Saturday, June 02, 2007

Terror Plot Busted at JFK

Allah has the story.

Red Sox Fans... Stink

OK. If David Ortiz were in the same position, and these were the fans at Yankee Stadium, I would think this was pretty funny.

At least the Yankees won one.

Environmentalists Exposed

I've long felt that many in the environmental movement are motivated not so much by a desire for a clean environment, as a desire to control the lives of others. There's nothing novel in the theory; I'm sure there must be a good book by some free-market proponent somewhere. (suggestions?)

Anyway, it seems to me that many environmentalists are guilty that humans are the dominant species on the planet, and are determined to do everything in their power to ensure that we have as small a 'footprint' on the globe as possible. How else to interpret the opposition of some environmentalists to the move by a region of 600,000 people to establish the first large community whose sole sources of power are renewable and non-polluting?

There are 1,100 windmills in this region of just over 10,000sq km (6,000sq miles). More than 55 per cent of the region’s electricity comes from wind power alone.

Navarre is also developing other technologies. It has built several photovoltaic solar farms, which turn sunlight into electricity, has a biomass plant that generates power from straw, and has “solar thermal” plants that use the sun to heat water and to drive a generator.

The region has mini hydro-electric plants that make use of rivers, and “co-generation” plants to recover energy from industrial sites that would otherwise be wasted. And it has a biofuels plant that transforms vegetable oils into diesel, with motorway service stations being built to sell it.

Some environmentalists worry that the presence of so many windmills is spoiling the landscape and killing birds. “What they are doing is absolutely unsustainable and completely illegal,” says Antonio Munilla, of Gurelur, an environmental group. “We have taken this matter before the Congress and European Union.” Other environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, strongly support the experiment.

The first thing that you think of is the hypocrisy of Ted Kennedy at the proposed windmills off Cape Cod.

There is nothing that humanity can do to stop affecting the rest of the global ecosystem in some way. We consume energy; we require nourishment; we take up space. So do all other species. When environmentalists make demands that are ether mutually exclusive or flat out impossible, they reveal that their goal is not to minimize human interference with the natural world, it's something greater than that. Too many would prefer that man take his place alongside the other primates, and exist as if we weren't cursed with big brains and opposable thumbs. Those of that value those things shouldn't fall for it.

Giuliani v. Thompson?

With the anticipated entry of Fred Thompson into the presidential race quite soon, it looks like it ought to become a very interesting race. As I've said before, I suspect that Thompson will crowd out much of the field on the right -- reducing it to largely a two-man race with the Mayor. In his typically interesting Saturday column, Novak notes that Giuliani is getting important help from the New Jersey GOP:

WASHINGTON -- Supporters of Rudy Giuliani for president are changing New Jersey's longtime proportional representation rules for allocating national convention delegates to winner-take-all, seeking a coup to give the former New York City mayor the lion's share of the state's 52 votes.

A June 14 meeting of New Jersey's Republican State Central Committee is expected to adopt a Feb. 5 presidential primary procedure giving the first-place finisher all three delegates in each of the state's 13 House districts, and the statewide leader all 13 at-large delegates. In the past, delegates were divided among candidates according to their share of the vote (as in 1980, when Ronald Reagan and George Bush split New Jersey).

Giuliani's Jersey coup is engineered by his liberal supporters in the state allied with David Von Savage, conservative Republican chairman of Cape May County (also backing him for president).

Thompson meanwhile, is bringing on board Larry Lindsey -- who engineered George Bush's economic platform in the year 2000 -- which earned high praise from supply-siders and fiscal conservatives:

Lawrence Lindsey, George W. Bush's issues adviser in the 1999-2000 run-up to his presidential candidacy, is poised to play a similar role in Fred Thompson's imminent campaign.

A former Harvard economics professor and Federal Reserve governor, Lindsey was National Economics Council director in the Bush administration's first two years. He was fired following the 2002 elections after accurately predicting the cost of the Iraq war.

A footnote: Longtime Washington power broker Tom Korologos, who completed his service as U.S. ambassador to Belgium in February, is also expected to join Thompson's campaign.

Read the rest of the column for Democratic delays on Bush's nominations, and possible retirements in the House GOP.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Time for a New Cold War?

Read it at the Standard.

Ham Nation: Britney Spears Talks Immigration

Mary Katharine does great work.

