Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sound familiar?

From an upcoming Reagan book by Steve Hayward, via PowerLine:

Human Events newspaper--one of Reagan's favorite periodicals-- wrote that "less than three weeks after the election, the euphoria in the conservative community is already dissipating somewhat. . . [C]onservatives have a right to feel somewhat distraught." Direct mail wizard Richard Viguerie complained to the Washington Post that "the names we're seeing now do make us nervous. It looks like it might be old home week for the Nixon-Ford administration." Columnist Kevin Phillips echoed Viguerie: "The President-elect seems to be leaning to a cabinet full of the same proven don't-rock-the-vote experts who bored the nation to death during the Gerald Ford Administration." James Reston noted in the New York Times: "It is a paradox that those who were most determined to elect Mr. Reagan now seem more worried about what he will do as President than those who opposed him."

All you would need to do is change the names to run that story in today's paper.

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The downside of technology

The Times of India on this week's terror attacks:

"According to a Mumbai crime branch official, the ten terrorists had not come to Mumbai before this to conduct any 'recce' and they had learnt about the locations with the help of Google Earth."

I've been thinking that Google is the greatest threat to our privacy, but I never thought of it as a threat to my life before!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Depends on whose ox is being gored, etc.

So, consumers are now gouging the oil companies, do I have that right?

And speculators are artificially driving prices down, correct?


Random factoid: Last month was the 70th warmest October in the 114 years for which we have records.


Of the 425 Guantanamo prisoners released, 50 have been re-captured trying to kill Americans again. And I have to doubt that we’ve captured 100% of the repeat war criminals.

Yeah, closing Guantanamo sounds like a terrific idea…


Signs of sanity across the pond:

“Italy and Germany agree that measures to cut greenhouse gases shouldn’t weigh on the economy, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference Tuesday, indicating government support for tough new measures in Europe is waning.”


Unfortunately, signs of insanity at home:

“The Governor of California has just said that the US is the greatest polluter in the world, which is manifestly untrue on any level.”


NR offers a counter cliché on bailing out the UAW:

"We’ve heard of too big to fail. Isn’t there such a thing as too failed to bail?"


From a must-read account of a conversation between Jay Nordlinger and the heroic Chinese dissident Jian-li Yang:

We turn back to China and the Olympics: “A park was set aside for protest,” says Jian-li — was set aside at least in theory. “But not a single application for a protest or demonstration was approved.” In addition to which, there were not as many potential protesters around as there might have been: because “everyone had been arrested before the Olympics.”

The world’s journalists letting the Olympics pass by without shining a bright light on the human rights hell that is China – shameful.


Our conflict with Iran is becoming more intense, and looks like it will be the biggest challenge facing the Obama administration. By that I mean real, existential challenge, not a transient issue like a slowing economy.

Which is what makes French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s take so unsettling. Sarkozy calls Obama’s stance on Iran “utterly immature” and characterizes it as “formulations empty of all content.”

Sarkozy also fears that Obama will undermine the united European resistance by “arrogantly” ignoring the UN Security Council and opening direct talks with Iran with no preconditions.

Let us hope that Sarkozy underestimates the president-elect, our future depends on it.


Did Al Qaeda number two Ayman Zawahiri really call Obama a "house Negro" in an audio tape released Tuesday? I though that was a slur used exclusively by American racists to refer to blacks who did not think the way they are damned well told to think, who choose to stray away from the ideological plantation.

How odd to hear it coming from an Arab.

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Some hoop

Baron Davis on the Lakers, after facing them twice in the season’s first 9 days: They’re a very good team. We all know that. Most importantly, they’re a team on a mission. They went all the way to the Fianls and had a taste of it. Now they got Bynum back and Lamar coming off the bench. They’re a machine. They know what they’re trying to accomplish. They showed what the bar is.”


Pretty funny Phil Jackson comments on the Space Cadet, courtesy of Ramona at Inside the Lakers:

[Jackson] gave a rather strange answer when asked about Radmanovic's status as a starter.

`` I'm not going to answer that question,'' Jackson said.


`` I don't want to answer that question. I don't want to talk about it either positively or negatively, and I don't want him to hear about it.''

