Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fred vs. Ramesh, or, Why Conservatives Are So Awesome

First Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review says this, to give us a base of where he's coming from. Then, seemingly contradictorily, he posts this, complaining of Fred Thompson's seeming aversion to tort reform. Then Fred Thompson responds in the same pages with this. Then Ramesh re-responds, again at NRO, here. This time, Fred takes his argument over to townhall.com in a general statement about federalism, here. Finally (or at least currently), Ramesh has the good grace to point out to his Corner readers Fred's latest salvo here, with a short response, and reassures the readers that, despite this back-and-forth, he is still "favorably disposed to a Thompson candidacy".

Whew. Apart from setting a personal record for "number of articles linked in a single blog post", I do have a broader point, as indicated by my alternate title above. Granted, I do not spend much time on lefty blogs. But can you imagine a serious candidate, or even potential candidate on the left, such as Mr. Thompson on the right, engaging in this sort of back-and-forth, civilized, non-ad-hominem, intellectual, coherent, thought-provoking, or, dare I say it, articulate dialogue? I cannot. Frankly, I can't really imagine any of the announced candidates, even on the Right, spending their time so clearly outlining their principles in the face of honest but highly critical questions from "one of their own". What's more, at the end of the debate, the "loyal opposition" remains "loyal" -- a lesson the Left could truly take to heart. This truly makes me proud to be part of the Conservative movement, when we have healthy debate like this, instead of the step-in-line-or-we'll-excommunicate-you mentality that seems to pervade the lefty blogosphere.

Mitt Romney's defenders spend a lot of energy pointing out how readily he has embraced the blogosphere and the "wired" generation. Okay, so where are his policy-level interactions with the bloggers themselves? Fred Thompson doesn't talk about it, he does it.

Disclaimer: I agree with Ramesh that tort reform is critically important for the welfare of this country. Too many chefs around the country put way too much chocolate or rasberry sauce on top of the thing, and it becomes so cloyingly sweet that it nears inedibility. Mr. Thompson is equally right, however, in that the Feds have no right to tell the baker how to make his tasty confection.

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Proud To Be A Southern Boy

Growing up in Arkansas, I spent a lot of time listening to Country music, although I never considered myself a hardcore "fan". I liked, and still like, a lot of the "older" stuff -- country music that came from the 80's and early 90's (apologies to those for whom "older stuff" implies Patsy Cline, Hank Williams Sr. and pre-ponytail Willie Nelson), which makes sense, since that was what I was fed as a child. Clint Black, George Strait, Randy Travis, up to and including a pre-self-obsessed Garth Brooks. Then came the country/rock bands with their wannabe-trendy clothes and obnoxious, it-was-cool-five-years-ago haircuts, at which point "modern" country music and I parted ways. The end result of that trend, I think, was the Dixie Chicks (I acknowledge their talent, but when country music and politics mix, politics wins and the fans lose). Fortunately, the resulting backlash helped to bring Country Music back to its roots.

Where am I going with all this? Jeff Foxworthy, three-time host of the Country Music Awards, closed the most recent show with a very rousing monologue:

Sorry, but this is the best-quality version of it I could find to embed. A much clearer version can be seen here (click on the second box down to view the video).

Anywho, I think his short speech says it all. And it makes me proud to have grown up with that heritage.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

This Looks Promising

Over at The Corner, John J. Miller has a bleg:
I'd like to assemble a list of great conservative science-fiction novels and so, dear readers, I ask for your help. I consider myself well read in sci-fi but my knowledge is hardly encyclopedic. Please send recommendations to nrorocks-at-yahoo.com.

A few ground rules: Include title and author, plus at least a short argument about why a particular novel belongs on the list. Also, I'm happy to define "conservative" in the broad spirit of fusionism, so libertarian books count. Now, blast off.

This is the same guy who, some time ago, published the list of the top 50 conservative rock songs in the pages of NRODT. So like I said, this looks promising.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

All You Need To Know

This is the most comprehensive, descriptive, illuminating article/review/interview/what have you regarding Fred Thompson that I have read to date. Key snippets:
Thompson seems to recognize that he wins the guy-I'd-want-to-get-a-beer-with primary the moment he announces. He comes across as a regular guy--"folksy" will be the political cliché that attaches to his candidacy--and punctuates explanations of his positions with the kind of off-the-cuff homespun witticisms that Dan Rather spent a career trying to come up with.