GOP Looking to More Black Candidates

The Politico reports that the Republicans are looking to build on recent efforts under President Bush to expand outreach to African Americans. Notably, they will try to run more black candidates in 2008:

The two new GOP candidates reflect the grass-roots level of experience and activism Steele is talking about. Kentucky lawyer Erwin Roberts worked his way up through state government, serving in Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s administration. In South Florida, Army Lt. Col. Allen West has spent his career in the military, serving in Iraq and now as an independent contractor to Afghan forces in Afghanistan.

Their candidacies come under the backdrop of a 2006 cycle where former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman made a concerted but unsuccessful effort to recruit black candidates to federal and state offices. Steele lost his bid for the Senate in Maryland, and Ohio’s Ken Blackwell and Pennsylvania’s Lynn Swann lost their gubernatorial bids by double-digits...

Swann, the former Pittsburgh Steelers star, also is considering a comeback against Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.).

This comes at an interesting time (for me anyway), since I've been talking to Dr. Tasha Philpot about her recent book "Race, Republicans and the Return of the Party of Lincoln." I expect to write more on the topic (probably over at the Standard), but Dr. Philpot's work has some interesting implications for the GOP and Republican candidates in general. In particular, it suggests that the party pursue more candidates like Lt. Col. West.

Tracking Earmarks is Nice -- But What About Phonemarks?

Read it at the Standard.


Check out the photos of ManhattanHenge. (Hat Tip: Shawn Macomber)

Rich Galen writes that Democrats must realize that by virtue of being President, Bush remains in a strong position.

Jane Galt notes that contrary to the perceptions of some liberal commentators, the long-term prospects for Social Security are not getting any better. The system will go bankrupt around 2040. Far more importantly, revenues will begin flowing out of the Trust Fund around 2017.

Why is this more important? Because federal spending has long been boosted by the availability of surplus Social Security revenues. In about a decade, the flow of revenues will need to go the other way. Our income taxes will begin to supplement Social Security benefits. Before long, the US will be transferring hundreds of billions of dollars annually from general revenue to pay Social Security benefits. This will force us to address a very difficult political question: is that a wise policy?

Amusing Google street view sightings.

Mary Katharine Ham transcribes a solicitation call from the RNC. The result is not a happy one.

Is it war on the Bush Administration?

Nancy Pelosi stands firmly against cooperation with our European allies. Why? Because allowing people to purchase what they want to at market prices isn't fair, apparently.

Senator DeMint on the problems with amnesty.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Noted With Interest

Disappointment over on the Left at the poor recruitment of the DSCC for targeted Senate races in 2008. Read it particularly for commentary like this:

Al Franken's entry into the race, along with his strong fundraising, appears to have scared off other Democrats from challenging highly vulnerable Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. However, as much as many of us might like Al, there are reasons to be worried about this. Polling has consistently shown Coleman hovering either just above or just below 50%. At the same time, it has also shown a fairly name recognition for Al Franken, who trails Coleman by 10-20%, depending on the poll. More worrisome are Franken's favorable numbers, which are actually slightly negative according to both Rasmussen and the Mason-Dixon. That is not a formula for making up ground on a right-wing Senator in a bluish state would is very beatable. If Franken's favorables remain in negative territory, there is no way he can win this race.

Hee, hee!

CNN: "The Democrats Promised Reform, and It's Not Happening"

Read it at the Standard.


Just wow.

Hat Tip: Allah

Want Successful Kids? Stay Married.

The Economist has a fascinating story on the economic and cultural gaps between those we might call the 'life-long married' and the rest of America. Based on research from a number of different organizations, it seems that the best educated and most prosperous Americans tend to marry for life, and are better at passing on the tools for success to their children. Single parents, separated parents, and those who move from one relationship to another are at a great disadvantage in trying to pass on to their kids the values and habits that will help them succeed:

There is a widening gulf between how the best- and least-educated Americans approach marriage and child-rearing. Among the elite (excluding film stars), the nuclear family is holding up quite well. Only 4% of the children of mothers with college degrees are born out of wedlock. And the divorce rate among college-educated women has plummeted. Of those who first tied the knot between 1975 and 1979, 29% were divorced within ten years. Among those who first married between 1990 and 1994, only 16.5% were.

At the bottom of the education scale, the picture is reversed. Among high-school dropouts, the divorce rate rose from 38% for those who first married in 1975-79 to 46% for those who first married in 1990-94. Among those with a high school diploma but no college, it rose from 35% to 38%. And these figures are only part of the story. Many mothers avoid divorce by never marrying in the first place. The out-of-wedlock birth rate among women who drop out of high school is 15%. Among African-Americans, it is a staggering 67%.

