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Friday, March 23, 2007

Webb Goes Back To His Roots

Well, it can be said that he whupped George Allen. And that he has now gotten Washington D.C. hammered into shape. In a mere three months. So Jim Webb, it seems, like the fabled Man of La Mancha, moves on to other adventures.

Apparently opposing the Iraq War and bringing hope to the nation's forlorn proles through wealth redistribution aren't a full-time job. Thus our newly elected United States senator is going to go back to doing what some say he does best - writing novels.

Webb plans political book
Senator describes it as populist work, not 'Capitol Hill novel'
By Peter Hardin, Richmond Times-Dispatch Washington Correspondent

Washington - The novelist, screenwriter and former Navy secretary that Virginians elected to the Senate is writing a new book - and it won't be a tell-all.

Freshman Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., disclosed yesterday that he's writing what he called a populist's view of the political situation in the United States today.

He hopes it will hit the bookstores around Memorial Day in 2008. (link)
I can only imagine, since Webb has gained some considerable reputation as a pornographer, that his new novel will be entitled "Debbie Does the Defense Department" or some such.

Our senator writing another novel.

We elected this guy why?

On Saving The Planet & Other Drivel

Regarding those who think they are saving us from the curse of global warming by purchasing and using those extremely expensive coily lightbulbs that, in all reality, provide atrociously poor lighting:
My Goodness!
By Joseph Rago, The Wall Street Journal

In 1899, the Norwegian-American academic Thorstein Veblen published a humorless sociological tract called "Theory of the Leisure Class." The book introduced "conspicuous consumption," a concept that the author defined as the "specialized consumption of goods as an evidence of pecuniary strength." Veblen everywhere detected distinct class structures, and he believed that people spent ostentatiously to show where they ranked.

For consumption to be conspicuous, it had to exceed the basic needs. "Throughout the entire evolution of conspicuous expenditure," Veblen wrote, "runs the obvious implication that in order to effectually mend the consumer's good fame [i.e., reputation], it must be an expenditure of superfluities." Serving a fine scotch might constitute conspicuous consumption: No one needs it, per se, but it reflects taste, connoisseurship and deepness of pocket.

Take Toyota's hybrid auto, the Prius. Studies consistently show that fuel savings do not justify the price premium of a gasoline-electric power train. People who can afford the gesture continue to buy the Prius anyway, largely because it certifies personal enlightenment in the matter of global warming. The original design was adorned with cues to distinguish it from a normal car, such as a tapered rear end and skirts over the back wheels. Even without these particular elements, the Prius remains distinctive (or bulbous) enough for everyone to recognize.

It is more irritating when the consumption cancels out the virtue. Using less gas by driving a Prius reduces the demand for oil, and hence its price, causing in turn other people to consume more. Ben & Jerry's--sorry, Unilever--is said to make socially conscious ice creams, but even the U.N. says that milk cows and other livestock "emit" more greenhouses gases--the dreaded methane--per year than do cars. (link)
This is how Al Gore can tell us with a straight face that he's "carbon-neutral." He "offsets" his hundred fossil fuel-belching plane trips a year by buying "credits" that go toward the purchase and planting of a pine seedling in Indonesia, which produces oxygen for the rest of us to breathe - some day. He therefore is doing his part to save the planet. At least in his own mind.

If you are squinting as you read this because you did your part to reduce the threat of global destruction by buying those dim flourescent bulbs, now's the time to reflect on all this.

But, at the same time, to feel good about yourself. That's the real point, right?

Krauthammer Drinks The Kool Aid

Remember macaca? That scandalous word that was uttered by a United States senator that wasn't really a word and was only scandalous if you were a nomad adrift in the north African desert who spoke a little-known and completely obscure Arabic dialect?

George Allen, as a result of a truly scandalous smear campaign, became the scourge of the western world and was driven, ignominiously, into exile. Over the utterance of a non-word. Because nobody fought for him. Because nobody on our side was willing to declare the Goebbels-produced and Clinton-perfected tactic that was being used by those who know no shame to be what it was - an underhanded fraud.

Our side.

Conservatives are such cowards. I sometimes wonder why I even allow my name to be associated with them.

The Democrats concoct a story about some imbecilic and completely preposterous scandal that only a mentally impaired human being could buy into, the geniuses at the Washington Post immediately buy into it, and declare it to be of grave portent, and demand on its editorial page that heads roll, and conservatives start lining up to shake their heads in dismay and abjection, and say, like the wienies they are ...

... Alberto Gonzales has to go.

Charles, you're my hero, man, say it ain't so:
Unnecessary Scandal
By Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post

Alberto Gonzales has to go. I say this with no pleasure -- he's a decent and honorable man -- and without the slightest expectation that his departure will blunt the Democratic assault on the Bush administration over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. In fact, it will probably inflame their blood lust, which is why the president might want to hang on to Gonzales at least through this crisis. That might be tactically wise. But in time, and the sooner the better, Gonzales must resign.

