August 31, 2008
Goldstein Summarizes The Many Scandals of Sexy Sarah.
Including this horror: "her husband fishes unironically!
That one tears it for me.
I Was Just Over at Ace's Place.
He's wondering why the "respectable" right-of-center blogosphere isn't boycotting Andrew Sullivan, who is apparently peddling that silliness about how Sarah Palin is really her last baby's grandmother, not his mother, and how the child was really carried/born by her teenaged daughter.
It's silly stuff, and we all know it. Not just because Palin is on-record as looking pregnant in her third trimester, and not just because her colleagues noticed that she was pregnant toward the end, when her loose clothing just couldn't hide it any more, but because it's simply unheard-of for a teenaged girl to have a child with Down's. The odds of Down's start climbing at around 35, and steeply, too.
They spike when a woman reaches her 40s. And of course they do: we're using up the last of our eggs. The not-very-good ones.
Anyway, Ace says a bunch of stuff about Excitable Andy, which you may read if you care for that sort of thing.
And, as usual, I long for that brief time in history in which it was Off Limits to discuss the children of Presidents (and Presidential aspirants). For the wrong reasons, perhaps. After that infamous "Saturday Night Live" sketch, Hillary Clinton made some phone calls (or so the story goes—perhaps it was Magic Fairy Dust that descended, instead) and the word went down in nearly every studio in Los Angeles that Chelsea was not to be the subject of any parodies. Period.
And I felt that the whole thing was a bit heavy-handed, but I was hoping that it would set a precedent—that we might see some privacy for the offspring of politicians, even if their spouses are normally forced to share the spotlight to some degree.
Yeah, yeah—and I'll be looking for the Great Pumpkin, too, this Halloween. What's it to you? Aren't people basically good? Why is everyone staring at me like that? No, I am not an idiot. Just not terribly bright. There's a distinction to be made, there. I think.
But as for Ace's suggestions:
1) I haven't linked to Sullivan in years. I haven't read him in years, unless it was something in The Atlantic, in long form, that I'd already paid for. (As everyone knows, that is the one magazine I get on paper. At my mail drop. Unless you are going to count the subscription that my mother got me to Prevention, which magically renews itself every year.) I'm on-board with boycotting his blog, and anything he writes online.
I don't see any reason any respectable blogger would link to Sullivan, who has been off his rocker for at least four years now.
So I'm most certainly taking up that suggestion of His Aceship. It will involve zero change in my behavior.
2) But I have no intention of eschewing the other Atlantic bloggers: I love McArdle and Coates, and I'm not giving them up. Nope.
3) The paper edition of The Atlantic also publishes Mark Steyn, as well as Christopher Hitchens, who (despite his still being A Man of the Left) has gone through hell on earth with the literati for being as much of a free-thinker as he is. He's bucked the orthodoxy many times, and paid dearly for it.
The Atlantic publishes Sandra Tsing Loh, who is brilliant, non-doctrinaire in her thinking, and an acquaintance/friend of mine from high school.
And Barbara Wallraff! I couldn't give her up. That would hurt. Physically.
Therefore, my immodest proposals would be:
• Don't bother reading Sullivan—and most certainly not his blog;
• Send a letter to the editors of The Atlantic, expressing your concern over the potentially libelous, patently illogical and almost certainly false allegations he is making about the Governor of Alaska, and (more importantly, of course) her teenaged daughter—who, even if she had born a child out of wedlock, would be entitled to some privacy regarding same.
It hardly makes sense, after all, to get the government out of our bedrooms, only to invite the media into our delivery rooms.
No, no. I won't be boycotting the other Atlanto-bloggers, and you may pry my copy of the magazine (including Wallraff's "Word Court") from my cold, dead fingers.
But I do plan to get in touch with the editors, and tell them that it's time for Sullivan to go—as a blogger, and as a contributor to the magazine. I'll do it on paper, because that's my primary relationship with these folks, and because I own bitchin' stationery I rarely use. You might [a] simply want to go to the online version, and either lodge a "Letter to the Editor" there, or use their contact form.
Or, [b] use Joy's patented "fuddy-duddy" method:
Editor: James Bennett
600 New Hampshire Ave., Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20037
or [c] try this: email@example.com
Ace is right about one thing; Sullivan is out where the buses don't run. So the frustration with him has been building for a while.
I had thought that getting married would settle him down, but, you know: it doesn't work for every man, does it?
Do the right thing.
Here's a Nice Little Bio
. . . of Governor Palin, from Time magazine. Lots of local color from her small town. Good stuff.
h/t: Zoey, who has plenty of Sarahpernalia up at her site as well.
More Palin Video!
Hackbarth has a clip of her from her stint as a newscaster in the 1980s, and a bit of video from the rifle range in Kuwait, when she visited her guardsmen as Alaska's Governor. Needless to say, she handles the recoil on the full-auto quite well.
You're Wrong, Rick.
And at least one of the following is true:
1) You don't know much about Sarah Palin;
2) You see Affirmative Action lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce and undermine Conservatism, the GOP, and the War on Terror—possibly all in one fell swoop;
3) You're a bit of a sexist; or
4) When you look at a bakery cake, all you can see is frosting.
I Guess I Was Too Subtle.
Look, Kids. I know you're a bit disconcerted by the Palin pick, but please don't be. Obama had a nice talk with Ted Kennedy today,* and Kennedy reassured him that faling to secure the Presidency of the U.S. and having to go back to the upper House Chamber with your tail between your legs is not the end of the world.
"But man," Obama said. "I'm gonna feel like such a loser."
There was an awkward silence. "I mean," Barack amended, "since I'm unlikely to be able to ever rival your legislative achievements. It's different for me: I guess I really thought I was Superman. You know: 'I want to fly, but I can't even swim . . .'"
Kennedy hung up on him then, unfortunately.
But I felt that this whole "Palin Faked a Pregnancy" thing was just a bit silly, and I think I made that clear.
Please, though. I beg of you—especially those of you who are friends of mine, and starting to sip at this Kool-Aid—don't make asses of yourselves.
1) Statistically speaking, teenagers don't have babies with Down's. Middle-aged women have babies with Down's.
2) It makes sense that a woman who had been pregnant four times might be carrying a little low.
3) A veteran of four pregnancies would be an expert at hiding it. If she were Governor of a state, she might be motivated to do that until the last possible moment, so as not to let it interfere with her duties.
4) Had the teenager carried the baby, it would have been more likely that the solution would have been adoption, rather than the old-fashioned (and perfectly acceptable) system of having the grandparents step in to fill the void.
5) It is possible for a woman to hide a pregnancy by becoming heavy. For instance, Dorothy L. Sayers did it, back when an unwed birth was a huge, insurmountable scandal—but that much weight doesn't come off so quickly. Sayers, for example, was heavy the rest of her life. Have you seen any pictures of Palin lately? Have you seen the pictures of her in her third trimester with her last child? How does one lose that much weight that quickly?—giving birth comes to mind.
6) Let's say this whole thing were true: Palin faked a pregnancy and offered, along with her husband, to raise her granddaughter as her own. This involved massive inconvenience, and some fibbing. Um . . . so?
7) Let's say this whole thing were true. That would mean that Palin had a teenager who made a mistake, and took an unwise risk. That would make the girl different from other teenagers . . . how? And it would mean that the family got together and helped one of their own out of a jam. That would make Sarah look bad?
I'm tryin' to help you out here: this manufactured "scandal" is helping you not at all.
So, here we go, I guess. I grabbed these from Right Wing News, but you can find 'em all over the web. Palin, February of this year:
Palin, March of this year:
Please put the tinfoil down and step away from the Internet.
* It's possible that either this conversation never occurred, or that the transcripts I have for it aren't 100% correct. Or both.
G.W. Bush Helping Out at the Gulf Coast.
He gets extra points for not saying, "it's so cool that you people have a competent Governor, now! Big help!"
Johnny Mac: In Foreign Affairs, Judgment Matters
There's something slightly macabre/unseemly about the clip, since the subtext of the interview is "hey, man. You are, like, really old. How can we take your candidacy seriously when you appoint this hick chick as your running mate? Come on, man—you've got one foot in the grave."
Stole this one from Stacy Mac.
Why Alaska's Proximity to Russia Matters,
when one is assessing Sarah Palin's foreign-policy chops. Darleen makes the case.
Joe Biden, at age 65, presents risk that Barack Obama, a man with exactly 140 days of experience in Washington, could be a heartbeat away from having to make decisions on his own.
Teenager has Down's Syndrome baby, fathered by Martian! Mother/Governor part of cover-up!
Lies, deceit, and poor prenatal care in the Tundra!
On the attempts from the left to slime Sarah Palin:
Progressives, alas, are — in the final analysis — progressives first. And when power is at stake, integrity becomes just another cog in the machinery of pragmatic rationalizations. Which is why we are now treated to the spectacle of Pandagon and Feministe tearing down a woman whose life choices have propelled her to a successful career in business and politics—all while maintaining a tight-knit family — so that they can stand up for a candidate whose base took on Hillary Clinton with cries of “Bros Before Hos,” and who now are out in full misogynistic force tearing down Palin as a bimbo breeder hick.
The irony, could it be bottled, would be thick enough make a tapenade — though one so bitter that most self respecting breadsticks would avoid it like a fish avoids a bicycle . . .
Like the fight for suffrage all over again, in some respects, is it not? "This is the Negro's hour." So, you know: women had to wait a few more decades to vote. Bros before Hos: fuck that shit.
Fun Sarah Palin Facts.
Look. This one is kind of embarrassing, but Sarah Palin once out-drove . . . me!
More here, natch.
The Hillary Forum has been locked down now, so that outsiders cannot view its contents. Fortunately, Hawkins went over there and grabbed some typical quotes:
Bella: Buuuuurn Obama Buuuurn! What a slap in the face. If it's Palin, I will put blood and sweat into campaigning for that team.
MaryinOregon: OMG! Republican candidate chooses a woman!!! Take that Democrats,party of sexism!!! ROFLMAO!!
Eddie3dfx: All this B.S. that the Republicans are racist and sexist, yet colin powell and condi rice were some of the biggest players in the rnc. Now Sarah has been confirmed. What does that tell you about the DNC.. Hypocrits.
movingtous: Ok, can anyone confirm this for me? Is it true that we must donate to McCain by Aug. 30th in order for him to accept it? I need this response, ASAP!
swannyj: If this is true, this moves me from staying at home to voting McCain.
Florida Dawn: McCain has picked PALIN!!! I am THRILLED! AS for the Dums whining that she doens't have experience running things--SHE HAS FIVE KIDS!! TRUST ME! SHE KNOWS HOW TO RUN THINGS! GOD BLESS MCCAIN/PALIN!!!
John Hawkins doesn't drink, doesn't swear, and doesn't lie. If he says those quotes are representative of what was going on in the Hillary forum when he pulled them out—then they were.
And the answer to that financial question, as millions roll in each day to McCain's campaign (it started on Friday, for reasons I can't quite suss out) is that we need to get our money in by this Thursday in order to have it applied directly to the McCain-Palin campaign, but that after that the RNC will still need funding. Since McCain-Palin will have more discretion in using money they get directly, it's best to get that dough in over the next few days. I'd use a debit or credit card at this point, and do it online, rather than trusting a check to arrive on time. (That link went directly to the financial donations page; if you want general news, or if you want to volunteer, here's the main campaign page.)
Best Slams Against Palin, So Far.
1) "How is she going to deal with Russia, huh?" (Look at a map. Locate the largest U.S. State. Check on which nations border it.)
2) "She shouldn't be taking on a demanding job. Not with a young child—a special-needs child—at home." (Oopsie. Didn't know women still had to choose between having careers and families. Guess what? I think the wealthiest country in the world can arrange to supplement her family's efforts with some childcare assistance in the VP mansion in D.C., given how much we spend on security for our nation's First/Second families. Alaska may help: they could send the Feds some of the money they saved over the last two years from Palin's selling of the Gubernatorial plane, performing her own driving, and minimizing the security details for the First Family of Alaska.)
Keep grasping at straws, dudes and dudettes.
Concern About the Inexperience Issue.
Well, we should be concerned, dammit. These unpopular truths have to be faced up to: experience matters.
That's why, with Governor Palin joining McCain as his Veep pick, Obama and Biden should at least consider flipping their ticket, so that the guy at the top has done . . . well, something. Ohterwise, the Democrats are just going to embarrass themselves. Better yet, Obama could bow out.
It doesn't look good. For Obama.
Obama, Obama . . . it isn't too late. You could go back to
The House of Lords The Senate, and let the Dems replace you with a grownup. Spare yourself the humiliation of going through with this.
. . . reminds the McCain team—and all of us—to keep our powder dry as the Demo attack machine goes into overdrive on Sarah Palin:
So what we will see in the next days and weeks--what we have already seen in the hours after her nomination--is an effort by all the powers of the old liberalism, both in the Democratic party and the mainstream media, to exorcise this spectre. They will ridicule her and patronize her. They will distort her words and caricature her biography. They will appeal, sometimes explicitly, to anti-small town and anti-religious prejudice. All of this will be in the cause of trying to prevent the American people from arriving at their own judgment of Sarah Palin.
That's why Palin's spectacular performance in her introduction in Dayton was so important. Her remarks were cogent and compelling. Her presentation of herself was shrewd and savvy. I heard from many who watched Palin--many of them not predisposed to support her--about how moved they were by her remarks, her composure, and her story. She will have a chance to shine again Wednesday night at the Republican convention.
But before and after that, she'll be swimming in political waters infested with sharks. Her nickname when she was the starting point guard on an Alaska high school championship basketball team was "Sarah Barracuda." I suspect she'll take care of herself better than many expect.
But the McCain campaign can help. The choice of Palin was McCain's own. Many of his staff expected, and favored, other more conventional candidates. The campaign may be tempted to overreact when one rash sentence or foolish comment by Palin from 10 or 15 years ago is dragged up by Democratic opposition research and magnified by a credulous and complicit media.
The McCain campaign will have to keep its cool. It will have to provide facts and context, and to hit back where appropriate. But it cannot become obsessed with playing defense. It should allow Palin to deal with the charges directly and resist the temptation to try to shield her from the media. Palin is potentially a huge asset to McCain. He took the gamble--wisely, we think--of putting her on the ticket. McCain's choice of Palin was McCain being McCain. Now his campaign will have to let Palin be Palin.
There will be rocky moments. But they will fade if the McCain campaign lets Palin's journey take its natural course over the next two months. Millions of Americans--mostly but not only women, mostly but not only Republicans and conservatives--seemed to get a sense of energy and enjoyment and pride, not just from her nomination, but especially from her smashing opening performance. Palin will be a compelling and mold-breaking example for lots of Americans who are told every day that to be even a bit conservative or Christian or old-fashioned is bad form. In this respect, Palin can become an inspirational figure and powerful symbol. The left senses this, which is why they want to discredit her quickly.
Read the whole thing.
August 30, 2008
More Nonsense from the Bimbo Small-Town Beauty Queen Whom John McCain Inexplicably Added to his Presidential Ticket
Via AllahP at Hot Air, who's got some great anaysis, and remarks: "The left’s right that someone here is treating all women as essentially fungible, but it ain’t John McCain."
On the Other Hand
. . . Cassandra raises some serious and disturbing questions about Sarah Palin's suitability for the McCain ticket.
Oh, Yes. Palin's "TrooperGate."
Over at Flopping Aces, MataHarley meticulously goes over the history of Palin's connections to both Trooper Wooten and Commissioner Monegan. She examines many sources, including some that are clearly antagonistic toward Palin, and yet still appear to support the notion that there was no attempt by Palin or her husband to use their influence to get this
scumbag troubled trooper fired.
First, the [. . .] accusation is that the Governor’s office had questionable reasons (meaning removing Wooten from the AST) for firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan in July 2008. As we know, documented complaints from Palin about Wooten started prior to Monegan’s appointment . . . which Monegan may, or may not, have been aware [of].
Yet Monegan was appointed by Palin. She was certainly within her rights to fire him. And if complaints were already lodged about Wooten to his immediate superior, Col. Julia Grimes, why did she [Palin] need to pressure him [Monegan] to fire Wooten? After all, if Palin was going to “abuse” her power to get Wooten fired, why not direct that power over Grimes as the superior of the Troopers?
And if getting Wooten fired was her quest, why did she not take steps to do that in 2005 during the complaint period, instead of specifically stating under deposition that she was staying silent in order not to put his job at risk? Not to mention the gap in time . . . why would it take her two and a half years to fire Monegan because of Wooten?
Read Ms. Harley's comprehensive account. It's clear that Palin removed Monegan for (1) performance issues, and (2) disagreements over how they were going to handle specific challenges, including matters pertaining to budget. When a subordinate is not "on board" with one's strategy, and will not support it, eventually he/she is going to have to go, no?
Palin didn't acquire a bunch of power, and then fire
her entire Travel Office Public Safety Commissioner for reasons of nepotism. She fired him for lack of performance, and even offered him another post in order to allow him to save face.
And when Palin's husband discussed Trooper Out-of-Control with Monegan, it was under orders based on safety concerns regarding Alaska's First Family:
Todd Palin was ORDERED by the head of the Governor’s security detail, Special Agent Bob Cockrell, to discuss Trooper Wooten with Walt Monegan, as Wooten presented a credible threat to the Governor’s safety. Here’s a direct quote from Special Agent Cockrell, who is now providing security for his sixth consecutive governor:
“When made aware of the security concerns regarding a state trooper, I instructed the First Gentleman to contact the Commissioner of Public Safety. It is standard protocol to ask every Governor about any threats they perceive or have realized. “I will not hesitate to set the record straight in answering these false allegations by former Commissioner Monegan.”
(emphasis added [first one by Little Miss Attila; second one by Flopping Aces])
And now Monegan wants to make a scandal out of it. Good luck with that. Hey, Buddy? You might try Michael Moore; I'm sure he'll bite. Or maybe Keith Olbermann, who states that when he initially heard about McCain's VP pick, he thought McCain was "talking about Michael Palin, of Monty Python's Flying Circus."
Our mainstream media are, for the most part, a bad joke.
(X-posted over at Right-Wing News.)
Conservative Belle Finds Some Primo Lefty Schadenfreude
Michael Moore, talking to Keith Olbermann, discusses the possibility that a hurricane during the GOP convention might prove the existence of God, and suggests that women who are happy with Sarah Palin's being part of the GOP ticket this year are "dumb."
This reminds me why I don't go out of my way to watch television; I don't think it would do much to improve my blood pressure.
But having subjected myself to a few minutes of Michael Moore's idiocy leaves me counting the days until An American Carol comes out.
(Cross-posted at Right-Wing News.)
Just Something to Post
. . . while I make those blue-chip investments in Kleenex and liquid KY/specialized "men's cremes."
Now, boys: remember to show up at work every now and then, Palin or no Palin. If I can manage it, so can you. (And, yes: I'll have to work extra-hard tomorrow to make up the time lost to Palin-mania today. But it was worth it!)
August 29, 2008
Yesss: The Gals at Tiara Media
. . . . had thought this would make a fabulous theme song for the McCain-Palin campaign ticket. A few hours later, it showed up in my e-mail in-box, and I saw the potential . . . it has always been one of my favorite Heart songs.
Thanks, Darrell: you're all about the American virtues. Mom, apple pie, and mashing the enemy into powder under one's boot. (But, you know: with love.)
Now. About Those Checks to the McCain Campaign.
This is totally optional, but some people are sending it in multiples of $12, as an allusion to the amount that Obama's brother lives on in Kenya, per year. So you might send the campaign:
$12,000. (Although I think that last one is illegal because someone injected some irrational rules into the system a while back. I think that person needs a naughty librarian to help him see the error of his ways.)
Memo to Obama:
Try not to address Governor Palin this way:
You might end up with your body ventilated—by her, by her husband, by her son. By me.
Just try not to do it, Boy, okay?
Via Flopping Aces, who has some delicious insight into how the hardcore Hillary people are reacting to the Palin pick. Some are suggesting that we be on the alert for overt sexism (which has not been difficult to find today, of course). Some are voting for the McCain-Palin ticket. Some are already sending money to The Party That Dare Not Speak Its Name.
Popcorn. I will need a lot more popcorn around here to watch all this unfold.
If Money Talks,
then McCain and Palin are far more eloquent than Obama and Biden.
1) The people at "Stuff We Like" enjoy breaking down the fourth wall, or whatever you call it when you're watching The Monkees, or Moonlighting, or Freakazoid!
