Day By Day

Saturday, August 29, 2009

More Pennsylvania Pictures

Sometimes traveling through the gorgeous commonwealth is like a visit to Middle Earth.

The Shire?

The "White Tree of Gondor"?


An Entmoot?

Old Man Willow?

Sick Twisted Freaks

The Moral Imbecility of Teddy and Eddie.

So Teddy Kennedy enjoyed hearing and telling Mary Jo Kopechne jokes. Wow! And Ed Klein thinks that was one of his good features! Double Wow! [here]

Blue Crab Boulevard
notes that Kennedy was not well-respected outside the narrow community of liberal elite institutions and suggests that naming the Left's health care initiative for him would be a mistake. There ain't much Kennedy love out there in the real world.

I would note that Kennedy's much lauded generosity and compassion was financed by other people's money, not his own.

Bush Was Right -- There Really Was An Axis of Evil

The left has consistently denied a link between North Korea and Iran, but it exists.

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- The United Arab Emirates has seized a ship carrying North Korean-manufactured munitions, detonators, explosives and rocket-propelled grenades bound for Iran in violation of United Nations sanctions, diplomats said.

The UAE two weeks ago notified the UN Security Council of the seizure, according to the diplomats, who spoke on condition they aren’t named because the communication hasn’t been made public. They said the ship, owned by an Australian subsidiary of a French company and sailing under a Bahamian flag, was carrying 10 containers of arms disguised as oil equipment.

The council committee that monitors enforcement of UN sanctions against North Korea wrote letters to Iran and the government in Pyongyang asking for explanations of the violation, and one to the UAE expressing appreciation for the cooperation, the envoys said. No response has been received and the UAE has unloaded the cargo, they said.

Read the whole thing here.

WaPo Reports -- Cheney is Right, EIT Works

Extreme Interrogation Techniques like waterboarding and sleep deprivation worked in the case of Khalid Sheik Mohammed who flipped and became a CIA asset the Washington Post reports here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Liberal Epiphany

Ron Rosenbaum finally realizes something that a lot of us have known for some time -- that Sarah Palin is smarter..., make that a lot smarter, than her liberal critics. Read it here.

Funny how conservatives and ordinary citizens have no trouble understanding Sarah -- it's just liberal intellectuals, blinded by their bigotry, who find her incomprehensible.

The Blindness of Joyce Carol Oates

My first impression: Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most horrible human beings on the planet. Read her piece on Teddy Kennedy and how fortunate we are that he killed Mary Jo Kopechne because his search for redemption (assuming that is what it was) led him to become, in the minds of some, the greatest senator of the century. She writes:
This paradox lies at the heart of so much of public life: individuals of dubious character and cruel deeds may redeem themselves in selfless actions. Fidelity to a personal code of morality would seem to fade in significance as the public sphere, like an enormous sun, blinds us to all else.
Read the noxious sentiments here.

As I said my first thought was that Ms. Oates is an exceptionally horrible person, but then I realized that many of Kennedy supporters had made precisely the same calculation -- that promotion of his career was more important than one young girl's life, and I was then reminded that millions throughout the West had excused the crimes of Stalin, Mao and other leftists monsters on similar utilitarian grounds. Oates asked whether art or public service could redeem personal wickedness and answered in the affirmative, but I cannot. That road leads to horrors beyond imagining.


Mat Welch, over at Reason magazine, writes regarding Oates' suggestion that "the life of a single young woman" might count for less than "the accomplishments of the man President Obama has called the greatest Democratic senator in history" and that her death might be considered "fortunate":
[T]he sentiment is a timely reminder of the seductive awfulness of political ideologies everywhere and always. The ends are always worth a few strangled means, especially to those wielding or sympathizing with power. If you're openly musing whether the unwilling, unjust sacrifice of an innocent is worth a broad set of alleged legislative improvements, you're not asking a morally challenging question, you're answering it.

And Mark Steyn argues that the willingness of people on the Left to say that Kennedy's political career exhonorates him for his behavior at Chappaquiddick says "something ugly" about American political culture.

Read it here.

Revisiting Katrina

The British perspective on America is always interesting and often informative, sometimes ludicrous. So it is with Rebecca Solnit's piece in the Guardian on Katrina.

First the ludicrous. Ms. Solnit starts by asserting that the "Birthers", those who question Obama's eligibility for the presidency by asserting that he has never provided adequate documentation for the fact that he was born in American territory, are driven by racism. Granted the Birthers are a bit silly, but racists? What of the Democrats who challenged McCain's eligibility on the same grounds [he was born in Panama]? Are they racists too? Ms. Solnit seems to be doing what she accuses Americans of doing -- of fitting facts into the procrustian bed of preconceived narratives. Brits, probably because of their obsession with their colonial past, are quite willing, even eager, to see racism everywhere. And, at the end of her piece Solnit again dips her toe into paranoid sillyness. She asserts that because of global warming we will be encountering more and more disasters and so it is important to study the disaster that struck New Orleans. Having thus identified herself as a "warmist" hysteric her criticism of the "birthers" loses much of its force. She, no less than they, is imprisoned within a comfortable, self-serving narrative.