Come on, like Vlad reads the papers?

``He has friends who can read."


Ron Artest wears number 96, an odd enough choice that you knew it had to have some significance. It turns out that it is a tribute to Queensbridge, the Queens housing project where he grew up. The 9 is the q and the 6 the b, which is frankly pretty creative, even for a crazy guy.

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Some frivolity

In case you were wondering what I was for Halloween.


I’m too stunned to react.


For those days when your woman is too much to handle.


How long does romance remain in a marriage? Apparently 2 years, 6 months and 25 days. One more reason that remarrying is somewhere below reorganizing my sock drawer on the to-do list.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Courtside observations

From the Lakers-Mavs game I attended last week, here are some of my observations as posted live at the time:


Mbenga can't even score when posting up Brian Shaw.

Sasha has gone from Laker Girl headgear to traditional headband.

Sun's been shooting while almost everybody else has come and gone.

Rambis still looks wrong with no glasses or 'stashe.

A guy who has to be Pau's younger brother or damned sure looks like
him is out there wearing some soccer jersey.

Michael Thompson still looks like he could give you 10 minutes.

Joel Meyers looks even more trollish from 3 feet away.


Right before player intros Ariza did 6 reverse pullups on the
tech was called.

I'd pay to watch Ariza and Green go 1 on 1, those guys are sick

When Ariza comes in all hell breaks loose with deflections and such.

Good God the Lakers are long, you have to earn your rebounds.

Mark Aguirre is behind me.

Barkley in da house.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Teaching hate

Fascinating piece by John Kass of the Chicago Tribune:

As the media keeps gushing on about how America has finally adopted tolerance as the great virtue, and that we're all united now, let's consider the Brave Catherine Vogt Experiment.

Catherine Vogt, 14, is an Illinois 8th grader, the daughter of a liberal mom and a conservative dad. She wanted to conduct an experiment in political tolerance and diversity of opinion at her school in the liberal suburb of Oak Park.

She noticed that fellow students at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama for president. His campaign kept preaching "inclusion," and she decided to see how included she could be.

So just before the election, Catherine consulted with her history teacher, then bravely wore a unique T-shirt to school and recorded the comments of teachers and students in her journal. The T-shirt bore the simple yet quite subversive words drawn with a red marker:

"McCain Girl."

"I was just really curious how they'd react to something that different, because a lot of people at my school wore Obama shirts and they are big Obama supporters," Catherine told us. "I just really wanted to see what their reaction would be."

Immediately, Catherine learned she was stupid for wearing a shirt with Republican John McCain's name. Not merely stupid. Very stupid.

"People were upset. But they started saying things, calling me very stupid, telling me my shirt was stupid and I shouldn't be wearing it," Catherine said.

Then it got worse.

"One person told me to go die. It was a lot of dying. A lot of comments about how I should be killed," Catherine said, of the tolerance in Oak Park.

But students weren't the only ones surprised that she wore a shirt supporting McCain.

"In one class, I had one teacher say she will not judge me for my choice, but that she was surprised that I supported McCain," Catherine said.

If Catherine was shocked by such passive-aggressive threats from instructors, just wait until she goes to college.

"Later, that teacher found out about the experiment and said she was embarrassed because she knew I was writing down what she said," Catherine said.

One student suggested that she be put up on a cross for her political beliefs.

"He said, 'You should be crucifixed.' It was kind of funny because, I was like, don't you mean 'crucified?' " Catherine said.

Other entries in her notebook involved suggestions by classmates that she be "burned with her shirt on" for "being a filthy-rich Republican."

Some said that because she supported McCain, by extension she supported a plan by deranged skinheads to kill Obama before the election. And I thought such politicized logic was confined to American newsrooms. Yet Catherine refused to argue with her peers. She didn't want to jeopardize her experiment.

"I couldn't show people really what it was for. I really kind of wanted to laugh because they had no idea what I was doing," she said.

Only a few times did anyone say anything remotely positive about her McCain shirt. One girl pulled her aside in a corner, out of earshot of other students, and whispered, "I really like your shirt."

