Friday, September 30, 2005

Inherent Sleaze

According to LA Times (registration) columnist Jonathan Chait, the sleaze is inherent in Tom Delay's job:

It's hard to imagine how DeLay could function without at least coming very close to breaking the law. His indictment is an indictment of the whole way the Republican Party operates. The central theme of DeLay's tenure has been to break down barriers to greater corporate influence in American politics.

Some of these barriers are mere social norms. It once was considered completely beyond the pale to, say, threaten political retribution against corporations that give donations and lobbying jobs to the other party. DeLay and his "K Street Project" made this a regular practice.

Some of these barriers are formal rules that lack the force of law. The House of Representatives forbids its members from accepting trips from lobbyists. DeLay regularly accepted such trips, financed through transparent front groups.

And some of these barriers are actual laws. Texas law forbids the use of corporate money in elections. DeLay allegedly masterminded a scheme whereby corporations would donate money earmarked for Texas races to the Republican National Committee, which would then pour the money into the Texas races.

The central vision of DeLayism is of a political system whereby business gains almost total control over the Republican agenda, and in return the GOP gains unlimited financial influence over the electoral process.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Here's a headline from the Bizarro World: Ann Coulter Breaks Her 'Silence'.


Pat Buchanan says that we are in trouble:

George W. Bush is in big trouble, and so are we.

In this town, there is barely disguised glee that the president so badly bumbled the rescue-and-recovery operation post-Katrina that he has lost the aura of a strong, engaged and decisive leader.

Democrats and their coalition partners in the media are openly gloating that Bush's fumbling proves them right: He is the fortunate son who is beyond his depth in an office he would not have won had it not been for his name, connections and a friendly Supreme Court.

The piling on begins to grate, but that is the nature of politics here. Vince Foster was right. Ruining people is sport in this city. Especially presidents. When Nixon was mired in Watergate, Reagan ensnared in Iran-Contra and Clinton embroiled in the Monica mess, Washington was whistling, "Happy Days Are Here Again."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Motor City Mad Man

The New York Times has an article about a new Ted Nugent reality show from the Outdoor Life Network. In the article, the mind behind such classics as "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" ("Wang dang, what a sweet poontang a shakin' my thang as a rang-a-dang-dang in the bell") discussed his desire to run for governor of Michigan in 2010, as opposed to 2006. "Even though Michigan needs me desperately - the pimps and the whores and the welfare brats need to be introduced to my crowbar - I think I would be better fortified and my family would be better fortified for the campaign, if I decided to do so, five years from now . . . I was 99 percent ready to do it. In fact, I called Engler, I called Pataki, Huckabee, Perry . . . I had the support of everybody."

Although his endorsements appear to be in line, he might want to hire a few consultants to polish his image and keep him from volunteering all of his opinions such as his view of the Catholic Church:
He is also not a fan of the Roman Catholic Church. "They got how many trillions of dollars in gold and silver and jewelry and art and real estate and stained glass and they're passing the basket on Sunday so they can get the tomato farmers' donation?"

"You see that gut pile?" he added, pointing to a large hole that served as a maggot-infested dumping ground for animal innards. "That's my [expletive] church."

I don't know much about Michingan politics, but I assume that this kind of [expletive] stupid statement might be a liability when running for governor of that state.

Mickey Mouse Kaus

Slate's snarky and pointless Mickey Kaus has become obsessed with Times Select, the new program by the New York Times to make money off of the web. I counted at least two dozen mentions of the new plan currently listed on his blog. Ultimately, I hope that they do away with the Select, since I like to get things for free. I hope, however that it doesn't fail for the reason that Kaus is predicting, as this illustrative comment suggests:
Times columnists are so privileged they must be made second class citizens in the blogosphere! There's some populism for you. ... Haven't the poor NYT pundits been punished enough? I don't see why the Times can't let Krugman (or a designated acolyte) maintain an archive that posts his columns 30 days or 60 days or 90 days after the Times (exclusively) publishes them. Would that really be such a revenue drain?

I don't assume that the only opinions that matter are those discussed and linked to on blogs. If that is true, then there is little future for the type of writing that appears in publications such as the Atlantic Monthly, Harpers or the New Yorker; or even the generally shorter articles and reviews that appear in the American Conservative and like publications. Much of the best and most informative journalism and opinion is of a length that is difficult to comprehend when read on a computer screen, at least for me. The longest articles I regularly read are from Justin Raimondo, and I tend to scan those.

One would think that Kaus, who once wrote for the New Republic and pubished a book before he started thinking in soundbites and blurbs, would know that.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Two Cheers for NIMBYism

The Freeper, Behind Liberal Lines complains about Upstate NIMBY's (Not In My Back Yard):
More NIMBYism. Ethanol may or may not be a worthwhile alternative fuel source, but ten bucks says that the people objecting to this plant are the same people constantly whining about "big oil" and asking why the government doesn't do more to promote alternative fuels.