Now the interesting. Ms. Solnit shows that much of the suffering of Katrina was the result of a press corps that ran out of control and abandoned all professional standards.
The story, as the mainstream media presented it at the time, was about marauding hordes of looters, rapists and murderers swarming through the streets.
And, acting on the basis of erroneous media reports, local and State officials responded brutally.
There were supposed to be a lot of murder victims and murderers in the Superdome, the sports stadium the city opened up as a refuge of last resort. The rumours were believed so fervently that they were used to turn New Orleans into a prison city, with supplies and would-be rescuers prevented from entering and the victims prevented from evacuating. The belief that a Hobbesian war of all-against-all had broken loose justified treating the place as a crime zone or even a hostile country rather than a place in which grandmothers and toddlers were stranded in hideous conditions, desperately in need of food, water, shelter and medical attention.
Her conclusion:
Katrina was a fairly terrible natural disaster. But it turned into a horrific social catastrophe because of the response of the people in power, spurred on by their willingness to believe a hysterical, rumour-mongering media.
Read the whole thing here.

The gross errors Solnit points to were committed by the national media and by local and State authorities, all of whom performed abysmally. By contrast the Bush administration and FEMA deserve relatively little of the blame for the unfolding disaster. This, to my mind, is quite accurate, although public perception at the time [in large part because of the narrative presented by the MSM] was exactly the opposite.

What is most informative in Solnit's account is her depiction of the ways in which the local population responded to disaster. In the Algiers section of the city armed vigilantes, spurred on by media reports of widespread violence and looting, took up their guns to defend their neighborhood. As a result, apparently, several innocent people were wounded or killed. But otherwise there was little evidence of the violence reported in the MSM. By and large the public, both black and white, behaved "beautifully" were "humane and resourceful", "took care of each other, went to great lengths to rescue each other."

So what we had in Katrina, more than anything else, was an institutional breakdown, in the press and in local and State goverment, that dramatically worsened an already bad situation. It was not a rampaging population out of control as authorities suspected and the media reported, nor was it a failure of the federal administration as political hacks repeatedly asserted. Nor was it the race war so many on the Left proclaimed. Yet political activists, mainstream journalists, and governmental authorities have systematically promulgated a series of lies that fit self-serving narratives rather than what happened.

We often hear complaints that Americans are too mistrustful of their government and the media that support it. Solnit's account suggests that may in large part be because government officials and the media are excessively mistrustful of the American people.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Politics of Pessimism

At last, a Democrat utters the truth about Obamacare. The Fort Collins Coloradoan reports:
Some people, including Medicare recipients, will have to give up some current benefits to truly reform the nation's health-care system, Rep. Betsy Markey told a gathering of constituents in Fort Collins on Wednesday.

Markey has repeatedly said during the August congressional recess that Medicare spending needs to be reined in to help pay for reforming the broader health-care system."There's going to be some people who are going to have to give up some things, honestly, for all of this to work," Markey said at a Congress on Your Corner event at CSU. "But we have to do this because we're Americans."
Read it here.

Wha? We have to take cuts in Medicare benefits "because we're Americans". Just how does that follow?

In a socialist, zero-sum world extending benefits to some means taking them away from others, but that's most definitely not the American way. That sort of logic may be a dominant feature of European thought, but it runs counter to the mainstream of the American tradition. Zero sum calculations make sense only if you assume that America is entering a prolonged period of stagnation and decline, and it appears that many on the Left, like Rep. Markey, avidly hope or at least assume that we are.

How People Spend Their Time

Fascinating: A visual representation of how different groups of people spend their day.

Check it out here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Teddy Kennedy Is Dead!

Sen. Edward Kennedy died tonight in his vacation home on Cape Cod at the age of 77.

Read it here.

It's not a surprise -- we've known for some time that it was coming -- but it still comes as something of a shock. He's been a fixture of the national landscape for so long. I never cared much for him or his brothers -- either their lifestyles or their political leanings -- but there was no denying that they were important figures in our national culture.

After his brothers were murdered Teddy carried on his family's political legacy. He never became president, but few senators in my lifetime have had so illustrious or so contentious a career. He was the lion of mainstream liberalism, a powerful voice in Democratic Party councils, as recently as 2004 a kingmaker in his party, and a hero to many on the left side of the political spectrum.

Looking back over it all you can point to admirable and despicable incidents, but in the end what best characterizes Senator Kennedy is the fact that he lived an important and useful life.

My sincere condolences to his family, his friends, and the many, many people who loved and admired him.

Goodbye Ted.

BBC coverage here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lies Of the Left -- Bush and Vietnam

Bernie Goldberg points out that the MSM has systematically ignored the most important fact that emerged out of the pre-election controversy over President Bush's service in the Air National Guard. The media consciously created a false impression that Bush attempted to evade service in Vietnam, but as Goldberg shows, that was a damnable lie.

[Mary] Mapes [the CBS producer who developed the Bush ANG story] had information prior to the airing of the September 8 [2004] Segment that President Bush, while in the TexANG [Texas Air National Guard] did volunteer for service in Vietnam but was turned down in favor of more experienced pilots. For example, a flight instructor who served in the TexANG with Lieutenant Bush advised Mapes in 1999 that Lieutenant Bush “did want to go to Vietnam but others went first.” Similarly, several others advised Mapes in 1999, and again in 2004 before September 8, that Lieutenant Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam but did not have enough flight hours to qualify.

This information, despite the fact that it has been available since the CBS report came out four years ago, has remained a secret to almost everybody both in and out of the media....
Read the whole thing here.

More From Iowahawk

Iowahawk takes on end-of-life counseling here.

Good stuff as always.

Partisan Pettiness At the Times

Great Catch by Jim Taranto over at the WSJ:

Here's a blast from the past. The New York Times, July 9, 2001, reports on George W. Bush's first summer vacation as president:
On Friday, as new unemployment figures painted a newly troubling portrait of the American economy, Mr. Bush placed himself in the same scenes--golfing and fishing in a New England paradise--that once caused his father electoral grief.
Simply amazing.