And this one, which pacifies me greatly:
* In the days since Thompson allowed that he was thinking about running for president, his views on abortion have come under scrutiny. Thompson finds the news reports from his first run for Senate perplexing.

"I have read these accounts and tried to think back 13 years ago as to what may have given rise to them. Although I don't remember it, I must have said something to someone as I was getting my campaign started that led to a story. Apparently, another story was based upon that story, and then another was based upon that, concluding I was pro-choice."

But, he adds: "I was interviewed and rated pro-life by the National Right to Life folks in 1994, and I had a 100 percent voting record on abortion issues while in the Senate."

Darla St. Martin, associate executive director of National Right to Life, supports Thompson on those claims. She traveled to Tennessee in 1994 to meet with him. "I interviewed him and on all of the questions I asked him, he opposed abortion," she told the American Spectator's Philip Klein.

Thompson says he thinks Roe v. Wade is bad law and should be overturned, but he says he does not support a Human Life Amendment.

Do yourself a huge favor and go read the whole thing right now. Just don't fall in love with Mr. Thompson, because I already did, and you can't have him! I mean that in a manly, viking sort of way, though.

UPDATE: I now have a "Fred Dalton Thompson" label! It only seemed the most reasonable thing to do, considering...

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Chris over at Mazurland posted a link to another post (here) describing the oft-abused official rules and subsequent "house rules" that result in games of Monopoly taking way longer than they should. He also presents some advice for successful strategery (buy red and orange, mortgage early if you have to) that I will probably follow the next time I play.

My in-laws are shameless tabletop-gaming cheats. From weird house rules (first time I ever heard of the "once-around-the-board-before-you-buy" rule was from them) to feigned ignorance (my mother in law Blanca is particularly notorious for this, and when she gets called out after a particularly audacious violation, she'll simply respond that she'll "play it right next turn", and then proceeds to act deeply wounded if you make her play by the rules this turn), I have to stay on my toes to keep them playing straight. My wife, who fortunately does not suffer (as far as I can tell) from this affliction, says that's how they've always played games of any sort.

And that also got me thinking -- am I the only one who thinks the proliferation of various -opolies has gotten a bit out of hand? Every major university has one. Every professional sports team, too. Most big cities as well. I think the trend has reached its zenith when the "property" concept is replaced completely arbitrarily with some other category -- the dogs of Dogopoly, for example. At this point, the game loses all meaning. Are we supposed to believe that we are paying rent and building houses on breeds of dogs? Unless the player tokens are in the form of ticks, fleas, and other canine-inclined parasites (I can just imagine me and my siblings arguing over who gets to be the heartworm!), they've really gone too far. Seriously, we need to step back, take a deep breath, and rein ourselves in.

My title, I think, describes the ultimate logical end -- a Monopoly board whose properties are other variants of the Monopoly game! That, or a Monopoly game based on magnetics.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

McCain Wins This Round

Byron York, over at The Corner, rounds up the Big Three's reactions to yesterday's SCOTUS ruling regarding partial-birth abortion. McCain:

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a victory for those who cherish the sanctity of life and integrity of the judiciary. The ruling ensures that an unacceptable and unjustifiable practice will not be carried out on our innocent children. It also clearly speaks to the importance of nominating and confirming strict constructionist judges who interpret the law as it is written, and do not usurp the authority of Congress and state legislatures. As we move forward, it is critically important that our party continues to stand on the side of life.


Today, our nation’s highest court reaffirmed the value of life in America by upholding a ban on a practice that offends basic human decency. This decision represents a step forward in protecting the weakest and most innocent among us.


The Supreme Court reached the correct conclusion in upholding the congressional ban on partial birth abortion. I agree with it.