What I find most appalling is that the guy doesn't even care about the ethanol plant, he just wants to ruin back yards. There was a time when conservatives cared about things like back yards, front yards and neighborhoods, but that doesn't have anything to do with FreeRepublic.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Team Players

Several American Spectator readers object to a pessimistic "Prowler" article suggesting that the Bush Agenda is dead. Some of the responses are revealing, such as this line from Carol: "Has he solved the immigration problem yet? Has any other president ever tried?" Actully, the problem with Bush on immigration is that he is trying to make it worse with an ill-conceived amnesty plan. And yes previous presidents have tried to do something about immigration.

Another reader, one A. DiPentima complains that the American Spectator, by printing something negative is acting more like the New York Times than "part of the team." What DiPentima wants is the political equivalent of "Rah Rah Rah, Sis Boom Bah."

Finally, one reader notes that while the Prowler referred to the president's response to Katrina as "Clintonian" when the problem was the his response was too Bushian: "As I understand from all the reports I've heard and read, the 'Clintonian response' had been to appoint emergency response professionals to emergency response positions. Bush's has been to appoint cronies and Arabian horse professionals to those positions. The results speak for themselves."

Monday, September 19, 2005


I haven't commented on Cindy Sheehan much. I generally agree with her on the Iraq War, but too many of the statements attributed to her are disturbing. But this post complaining about the "liberal bias" in an article on Sheehan in the New York Times. He is particularly upset with this paragraph:
The church was an appropriate setting for a protest, said the Rev. David W. Dyson, who helped organize the event. Built in 1857, the church was created as part of the abolitionist movement, and tunnels below were twice used to shelter runaway slaves as part of the Underground Railroad.

The anonymous poster illogically concludes that the Times is implying, "Simon Legree=George W. Bush? Slavery=the War in Iraq? You bet." So far, so bad. Although no reasonable person could make the leap that this guy attributes to the Times, it is the sort of nonsense that probably occurrs in the blogosphere about a million times a day. What really disgusts me is that he refers to Cindy Sheehan as a "Gold Star Moron." I don't believe that Sheehan, or anybody who enters the political arena, should be above criticism; but to refer to a Gold Star Mother, who buried her son, as a "Gold Star Moron" is disgusting.

Stephen Spruiell, the media blogger at National Review Online saw nothing objectionable when he linked to the post.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Economics in One Lesson

Alexander McClure of Polipundit needs to read his Henry Hazlitt:
Yes the price tag is high, but the spending will actually in the long run have a very positive effect on the nation's economy and of the three states, invigorate the construction industry and trades, and of course create a lot of good paying, real jobs.
The lesson of Hazlitt is that broken windows aren't good for the economy. Perhaps he should have added that this is still true if the repair man is a Republican. some of the comments agree.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Wish I Had Said That

Andrew Sullivan refers to Hugh Hewitt as the Sidney Blumenthal of the Bush administration -- an apt comparison. Of course, Blumenthal eventually made it official and went to work in the Clinton Whitehouse.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Formerly Massive Deficit Now Only Huge!

Polipundit readers learn what the liberal MSM refuses to tell you: the formerly gargantuan Bush/Republican deficit is now only monstrously large.

Settled Law

I don't know if John Roberts is just being coy (you know, lying) when he describes Roe v. Wade as "settled as a precedent of the court, entitled to respect under principles of stare decisis." Roe is actually a festering sore on the Constitution and one of the most unsettled decisions of the last half century. Undoing this decision would be like a tonic for the American body politic, although I doubt that it would have much affect on the abortion status quo.

The Reality of War

Jason Apuzzo of the rightwing Libertas website is already worked into a froth over Jarhead, the forthcoming film by British director, Sam Mendes (American Beauty). Part of what has Apuzzo so upset is a Los Angeles Times article questioning if Americans are ready for such a film. Appuzo's interpretation of the article is:

The real question, though, is whether moviegoers in Nebraska strip-malls are ready to have their shallow, Midwestern prejudices about the justness of America's cause be challenged. Probably we advanced thinkers in Hollywood are still too far ahead for them, so this film with its earnest, stage-trained European director will probably fall flat.

Actually, if Apuzzo would come to Knoxville, I could introduce him to many ordinary Americans who at least question the wisdom of our present Iraq adventure, as well as the previous campaign depicted in Jarhead (the book as well as film). At the close, Apuzzo complains about a scene described in the LA Times article depicting a Marine mutilating an Iraqi corpse. "What a marvelous, respectful depiction of our fighting men! Goodness, how could our boys over in Iraq ask for more than to be depicted as mutilators of corpses! This should really help morale on the ground, don't you think?

I wonder, what exactly does Apuzzo think happens in war? He should read (and Mendes should film) With The Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa, by the late Eugene B. Sledge. Sledge's account of his role in the War in the Pacific depicts the savagery of war as it existed on both sides (with the Japanese far worse than the Americans) in that war. Sometimes it is difficult to simply read and almost impossible to manage how anyone could survive with his sanity intact. Here is just one example:

While I was removing the bayonet and scabbard from a dead Japanese, I noticed a Marine near me. He wasn't in our mortar section but he happened by and wanted to get in on the spoils. He came up to me dragging what I assumed to be a corpse. But the Japanese wasn't dead. He had been wounded severely in the back and couldn't move his arms; otherwise he would have resisted to his last breath.