2) This John P. McCann fellow is really interested in how this DVD is selling. Hm. Maybe he is a shareholder at Warner Brothers, or something like that. Somehow he reminds me of Douglas Douglas, but I can't quite figure out why . . .
Just When I Think that Maybe Peggy Noonan May Have Lost Her Edge,
she reminds me that even when we disagree—as we do so often these days—she's still The Original Goddess of Political Opinion. Watch the clip: she must be Irish; it was just too funny for her not to be.
(Okay, okay—Noonan's Goddessness would have to come after Susan B. Anthony's and Elizabeth Cady Stanton's respective Goddessossitude; for some reason those two are on my mind this week: the fighter and the intellectual. Kirk and Spock. I hate to break it to everyone, but they were both pro-life.)
Noonan footage via AllahP.
Ace and the Problem of "Perception."
'Cause, you know: there are a lot of sexists out there who aren't sure women are tough enough.
Come on: she's a mother. Does anyone remember which gender of bear you're supposed to look out for in grizzly country?
But Ace is right: she'll get more points for "grit" after she takes the razor wire to Biden.
His Aceness claims to be deducting "style points" for her "cuteness" and "sweetness," but it's impossible this time to tell whether he's joking. He acknowledges that there's real sexism going on out there in some of the reactions to Palin, but won't disclose for real whether or not he's sipping a little of that particular Kool-Aid. (At least, I can't suss it out. Does someone else have the "Moron Code Book"?)
She surprised me today. She was confident and unfazed, direct and sharp. I'm looking forward to being surprised further. But I guess I do need to be surprised further, as do many voters.
Adorableness has its advantages, but it has its drawbacks too. She's got to show some real iron. And maybe cutting apart that soft-handed starched-shirt Joe Biden woud be a good start.
On a related note... Here's some sexist bias—some say women might be all in favor of women achieving great things in principle, but when it comes to specific women making concrete achievements, suddenly they're a bit lukewarm on the whole idea of sisterhood.
Jealousy and envy, I'm talking about. [We know, Ace: it's called "the Queen Bee syndrome," and every working woman has encountered it.—Ed.]
Is that real? Will this actually backfire and drive women away? [Maybe. One. Her initials are HRC, and she may actually, today, be contemplating voting for Barack Obama, for the very first time.—Ed.]
Attack Dog: Actually, a good start in dispelling the "too nice, too sweet" impression would be to play the role of the attack dog well. If she's thought of as being 25% a ball-breaker . . . well, win-win.
Burn on Barracuda: I wanted to google some of Palin's attacks against the Dems to remind myself of how well she did.
Allah has one, wrapping "fearmongering" on energy production around Joe Biden's pencil neck.
She has a sweetness to her as she "attacks." (Attacks in quotes, because of course what she's saying is both true and vitally relevant; but anytime a Republican notes a Democrat's votes or quotes it's an "attack," most often of the "intolerable and unacceptable" sort.)
I have to deduct style points, though, because that bubbly, sweet, gosh-darn sort of manner just doesn't seem serious or dour enough to me.
I know we've got that in spades from Mr. Warmth McCain, but still... I think she'll have to ease up on the sweetness and get a bit more grim.
On the plus side: Everything she says is right and informed. The only knock is the style one.
Yeah, well. Lady Thatcher made breakfast for her husband every goddamned day when she was P.M. But she seemed to acquit herself just fine on the job, despite the "handicap" of femininity.
Stacy Mac claims that some of the "morons" are genuinely conflicted about whether it's okay to ogle our next "vpilf," or quite possibly our next "cicilf." He suggests that they "go for it," but I suspect that the dudes doth protest too much, and . . . . what? Does anyone honestly think that they aren't already Googling "Sarah Palin naked"? Are you kidding me?
They just want to know whether they should feel guilty about doing it. You're up against biological imperatives, boys. Give yourselves a break.
A lot of people are pretty flummoxed today; John Podhoretz gives the devil her due.
Via Memeorandum. By the way: if you're looking for news over there that doesn't have anything to do with Sarah Palin, be prepared to do some scrolling.
I still don't see the point in holding the election. I mean, that's like when one side says "checkmate," and the other person maintains that the game isn't won until they have physically seen their King taken off the board. It's a bit legalistic, if you ask me.
Though I guess in democracies we are supposed to go through the motions.
Bit of a Sticky Wicket, Huh?
Jeff Goldstein takes a shot of the identity politics schadenfreude the rest of us are already drunk-as-Lords on today:
See, this is why journos in the bag for Obama should await the royal talking points before opening their dullard yaps.
CNN’s John Roberts: Palin Too Young and Inexperienced:During the 9 a.m. EDT hour of “CNN Newsroom,” “American Morning” co-anchor John Roberts gave an analysis of Governor Sarah Palin during discussion of Senator John McCain’s vice presidential choice. Roberts focused on Palin’s lack of experience, saying that a prerequisite for the vice presidency should be the ability to step right into the office, especially because of McCain’s age. Roberts stated [...] “she’s the youngest governor ever in Alaska’s history, and she’s the first woman. She’s only been in office for a couple of years now, which really raises the experience issue here.”
Leave aside for the moment the dissonance of pretending to worry about Palin’s “inexperience” should she be forced (by the death of a fossilized McCain) into the Presidency when you haven’t offered the same argument for a man with even less executive experience getting the job outright; that probably has to do with her being “the first woman” governor or something equally patriarchal.
But in making this argument — that a 72-year old candidate is almost certain to kick while in office — what you have further done is begun alienating aging boomers who will soon be McCain’s age, questioning their worth and viability, throwing into doubt their general competence.
—Which means Roberts has managed to 1) highlight the inexperience of the Dem candidate for president by going after the inexperience of the Republican candidate for vice president; 2) has managed to make an implied argument that the inexperience of a woman is somehow more dangerous than the inexperience of a man, or a man of (half) color; and 3) has managed to make an ageist argument that could, at some level, get aging Dem Boomers to believe that their party thinks of them as prop voters, necessary for victory, but after that, to be set afloat on an ice chunk and allowed to drift off serenely into the great political beyond.
Add to that the calculus that many Hillary supporters will be thinking, “that should have been Hillary!” and what we have here is a perfect storm of identity politics for the Dems to try to steer their shiny yacht through safely.
Yup. Come on, People: Energy crisis. Conservation comes first, right? Call off the election. It's just a silly exercise at this point.
This is priceless:
And, yes: I've always thought Palin had the "naughty librarian" vibe down pat. Something to do with her choice of glasses, and the fact that she's so articulate, without, um, having to brag about her I.Q.
Say What You Like.
I think Pawlenty has been in on the real game for at least a week. Remember his last denial—the one that wasn't taken seriously because it was supposed to be "part of the dance"?
"I'm not the guy," he said.
And the last time he was interviewed, he reiterated some of the highlights of his resume.
A good soldier, Pawlenty: like Patton. And I'll bet he didn't enjoy it any more than Patton did the runup to D-Day, but the element of surprise is important in these matters.
Word has it that this morning, Palin's staffers still thought she was in Alaska, and that her own mother found out that she was the VP pick from watching television today. I actually believe those two reports: the more people who are in on a secret, the higher the risk.
But I think Pawlenty knew. "I'm not the guy." Nice little red herring, Dude. And you're a heck of a sport.
You Know How It Is When One Adds a Relative Unknown to the Ticket.
All kinds of research has to be done. Find out more here at the Palin Facts website.
•Sarah Palin used to wrestle kodiak bears in Alaskan bare knuckles fight clubs;
• Sarah Palin once bagged a caribou by staring it down until it died;
• Sarah Palin turned down a job as skipper of a Deadliest Catch boat because it wasn’t challenging enough;
• Sarah Palin fishes salmon by convincing them it’s in their interest to jump into the boat;
• Sarah Palin once guided Santa’s sleigh through an Alaskan blizzard with the light from her smile.
Somehow, I feel like a hat tip to FrankJ is in order, and I'm not quite sure why . . .
Not afraid to hail the advances made by Geraldine Ferraro and HRC. This girl has ovaries.
There are going to be so many crossover votes: both Palin and McCain have been willing to buck the GOP when they found it appropriate. And Palin comes from a union background—she's also gone up against the energy companies from time to time.
Despite out that, the hard-core social conservatives won't be able to help notice that her commitment to life included bearing a Down's Syndrome child.
This election is just about over.
I've Never Been Happier in My Life To Be Wrong!
McCain's pick for VP is actually Governor Palin.
That would be Sarah Palin of:
• executive experience (however brief);
• youth and energy to balance McCain's age;
• first-hand knowledge of the importance of developing more domestic energy production;
• two—count 'em, two—X chromosomes.
Happy Friday, Barack. Hope you enjoyed yourself last night.
P.S. CalTech Girl informs me that Palin's nickname is "Barracuda." (And, yes: that's from her days as a hockey player.)
UPDATE: Morrissey has a great analysis over at Hot Air, which you must read at once. Money quote:
First, though, let’s assess the risk. Palin has served less than two years as Governor of Alaska, which tends to eat into the experience message on which McCain has relied thus far. At 44, she’s younger than Barack Obama by three years. She has served as a mayor and as the Ethics Commissioner on the state board regulating oil and naturalk gas, for a total of eight years political experience before her election as governor. That’s also less than Obama has, with seven years in the Illinois legislature and three in the US Senate.
However, the nature of the experience couldn’t be more different. Palin spent her entire political career crusading against the political machine that rules Alaska — which exists in her own Republican party. She blew the whistle on the state GOP chair, who had abused his power on the same commission to conduct party business. Obama, in contrast, talked a great deal about reform in Chicago but never challenged the party machine, preferring to take an easy ride as a protegé of Richard Daley instead.
Palin has no formal foreign-policy experience, which puts her at a disadvantage to Joe Biden. However, in nineteen months as governor, she certainly has had more practical experience in diplomacy than Biden or Obama have ever seen. She runs the only American state bordered only by two foreign countries, one of which has increasingly grown hostile to the US again, Russia.
And let’s face it — Team Obama can hardly attack Palin for a lack of foreign-policy experience. Obama has none at all, and neither Obama or Biden have any executive experience. Palin has almost over seven years of executive experience.
Politically, this puts Obama in a very tough position. The Democrats had prepared to launch a full assault on McCain’s running mate, but having Palin as a target creates one large headache. If they go after her like they went after Hillary Clinton, Obama risks alienating women all over again. If they don’t go after her like they went after Hillary, he risks alienating Hillary supporters, who will see this as a sign of disrespect for Hillary.
So. We're bothering to hold the election this fall . . . why?
UPDATE 2: While the female side of the rightosphere exchanges high-fives, James Joyner seems underwhelmed:
We’ll see what the reaction turns out to be. I’m certainly not the target audience. But McCain’s first big decision is, in my mind, a truly awful one. Obama went traditional but steady in Biden. It wasn’t a bold pick but it was one that butressed his claim that he has judgment even though he lacks experience. McCain has done the opposite here.
Joyner's usually dead-on right about this kind of thing. He happens to be wrong this time. I love Joyner: he's the guy who got me to accept McCain as our nominee, and why that choice wasn't the compromise I initially felt it to be, given McCain's real, heartfelt commitment to the War on Terror, which is the major challenge of our age.
Brilliant guy. Doesn't "get" it yet. But he will.
UPDATE 3: The announcement is being made right now; I'm listening live.
UPDATE 4: The Wall Street Journal:
A native of Idaho who grew up in Alaska hunting and fishing, Gov. Palin gained a reputation for political purity early on. In 2004, she resigned as chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission over ethical grounds. Among her concerns: That Mr. Murkowski had appointed Randy Ruedrich, chairman of the Alaska Republican Party, to a seat on her commission while Mr. Ruedrich got to keep his partisan post. Mr. Ruedrich ended up resigning from the body after Gov. Palin, among others, disclosed he was conducting Republican business in his state job. Mr. Ruedrich said he had, and agreed to pay a $12,000 state fine.
"Someone has to take a stand and change some things," Gov. Palin said in an interview in June in her office in downtown Anchorage, which is adorned with Alaskan knick knacks including the skin of a brown bear killed by her father.
In 2006, when she was running to unseat Mr. Murkowski, Gov. Palin says she got a call from Ben Stevens, then president of the Republican-run Alaska Senate and son of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, the powerful Alaska Republican. "He told me, 'You're not just running against Murkowski. You're running against me, my dad, the whole state Republican party'," Gov. Palin says.
The younger Mr. Stevens did not return calls for comment. He opted not to seek re-election after his was one of six legislative offices raided by federal agents in 2006. Four other state legislators have been sent to prison or are awaiting prosecution in the case, which has focused on bribery and other influence by oilfield contractor VECO Corp., whose chairman and a top lieutenant have pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges. Sen. Stevens, who handily won the Republican primary this week to face re-election in November, was indicted in the case and has pleaded not guilty.
In office, Gov. Palin -- whose husband, Todd, works as an oilfield worker and fisherman -- has set an earthier style than her predecessors. For one thing, she sold the private jet Mr. Murkowski used to get around Alaska, relying instead on commercial airlines and her family's Jetta and a state-issued black Suburban. "I love to drive," she says. She also waved off a security escort, driving herself to and from work every day from the Anchorage suburb of Wasilla, about 45 miles away.
I don't know if I mentioned that I'm a bit stoked about this babe.
Scenes from An American Carol
Stole it from AllahP.
August 28, 2008
Bobby Jindal, American Hero
This is one of the reasons I had mixed emotions when Jindal was being considered as a Veep possibility for Johnny Mac: he's just doing such amazing things in Louisiana. I think they still need him to continue the growth and weather the next few storms (literal and metaphorical).
Governor Jindal, in the Wall Street Journal, explaining how he and his team turned Louisiana around:
Three years ago today, Hurricane Katrina battered New Orleans and southeast Louisiana. A few weeks later, Hurricane Rita hit southwest Louisiana, completely demolishing some of our coastal communities. These terrible storms destroyed thousands of small businesses, displaced hundreds of thousands of residents, killed over a thousand people, and caused tens of billions of dollars in property damage.
At the time, many experts predicted Louisiana's economy would never be the same. That's true, though not the way the experts thought: It's getting better.
These storms forced us to rethink our aspirations as a state. We are not just rebuilding the failed institutions of the past -- we are rebuilding smarter.
We streamlined our state recovery processes, cutting red tape, and are pushing federal recovery dollars to local governments to rebuild critical infrastructure, all without forfeiting transparency and accountability. And we continue to focus on helping our hardest-hit communities complete their recovery efforts.
We also moved quickly to increase Louisiana's overall economic competitiveness. Shortly after my inauguration in January, we worked with the state legislature to adopt the strongest governmental ethics laws in the country. Next we eliminated unorthodox business taxes. We also adopted a comprehensive workforce-development reform plan to improve the effectiveness of our community and technical colleges, provide turnkey workforce solutions to expanding and relocating businesses, and ensure that our workforce programs are driven by real business needs.
For the first time in our history, Louisiana has become a hotbed for education innovation. In New Orleans, state and local education leaders are working with national nonprofits and foundations to implement a variety of promising reform efforts, including charter schools and school choice for disadvantaged kids.
While we need to retain and grow our traditional industries, the state also needs to diversify our economy through new, high-growth sectors.
Louisiana is now among the top three states in the country for film productions. We are seeking to match that success in the digital media sector . . .
We are becoming a national leader in the coming global nuclear-energy resurgence, as well. On Tuesday, The Shaw Group and Westinghouse announced that they chose Louisiana for the first manufacturing facility in the U.S. focused on building modular components for new and modified nuclear reactors.
Louisiana is attracting significant investment in mature industry sectors . . . . Edison Chouest Offshore, one of the world's most technologically advanced offshore vessel service companies, recently announced plans to construct a 1,000-job shipyard in Port of Terrebonne, in south Louisiana.
We also have implemented conservative fiscal management practices. For example, a state hiring freeze saved $39 million and led to the elimination of nearly 1,000 state jobs. I vetoed 258 line items in the recently passed state budget, which is more than double the number of vetoes in the past 12 budgets combined. And we ended our state's long-held habit of using one-time revenues to cover recurring expenditures. These efforts helped us to implement the largest personal income tax cut in state history, while freeing up new funds to invest in higher education, transportation, research, health care and coastal restoration.
Thanks in large part to these reforms and our aggressive efforts to attract new business investment, our economy today is strong. Compared to the nation as a whole, Louisiana's economy is growing substantially faster, and our state has considerably lower unemployment levels.
The rest of the country is starting to take notice. Citing strong fiscal management, three major credit-rating agencies -- Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch -- recently upgraded Louisiana's bond ratings. The Center for Public Integrity noted that Louisiana's new governmental ethics laws regarding legislative disclosure will increase our ranking to first in the country, from 44th. For the first time, U.S. News & World Report ranked LSU in the top tier of its list of America's Best Colleges. And Forbes magazine increased its growth-prospects ranking for Louisiana to 17th from 45th.
And the Veep Candidacy Goes To . . .
Congratulations, base. Governor Palin, your time will come.
Why Is It that Houston
. . . is "too close to New Orleans"?
I'm glad they can't revoke your soul for tryin'--watch Bobbie flub a line, here:
Via AllahP, who points out that if Obama attacks McCain tonight, he may well look "ungracious." If he's smart, he'd editing his speech a bit, as we speak.
There is a sort of warmth to McCain that one cannot deny, despite his temper, and his inability—at times—to suffer fools.
I don't see a note on this memo, however, that John McCain approved it. I'm sure he never saw it.
Anyway, it's a clever move.
What If Russia Threw a War
. . . and everybody came?
From Stratfor's Political Diary (subscription only; here's the money quote):
The Russians are getting increasingly bolder in their actions against the West, taking full advantage of the fact that NATO can do little to seriously undermine Russia’s moves in the Caucasus. But Russia is not invincible — especially when it comes to Russian defenses against the West in the Black Sea.
The Black Sea is absolutely critical to Russian defense. Though NATO does not currently have the capability to project power through land forces against Russia, it does have the naval assets to give the Russians pause. Already, nine Western warships (including U.S., Polish, Spanish, Turkish, and token Bulgarian and Romanian vessels) have made their way into the Black Sea in the name of humanitarian aid for Georgia. Russia is accusing the West of building up a NATO strike group in this body of water with which to threaten Russia’s hold on the Caucasus, and perhaps beyond.
The Russians simply cannot allow an increased NATO presence in this particular body of water to remain unanswered. The Black Sea is an important buffer for what is a direct line to the Russian underbelly, the Ukrainian plains and the land bridge that extends between the Black and Caspian Seas. Russia is well-aware of its weaknesses when it comes to defending this crucial frontier. The Black Sea, and the Aegean beyond it, essentially comprises a NATO lake. Controlled by Turkey through the Dardanelles, the Turkish and U.S. naval presence combined could easily overwhelm the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The last thing Moscow wants is a U.S. naval strike force in the Black Sea threatening Moscow’s control of the Caucasus, crucial for its logistical and supply links to Russian troops in Georgia.
And so, the Russian response is already beginning to take effect. The Black Sea Navy flagship “Moskva” sailed from Sevastopol today, and the Russians are likely to deploy more of their current — albeit limited — naval assets out of the Crimean Peninsula. Such moves are only likely to give NATO forces more cause to beef up their naval presence in the Black Sea, further contributing to the Kremlin’s sense of insecurity.
At that point, the next logical step for the Russians is to start spending some of their three quarters of a trillion dollars in reserves on covert operations that would force the United States to split its attention. It was not too long ago that the Russian intelligence powerhouse excelled in starting up fires in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East to keep the West preoccupied. In the Cold War days, the Russian FSB and KGB were neck-deep in backing groups like the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the Red Brigades in Italy and the Palestine Liberation Organization across the Middle East. Names and ideologies have since shifted, but it is not beyond the Russian FSB to spread its tentacles once again into certain areas of the world where it can poke and prod the West.
This type of tit-for-tat escalation defined the Cold War. Now that the Black Sea has come into play, we are now just a few short steps from having this fracas in the Caucasus fully revive those Cold War tensions. Russia may have been looking for a relatively risk-free option to confront the United States with the war in Georgia. But now that we are seeing hints of a NATO naval build-up in the Black Sea, the Russians may be getting more than they asked for.
h/t: St9, who points out that we want to watch Germany's reaction particularly closely, and that Russia itself is not without splinter groups that could lead to a partitioning. A country with an antiquated military, he remarks, shouldn't bank too hard on a temporary petro-superiority.
I'm off to look for hybrid sedans to replace my husband's car with, after which I'll be installing a windfarm on the roof of my condo, and converting the cruiser to run on algae-derived ethanol. It's going to be a busy day.
Obama Makes Me Long for Something Real . . .
Like the Monkees. I mean, they weren't always permitted to play their own instruments, but they knew how.
That makes a difference, you know.
"A Truckbomb Is a Truckbomb Is a Truckbomb."
During the April 16 debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, moderator George Stephanopoulos brought up “a gentleman named William Ayers,” who “was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other buildings. He’s never apologized for that.” Stephanopoulos then asked Obama to explain his relationship with Ayers. Obama’s answer: “The notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense, George.” Obama was indeed only eight in early 1970. I was only nine then, the year Ayers’s Weathermen tried to murder me.
Read the whole thing; via Insty.
I can take a joke.
Hey, what about your twisters, Flyover People? And your Hurricanes, Gulf Coasters? And how are you liking that humidity, ya fuckin' Eastern Seaboard snobs? Likin' the storms, are you? Got Mr. Howell lined up to help you escape?
August 27, 2008
Time for a Bridge to the Energy Future?
Popular Mechanics explains why we need to keep all alternatives on the table right now, and get government out of the way as much as possible. And all those analogies you keep hearing to the early heyday of NASA, and putting a man on the moon? James Meigs tells us why they don't really apply:
Yes, the moon landing was a towering achievement. But, as aerospace analyst Rand Simberg notes, it was also a "well-defined engineering challenge, and a problem susceptible to having huge bales of money thrown at it." Retooling America's energy infrastructure is far more complex. It isn't one challenge, it's thousands—a total overhaul of the American lifestyle involving deep changes in every home, vehicle and business in the country.
Anyone who believes we should put all those myriad decisions in the hands of government officials should take a close look at NASA. No, not the agile NASA of the Apollo years, but the ponderous space agency of recent decades.
After Apollo, NASA set out to build an affordable, reliable vehicle that would make space travel routine. Instead, we got the shuttle, a delicate, dangerous craft that flies infrequently and costs nearly half a billion dollars a launch. So, while NASA still accomplishes some great things, it's hardly a model of efficient, long-term problem solving.
Before we decide that a bigger, better energy policy is going to fix our troubles, we should recall that the United States has had various energy plans since the Nixon administration. Unfortunately, such policies have often made things worse.
Look at natural gas. In 1982, Congress banned offshore drilling in virtually all U.S. waters. In addition to limiting our ability to produce more oil, that put at least 76 trillion cu. ft. of potentially recoverable natural gas off-limits.
And that's a shame, because natural gas is our most attractive major energy source right now. Solar and wind power are promising, but so far they've barely made a dent in our use of oil and coal. Natural gas is a practical alternative, and relative to other fossil fuels it's clean to produce and burn—and it releases much less carbon into the air. It can drive factories, heat homes and even, as Pickens advocates, power vehicles. But we're producing far less than we need.
. . . . Coal has been a national priority ever since Jimmy Carter put on that cardigan. Yes, coal is plentiful, but it is an environmental headache all the way from strip mine to smokestack.
Then there's ethanol. It was less than a year ago that leaders of both parties decided that ethanol made from corn would be a brilliant alternative to foreign oil. Speeches were made; sweeping mandates passed. The result? Food prices went through the roof—and energy prices did, too.
Where would a more sensible energy policy start? Pickens is on the right track with his plan to increase use of natural gas. And McCain's call to allow more offshore drilling would significantly increase production. Alternatives such as wind or solar look better by the day, and, indeed, every major energy plan stresses them. But, it will take decades for the alternative-energy infrastructure to match our needs. We must have those offshore oil and gas reserves to bridge the gap.
The government can play a role in advancing alternative energy. Tax incentives and regulatory relief can help. So can research money channeled through the National Science Foundation or DARPA. But let's tread lightly when it comes to giving handouts to corporations in the name of research. Obama's promise of billions in development funds sounds enticing. But who gets those dollars? It wasn't too long ago that investors and politicians alike regarded Enron as a brilliant innovator in the energy field. If copious research funds had been available in Enron's heyday, its executives would no doubt have found a way to pocket a share.
. . . In fields ranging from batteries to biofuels, there are hundreds of promising research projects under way. Some will succeed, some won't. But we need scientists, entrepreneurs and consumers to pick the winners, not politicians. Finding solutions to our energy problems isn't rocket science. It's a lot tougher.
Read the whole thing; it really is a beautiful summary of why we have to stay flexible, and keep trying things until we hit on the handful of solutions that will be most useful 10-20-30 years down the line.
It All Depends on What the Term "Viable" Means in This Context
But given the type of care now available for preemies, I'm skeptical about how the determination was made that the "pre-viable," but delivered fetuses, had no chance of survival outside the womb.
Some versions of the story say "little chance of survival"; others use the phrase "no chance of survival."
There is a difference, and it is at the heart of whether we can call what was going on in Chicago "infanticide."
In any event, factcheck.org concedes that Obama's been lying about the Illinois bill.
Well, That's Going to Leave a Mark.
Via Ace, who clearly has a stronger stomach than I am: he's watching the Dem convention. Presumably, you know—so I don't have to.
If Obama can't even bear to hear the Hillary delegate counts, how is he going to manage an actual Presidency? I mean, that job is hard. It's really a ball-buster.
Ace, again, having too much fun:
Breaking; Negotiations Between Hill and Obama Have "Ceased;" Obama Now Merely Telling Hillary What's Going to Happen
Possible Plan to Scrap Roll Call Entirely in Favor of Written Ballot (Which Woud Be Untelevised, and Perhaps Not Even at the Convention)
Alternate plan: Roll call begins tomorrow, but ends at 1:15. Then the call for unanimous acclimation of Obama.
Another plan: Each state reads its delegates' votes... but only Obama's numbers are mentioned. Hillary's delegate counts are omitted entirely. Thus, instead of saying "The Great State of Iowa casts (whatever) 44 votes for Hillary Clinton, and sixty-six votes for the next president of the United States, Barack Obama," they just say "Iowa casts sixty six votes for the next president of the United States, Barack Obama."
That's not how it traditionally works. At least I've always heard the vote-split way of announcing the delegate count.
On FoxNews now. Hill's Angels are getting pissed off.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bear in mind, this genius Obama is further annoying Hillary's delegates in the interests of "uniting the party."
And, from Salon, whose Rebecca Traister seems skeptical about just how many hard-core PUMAs* there really are out there:
"There is such a fear of women coming into power, that when they protest, they are given more weight," said Marie Wilson, head of the White House Project, before speaking as part of the Unconventional Women's programming, acknowledging the likelihood of protest. "Just the fact of women saying they support their candidate and want to make their voices heard sounds more scary than it would be if it were guys. That's just part of backlash. But come on. When women gather around a water fountain, men get scared. People oughta just chill."
Wilson acknowledges that there will be residual tension at the convention. But she sees the discord as a positive thing, a perhaps painful step in the right direction. "Putting issues on the table" -- as opposed to keeping political frustrations pent up -- "is what is going to bring people together." Wilson believes that in the wake of Hillary's run, "we are in the middle of a revolution. Women are stepping up and taking power." She said her organization, which encourages women to seek elected office, has seen a 61 percent increase in participation in the past year.
A half-hour later, many of the same sentiments were echoed by a woman who sat behind me during Nancy Pelosi's presentation, which was taken over by Code Pink protesters. As the demonstrators shouted for peace, I heard a soft voice say, "Ask Pelosi why she asked Hillary to get out of the race." After the speech was over, I spoke to Pat, a 73-year-old retired teacher who declined to give her last name because her husband is a delegate.
"I'm not anxious to disrupt the convention," she said, adding that she plans to go to a pro-Hillary march on Tuesday, but that "if it gets rowdy, I'll step to the side. I consider that march a thank-you to Hillary for having not given up." Pat said she'll vote for Obama, but that she just wonders, after listening to Pelosi tell the crowd about how there should be more women seated around her at the White House table, "Why, why, why did she ask Clinton to leave the race? And why did she encourage superdelegates not to vote for her? That whole speech she just gave was about how women have to strive for power, but she used her own power to diminish and destroy Clinton's."
This was anger, no doubt about it. But it was reasonable, rational, thoughtful and politically sophisticated anger, not the "No-bama!" protests I would see later in the day. "The thing is," said Pat, "if Obama loses the election, don't think it won't be Hillary who's blamed." But, she said, she doesn't believe the convention will be badly disrupted by protest. "A roll call vote, that's traditional!" she said. "Dennis Kucinich got one, and Shirley Chisholm. I don't understand why it should be such a big deal."
Neither did Dana Kennedy, a 40-year-old Hillary delegate from Arizona who is one of the 300 signers of the petition to get the roll call vote for Hillary. "My hope is that in the first round of voting I get to vote for her, and in the second round, I will vote for Obama," said Kennedy. "A vote for Hillary is a vote for history and not against him."
*No, not a chick in her 30s who likes to date younger men, no matter what the Urban Dictionary would have you believe. A male or female who felt that the media were "in the can" for Obama, and feel distinctly cranky about it. The acronym stands for "Party Unity, My Ass."
Time for the Premier of Another Gay Movie: Gays Gone Wild!
The Release Is This Coming Friday, 8/29!
(at the Sunset 5 in Los Angeles, or this same weekend at the Quad in NYC)
Says Jonah Blechman: "Opening weekend is important, so show your support for queer cinema and bring a friend or two...or twenty! And please join me and some of the cast in LA for Q&A’s and Parties...all the info is below, including a link to purchase tickets. . . . Cheers to a new Spring Break Extravaganza!"
Here's the trailer:
Oh—and a few reviews:
"… scene-stealing powerhouse Jonah Blechman, who plays the insanely hysterical Nico, is as terrific and hilarious a comedic actor as any Jim Carey or Mike Myers!"
"The most hilarious gay film spoof ever made!"
"Silly, raunchy, fun! Lotsa hot guys, making out, promiscuous sex, backstabbing, drinking, projectile vomiting, etc!."
Out in Hollywood, with Greg Hernandez
"Super-Fabulous Filthy-dirty-funny. Gleefully naughty, nudity-filled, outlandish!" Instinct magazine
"90 minutes of sex, sex, sex!"
The Philadelphia Inquirer
It sounds like the Rocky Horror Picture Show without all that silly heteronormative stuff in it . . .
Los Angeles Screening Schedule, with Parties!
Leammle’s Sunset 5 - Daily
1:45pm, 4:20pm, 7:10pm*, 9:45pm
*Cast Q&A this Fri. and Sat. ONLY
Purchase Tickets ONLINE at:
• Tues., Aug 26th: The Falcon – Beige
7213 Sunset Blvd. @ Poinsettia
*Cast on Site
• Wed. Aug 27th: Hamburger Mary’s – Bingo
8288 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood CA 90069
*Cast on Site
• Thur. Aug.28th: Avalon – TigerHeat
1735 Vine Street (N.of Hollywood Blvd) Hollywood
*see Perez Hilton and his Music Video in the Film
• Fri. Aug. 29th: Eleven – Fresh
8811 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
*No Wait in Line with Ticket, Cast on Site including Brent Corrigan
• Sat. Aug. 30th: Here Lounge – Destination
696 N. Robertson Blvd (next to The Abbey)West Hollywood, CA 90069
*No Wait in Line with Ticket, Cast on Site
• Tues. Sept. 2nd: MJ's – Rim Job
2810 Hyperion Avenue, Silver Lake, CA 90027
**Cast on Site including Brent Corrigan
• Wed. Sept. 3rd: Here Lounge – Garage
696 N. Robertson Blvd (next to The Abbey) West Hollywood, CA 90069
*Cast on Site
• Thur. Sept.4th: Avalon – TigerHeat
1735 Vine Street (N.of Hollywood Blvd) Hollywood
*Cast on Site including Brent Corrigan
Directed by Todd Stephens
Written by Todd Stephens, based on a story by Eric Eisenbrey and Todd Stephens.
And featuring . . .
The beautfiul and funny Jonah Blechman as Nico;
Jake Mosser as Andy;
Aaron Michael Davies as Griff;
Jimmy Clabots as Jarod;
Euriamis Losada as Luis;
Mario Lavandeira as Perez Hilton;
RuPaul as Tyrelle Tyrelle;
Scott Thompson as Andy's Dad;
The Lady Bunny as Sandi Cove;
Will Wikle as Jasper;
Brandon Lim as Jasper Chan;
Isaac Webster as Jasper Pledge; and
Brent Corrigan as Stan the Merman.
August 26, 2008
I Hate It When My Meds Start Monitoring Me.
Gotta go and check the place out for hidden cameras placed there by my Ambien.
I hate it when drugs fight dirty.
Send Money to Chris! And then to Me!
The story is this: Chris Muir's last fundraiser for Day by Day was outrageously successful, and it looked that the results of that would carry him through this year. Then he lost his day job, which is terrific in the sense that he'll be able to do more research for the characters, work on the story lines—perhaps even go back to Iraq—but has the obvious downside that he'll need to rely even more on reader contributions.
The current fundraiser will go on for a month.
The "silver lining" here is that for each level of support (yes: the levels are Jan, Zed, Sam, and Damon), you get special goodies such as old sketches of the characters, posters, and a deck of DBD playing cards. (These are downloadables, except at the Damon level, which is supposedly sold out. I think the goodies at that level are sent out on archival paper.)
Personally, I think Muir should find a printer for the playing cards, and offer 'em on an ongoing basis. T-shirts, too.
I'll be sending him some money as soon as my next invoices get paid (which might be too late for me to get playing cards), but the good I get out of syndicating his site for free compels me to kick some dough in, as soon as I, like, have it.
And, yes: I'll be doing my own fundraiser, which will probably also last a week, in the second half of September.
UPDATE: Hey, Chris! Why posters of Sam, and not Zed? I want a Zed poster . . . or maybe a Damon one.
August 25, 2008
The Dark Knight: The Attila Review
So, A the H and I saw The Dark Knight yesterday. This is a movie in which:
• We didn't get to see Heath Ledger without any makeup on. That was sad.
• I liked Heath Ledger despite my (doubtless somewhat Electral) crush on Jack Nicholson, and though I haven't read enough comic books to discuss fidelity to any of the original sources, I feel Ledger really nailed a certain type of psychopathic / sociopathic personality, here. So, yes: I'd still dig it, even if the film hadn't turned into his swan song.
• Christian Bale doesn't take his shirt off enough.
• Aaron Eckhart doesn't take his shirt off nearly enough.
• There is, in fact, a certain paucity of shirtless scenes.
• Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman both have that sort of timeless, Sean Connery-esque quality wherein one doesn't precisely want to do them (I'm not that Electral), but sort of sit at their feet and listen to them talk in Those Voices—all freakin' day long.
Not so much "may I give you a blowjob, Sir?" but more like "may I get you a drink? Some ice cream? Pictures of my younger sister naked? Candy? The dead bodies of my neighbors, stacked up in the corner with a light dusting of lime on 'em? Watermelon cubes? What's your pleasure?"
Whatever it would take for them to keep talking in those amazing, dulcet tones until they just went hoarse.
I'd be digging through my books, finding the poetry I thought was best-suited to each of them. "Here. Read this. Oh, and here are the deeds to my husband's, my brother's, and my mother's assets, since I don't have any of my own. Just keep talking."
You know how it is with those fucking older actors—including James Earl Jones, minus the Star Wars roles (because I'm not quite that kinky): the first few readings are free. After that, you have to pay. I'm just not clear yet on what the price is.
* * *
It could be that communicating with me is just as, um, refreshingly challenging with me as it is with my mother. Like doing a crossword puzzle without having to wear down your #2 pencil.
Joy: "I'm as amazed as everyone else by what Heath Ledger accomplished, but I also thought that whathisface did a great job as well."
A the H: "Christian Bale."
Joy: "And, you know, I'm always happy to see whatshisotherface in any movie; how many have they done together at this point?"
A the H: "Right: Michael Caine. Well, there was The Prestige, and Batman Begins. And this one, of course. I think it's only three."
Joy: "He hasn't changed at all since Sleuth."
A the H: "I'm not so sure about that."
Joy: "Oh, like we're a couple of spring chickens."
A the H: "Hm. Who was the first guy to play Batman?
Joy (startled, because she's not used to answering pop-culture questions that don't have to do with James Thurber, obscure poetry, or Franco Zefirelli's version of Romeo and Juliet.): "Okay. On the TV series with the great theme that my mom rarely let us watch, it was Adam West. Michael Keaton did it in a feature or two, a movie-series or two ago, and the pick was controversial because some people thought, for crying out loud, that he didn't have the right jaw for the part.
"And I believe Val Kilmer played Batman it at least once, and I sure hope they didn't complain about his jaw, since I don't think the whole thing fits into the state of California, at least from side to side—as I recall, they have to film Kilmer so his face is parallel to the ocean, or one side of his jawbone pokes into Nevada or Arizona."
A the H: "Not bad. I mean, the number of actors—not the overwrought metaphor."
Joy: "Even in my senility, I can occasionally crank out a factoid or two. But the best Val Kilmer movie was Heat. Agreed?"
A the H: "Oh, yeah. Best shootout ever."
Joy: "And bitchinest characterizations in a crime movie ever. Though remember that one little character discontinuity in Heat? Did I ever tell you about that one?"
A the H: "Countless times. Oh, please: don't start. Not tonight."
Joy: "So I'm right about that."
A the H: "No. Not even a little bit right. No."
So, there you have it: one never knows when I will or will not be able to recall proper nouns without a little help. And there was one small problematic characterization in Heat—something just tad inconsistent.
Remember? The history books are written by the victors.
And the victors are the ones who never give up.
There is one person who can get Mandy—and other terrier-types of dog—let go of a favorite toy or tennis ball. That person is me. I've never seen anyone else do it, unless they had a golf club and hit the dog over the head until he or she relinquished the toy. Not necessary. And not easy, anyway, give the pit bull's famous/infamous pain tolerance.
There's a trick. I know it. Mandy won't admit it, but I'm the Dominant Dog in the relationship. Sure: she's powerful, and if she's feeling frisky and threatening to break out on her own for a bit of a romp, I will give the leash to my mother, because that extra 80-100 pounds helps. One is, after all, up against the laws of physics, and in order to keep her in one place I have to have the right kind of leash and lie down on my tummy, which is not the right message to send to a teenaged pit bull.
But if i have the tennis ball and I want to keep it, the Jaws of Death don't stop me. She respects that.
Light Blogging Through Tomorrow.
Getting ready for a contract job that starts this coming week, so I'm taking care of all those little things errands/task become such juicy, tempting endeavors when one is confronted with Real Work.
Particularly when the work in question is proofreading, which is a funny sort of enterprise: it's automatic on a certain level, but one still has to concentrate very very hard. It's like being the Mistake Goalie. And, yes, before you ask: my best positions in soccer when I was a kid were Goalie and Fullback. Fullback being, of course, the last safeguard before the ball got to the goalie. And because I'm small—and a little bit stronger and faster than anyone quite expected, not to mention stubborn as a silky-eared Pit Bull with large teeth and a waggly tail—I was slightly better as a fullback, because when I was goalie if they could get the ball high enough in the air, it was all over.
Being a midget was not much of an advantage in volleyball, either. Nor in basketball.
But I digress. The best part of my body (oh, just shut up) happens to be my eyes, and never mind that I'm farsighted in one and nearsighted in the other, and have astigmatisms in both. Even without glasses, I see stuff no one else sees. (Not dead people; just typos and characters that don't quite align.)
August 23, 2008
That didn't take long, did it?
Th McCain people are pointing to some tiny little inconsistencies between what Biden used to think, and what he might be thinking now--having been offered the illusion of power.
Iowahawk on the Obama Outreach to Flyover Country.
The irony that this post doesn't touch is that Iowahawk is more Genuinely Hip than any Blue Stater could ever hope to be. But let it pass, let it pass . . .
At first, the Obama team looked into major media buys in key battleground states. But with a campaign budget already strained by price increases in arugula and Hawaiian airfare, the impact was deemed to be minimal. Instead, they turned to a key campaign asset -- a dedicated cadre of young urban hipster douchebags willing to take Obama's message of change to America's small town streets and rural blacktops. An intensive eVite recruitment campaign on websites like the Daily Kos and Huffington Post yielded over 1,500 volunteers for the potentially dangerous mission.
"I couldn't be prouder of all of you wonderful young indy rock assholes," said Axlerod at a swearing-in ceremony at the campaign's official training center in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. "You represent our party's finest, the best of best -- you are our Douchebag Delta Force."
Highly motivated, and with skills ranging from post-modern gender theory to espresso cafe blackboard chalk art, the volunteers were eager to get to work on the campaign trail. But before deployment Obama officials insisted that all recruits undergo an intensive training regimen to prepare them for the rigors of life in Red Country.
"A lot of the plebe douchebags come in here full of swagger, thinking all it takes is a few hours of FM country music endurance training, and I have to tell them they have no idea what they're up against," says Ethan Dodge, a Seattle conceptual theater set designer and veteran douchebag of Obama's Iowa caucus campaign. "Believe me, I've been to Dubuque. I know."
Douchebag DI Dodge: "They don't what they're up against"
To toughen up the recruits for the task ahead, Dodge and other drill instructors take a direct approach.
"We tell them straight up: we aren't your mommy or daddy or your au pair. There aren't any independent lesbian film festivals in Youngstown, and just because Iowa has a lot of farmers it doesn't mean they are going to see a lot of Sunday chill-out farmers' markets," says Voorhees. "After that shock wears off, we tell them about how the natives drink Pabst unironically."
"Sure, it scares some recruits off," admits Dodge. "But the ones who stay are much less likely to crack under the pressure of a two week isolation from American Apparel or Urban Outfitters."
If you don't RTWT, you have serious self-esteem issues.
Joyner on Biden.
His own analysis, plus the M-F* of all roundups.
* Interesting contrast between Joyner and me—beyond the fact that he's a sellout, successful blogger whom people read, and I'm a "boutique blogger," only accessible to those with rarefied tastes and too much time on their hands: I use vulgarities quite often on this blog, whereas James' blog is G-rated. And yet, in conversation, James will out-vulgar me with something like a 4:1 ratio.
I hope it's okay that I said that. If it isn't, I never said it and my remark was taken quite out of context. In fact, if I wasn't supposed to say it, any reporting on my having said it constitutes Negativity. And stuff.
My birthday is long past, and Christmas is months away! But thank you.
I imagine the Obama campaign sitting around working on this: "Listen: there's one group we haven't yet alienated; our base—the die-hard (mostly male) hard-core Left. Can't we find someone to put on the ticket that will put that group off, as well?
Well, they did it!
Miniter has a thing or two to say about Biden as the VP pick, but he sounds . . . edgy. Almost sardonic.
So, What Is the Nature of Humor?
Genghis at Ace of Spades has an interesting article up on humor—in which a handful of academics attempt to dissect what is funny, and what is not, and how people react to "inappropriate" jokes.
As my Argentine-Italian boyfriend Sefaro used to say, "analyzing humor is like trying to pick up a butterfly with firetongs."*
I think the people behind this study are rather missing the point: it takes a special blend of hostility and polish for someone to become truly funny. I'm not saying that all funny people are sick mo-fo's—only that there has to be a region of the brain that's twisted in order for someone to have even developed the neurons that make them "funny."
For instance, I'm not funny; I can be witty, but mostly I just cross that line into "insane," rather than sublimating my general hostility into "jokes." (Early in life, I tossed a coin, and it landed on "heads." So sue me.)
A close friend who does comedy writing tries her best to be mentally healthy, but is also fond of recounting The Parable of John Cleese: supposedly, after he went through years of psychotherapy, he said the experience had made him "happier, but less funny."
There are nice people who do standup. Successfully. Really, there are. But to make "academic analyses" of humor in which one purports to be objective about the most subjective subject in the world—what is funny, and what is not, in any given context—is the ultimate in . . . well, hubris.
* As an entomologist, Sefaro should know about how one picks up butterflies. I asked him and the other field-biology nerds on our grouplist for help a few months ago in identifying the bugs that were all over our breezeway and balcony, and he responded that they were Rosalia funebris, Banded Alder Borers, and I was "lucky." He'd wanted a one of those in his collection for years.
"Well, I responded, "I've got five of 'em on my balcony right now, and seven or eight in my breezeway—I can't tell exactly how many, since they are humping like bunnies—or, maybe, like banded alder borers. Want me to snag one for you? And, if you'll excuse the expression, do you want it dead or alive?"
"Well, dead," he told me, right in front of all my high-school-era buddies. (Men are sensitive like that.) "But don't bother. There's a special protocol to collecting specimens, and I don't think you'd get it right."
Well, I've got almost a year to learn it. At which point I can send him one perfectly preserved banded borer every fucking day for a week. All of 'em pinned to pieces of polystyrene and fixed, for good measure, "in a formulated phrase."
Sefaro, by the way, turned me on to "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." And to Vivaldi. And to Borodin. He couldn't quite get me into chess, because one cannot reflect properly that game without learning notation. And somehow chess notation struck me as numeral-like. I couldn't surmount the hangup.
Also, to play a good game of chess requires that one stop drinking Canadian Club for hours at a time. Though I do remember that at one point in the 1980s, before Sefaro was married (much less a father) a bunch of us were, um, tripping, and he attempted to play a game of chess against the household Mac. He saved the history of that game in a file entitled "Hey, Man." I could have fallen in love with him all over again just for that, but it was just too late, then. We knew each other too well.
"All things must end."
Best Shipment from Darrell Yet.
Cranberry liqueur, mango liqueur, Rose's Cranberry Twist Mix. And, I shit you not: California-produced Mango puree, complete with a "bartender's spigot" on the top. (I might just attach a hose to that, so it can go directly into my mouth. I'm not proud.)
Okay, okay: There really isn't a "best shipment from Darrell." I mean, how would I choose?—the cashmere sweater? The silk kimono? The multicolored wallet I use every single freakin' day? The gin? The scarves? The gin? The accessories? The gin? The belt? The gin? The hairbands? The gin? The dress? The gin?
But this . . . aw. It was timely. It cheered me up. It combined several of my obsessions into one handy box. And on one end of that box was pasted a notice on white paper, created with a big black marker that said, "HIGH DECLARE." No, really. It did.
I'm just so happy I could go . . . I don't know. Do something productive, or Useful to Society. Sky's the limit right now.
Note: Actually, D, I did not make it to the maildrop on time. You got that part right. But you said the package was there, so I asked them to pull the box out and hide it between the two copiers so I could pick it up after hours.
Mango puree! I can't taste it right away; then there'd be nothing left to live for.
I think it's worth noting that I own two martini shakers. One is an individual-sized official Tanqueray shaker, courtesy of Big D. The other is part of a martini set sent me for my birthday by Laurence several years ago. That martini set is, by the way, the pride of this household. (Well, one of the prides of the household—particularly among the non-abstinent 50% of the demographic within this condominium.)
I Know, I Know.
The words "keyboard warning" are overused.
But let me just say this: swallow that mouthful of coffee before you read this, or you might need a new motherboard. 'Kay?
Note: Those among my readers who support Barack Obama may be slightly less amused than those who do not. But it's still funny, man.
August 22, 2008
The Important Issues Call Out to Me:
A little help, please?
Can One Resize Videos for Display?
Or is that an option that the original editors/producers of the vid have to create? I'm remembering that horrible moment that I had to take down Paris Hilton's brilliant vid that "satirized" McCain.
I wish that those who release vids on the web would remember that the main column in a blog is only so large, and create a smallish one that can be embedded without creating havoc.
I Got So Excited . . .
"That's perfect," I exclaimed. "Baggins really balances out his lack of experience, and nearly overshadows McCain's record of war heroism. It's freakin' brilliant."
I was also happy that Frodo comes from an agricultural area (the "flyover country" of Middle Earth, really).
Alas, it was a cruel joke. According to Taranto, there are a lot of these "fake VP reports" going around. (No permalinks in "The Best of the Web"--scroll down to "Biden His Time"). Though why anyone believed Obama had picked Mickey Mouse is beyond me . . . that's just silly.
* He really did say that, though it was yesterday, and it just made me giggle.
August 21, 2008
Juliette and Barack.
Words fail me, but Baldilocks is one of the people I admire most in the world, and we will, together—conservative, liberal, libertarian—find a way to help the school in Kenya that Obama forgot.
And the L.A. Weekly has the story. Yeah: you heard that right: the L.A. Weekly. I was not prepared to have the world come to an end today.
Juliette has never forgotten her roots. She is one of the brightest people I know, and one of the loveliest. Plus, she giggles in the nicest way when (despite having dated/lived with/married a "former" Marine) I mess up on military nomenclature.
And as far as money goes, it means wearing my hair long, shapeless, and in a ponytail for yet another year, I'll find a way to help Juliette reach her goal and help this Kenyan school out (no matter whom it is named after).
Stay posted. I'll get more info from Baldi, and we'll figure out how to kick this thing into high gear. Meantime, if you want to hit my PayPal jar for Juliette's charity, please send me a note so I'll know it goes to Kenyan education, rather than, um . . . gin.
I know Baldilocks: this project is not about shaming Barack Obama, but about taking care of something important that fell off his radar when he started running for President of this country. Taking care of Kenyans.
Are you an American worried about public schools here? Fine: hold a bake sale. But please send a portion of the money you make to Kenyan education, whether you are white, Indian, black, Asian, Native American, or merely (like me) ethnically confused.
Details later, boys and girls. Minimum donation is $20 for Juliette's charity. Send it directly to her, or to me (annotated, please! tagline: Kenya. I'll know.). If you want to send a check, mail it to her or to me (our addresses are findable, if you're clever--or just write me and I'll give you my mail-drop).
Via a Tweet from Flap's Blog.
So, Americans Aren't Just Ugly.
We're also stingy.
Though I would like to see our private charitable donations corrected for the parts of the country that have lower taxes--particularly if we're going to compare ourselves with the Western Europeans, who tend to have less disposable income because it all went to their governments.
The business of Obama and his half-brother, however, makes me sick. You'd think Big O would at least send him a stipend . . . or would that make him a target? It seems even a tiny amount of money could make a big difference in this man's life.
Of course, I'm sensitive about this: I still feel sorry for Julian Lennon, and I should have gotten over that years ago.
Not that I'm really comparing the elder Lennon son to Obama's half-brother. Or to David Cassidy's upbringing vis a vis Shawn's.
It's all relative, but the unfairness of life grates on me.
Anyway, in this particular context Obama's a pig. End of story.
Quote of the Week
[There are] plenty of other ways [aside from blocking oil/natural gas drilling, that the far-left can do to sabotage the economy and revamping/maintenance of our energy infrastructure]. They can protest the bulding of power plants and transmission lines. They can lobby for the destruction of existing hydroelectric dams. They can protest the building of new (energy-saving) rail lines and railyards. They can impose crippling taxes on all traditional sources of energy, and ensure that new sources are so politicized that they will generate only corruption, not megawatts.
It's increasingly probable that we are going to have a major electricity crisis, and there is nothing that the environmentalists and lawyers will allow us to do to prevent it.
I fear he's right. We have to fight just as hard for electricity as we are for liquid fuels (both petroleum-based and the newer types). Tell 'em it's for those electric cars we'll all be driving in ten years or so.
We should all, BTW, review that segment from Soylant Green wherein everyone has to ride a stationary bike in his/her apartment just to keep the lights on for a little while. That's where we're headed.
Oh, That Waldorf Salad Lady.
How could I have considered leaving her for Suzi Quatro? I must have been drunk last night.
The thing about Shivaree is, you listen to the song—it's melodious and sweet with just a bit of a sinister undertone.
Then you watch the video, and you see that the composition was, from the beginning, a lot darker than you realized.
Ms. Waldorf Salad sort of scares me. But . . . in the good way. I mean, this is sick and disgusting . . . and yet. And yet.
As Martin G. once said about the Wicked Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe . . . "I'll take two."
Thanks to Professor Purkinje for creating, as he once put it when the hiking boot was on the other foot: "a major rupture in my musical tastes."
August 20, 2008
Iowahawk Pwns Russia
And I was thinking of voting for John McCain?
Plus, when one guy's superb in a standard barroom brawl, and the other's made a serious study of the "mixed martial arts" (AKA UFC-style fighting), there's no one whose ass they can't kick. And if there were, they'd just shoot 'im.
Anyways, here's Buerge, on how shamefaced Russia is over that regrettable little Georgia incident:
DIPLOMATIC BREAKTHROUGH IN GEORGIA:
RED-FACED RUSSIAN PARTY CRASHERS RETREAT
Tbilisi, Georgia—Bowing to a withering barrage of pointed criticisms and strongly-worded letters of reprimand from the international diplomatic community, an embarrassed Russian military today abandoned its attack on the former Soviet republic of Georgia late this afternoon and retreated sheepishly over the Caucasus.
"Look, I don't really know what to say—other than, 'hey, our bad,'" said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an awkward, shoe-gazing statement to the United Nations. "Seriously, dude, it just totally wasn't like us to lash out like that. We've been having a couple of bad decades, and I guess we just sort of snapped."
According to Moscow newspaper Pravda, Lavrov and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin left several messages on the voice mail machine of Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili offering apologies and help cleaning up the damage from the weekend invasion. Sources say an angry Saakashvili was in no mood for forgiveness.
"Haven't you done enough damage already?" asked a testy Saakashvili, according to a U.S. State Department official. "Just get out. Come on dude, leave."
Russia's embarrassing geopolitical faux pas began over the weekend, just as the world was celebrating the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing. Friday, several armored divisions of the Russian Army and Air Force found their way into Georgia through an unguarded back door.
"Russia said South Ossetia invited them, to try out some of their pipeline stash," explained a source with the French Foreign Ministry. "I know Russia used to have something going on with Georgia, but nobody thought it was going to turn into a big ugly scene."
Russia's invasion prompted a quick stern response from GOP presidential candidate John McCain, while Democratic candidate Barack Obama urged Russia and Georgia to "work together to iron out their differences," and "chills, y'all." After learning that Georgia was a U.S. ally, Obama clarified the remarks, demanding that Russia withdraw its troops north to Tennessee and West Virginia.
By early Saturday morning, however, Russia's loutish behavior had gotten out of control, and according to some included wearing lampshades and carpet bombing of civilian areas. In response, the U.S. State Department prepared a carefully worded rebuke, reading "Dude, totally not cool," and the UN Security Council issued a special envoy to the region expressing "grave concern" and warning that "come on dude, you're drunk."
The harsh international diplomatic verbal response brought an immediate halt to the Russian firebombing campaign, followed by what observers termed "an uncomfortable silence."
"Everyone was just sort of staring at Russia, who's in the middle of beating the hell out of Georgia, and Russia's like, 'what? Come on man, you have to admit it's funny,'" said a source with UNSCOM. "So Russia's going around, looking for high fives and is like, 'don't leave me hangin', bro,' but the G8 gives him the total gas face, so he's like, 'whatever, dude, this party sucked anyway.'"
Read the whole thing, because I came, like, this close to breaking the rules and quoting his whole post. So go now, or it will cause me deep, physical pain and I won't let you back on my site.
This Is Kind of a Cool Concept.
It's like a "what's hot" site that (1) has some actual diversity of interests within it, and (2) includes those activities that we do when there isn't a keyboard in front of us. (Yes: for some of you that means "stuff you do in your sleep.")
Anyway, I haven't tried it out yet, but it's called "Mindthrow."
I'll do the actual review this weekend.
Good News on Energy: The Latest From Shell
. . . on the Perdido Platform in the Gulf Coast. It's fascinating stuff, originally put together by
the people who are investing millions in trying to keep our economy functioning and the country secure until we can perfect the next generation of energy sources Big Bad Scary Oil and Natural Gas People.
I hope it makes Engineering Marvels soon on The History Channel; the whole thing is quite an accomplishment. Here's a teaser, from my spies:
The Shell-operated Perdido Regional Development Spar has arrived in the ultra deepwaters of the Gulf of Mexico and is currently being secured to the seafloor in about 8,000 feet of water. Once completed, the Perdido spar will be nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower, and weigh as much as 10,000 cars. Perdido will be the deepest oil development in the world, the deepest drilling and production platform in the world, and have the deepest subsea well in the world; positioning the spar into place required carefully-orchestrated maneuvers.
Perdido will be a fully functional oil-and-gas platform with a drilling rig and direct vertical access wells, full oil and gas processing, and remote subsea wells. The facility is designed to produce 100,000 barrels of oil per day, and 200 million standard cubic feet of gas. The production from these fields will be transported via new and existing pipelines to U.S. refineries.
The Perdido Spar will bring in production from three fields: Great White, Silvertip, and Tobago. These fields are located in ten Outer Continental Shelf blocks in Alaminos Canyon, approximately 200 miles south of Freeport, Texas. This development will provide the first Gulf of Mexico commercial production from a Paleogene reservoir.
All three fields have been granted production units from the Minerals Management Service, and the accumulations are completely in U.S. waters, some eight miles north of Mexico's international border. The first production from Perdido is expected around the turn of the decade.
That makes me feel a lot better— and even more resolute in resisting the Gang of Ten plan, which doesn't even allow drilling off of Texas (or any other states that might have oil nearby).
More later; but it's nice to see that every dollar the oil companies have pumped (so to speak) into R&D on domestic production hasn't just gone to government pork.
Via one of my contacts at API.
I had no idea, BTW, we were only a few years away from bringing production online in this part of the Gulf. Keep in mind that this area has reserves of petroleum competitive with those in ANWR. It's critical that this project be brought to completion on-schedule—not just for this country, but for the developing world. And, of course, for emerging countries such as China and India, that are experiencing their own Industrial Revolutions: the cleaner we can extract/use coal and natural gas and petroleum, the better. The cleaner our cars and A/C run, the better. Because the planet cannot afford for them to depend upon second-rate, polluting technologies and inefficient, decades-old means of energy generation. (Believe me: I'm an allergic girl who remembers what the air was like in certain parts of L.A. County in the 1970s and 1980s. There were days when I felt sick; I just couldn't breathe.)
We have to do this, because we will do it in a more environmentally responsible fashion than nearly any other country out there. We need to do it, because we know how.
So McCain's Been Stealing from the Big "S" All Along?
Someone's Still on Tylenol 3?
Which reminds me: do you know Suzi?
As a friend once remarked about David Bowie, back in the 1980s, "he's a genius, and I don't know whether I want to be him, or make love to him." I sympathized with the dilemma; I really did.
And I'm not claiming that Suzi's a genius, but just look at her: the hair. The ability to scream and hold a note at the same time (I can't hold a note even when I'm not screaming; I can't hold a note if I put it on my jump drive and wear it around my neck on a thin silk ribbon).
The black leather jacket. The fact that she was doin' this back before Joan Jett was even a gleam in Kim Fowley's eye. And her body; it's just freakin' perfect.
Well of Course Domino's Pizza Is Up.
I doubt that people are eating more pizza during this "economic downturn," but I imagine that they could be, if they are working more overtime or whatnot. But there are only three reasons one might eat Domino's pizza as opposed to another brand:
1) it's the closest pizza place to where one works;
2) it's the only pizza place that delivers and can figure out how to get to your house out in the middle of nowhere in Flintridge;
3) it's the cheapest pizza made that is still edible.
I suspect that factor (3) is the operational one, here.
August 19, 2008
Energy: Is There Any Reason to Doubt the Dems' Sincerity on Domestic Production?
The Wall Street Journal takes an almost, well, skeptical tone:
It took a few months, and more than a few polls, but Democrats have concluded that they've lost the debate against more oil-and-gas drilling. The surrender became official on Saturday, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that even she was ready to "consider opening portions" of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil exploration.
That's great news, assuming she and her fellow Democrats really mean it.
. . . . . . . .
For example, the [Democratic Party] platform draft now says that "We know we can't drill our way to energy independence." Then there's the bit about ending "the tyranny of oil," which will require "far more than simply expanding our economic and political resources to keep oil flowing steadily" from overseas and elsewhere. There's also no mention of drilling offshore, much less in Alaska, and nothing about exploiting our vast domestic supplies of oil shale.
Fortunately, Democrats have time to fix these political oversights. If they are serious, surely Democrats will have someone rise on the convention floor next week and offer an amendment that endorses offshore drilling and pledges not to extend the Congressional ban on drilling that expires on September 30. Come to think of it, Democrats should offer this amendment in prime time. How better to steal the drilling issue from Republicans?
. . . . . . . . .
The fossil-fuel love-in could also extend to oil shale. Abundant on federal lands in the Mountain West, these deposits could yield more than seven times more fuel than Saudi Arabia has crude oil reserves. While extraction technology is still a work in progress, the immediate hitch is that a pilot leasing program was deliberately killed last year in legislation offered by Colorado's Democratic Senator, Ken Salazar. His partner in imposing that exploration ban was none other than House Democrat Mark Udall, who is now running for Colorado's open Senate seat.
Mr. Udall recently had his own pro-drilling epiphany, after weeks of getting pounded on the issue by his Republican opponent, Bob Schaffer. Mr. Udall's lead in the polls has vanished. "We've got to produce our own oil and gas here in our country," he now says in a new TV spot. But a campaign ad isn't enough. Surely, Mr. Udall will now want to acknowledge his mistake of a year ago and fight to lift the oil-shale ban on the House floor next month. That is, unless his new pro-drilling rhetoric is merely campaign triangulation that he doesn't really believe.
We'll know Democrats are not serious if they limit their drilling support only to the so-called Gang of 10 proposal in the Senate. The bipartisan Gang would allow drilling only offshore of four states -- Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas -- and only if it is farther than 50 miles out. It would leave the most promising areas off limits, especially in the Arctic and the Gulf of Mexico.
And in return for this de minimis drilling, the Gang wants to spend $84 billion more in subsidies for ethanol and other "alternatives," while hitting the oil industry with a $30 billion tax increase. This proposal is a trick designed to give Democrats political cover while opening up very little new land or offshore area for drilling.
No doubt any or all of these three actions would enrage the green lobby, but politics is about choosing. In this case, the Democratic choice is between sticking with an anticarbon theology that opposes all new drilling, or siding with American consumers who want more energy supplies so they don't have to pay $4 for gas and blow their family budget to keep the lights on. [ . . .]
Question for Hillary Voters:
So, if Obama doesn't put her on the ticket, what will you do?
1) Hold your nose and vote for Obama, but be on the lookout for any future blackballing of national-level female candidates—and maybe hope that the estrogen level will be at least as high among Obama's senior appointments as it has been among Bush 43's.
2) Vote for McCain; after all, he's a centrist's centrist, and he clearly has more experience than Obama. (Can he "think on his feet" better? Does he have a better sense of humor? You tell me.)
3) Write in "Hillary."
4) Stay at home.
5) Go to the polls so you can support all the other important people and issues important in your state and locality, but leave the spot for "President" blank—maybe even so the party knows you didn't just have the flu, and so that other issues and leaders do not suffer because of mistakes made by the national party and/or a few within Hillary's campaign.
Nunn for Obama's VP?
That would be shrewd.
I'm afraid, though, that he's going to nominate that unicorn he's been riding around on; they two of 'em have bonded, you know.
Were We Talking About Legalizing Drugs?
Here's an argument for moving it higher on the priority list; I'm surprised I didn't think of this, but I was probably already seeing red from the Feds' infringement upon the rights of Californians, so I wasn't able to "zoom out" and look at the international picture.
The War on Drugs is even more destructive when one looks beyond the U.S. borders—and, within and without those borders, when one takes a peek at where that "black-market premium" is going:
The Taliban is able to sustain their operational pace in fighting against ISAF and the supported Kabul government because they have been able to tap into the cash flows generated by the opium/heroin production and distribution markets. Opium eradication efforts sponsored by either the Kabul government or foreign military forces pushes farmers to turn non-state actors for protection. Those non-state actors provide protection for a cash fee and temporary loyalty. The loyalty buys silence and logistical support while the cash provides weapons, corruption and a means of making credible promises.
We also know that prohibition has not been successful in eliminating drug use in the United States or other rich nations. It is a moral/political posture of luxury that may bite us in our ass as it fuels a visible insurgency in Afghanistan, potentially funds Hezbollah in Lebanon and could potentially lead to a massive failed state in Mexico with the attendant mass migration flows that would entail.
Bringing the drug market into the overt and open white market and away from the black market would be a significant blow to these insurgencies. Legalizing most narcotics and then taxing them at a high rate is a viable option. It will strengthen weak states where the United States has a strong interest for stability. This will occur by removing a significant funding stream for the guerrillas and transferring it to the state.
Fester, quoted above, was in turn riffing off of this piece from the Small Wars Journal. Read both articles, mkay?
Along with energy policy, drug legalization should be placed within the interconnected set of issues that affect national security, and shame on me for not noting that when I blogged about the "War on Drugs" earlier in the day.
Sweetest Doggie in the Whole World!
Oh, Mandy! When you came and you gave without taking . . .
Although you did attempt to chew most of the furniture up with your teeth . . .
The "Kossacks" Concede
. . . that offshore drilling is a done deal. One might hope that all is not lost, and that there are other ways to sabotage the economy and American/Western security.
Via a tweet from Hackbarth of The American Mind.
Four Things About the "Cross in the Sand" Story
1) It could only have happened once. Ever. If any captor ever expressed secret solidarity with a prisoner by drawing a cross, we need only track down the one time in human history that this ever occurred, and if it wasn't in front of John McCain during his time in the Hanoi Hilton, then he is lying about it having happened to him.
2) The story is from Ben Hur. So, given that it only happened once, and that the time that it happened was fictitious, McCain is lying. Lying!
3) The account from another prisoner who heard the story directly from McCain when they were both POWs is clearly addled. You know how POWs get: it's very stressful, and it plays tricks with their minds. Next thing you know, they're taking sleeping pills. I would never vote for a former POW for C-in-C: You just can't trust those guys.
4) The fact that it didn't happen to Alexander Solzhenitsyn only proves that the only time in human history that such a thing was done was in Ben Hur, and that means it only happened in the world of fiction, and that means McCain was lying! Or maybe he can't remember. He probably has PTSD, and he's really, really old. Totally unreliable. And lying! And high on Ambien. And old.
Also, he can't make gestures with his arms as well as Obama can. Probably a sign of having a bad temper. Or being old. Or taking too much Ambien.
Furthermore, he can't match Obama's record of bridging the party divide, reaching across the aisle to . . . wait. Didn't Obama do something bipartisan during his ten minutes in the U.S. Senate? I could have sworn . . .
"Yes?" I asked.
"Last Wednesday morning, someone remarked on the fact that the photo had changed on my Wikipedia page. And I looked; sure enough, there was a new pic there. One that had been taken only several hours before."
"Right," I responded. "What's that to me?"
"Because you took the picture."
"How can you be so sure?" I enquired.
"Well, let's see. It was taken at the L.A. Convention Center, on that day that I had two days' growth of beard because I hadn't shaved, and I was behind on sleep. I was clearly taken from across the table, and I remembered you snapping the camera at that moment. Is that enough?"
"Absolutely not. What if there were someone behind me, with a telephoto lens, who managed to take a photo within a split second of when I got that image?"
"I guess I'd never know."
"I guess you never will know. Anyway, you hated that other picture. Remember? This has to be better, beard or no beard."
"The Poet Laureate from the Hills."
(That would be the Oakland Hills, by the way. Not those ones in Hollywood. Nor the ones in Texas. Are we clear?)
Jan Steckel got a nice writeup yesterday in the Oakland Hills Examiner.
Jan is an extraordinary writer, and has been since at least high school; I've known her since junior high, when we were respectively just forming as wordsmiths, under the guidance of Carol Jago (and, fellow fact-checkers, Ms. Jago did teach at Lincoln Junior High before she transferred to Santa Monica High, so bite me; I studied under her at both places).
One of the interesting things about Jan Steckel is that despite her lyricism, she's not the least bit adverse to indulging the left side of her brain. Well, she did tell me once in the Samohi library (where she was actually researching something, and I was flitting about like an intellectual hummingbird, looking for everything I could lay my hands on by William Saroyan, who was IIRC that week's literary obsession) that she had "a love/hate relationship" with the world of mathematics.
"Oh," I replied. "Mine is just hate/hate." So much simpler.
But the fact that Steckel went on to earn an M.D.—and even practice, for a time, as a physician—shows a unusual level of comfort with the natural sciences. Above-average for a poet, I believe, though few statistics are available.
Anyway, she does amazing work that certainly deserves a wider audience.
UPDATE: If Jan had written this, there wouldn't have been as many digressions. She also would have been able to slip something poignant in about the human experience. It would have made me cry. But I do not like to cry.
Well, That is the $64,000 Question.
Live by identity politics, die by identity politics. Meanwhile, rank-and-file Democrats who are uncomfortable with a candidate who has precious little experience in anything and worrisome personal connections will have some real soul-searching to do on November 4.
Darrell . . .
has solved my fruit juice problem, among others.
August 18, 2008
I Crave Juice All the Time.
But I need to find another source for it: for a while I could get Kern's Pineapple-Mango juice for $2.49 at our local tiny Ralph's (the most expensive Ralph's in the world, but within walking distance, so worth it if one only needs a few little things).
I knew it wasn't a great price, but orange juice was mostly that price, too, because of the frost last year. So I got what I preferred to drink.
Then the Kern's tropical juices went up to $2.99 for a half gallon, and that was just beyond the pale. I couldn't do it. There are a few other options: Paul Newman lemonade is less, so maybe that's my next juice jag. I went back to the OJ section, though, and most of them were also marked up to $2.99. Way at the bottom was store-brand citrus juice at $2 a carton.
I wonder if Costco sells mango juice. I'm sure some of the local Middle Eastern markets do, but I doubt I'll be doing better on price at any of them. Trader Joe's? Smart and Final? Bank jobs to support my mango-juice habit? Holding up people as they come out of Ralph's to demand that they hand over the mango, or the mango-pineapple, or the mango-guava, "and no one will get hurt"?
More will be revealed, I suppose.
I mean, prices weren't wonderful at the Ralph's in La Canada, but they were liveable (well, one had to double-check the grapes and cherries, of course: those could get a bit silly if they'd travelled too far, or weren't in season, or there wasn't a sale going on).
But at the itty-bitty Ralph's here on the north side of Glendale? I concluded my price check by noticing that fresh-squeezed local orange juice (the only kind my mother would buy from Fireside market in Santa Monica in the 70s/80s) was a mere seven dollars for a half gallon. Or two for $14. Or they would trade me a selection of my half-dozen favorite juices for my engagement ring, because it features a champagne diamond . . .
What I really want, though, is mango juice. And lots of it.
Someone's got to have it at a decent price. I don't want to be forced into a life of crime because of some "correction" in the tropical-juice market.
Was Obama Referring to God on Abortion Issue?
Taranto (last item):
On the Other Hand, He Plans to Raise God's Taxes Through the Roof
Barack Obama is getting a bum rap for one comment he made during the Rick Warren forum:
Warren: Now, let's deal with abortion; 40 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. As a pastor, I have to deal with this all of the time, all of the pain and all of the conflicts. I know this is a very complex issue. Forty million abortions. At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?
Obama: Well, you know, I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.
This brought the Republican Attack Machine out in full force. "Insulting and mendacious," says The New Criterion's Roger Kimball. "Evasive and unsatisfying," adds Commentary's Jennifer Rubin. National Review's Mark Hemingway calls it a "spectacularly inept metaphor" and writes, "News flash: There's not a job on the planet above the pay grade of the President of the United States."
It is left to blogress Ann Althouse to come to Obama's defense:
I'm pretty sure he meant to refer to God.
"Above my pay grade" is an expression of humility and submission to God: I don't purport to answer the question that belongs to God.
Obama just can't win with these right-wingers, can he? For months they've been blasting him for acting like the Messiah. Now they're attacking him for acknowledging he's not God.
Well, not yet, anyway.
I've never heard the expression used that way, as an allusion to the Divine. I know it isn't always purely literal: an engineer might say that about literary analysis, and a fiction writer might say that about the mechanics of building a bridge. But I've never heard it used by, say, a member of the clergy or another person of faith, in alluding to the Creator of the Universe of the Monotheistic Traditions.
Any chance that Althouse was right? Discuss.
Mary Jane vs. Ambien.
Why have to choose?
Actually, I have friends who tell me that I should "get my card" because of my sleep problems, and I'd love to use something else to get off the Ambien once in a while, but that would require the Feds to stop violating California's right to legalize medical marijuana within its borders.
In the meantime, I'm not going to paint a target on my back.
Here's an idea: let's win the WoT and solve the energy crisis. Then we can concentrate on not just medical marijuana, but full decriminalization of everything short of heroin and crack—and maybe them, too. (The more we legalize, the more we can regulate, and the more street crime goes down as the prices drop. And the more we can get people into rehab if they get truly hooked, if simple using is not going to land them into our already overcrowded prisons all on its own.)
Carbon Hysteria and The Russians.
Is there a connection?
The fact is, I'm perfectly willing to pretend I'm afraid of carbon. The more people are afraid of AGW, the faster we can get some nice, clean nuclear power plants built. Yay!
Jeff Is a Bad Person.
But in the good way.
Pelosi and Reid:
"When you thought we said we were anti-drillin', we really meant that we were anti-illin'. We thought we were discussing health care—not energy."
August 17, 2008
About Those Oil Leases that the Energy Industry Is "Just Sitting On" . . .
Chris explains how that works.
Say What You Will . . .
I think Obama's racism was simply that he didn't want Clarence Thomas sitting on the High Court alongside two white women.
It was Obama's white side: he didn't want Thomas having designs on his wimmenfolk.
But I've been eating lotos flowers.
Why not?—I have a very long list of things to do tomorrow. *
Vaguely related: if we are going to legalize Romantic poetry, shouldn't we legalize Mary Jane?
Something to Cheer You Up on a Sunday Morning.
(Not drowning; just waving. I swear.)
August 16, 2008
The API Rejects
. . . the "Gang of Ten" proposal:
API must express its opposition to the approach outlined by the Group of 10 because it falls far short of what is needed. Unfortunately, the proposal appears to be a classic case of one step forward, two steps back -- or in this instance "light on new production/heavy on new taxes." Current world events only reinforce the critical importance of ensuring that our nation develops the full range of its domestic energy resources for economic competitiveness and national security reasons. The proposal’s approach to access to federal oil and natural gas resources is far too limited in its scope. And, it is unfortunately paired with the imposition of at least $30 billion in new taxes on the oil and natural gas industry that would have the effect of limiting needed oil and gas investment. A lesson learned well in the 1970-80 period. These measures create an environment that will virtually assure a future with less, not more, domestic production. While this new proposal would expand access in the waters of the Outer Continental Shelf, it unfortunately limits any expansion over current law to the eastern Gulf of Mexico and waters off four Atlantic Coast states in the South. Even in these areas, development in federal waters less than 50 miles offshore would be banned – despite the fact that offshore facilities would need to be 12 or fewer miles from shore to be visible from land.
Leasing in the North Atlantic and off the Pacific Coast would be banned and plentiful hydrocarbon resources in Alaska would remain off limits. Significant regulatory burdens on new development would remain in place. The imposition of $30 billion in clearly discriminatory new taxes, to pay for federal investment in alternatives and renewables, ignores the fact that the industry already provides more than 70 percent of all North American investment in research and development in emerging energy technologies.
Americans today are calling for Congress to do much more to supply their needs for additional energy. Our companies are supplying more energy – and more kinds of energy – to meet this growing demand. The U.S. Energy Information Administration continues to point out that oil and natural gas will be an essential part of this nation’s energy future for decades to come. Opening all available domestic resources to safe and environmentally responsible development would significantly boost U.S. supplies of oil and natural gas; increase the nation’s energy security; add more well-paying American jobs; help with our balance of payments and economic growth during a time of recessionary fears and bring billions of dollars into the Treasury instead of sending them abroad.
Huge and discriminatory new taxes on the U.S. oil and gas industry make no sense. The only beneficiaries of such an ill-advised approach would be international competitors in the global oil markets, who would benefit as US companies were made less competitive in the quest to find and develop global energy supplies. Already, the top 27 U.S. energy-producing companies have seen their annual tax liability rise to more than $100 billion, an 80-percent increase from 2004 to 2006. New taxes on these U.S.-based energy companies would drastically cut capital that otherwise could be invested in domestic oil and natural gas production and expanded refining capacity. The net result could be to stifle high-risk, capital-intensive projects in the U.S., leaving Americans more
dependent on foreign sources of energy, while jeopardizing U.S. jobs and economic growth.
Other than that, it's a great idea, you know. Read the entire text of the API Letter (it's a PDF), which was sent to all senators. We need a bill, but the GoT proposal ain't the one. And even one of the "DontGo" recommendations reportedly contains that "50 miles off shore" proviso for coastal development. That's at least twice of what's necessary for environmental safeguards. (Unless, perhaps, you're a yachting enthusiast; in that case, you might have to negotiate around the occasional oil platform that people on the beaches simply cannot see. Unless you get everywhere you go on sail-power alone—with no backup motor involved whatsoever—you might want to consider taking one for the team.)
The API site is here, by the way. They know their stuff, and because they have ties to the people out in the field who are doing the exploration and conducting the research on oil and natural gas, they can give much more pragmatic recommendations on how to solve the energy crisis in the short-term/medium-term, as we continue to work on alternative forms of fuel and creative ways to generate electricity.
So, let's be clear: having a relationship with the industry is a feature. Not a bug. But there's your disclosure, anyway. They are an invaluable think-tank and public information source on oil and natural gas, and we should listen to their input.
(If you're too much of a purist/anti-capitalist to do so. In that case, I assume you also ignore anything the American Booksellers Association has to say about the printed word.)
Senator McCain to Change His Position on Drilling in ANWR?
Ace has the full story, complete with blockquotes--the last paragraph of one showing the distinctive signs of Ace-tampering.
I just can't see the problem with drilling in ANWR (or the coasts, for that matter) given:
1) the high international stakes for failing to do so;
2) the fact that our environmental safeguards are more sophisticated than they were when we developed Prudhoe Bay (and some of the installations off the California coast);
3) given that the caribou in Prudhoe Bay seem perfectly happy and healthy anyway;
4) the fact that Americans seem to think it's fine to "despoil" the wilderness areas / oceans of other countries in order to attain the petroleum we still use on a daily basis (and in some of these cases these countries' environmental safeguards are so poor that the word despoil does not belong in quotes); and
5) the fact that Alaskans overwhelmingly want this to be done. They need the jobs; they really do.
Maybe I Should Lie Down.
After all, the fruit juice will wear off eventually, and then I'll get hungry. Then I truly won't be able to sleep unless I eat something, which is asking a bit much of my system.
Let's say you call someone from your cell phone. They ask for your zip code, but it's a different one from the billing address.
Can they find you?
I Don't Quite Get It.
Maybe this was their way of telling me not to invite myself out to dinner with them any more at the end of Siggraph: one guy showed up with his wife; they were discussing possible names for a baby. I suggested that rather than risk breaking their hearts, they should wait for a fetus before they got too excited about reproduction.
"Oh," my friend remarked. "You are out of the loop, aren't you?" His wife showed me her expanded belly, and he told me they were expecting in October.
So, which is more unbelievable: (1) the fact that my friend never thought to let me in on the fact that his wife was pregnant; or (2) the fact that none of my other friends, who surely knew about this, never thought to inform me or the other person in the dinner party who has suffered through infertility. (Of course, this other person may be on the brink of Marriage Number Three, so there is hope for him. For me, not so much.)
I mean, I could have been happy for them if it hadn't been thrown in my face so suddenly. Why didn't anyone drop me a hint about this?
So. How's Everyone Out There in Blogland?
Thought I'd check in.
Let me know how it's going.
I called my mother to check on the dog, who was sleeping peacefully—always a good thing at 3:00 a.m.
I called the people who talk about bad things. I said I was angry. The lady at the other end of line said I sounded more "hurt."
It's 4:00 a.m. right now. I'm just drinking fruit juice until such time as my body decides it can do something sleeplike. I'm hoping that's sooner, rather than later.
August 15, 2008
Holy Shit. They Make 'Em Tough in Georgia.
Maybe NATO Is Outdated.
Perhaps we should be—perhaps we are—working toward a "Blow Me, Russia" Alliance.
Something light and quick that pivots easily. Preferably, one that could also be used as a "Blow Me, Iran" force.
So, um. What are we doing for Ukraine?
Yeah. I'm still pissed. The only thing that could possibly lift me out of this funk is some nice domestic drilling. Um, I mean . . . . well, that would be nice, too. I'll enquire about that as well; they tell me there's a weekend coming up.
Yup. We Were Right the First Time.
The "Gang of Ten" energy "compromise" gives up too much: politically, and as a practical matter.
There is a small, very wicked part of me that wants to ask Johnny Mac "how does it feel?"
August 14, 2008
And Now for Something Completely
. . . hard-hitting:
The Essential Ace Rant
. . . on the Russia-Georgia conflict. I wouldn't dream of trying to summarize it; just go.
I even forgive Ace for being more fluent in obscenities than I am—at least for now. (Though the copy editor in me thinks he might have overdone "sucker of cock" in referring to Robert Scheer. Still, one cannot nitpick when it comes to True Blogging Performance Art, and the man was, as the surfers say, "in the tunnel." It is, I must admit, a thing of beauty.)
The fact is, I'm toggling back and forth between worrying about the energy crisis and worrying about (the country of) Georgia. But they are inextricably linked, and the Georgia crisis is also closely related to our efforts in Iraq: Russia's actions are a threat to the West's oil supplies and a threat to Ukraine. Its actions are pulling the forces of Georgia out of Iraq (a country that has provided a full third of the troops we've used to win that war).
This is a big fucking deal. Let's mobilize, build more nuclear power, get our biofuel act together, and drill anything that looks like it might have any petroleum in it whatsoever; after all, it's petro-superiority that lends Russian its moxie now. Why not?--the need for fuel is a big part of how the Soviets bested the Nazis in WWII. (And a big part of how we beat Japan, for that matter.)
And let's get Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. Like, now.
Furthermore, anyone who is considering voting for Obama now, with these twin crises unfolding . . . words fail me.
Hymers? Provoke "Wikirage"?
The very idea is utterly shocking.
Someday I'll have to dig out my letter of excommunication, and post it here for the amusement of those who like to follow the chronicles of my cult years.
Actually, my biggest problem with Hymers isn't the fact that he ran (and from what I hear, runs) a cult-like church. It's that underneath it all he's just a rather boring individual.
But I have to get out to the Convention Center today, so I don't have time to get into the mendacity of evil.
Wait. I lied. My biggest issue with Hymers is the fact that I get a ton of traffic for people searching "defloration pics." Apparently, the 'bots see "Hymers" as a misspelling of "hymen."
Of course, it's vaguely appropriate: I lost my cult virginity and my physical virginity in the same organization. The first, by persuasion. The second, by force.
Funnest Spam Attack Yet.
Over 300 spam comments this time.
I keep thinking of the Kinks line about rock 'n' roll: "This might turn into a steady job."
Yeah, well. It's certainly steady . . .
August 13, 2008
How I Learned to Stop Worrying
. . . and love lying in bed with a sports-bottle full of mango-pineapple juice.
Ace debates the merits of Rice's tough talk, toggling back and forth between concern about whether Rice has gone too far and high delight at the Russian accents on display. (I always suspected Ace of having a secret fondness for Eastern European dialects.)
He thinks the Administration is employing a "tripwire" strategy, among other things. That's probably right.
As for the idea that Rice is pushing the Russians too far, I don't know about that. There aren't a lot of Westerners in existence who know more about Russia/the Soviet Union than Condi Rice does. This is where she concentrated most of her academic study, and she speaks fluent Russian.
She's been playing catch-up for years in studying the Islamic threat: Soviet studies are her home turf.
Putin will blink. He has to.
As for AllahP's contention that sending Lieberman and Graham to the country of Georgia sounds "a sour note," I'm not sure. Certainly there's a cheap side to it, inasmuch as it links his campaign strongly to the Russian-Georgian crisis, which is a bit like putting the Hillary "3:00 a.m. in the White House" ad on a continuous loop in people's minds.
On the other hand, the idea of having Obama at the helm while there's a showdown of this magnitude going on scares me enough that cheap tricks bother me less than they otherwise might.
And in fact, the ploy might be justified in this regard: I think one of the reasons the Russians are feeling, um, empowered right now is that the U.S. is in the middle of a Presidential election, which makes the body politic over here a good deal more fractured and distracted than it usually is. (The other is that the Russians have plenty of oil, and we do not, because we prefer to keep our coastlines pretty, every square inch of Alaska pure and virginal, and the Gulf uninfected by oil wells. Even oil facilities we cannot see from our beaches—those located beyond the horizon on the Atlantic and the Pacific—bother us. Never mind if we cannot see them; we know that they are there. It's, like icky and stuff.)
Whereas if there's a nuclear war, lots of people will die, and the overpopulation problem will be solved. The entire species' carbon footprint will lessen considerably.
But a presence of some on the Armed Services Committee who coincidentally happen to be associated with John McCain may simply be a way of assuring the Russians that, if anything, the heat might turn up in several months, and that they may not want to do anything too stupid right now.
That is, it might be a good time for the Russians to glance at their watches, say "would you look at the time!" and mosey on back. Or at least to keep a lower profile and cut down on the trash-talkin'.
Apparently, Entertainment Is Where You Look for a Job
. . . when you can't find work digging ditches.
Is Day by Day
. . . displaying properly anywhere today? It seems to be half-blocked, everywhere I look for it.
I've Looked at the Gang of Ten
. . . from both sides, now.
Ace is probably right on this one: there are segments along the beaches of California that have remarkable potential, and we do have a bit of an infrastructure here, as well.
Bottom line: We can't take the Pacific coast off the table, and we shouldn't be taking ANWR off, either: it's got production potential similar to that of the Gulf, and with a smaller footprint in terms of acreage that would be affected.
On the other hand, aggressive nuclear development and mandated flex-fuel cars are also super-important. It could be that the difference is in the fine print: could the Pacific Coast and/or ANWR be re-debated at a later point, or is the language in the GoT version (and the DontGo version, for that matter), iron-clad?
Hope . . .
for those in favor of infanticide.
We are . . . Sparta!
Okay. This Is Strange.
After doing right by me for months, iPhoto has now decided that after I crop a picture, and tell it just how little I want it to be, I can neither:
1) have it remain small within iPhoto, nor
2) move it to my desktop, rename it, and have stay at the dimensions I've specified.
What this means is that Movable Type will not let me upload any picture I take, because they are all "too large." Even if I told iPhoto in no uncertain terms that I wanted to make the image little.
Obviously, there's something I haven't found. Anyone know the answer? This used to work just fine. Wait: not fine. I did have to re-size the photos to appropriate dimensions after placing them. But at least MT would allow me to upload them, and now it's turning 'em all down.
Still, one would think that iPhoto would respect my wishes to make an image small. I thought the computer was supposed to do the will of the human. Another naive misconception on my part? (Mandy and I have had this talk about the dog-human relationship, and have not achieved perfect accord.)
The NYT Attempts to "Swift Boat" the Obamessiah.
Shame on them. Roger Kimball takes them to task for the smear:
That’s one of many questions the public should be asking about Barack Hussein Obama. Today’s piece in the Times veritably weeps with anxiety. Corsi’s book has dwarfed a similar effort to discredit John McCain (35,000 in print): is there no justice in the world? The Times was in a tough spot with this book. The paper’s usual procedure with books it dislikes is to ignore them. Someone must have made the calculation that it was better to try to head off Corsi’s book at the pass, to strangle it in the crib as it were. I think they will rue the decision. Most people who read the Times would probably have been only dimly aware of The Obama Nation had the Times not brought it to their attention. Now they have had it rubbed in their faces. The paper did its best to dismiss the book, but questions and doubts will linger–not so much about Jerome Corsi but about Barack Hussein Obama.
This kind of puts my recent argument with my dad into perspective (Kal's rhetorical excesses and spelling mishaps notwithstanding).
August 12, 2008
So. An American Carol.
Still on-schedule to open October 3rd. Be there, or be hexagonal.
The Variety write-up:
Vivendi Entertainment has picked up North American rights to David Zucker's new comedy "An American Carol" and will release it in the fall. Pic tracks a cynical, anti-American filmmaker who sets out on a crusade to abolish the July Fourth holiday. He is visited by three ghosts who try to show him the true meaning of America.
Directed, produced and written by Zucker, known as one of the masterminds of the "Airplane!" and "Naked Gun" franchises, the pic is also produced by Mpower's Stephen McEveety and John Shepherd.
The cast includes Kevin Farley ("Monk") as the filmmaker, plus Kelsey Grammer, Leslie Nielsen, Dennis Hopper, James Woods and Jon Voight.
Lewis Friedman and Myrna Sokoloff co-wrote the script.
There's a great article by Stephen F. Hayes in The Weekly Standard about the An American Carol, which may serve as a "coming out party" for some of Hollywood's closeted [and semi-closeted] conservatives. (Those who are not action heroes like Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and therefore aren't in a position to tell the H-wood establishment to "go fish"—though even Willis couldn't get a movie made based on Michael Yon's writing about Deuce Four. Yet. If Zucker and Company can end the blacklist on those who support the War on Terror—or at least diminish its power—that could change.)
I spoke to Lee Reynolds, who plays the New York police officer whose efforts to search the terrorists are thwarted by the ACLU. Reynolds, too, is a conservative--something David Zucker did not know when he cast Reynolds in the anti-Kerry ad he produced in 2004. Reynolds was active duty military for 12 years and shortly after 9/11 worked as the chief media officer for detainee operations at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
When he returned, he took a job as a production assistant on a film--he asked me not to name it--shot in several locations across the United States. Reynolds worked hard and, he says, won the confidence of the film's directors, who gave him more responsibility. But just as he was making a name for himself, word began to spread that he had been in the military and, far worse, that he supported the efforts of his uniformed colleagues in the war on terror.
"Once they found out I was a Republican, unfortunately for some people it was a problem," he recalls. Several people who had talked to him regularly throughout the shoot simply stopped. And a trip that he was to have taken to participate in an offsite shoot across the country was abruptly cancelled. Another person was sent in his place. Reynolds says that he had only two colleagues who treated him the same way they had before, including "an anti-Bush lesbian" who was disgusted by the dogmatism of the others on the film. Reynolds, now a reservist, is scheduled to leave for Iraq in early 2009. The more Zucker is known as a conservative, the more frequently he has encounters with others who consider themselves conservative.
On one of the days I was on set, McEveety had invited Vivendi Entertainment president Tom O'Malley to meet Zucker. Vivendi had just agreed to distribute the film and had promised wide release--news that had the cast and crew of An American Carol in particularly good spirits.
O'Malley and Zucker chatted about the fact that O'Malley is the nephew of Candid Camera's Tom O'Malley and that they are both from the Midwest, among other things. Zucker thanked him for picking up the movie, which will be one of the first for Vivendi's new distribution arm. O'Malley told Zucker that he was particularly interested in this film in part because he, too, leans right.
Such revelations are common occurrences at the periodic meetings of the secret society of Hollywood conservatives known as the "Friends of Abe" ["Lincoln, not Vigoda," as the Standard article points out elsewhere]. The group, with no official membership list and no formal mission, has been meeting under the leadership of Gary Sinise (CSI New York, Forrest Gump) for four years. Zucker had spent a year working on a film with Christopher McDonald without learning anything about his politics. Shortly after the film wrapped, he ran into McDonald, best known as Shooter McGavin from Adam Sandler's Happy Gilmore, at one of these informal meetings.
"It's almost like people who are gay, show up at the baths and say, 'Oh, I didn't know you were gay!' " Zucker says.
h/t: About a week and a half ago, Ace of Spades quoted extensively from the Standard article, playing up the "blacklist" angle. I would have linked him then, but he uses too many dirty words.
Actually, it was—and is—a sensitive subject around here. I would hate to count up how many media jobs I've failed to get because people were able to figure out that I was right-of-center. And I'm sure my husband has lost out on entertainment jobs for the same reason, though as an improv actor and comedian he's a bit quicker on his feet, and is much better at "the Los Angeles tapdance," wherein one is confronted with some sort of remark about how evil G.W. Bush is, or how the War in Iraq is just "making us more enemies," and one is sort of forced to smile brightly and change the subject.
It never fools people when I do it, and I'll bet that even A the H hasn't managed a 100% success rate in hiding his convictions.
A conservative estimate would probably suggest that we've lost tens of thousands of dollars to the prejudice. The true figure is probably in the hundreds of thousands.
Yes, yes: I've spoken with Joel Surnow of 24, and I know he doesn't believe in the blacklist. He's all, like, "if you're a good writer, you'll make it." But, again: his genre is action, and the rules are more flexible for action TV/features. There's that whole "Clint Eastwood" excuse that people make to themselves: "well, if they work on that sort of project, it probably warps their thinking; they begin to see things in black-and-white after a while. Can't help themselves, the endearing little money-makers."
Support alternative points of view in the entertainment industry. End of lecture, for now.
August 11, 2008
It's started up again!—
Shannon Elizabeth comments on John Edwards’ affair and its potential fallout for the Democratic convention and Dem delegates:
Elizabeth: “I met John-John when he was still as Senator, but to be honest, I was so high on X that all I remember about the evening was his inviting me over to ‘the other America,’ where, if I’m remembering correctly, he was going to dress me up like a naughty housekeeper . . . . "
Read the whole thing. Unless, you know—you want to respect yourself in the morning . . .
Is Senator Clinton like, annoyed at Edwards for lying about his affair? 'Cause I can see how she would find his conduct outrageous. Not just the "crime," of course, but especially the "cover-up."
Has the McCain campaign produced any non-racist ads whatsoever?
Via Ace, who delineates the mental hoops the lefties had to jump through in order to interpret the ad as racist, and remarks, "Is anyone else becoming rather annoyed at the left's insistence that white conservative men do nothing but sit around all goddamned day worrying that some black guy is going to take our womenfolk away from us?"
UPDATE: Well, if the Obama supporters weren't so fucking sexist, they might realize that women of any race aren't property to be "taken" by blacks or Asian dudes or Klingons, or anyone else. Get those people to a consciousness-raising session, stat!
This Is One of the Saddest Stories
. . . in the entire history of television animation.
Yes. Goldstein Is a Bona Fide Genius.
Of course, I don't like to point that out too often, lest his enormous ego truly catch up to his staggering brainpower, and take over.
But it hasn't, yet. Jeff remains, despite repeated attacks from both the leftosphere and some genuine online kooks (but I repeat myself . . .) a wonderful, warm guy—who is, in person, terrily down-to-earth.
Stacy McCain sums the situation up nicely: Jeff's back on his own front page, and there's much rejoicing in the streets. A minor disagreement between him and one of his guest bloggers isn't of much consequence in the long run—though if it gets us more of Jeff's writing in the here-and-now, it's obviously going to make the blogosphere a better place.
P.S. Regarding that little link over here by "the other McCain," I'll tell you a secret: there are bloggers who don't drink. But I shan't be blowing their respective covers any time soon.
"Gal," He Tells Me,
"I think you're off the deep end."
"The deep end of what?" I ask my dad.
"I don't know what. But there's something really wrong with you."
Ah. I'll try to get that fixed right away, then—that thing he can't quite diagnose or even articulate. That nonspecific thing. I'll claw my way right out of the deep end of [static, mumble mumble, vague paternal disapproval].
I wonder if he got that from his first wife, to whom he hasn't been married in four decades. Because it certainly sounded . . . familiar.
In point of fact, the discussion shouldn't have upset me in the least, because it has nothing to do with me: rather, it was a moment of payback to wives #1-3. Which is another way of saying that the whole encounter was about my grandmother, but since she's gone deaf—I guess I have to hear it.
It also served as notice that, for the first time in my life, my father doesn't just require tolerance and patience from me, but Actual Handling. Like any 70-somethng parent.
I've always wanted to be part of a real family! See?—we're normal after all, in our own way! Pinocchio finally gets his wish . . .
Georgia on My Mind . . .
Let's not forget:
So although we're busy with our bread (gas-price-rage) and circuses (the tainted Olympics), Russian aggression in Georgia is not entirely separate from this decade's energy crisis, and we shouldn't be ignoring it.
Our weakness with respect to energy makes it harder to step in and help other nations to repel aggression—especially members of the OPEC mafia.
And, no: I don't want to be "the world's policeman." But once in a while these things have to be nipped in the bud. (There was once this situation in Czechoslovakia* that wasn't addressed in a timely fashion, and the whole thing turned into a bit of a mess, IIRC.)
* Originally I put "Poland" here, until John of the Evil Snackage corrected me (see the comments). Rather a stupid mistake, but I was in a hurry. Also, there were four of them, and the sun was in my eyes. And while they beat me up, the dog was eating my homework . . .
New Forums on #DontGo!
Their news feed is here.
August 10, 2008
Light Blogging, Next 24 Hours.
But after that, the Siggraph coverage starts, which should be fun. (At least, it will be for me!)
August 09, 2008
Miniter, on John Edwards' Defense
. . . and what it says about modern-day feminism. ("The Clinton wound was mortal.")
Well, I don't think I know what feminism is—as with Art, I just know what I like. If men can be gentlemenly (perhaps even, on special occasions, gallant) without patronizing me, thas cool. and without it being this desperate endless striving to get to the door first, so he can be the one to open it for me: how about seeing which one of us gets there first, and he/she will hold it for the other?
If lesbians can stop pretending that I'm an idiot because I (as they say about polling data) "trend straight," that's a good thing, too. [After all--can we admit that some of the worst sexists out there are dykes, and a few tall women of miscellaneous orientations?]
But instead of that blunt "I didn't love her," Silky would have been better off with "I had tremendous respect for her"—instinctively moving his hands forward, as most of 'em do, like heat-seeking missiles—"frontal lobes. I mean, she had a first-rate intellect. That's why we don't need a paternity test: the child just doesn't seem vain enough. No sitting in front of the mirror, trying on various hairstyles. What a waste of money that would be."
Actually, I liked Breck boy, because he just wasn't ever afraid to kind of brainstorm about ideas for what we could do to improve the country. I didn't agree with most of 'em, but I liked the fact that the wheels kept turning.
Likewise, I have a soft spot in my heart for a politician who's been caught out in an affair that's tawdrier-than-average (when one's wife is diagnosed with cancer isn't a great time to go clitting around), and yet he admitted that Universal Truth in a way I hadn't ever heard Clinton articulate, and doubt even Ted Kennedy has ever put into words. "I thought I was special."
Does everyone have moments of sociopathy? More, perhaps, than might want to publicize that fact. Edwards scores lower on the sociapath scale because he admitted it.
American Political Life
. . . has turned into that Monty Python skit, "Blackmail." At least, according to Iowahawk.
Via Dan Collins at the Protein Pub.
Energy Futurist Fight Club!
It's Zubrin vs. Pickens, at PJ Media!
America owes a debt of gratitude to T. Boone Pickens for stepping forward to sound the alarm over this national emergency. This is all the more true, since as an oilman, Pickens could simply have followed the model of others in the business and just sat tight, enjoying record profits while the country goes under. Instead, he chose to act as a patriot.
So hats off to Mr. Pickens. That said, the plan he is advancing for dealing with the crisis — build windmills to release natural gas from electricity generation so it can be used to power compressed natural gas (CNG)-driven cars, displacing gasoline in the process — is technically flawed and needs to be revised.
Continues stud/god Zubrin:
The total known reserves of natural gas in all of North America are 274 trillion cubic feet. And while new reserves are always being discovered, launching a heroic effort to shift our transportation system to critical dependence upon a fuel whose known domestic reserves amount to little more than ten years’ supply is simply not prudent.
Finally, compressed natural gas is an inferior technology for vehicle fuel. This is so because it is a gas, not a liquid, and so must be stored in heavy high-pressure tanks. A standard steel K-bottle compressed gas cylinder, which weighs about 133 lbs, can only store enough natural gas to match the energy content of two gallons of gasoline. So CNG cars are either limited to short range, or must carry massive tank systems that increase their cost and reduce their mileage. Lighter graphite composite tanks are possible, but these are very expensive and unsafe in the event of a crash, as they are susceptible to breakage followed by gas release and explosion.
So the Pickens plan, as written, won’t work. Fortunately, however, there is a way to modify it so that it can. The key is for Congress to pass a bill, such as the current Open Fuel Standards Act (S.3303, HR.6559) requiring that all new cars sold in the U.S. be fully flex-fueled — that is, capable of running equally well on gasoline, ethanol, and methanol. Such technology is currently available and only adds about $100 to the cost of a car (in contrast to CNG capability, which adds about $2,000). The reason why establishing a full flex-fuel standard is the answer is that methanol — a very safe and practical liquid vehicle fuel — can be made from a vast array of feedstocks, including not only natural gas, but also coal, recycled urban trash, and any kind of biomass without exception.