That's when you know America is truly supportive of diversity of opinion, when children must whisper for fear of being ostracized, heckled and crucifixed.

The next day, in part 2 of The Brave Catherine Vogt Experiment, she wore another T-shirt, this one with "Obama Girl" written in blue. And an amazing thing happened.

Catherine wasn't very stupid anymore. She grew brains.

"People liked my shirt. They said things like my brain had come back, and I had put the right shirt on today," Catherine said.

Some students accused her of playing both sides.

"A lot of people liked it. But some people told me I was a flip-flopper," she said. "They said, 'You can't make up your mind. You can't wear a McCain shirt one day and an Obama shirt the next day.' "

But she sure did, and she turned her journal into a report for her history teacher, earning Catherine extra credit. We asked the teacher, Norma Cassin-Pountney, whether it was ironic that Catherine would be subject to such intolerance from pro-Obama supporters in a community that prides itself on its liberal outlook.

"That's what we discussed," Cassin-Pountney said about the debate in the classroom when the experiment was revealed. "I said, here you are, promoting this person [Obama] that believes we are all equal and included, and look what you've done? The students were kind of like, 'Oh, yeah.' I think they got it."

Catherine never told us which candidate she would have voted for if she weren't an 8th grader. But she said she learned what it was like to be in the minority.

"Just being on the outside, how it felt, it was not fun at all," she said.

Don't ever feel as if you must conform, Catherine. Being on the outside isn't so bad. Trust me.

This is both fascinating and disturbing at the same time because of the setting.

If this experiment had been conducted on a college campus, with the student subjected to the same level of hate from the same kind of bigots, it wouldn't even raise an eyebrow - no place is more intolerant, more hostile to dissenting ideas, than the modern college campus.

But to see this girl subjected to this kind of hate, and to see such naked displays of bigotry by middle schoolers? That is chilling.

Acknowledging that some of them may be some precocious children in the sample (I, fascinated with the coming Bicentennial and our founding, was reading the Federalist Papers and forming my own political foundation at about that age), I have to think that much of this comes from the parents. And that is what upsets me so about this story.

A young teen does not just decide on his own that people with whom they disagree politically should be burned alive, crucified or killed. That level of hate must come from observing the most hateful and bigoted behavior imaginable in the home, and having it driven home that this kind of thing is somehow acceptable. Much as a young southerner in the 1930's might have seen nothing wrong with wearing sheets and burning crosses, which is really no different than what happened here.

It's child abuse, pure and simple. As the cliché goes, such people shouldn't be allowed to reproduce.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Game night!

Some Lakers and NBA notes on the day I get to see the machine (and The Machine!) in the flesh from courtside (thank you baby!):


After the Lakers blew out Portland on opening night, Blazers coach Nate McMillan opined that the Lakers are the present and the Blazers are the future.

TNT analyst Kenny Smith begged to differ: “No, the Lakers are the present and the Lakers are the future.”


The Laker starters are scoring 66.2 points a game, the bench 40.6, a sign of a) how good the bench has been and b) how dominant the team has been. Yes, there is some chicken and egg there.


Another sign of the early dominance: the Lakers have been outscoring their opponents by more than 10 points per 48 minutes with every player on the floor with the exception of Josh Powell (even in 18 minutes) and by more than 10 with every player off the floor.

To emphasize how good the bench has been, they are +32.1 with Ariza and +30.6 with Odom. And the difference between Kobe being on (+22.6) and off (+22.0) the court is negligible, a welcome change from what we’ve previously seen in the post-Shaq era.


Bynum is off to a slow start statistically as he works his way back into game shape, but his defense has been awesome – opposing centers have put up a 5.6 PER (league average is 15) with him in the lineup. And his help defense has really shut down the paint. His return, along with the training camp emphasis on schemes and rotations, is what has turned this thing into a defensive juggernaut in the early go.


The Lakers have been shutting down their opponents’ go-to guys:

Brandon Roy 5/15
Baron Davis 4/13
Carmelo Anthony 5/15
Baron Davis 7/21
Tracy McGrady 1/11

That’s 22/75, a cool 29.3% for the players considered to be their teams’ first options. Expect lots of strong side zoning and trapping against the taller Dirk tonight.


