security is solvable. It is not as difficult a problem as we're going to have with Medicaid and Medicare.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Partial privatization?

OBAMA: Privatization is not something that I would consider, and the reason is this: Social Security, I think, is -- that's the floor. That's the baseline. Social Security is that safety net that can't be frayed, and we shouldn't put at risk.

The posture of complete open-mindedness endures approximately 10 seconds, until a fundamental challenge to a liberal institution is contemplated. This really tells the tale of Obama's--and most other liberals'--invitation of non-liberals to "dialogue." We can discuss anything as long as no substantive challenge to the liberal worldview is even entertained.

This is like being invited to dialogue with Henry Ford about the colour of one's Model T.

Hagel Inches towards the Exit Sign

Hagel says it might be time for an independent candidate

Gee, I wonder if he has anyone special in mind.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Tribute to Communism