Here's the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, dated July 6, that "painted a newly troubling portrait of the American economy":

The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.5 percent, five-tenths of a percentage point higher than the average for 2000.

As Barack Obama embarked on his first summer vacation as president last week--also in a "New England paradise," Martha's Vineyard--the most recent unemployment rate was 9.4%, more than double the summer 2001 figure. Covering the Obama jaunt, the Times offers no hint that there's anything wrong with a president taking a vacation during a time of genuine crisis. Indeed, it offers this justification:

Mr. Obama, whom aides described as being amused by all of the gloom-and-doom prognosticating over his health care agenda, did not even consider skipping his vacation. Last year, he talked about the importance of taking a break to avoid "making mistakes."

That makes sense--and in any case, it's not as if the president actually escapes his responsibilities when he goes on "vacation." But the Times's coverage of Obama is a useful contrast to the paper's petty partisan sniping against Bush.

Read the whole column here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ferguson v Krugman

There is a lively debate over economic policy going on in the press and the blogosphere featuring UberKeynesian economist Paul Krugman, and economic historian Niall Ferguson. The Times has a nice article outlining the major points at issue (noting that Krugman fights dirty, resorting to ad hominem attacks and even playing the race card). Even better than the article are the comments attached, some of which are interesting and informed.

Check it out here.

For the record, I think Ferguson is on much more solid ground. His is an international perspective sorely lacking in Krugman's analysis.

What In The World?

When I was a child I used to watch this show. It had a lot to do with sparking my interest in history. Now Penn has made the entire series available on You Tube. Check it out. Even now, many decades later, I still find this stuff fascinating.

Shifting Focus

Obama, noting that the health care issue is inflicting serious, perhaps permanent, damage to his administration, has decided to switch the topics of our national conversation. Once again he has gone to the well to bash Bush. The justice department has decided to investigate Bush era "abuses" at the CIA, and the administration has announced the creation of a new "elite" interrogation force that will be run out of the White House. [here, here] And the White House gleefully publicized a heated "shouting match" with CIA Director, Leon Panetta, who objected to these actions, while promising a major shakeup of CIA personnel next year. [here]

I recently read Tim Weiner's scathing history of the CIA, "Legacy of Ashes". Every president since Truman, who founded the organization, has regretted the inadequate and often illegal performance of the CIA. Each has promised to reform it; many have sought to terminate it. None have ultimately been able to control it, and in many cases the CIA has actively and successfully subverted the policies of administrations from both parties. So, Obama's recent actions are nothing new, just another episode in the long war between the CIA and the White House.

If the agency has so often acted illegally, has so often run amok, has failed time and again to provide adequate intelligence in times of crisis, and has frequently undertaken subversive activities toward people and policies they oppose, why has it survived?

Conspiratorially minded people of both parties would answer that the agency knows where the bodies are buried and, if pressed too hard, would reveal secrets that would destroy any administration. That is why no administration can afford to take actions that would seriously imperil those who direct the CIA. Perhaps there's some truth to it. The damaging leaks that undermined the credibility of the Bush administration were clearly a response to administration attempts to reform the agency and to transfer many of its functions to the military. But far more important is the fact that each administration in its time has learned that, in a hard and dangerous world, dirty, nasty, illegal things must be done, and there has to be someone, somewhere willing and able to do those things. That has been the unofficial role of the CIA's clandestine service for more than half a century.

The administration is taking a great risk in transferring agency activities to the White House because in the future any abuses will be the President's direct responsibility. Idealists expect that, under White House control, abuses will end. But the world is not going away and dirty, nasty things will always have to be done. If the responsibility for doing them lies with the White House, not with the CIA, will Obama be willing or able to do them? Will future administrations?

We shall see.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More Pennsylvania Pictures -- Ohiopyle

What to do on a really hot summer day when you can't hit the beach? Head for the river, in this case the Mighty Yough.

My camera was begging to be taken out, so I put it in the car and headed over to Ohiopyle.

Ohiopyle is just a tiny little place, but it's great for hiking or biking along forest trails.

Or for canoeing and kayaking.

Or, most commonly, white water rafting. Here's a group just setting out downstream.

Or you could just find a nice rock and jump.

Or if you prefer, just lay out in the sun.

You can even take the dogs for a nice walk in the water.

Or go wading by yourself in the rapids.

Or engage in some navel gazing.

Or, if you are so inclined you can sip a nice cappuchino, check out an art gallery, and get a massage, all in the same place.

And afterward you can go to church.

Latest From Iowahawk

He's at it again, and it's hilarious:

For Immediate Release

U.S. Government Unveils Health Care Partnership With God Inc.

WASHINGTON (Iowahawk Business PR Wire) -- U.S. Government CEO Barack Obama announced today that his firm had embarked on a new joint venture with metaphysical industrial giant God, saying that "We are God’s partners in matters of life and death."

"This partnership is a natural," said Obama. "We both are unfathomably large, we both control people's lives, we both work in mysterious ways, we both have a fanatical customer base. Instead of competing, it just made basic business sense to work together to become the premier developer of mission critical life-and-death operating systems."

The announcement came before the annual GodCon trade show in Las Vegas, where Obama gave a product demo of the iGod heath care rationing device, the first of what he said would be "many development projects" between US Government and God.
Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Regarding Ridge's Supposed Allegations

The MSM and blogosphere is all abuzz, one might say they are wee-weeing, about supposedly damning allegations of political tampering on the part of the Bush administration with homeland security alerts in the runup to the 2004 elections.