The Spurs rank dead last in the league defensively so far. Their age is obviously a factor, as the team athleticism continues to fade, but I think the big thing is that, with Ginobili out, Duncan has to expend so much more energy on the offensive end that he has little left on D. The same was true to a lesser degree with the younger and much less defensively oriented Parker, and with him now out and Duncan alone this could really get ugly.

We can’t discount that they have just suddenly fallen off a cliff, that’s what all old teams do at some point, but there is some question just how much of the decline is real and how much is injury. My guess is that they were going to drop off a good deal anyway, but that they will still prove to be an uncomfortable first round out for somebody, even as bad as it currently looks.

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Thank you, vets

Internet friend Joe Bryant sends this out every year, I may have posted it before but if so it's worth a repeat:


Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar,
a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin
holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort
of inner steel: the soul’s ally forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in
parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or
emblem. You can’t tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons
a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown
frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours
of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She or he—is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every
night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another—or didn’t come back

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat—but has saved
countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into
Marines, and teaching them to watch each other’s backs.

He is the parade—riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a
prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at
the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the
anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in
the ocean’s sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket—palsied now and
aggravatingly slow—who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day
long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being—a person who offered some
of his life’s most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed
his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing
more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation
ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over
and say Thank You. That’s all most people need, and in most cases it will mean
more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, “THANK YOU.”

Remember November 11th is Veterans Day.

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It
is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the
soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose
coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC

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Monday, November 10, 2008


Man Arrested at Philly Obama Victory Rally for Wearing a McCain/Palin T-Shirt


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sometimes you forget to post, etc.

I ran across this file that I apparently put together and forgot to post, so if any of it seems dated realize that it's more than a week old.


Pacifists and other assorted America-lasters tend to discount the threat of a nuclear Iran, often because they claim that the mad mullahs are many years from accomplishing anything. The problem with that spin is that last fall the head of the UN's nuclear "watchdog" said that Iran would need three to eight years to acquire an atomic bomb. And then this summer he said six months to a year.

My point is not to say that the threat is imminent, although it clearly could be and the UN thinks it is. My point is that we do not know, and this existential threat is one issue where we cannot afford to be left standing by while they complete the task.

Bottom line, the next president simply must stop Iran from going nuclear. Whether it is in his first month or well into his first term, it is a necessity and will go a long way toward how history judges his presidency.

And here’s a hint: pure diplomacy will not get the job done. They are not going to voluntarily give up their pursuit of the bomb, no matter how nicely we ask them, contrary to the fantasies of the wimpy foreign policy crowd.


In beating SMU 34-7 in windy and rainy conditions last Saturday, Navy ran 77 rushing plays and 0 (ZERO!) passes. Have we seen that since the 1920’s, if even then?


I’m shocked, shocked, to learn that the US tax system is not only more progressive than tax hells like France and Sweden, it is second only to Ireland as the most progressive in the Western world.


Washington and Washington State are a combined 0-14 against the spread vs. 1-A opponents this year. No word on whether Barney Frank has proclaimed them to be in great shape.


Possible fake name alert…did the Gainesville Sun really find somebody named Dick Hunter to feature in the lead for this story on a Gay Pride Festival?


An odd rule in North Carolina could hurt Obama. When you cast a straight ticket vote in the state, it does not count for the presidential or (nonpartisan) judicial elections. It’s a rule that Democrats put in to help their state and local candidates.

Democrats created the straight-ticket law in the 1960s. More conservative than the national Democratic party, state Democrats feared that relatively liberal candidates at the top of the ticket might reduce their appeal among straight-ticket voters, so they made sure the presidency would be a separate question for voters.

This led to a presidential undervote of 18,000 in 2004, as straight-party voters who were not careful or were not aware of the law failed to vote for president (some could have done so by choice, but you would think that would be a very small percentage). It is ironic that the most liberal major candidate in history could be hurt by a law meant to protect state Democrats from exactly such a candidate. You reap what you sow.