Mr. York seems to think McCain "laid it on a bit thick". I have to disagree. He emphasised both the importance of the ruling itself AND the importance of strict-constructionist judges, the sine qua non of the pro-life movement, given the existence and precedents of Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood.

This round:

McCain: 1
Romney: 0.5
Giuliani: Ain't fooling anyone.

If Thompson never enters the race (a fortunately increasingly unlikely situation), at this point, I think I may just have to vote for McCain. It's that important.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Light In This Present Darkness

It has just been reported that the SCOTUS has upheld the national ban on partial birth abortions. It seems like the incremental strategy may, after all, be the path to success for the eventual eradication of legally sanctioned infanticide. Given all the sad news in the last couple days about the Virginia Tech shootings, this is particularly welcome good news.

UPDATE: It's a "breaking news" top-of-the-page headline on Foxnews. On CNN, it's buried WAY down, not even on the above-the-fold portion, and not even the top headline of the below-the-fold "latest news" subsection -- 10 headlines down, in fact. I had to search for it.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Kennedy wrote the majority opinion. Praise God for letting the dice Justice Kennedy apparently rolls before every vote come up in favor of our side!

STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: Still in its obscure location on CNN, 3 hours after it happened, and now the headline blandly reads "Supreme Court upholds ban on abortion procedure". Gee, CNN, thanks for giving me the impression that the SCOTUS upheld a ban on abortion itself, or just some nondescript variant thereof, rather than the procedure wherein a perfectly healthy, living fetus is partially delivered, its skull then pierced or crushed, and then fully extracted and tossed in the garbage.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Why Is The Reverse Never True?

So Giuliani, I think, completely tanked his own personal chances at getting the nomination the other day by saying that "our party has to get beyond issues like [abortion]", as quoted here and many other places. Some are construing this as his advocacy of "big tent Republicanism", but I frankly can't read this in any other way than "I'm going to either completely ignore or totally rebuff all of you people who take the naive view that ending the legalized mass murder of millions of innocent human beings is vastly more important than pretty much everything else that our party represents". Granted, he already lost me by being to the left of most Dem candidates with regard to federally funded abortions. But it got me thinking.

We so often hear from virtually every "mainstream" pro-abortion-rights candidate, be he/she Democrat or Republican, that they are "personally against abortion", but can't bring themselves to "force their views on the women of America", or some such nonsense like that. They'll often throw in a "I would counsel any of my own relations against it!" for good measure. Think Giuliani, think Kerry, etc. Of course this view doesn't stand up against even the weakest scrutiny, but that's a post for a later time. What got me thinking is this: why is the reverse never true? Why is there never a politician who legislates pro-life, but argues "Personally, I am pro-choice, but I don't believe I should force those views onto mainstream America"? Sure, it may seem silly, but it's just as logically consistent as the other position.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Seriously, We Have To Do Better Than This

Over at Democracy Project, there is this article purporting to lambaste the AP for only citing "experience covering intelligence" a "plus" when announcing a job opening for a reporter to cover the intelligence community in DC. Their key point:

Would the AP advertise for a sports reporter for whom knowledge and experience with baseball, basketball, football, soccer, hockey, tennis, and so forth is only a “plus,” rather than essential and primary?

Read the actual ad posted. Now, anyone who's spent five minutes browsing my archives knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am keenly aware of and eager to expose the MSM's blatant liberal bias and stupidity when covering all things military and/or intelligence-related. So coming from me, this oughta carry weight: You -- Democracy Project -- must do better than this. First of all, nowhere in the job posting does it say that knowledge of intelligence matters is merely a "plus". You, Bruce Kesler, are conflating knowledge and experience. Secondly, are your recruiting standards so paradoxical that only a person experienced with a specific job can then proceed to apply for and win that very same job? People have to start somewhere. Do you think that, somehow, in a weird Moebius strip of journalistic hiring practices, all first-time reporters in the area of intelligence (and every reported must, in a causal system, have a first time!) nevertheless already have experience in this area?

Seriously, you can do better than this. And for the sake of our shared desires -- to expose the MSM for what it is -- you must, or we will all be ridiculed for sloppy logic.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sad AND Reassuring...