Well, the American Spectator is on the case, and it turns out that there's a lot less to the allegations than has been portrayed. Here's the nut:

In October of 2004, a videotaped message from Osama Bin Laden surfaced. There were mere days until the election. There was, of course, a Homeland Security meeting. According to Ridge, an internal consensus was reached that they did not need to raise the threat level to orange. Security was heightened already in advance of the election, but had not been officially designated as a new threat level. Then the decision was brought to a security meeting with the FBI, the State Department, the Defense Department and so on. According to Ridge, Ashcroft argues for raising the threat level, while Ridge argues against. Here is the apparent money quote:

"I wondered, 'Is this about security or politics?'"

He wondered. "There was no consensus reached at that session, and we took it upon ourselves to keep it that way," he concludes, which I can only assume is what we are supposed to call "thwarting" a "plan" to raise the alert level.

It is possible, at this point, that you find none of this very definitive. But that is OK, because Tom Ridge has a definitive statement for you. Earlier in the book, addressing the allegations that political pressure had been applied to raise threat levels, Ridge has this to say:

"Let me make it very clear. I was never directed to do so no matter how many analysts, pundits or critics say so."

That is very clear indeed, Secretary Ridge.

Read the whole thing here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sarah On Tort Law Reform

Sarah has posted again on her Facebook page -- the subject, health care.

Her position is one that is self-evidently correct, but one that the Democratic leadership, in thrall to trial attorneys, cannot admit.

There should be no health care reform without legal reform. There can be no true health care reform without legal reform.
Read the whole thing here.

Gawd, you gotta love this woman -- she keeps taking it to them and hitting them where it hurts the most. Go Sarah!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hating "Haters" For Fun and Profit

Wonderful compilation by the Zomblog of death threats against George W. Bush that, for some reason, were overlooked by the MSM. Yes, that same MSM that is today hyping supposed threats to Obama's safety. Noting the arrest of a protester in Maryland who carried a sign reading "Death to Obama" he writes:

[T]he bald fact is that people threatened Bush at protests all the time by displaying menacing signs and messages — exactly as the anti-Obama protester just did in Maryland. Yet for reasons that are not entirely clear, not a single one of those Bush-threateners at protests was ever arrested, questioned, or investigated.


[T]he media is aggressively reporting on, highlighting and pursuing any and all possible threats to President Obama — and even hints of threats — but they purposely glossed over, ignored or failed to report similar threats to President Bush. Why? I believe it is part of an ideological bias: most mainstream networks and newspapers tried their best during the Bush administration to portray the anti-war movement as mainstream and moderate; whereas now they are trying to portray the anti-tax and anti-health-care-bill protesters as extremists and as fringe kooks. To achieve these goals, they essentially suppressed any mentions of the violent signage (including threats to Bush) at anti-war rallies, but have highlighted anything that could even conceivably be construed as a threat at anti-Obama events.
Read it here and marvel once again at the monumental duplicity of the left and its minions in the MSM.


A blatant example of the press altering information to make it fit their narrative of white male hatred appeared in MSNBC's report of a man who legally carried a weapon outside an Obama rally. They concealed the fact that the man was black so that they could sustain the fiction that the protests were manifestations of white racism. Read it here.


Check out Matt Welch's piece on the latest journalistic fad -- establishing a "hate beat" to focus attention on white working-class men who object to this administration and its policies. Read it here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dunlap Attends a Town Hall Meeting

Jackie and Dunlap on the Town Hall Yells:

Sarah Comments Again

Sarah shows once more why she is a national treasure. Here's her Facebook commentary on Obama's latest deal with Brazil. I quote in full:

Today's Wall Street Journal contains some puzzling news for all Americans who are impacted by high energy prices and who share the goal of moving us toward energy independence.

For years, states rich with an abundance of oil and natural gas have been begging Washington, DC politicians for the right to develop their own natural resources on federal lands and off shore. Such development would mean good paying jobs here in the United States (with health benefits) and the resulting royalties and taxes would provide money for federal coffers that would potentially off-set the need for higher income taxes, reduce the federal debt and deficits, or even help fund a trillion dollar health care plan if one were so inclined to support such a plan.

So why is it that during these tough times, when we have great needs at home, the Obama White House is prepared to send more than two billion of your hard-earned tax dollars to Brazil so that the nation's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, can drill off shore and create jobs developing its own resources? That's all Americans want; but such rational energy development has been continually thwarted by rabid environmentalists, faceless bureaucrats and a seemingly endless parade of lawsuits aimed at shutting down new energy projects.

I'll speak for the talent I have personally witnessed on the oil fields in Alaska when I say no other country in the world has a stronger workforce than America, no other country in the world has better safety standards than America, and no other country in the world has stricter environmental standards than America. Come to Alaska to witness how oil and gas can be developed simultaneously with the preservation of our eco-system. America has the resources. We deserve the opportunity to develop our resources no less than the Brazilians. Millions of Americans know it is true: "Drill, baby, drill." Alaska is proof you can drill and develop, and preserve nature, with its magnificent caribou herds passing by the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), completely unaffected. One has to wonder if Obama is playing politics and perhaps refusing a "win" for some states just to play to the left with our money.

The new Gulf of Mexico lease sales tomorrow sound promising and perhaps will move some states in the right direction, but we all know that the extreme environmentalists who serve to block progress elsewhere, including in Alaska, continue to block opportunities. These environmentalists are putting our nation in peril and forcing us to rely on unstable and hostile foreign countries. Mr. Obama can stop the extreme tactics and exert proper government authority to encourage resource development and create jobs and health benefits in the U.S.; instead, he chooses to use American dollars in Brazil that will help to pay the salaries and benefits for Brazilians to drill for resources when the need and desire is great in America.

