December 31, 2007

It's the USC Partisans!

Pictured, Dr. Rusty Shackleford with Mr. Caltech, supremely good sport and husband of Caltech Girl (natch).


Dr. S. is being played in this picture by Little Miss Attila, but he is portrayed at his actual height—though slightly less tipsy than he normally appears at these gatherings.

Note: I'm hoping True-Blue UCLA guy Little Mr. Mahatma (my high school sweetheart) will someday get over the trauma of seeing this picture on my blog. But I'm presuming that my husband and my father will dig it, for the complementary reason. (Not that the old man has ever seen a football game, but I do believe he remembers the odd shape of the objects thrown therein, and one has to give credit for that. For the dad, knowing what a football looks like is enormously butch.)

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Nice Little Piece on the Iowa Caucuses

. . . by Karl over at Protein Wisdom.

It summarizes, I believe, why Iowa is such a poor predictor of success in the actual nomination.

But, you know: the media are bored, so they plug the polls and make Iowa more important than it really is at this point.

New Hampshire/Wyoming/Michigan may give us some idea this year, but I personally don't think that with this short a cycle we're going to know anything until it's just about over, on Super Duper Amazing Fabulous Incredible Tuesday.

And, speaking of Super Duper Amazing Fabulous Incredible Tuesday, did I mention that Fred and Rudy are the most electable guys we have? The latter might even put the Golden State into play, and that would make things very interesting indeed.

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News Flash!

Men aren't overly attracted to hostile women.

Overheard at the YAF convention in Santa Barbara:

"I can't believe you and Mrs. Goldstein were talking about 'the 49% majority.'"

"Aw, come on: we're women's studies chicks. What do you expect?"

"I still didn't expect that kind of bullshit to come out of your mouths."

"Let it go. It's just girl talk: like normal ladies talking about shopping for shoes or whatever."

h/t: Insty.

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Once Again, With the Big Issues . . .

It rather defeats the purpose of placing one's clock radio across the room—so as to actually, you know, force one to wake up in the morning—when that same clock radio comes with a remote, and can be turned off from bed.

The Dad: "It's not respectable any more to be a sexist, or a racist, or a homophobe, in the working world. But did you know that a lot of people out there are circadists?"

The Joy: "Oh, believe me—I've noticed. And that is why you and I are both better off owning our own businesses. That and being profoundly weird, of course."

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I'm Sorry.

But no one who didn't start campaigning for this election in the 20th century has any business doing it now.


Via Insty.

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December 30, 2007

Awesome Thompson: Playing for Higher Stakes

In retrospect, one of the things that may strike people about the Fred Thompson campaign iis his contrariness—his unwillingness to "go along to get along."

I think he's trying to bring a new paradigm to political communication; one of the singular characteristics of his presence in public life is his unwillingness to play, as The Anchoress puts it, "the games that have overtaken US political campaigns. She adds, "he’s intent on holding the press—and maybe all of us—to a higher standard than we’ve become used to."

Via Hackbarth (who does a lot of blogging on the official Fred campaign site) comes Thompson's message directly to Iowans themselves:

Several things strike me about this video: (1) It is on the long side, in a good way—10 or 15 minutes, I believe [though I did not time it]. This is no conventional political ad. Thompson is not afraid to give all the reasons he feels he'll do the best job of both governing the country and winning the general election in order to accomplish that. No sound bites. None.

Also, (2) Fred struck a deft balance between criticizing the Bush administration and suggesting he'll continue the positive aspects of its legacy. He made sure to underscore the fact that the current Congress' approval ratings are even lower than Bush's are. (He didn't quite spell the statistics out, but alluded to the negative numbers; to anyone who's been paying attention, it will be clear enough.) The telling points: he mentioned Bush and Rice calling him up to consult with him—thereby setting up a link between himself and the things people voted for when they re-elected Bush in 2004—but he stated very clearly that he would communicate positively with the American people about what he would do as their leader. The obvious contrast was with G.W. Bush's, um, lackdaisical approach to selling/explaining his policies and decisions. Thompson is obviously claiming he'll do better on than critical score.

(3) There was at least one Southern colloquialism in the speech, which was a nice touch. It was "we might could," or one of those similiar constructions one hears only in Texas and the South. That sort of thing doesn't happen by accident from someone as cosmopolitan as the Fredster. More than the Bush/Carter use of "nucular," it sets Thompson up as an outside-the-beltway kind of guy—at least on a cultural level. Also, it doesn't nauseate most of the rest of us the way "nucular" does.

(4) Tedious as it was to hear Thompson mention Reagan's name—because I've been listening to political speeches for a year now, and I'm bored with the traditional allusion to The Gipper—I didn't think it was inappropriate in this particular case, because what Reagan was able to do more than nearly any other President in history was bypass the media. And furthermore, he did it in the age before blogs and YouTube.

Thompson clearly has more tools at his command, but his message to the legacy media is essentially one we've been waiting to hear for a couple of decades: "FY, NQ." ("Fuck you, next question": a phrase usually credited to the crew over at Ace of Spades HQ.)

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Gleening the Hidden Meanings in Peggy Noonan's Writing.

So, I've forgotten: is Glen Greenwald a total idiot, or a liar? Just askin'.

Why does Salon continue to give this guy space? His response to Peggy Noonan's roundup of the Presidential field is simply an embarrassment to political discourse. He actually claimed that her reference to him [Edwards] poofing his hair was an allusion to the British slang noun poof, which denotes a homosexual. Then Greenwald backpedaled and suggested that even if her criticism of Edwards' grooming habits weren't a slur regarding his sexual preference, it somehow amounted to the same thing. Wow.

I mean, if this is an ignorance problem, we could send Greenwald an American dictionary, or a guide to basic grammar (which would help clear up his noun/verb confusion).

Or, perhaps we someone could sit him down and explain the difference between one's sexual orientation and one's attitude toward hair care.

I don't happen to share Noonan's views: I think it's reasonable to pay attention to one's appearance when one is in public life, and I found the YouTube video of Edwards prepping for a TV appearance to be dirty pool. But Noonan is entitled to her opinion, and conflating her statement that we "can't have" a vain guy as a President with a commentary on Edwards' sexuality is . . . well, as I said, either stupid or profoundly dishonest.

Via Protein Wisdom, which is a motherlode of commentary on the subject.

Joyner weighs in:

Noonan is guilty here of being banal rather than tawdry. It’s the opposite of Coulterism, really.


My thoughts over at Jeff's place are below the fold. Read on only if you have an editorial background and a strong stomach for linguistic nitpicking.

One cannot simply allude to any old dictionary in an argument of this type. For one thing, there are two types of dictionary: descriptive, and prescriptive. The first attempts to document how language is used: decade to decade, century to century, and continent to continent. The second attempts to dictate what is correct (also subject to change as time progresses, and from region to region, nation to nation, and according to whether one is in the U.S. or a Commonwealth country).

Like most copyeditors, I use Merriam-Webster (online or the 10th edition) for most applications, and supplement that with a “fat” dictionary (I used Randon House) when necessary. American Heritage is also pretty good. One cannot simply pluck meanings from any old website and grant it the authority one would give Merriam-Webster (Web 10/11) or (in Britain) the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

The online Merriam-Webster gives no definition for poof as a verb. It does allude to the noun poof as British slang for homosexual, but also describes the word as related to puff (which makes sense–some would correlate it directly to the term “powder puff”).

Puff as a verb is defined thus:

Main Entry: 1 puff Pronunciation: \?p?f\ Function: verb Etymology: Middle English, from Old English pyffan, of imitative origin Date: before 12th century

intransitive verb

1 a (1): to blow in short gusts (2): to exhale forcibly
b: to breathe hard : pant
c: to emit small whiffs or clouds (as of smoke) often as an accompaniment to vigorous action

2: to speak or act in a scornful, conceited, or exaggerated manner

3 a: to become distended : swell — usually used with “up”
b: to open or appear in or as if in a puff

4: to form a chromosomal puff

transitive verb

1 a: to emit, propel, blow, or expel by or as if by puffs : waft
b: to draw on (as a cigar, cigarette, or pipe) with intermittent exhalations of smoke

2 a: to distend with or as if with air or gas : inflate
b: to make proud or conceited : elate
c (1): to praise extravagantly and usually with exaggeration

2): advertise

Which is, of course, why we refer to journalists who write “puff pieces.” I suspect that the pivotal idea here is "to incorporate air" (air being a metaphorical term for pride, in some usages) and that both poof and puff are in term related to fluff. That, of course, is the word I would have used: Poof as a verb is, I imagine, akin to the word snuck for sneaked—a very popular yet not-quite-standard variant.

Fluff, from Merriam-Webster online:

Main Entry: fluff Function: verb Date: 1835

transitive verb

1: to make fluffy
2 a: to spoil by a mistake : botch
b: to deliver badly or forget (one’s lines) in a play

intransitive verb

1: to become fluffy

2: to make a mistake; especially: to forget or bungle one’s lines in a play

Those who are familiar with the porn industry will probably know other slang uses for this verb as well. The main idea with all three verbs is to increase volume—either through incorporating air, or using hairspray or mousse. Or, in some cases, increasing the blood flow through various vessels.

None of which has a lot to do with homosexuality (depending, I guess, on who is doing the fluffing).

For the record, I think Edwards is bringing up some interesting points in his campaign, at the same time I wouldn’t vote for him. And I don’t pick my Presidents based on how extensive their grooming routines are (unless I honestly think they’d stop to mess with their hair during a nuclear crisis; I certainly don’t see Edwards that way).

Did I mention that Greenwald is an idiot?

Posted by Attila Girl at 02:23 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Now This Is a Fun Christmas Video.

I wonder how it was created. But I like it.

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December 29, 2007

Lunch with the Bear Flag League.

Had a lovely time in downtown La Canada today with Rusty, Caltech Girl (whose Fredhead graphic I adapted/stole for my sidebar recently), the Caltech Hub, Justene of Calblog—along with her charming husband and bright teenagers—Juliette of Baldilocks, and Flap.

We were at the restaurant for three hours, but the wait staff at Dish was as patient as ever. And I didn't have to either (1) slightly clean my house, or (2) slightly decorate it (as I would have had to do if I'd hosted the event). Also the food is terrific there.

Now can someone explain to me why it is that when I drink, Rusty seems to get tipsy? I'm just askin', because up in Santa Barbara he had too much Diet Coke and spilled my martini; today he got all hopped up on ice water and started slurring his speech. I think he might do better if we started spiking his drinks; I really do. I mean, especially if he's going to drive.

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Okay, Glenn.

He claims that "Crazy on You," is "without a doubt the best Cold War-inspired song about oral sex ever."

I never did try to parse the lyrics out on that particular piece, but I'll take the good professor's word for it. "Magic Man" and "Barracuda" have always been, however, crystal-clear to me.

I do believe Dreamboat Annie is the essential Heart album. As Hog Beatty once put it, "that CD is fantastic, from beginning to end."

Though I also dig Ann Wilson's version of "The Immigrant Song," from her latest release.

I don't understand Glenn's giving up rock and roll; I'd sooner try to live without oxygen. FWIW, of course, I've been living without a law degree for years, and I doubt that lifestyle would suit Insty quite as much.

Then again, I could be wrong.

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Hey. I Used To Wait Tables.

I happen to think that if the Obama people stiffed their waiter out of [most of] his tip, it is a big story.

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December 28, 2007


Not lazy at all.

Gets the job done.

Thanks to Insty.

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December 27, 2007


I dare you to spot the pitbull in this lineup.

But naturally, we can trust reporters to be experts on recognizing a Pittie.

Via Ace, whose media skepticism takes a sharp nosedive—so to speak—when animals are involved.

The husband and I continue our negotiations on the issue of a puppy: he now no longer insists that the canine be entirely inanimate, but informs me that one with a key in the back would be acceptable.

I, on the other hand, have decided it doesn't have to be a Pittie, a German Shepherd, or a Labrador, but can be a smaller terrier mix. So we're getting closer!

Puppies! Yippee!

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And It's Showtime for Awesome Thompson!

Not only is this Blogburst Thursday for the big FDT—it's also the day before the deadline for the Iowas media buy (the funds need to hit their bank by 3:00 Pacific, tomorrow).

I just sent my contribution in; it's my way of telling the MSM to lick it, Baby. (That's the XX-chromosome version of "suck it," of course .)

I can't get the contribution widget to work on my site, so here's a link to the campaign site, where you can give directly.

From the folks at the Dalton Nerve Center, on behalf of Teh Mighty Fred:

We have a terrific new TV spot. You can see it now at Take a look, and forward this message on to 10 of your friends.

I need your help to put it on the air. We need to put $248,846 in the bank before 6 PM EST on Friday, December 28th to do it.

Can you help me by making a contribution today? I know I’ve asked a lot, and you’ve done a lot, but this is critical to our success. Help me make history.

The Clear Conservative Choice: Hands Down bus tour will run from today to caucus day. We have a terrific ground game in place.

All we need is air cover—which the spot on our website will provide.

That's what they said. But what they really meant was "Suck it, Biased Legacy Media."

UPDATE: Here's the commercial; I think it's a good one:

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Goodbye, Benazir Bhutto.

Our Islamic "militants" don't know yet what happens when a moderate is "martyred."

But they are about to fucking find out . . .

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December 26, 2007

Now This Is Cutting-Edge.

Dressing your daughters as something other than whores.

What? You're going to point out that I used to wear tight Dittos jeans in the 1970s. Yeah, well: that would be pretty tame by today's standards.

The Joys Are Back in Town.

. . . Hope everyone had a juicy, yummy Christmas.

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December 23, 2007

My Sources Tell Me

. . . that the Thompson campaign has some exciting potential media buys lined up, and if you're planning on contributing, the next few days (for Iowa) or the next few weeks (leading into Super Duper Incredible Amazing Tuesday) are the best time frames. Preferably the former, of course.

I plan on sending them my own modest contribution today or tomorrow, to round out my Christmas spending. Sort of a gift to myself. After all, I always get one thing for myself around this time of year; it's only fair.

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Addressing That Pivotal Issue


Find Ultrasound schools near you.

It beats the heck out of me why the "Five-Year-Olds in a Fight" people are pimping ultrasound training, but I suppose everyone has to earn a living somehow.

h/t: the gang over at Ace's digs.

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Merry . . .

Christmas Adam.

I did my Amazon shopping today—because heaven forfend that I put it off until the last minute!

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December 21, 2007

Blogger's Brunch/Annoucements/Random Blithering

. . . a week from tomorrow in the Los Angeles area. Email me for details, if you're interested. This is a Bear Flag League-sponsored event, for center-right new-media types who operate (at least part of the time) in the Golden State.

Blogging today will be more than light, as I finish up a project for my premier client—and tie up a couple of loose ends at my nonprofit gig.

I'll be pulling Christmas together tomorrow morning, which means the house will end up either slightly decorated or slightly clean for the holiday, and everyone's cards and presents will arrive sometime between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Of course, in my family we figure that birthday gifts should arrive within six months of one's natal anniversary. I could simply apply that logic to the birth of Christ, and promise my near and dear that they'll get their swag by mid-June, latest.

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December 20, 2007

Fred Thompson: The Official IMAO Endorsement.

Quite startling. Unexpected, you might say.

We can't just go by our gut. Let's compare the main attributes of Fred Thompson versus the other candidates:

Fred Thompson: Teh Awesome

Other Candidates: Teh Suck

I believe when you lay things out this way, the reasons to support Fred Thompson over the other candidates becomes obvious, especially since IMAO has long held the position that "Teh Awesome" is better than "Teh Suck." And, in this time when our country is threatened by terrorists, weenies, and goobers, it's that more important we elect someone awesome—a strong conservative who will kill and hurt those who need killing and hurting.

Upon sober reflection, I do believe that good old Frank J. has a point, there.

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Magan McArdle

. . . on Ron Paul's exchange with Ben Bernake:

What Dr. Paul is saying doesn't make any particular sense: American consumers are not particularly suffering because of the decline of the dollar, the dollar is not declining because of Fed policy, and the Federal Reserve has nothing to do with a relative scarcity of oil and food, which is what is driving the CPI increases he complains about. If we were on the gold standard, oil and food would still be getting more expensive, and people on fixed incomes would still be feeling the pinch.

h/t to Insty, and special thanks to The Atlantic for having McArdle blog for them. It's good to see her writing showcased in the way it deserves.

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December 19, 2007

Culinary Protocol

When one has a cheese Danish for dinner, is it correct to have a slice of pumpkin pie for dessert? Please advise.

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A Defense of Crazy Iowa

. . . from Iowahawk, of course. Burge points out that Iowans are "uniquely qualified" to serve as our "electoral overlords":

Historically, Iowa is neither strongly Republican nor Democrat, conservative nor liberal. It is near the median in state population and in the middle of the country, with an average per-capita income. Iowans speak in flat, unaccented Midwestern English, and avoid conflict and spicy foods. Iowans have a long tradition of political centrism borne of a strong libertarian desire to steer clear of government interference, along with an equally strong desire for federal subsidy checks to help better enjoy the government non-interference.

This heritage of fierce independent passive-aggressive blandness makes Iowa a valuable front line defense against political extremism from the right or left. America can trust Iowa to "weed out" any presidential candidates with non-centrist ideas, or extreme accents like "California surfer dude." Iowa is a swing state, and candidates who want to succeed here must show they are hardcore, balls-to-the-wall moderate swingers.

"How fah is it to Hahvahd Yahd?" A long goddamn way from Cedar Rapids, pal. So start walking.

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Overheard, 12

"Look, Buddy: No one ever died from lack of sleep. Or from horniness, either."

"Not yet! But didn't you just tell me the past isn't a predictor of the future? How do you know it won't ever happen? And how do you know that when it does, it won't happen to me?"

Which is, I guess, a valid point.

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That's It!

I have had it with these mother-fucking snakes

. . . in this mother-fucking campaign!

h/t: Ace, who remarks: "I have no real problem with the sentiment and actually think it's a savvy little ad. Jim Geraghty calls it brilliant, and I agree. But brilliant in a dishonest way: Huck continues insulting the intelligence of the GOP base by running a Christmas greetings ad supposedly putting aside politics for 'what really matters,' when obviously this is a blatantly political ad designed to boost his appeal. And, furthermore, boost his appeal by running, yet again, on his religiosity.

I don't remember getting video Christmas greetings from Mike Huckabee when he wasn't running for president. Do you? Am I to understand this is the first time in history that it was important to set aside politics for 'what really matters' in a political season?"

Well, it depends upon what really matters. Perhaps what matters to Huck is that the Iowa caucus reflect current polling trends in that state. In that case, we should definitely set aside anything that might change our minds about the field of GOP hopefuls.

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December 18, 2007

Back in Black

. . . oh, yeah.

It's going to get interesting from here on out.

Via Hawkins, via Reynolds.

Hawkins: "If Fred wants to win the election, all he has to do is put this in constant rotation in Iowa and his victory would be guaranteed . . . or he would actually drop into last place. One or the other."

Reynolds: "If he's got the guts to run this in Iowa and New Hampshire, he's got my vote . . . ."

And, of course, one has to throw up a link to sloganmaster Frank J., under the circumstances.

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December 17, 2007

Merle Hazard and Arthur Laffer

. . . together at last:


Via Insty, who's running the Hazard lament about Hedge funds.

Laffer's star just rose in the Little Miss Attila galaxy; how many economists are appearing on YouTube these days? What a stud.

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Oh, For Pete's Sake.

Althose is running the same photo of Mrs. Clinton that Drudge has been highlighting.

Dry winter air doesn't do great things for anyone's skin—save maybe that of teenagers. And I still think Mrs. C. would have been better off with a face lift, vs. the botox—when she pops her eyes out to show emotion there's something creepy about it. But the state of the art is still imperfect.


Here's the deal: I understand that people are, as a general rule, idiots. But I'm still not sure that the average voter will be deciding a Presidential election on the basis of whose skin is smoothest.

I mean, what's next? Swimsuit competitions? My father would love it (particularly if he can fantasize that Condi will answer Dick Morris's call by jumping into the race to oppose Mrs. C.). But despite the flirtation of some evangelicals with the Huckabee campaign, I'd like to think that the average voter at least sees some seriousness in a Presidential election. On some level.

We need a leader with a backbone of steel . . . someone like Golda.


Now whether that person is a man or a woman has yet to be determined. But let's not shoot ourselves in the foot by using face-texture as a litmus test. That's the last thing we need right now. It wouldn't help Thompson or McCain very much.

Just a shout-out to my Democratic buddies: if you vote for Obama—or Edwards—over Mrs. C, make sure it's for the right reasons. Don't break my fucking heart.

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The Hawkies Are Out!

The Right-Wing News Conservative Blogger Awards.

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Goodbye, Triticale.

You were one of my first readers, over at the old blog. I think I was the one who brought you into the nation of Munuvia.

• • •

Triticale is gone. He had the most amazing mind when it came to wordplay; he was the one who suggested—back when I was still doing "household hints"—that I could replace the category "Attila in an Apron" with "Apronics."

He called me "Attila the Honey," natch.

Just damn.

Please pray for Tom E. Arnold. His family will be holding Shi'va on the 19th and 20th of this month in Illinois, and there will be a celebration of his life this coming spring.

• • •

Thank you, Tom. Vaya con Dios, my friend.

Via Sean.

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December 16, 2007

Fred Thompson and the Wind Tunnel of Christian Conservatives

ABC News has the scoop:

[Wesleyan Center for Strategic Studies Co-Founder Phillip] Knight, who says he has prayed with Thompson and his wife, Jeri, believes Thompson has been "mischaracterized" by Christian conservative leader, Dr. James Dobson, who questioned Thompson's faith and candidacy in an email a couple months ago.

Unfortunately, ABC News can't afford a proofreader for its website, so it ran the story with an extra comma before "Dr. James Dobson," and omitted the "of" in "a couple of months ago." But it's okay: the folks at ABC are just being colloquial. Illiterate, but colloquial.

There is also the issue of whether Mr. Knight (or Dr. Knight; I'm not sure) spells his first name with one L, or two. It appears both ways on the World Wide Web. But ABC may have that detail right. I would still, however, like to see some attention to grammar and punctuation from my news providers.

I'd also like to meet the Easter Bunny this coming spring, and shake his little paw. Anyone want to give me odds on that?

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December 14, 2007

Our Dean? Or Our McGovern?

James Joyner on the Huckabee phenomenon, and why it's scaring the shit out of thoughtful conservatives such as Peggy Noonan, Charles Krauthammer, and Jim Geraghty.

Am I scared? I'm concerned: I'm seeing the moment of the party's greatness flicker, and I'm seeing the Eternal Footman hold our coats, and snicker. It's like that.

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. . . the Al-Qaeda-led "resistance" at the New York Times.

Via Insty.

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We Regret to Inform Our Readers . . .

that The Anchoress and I will not be engaging in the hot-oil wrestling match (with statues of the Saints watching over us) that we had considered, to assist people in deciding who would make a better Grande Conservative Blogress Diva.

Unfortunately, our holiday schedules got in the way.

Though I've decided to switch my endorsement over to her. Vote Anchoress!

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Right Said Fred . . .

Via Sean, Fred refuses to play stupid games such as delivering a "show of hands" regarding global warming.

I told you not to make Fred angry. But did you listen? No.

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December 12, 2007

And, It's On!

Voting just began for Grande Conservative Blogress Diva! I'm lobbying for Virginia Postrel this year, so either vote for her, or . . . well. Me.

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Sean's Got the Scoop

. . . on the Led Zepp reunion. Or, maybe, "reunion." (Can we call it Led Zeppelin without John Bonham? What about calling The Who The Who without Keith? What about calling the Dead The Dead without Jerry? What about calling Jethro Tull Jethro Tull without Ian Anderson? Oops; just kidding.)

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Goodbye, Jane Rule.

You were one of my heroes. I'm glad you died with a chocolate bar and a bottle of high-quality whiskey by your bed. And I'm glad you and Helen lasted 45 years. Wow!


• • • • •

What a life-affirming, fabulous woman. The triumph and tragedy of her life is that she became the face of lesbianism among Canadians and the literati. Though this probably helped fortify a lot of young women who needed someone to look up to, I think it unfairly limited the market for her books, which were largely carried in feminist/GLBT bookstores, but not always available at mainstream venues. And that's a shame: they were wonderful. They deserved to be read by everyone.

There was a lot more to Jane Rule's characters than the fact that some of 'em were gay.

I know most people's favorite Rule novel is Desert of the Heart. It was indeed a magnificent read, and it was later loosely adapted for the film Desert Hearts, which I saw with a boyfriend in the early 1980s (he didn't mind, of course; he developed a crush on one of the actresses, so seeing her in a lesbian sex scene was AOK—men are so cute).

But there are others: I liked Inland Passage, and (especially) Memory Board. The most amazing Jane Rule book of all is undoubtedly Contract with the World. I could read it over and over again. I may just do that, this month, as a tribute to Our Jane. (Um. Not this Jane. I mean, "Our Other Jane.")

And I see that not all of her books are widely available. If someone wants to make some money in the English-speaking world, they might want to re-issue Rule's stunning body of fiction. (All of it, including This Is Not For You. The fact that a book is not easy reading—or tremendously accessible to straights—does not make it less worthy of reprinting.)