So Fred Thompson has cancer, but that cancer has been in remission for some time. The first makes me sad, but the second gives me hope. Jim Geraghty has this to say:

If a lymphoma diagnosis and treatment didn't interrupt Fred Thompson's "Law & Order" work, it shouldn't interrupt his presidential ambitions, if he has them.

UPDATE: Spoke to Smart Washington Guy, one of my regular folks I talk to. His reaction: "This means he's running. He's being proactive and getting it out there."

That makes me feel better. The last quote, WAY better.

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The Man Comes Around

Wow. I was fully prepared to completely dismiss this article upon reading the title, even though it was by one of my favorite writers, Jonah Goldberg. But I have to admit, it has given me considerable grist on which to chew. Should I throw my support to McCain despite my mistrust and gut-feeling misgivings about the man? The one-two punch of pointing out McCain's actual voting record and hawkishness, and lumping Giuliani in with Clinton, had quite an impact on me. Perhaps I should reconsider.

And frankly, even though I don't like it, McCain-Feingold doesn't keep me up at night. I really think it's only blogging-for-a-living pundits and Beltway insiders that really care about that stuff, enough to change their votes.

Key paragraph, for me:

McCain's been a consistent pro-lifer (which distinguishes him from pretty much everyone else in the race so far). Until recently, Giuliani argued passionately for partial-birth abortion as a constitutional right. McCain has voted to confirm every conservative Supreme Court nominee, including Robert Bork. He voted "guilty" in Bill Clinton's impeachment trial. He campaigned for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, even after Bush beat him. Giuliani says he was ideologically simpatico with Clinton, and he endorsed Democrat Mario Cuomo for governor of New York.


Monday, April 09, 2007

O'Thetical in '08!

I've read a lot of chatter lately, mostly among the "Christian Left" and RINO centrist right, that if we horrible Evangelical Right Wing Christians (ERWCs) could just "get over" this weird and creepy fixation with and opposition to abortion and the homosexual agenda, all would be well with the world and "real dialog" could begin across the aisles. No, I won't provide links, because I am lazy. There was one by some fellow on the front page of CNN late last week, so maybe you can go search for that. Anywho, I find this about as believable as the thesis that if we, as a civilization, just stop supporting Israel and/or cease and desist our hedonistic Western ways (e.g. holding hands on the first date and the bare ankles of the lady-types, peace be upon them), the Islamists would leave us alone.

But here's my real point: imagine if a committed fiscally liberal Democrat gained national prominence, but was staunchly pro-life (no wiggle-room here) and at least gave lip-service (backed up, at the very least, by a non-antithetical track record) against the aforementioned "homosexual agenda". We'll call him Hyman P. O'Thetical (Irish Catholic with a Jewish mother? It could happen). My thesis is that this individual, if he were capable of gaining the nomination of his party, would be the next President of the United States, and not by a small margin at all.

The existence of the ERWC cohort is rife with unobserved contradictions in the eyes of the MSM: we are eager rubber-stampers for anything and everything with the GOP seal-of-approval on it; we suckle at the teat of the Bush family and their Neo/Theocon handlers; meanwhile, we are the real kingmakers on the right; no Republican serves without our express approval, and failure by the current administration to directly substantively address abortion and gay marriage was the reason 2006 was so dismal for the GOP.

The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle. But speaking as a card-carrying member of the ERWCs, I can tell you this: I do indeed have a "litmus test" for national office-seekers over whose fate I have some control. Among candidates, I will immediately cull the pro-abortion and even the wishy-washy. Should this result in an empty set, my vote is either withheld or written in with a palatable alternative. Following that, I look to the gay-marriage question. My standards here aren't quite as strict, as truly moderate candidates on this issue may be tempered by extraordinarily-qualified positions on other issues. Point is, though, it takes a lot to get them past this stage without the proper position. Camel through the eye of the needle, and all that. Once past this stage, all candidates are weighed based on other fiscal and social merits. Club for Growth and/or NRA membership is a major plus (I use the latter -- or at least similar policy positions of the candidate -- as an almost-but-not-quite litmus test as well). But I digress...