Does this matter? Kay Hymowitz of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank, says it does. In her book “Marriage and Caste in America”, she argues that the “marriage gap” is the chief source of the country's notorious and widening inequality. Middle-class kids growing up with two biological parents are “socialised for success”. They do better in school, get better jobs and go on to create intact families of their own. Children of single parents or broken families do worse in school, get worse jobs and go on to have children out of wedlock. This makes it more likely that those born near the top or the bottom will stay where they started. America, argues Ms Hymowitz, is turning into “a nation of separate and unequal families”.

The Economist piece further notes that according to the National Marriage Project, marriage itself is a 'wealth-generating institution.' That is, those who marry wind up -- on the average -- four times wealthier than those who do not. It also addresses the seemingly counter-intuitive finding that couples who live together before marriage tend to divorce at a higher rate than those who do not.

I find this piece fascinating, and encourage you to take 10-15 minutes to read the whole thing. It's very reminiscent of the late Pat Moynihan's report on illegitimacy in the African American community, in its linkage between a strong two-parent family and ultimate economic success.

For those of us in Washington, the possible policy responses to the problems of broken marriages seem limited. The Economist makes clear that this is not due to the tax code, but is traced to broad changes in American culture -- ultimately finding its roots in the sexual revolution. The piece suggests that there may be one program created by President Bush that represents a step in the right direction:

Since last year, his administration has been handing out grants to promote healthy marriages. This is a less preachy enterprise than you might expect. Sidonie Squier, the bureaucrat in charge, does not argue that divorce is wrong: “If you're being abused, you should get out.” Nor does she think the government should take a view on whether people should have pre-marital sex.

Her budget for boosting marriage is tiny: $100m a year, or about what the Defence Department spends every two hours. Some of it funds research into what makes a relationship work well and whether outsiders can help. Most of the rest goes to groups that try to help couples get along better, some of which are religiously-inspired. The first 124 grants were disbursed only last September, so it is too early to say whether any of this will work. But certain approaches look hopeful.

Given the evident link between strong marriages and future prosperity, perhaps this is the sort of issue worthy of a national debate -- particularly as we head into a presidential election year. In 1992 Bill Clinton implicitly embraced the findings of the Moynihan report when he called for an end to welfare as we know it. Is there a candidate in the current field who's willing to tackle the larger but related problem of the devaluation of marriage?

Kerry's Doubts About Edwards

This was previewed some days ago:

Kerry talked with several potential picks, including Gephardt and Edwards. He was comfortable after his conversations with Gephardt, but even queasier about Edwards after they met. Edwards had told Kerry he was going to share a story with him that he'd never told anyone else—that after his son Wade had been killed, he climbed onto the slab at the funeral home, laid there and hugged his body, and promised that he'd do all he could to make life better for people, to live up to Wade's ideals of service. Kerry was stunned, not moved, because, as he told me later, Edwards had recounted the same exact story to him, almost in the exact same words, a year or two before—and with the same preface, that he'd never shared the memory with anyone else. Kerry said he found it chilling, and he decided he couldn't pick Edwards unless he met with him again.

Certainly Edwards would dispute this, and even according to this excerpt from Shrum's book, Kerry and Edwards no longer speak. In case of 'he said/she said' such as this, who knows the truth?

The piece also leaves us with a weird 'he said/she said' on the question of whether John McCain wanted to serve as Kerry's running mate:

One option, the one that would have sealed the election, was off the table. John McCain's political strategist John Weaver had talked earlier with Cahill and said he needed to see Kerry about McCain. According to Kerry, when he met with Weaver and Cahill, Weaver said McCain was serious about the possibility of teaming up with him. Kerry had then sounded out McCain, who rejected the idea.

This is consistent with the account that Kerry offered two months ago: that he was approached by Weaver. Was Weaver acting on McCain's behalf? Was he acting as a free agent, and McCain reined him in? All we know is that this version is very different from the account around the time that Edwards was selected -- which had Kerry repeatedly asking McCain to take the spot.

If nothing else, McCain seems to have moved past the controversy.


Cynthia McKinney is considering a run for President. If a demagoguing clown like Al Sharpton can run, why not McKinney?

Phil Klein has a good post on the political ramifications of an economic slowdown. There is a bright side for Republicans, though. A slow economy would make the enormous tax increases proposed by Democrats less salable.

Barone comments on the anticipated candidacy of Fred Thompson. He makes a good point: Thompson does not have the security/defense credentials of a Giuliani or McCain. He remarks that Thompson's demeanor and style might be of value in shoring up that weakness; he might also be helped by picking one of those men as his vice presidential nominee. How does Thompson-Giuliani grab you?