So if a bold wind or nuclear energy initiative can in fact free up enough natural gas to make a difference to the vehicle fuel market, flex-fuel cars can readily make use of it in a much safer and more practical form as methanol. But if not, then we — and the rest of the world (since an American flex-fuel requirement would effectively make flex-fuel the international standard, as all foreign car makers would need to switch their lines over to conform to it) — would also be able to make our fuel from a wide array of alternative resources. Indeed, we have enough known coal reserves for hundreds of years’ worth of supply, and enough crop residues available globally that, converted into methanol, could replace all the oil of OPEC. The key is not to pick one particular fuel resource, but to open the fuel market to all comers. Setting a flex-fuel vehicle standard is the quickest and most efficient way to achieve that goal.
August 08, 2008
I Dunno, Maybe It's Me.
But I think I'd prefer to hear "no, I'd rather not do you a favor," as opposed to "I'll do you a favor, and reserve the right to publicly humiliate you over it."
Perhaps that is peculiar on my part.
I Do Not Think It Was Wise to Include a Tibetan Figure.
They should have stuck with pandas.
It's called "leading with the chin."
More on the "Gang of Ten"
The Republican Senators joining this Gang are Lindsey Graham , John Thune, Saxby Chambliss, Bob Corker and Johnny Isakson.
As of now there is no solid evidence showing the Gang of Ten will succeed. Especially considering the fact that these Senators organized BEFORE #dontgo kicked off. I would imagine there are conversations going on that suggests the Gang of Ten should back off because Republicans are now dominating on the #dontgo issue.
But if the Gang of Ten sticks to its guns, even after a full week of movement style activism and center-right based rallying, I think a revolt against these Senators might be in order.
Flaws in the Gang of Ten's Plan
Well, let's see:
“Faced with the prospect of having the ban on offshore energy production expire at the end of September if Congress does nothing, this headline-hungry gang decided it had to do something before leaving town for the August vacation,” Murphy said. ““The New Era plan is the same as the era we find ourselves stuck in today – flush in subsidies, tax credits, and various other government handouts, but short on the energy supplies our economy and our consumers need to prosper. American families would be better served if the Gang and the entire Congress simply stopped trying to help, stepped aside, and let the offshore ban expire.”
IER Analysis: Key Flaws in the ‘New Era’ Plan:
• The Gang of Ten calls for additional offshore production in areas currently under moratoria, but proposes a process that fails to guarantee/deliver any new supplies whatsoever. New production on federal offshore lands is left to the discretion of several state legislatures.
• Production potential is severely limited. Only four coastal states would be granted the ability to “opt out” of energy bans. Arbitrary 50-mile buffer zones would exclude potential resource deposits, such as the Gulf of Mexico’s Destin Dome, which is some 25 miles offshore.
• The plan ignores the urgent national need to repeal the offshore energy exploration and production bans that have contributed to the very problem their plan purports to solve. It may even give the ban the force of permanent law for the first time ever. This is an especially short-sighted, as the Congressional ban is set to expire in less than two months, on October 1, 2008, which will open the entire 1.76 billion acre outer continental shelf (OCS) to energy production.
Spending $85 billion on tax credits, subsidies, and various other federal handouts in lieu of increasing domestic oil and gas production is the kind of failed approach to energy policy that helped deliver the crisis we find ourselves in today. Government continues to be the source of the problem; government-centered ‘solutions’ will only compound our problems.
• Dedicating additional, inordinate sums to biofuel programs is especially unwise, as they represent up to 75 percent of the recent spike in food prices, according to the World Bank. They are not as “renewable” as their proponents claim, and may not even provide any environmental benefits whatsoever.
Except (to a very small degree) for that point, since I think ethanol is part of our energy future, along with methanol. But it looks like the subsidies might be skewed, and I'd rather save our mandates for flex-fuel vehicles and let the market sort this out to the degree that's possible.
Pretend Reform: So Much Easier than the Real Thing.
Rage against the machine . . . and the "Gang of Ten."
August 07, 2008
Ghosts . . . and Writers
Is that close enough?
The "Move On" Crowd
. . . discusses energy possibilities with the "Don't Go"/"Drill Now" people. (Video is in the upper-left-hand corner.)
On that "City vs. Suburbs" Debate.
Or, as James Joyner would have it, "hell or New York City."
The terms are too general for me, inasmuch as a lot of quiet streets lined with condo developments and apartment buildings are still considered "suburbs" by some definitions, and the "suburbs" I lived in for almost a dozen years were pretty extreme in their degree of isolation from any conveniences.
I think my husband's jury is still out most of the time because the noise levels are so high here (although the shrieking of neighborhood children, while shrill, cannot compete with the occasional sound of a rabbit dying via coyote or owl—that was severe).
Of course, when it's time to pay the bills, the husband is back on board with this.
And both of us love, love, love being able to walk to the store, to church, to a restaurant.
And I filled up my gas tank all of twice in July, which rawked.
P.S. James, I don't have any degrees at all. Not a one. But I'm willing to bluff my way through things, which is an ability that my mom—a schoolteacher—impressed upon me many years ago.
Hey! What About Me?
I like to think that I'm contributing to the fucking cause all on my very own. No commenters (or readers, for that matter) required.
Uh-oh. McCain Is Up to His Racist Antics, Again.
What a freakin' redneck that guy is.
Appealing Directly to House Democrats
Over at The Swamp:
The recent exchange of letters between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader John Boehner occasioned by the debate over drilling has been typical for the two leaders when they have been divided over an issue.
Less so is the gambit by Boehner today.
The Ohio Republican and his colleagues in the GOP House leadership are bypassing their Democratic counterparts with a letter sent directly to the majority party's rank-and-file. They're asking Democrats to join the Republicans who have been staging a floor protest this week in calling on Pelosi to reconvene Congress for a vote on "increasing American-made energy.
. . . . . .
Republicans will not rest until the American people have been heard and Speaker Pelosi has allowed an up-or-down vote on the energy reforms our nation needs," he said.
Republicans, who have been giving speeches in the dimmed House chamber since last week, want to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas exploration.
Democrats, who have dismissed the revolt as a stunt, say oil companies should focus first on developing the tens of millions of acres on which they already have permission to drill. They also want President Bush to release supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Both sides acknowledge that there is little they can do to reduce prices at the pump in the short term. The text of the Republican letter follows.
Dear Member of the Democratic Caucus,
The American people expect Congress to work toward solutions for their everyday problems. Right now, the biggest challenge facing most American families is the price of energy. But on August 1st Speaker Nancy Pelosi adjourned the House of Representatives for a five-week vacation, continuing to ignore this crisis. Americans rightly expect more from us as their elected representatives.
House Republicans have remained on the floor speaking directly to the chorus of Americans filling the House Visitors Gallery requesting that Speaker Pelosi reconvene the House and allow a vote on a comprehensive, common-sense approach to reducing the price of energy.
If you agree that Congress should not be taking a five-week vacation until we address the energy crisis, will you join us in publicly calling on Speaker Pelosi to reconvene the House and allow a vote on increasing American-made energy?
We, and the American people, anxiously await your reply.
Republican Conference Chair
Chief Deputy Whip
Republican Policy Chair
Republican Conference Vice Chair
Republican Conference Secretary
Republican Congressional Committee Chair
Ranking Member, Rules Committee
Via Boehner's blog.
The Senators Speak
Keeping the pressure up on Reid and his Senate, too:
Nice to know that the Republican Senators are working as hard as our guys in the House to keep this issue on the front burner—and that they also favor an all-of-the-above approach that includes alternative electrical sources, innovative vehicle designs, increased use of biofuels, and conservation.
Via a Twitter Tweet from Sean Hackbarth of The American Mind.
EPA Denies Texas Ethanol Request.
I'm actually of two minds about the ethanol situation; corn ethanol seems a lot less destructive to me than a lot of other things we do in order to prop up agribusiness, and I don't believe that corn/soy ethanol are behind the rise in food prices, simply because we have increased production in corn in the past few years by a greater margin than we've been diverting it for ethanol production.
Also, as Zubrin points out in Energy Victory, enhanced world-wide markets for crops that can be used for biofuels (which, as the research rolls along, will be darn near anything, including a lot of material that grows well in the developing world) will lift a lot of people out of poverty, because if ethanol use goes up, the richer countries can lift that tariffs that keep poor countries poor.
But let's look back at Brazil for a moment, and remember that part of the reason they are energy-independent is that their consumers have a choice in which types of fuels they use: because most of their vehicles are flex-fuel, their petrochemical companies have to compete with their biofuels. Service stations are required to have pumps that dispense both types of gas.
How to give ourselves the same flexibility? (And I'm still borrowing from Zubrin, here.) Well, we could impose huge overhead costs on gas stations, by requiring each one to add an ethanol pump or two (for thousands of dollars), or we could impose a miniscule cost on the car companies by requiring that new cars be flex-fuel (which adds $100-$500) to the cost of each vehicle, and would lead the market to get ethanol—and methanol—pumps into our filling stations. (Yes: our cars must be able to take all three kinds of fuel: ethanol, methanol, and gasoline. And that goes for hybrids, too. Even the electric type. As the power grid expands to accommodate plug-in "mostly electric" hybrids, those "backup" internal combustion engines shouldn't be handcuffed to petroleum. After all, we don't want motorists stranded as we continue to work on those nuclear power plants, wind farms, and solar panels.)
I mean, I like a laissez faire policy as much as the next girl. But that isn't what we have now anyway, and energy is ultimately a national defense issue as much as anything else. We do much worse when we pay farmers not to grow anything than we do when we pay them to grow corn so we can continue to research biofuels.
I don't think the future of biofuels lies in corn or soy, but we have to start somewhere while we drill for more oil, work on methanol, and get algae to yield ethanol in a cost-effective way.
The trick is—for the next two decades, at least—to make our vehicles into energy sluts.
Separating the Energy Solvers from the Boys
. . . . or something like that The "Don't Go" movement responds to the speculation that Nancy Pelosi's antics are designed to provide political cover to vulnerable Democrats who are feigning an interest in domestic energy production:
This weekend, the Politico reported that Nancy Pelosi has released vulnerable Democrats to pay lip service to domestic drilling and ‘all of the above’ solutions. The Democrats are intending to divert the ire of the American people towards Speaker Pelosi and away from weak Democratic members who are enabling her inaction on energy. The Democratic leadership thinks vulnerable Democrats can get away with nothing but talk and decieve their constituents because Speaker Pelosi refuses to schedule a vote on the issue. We need to act now to stop the Democratic/Moveon.org ‘diversion and deception’ strategy from preventing the passage of a comprehensive solution to the energy crisis.
The American Energy Act, HR 6566, is precisely the kind of comprehensive, ‘all of the above’ solution that the American people have shown themselves to support in recent polls. According to Zogby International, 74% of Americans support offshore oil drilling in US coastal waters and 69% favor building new nuclear power plants in the US. According to a July 31st USA Today poll, Americans support tax incentives for conservation, eased restrictions on offshore drilling, and building more nuclear power plants by 49 percent, 26 percent and 6 percent margins. All of these real solutions to either conserve or produce energy are included in the American Energy Act.
. . . . . . . .
We need you to call the offices of vulnerable Democratic House members while they take their five week vacation and ask that they sign the petition to call Congress back into session and to sign the forthcoming discharge petition for HR 6566, the American Energy Act. If a majority of the House of Representatives signs the discharge position, the Speaker will be forced to allow a vote. We are confident that the House will respect the wishes of the American people and a majority will vote to approve the ‘all of the above’ energy legislation their constituents support. We also want to put the spotlight on their decision by encouraging those of you represented by these members to contact the local press and make them aware of what’s going on.
The following are conservative Democratic members with close races and their home office numbers:
Joe Donnelly (IN-2) 574 288-2780
Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08) 520 881-3588
Tim Mahoney (FL-16) 941 627-9100
John Barrow (GA-12) 706 722-4494
Melissa Bean (IL-08) 847 925-0265
Brad Ellsworth (IN-08) 812 465-6484
Baron Hill (IN-09) 812 288-3999
Kirsten Gillibrand (NY-20) 518 581-8247
Mike Arcuri (NY-24) 800 235-2525
Zack Space (OH-18) 866 910-7577
Chris Carney (PA-10) 866 846-8124
Nick Lampson (TX-22) 281 240-3700
1. Ask these members to sign the petition at www.callcongressback.com and respectfully ask Speaker Pelosi to bring the House back to work now.
2. Ask these members to sign the discharge petition to HR 6566, the American Energy Act, when it is introduced after the House returns to work.
3. If you are represented by any of these members, call local newspapers, tell them about the #dontgo Movement, the Call Congress Back petition and the American Energy Act, and refer them to this site and the Politico article about the Pelosi distraction strategy.
We cannot stress this strongly enough: The Democrats' willingness to sign the petition that would call the House back into session and get them back to work on this issue is where the rubber meets the road. Anything less than a signature on the discharge petition is just talk.
August 06, 2008
House Will Continue the Protest
"right up until the Democratic convention." Kewl.
Via a tweet from Robert Bluey, who is encouraging ordinary Americans to get to the Capitol and witness the revolt first-hand.
Oh, Paris, My Paris.
Keep going, Babe; we need your voice.
And I shall see you at the clubs, Doll. And I'll explain why you're so great. Syllable by syllable.
UPDATE: I got enough complaints to break through my denial that the slightly larger-than-usual format of the video was messing up the look of my page on most browsers (even though my version of Safari handled it just fine).
So since my video-fu isn't good enough for me to figure out how to downsize the way the "Paris for President" displays, I'm sending your over to the AltHouse. I kind of like her dissection of it anyway: Of course it's a pro-McCain ad, even though I'm sure my lib-Dem friends will get a giggle out of it. Althouse is absolutely right on that.
I Don't Even Know What to Make of This.
It's poetry pornography. It is an anthem for Free Genitalia Everywhere.
If I hadn't already had a pash on Gerard, this would have taken care of the matter, but as it happens I'm stalking him hard.
(Naturally, I'm looking for the rough equivalent in a treastise on the American Clitoris. But that might be a while in coming, and be a bit labor-intensive to produce. You know how that goes . . .)
Goddamn, I Dig These Genius, Heroic Women
. . . who want to take us back to the Dark Ages, so they can . . . hide their candles under a burka, I guess. Weren't we just talking about the superior abilities of women vs. men when it comes to pure evil? Perhaps Al Qaeda's real weakness is not just "stifling the enquiring mind," or "expecting a servile womb to breed free men," but rather that self-destructive combination of the two we've seen throughout human history.
BTW, who knew that cognitive dissonance could lead to such a bad case of lead poisoning?
(Furthermore, I've been sounding the alarm on 9mm's for years: there are some very compact .45 ACPs out there. And if it's so essential to have a small gun, just get a .32 or a .480, and empty it into the target. I love the Hi-Power as an artifact [it's definitely on my "if I acquire the funds to collect" list], but if you want compactness with decent stopping ability, get an Officer's Model, and get on with your life.
A nine is neither fish, nor fowl, nor good red herring.
And, no--despite my small hands my next sidearm won't be the Officer's model, but rather a Commander. Those guns are still slightly oversized for me, but never mind the awkwardness of the trigger pull--and that maneuvering around to get at the safety--they still have a bit of weight to them, so I can shoot them as accurately as I can a 1911. Ironically, I do quite well with 1911s, and I realize that's a bit counter-intuitive, since they don't fit my infamously small hands all that well.
When Jan Libourel was still at the helm of Handguns magazine, he'd occasionally decide to test the dimensions of a gun's trigger pull, and invariably the extremes he chose to test the firearm [at least in dry fire, at the office] were me--"little Joy Whittemore of Hunting,"--and my angel / editor / sponsor / best, most worthy adversary in repartee, the late, great David W. Arnold.
If Dave and I could both reach the trigger comfortably, it tended to get stellar reviews.)
August 05, 2008
You Know What?
I'll bet this Ace post is a lot funnier on the East Coast than it is out here.
Frankly, we consider ourselves lucky if we can ever scrape together 8% of our peak income: most years it's more like 3%.
Those folks in New Jersey are just a laugh riot. And us? We're drowning in the glamour of it all.
(Sorry, Ace: I got cramps, and as usual they're messing with my mind. Codeine doesn't touch 'em any more; anyone have any vicodin?)
John McCain: "I'm Willing to Leave the Campaign Trail"
. . . to help solve the energy crisis.
Your move, Barry.
Reid? Pelosi? Anyone? Bueller?
Plug-in Vehicles, The Power Grid, and The Golden State
So if we add significant numbers of electric vehicles--plug-in models in particular--how do we buff up our electrical grid to keep up with the demand? Especially in California?
Insty's got a great discussion on that going on here.
"#DontGo Is About Way More Than Drilling"
While Democrats are flying off on a five-week vacation without allowing a vote on domestic drilling, members the House GOP are staying behind to offer a comprehensive solution that puts everything on the table.
Wind power alone won’t solve the problem. Solar alone won’t solve the problem. Nuclear plants, increased efficiency and natural gas alone won’t do it either. Not even domestic drilling by itself is enough to end the energy crisis. However, if we act on everything option our disposal, we can make a difference over the short, intermediate and long term to lower energy prices and ease pains at the pump.
The American Energy Act takes this ‘all of the above’ solution and puts it into legislation. The bill will help increase efficiency, encourage wind, hydrogen and solar power development, and open up American petroleum resources and expand American nuclear power production. Read more about the ‘all of the above’ solution < href=http://www.gop.gov/energy/americanenergyact/>here.
While Republicans are willing to put everything on the table, Democrats are unwilling to consider domestic drilling and expanded nuclear power, [therefore] sending more money to foreign sheikhs and preventing new jobs in American energy production from being developed. This is about way more than domestic drilling. This is about creating a real plan that holds nothing back in the pursuit of affordable American energy.
My emphasis; RTWT.
Writing at The Next Right:
Elected officials cannot start movements on their own. They need a willing audience to activate. The audience was primed by John Culberson leading the revolt against the ridiculous House franking rules. (On the issue side, it was primed by Newt's "Drill Now" movement.) That solidified Culberson, and by extension minority Republicans, as the troublemakers storming the gates with technology, and Democrats as the lame defenders of an old order. That is the natural role of any political minority, but one House Republicans, accustomed to the majority, have been uncomfortable embracing. Until now.
I was around the blogosphere in 2002 and 2003. There were roughly equal numbers of conservative and liberal bloggers then. But liberals were using the blogosphere for the right things -- changing the political system rather than commenting on it. Because their project seemed more necessary and central to the Democratic coalition, they attraced most of the new growth in the blogosphere from 2003 to 2006.
Today, both Republicans and Democrats use Twitter and various social media tools. (The tech community, which skews heavily left, uses it a lot, but they are not as politically savvy.) But only Culberson was using it the right way. Back when he started, Democratic Rep. @TimRyan seemed to be using it effectively too, but his use has trailed off and he issued a lame defense of Pelosi on franking -- something no one can get excited about. Culberson now has 2,827 followers and Ryan has 521.
Could #dontgo usher in an era of Republican technological dominance in the post-blogging world? Should we cede the blogosphere to the left, and focus on leapfrogging them in the use of tools most necessary to real-time political action? The answer could be yes.
#dontgo is creating a perfect storm where the emergence of a new technology is married to a pressing need to do something. Republicans had the use of the tools down, but had no pressing to-dos in the early 2000s. As Matt Stoller reminded me in a joint radio appearance yesterday, Democrats had impeachment, the recount, and the Iraq War. We had to defend all these things. And online, it's a lot easier to be on offense than on defense.
Once You've Got the V-Twins
. . . you've got victory, Baby.
I just hope that there was a teensy bit of restraint, and that no one yelled at Cindy "show me your tits!"
"Why Obama Can't Win."
Dreams from My Father is a staggeringly beautiful book, lyrical, powerful and poetic. It is also the story of a man who has been many men, all named Barack Obama. In his own eyes, he is one race, but also another. He is an American, but also a Kenyan. He is from Hawaii and also the Kansas heartland. He is Harvard elite, then the Chicago streets. At times he decries the very clay from which he was made, only to remake himself again.
At each place and stage, as Barack Obama chronicles the chapters of his life, he tells us how he has re-invented himself, becoming the role he inhabits, though not falsely or in-authentically, like Bill Clinton. He actually seems to transform himself, becoming what must be next. He has been called distant, aloof and somewhat unapproachable, perhaps because we cannot approach what he does not have, a solid core. His soul seems to be molten and made up of dreams, which is at once breathtakingly inspiring and forbiddingly indeterminate. When this young man with the flowing, passionate core, when this candidate without the solid-center changes positions and transforms himself as we watch, it leaves Americans much more in doubt about who he is and how he would lead us. It also reveals an Obama of unapproachable arrogance and inestimable self-regard: He appears confident voters will appreciate his superiority regardless of where he journeys or what he becomes to meet his political ambitions.