Buy American is a wonderful slogan, but you can't say in one breath that you want to strengthen our economy and stimulate it, and then in another ship our much-needed dollars to a nation desperate to drill while depriving us of the same opportunity.
Read it here.

You go girl! Get 'em.

Scaring Even the Fearless

It takes a lot to scare Nat Hentoff, but Obama terrifies him. For the first time in his adult life Hentoff is really scared of an administration.
I was not intimidated during J. Edgar Hoover's FBI hunt for reporters like me who criticized him. I railed against the Bush-Cheney war on the Bill of Rights without blinking. But now I am finally scared of a White House administration.
Read it here.

Ogden Nash Day

Today is Ogden Nash's birthday!

An appropriate little verse: "Everybody Tells Me Everything"

I find it very difficult to enthuse
Over the current news.
Just when you think that at least the outlook is so black that it can grow no blacker, it worsens,
And that is why I do not like the news, because there has never been an era when so many things were going so right for so many of the wrong persons.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What To Do About the Zombies

These days the academic community, especially those aspects of it that have pretensions of being considered "science", is thoroughly infatuated with theory. In no field has this fad been more pervasive than in the study of International Relations. Daniel Drezner uses a recent story from the BBC describing attempts to model a war between zombies and humans to explain four of today's most popular theoretical constructs; "structual realism", "liberal institutionalism", "social constructivism", and "neoconservatism".

It's an amusing and informative piece that can give laymen some insight into the ideas informing current foreign policy debates.

Well worth the time to read and think about it.

Check it out here. And check out the comments too; for the most part they're pretty good.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Neo Creams Crowley

Michael Crowley, an angry white moonbat, tries to play the race card and Neo demolishes him for it.

The old left-wing narrative that de-legitimates all opposition as being racist, sexist, homophobic, mentally deranged, etc. just will not fly anymore [outside the groves of academe, that is]. That doesn't stop committed leftys like Crowley from trying, though. Maybe a few more slapdown's like Neo's might make some of the more intelligent of them [I don't think this includes Crowley, however] think twice before they try these despicable tactics again.

Read her response here [post includes link to Crowley's original libel].

Saturday, August 15, 2009

War..., There's a War?

Byron York notes:
Not too long ago, with a different president in the White House, the left was obsessed with America's wars. Now, they're not even watching.
Read it here.

Pointing out liberal hypocrisy used to be fun, now it's just tiring -- there's just so damn much of it.

Megan Fox Speaks

And boy does she! Here's her take on those insipid PSA's promoting teen tolerance:

Warning: Bad language.

Gotta give the girl credit -- she makes me laugh.

Palin Wins Again

Once again Sarah Palin demonstrates that she is one hell of a lot smarter than the White House cluster of clowns.

James Taranto has noticed:
The first we heard about Sarah Palin's "death panels" comment was in a conversation last Friday with an acquaintance who was appalled by it. Our interlocutor is not a Democratic partisan but a high-minded centrist who deplores extremist rhetoric whatever the source. We don't even know if he has a position on ObamaCare. From his description, it sounded to us as though Palin really had gone too far.

A week later, it is clear that she has won the debate.

President Obama himself took the comments of the former governor of the 47th-largest state seriously enough to answer them directly in his so-called town-hall meeting Tuesday in Portsmouth, N.H. As we noted Wednesday, he was callous rather than reassuring, speaking glibly--to audience laughter--about "pulling the plug on grandma."

The Los Angeles Times reports that Palin has won a legislative victory as well:

A Senate panel has decided to scrap the part of its healthcare bill that in recent days has given rise to fears of government "death panels," with one lawmaker suggesting the proposal was just too confusing.

One can hardly deny that Palin's reference to "death panels" was inflammatory. But another way of putting that is that it was vivid and attention-getting. Level-headed liberal commentators who favor more government in health care, including Slate's
Mickey Kaus and the Washington Post's Charles Lane, have argued that the end-of-life provision in the bill is problematic--acknowledging in effect (and, in Kaus's case, in so many words) that Palin had a point. If you believe the media, Sarah Palin is a mediocre intellect, if even that, while President Obama is brilliant. So how did she manage to best him in this debate? Part of the explanation is that disdain for Palin reflects intellectual snobbery more than actual intellect.


Palin didn't "set off" this discussion; President Obama did by trying to ram through legislation postalizing the medical system with no time for debate or reflection. How to care for dying patients is a serious, sensitive and complicated matter, one with which American families struggle every day. If you truly don't want the "political class" involved, your quarrel is with the man who is pushing for more federal involvement in this most personal of matters.
Read the whole thing here.


Ann Althouse points out that Sarah's use of the term "Death Panels" to describe aspects of the Obamacare proposals is every bit as legitimate as the Democrats' use of the term "eavesdropping" to describe Bush's terrorist surveillance program. or "gulag" to describe the incarceration center at Gitmo.

She writes:
Yes, yes, I know. You — some of you — think Sarah Palin was trying to confuse things when she said "death panels." But that's not my point. My point is that it's an ordinary part of debate to put new — and inflammatory — labels on policies you are opposed to.
Read the whole thing here.