The Japanese's mouth glowed with huge gold crowned teeth, and his captor wanted them. He put the point of his kabar on the base of a tooth and hit the handle with the palm of his hand. Because the Japanese was kicking his feet and thrashing about, the knife point glanced off the tooth and sank deeply into the victim's mouth. The Marine cursed him and with a slach cut his cheeks open to each ear. He put his foot on the sufferer's lower jaw and tried again. Blood poured out of the soldier's mouth. He made a gurgling noise and thrashed wildly. I shouted, "Put the man out of his misery." All I got for an answer was a cussing out. Another Marine ran up, put a bullet in the enemy's soldier's brain, and ended his agony. The scavenger grumbled and continued extracting his prizes undisturbed.

Such was the incredible cruelty that decent men could commit when reduced to a brutish existence in their fight for survival amid the violent death, terror, tension, fatigue, and filth that was the infantryman's war.
UPDATE: A thouhtful comment by a reader who, of course, hasn't seen the unreleased movie:

These leftist losers have been making these types of films since 1969. Only a liberal can come up with logic such as this, "I support the troops but not the war . . ." yet they admire the US Marines, but always show them in a negative light. This generation of fighting men and women will be spit upon in the pop culture in the years to come, just as they did to the Vietnam Vets. Liberals can't help themselves, they HATE President Bush, they HATE conservatives, they HATE GOD and everything that AMERICA stands for.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Josh Marshall has a handy timeline of events related to Hurricane Katrina.

UPDATE: Similar effort from Rightwingnuthouse.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Fiddlin' While New Orleans Drowns


I can't begin to sort through all of the events on the Gulf Coast of the past week that have mangaged to sweep everything, including the unfolding Iraq quagmire, out of the headlines. A big question now is, who is to blame for the disaster? Presumably that list is large and includes several people in Louisiana. It is possible that the Mayor Nagin of New Orleans and Governer Blanco of Louisiana will pay with their political careers.

It looks as if President Bush, who allowed himself to be photographed while playin' a guitar the day the levies gave way, may pay a political price as well-- although his allies are in full damage control mode. Christopher Ruddy, taking a break from solving the Ron Brown murder, finds time to make excuses for the president. Ruddy delivers a brief lesson on federalism and then notes that after all that the "Federal Emergency Management Agency, was created only in 1979." Well gee, I guess they are still trying to figure out how the copier works and find a place to plug in the coffee pot.

Hugh Hewitt, who has as much critical distance from the president as Karl Rove, also plays up the federalism angle:

It is possible that Neal doesn't know basic American government. It is obvious quite a few folks don't. Brendon Loy, who has done an amazing job posting this week, brought a 2L's passion to his denunciation of various federal officials, but if he was a student in my ConLaw class, I'd ask him, and allother commentators the following questions:

What is the "police power?"

Where does it reside?
Is there a federal "police power?"
Can the federal government order the evacuation of a city when state and local officials have not done so?

Who has first call on a state's national guard?

Who controls a city's police department?

Are Hewitt and Ruddy so deluded that they believe that the president and his advisors carefully read through the Constitution and the opinions of Learned Hand before deciding if they have the power to act? Bush had no concerns about federalism when he signed the No Child Left Behind Act, or when they went to the Supreme Court to override state governing the use of medical marijuana.

The real issue concerns the President's leadership. It is hard to imagine any other plausible president -- Clinton, Gore, Kerry, McCain, Buchanan -- dithering the way that President Bush did in the aftermath of the hurricane. If Louisiana state officials were dragging their feet; I'm sure that President McCain, for example, would have got on the horn and found out what the hell the problem was, instead of waiting for paperwork to be filled out in triplicate. I doubt that President Kerry would stand around, patting his FEMA director on the back, or look forward to sittin' on Trent Lott's porch while people were still dying.

There is going to be much discussion of the proper role of the Federal Government in the coming weeks. I would like to see it get out of many areas, starting with education and trying to run the rest of the world (What clause of the Constitution authorized the Coalition Provisional Authority, Hugh?). But as long as it has the resources, rescuing people from major natural disasters seems like a good thing. When the feds are done with that, they might take a look at that southern border.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Carter's Decontrol

It helps to simplify your world view immensely when you get to make up your own facts. Jayson at Polipundit rightly dismisses the insane notion of price controls but can't help inserting a dig at our 39th president. "Fortunately, however, we’ve come quite a long way since Jimmy Carter was running the country."

What's wrong with this statement? Well, as this Mises Institute report by William Anderson reports, President Carter was resonsible for the decontrol of oil prices that were put in place by Richard Nixon. Anderson notes, however that "Full decontrol was scheduled to take place in the spring of 1981, but Reagan upon taking office lifted controls almost immediately, thus receiving credit for what was mostly the action of his predecessor."