Here's the rub: notice I never mentioned party affiliation in the above process. While I don't claim that I can speak for the entire ERWC population, it is my strong conjecture that many others like me feel the same way. They may care about privatize health care and retirement accounts, unfettered capitalism, unrestricted access to firearms, strong national foreign policy, states' rights, law-and-order, and a plethora of other issues, but the rights of the unborn and preservation of the traditional family trump all of those concerns.

Additionally, there is a large contingent among the ERWCs whose own economic and social positions, apart from abortion and gay marriage, mesh quite well with the Democrats. Supercifially, the uplifting of the downtrodden through government-mandated financial assistance sounds very appealing to many with a strong Christian ethos, as does supporting the elderly, striving for racial equality, preserving the environment, keeping the peace by eliminating violent weapons, et cetera, ad nauseaminfinitum. Please note I do not count myself among that particular number, and most sensible ERWCs realize that social support is best done through the Church itself, and prayer and action, rather than forcible government intervention, but nevertheless, that constituency is still there, and waiting for a chance to break ranks, stymied only by The Big Two.

And since I suspect there's no one, not even a libertarian, who is an "abortion and gay marriage Democrat" who would LOVE to vote for a Republican if only he were pro-abortion and pro-gay, Mr. O'Thetical would get his base's votes without a problem. Now just imagine a race between Giuliani and O'Thetical. Scary, isn't it?

Meanwhile, contra the position in my opening paragraph above, I don't believe the opposite to be true: that a pro-abortion, pro-gay, otherwise conservative candidate would see democrats and liberals flocking in droves to his corner. No, I cannot prove this, or even provide much in the way of evidence, but again consider the Giuliani scenario: Obama vs. Giuliani? I think Obama will win. Hillary vs. Giuliani? I shudder as I type, but again, I think Clinton would win. Edwards vs. Giuliani? Ok, Giuliani would mop the floor with him. But Edwards is a WORD DELETED PURSUANT TO THE ADVICE OF ANNE COULTER'S LAWYERS. (Note: the previous predictions are barring any terrorist activities on American soil in the intervening months -- otherwise Rudy G. will lock the "security mom" vote and it'll be all over for the Dems).

Of course, recall my qualifier from above: if he could get his party's nomination. That's a big if, and for the time being, those of you for whom fiscal conservatism trumps all can breathe easy. It ain't gonna happen any time soon. We can thank the lefty fever-swamp for that.

Addendum: If Hyman P. O'Thetical were also a outspoken, card-carrying, gun-toting member of the NRA and Individual-Right-Interpretation 2nd Ammendment supporter, he'd win over Glenn Reynolds and his ilk, and he'd win in a record-setting landslide -- possibly even an electoral shut-out!

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Do Not What Now?

Click here. Trust me on this one.

Hint: it's on the second-to-last row.

No, not on that one -- the one after that one.

(HT -- who else? -- Jonah @ The Corner)


Thursday, April 05, 2007


Watch the above, hard-hitting documentary, and your eyes will be opened, Sheeple! You can find more information on The Truth that the Taft administration cronies don't want you to know here. SEE THE TRUTH! SEE IT! SEEEEEE IIIIIIIIIIITTTTT!

Hat tip: Jonah @ The Corner

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

So Easy a Pop Star Can Do It...

Observe the following video, in which Pop-Grunge songstress Alanis Morissette performs her own rendition of "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas (for the reason why this is funny, watch this video -- the original -- first -- or at least as much of it as you can stomach). WARNING: DO NOT WATCH IF CLEAVAGE AND BARE LEGS OFFEND YOU:

It's nice to see Ms. Morissette returning to her comedy roots. The video itself certainly skewers the original content quite nicely. However, unless Alanis has suddenly or recently been gifted with extraordinary amounts of self-awareness and an unending capacity for self deprecation, I suspect that she herself is missing an even greater point about even her own genre of music: that if you sing with great intensity and melodrama, even the most inane lyrics gain sudden apparent heft and gravity. In other words, within the world of popular music, there is a fine line between pathos and bathos.

A little bit ironic, don'tcha think? Like rain on your wedding day or some junk.

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