On the fortieth anniversary of Woodstock -- Jules Crittenden writes that it was:

flaming hypocrisy from the back-to-nature crowd, which trashed a meadow, disturbed the bucolic peace with electronic noise, disrupted dairy operations, narrowly avoided a public health disaster, contributed to the destruction of untold thousands upon thousands of lives, and never looked back … except in self-congratulation!

Read it here.

Terry Pratchett on Death With Dignity

One of my favorite authors, Terry Pratchett who suffers from early onset Alzheimers disease, favors assisted suicide.
'I believe that if the burden gets too great, those who wish should be allowed to be shown the door,' he said. 'In my case, in the fullness of time, I hope it will be in the garden under an English sky. Or, if wet, the library.'


He said that no one has a duty to suffer the extremes of terminal illness and set down his admiration for the sick and dying who have travelled to to die in legal suicide clinics. They have displayed ' furious sanity', he said.

He goes on to say that while assisted suicide should be legal, it should not be subsidized with tax-payer monies and opines that no democratic country would ever allow a government to create a mandated or even recommended suicide program.

Let us certainly hope so. I have no problem with "Death With Dignity" as an individual choice, but I am horrified by the idea that the state should attempt to coerce or in any way influence an individual's decision.

Thank you Sarah Palin!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Kentuck Knob

It was hot, humid and hazy as I headed down to Ohiopyle to spend some time with Frank Lloyd Wright [figuratively] -- not his most famous place, Fallingwater, but a less pretentious work -- Kentuck Knob [the Hagen House] in Chalk Hill.

Kentuck Knob is an example of Wright's "Usonian" architecture. The idea was to create houses that were themselves works of art, but were also priced so they could be afforded by ordinary people. Built in the mid-1950's, the house was originally priced at about 60,000 dollars, but the Hagens [who owned a dairy business] ordered several expansions on Wright's initial design. As a result the cost ballooned to $96,000, a bit steep for the average person. Even with these the house is still cramped for more than a couple of people, although the Hagens happily lived there for three decades. In 1996 the house and surrounding grounds were sold for about $600,000 to Lord Peter Palumbo, a British aristocrat, property developer and friend of Princess Di, who collects famous houses [here]. Palumbo did some restoration work on the place, filled it with art displays, added sculptures to the grounds, and opened it to the public. This is some of what I saw on my visit.

This is the front entrance. The building materials are copper for the roof, native sandstone for the walls, and red cypress for the woodwork. Photography was forbidden inside the house [to protect the artwork] but I could get shots of the exterior.

This is the terrace at the rear of the house. Note the hexagonal designs on the floor. These are caused by sunlight pouring through the hexagonal holes in the roof. The entire house was built on geometric shapes. The central fireplace is hexagonal, the chimney triangular, the dining tables tetrahedrons, etc.

More exterior views showing the exquisite woodwork. And now for the grounds.

Despite the haze, the view from the Knob was nothing less than spectacular, and the woods and fields surrounding the house were studded with sculptures like this:

That's one of several "sound sculptures" by Harry Bertoia.

Or this:

That's "British Red Army" by Ray Smith. Or this:

A section of the Berlin Wall. Or this:

"Apple Core" by Claes Oldenberg -- you know him, he did the "Clothespin" sculpture across the street from City Hall in Philly.

There is more, lots more, but to see it you will have to trek out to the lovely Laurel Highlands to check the place out for yourself. And, while you are there don't forget to visit "Fallingwater". It's only a few miles away.

VDH Names Names

Victor Davis Hanson calls out the Democrats on their hysterical reaction to the unruly nature of recent town meetings:

At one time not so long ago, those on the Left, and mainstream Democrats as well, apparently believed inflammatory language, Hitler parallels, and perverse expressions of real hatred were acceptable means to the noble end of discrediting the Bush presidency.

During the bleak days of Iraq, demonstrators carried swastikas and Hitler portraits of Bush habitually. Nicholson Baker wrote a novel in which characters are contemplating killing Bush. Films were praised imagining the assassination of the president. Michael Moore, courted by the Democratic elite, lamented that bin Laden on 9/11 had hit a blue state — and once compared the killers of Americans in Iraq to Minutemen.

Al Gore customarily used excessive language like "brown shirts." Senators Durbin, Kennedy, and others compared our soldiers to Saddamites, Pol Pot’s killers, and Nazis. Ward Churchill compared the victims in the Twin Tower to “little Eichmanns.” Sen. Robert Byrd likened Pres. George W. Bush’s policies to what transpired in Nazi Germany. Linda Ronstadt, Harold Pinter, Scott Ritter, Ted Rall, and George Soros agreed with Fidel Castro, the Iranians, and North Koreans in comparing Bush to Hitler.

Jonathan Chait wrote in the New Republic on why “I hate George W. Bush.”

Read the whole thing here.

The obvious point he is documenting is that whatever excesses emerge from the right in the heat of the town hall turmoil, they pale in comparison with the utterly despicable behavior of mainstream Democrats and leading intellectuals in the recent past.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Paglia on Palin

Democrats and the MSM like to make fun of Sarah's use of the term "Death Panels". Paglia sees it differently, as do I.
I simply do not understand the drift of my party toward a soulless collectivism. This is in fact what Sarah Palin hit on in her shocking image of a "death panel" under Obamacare that would make irrevocable decisions about the disabled and elderly. When I first saw that phrase, headlined on the Drudge Report, I burst out laughing. It seemed so over the top! But on reflection, I realized that Palin's shrewdly timed metaphor spoke directly to the electorate's unease with the prospect of shadowy, unelected government figures controlling our lives. A death panel not only has the power of life and death but is itself a symptom of a Kafkaesque brave new world where authority has become remote, arbitrary and spectral. And as in the Spanish Inquisition, dissidence is heresy, persecuted and punished.
Read it here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wren Update

It appears that the wrens that have taken up housekeeping near our front porch have started a family. At least they keep bringing juicy little bugs home to feed something inside the birdhouse. The aperture is too small for us to view inside, but we suppose that there are hungry little hatchlings in there.

Since the eggs [presumably] hatched neither wren has been singing much, which is a relief. The male was really loud.

On The Road to Oblivion

One of Obama's chief political aims has been to eliminate Hillary as a potential threat. Naming her as Secretary of State, then transferring power to regional czars and leaving her with nothing to do was part of it. Then selecting her husband for high profile opportunities such as gaining the release of Al Gores minions in Korea pushed her farther into the background. Hillary's smart. She sees what is being done to her and she resents it. And the tension is beginning to show.

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's temper flared on Monday when a Congolese university student asked her for her husband's thinking on an international financial matter.


''You want me to tell you what my husband thinks?'' she replied incredulously when the male student asked her what ''Mr. Clinton'' thought of World Bank concerns about a multibillion-dollar Chinese loan offer to the Congo.

''My husband is not secretary of state, I am,'' an obviously annoyed Clinton said sharply. ''If you want my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channeling my husband.''
Read it here.

The National "Dialogue"

The current state of the Obamacare debate reminded me of this:


The Long March

Ne0 has a nice post with links on the radicalization of American educational institutions. The "Long March through the institutions" seems to be nearing completion.

Read it here.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

More Pennsylvania Pictures -- The Ligonier Valley

Hanging out in the beautiful Ligonier Valley.

Golf anyone?

Haunts of the very rich and famous.

The Fort.

Columbine -- pretty name, pretty flower, bad associations.


Iowahawk on Specter's Loss of Confidence

The funniest man on the internet notes the Democrats' disappointment with the voting public.

By Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA)
and Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services

Over two hundred years ago, America's founding fathers established a constitutional republic based on the audacious notion that the interests of its citizens would be best served by a wise body of their democratically-elected representatives. In the two centuries that have since transpired, that bold experiment has largely been a success. But we should also realize our system only works when the interests of voters and their government are in harmony. Unfortunately, recent evidence suggests that America's hard-working hometown legislators are feeling the pinch from a fickle and increasingly out-of-touch voter class who no longer serves our needs.

Read the whole thing here.

Friday, August 07, 2009

More From the Anchoress

The Anchoress is on a roll. Check out her post on protest here. She is concerned that the thuggishness of the Democat leadership will provoke the protesters into acts of violence and urges them to emulate Martin Luther King.

A couple of snippets:

The Democrats are (in the words of Jonah Goldberg) “coming apart like so much wet toilet paper.” Moreover, their naked disdain for average Americans and their misguided instincts to mock, menace and marginalize the passionate citizens who dare to disagree with them is creating a very bad atmosphere that seems increasingly unstable.


[E]ven with that Obama-owned-unto-Pravda press, even with the talking heads shilling for them, even with the WH and both houses of congress solidly in Democrat hands, the public is still seeing through the smoke, mirrors and phony charges of swastikas-abounding. The Dems could pass this legislation tomorrow if they wanted to, but they dare not without coverage from the right. The president’s numbers are tumbling, the bloom is off the rose. This thing can be stopped, but not if we allow ourselves to be baited into emotional (and therefore dangerous) states, which just feed the beast.
Like I said, read it all.

More Summer Reading: Cahokia

Andrew O'Hehir has a review in Salon on Cahokia, the American Indian metropolis that flourished around 800 years ago. What has been found there thoroughly destroys the romantic images of noble savages and ecologically sensitive enlightenment that have dominated portrayals of pre-Columbian Americans in popular culture.

Of course the review goes for the most lurid take possible -- emphasizing "virgin sacrifices" [well, what else would you expect from Salon?] -- and closes with a dig at today's American leadership who presumably can get away with anything so long as they "keep the party going". Still it does point to what promises to be an interesting Summer read.

Timothy Pauketat, Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi.

Check it out, I plan to.

Iowahawk On The Town Hall Mobsters

The funniest man on the internet writes:

By Linda Douglass

Deputy Assistant Under-Minister of Truth
White House Health Care Task Force

Greetings citizen! By now you may have heard scattered rumors of state and party officials encountering reactionary resistors at local health care reform information programs. Do not be alarmed, for our 5-year plan for citizen health proceeds without delay. Remain stalwart! The truth can be told at last, that these so-called "protests" are merely the desperate rear flank mob actions of dead-end bandits and saboteurs in the pay of enemy insurance agents.

Pay them no heed, for these outside agitators in no way represent any threat to our great patriotic push forward for increased citizen heathfulness! These well-dressed prep school gangsters of reaction seek only to frighten and demoralize and intimidate you, with their confusing "facts" and hob-nailed Sperry Topsiders. Unfortunately they are joined in conspiracy by a well-financed network of unlicensed blogs and talk radio traitors, who exaggerate their numbers and percolate disinformation -- even cleverly staged YouTube videos of an impostor President Obama saying "quotes"!

Read the whole thing here.

Friends of Obama

Sonja Schmidt says you can tell who a person is by the friends he keeps.

Nice job!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Why So Upset?

Victor Davis Hanson examines the many reasons middle-class voters are in revolt.

Obama's bait-and-switch -- He has turned out to be far more radical than he represented himself to be during the campaign and rather than governing in the interest of all Americans has erected a spoils system that rewards some at the expense of others.

The extraordinary growth of government has resulted in de facto socialism, the creation of enormous client populations, the installation of an arrogant and incompetent technocracy, and an increasingly mean-spirited assault on productive individuals.

The hypocrisy of an elite class that exempts itself from the duties and obligations it places on others as well as a blatant double standard applied time and again to political opponents.

It's a good article and a reasonable attempt to understand the roots of the rage that the Democrats have inspired.

Read it here.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

More Democrat Corruption

From AP

A federal jury convicted a former U.S. congressman Wednesday of taking bribes on 11 of 16 counts in a case in which agents found $90,000 in his freezer.

Former Rep. William Jefferson, a Democrat who had represented parts of New Orleans, was accused of accepting more than $400,000 in bribes and seeking millions more in exchange for brokering business deals in Africa.

It took jurors five days to reach a decision after an eight-week trial. Most of the trial was government testimony. The defense wrapped up its case in a matter of hours.

Read it here.

I expect that this will get the same wall-to-wall coverage in the MSM as was previously accorded to Republican misdeeds.

Or not....

Progressives Show Their Fascist Tendencies

The Anchoress has a wonderful, link-filled, post on the attempts of progressives to squelch criticism of Obama's health-care monstrosity.

Check it out here.

The Paranoid Style of American Liberalism (cont.) -- The History Lesson

A "History Lesson" from the Left:

Joan Walsh, editor of Salon magazine, writes about her recent appearance on MSNBC during which she endeavored to teach Chris Matthews what America is all about. She writes:

There is one main reason the U.S. doesn't have the social democratic traditions and programs enjoyed by most Western democracies -- we are the only such nation without some kind of universal healthcare -- and that reason is our history of ethnic, racial and class strife. (The bounty of the eternal frontier and American exceptionalism fit in there too, but I'd pick our fractious and well-manipulated heterogeneity as the top reason.)

The history of the 19th century and early 20th century is the history of labor and political coalitions splintered by divisions between Northern Europeans and Southern Europeans, between middle-class Germans and less well off German Jews, between the Irish and everyone else, and, increasingly after blacks won something akin to freedom, between all white ethnic groups and African-Americans. Latinos and Asians came with their own demands and baggage and relations got more complicated still. Barriers of language, culture, class and skin color thwarted many efforts to grow labor unions and build a social-democratic majority.

Meanwhile, the one constant for at least 150 years has been a savvy cadre of political operatives who used those racial and ethnic divisions to advance their pro-business agenda. Go back to Karl Rove's idol Mark Hanna, who made turn-of-the-19th-century Republican politics safe for whites-only organizing in the South, to Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy, to Lee Atwater's Willie Horton strategy to Rove's own neo-Southern, pander-to-the-base strategy that has driven the GOP into its current ditch. Where in other Western nations, those years saw the fairly steady advance of basic conceptions of human rights, labor rights and an expanded social safety net, in the U.S. such social progress -- and especially such programs -- was more sporadic and limited.

Read it here.

To give him credit, Matthews was not buying this. He rightly branded it "Marxist", a term to which Walsh objected. Maybe she's right, but the artificial distinction Western "progressives" draw between themselves and Marxists is not important in this context. What I would like to point out is that she, like all leftists Marxist and otherwise, sees American history as a continuous and unending conspiracy on the part of the rich and powerful to exploit and oppress the common folk and to deny their legitimate aspirations.

This conspiracy theory is central to progressive thought and it explains why, once invested with power, leftists are so willing to engage in conspiratorial behavior. It also explains why they are so eager to brand any opponents as "racists" and "bigots". This explanatory model was widely taught in America's universities through much of the second half of the Twentieth Century and it is likely that Joan Walsh is simply spouting what she learned while sitting in classes at the University of Wisconsin. In recent years historians at America's elite universities have begun, however slowly, to move away from this simple exploitation/oppression model, but for Joan Walsh, and many other middle-aged media movers and shakers, it is simply the way things were and continue to be.

The Paranoid Style of American Liberalism

Jonah Goldberg has a nice post on the loony conspiracy theories that have been promoted by liberal Democrats in recent years and notes that these insane notions were embraced and voiced by leaders of the Party and major media figures.

Read it here.

Monday, August 03, 2009

More Pennsylvania Pictures -- Along the Turnpike

Things seen while riding along the Pennsylvania turnpike:

The Alleghenies

Somerset skyline.

Wind power -- too bad that it's not economically feasible, and dangerous to boot.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Resistance Is Going Viral

This poster has been popping up all across the nation. It was first noted in LA, but now it's appearing on the East Coast too. There's absolutely no reason why it shouldn't be spread across the internet too.

Read about it here and here.

HT: Instapundit

Hang On To Your Wallets

You just knew this was coming.

From ABC News:

To get the economy back on track, will President Barack Obama have to break his pledge not to raise taxes on 95 percent of Americans? In a “This Week” exclusive, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told me, "We’re going to have to do what’s necessary.”

Geithner was clear that he believes a key component of economic recovery is deficit reduction. When I gave him several opportunities to rule out a middle class tax hike, he wouldn’t do it.

“We have to bring these deficits down very dramatically,” Geithner told me. “And that’s going to require some very hard choices.”

Read the whole thing here.

So much for Obama's solemn pledge to only tax the rich. I hope he is held as accountable for his betrayal as Bush senior was.


More on the subject here.

Is it too early to start the "Liar, liar, pants on fire" campaign? Yeah, probably.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

A Study In Contrasts

First Obama

Then the Good President

Telling..., telling!