Rob Bluey
- who's covering the immigration debate exhaustively - notes the invite to what looks like a good debate: a steel-cage death match between the Wall Street Journal and National Review.

My governor -- Democrat Tim Kaine -- does the right thing, and suggests that the US wins from free trade.

Hillary gets busy undermining US foreign policy.

Novak says that Thompson's campaign will be different.

Daniel Drezner picks on Lou Dobbs.

Did you know that in Coney Island you can still shoot freaks?

Senators seek clarification from Valerie Plame.

Pinkerton on the GOP's win in 2008. The key: rejecting the President's position on immigration.

Sister Toldjah carries this first ad for Gore's 2008 campaign. He's... changed:

According to Peruvian news, a bunch of white points overflew the capital recently for more than a half hour, and were witnessed by many locals. The figures formed a variety of shapes before disappearing. How appropriate that I had an X-Files clip in this space yesterday:

Tracking Agents of Influence

Read it at the Standard.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Democrat Reform Backtracking Continues

Read it at the Standard.

Leftosphere Rages at Democratic Party

I touched on this yesterday at the Standard. The Hill covers it with some additional detail:

Readers at the DailyKos website were furious about the letter, while other readers were angry that the DCCC used James Carville, a Democratic political consultant, in a separate fundraising pitch. Many said they would not donate to DCCC any more.

“You insult me, sir. And I will not be insulted. Go to hell,” wrote Bill from Portland, Maine.

“PIGS will fly before I will contribute a penny to this s—- ... where is our spine, backbone, morals and ethics,” wrote Left My Heart.

“Unlike our Democratic leaders, I am a Democrat who has backbone and conviction. I am hereby defunding YOU!” wrote Jayden.

Reactions like this will ensure that Democrats return even more quickly to attempts to end the Iraq war without withdrawing funds. You have to wonder if they will ever acknowledge that that's impossible, or whether they will eventually be called on their rope-a-dope strategy of seeming anti-war without actually having to act on it.

Parliamentary Maneuver Adds a Hurdle for Immigration Bill

Read it at the Standard.

Fred Thompson's Getting In

Fred Thompson will announce over the July 4th holiday. I'll be curious to see how he moves in the polls now that he has shifted from likely candidate to real candidate. (But Geraghty hears from a Thompson source who says it won't be over July 4).

Craig Crawford by the way, says that this is great news for Giuliani - since the addition of social conservatives splits that group further. I usually disagree with Crawford, and this time is no exception. While what he suggests is possible, it seems more likely to me that Thompson will consolidate the conservative vote and crowd out the others - Gilmore, Hunter, Tancredo and Thompson for sure, and to at least some degree, Romney.

Think of it this way: which field is better for Giuliani - the one we have today, with McCain and Romney 10-15 points behind, and several others in the 5-10 percent range, or one where Fred Thompson is within a few points, and McCain and Romney are closer to the third tier than the second? I suspect the latter is the more likely scenario.

Chris Cillizza is closer to the Crawford position.


Who's to blame for high gas prices?

Representative Chris Murphy says that Members of Congress cannot be expected to police one another. Then why did he vote with the Democratic leadership to block debate on a proposed independent ethics body?

Nick Lampson won't run for Senate. He's probably the only candidate with a prayer in both the Senate race and his own House race. The more likely outcome is that Republicans win both of those.

As always, Republicans are happier than Democrats.

Maguire and Crittenden with thoughts on the latest Plame revelation.

Romney and consistency.

The Anchoress offers tough words for Cindy Sheehan:

Madam, your gracious and courageous son - whose death is tragic and for whom your mourning is nothing less than appropriate - will only have died “for nothing” if his mission is left dangling and unfinished by the very people - and their minions - who exploited you, and who help to make the job of every soldier in Iraq more difficult...

The truth is, Mrs. Sheehan, President Bush is not the one trying to cheapen your son’s sacrifice. I certainly am not, either. Your son’s honorable death is being cheapened by the people who would say, “I support the troops, so I want them to be pulled out of a the place where they can make a difference, and have them stop acting like the warriors they are, so we can all sing Kumbaya and pretend to be friends with the whole world…

She's right, of course.

Google Maps now offers 'street views.' Yet another step in their ultimate plan to take over the world.

Jonathan Last notes the passing of Charles Nelson Reilly. I offer this clip from the X-Files:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Today in History: Constantinople Becomes Istanbul

Why did Constantinople get the works? That's nobody's business but the Turks: