Friday, July 25, 2008

July 25th, 2008 - Today's Columns:

Charles Krauthammer : Maliki's Sophistication and Cunning - Krauthammer opines that Maliki's pseudo-endorsement of the Obama timetable for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq was an attempt to help Obama win the Presidency and thereby have a weaker negotiating partner when it comes to the residual force agreement in post-war Iraq. This seems a bit of a stretch to me. I believe Maliki's statements were meant solely for domestic consumption. He is a politician after all.

Mary Katharine Ham : The Last Stand of the West - Ham takes a penetrating look at life inside Israel as it is for those who must live daily with war and failed peace negotiations. One IDF officer remarks "you can literally fight a battle in the morning and pick up your kids from kindergarten in the afternoon." She argues that Israel's struggle is our struggle and that of the entire West. Be advised her piece runs about 3000 words, but highly worth reading.

John Hawkins : A Look Back: What Democrats Were Saying About The Surge - It is important to point out who was right and who was completely and comprehensively wrong in matters of war as we head into another important election. Congressional Democrats opposed the surge for partisan reasons. Their aim was to saddle Bush with the blame for a failure in war. They had no interest in victory. They claim now that if they were in charge we never would have gone to war in the first place and that that was the right course of action. What was the right course of action is a matter of debate, I would argue the war was right course, but let us not throw down the memory hole the fact that the Democrats in Congress supported the war resolution at the time, albeit again for political reasons.

Oliver North : Sen. Obama's Excellent Adventure- Ollie seems to be mostly complaining that Obama's tour of the world is half at taxpayer expense. An opening for criticism perhaps, but hardly hard-hitting.

Mona Charen : George Bush's Unrequited Love - Charen argues that Bush has focused a tremendous amount of attention on the poor and minorities in his eight years in office only to be scorned by them. She points to the African AIDS initiative, No Child Left Behind, and faith-based initiatives as evidence. There is a lesson here for Republican politicians: acting like a liberal will never win the love or votes of the left. They will always choose the real thing over a Republican in Democrat clothing. So focus on winning the love and votes of those on the right. Ahem, cough, McCain.

Individual Freedom

I’m not sure if it’s because I put mine out on display or that I simply have one, and have put extensive time into developing it, but I am routinely asked by friends and acquaintances about my political philosophy. It’s usually not in those terms but people often ask my opinion on political events and why I hold those opinions. I’m always happy to share but I’ve never tried to define it before and put it down on paper (or on the Interwebz). So here goes.

Essentially it can be summed up in two words: individual liberty. I believe that those two words best express the intent of the founding fathers of the United States of America in their attempt to establish our system of government. I don’t mean for this to be an appeal to authority in an effort to prove my political philosophy superior to others or to diminish other ideas as unpatriotic. I mention it more to demonstrate the anachronistic nature of my philosophy.

At the time of the drafting of the U.S. Constitution these ideas were only slightly more fashionable than they are today. A quick perusal of the document and the Federalist Papers will show that the powers of the federal government were meant to be limited and enumerated. In fact, one could even hold the radical idea that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

But today it is much more in vogue to be enamored with the general welfare than individual freedom. A long century of war, famine, despotism, repression, and genocide has not been enough to convince people that collectivism is a road to failure and misery. The 20th century was, by way of body count, the most exquisite example I think the world could ever bear of the futility of attempting to arrange a society on the Marxist principle of from each according to his ability and to each according to his need. If Stalin, Hitler (not necessarily a collectivist but appealed to those who were), Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, Che, Mussolini, Kim Il Sung, and all the other People’s Republics weren’t enough to convince the world of the futility of this line of thinking, it seems clear to me that this must be the result of some innate and inherently self-destructive aspect of human nature.

But here we are. We’ve seen hundreds of millions lost in the wars and ethnic cleansings and killing fields in the wake of these ideas but hundreds of millions more line up at the trough of government to get their fill today.

But there is a clear counterexample that has existed throughout the 20th century and before. That being the English-speaking nations of the world. Britain, Australia, Canada, and especially the U.S. have experienced unprecedented achievement and economic success while most of the rest of the world has stagnated. This is not due to our language but to our common ancestry. Not an ancestry of race but of law and democracy and liberty; individual liberty.

Individual liberty alone can be accurately described as nothing more than anarchy. While this notion may be appealing to the young mind it is certainly no way to organize a civilized society. To be successful it must be coupled with individual responsibility and the rule of law. This, British Common Law, is what has set the English-speaking world apart from the rest and been the key to our success. And this is the foundation of my personal political philosophy.

Like anyone else I often find myself conflicted on any given issue of the day. I have my opinion about what is the right thing to do and choose to live my life based on that. But often a more important question must be asked when it comes to public policy: if my preference on this issue were made law, would it stifle the liberty of others unnecessarily or is it what is right for society as a whole? For example, I will go way out on the political limb and declare my opposition to murder. In my mind murder is wrong. I won’t do it. But is that good enough from a public policy standpoint? Clearly others will arrive at a different conclusion, which is the case with any moral question. As a lawmaker, one must weigh the moral liberty of the individual against the rights of all individuals. In this case it is clear that no one has the right to take another’s life because doing so would infringe on the rights of others. This is the principal behind equality before the law.

However this principle becomes much murkier as the issues at hand become more nebulous. Abortion is a hot-button issue with exactly the kind of murkiness that leads to bad public policy. Some believe that two live cells of a human embryo are a baby, a human life, and cannot be deprived of that life by another. Others believe that those cells do not constitute a human life until sometime further along the road of development. Personally I agree with the latter but completely respect the former. As for me, I think abortion is wrong. I won’t do it. But is it right to form public policy based on my preference? I believe one could go either way; defend the liberty of the embryo or that of the pregnant woman. In such a circumstance I believe it is wise to choose the path of maximum liberty. In this case, in the extreme, it is to allow the liberty to kill the unborn baby. It sounds harsh put that way but it is the side of the most liberty.

Another example, and decidedly more mundane, is the fad of smoking bans. I don’t smoke and prefer to be in smoke-free environments. However, my preference, made public policy, is clearly in violation of the liberty of those who choose to smoke. But what are called “public places” are anything but that. These generally refer to restaurants and bars and they are decidedly private enterprises. I am a restaurant owner myself and I can attest to the fact that I have received no public financing. So who has the right to decide on this issue? When individual liberty is the guiding principle, the clear answer is the owner of the establishment. The patron has no more right to enter the restaurant than the restaurateur has to enter the patron’s home. And neither has any right to dictate to the other how to conduct his business therein.

Where this idea of individual liberty gets watered down is in the realm of general welfare mentioned above. Clearly it is a violation of other’s rights to pollute the air or water or land in pursuit of one’s own goals. A factory dumping toxic chemicals into a river may make it impossible for those downstream to draw drinking water for their town to survive. But this idea of a pristine environment is often carried to the extreme. For instance factories are often barred from exhausting warm water that is otherwise pure back into the river because certain fish prefer the cold water. These prohibitions are often in the name of preserving animal or vegetable habitats and not the economic livelihood of humans but nonetheless they carry this argument to the extreme.

So how does one discern a position on a given issue from this somewhat subjective criteria upon which to judge it? Unfortunately, as with much in life, it is entirely subject to interpretation. But I believe it is vitally important to have a grounding principle as a foundation for one’s political philosophy. And this is mine. Without such a principle one would be as wishy-washy as John McCain.

So where do the two main political parties stand in relation to the principle of individual liberty? The Republican Party has lost its mooring on this issue (and most others) in recent years. The GOP used to hold individual liberty as one of its bedrock principles. But it has sold its soul to the power of incumbency only to find that it had neither. The Democrat Party has never embraced this principle. Quite the opposite in fact. Some may argue that the civil rights movement was one of guaranteeing individual liberty. This is true, but sadly not the history of the Democrat Party. They have successfully usurped this mantle as their own but the facts are not on their side. The closest political party to this principle is the Libertarian Party. They are decidedly on the side of individual liberty in the vast majority of their platform. However they tend to be so loony on other important principles that I fear they , if in charge, would lead us into the hands of foreign despots, thus leaving us without any liberty to cherish.

Sadly there is no political home for the individual. The two major parties in the U.S. are in a race to give away the most bounty to their supporters at the expense of their detractors without regard to what is best for the country as a whole, or more importantly, what is best for each individual.

As stated above, it is human nature to desire an easy road, that of the collective. Each person believes he can gain from the work of all the others. All the while he is naïve to the effects of this plan on the fruits of his gains. But even when one is solely on the receiving end of government largess without bearing any of the burden thereof, he cannot be happy or successful. It is simply not possible to make people equal in outcome. The best that can be hoped for from government welfare is the perpetuity of poverty and misery. I don’t mean to suggest that either of these conditions can be alleviated by the removal of government welfare, only that they will exist with it or without it and it will not help. To raise those on the government dole to the level of the middle class would require a level of taxation that would inspire a revolt; therefore impossible. Alternately, if the people are too weak to be revolutionary, they would simply quit working so hard only to have their earnings confiscated, and go on the dole themselves. For evidence of this look at any communist regime in the history of mankind.

Regardless of the viability, the worst aspect of the collective approach to organizing our lives is its effect on the human spirit. Government “entitlements” have the effect of removing both the giver and the recipient from the positive effects of charity and placing them in the unwelcome position of slave and master. Charity, when one willingly gives time, money, or knowledge, is uplifting to both parties involved. The giver is uplifted by the knowledge that he is directly helping someone in need and can see the positive benefits to that individual. But more importantly the recipient is directly helped in his life, not just financially, but by the guidance of a positive role model that has likely been lacking. And the humility that is necessitated by the act of receiving charity is a crucial motivator as well. Both of these human interactions are destroyed when the government steps in, and to the detriment of both parties. And it also tramples on the individual liberty of the person being taxed to provide for the welfare of the other.

After decades of the collective approach in the U.S. we’ve seen the development of a consistent underclass of people who are utterly dependent on the government for their existence. Regardless of their financial condition they are too often devoid of the human characteristics that bond all of civilized humanity. There is rampant violent and property crime, a complete breakdown of family, no regard for education or intellectual pursuits, and worst of all a seething animosity for those who live outside of this government plantation. True human happiness and fulfillment comes from achievement. And that is not possible in a collectivist society.

So this oddly leads me to conclude that my political philosophy is quite similar to that of the collectivists. I believe that what I believe in is what’s best for people. Just like those who believe that trans-fats are bad and should therefore be banned, I believe that individual liberty is what makes the human spirit soar and people prosper, and should therefore be promoted. The difference is I suppose; my philosophy doesn’t require the enslavement of anyone else to accomplish my goals. I can live with that.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Civilizational Collapse - The Perfect Storm

Is complete civilizational collapse in our near future? It seems plausible.


  1. Iran is feverishly working to develop nuclear weapons.

  2. Israel sees Iran's possession of nuclear weapons as an existential threat it cannot tolerate.

  3. Barack Obama has stated he would meet unconditionally with Iran to "open a dialogue" and persuade them to abandon their nuclear ambitions.

  4. Talks with Iran will only serve to delay any action and therefore guarantee they will have time to complete their bomb.

  5. Israel knows this.

Given these assumptions, what happens if Obama is elected on November 5th?

The Israelis will realize they have only until January 20th when Bush leaves office to act. If they wait they will no longer have a credible ally in the U.S. They have already war-gamed their plan and Iran already has a missile capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

Best guesses estimate that the Israeli aerial attack would effectively stall Iran's bomb-building efforts and set them back maybe a decade in their development.

But what happens next?

The Iranians would surely retaliate by unleashing Hezbollah and Hamas on Israel opening up a hot war on virtually every front. Rockets would rain down on Israeli towns and cities by the thousands daily with massive casualties on both sides. The situation in Israel would be unlivable and extremely difficult militarily with their forces stretched thin fighting terrorists in Jordan and the Palestinian territories as well as likely Egyptian forces in the south and Syrian forces in the north.

This desperate situation would lead the Israelis to resolve the conflict with nuclear weapons as their only viable option.

Add to this the fact that the Iranians have vowed to close off the straits of Hormuz and exert control over the Persian Gulf if attacked. U.S. military efforts to re-open the straits would take months. This would completely cut off the flow of gulf oil for months. The world price would skyrocket overnight and remain there for many months.

Given that the U.S. economy is utterly dependent upon oil and transportation, this massive price spike in gasoline would plunge the U.S. into an instant recession. The markets would crash overnight and lead a world collapse and therefore worldwide recession.

There would not just be gasoline price spikes but with 40% of world supply shut off, actual shortages. Human nature being what it is, this would lead to riots which would lead to anarchy at home.

With the U.S. military tied up in a 3-front war, the U.S. economy in collapse, and the U.S. population is violent disarray, how would the rest of the world's powers react? China and Russia have been war-gaming with one another for years and the Chinese have been building a massive military with the capability to shoot satellites out of space and aircraft carriers out of the water. This situation would present an ideal time for them to team up with Russia to reposition themselves as the new world superpower. Taiwan would clearly be toast as would the Ukraine, Bosnia, and most of eastern Europe.

Without the proactive help of the U.S., South American democracies would be powerless to resist the oil-rich advances of Chavez. Already slouching backward toward socialism and despotism, South America would find Venezuela and Cuba to be the norm and certainly the political and military leaders in the region.

So there you have it, worldwide recession if not outright economic collapse, violence at home, war in the middle east, Europe, and Asia, South America becoming more hostile to freedom and exercising its influence northward, and Africa is and would remain a basket case. Civilization as we know it collapses.

I can't say it would all be because Obama is elected. More accurately is would be due to decades of the prevalence of lefty ideas especially in the world of international diplomacy. I'm sure Neville Chamberlain would be proud.

At least we have hope.

July 23rd, 2008 - Today's Columns:

Michelle Malkin : The Man Who Could Topple Jack Murtha - Malkin tells the story of William Russell who is running against Jack Murtha in PA. Definitely worth a read.

"I am a Conservative," he says in his defining campaign statement. "I believe in the sovereignty and security of this one nation, under God. I believe the primary role of government is to provide for the common defense and a legal framework to protect families and individual liberty. … I believe that no one owes me anything just because I live and breathe."

Thomas Sowell : Bankrupt "Exploiters": Part II - Sowell examines the current housing and financial mess with a look back at the history of government intervention at all levels. And now we turn to the very government that created this debacle to solve it.

Walter E. Williams : Black Education - A disturbing look inside Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore.

"the welfare state has done what Jim Crow, gross discrimination and poverty could
not have done. It has contributed to the breakdown of the black family structure
and has helped establish a set of values alien to traditional values of high
moral standards, hard work and achievement."

Jonah Goldberg : For McCain, Surge is a Losing Strategy - Jonah explains that the war in Iraq and the surge are in the past due to its success. As a result, voters will feel less risk in electing the weaker candidate on national security (that would be Obama for those who don't pay close attention).

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann : Illegal Rx? Barack Objects and Dick Answers - Morris attempts to pick apart whether or not Obama's plan to provide health insurance to the unwashed masses will include illegal aliens. Does it matter?

John Stossel : Sex Police - Stossel courageously stands up for public fornicators and masturbators. There aren't many people who would write such a column.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I don't have much time for blogging (or anything else) right now. But this one needs no explanation:

And let's not forget our friends at:

Friday, March 28, 2008

March 29th 2008 - Today's Columns:

It's been a busy week and I'm just now getting a chance to do a bit of reading/blogging. My sincere and humble apologies for my lack of content this week.

John Hawkins : 10 More of the Greatest Pieces of Conservative Wisdom -

Robert D. Novak : Portman for VP -

Oliver North : 'Duh!' -

David Limbaugh : The 2008 Campaign Mess -

Charles Krauthammer : McCain's "Hundred Year War"? -

Linda Chavez : A Government Engineered Food Crisis -

Michael Barone : Missing a Generation -

Rich Lowry : Hillary Clinton's Strange Affiliation -

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann : Hillary's List of Lies -

George Will : Conservatives Really Are More Compassionate -

Hugh Hewitt : PBIP: The Approach and Outbreak of Polar Bear-Induced Paralysis -

Robert D. Novak : McCain's Payroll Prize -

Emmett Tyrrell : Hillary's Latest Whoppers -

Ann Coulter : Hillary: Swiftboated! -

Rich Galen : Hillary Mis-Remembers -

John Stossel : Law Can't Prevent Underage Sex -

Walter E. Williams : Is Obama Ready For America? -

Thomas Sowell : The Audacity of Rhetoric -

Jonah Goldberg : A Race Conversation? What Are You Talking About? -

Thomas Sowell : Bipartisan Primary Blues -

Rich Lowry : Return of Inflation? -

Robert D. Novak : Deepening Democratic Dilemma - According to Novak Democratic Superdelegates are raising their moistened fingers to the political winds to decide whom to anoint as the Presidential nominee. This tendency to follow rather than lead bodes well for those of us disinclined toward Democrats. If only we had a leader...

Rich Galen : When Campaigns Go Bad - Galen marks the turning point in the Obama campaign when it heads irretrievably south. It began with Obama's advisor telling the Canadians that his anti-NAFTA rhetoric was just that but fully turned the corner with the Rev. Wright.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A movie recommendation

I just finished watching Offside. It's a movie about the 2006 Iranian soccer team playing the Bahrainis to qualify for the World Cup. More importantly it's a window into the complexities of Iranian society. The story takes place in real time, more or less, during the game. It focuses on a group of women who tried to sneak into the game, women are not allowed at soccer games because there are a lot of men there who may shout obscenities in the passion of the game. The women are detained and spend most of their time taunting and ridiculing thier male guards who are merely carrying out orders and attempting to avoid punishment for screwing up.

This film is excellent because it captures so many aspects of the characters' attitudes and motivations and offers a glimpse into one of the world's most closed societies. As westerners we read about Iranian citizens and, speaking for myself, wonder why they don't band together and overthrow their oppressors. Support for the Mullahcracy is only skin deep and the population is brutally oppressed. There is wide-spread popular support for revolution. So why not?

We also wonder whether or not it will become necessary to bomb or even invade Iran to curtail their pursuit of nuclear weapons. When considering these possibilities one must also wonder what the reaction of the population will be. We have been attempting to support elements of the population who resist the ruling mullahs. But so far those efforts have not born fruit. It is widely believed however that if we are forced to bomb or invade, the population, currently on our side, will turn against us in defense of their homeland.

This film captures those attitudes beautifully. Throughout the film we see soccer fans on their way to, from, or at the game wearing Iranian flags and chanting/taunting slogans of support for their team specifically but their country generally. This is the moment of success for an oppressed people without much to believe in. Nationalism and pride go hand in hand. This is the moment when the people band together in support of a common value.

It may seem silly to some. I've known many people who don't understand the power of sports. I live in Columbus Ohio, home of the Ohio State University Buckeyes. It's a wonderful place to live. But when I first moved here, after decades of drifting without a place to call home, I too was cynical about the Buckeye Fever that sweeps the land every autumn. I like to think of myself as above such petty interests and as an educated, intelligent, deep-thinking, erudite muckety-muck. But after a couple of years I began to see what it really means.

Sports are nothing more than a friendly form of nationalism. A sports team is a common point of focus and value for a community. It gives us a commonality and a singularity that is seldom achieved in any other venue and certainly not on such a wide scale. It brings a whole community together, gives strangers a common interest upon which to build a friendship. And having been through both a successful and an unsuccessful National Championship with my team in the last few years, I know the sheer joy and heartache that accompany the oneness with one's team. When the Buckeyes won the Championship in 2003, my voice was hoarse for 2 weeks afterward from screaming with every random person in the city. Horns were honking, people were cheering. It was an amazing moment to experience. Having years before learned to embrace Buckeye Fever, this crowning achievement gave me a brief moment of truly feeling connected to my city, my community, and my neighbors.

But there is a downside to this unbridled followership. It is not just pride that goes hand in hand with nationalism. All strong emotions do. Unfortunately these include fear, suspicion, and hatred. These are the classic mechanisms employed and exploited by dictators to keep their people from rising up in protest. And these natural human tendencies must be considered when fashioning U.S. policy regarding Iranian acquisition of nuclear arms.

If we were to bomb or invade Iran we would become the target of fear, suspicion, and hatred. The ruling mullahs would utilize their state-controlled media to paint us as the evil conquerors. The population would become hardened against us instead of what they should be, our natural ally.

The movie displays the nationalism of the people as they root for their team and their country. But is also discloses a disdain for their rulers. The women who are captured by soldiers at the soccer stadium openly taunt their captors. They repeatedly question the rationalization for barring them from attendance. But they also bond with the soldiers. They understand that the soldiers are forced into service. The soldiers' primary goal is to avoid punishment, especially that of extended military service. There is a wealth of knowledge here.

Iran is a proud nation, and for good reason. The last 30 years or so not withstanding, Iran has a glorious history of accomplishment. But her current rulers and their aims cannot be allowed to stand. The lives of millions are on the line and an apocalyptic madman cannot be permitted to acquire the weapons to make his visions a reality. It must become U.S. policy to mobilize all departments of the federal government, in conjunction with whatever foreign and domestic groups available, to assist the people of Iran to overthrow their government regain their pride of accomplishment. If we attempt to do it for them we will ossify their opposition to us. If we do nothing millions of Israelis will die as well as millions more people throughout the region in the inevitable wars to follow.

We have attempted to foment revolution within Iran for years. But we have not yet organized a concerted effort of all assets at our disposal. We have not yet rallied supporters to the cause. We have not yet convinced dissenters within the agencies of the federal government (namely State and CIA) to join the team. For too many years career government beaureucrats have been thwarting Bushes foreign and domestic policies. For a myriad of reasons, he has not attempted to clean house of those who undermine him. But this issue is too important. With the possibility of a squishy Democrat in the Oval Office next year, there is no more time for dilly-dally. The Iranian issue must be handled now. And it must be handled effectively.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

March 23rd 2008 - Today's Columns:

George Will : Americans Get The Judiciary We Pay For - Will takes up an important issue and places it in historical perspective. "The denial of annual increases, (Chief Justice John) Roberts wrote, 'has left federal trial judges -- the backbone of our system of justice -- earning about the same as (and in some cases less than) first-year lawyers at firms in major cities, where many of the judges are located.'" Along this line of argument I've been advocating for years that we pay Congress criters $5 million a year each. The total cost would be $2.675 billion or less than 1% of the 2008 federal budget. But it would surely invite much greater competition for the jobs and bring talent of a much higher caliber.

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann : Heavy Hitter? Not Hillary - Hillary's appointment schedule from the time of her husband's administration has been released and it turns out that she may have stretched the truth just a bit in her claims of being an administration mover and shaker. I for one am shocked. Shocked!

Robert D. Novak : McCain's Mistake -
  • McCain made a mistake by going to Iraq, not just his widely publicized mistake of al Qaida being trained in Iran.
  • The Clinton campaign says that Obama is unvetted and unable to stand up to the "Republican Attack Machine." Presumably that's an arm of the "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy."
  • McCain thumbs his nose at conservatives by selecting Bobbie Greene Kilberg to run the convention in Minneapolis.
  • Conservative activists are pushing Bobby Jindal for VP. I think we all know what McCain thinks of conservative activists. I suspect he'll pick Susan Collins, or better yet, I think Tom Daschle is available.
  • In an odd bit of reporting Novak points to poll results to suggest that the voting public does not support pork spending. "40 percent of a national sample of swing voters are opposed to higher taxes and prefer 'fewer earmarks and no more bridges to nowhere.' " I'm no mathematician but I do believe 40% is less than a majority.

Jonah Goldberg : Mamet vs. the Greek Chorus - An interesting piece on the "open-minded" left. Playwright David Mamet has reconsidered his liberal ideology and begun to accept conservative notions of free markets. As a result, theater critics are beginning to question his work.

Michael Barone : Will Wright Damage Obama's Millennial Support? - No one knows more about electoral politics than Barone, and his observations are worth noting. His analysis is spot-on with respect to Millennials (the generation born after 1980) and their news consumption habits.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Three Cheers for FDR!

On this day, March 22nd, 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law the Cullen-Harrison Act which legalized the sale and possession of beer and wine. It took another 9 months to adopt the 21st Amendment to repeal the 18th Amendment and end prohibition.

Clearly 1919 and 1920 were bad years for amending the Constitution. I think this anniversary affords an opportunity to take a critical look at the 19th Amendment with an eye toward repeal.

Are you with me brothers?

Friday, March 21, 2008

March 21st 2008 - Today's Columns:

Charles Krauthammer : Obama's Speech Leaves a Few Question Marks - "It's the Jesse Jackson politics of racial grievance, expressed in Ivy League diction and Harvard Law nuance. That's why the speech made so many liberal commentators swoon: It bathed them in racial guilt, while flattering their intellectual pretensions."

Oliver North : Iraq: The Real Story - Ollie's first paragraph says it all:
Five years ago this week, 170,000 American and coalition soldiers, sailors,
airmen, guardsmen and Marines launched Operation Iraqi Freedom. When they
commenced their attack, they were outnumbered nearly three to one by Saddam
Hussein's military, yet it took U.S. troops just three weeks to liberate
Baghdad. No military force in history has accomplished that much so fast with so
few casualties.

Rich Lowry : Obama's Speech -- A Glorious Failure - As the headline of his article would imply, Lowry didn't much care for Obama's big speech either.

Ann Coulter : THROW GRANDMA UNDER THE BUS - Rather than just gratuitously whipping Obama (maybe the wrong phrase to use), Coulter actually makes a good point:
As an authentic post-racial American, I will not patronize blacks by pretending
Obama's pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is anything other than a raving racist

She also mentions a comment by Rev. Wright that I had heard but not really paid attention to. That is his reference to Condoleezza Rice as "Condoskeezaa Rice." This is one of the most annoying aspects of the black left, the tendency to view any accomplished black person on the right as an Uncle Tom and to denigrate them. All that accomplishes is to make clear that their goal has less to do with uplifting blacks than left-wing politics. And I will always defend Condoleezza Rice. [More unsolicited advice for the McCain campaign: Condi would make a fantastic VP nominee.]

Patrick Buchanan : A Brief for Whitey - I cringed when I saw this title and byline. But my curiosity got the best of me and I read it anyway. It must be hard for Pat to type with that sheet on all the time. But I do like his last line. With regard to Obama's call for a nationwide racial dialogue, Buchanan says "Sorry, Barack, some of us have heard it all before, about 40 years and 40 trillion tax dollars ago."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March 19th 2008 - Today's Columns:

Thomas Sowell : Obama's Speech - Sowell details the lack of credibility in Obama's position that he was unaware of the inflammatory, anti-American, and racist rantings of his pastor. He likens Obama to a con man who doesn't need to fool the skeptic but only to allow the clueless to continue to believe what they want to believe.

John Stossel : Politicians and Sex - This is Stossel's second piece defending convicted sex offenders. It seems so odd just to type those words. I guess that's why our sex laws are so, pardon the pun, screwy. And also why no politician will ever try to fix them.

Walter E. Williams : Peace-loving Muslims - Williams makes the argument that it is irrelevant whether or not most Muslims are peace-loving individuals or militant extremists. What matters is who is calling the shots and whether or not the peace-loving people are exposing and condemning the militants or harboring them implicitly or explicitly.

Michelle Malkin : Say Goodbye to the Glowbama Mystique - Malkin opines that the bloom is now off the Obama rose and, presumably, the media will begin to look more critically at him. I don't know that this is the case. I find Sowell's argument more compelling. Those who want to believe the Obama mystique, the media, will have heard what they needed to hear yesterday.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Vocabulary time

I thought, given Obama's current troubles, that it might be a good time to publish the definition of Petard:

pe·tard /pɪˈtɑrd/ –noun
1. an explosive device formerly used in warfare to blow in a door or gate, form a breach in a wall, etc.

2. a kind of firecracker.

3. (initial capital letter) Also called Flying Dustbin. a British spigot mortar of World War II that fired a 40-pound (18 kg) finned bomb, designed to destroy pillboxes and other concrete obstacles. —Idiom

4. hoist by or with one's own petard, hurt, ruined, or destroyed by the very device or plot one had intended for another.

Obama's race speech

I'm watching Obama's speech from earlier today right now via YouTube on his web site. In his effort to untangle himself from his racist pastor of 20 years, Obama ties his current need to distance himself from his bat-caca crazy, whitey-hatin' minister to his campaign theme of unity.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

I suspect I'll hear more along these lines as I continue to listen to him drone on endlessly about nothing. But let's focus on the above quote for a moment. Here are the "monumental" problems he lists:

  1. two wars
  2. a terrorist threat
  3. a falling economy
  4. a chronic health care crisis
  5. potentially devastating climate change

Number one is bogus. We are fighting one war. Not only that but Obama has repeatedly called for surrender on the primary front in that war, Iraq. His idea of coming together is to lose?

Number two is the reason why we have number one. Again though, Obama and his allies in the Democratic Party have made every conceivable attempt to thwart our efforts to fight the terrorist threat from actively blocking and/or undermining the war effort itself, intelligence gathering, detaining terrorists caught on the battlefield, funding the troops, tying the Army's hands with rules for deployment, and, as mentioned above, advocating surrender. There are countless other examples that could be listed here.

Number three may be a bit of an overstatement but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. However, his proposals to increase taxes on income, investment, capital gains, death, marriage, gas, and every other facet of the economy, would utterly guarantee a recession and a major and lengthy economic slowdown. Add to that his proposals to limit carbon emissions and we're looking at the next depression. We used to worry about being overrun and forced to speak Russian. If Obama is elected, we better start learning Chinese.

Numbers four and five of Obama's "monumental" crisis I simply disagree with. There is no health care crisis. But there will be if we allow our nation's health care system to be run with the same brutal efficiency with which we all get our driver's licenses now. And the great global warming swindle has been re-branded as "climate change" since the planet has started cooling again but it is still the same game. The problem all along was never global warming but too much prosperity and freedom. And the answer remains the same; more government intervention, control, and power.

It appears that the only thing we have to fear, is liberal guilt.

Update: Quoth Obama:

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

So if we don't forgive Obama's 20-year-long bad judgement regarding his crazy bigoted preacher, we're retreating into our corners? Isn't that boxing terminology for calling it a draw? I say "no sir". I wish to continue this fight. Also, isn't this speech your attempt to walk away from the issue? Furthermore, what's this crap about health care, education and jobs? None of the above should be the role of the government. I'm starting to hate this guy almost as much as Reverend Wright hates the Joooos.

Update: Un-freaking-believable:

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

In the middle of the housing bubble bursting, is he really attempting to claim that black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages? (Let's leave aside the fact that FHA mortgages are for first-time home buyers who by definition are not homeowners already, be they black or white.) The primary cause of the housing bubble burst is the government intervention in the mortgage industry. It was said that mortgage companies were red-lining (not giving loans to people in black neighborhoods). The mortgage companies argued that it had nothing to do with skin color but with the applicant's ability and likeliness to repay the loan. The government didn't like the results of the racial disparity caused by giving loans to those deemed likely to repay. So the government stepped in and forced the mortgage companies to grant loans to people who could not repay. Shockingly, those people defaulted on their loans. This caused a tremendous amount of personal trouble for those involved but it also created a glut of inventory on the housing market. As we all know from Econ 101, an increase in supply causes a decrease in prices in the market. This caused everyone's home values to drop. And since most people in this country were up to and over their eyeballs in debt, they suddenly found themselves in a position where there home was worth less than what they owed.

There is plenty of blame to go around for the current state of the housing market but mortgage company red-lining is is nothing more than a red herring. And regardless it is a terrible idea for Obama to bring up the subject considering it has been the left in this country that has been largely responsible for the policies that have led to the mess the housing market is now in.

Update: "This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit." Would you feel better if what they got was more than a profit?

Update: Having watched the whole speech now I must say it was a fabulous one. If I were a vapid, uneducated, self-righteous, indignant moron, I would have been moved to fainting spells. Obama's campaign in general and this speech in particular are further proof of Mencken's wisdom, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." Except the American people themselves perhaps.

My question is this, what does all this talk about race have to do with the issue at hand? Obama has been criticized (rightly in my opinion) for his judgement in choosing Reverend Wright as his spiritual leader for 20 years. Wright's comments have been widely quoted and are unquestionable loony and racist. It is not possible or credible that Obama did not know Wright was a nutbag and/or harbored nutbag views. If he didn't know it is because Obama didn't consider those views so odd or out of the mainstream. If he did (and this is my opinion) he accepted them in order to gain cred amongst the black voters in Chicago. That's called pandering. All politicians do it to some degree or another. But to then campaign on unity and transcending race is galling.

It appears to me that the chickens that have come home to roost in this episode are those of racial politics. The reason we have not previously seen any credible national black politicians and very few statewide black politicians is that blacks on the left too often rise up the ranks out of black districts. They begin their careers as "black" candidates appealing exclusively to black constituents with promises of handouts and by appealing to bigotry; whitey is keeping you down. It is not difficult to understand why those messages lack broad-based support.

When a politician exploits racial division in order to win a congressional seat, city commissionership, mayorship, etc., it becomes near impossible to later run for an office that requires the backing of the non-black population. You cannot run as the Don't Trust Whitey candidate and then ask for whitey's vote.

Obama takes aim at his own grandmother

In an effort to wash the ickyness off, Obama today threw his own grandmother under the campaign bus:

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more
disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a
woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she
loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black
men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has
uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

Before today I thought Obama to be, to borrow a phrase, an affable dunce. He seemed nice and genuine. But this is dispicable.

March 18th 2008 - Today's Columns:

Rich Lowry : The Dishonesty of Hope - "The Rev. Wright drives a wedge into the central contradiction of Obama's campaign -- an orthodox liberal politician who rose to prominence in a left-wing milieu in Chicago and has never broken with his party on anything of consequence is campaigning on unifying the country. There is nothing particularly unifying about Obama's past and his voting record." True dat.

Thomas Sowell : Race and Politics - It is remarkable that Sowell wrote this piece before Obama gave his race speech today. But he is absolutely correct in calling Obama onto the carpet in exactly the same way any white person should be for being a demagogue exposed as a phony.

Robert D. Novak : Democratic Racial Divide - The storm is gathering for the Democratic Party breakup over race. Will Obama's speech today help to squelch the fall he's been in since the media started examining his pastor? Is the bloom sufficiently off the Obama rose for the media to now look critically at him in earnest? Will it discover even more to make him less palatable to the Superdelegates?

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann : Hillary Sends Ferraro After the Race Card - Morris paints Ferraro's remarks about Obama as overly simplistic with reasoning that is itself overly simplistic. He says "Hillary is trying, through her surrogate Ferraro, to make it appear that all Obama had to do was show up, show some skin and win." But that isn't at all what Ferraro said. Obviously Obama is a gifted politician who has connected with a very large number of people. He clearly wouldn't be where he is without his charisma, organization, intelligence, and political positioning. But to claim that his skin color is not a factor would be wrong as well. She didn't claim that it was only his skin color that got him where he is. But he wouldn't be here without it. Many in this country, myself included, are eager to elect a black President. While I don't want it to be Obama (Condi please) I do think it would go a long way toward healing deep racial divides.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

How to make a million dollars

First, have a semi-successful brewery.

Second, bring back pull tabs.

Third, buy a big vault in which you can swim in your money like that cartoon duck.

St. Patrick's Day Parade

Today I marched in the Dublin (Ohio) St. Patrick's Day Parade with the Steve Stivers for Congress campaign. My dog Frisco was the hit of the parade though:

How could you not vote for a candidate who has a dog in a t-shirt on his team?

Here's Frisco with the future Congressman.

Friday, March 14, 2008

March 14th 2008 - Today's Columns:

Charles Krauthammer : An Election About Identity, Not Policy - "The optimist will say that when this is over, we will look back on the Clinton-Obama contest, and its looming ugly endgame, as the low point of identity politics, and the beginning of a turning away. The pessimist will just vote Republican."

Jonah Goldberg : A Road Map to Democratic Disaster - Goldberg delights in the oncoming train wreck that is the Democratic nominating process. While I share his glee, counting on the other side to lose is not the same as winning. McCain is still a bag of douche.

Linda Chavez : Iraq War Could Help GOP Win in November - Chavez examines some poll numbers which point to the war in Iraq being less significant in the election than previously thought.

Rich Lowry : Bonfire of the Democrats - Lowry analyses the petard-hoisters on the left. "Even as victims, women are second-class citizens." Live by identity politics, die by identity politics.

George Will : A "Magnificent Catastrophe" - Evidently Will believes I will vote for Obama or Hillary if only he or she chooses our Governor Ted Strickland as running mate. While that seems silly, I would almost certainly vote for McCain if he chose Ken Blackwell as his running mate.

John Stossel : Beware Candidates' Promises - Stossel takes up the unpopular cause of men convicted of trivial sex offenses. In this piece he details the story of a high school senior who has consensual sex with his 15-year old freshman girlfriend and ends up on a sex offender list for life.

Walter E. Williams : Big Corn and Ethanol Hoax - Far more scrutiny needs to be paid to the ethanol hoax and I thank Walter Williams for his contribution here. "The ethanol hoax is a good example of a problem economists refer to as narrow, well-defined benefits versus widely dispersed costs." I think that if the general public understood the scope of this scam they would be picking up their pitchforks and torches.

Thomas Sowell : "Non-Judgmental" Nonsense - Sowell criticizes Spitzer for his moral failings and hubris which began well before his dalliances with prostitutes. He also criticizes those who would forgive moral failings as "personal" and not related to public life.

Jonah Goldberg : The Left's Patriotism Gap - Goldberg takes a critical look at "unity" vs. patriotism.
Better that our politics be an argument about why and how we should love our country, not about whether some do and some don't.
Thomas Sowell : The Costs of Crime - So much of the world makes sense when seen through the eyes of economics. Sowell is a master of it. Here he examines the fallacy of those who lament that "Crime Keeps on Falling, But Prisons Keep on Filling."

Rich Lowry : She Won't Stop - Finally, a pundit who gets it. So many have been saying that Hillary cannot win the nomination at this point. They base that analysis on math, rules, customs, and mores. This is Hillary Clinton for Chrissake! She will not stop, as Lowry points out. She will fight dirty and relentlessly. The only way the Democratic nomination does not end in disaster for the Democrats is if Obama joins Hillary on the ticket as the number 2. Hillary could, at this point, unify her party by bowing out of the race and throwing her support behind Obama. Assuming Saddam Hussein will be lacing up his figure skates in Hades before that happens, here are the other possibilities:

Hillary and Obama continue to slug it out in Pennsylvania and the remaining states and go into the convention in essentially the same tie they are in now. At this point the Superdelegates will decide it. Either way the Dems lose. If they decide in favor of Obama Hillary will contest the vote and insist on seating the delegates from Michigan and Florida. Even if MI and FL figure out a way to revote and send delegates to the convention, there is ample fodder for lawsuits. All this fighting will put all the dirt out on display making it easier for McCain to defeat Obama in November.

Or, the Superdelegates may decide for Hillary because either they think she'd be a better match-up against McCain or because they think this will avoid an ugly fight. Obama, who still has a future in Democratic politics, will likely let his surrogates do the fighting while he takes the high road. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson will "holla" like they've never "holla'd" before. The black vote will split in the general and Hillary will lose in the biggest landslide since Mondale.

Ann Coulter : Whoreable Behavior - Coulter exhibits a bit of Schadenfreude at the fall of Spitzer. Were I the headline writer it would be "Prick gets Pricked by Prick".

Thursday, March 6, 2008

March 6th 2008 - Today's Columns:

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann : Obama Better Battle Back Before It's Too Late - Morris is the only pundit I'm seeing who seems to truly understand Hillary. Her tenacity and capacity for evil cannot be overestimated. If Obama thinks "Hope" will win him the White House he is truly a dreamer.

George Will : FDR's Young Admirer - Will pens a wandering critique of Castro's Cuba. Some times Will is incredibly brilliant. Other times he is just incredibly hard to read. This is the latter.

Ann Coulter : Hillary: Stand By Some Other Man - Coulter, a Hillary supporter like me, hilariously urges Hillary to divorce Bill.

The percentage of registered voters who would rather disembowel themselves with a wooden spoon than vote for Hillary has just slipped below the magical 50 percent mark. We're surging, Hillary! If you want to be even more likable, you should go on "The View." Next to those four harpies, you seem almost agreeable.

Emmett Tyrrell : McCain Again - An interesting quote:
In the autumn of 2006 when I crashed Bill Clinton's 60th birthday party in Toronto, I managed to be seated with his traveling aides and a few of his financial supporters. On that night, I picked up two pieces of intelligence that are pertinent in light of McCain's almost certain nomination. She was uncertain about running for president in 2008 and would wait to see how the off-year elections went in 2006. More interestingly, the Republican she most feared was McCain.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

How to trap a P.I.A.P.S.

Clearly my strategery and tactics are effective. And riding on my wave of success, I now offer more unsolicited advice to the McCain campaign.

When McCain faces Hillary in a debate this fall (if?), he should lay the following trap:

Hillary: [Slings some mud in what is supposed to sound like an off-the-cuff comment but actually sounds rehearsed and focus-grouped.]

McCain: "I don't want to respond to mud-slinging. There's an old saying in the south (appeals to people who actually vote Republican) that whenever you get into a wrestling match with a pig you never win. Because you both end up covered in mud, but the pig likes it."

Hillary: "It's interesting, I think, that my opponent would attempt to take the high road while, in essence, calling me a pig."

McCain: "Well if the pantsuit fits..."

Audience: [uproarious laughter]

March 5th 2008 - Today's Columns:

John Stossel : Influence-Peddling - Stossel spits in the wind in his usual and charming way about "the problem of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs." By that I mean he's right, he makes a tremendous amount of sense, he argues convincingly using relevant real-world examples, and yet his position has about as much chance of implementation as Al Gore's 10,000 sq. ft. mansion being powered by solar panels. For instance he argues, "Only when we eliminate the state's ability to meddle in business will business will [sic] stop meddling in government." Oh, is that all it takes?

Rich Galen : John, John, He's Our Man - Galen focuses on the short-term of Hillary and Obama battling it out for the nomination while McCain can "spend the next eight months building (and paying for) a well-oiled General election machine." So many pundits are focused on the next battle, Pennsylvania, that they're not realizing that neither Hillary nor Obama can clinch the nomination at this point. There simply aren't enough delegates remaining for one to knock the other out of contention. As Rush said on his program today, this thing will go on until June 7th in Puerto Rico and it won't be decided then either. After yesterday's performance Hillary has enough street cred to stay in this to the bitter end. And it will be bitter. Were I a lesser blogger I would put a smiley face here.

Walter E. Williams : Liberty Versus Socialism - Williams takes a closer look at the slippery slope we are headed down with our government approach to health care. If the government has a financial interest in you leading a healthy lifestyle there is virtually no facet of your life over which the government cannot claim control. Smoking and helmets are the beginning. But this inexorably leads to control of fatty foods, exercise, and precious, precious alcohol. But we've been down that road before and I'll have my Tommy gun at the ready.

Jonah Goldberg : An Early Autopsy on the Clinton Campaign - I really feel bad for Jonah publishing this article prior to the results of yesterday's contest. It really seems premature in today's light. But one line is prescient: "Democrats won't be pleased that Hillary raised the who-should-take-the-call question with John McCain in the race."

Lawrence Kudlow : Resurrect King Dollar - Kudlow argues for strengthening the dollar on the world stage. This makes perfect sense from an economic standpoint but he thinks McCain will score political points by making this central to his campaign. But considering that a shockingly large percentage of the American population thinks the government can simply print more money and give it to them, and that since it doesn't, the government is mean, I doubt this is a winning political strategy. I suspect the percentage of the population that understands the role of the dollar with regard to world markets and inflation is closer to zero than to one percent.

World's Smallest Gun

(Via Drudge)

At less than 2" long, this actually fires real bullets, 6 of them. Unfortunately it's banned nearly everywhere.

Check it out.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

We have a nominee!

Time to celebrate!

I'm off to vote...

Don't call me a hero. I'm just doing my duty.

Today's task will be even more distasteful than when I (literally) held my nose and voted for Bob Taft.

Today I will cast my ballot for Hillary.

A couple days ago my dad called me a political whore. Well I may need a shot of penicillin after this.

Update: It's official...

March 4th 2008 - Today's Columns:

Thomas Sowell : Rescuing the Rust Belt - Sowell provides an excellent autopsy of the rust belt. Decades of union wages and work rules and high taxes have created have led businesses to move away from Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, etc. and opened up opportunities for new businesses to capture market share. But the people and the policies remain behind like the salted earth at Carthage. Nothing can ever grow there while that poison remains. Until a significant portion of Americans understand simple economic principles, these events will be repeated again and again. There is no free lunch.

Rich Lowry : The Superfluous Woman - As much as I enjoy bashing Hillary, I fail to see the point of Lowry's column. Next.

Rich Galen : A Name, An Ad - "her campaign might have made real strides with rank-and-file Democrats if her staff would have had her answer the phone at 3 AM dressed in a ratty old robe, no make up, her hair uncombed, a cigarette hanging from the corner of her mouth, and a bunny slipper dangling from one foot."

Robert Knight : Clueless in Obama Nation - This article is about religion. I've been hoodwinked!

Jonah Goldberg : The Prince of Polysyllabism - A tribute to WFB. "You cannot paint the Mona Lisa by assigning one dab each to a thousand painters"

Michael Barone : Throw Out the Old Electoral Maps in 2008 - Barone opines that the red/blue divide of the past will not be determinative of the future. The candidates are widely different this time around and the vote will split along different lines than the past two Presidential elections.

Robert D. Novak : Bailing Out Barack -

  • Obama made a major mistake in the debate by not denouncing Farrakhan's support but was saved by Hillary's remark about rejecting the New York Independence Party's endorsement.
  • Hillary's ugly complaint in the debate about being called on first was planned in order to play up Saturday Night Live's depiction of media favoritism of Obama.
  • Rumors are circulating that McCain won the last minute endorsement from Gov. Christ of Florida by promising him a VP spot on the ticket.
  • Newt turned friends into enemies by his support of Rep. Wayne Gilchrest in MD. [It seems to me Newt has been trimming his sails lately and largely on environmental issues in an apparent effort to make his potential Presidential candidacy more palatable to the wider electorate. I respect and admire Newt highly and I fail to understand his recent actions. As Ayn Rand warned: “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.”]
  • Denny Hastert's Illinois district is up for grabs. A Democratic victory there "would be heralded as a harbinger of a big Democratic year ahead."

Charles Krauthammer : The Freedom to Lobby - Krauthammer points out that the no matter how much politicians rail against "special interests", the right to lobby is Constitutionally guaranteed:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and
to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Great advertisement

(Hat tip: Gizmodo)

February 28th 2008 - Today's Columns:

Ann Coulter : William F. Buckley: R.I.P., Enfant Terrible - Coulter chooses to focus on the terrible side of the enfant terrible. This approach is interesting and enlightening to those of us who came along after Buckley had won the war of ideas and mellowed his approach. For my whole life Buckley was seen as congenial and intellectual. It's important to look back at some of the battles during the early years and relive his heroics. "Buckley may have been a conservative celebrity, but there was a lot more to him than a bow tie and a sailboat." I've read and heard quite a bit of sorrow for the passing of WFB in that there is no heir (or worse that his heirs are bombastic flamethrowers like Coulter and Limbaugh). But I think the reason there is no clear heir to Buckley is because he was sui generis in his time. Today there are many conservative intellectuals on the scene, all spawned by Buckley's legacy. None stand out as the singularity as did he, not because they're not great but because there are so many of them.

Victor Davis Hanson : The World in 2009 - VDH describes the world as it is with its challenges and threats and how they really have virtually nothing to do with George W. Bush. The next president will have to face these challenges and simply not being Bush is not going to turn around all our enemies and detractors. Much of the world sees us, as Osama Bin Laden said, as the "weak horse." Weakness invites challenges, be they military, economic, or diplomatic.

George Will : McCain's Good Times - Ouch! Politics can be so incestuous and dirty sometimes. And Will exposes McCain's "situational ethic[s]" with regard to campaign financing.

Robert D. Novak : How Not to Run for VP - Novak reports on Tim Pawlenty's (R-MN) actions as the head of the National Governor's Association. Like far too many Republicans, Pawlenty has bought into the hoax of Global Warmism and has thus made himself a poor choice as VP for McCain. I think Novak may be giving McCain too much credit for doing the smart thing instead of stubbornly thumbing his nose at his own base.

Lawrence Kudlow : Obama's Big-Government Vision - Kudlow discusses Obama's plans for raising income taxes, corporate taxes, dividend taxes, capital gains taxes, doubling the earned-income tax credit, tripling the benefit for minimum wage earners, establish a mortgage interest tax credit (another tax reduction for those who don't pay taxes [welfare]), all while regulating the profits of big businesses thusly reducing their incentives to expand and grow. Obama's current tally for his various proposals is at $800 billion. That's $2,666 for every man, woman, and child in this country. Which means the average family of four would have a higher tax burden of over $10,500 each year. As we all know only roughly half the population are workers (remove retirees, homemakers, children, students, etc.) and only roughly half of all workers pay any income tax at all. That means that the aforementioned $2,666 per person must be paid by an increasingly smaller number of people. In other words, instead of $10K for a family of four, a family that actually pays taxes would have an increased burden of approximately $40K. Every year. And Obama attempts to sell this to the voters as a means of increasing economic opportunity. Take from the rich, give to the poor. Has that ever worked?

Emmett Tyrrell : A Redwood Falls in the Forest - Tyrrell writes a heartfelt obituary in honor of the great William F. Buckley Jr. I would love to get my hands on one of those oils.

Rich Galen : The Clinton Legacy - Galen predicts the demise of Hillary as a candidate and of Bill's legacy. I maintain that this is premature.

John Stossel : Guns Save Lives - "It's impossible to know exactly how often guns stop criminals. Would-be victims don't usually report crimes that don't happen. But people use guns in self-defense every day."

Walter E. Williams : Africa: A Tragic Continent - Williams lists the woes of Africa and debunks the argument that its problems are due to its history of colonialism. He details why foreign aid is counterproductive and lists the governmental reforms necessary to success. All of this is true but not terribly enlightening unless this is your first time hearing anything about Africa from someone who thinks more deeply than Bono. What is needed from conservative Western thinkers is to spend more time on African issues and come up with a plan to start down the path to success. It is not enough to simply say that African problems require the African people to implement reforms for property rights, rule of law, etc. This is true but I for one refuse to accept that we cannot influence the situation. Great minds like those of Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell are capable of more and I'd like to see them spend the time to come up with a way to move forward.

Thomas Sowell : A Lesson From Venezuela - Sowell examines economic lessons from price controls throughout history from the ancient Egyptians and Romans to Richard Nixon and Hugo Chavez. It is truly amazing that over thousands of years people still refuse to learn simple economic principles and leaders still take the same actions that have proven to lead to failure, time and time again.

Jonah Goldberg : Radicals Never Say Sorry - "What fascinates me is how light the baggage is when one travels from violent radicalism to liberalism."

Thomas Sowell : Bad Times - Sowell catalogues and laments the demise of The New York Times. It is interesting that so many once reputable and proud publications are resorting to sensationalism and hyperbole in order to attract an audience. Their audiences continue to shrink as the market fragments and this in turn encourages even more outrageous tactics. I don't know where this is all heading but I suspect it will become harder and harder in the short term to find reliable, or at least widely credible news sources.

Rich Lowry : On Trade: Obama's Opportunistic Fear-Mongering - Lowry looks at some statistics and economic trends to take apart the Left's rhetoric on NAFTA.

Rich Galen : Ralph Nader and Alan Keyes - Galen on how closely divided the U.S. electorate is and the need for each Republican and/or conservative to vote.