It's not a question of probity but of competence. Gonzales has allowed a scandal to be created where there was none. That is quite an achievement. He had a two-foot putt and he muffed it. (
How many times have we read that over the years - coming from some conservative pen? "He's a decent and honorable man" but we must throw him over the side because ... (fill in the blank). George Allen was only the most recent example. There have been many others.

Too many.

And now Krauthammer, of all people, a decent and honorable man, gives in to his baser instincts and does his part to fan the flames.

For the love of Christ.

Where Goes Country Music?

An observation.

When I watch a video of Justin Timberlake singing "What Goes Around ... Comes Around" on MTV this morning and it looks like and sounds conspicuously like Tim McGraw singing "My Little Girl" on CMT this morning, and Robin Thicke singing "Lost Without You" on VH1 this morning, there's something seriously rudderless about country music.

An observation.

Where Stalin Would Feel Right At Home

"Strange, but we thought college campuses were 'free speech zones.'"

I had to chuckle when I read that bit of whimsy this morning in a Washington Times editorial. For college campuses are anything but. They are, in fact, isolated havens of reactionary absolutist thought that refuse to countenance the expression of beliefs and ideas that don't conform to their limited, rigid "liberal" worldview.

But the accompanying story in this editorial is not a matter to laugh about. At Georgia Tech, lives are being threatened because a young student's thoughts don't conform:

It's called 'free speech'
Washington Times editorial

Georgia Tech is perilously close to deserving the "anti-Christian" label some detractors are now throwing at it. A speech code and an Orwellian "free speech zone" have been used to prevent Christian students from voicing dissent on homosexuality.

The school is beyond hypocritical. It takes what are effectively theological positions on the proper use of the Bible and even presumes to pass judgment on which American churches are homophobic -- making Georgia Tech the first state university in America we've encountered which has official theological positions.

"Many religious traditions have taught, and some continue to teach, that homosexuality is immoral," reads the brochure in question. "These condemnations are based primarily on a few isolated passages from the Bible.

Historically, [b]iblical passages taken out of context have been used to justify such things as slavery, the inferior status of women, and the persecution of religious minorities." Also: "Mormons have 'the most anti-gay policies' of any major American church," it declares.

There is no reason students may not speak freely on the subject of homosexuality. Strange, but we thought college campuses were "free speech zones." Georgia Tech's repeated attempts to muzzle even civil dissent reflect extremely poorly on its capacity to foster reasoned debate. Surely, an environment of reasoned debate is not what plaintiff Ruth Malhotra has faced. In the name of "tolerance," the school has invoked its speech codes and zone to silence her criticisms of homosexuality. In the meantime, Ms. Malhotra has received death threats, threats of rape and other avowed assaults by e-mail and otherwise from thugs lurking in the student body and elsewhere, as FrontPageMag.com reported this week. (link)

In the United States of America. 2007. Utterly disgraceful.

This Is Good News

You may remember hearing about the disturbing event that took place in Karbala a few months ago in which English-speaking "soldiers" in American uniform and driving American vehicles were able to enter a U.S. compound there and kidnap - and murder - five American soldiers. It was distressing.

Well, those responsible have been caught:

GI-Slay Shiite Ring Smashed

March 23, 2007 -- Baghdad - The U.S. military said yesterday it had captured the leaders of a Shiite insurgent network responsible for kidnapping and killing five American troops - one of the boldest and most sophisticated attacks on U.S. soldiers in the Iraq war.

The statement said the arrests took place over the past three days in the cities of Basra and Hillah south of Baghdad.

The network was "directly connected" to the January kidnapping and murder of the Americans in the holy city of Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, the military said.

In the Jan. 20 attack, gunmen speaking English, wearing U.S. military uniforms and carrying American weapons abducted four U.S. soldiers at Karbala's provincial headquarters and later shot them to death. A fifth soldier was killed in the attack. (link)

No mention of the sort of punishment that is in store for these vermin. If the Pentagon is interested, I have a few suggestions ...

I'm Stumped

I'm still trying to figure out what would prompt a man to drag his wife - who has just been told that she has bone marrow cancer - before the national television cameras to tell the world that her life-threatening illness won't affect his presidential campaign.

Such John Edwards has:

Wife's Illness Won't Stop Edwards
By Mike Baker, The New York Post

March 23, 2007 -- Chapel Hill, N.C. - John Edwards said yesterday that his wife's cancer has returned and is incurable, but he plans to continue his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The 2008 hopeful revealed wife Elizabeth's closely guarded prognosis - even family friends and some senior campaign staff were unaware - at a news conference. Elizabeth stood by his side in the hotel garden where they held their wedding reception 30 years ago.

Putting to rest speculation about his political future, Edwards said, "The campaign goes on. The campaign goes on strongly." (link)

The campaign going on I understand (we'll ridicule that idea another day), but what I don't understand is the press conference. Elizabeth Edwards has incurable cancer and John Edwards asks her to go before the cameras to support HIM.

Somebody needs to help me with this.