John McCain is a complete and well-formed man. Barack Obama is completing himself. As he moves to fit what he perceives to be a right-of-center country, he distances himself from the simple and authentic passion of a young candidate who once pledged "Change We Can Believe In."
This is the trap Barack Obama has made for himself, the one he cannot escape, the one Hillary Clinton foresaw, the one that may doom him. The Obama campaign knows it too. In fear the dream is being lost drop-by-drop, they are going negative on John McCain.
Let's Not Forget the Senate, Either.
A little touch of Harry in the night:
Okay, Pro-Drilling Democrats.
If you really want to increase domestic oil production, put your money where your mouth is.
Sign the discharge petitions to force a vote on a comprehensive energy plan. Otherwise, shut up and stop hiding behind Pelosi's skirts.
. . . gets the final word on loose accusations of racism in the campaign.
Holy shit, is this funny.
Hi, Speaker Pelosi.
Please call and do the same: 202-225-0100.
Update: Oh, gee, I forgot: Pelosi isn't in D.C. right now. Well, leave her a voice mail, or leave a message with the House switchboard. Or send her a note. I know she'd appreciate being reminded that there was something she forgot to do ("water the plants, shut off the utilities, have the newspaper suspended, and call for a vote on domestic energy production").
Or if you run into her, you could remind her. ("Madam Speaker, you forgot to call for an up-or-down vote on off-shore drilling, and I think you left the coffee maker on.")
Free Library of Philadelphia (Central Library)
Montgomery Auditorium 1901 Vine St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215-567-4341 7 pm
5500 Granada Blvd.
Miami, FL 33146
305-442-4408 7:30 pm
612 East Liberty St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-668-7652 7 pm
American Jewish University
Gindi Auditorium 15600 Mulholland Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90077
310-659-3110 7 pm
Angelico Hall 50 Acacia Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901
415-927-0960 7 pm
8/13/2008 Forum for Women Entrepreneurs
Oracle Corporation 500 Oracle Pkwy.
Redwood City, CA 94065
415-382-6022 7 pm
8/14/2008 Cowell Theater
Fort Mason Center, Pier 2
San Francisco, CA 94123
415-643-3400×11 7 pm
Tattered Cover Bookstore
1628 16th Street
Denver, CO 80202
303-436-1070 5:30 pm
So, "Skinny" Means "Black."
Are there any adjectives that might conceivably be applied to Barack Obama that do not mean "black"?
Just askin'. If someone were to distribute a list of acceptable words to use in discussing the man, that might help a lot of people out.
A Recap of Monday's "Phantom Session"
A bit more quiet than Friday's, perhaps, according to The Politico.
While Friday’s impromptu House session featured members jumping off airplanes and rushing back to the House floor in shorts and sandals to thunderous applause from the visitors’ galleries, it was a more subdued affair on Monday. Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-S.C.) opened with a prayer, and Republicans recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Then it was open season on Pelosi’s policies.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) delivered a speech next to a giant photo of Pelosi, with the words “I am trying to save the planet” underneath, tweaking the speaker for a comment she made in an interview with Politico. By refusing to hold a vote on domestic drilling because of environmental concerns, King said Pelosi has decided that “saving the planet is worth more than saving the Homo sapiens.”
“On Friday, Speaker Pelosi turned out the lights in the people’s House,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) told reporters. “Now we’re in the midst of the ‘Pelosi Shutdown.’ She’s shutting down the people’s House, and if we’re not careful, her energy policies will shut down the economic engine of America. Republicans are saying we will not allow that to happen.”
Price said Republicans “demand a vote on American energy for Americans,” a slogan he repeated over and over on the House floor as he acted as the unofficial master of ceremonies, introducing each member who rose to speak.
. . . . . . . . . . .
Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) railed about the fact that the Cuban government “has given a lease to the Chinese” to conduct offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Wolf pointed out that the Chinese have provided economic and military support to the government of Sudan . . . .
As they did on Friday, GOP members repeatedly encouraged the stray tourists brought onto the House floor to call Pelosi and demand a vote. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease,” Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) told the crowd. “It is time for you all to squeak.”
There were also some humorous moments. When the lights were turned up at 10:35 a.m. in the dimly lit chamber, about 30 minutes into the session, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who was speaking at the time, joked, “Someone must be drilling somewhere in America.” That remark brought laughs from the crowd and his colleagues.
By midday, House Republicans were vowing to continue their talkathon on the floor “as long as it takes,” claiming they would continue their protest indefinitely if Pelosi does not allow a vote soon.
“There are plans underway to be here into next week,” said Pence, one of the organizers of the protest. By noon Monday, 24 members were already back in Washington, and lawmakers said reinforcements were on the way.
Republican Rep. Peter J. Roskam of Illinois said he got the call on Sunday afternoon and drove through the night, pulling into the Capitol just before daybreak. “We loaded up the minivan just like the Griswolds,” said Roskam, referencing the classic Chevy Chase movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”
The floor protests did not originate with GOP leaders, but they have quickly jumped on the bandwagon. Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio and Minority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, neither of whom is expected in Washington until Wednesday at least, used the episode to strengthen their standing among conservatives. Boehner, Blunt and other GOP leaders sent an “open letter” to Pelosi asking that she reconvene the House immediately for a vote.
Pelosi on Sunday dismissed the GOP floor protests as “the war dance of the handmaidens of the oil companies,” and senior Democratic aides repeatedly circulated charts showing that the Republicans on the floor had received millions of dollars in contributions from oil companies, their employees and lobbyists during their congressional careers.
“This Republican hoax is unworthy of the serious debate we must have to relieve the pain of consumers at the pump and to promote energy independence,” Pelosi said in a statement after she stepped out of the huge jet she had acquired use of when she began her stint as Speaker--the one big enough that it doesn't have to stop for refueling on its way back to the Golden State, and can carry more staffers than the little one she was originally offered.
I might have gotten that last paragraph slightly wrong; what can I say? It's late over here.
What's Next for the DontGo Movement?
Well, they have to keep smuggling video out, so we can all see the guerilla sessions.
But maybe the way to keep the energy high is to coax more tourists to the Capitol, according to Jonathan Klingler:
Right now, the MSM is dismissing the Guerilla Congress as a GOP stunt, but that will be much harder to do if there are long lines of excited and angry people waiting to get into the chamber specifically to take part in the phantom sessions. I know from experience that constituents are usually bored and disappointed when visiting the House gallery—if they are engaged and excited, that is a news story in itself.
We can make this happen. During the summer, a flood of people drive to Washington for vacation and take exhausted kids around the Mall in the humidity and heat, trying to show them the monuments and teach them about American democracy. They have just driven hundreds of miles and spent large amounts of money on gas - more than most other Americans would. They are almost the ideal target audience for the shadow sessions, and they have every right to be mad that the Dems skipped town for a vacation of their own when their vacations are cut short or made less enjoyable because of the price of gas.
If we build on this foundation, and add in the opportunity to spend time inside with the AC and let their kids go on the House floor while it is in a pseudo-session to interact with 20-30 members, we can probably draw people in.
Now that's my idea of giving your kid a civics lesson: If the House is rockin', don't bother knockin'.
Pandas Just Fine?
I had heard that China's earthquake destroyed a large part of their biggest panda reserve; I wish this article had more details on that. But I'm glad their numbers in the wild are going up.
(I also think it's wrong about Los Angeles getting the first pandas from China; IIRC, the first pandas China sent overseas landed in Washington, D.C.)
The Atlantic website had a wonderful pictorial on the panda reserve several months back; I'd love to know more about how many of the pandas there were saved, and where they were relocated to.
Wikipedia has more, but no apparent post-earthquake update.
Is there anyone who doesn't like pandas? He or she would need to have a heart of stone.
August 04, 2008
. . . what Pelosi's smoking:
Comedy gold, via AllahP at Hot Air.
Obama Isn't Running for President.
He's running for King.
Site's Back Up.
Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_STRING in /home/attila/public_html/index.php on line 306 When I open your site on IE7 or Firefox, I get this message. And the page won't load. Is that what you were going for?
I never know when to expect performance art.
Well, I sure couldn't figure it out. I simply assumed someone had made a voodoo doll out of my main page, and was sticking pins in it somewhere. Now, however, he/she has apparently gone to sleep.
Nice Little Review
. . . of the latest Nine-Inch Nails tour over at WSJ.
Iowahawk Done Been in Town.
And I missed him by only half a day! Heartbreaking.
But how fun—to see some of my favorite L.A. landmarks through the eyes of a "tourist." (Even as experienced an Angeleno traveller as Dave, who is, after all, famous for . . . um . . . being widkedly funny and beyond cool. And famous.)
Just keep scrolling. As a bonus, hidden in the travelogue is a link to Hawk's daughter's MySpace-enabled music.
When Boston is in danger of eliminating its income tax, things have indeed gone topsy-turvy.
Arnold . . . are you listening? There's this place called "Nevada," and it isn't very far away from here . . . you see where I'm going with this?
As far as I'm concerned, the scandal is that "Big Oil" isn't giving McCain enough money, vs. Obama—given that the latter seems to intend to decimate the industry, so we can further weaken our military and economic standing in the world.
There's a nice analysis at Flopping Aces.
My Blog Angst
Right now, it appears that for some browsers, the main page is down—but not individual entry pages. So, if you're one of my half-dozen readers [;) ], I'd recommend that you simply use the navigational thingie to scroll through entries, rather than try to get to that elusive main page.
Join the "Don't Go" Movement!
And if you live in D.C., you might drop by this week to offer your support. Those of us in the rest of the country are still figuring out how to tell the GOP legislators to rawk on.
Curly-haired, and cancer-free!
Congratulations, Babe. So . . . when can I expect to read the next VP book, hm? I'm in withdrawal.
Keep Going, Big O.
You'll put the Golden State in play, at this rate. That would be a nice little present to Johnny Mac's campaign.
Ladies and Gentlemen, for Your Dining and Dancing Pleasure:
The Ohio GOP—
Via Ed Morrissey, who helps the leftosphere with its arithmetic.
And, in Case You Didn't Get a Good Look on the Video:
Here's the graphic of the day:
Sign the Petition!
Let's see if this will get Pelosi's attention.
Pray for Morgan Freeman
. . . who is now in serious condition after a car accident.
Terrorism in Santa Cruz
The animal-rights / antiscience people are at it again.
Bush Won't Call a Special Session
. . . though even McCain is urging him to.
Also, we're being encouraged to call the Capitol Hill switchboard, and ask to speak to Speaker Pelosi.
The Campaign Spot:
"Does a poll drop count as an emergency?"
All Barack Obama statements come with an expiration date. All of them.
Via Flap, via Twitter.
Here's the official list of congressional twitterers.
Priceless Video from Friday
The Republicans are back on the floor today, and Heritage Foundation is blogging it live.
Welcome, Cassandra Readers!
Just a quick note on today's technological angst: Right now, it appears that for some browsers, the main page is down—but not individual entry pages. So, if you're one of my half-dozen readers [ ;) ], or if you want to check the joint out, I'd recommend that you simply use the navigational thingie to scroll through entries, rather than try to get to that elusive, ghostly main page.
Video cameras on Capitol Hill. Keep going, guys: if they lock you out, meet on the steps. Keep posting video, and tell us where to find it. We'll post it.
Speaker Pelosi's Schedule
This is what she'll be doing instead of of working on an energy plan. Per Michelle Malkin:
Speaking of the absent Speaker of the House, here’s her book tour schedule during the Democrats’ vacation. The “Impeach Bush” crowd is dogging her on the book publicity trail. Wouldn’t it be good to see protesters at these events pressing her on issues people really care about?
Like Nan says: Know your power. Hit hard, hit fast, hit often.
8/4/2008 John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Columbia Point
Boston, MA 02125
617-514-1645 5:30 pm
8/5/2008 Free Library of Philadelphia (Central Library)
Montgomery Auditorium 1901 Vine St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215-567-4341 7 pm
8/6/2008 Temple Judea
5500 Granada Blvd.
Miami, FL 33146
305-442-4408 7:30 pm
8/7/2008 Borders Books
612 East Liberty St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-668-7652 7 pm
8/11/2008 American Jewish University
Gindi Auditorium 15600 Mulholland Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90077
310-659-3110 7 pm
8/12/2008 Dominican University
Angelico Hall 50 Acacia Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901
415-927-0960 7 pm
8/13/2008 Forum for Women Entrepreneurs
Oracle Corporation 500 Oracle Pkwy.
Redwood City, CA 94065
415-382-6022 7 pm
8/14/2008 Cowell Theater
Fort Mason Center, Pier 2
San Francisco, CA 94123
415-643-3400×11 7 pm
8/20/2008 Tattered Cover Bookstore
1628 16th Street
Denver, CO 80202
303-436-1070 5:30 pm
. . . at PJ Media, on the Hillary voters who don't like to be flipped off by the media and their party:
Beyond November 5 Murphy tells me her group will continue on: “The vast majority, and 40% of us are male by the way, know the Clinton campaign for all intents and purposes is over. This is about the party. This is about reforming the party.”
I asked her about the media’s role. She believes, “It was the perfect storm. There is and continues to be a love affair with this young, charismatic guy.” But she says that’s not all. She continues, “It is my opinion that blatant sexism is much more acceptable than racism. It was okay for Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann and Mike Barnicle to make jokes. No one said anything. It was all completely acceptable and funny [to them].”
It's darn impressive that I get anything done.
There Is a Romance to the Idea of Being Pregnant.
And there's a huge desire for those who contemplate starting families, to control factors surrounding an embryo/infant's nutritional development.
But once you get rid of the stigma, bring the price down a few grand, perfect the nutritional issue (the psuedo-amniotic sac), and figure out how to make breastfeeding work, the majority of women will opt out of pregnancy in a heartbeat.
You know why? Painful things . . . hurt.
And pointless suffering is . . . rather unnecessary, and contrary to the direction the human race likes to go in.
August 03, 2008
Stacy McCain on the Economy . . .
Higher oil prices = Higher transportation costs = Less foreign competition!
Which means you'll pay more for damn near everything, but isn't that what you wanted? Higher prices, less efficiency, and all the other "benefits" of decreased international trade. And, hey, we didn't even have to increase tariffs to get it! Who says markets don't work?
Well, any phenomenon that keeps the darkest pockets of the developing world trapped in the bitterest of poverty can't be all bad now, can it?
I'm in Love with Vera Atkins.
I'm reading the journalistically rigorous biography of her by Sarah Helm; after that, I'll tackle the more superficial one by William Stevenson (the one that gets, of all things, her haircolor wrong).
Then maybe I'll build a shrine to her, right above my gin tokonoma.
h/t for Atkins goes to Mark Steyn, even though he's on vacation right now, because it was his musings about Ian Fleming, M, and Miss Moneypenny (for whom Atkins may or may not have served as a bit of an inspiration, at least for her beauty and her competence) that got me started on this literary pash.
But of course as one reads up a bit Atkins is even larger than life than Steyn presented her.
I went to bed this afternoon when the heat got to be too much, reading in my sunny bedroom about Vera's luxurious upbringing in Romania, and Helm's struggle to find out about her buried past. And I finally slept, dreaming of marble and velvet and caviar and Old World luxury; I woke up drenched in a perimenopausal sweat, happy as always when I have a hot flash while I"m asleep and have had a chance to enjoy the vivid color and sweet intensity of those dreams.
So I'm wet, but happy.
Naturally, I cannot close this entry without linking 64 Baker Street, Andy Forbes' definitive internet memorial to the chicks of the SOE, who humble me with their service and their sacrifices.
Okay. I'm on Twitter Now.
Why? Because the leaders of the fucking country decided to lead for a fucking change.
Life is good.
Tomorrow isn't just finish-those-errands I've told my husband I'll do day.
Tomorrow is when I get that stuff out of the way, spend an hour on my writing project and an hour editing and an hour blogging—and then help to take the energy fight to the streets.
Sean Is Now Gainfully Employed.
According to Fausta.
A weaker-willed woman would feel some peer-group pressure, and become a productive member of society as well.
But me?—I got a backbone made of pure fucking platinum.
Goodbye, Alexander Solzhenitsyn
You were amazing.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
And thank you again.
(Full disclosure: I've only read Cancer Ward, because I'm a pussy [well . . . a bit tender-hearted]. But I know the impact his body of work had, and I'll do it now. It's too important not to.)
August 02, 2008
I Broke My Glasses.
So they sort of hurt--the little nose-piece is gone, and they dig into my nose.
I therefore intend to take the rest of the night off from the computer, and go back to the actual book I'm reading, which I can do without my glasses if I just hold it exactly the right distance from my face.
One must admit . . . when the light is decent and the type size is reasonable, there's nothing to compare with dead tree for readin'.
All is well here. I'll be back soon. Check out the juicy blogs on my delectable sidebar.
And don't forget to enjoy the summertime! Eat a peach, or a popsicle. Get some Vitamin D. Go swimming. Make love with your sweetie.
More on Comic-Con
Danny Barer has his photos therefrom up at his blog. See if you can spot me in among all the costumed folk.
Well, How Fun!
The Presidents Bush and Governor Bush called Rush Limbaugh to congratulate him on his broadcasting anniversary.
I assume I'm the last human being on the planet to have heard it, but here it is.
Light Blogging Continues.
I'm swamped by real-life obligations right now; that's good for me, but not so good for those of you who have come to depend upon my trenchant analyses, irreverent sense of humor, and feminine pulchritude.
If I can clear my desk I'll be blogging later in the day.
August 01, 2008
"Woman's Virtue Is Man's Greatest Invention."
Of course, we promoted it, too—as part of the Temperence Movement, the activism surrounding marital abstinence that preceded widespread availability of birth control, and the Abolitionist and Woman's Suffrage movements.
But late in the Nineteenth Century / early in the 20th Century the female angle was, like, Hey—we're morally superior to you, so listen to us when we say we don't want to have sex as much as you do. It's not because we don't want to have twenty children and die young. Oh, no—it's because we're a real spiritual gender.
Sure we are. Sure. I gots me a red phone that rings when the Big Guy wants to talk to me. How many of you testostoro-cretins got that?
Yesterday’s huge blasts in Iraq were carried out by four different women and few infidels were involved. These women continued the centuries-old feud between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims. If anyone still believes that women are more compassionate than men, think about this: According to the International Herald Tribune,
The second (female-launched) attack occurred inside a tent that provided shade and rest for female marchers. The female bomber walked into the tent, sat down and, according to a police official, Abu Ali, read the Koran with the women sitting inside. When she exited the tent, she left a bag behind, and moments later, it exploded.
The woman sat down and prayed with them, and then sent them to their deaths.
I remember two films, one by my friend Pierre Rehov, the other by a promising newcomer, Shaun Beyer. Both filmmakers had interviewed Palestinian female terrorists in Israeli jails. None of the terrorists showed any remorse. Many were proud of their murderous or potentially murderous attacks. They all seemed quite religious. One woman had assumed a leadership position; she and her enforcers policed and punished the other women with enormous cruelty.
But by all means, let's continue the charade.
Read the whole thing, please.
And the h/t goes to Insty, who is quite taken with the "Damsels of Death" headline.
Of course, Glenn didn't go to junior high school as a female. As far as I know. So he might not understand female evil the way some of us nerdy girls do. We really really really get it. Holy fuck—do we get it.
"Let the issues be the issue.
About Joy W. McCann: I've been interviewed for Le Monde and mentioned on Fox News. I once did a segment for CNN on "Women and Guns," and this blog is periodically featured on the New York Times' blog list. My writing here has been quoted in California Lawyer. I've appeared on The Glenn and Helen Show. Oh—and Tammy Bruce once bought me breakfast.
My writing has appeared in The Noise, Handguns, Sports Afield, The American Spectator, and (it's a long story) L.A. Parent. This is my main blog, though I'm also an alumnus of Dean's World, and I help out on the weekends at Right Wing News.
My political philosophy is quite simple: I'm a classical liberal. In our Orwellian times, that makes me a conservative, though one of a decidedly libertarian bent.
An American Carol rawks!
Main AAC site (Warning: sound-enabled;
trailer starts automatically.)
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