Assault with a deadly smelling weapon:

Fort Pierce woman accused of shoplifting, brandishing a female sanitary napkin
A 27-year-old woman accused of shoplifting cologne and trying to touch an officer with a “well-used and bloody female sanitary napkin” Tuesday is facing charges, according to an arrest affidavit released Wednesday.


Three papers who endorsed McCain are booted from Obama’s traveling party. If he wins, the assault on free speech will be breathtaking, given how heavy-handed they’ve been during the campaign.


You say you always wanted to sleep with a virgin? Are you sure? Positive?


White Supremacists for Obama


I’m agnostic (because I see such things as unknowable), but this is the kind of thing that makes you think there is a God, and He is a just God:

"Snow fell as the House of Commons debated Global Warming yesterday - the first October fall in the metropolis since 1922."


No wonder Obama is so fond of big government – he categorically refuses to give any financial help to his own family, even though they apparently need it:

Zeituni Onyango, the aunt so affectionately described in Mr Obama's best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father, lives in a disabled-access flat on a rundown public housing estate in South Boston.

A second relative believed to be the long-lost "Uncle Omar" described in the book was beaten by armed robbers with a "sawed-off rifle" while working in a corner shop in the Dorchester area of the city. He was later evicted from his one-bedroom flat for failing to pay $2,324.20 (£1,488) arrears, according to the Boston Housing Court.

It gets worse: Bob Krumm notes that "The most damning part of the Obama aunt story is that once his campaign found her living in squalor they told her to not talk to the press until after the election, but they didn't try to help her."

Well, they are strapped for cash, after all.

Yes, the story is from a London paper; you know the US media is in full-blackout mode on stories unkind to Obama at this late date.

And oh yeah, did I mention she’s an illegal alien?


I had no idea that Bill Ayers dedicated one of his books to RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan (among others). I can see why Obama chose him as a mentor; he’s such a sweet guy.


The Massachusetts state income tax repeal initiative: change we can believe in.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

And a distrubing sign

Obama is apparently considering wack job Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (links and video of some of his lunacy here) to head the EPA. Maybe it was only a leak to gauge reaction, and surely others are under consideration, but if this conspiracy-monger could ever be seriously considered for any post of substance it would be a major indictment of Obama's judgment, which of course with his numerous alliances with criminals and bigots has been an ongoing concern.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

A promising sign

Great to hear this:

"The Iraqi government is confident that president-elect Barack Obama will not jeopardize Iraq's improving security by hastily withdrawing U.S. troops, Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said on Wednesday. Obama has 'reassured us that he would not take any drastic or dramatic decisions,' Zebari told BBC television."

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The market weighs in

Stocks fall 500 points on postelection nerves

It was the biggest-ever drop following a presidential election, although if that is in absolute terms (Bloomberg doesn't say) then it may not be what I would consider the real record. But in any case it appears that the vaunted "Obama discount" that has supposedly been built into the market was not fully in effect.

If he can avoid silliness like "economic stimulus" or stupidity like tax increases (of any kind) the market should recover a good deal in the coming months. The more government interference we get, the longer the slowdown will last, bottom line.

UPDATE 11/7/08: The freefall continued on Thursday. The two day drop in the Dow was the largest since the 1987 crash - and that's the real decline, percentage, not absolute dollars.

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The world's first response

The first reaction from one of our enemies is, predictably, to test Obama to see if he will give in to intimidation:

Russia will deploy missiles near NATO member Poland in response to U.S. missile defense plans, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday

Expect more of this kind of thing, although even I'm surprised that it only took a few hours to start.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

How successful were the media?

Anecdotal, but this suggests they were "pretty damned successful" in providing cover for Obama:

Sheen, of Lincoln, Nebraska, says his vote is coming down to one issue: abortion. Sheen says he's "definitely pro-life" and he's trying to decide whether Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain is more in line with his views.

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Hell on earth

From ABC News:

Among the other voters who have shown up to vote at Shoesmith Elementary School this morning, where Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., will vote: Louis Farrakhan and William Ayers.


Welcome to the South Side of Chicago.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Great poverty quote

From Robert Heinlein via Instapundit:

"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded - here and there, now and then - are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as 'bad luck.'"

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Four words...


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