• • • • •

You did well, Ms. Rule. If I can die as half the woman you were, I'll be very, very happy.

I'll be praying for you; I'm sure you and G-d made your own arrangements years ago, and I'm confident I'll see you on the other side of the veil. You, Auden, Yeats and I can have some laughs. You bring the cigarettes; I'll bring the cigars. You bring the whiskey; I'll bring the gin.

(Photo courtesy of the Globe and Mail piece linked above.)

Hat tip to David Linden for penetrating my influenza fog/usual MSM blackout.

Posted by Attila Girl at 06:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Hey. This Ain't No Big Thing.

Everybody gets gastric bypass surgery—and everybody lies about it.

Especially in Arkansas.

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December 11, 2007

"Spectacular," Martin G. Remarks. "Excellent Animation."

Yup. It is. Just realistic enough, just cartooney enough. Just right.

Though of course at first I sent it to Marty not because of his interest in animation but because he's such a hard-core feline aficionado.

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Well, At Least . . .

Muir has resolved the "identical vs. fraternal" question.

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I Regret to Inform Our Readers

. . . that Fausta and I will not, after all, be engaging in a mixed-martial art contest of will in an octoganal cage in order to decide who gets to be crowned "Grande Conservative Blogress Diva 2008."

Our agents were simply unable to hammer out an agreement. As I recall, the sticking point was that her representation would not allow mine to fudge my height in publicity photos, so I look as tall as she is. You know how agents are: can't live with 'em . . . and so on.

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December 10, 2007

"You Know," My Father Tells My Voice Mail,

"I have doctors who return my phone calls, and lawyers who return my phone calls. My son is a prick, and even he returns my phone calls.

So you might want to consider giving me a break."

Okay. I call him. "What's cooking?" I ask.
"Well, I'm getting my car lubed, and the sky is clear, and it's a beautiful day here in the San Fernando Valley. What's happening with you?"
"I'm sick. Can I go now?"

Okay. I didn't say that. But I thought it.

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Michael Vick Skates.


Twenty-three months, with the possibility of three months off? You've got to be kidding me.

This wasn't, like, the man had an animal he didn't know how to train, and he lost his temper with it. This was systematic—more than premeditated.

I'd suggest turning him over to Mandy, but Mandy would just jump up on him, lick him, and try to get him to throw a tennis ball for her to fetch. She's exactly the type who would have been executed by this piece of shit.

Not so if he were turned over to Mandy's Aunt Joy, the "Dirty Harry" of Pit Bull Advocates. That would be some rough justice—though not anything like what he put those dogs through.

Now go buy a "Happy Endings" calendar from the folks at Pit Bull Rescue Central. Or maybe one of the fun calendars and T-shirts from the BAD-RAP people (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls). After all, they have one that features pitties and children—and another one geared toward nudists! What more could one ask?

(Photo by Julia Fishkin; borrowed from Pet Monologues.)

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Now You're Making Fred Angry.

You won't like Fred when he's angry. (Though you'll probably end up voting for him, despite yourself.)

"The nuclear program is the most important part of the Iran consideration. For a presidential candidate not to know that and not to keep up with that is very surprising,” said Thompson.

“These are the kinds of things I’ve been talking about all of my life. Now, if the American people have other priorities, if they want someone who smiles a lot more than I do, or someone who is a better quipster than I am, who has no experience in these areas, that’s for the American people to decide.”

Meanwhile, Ace suggests that Huckabee might want to express his private religious convictions in a more private way, rather than using public money for charitable work (via high taxes) and pardoning criminals because they've supposedly converted to his own faith. Some separation of Church and State, he seems to feel, may still be called for:

It appears the primary reason Huckabee sought to release DuMond was the fact that he had found Christ, though, it should be said, apparently he was still looking for Christ inside of the women he would later rape and kill.

When the Huckabee bubble bursts, we'll still be back to Rudy and Fred.

There are things I love about Rudy, but he is not a big civil rights guy (on guns, especially, or on any other issue). Fred "gets" the separation-of-powers thing, and he still takes terrorism seriously.

I don't want a fun President. I want one who will do the job. Part of the job is scaring the shit out of autocratic and dictatorial leaders elsewhere on the globe. Sorry about that, but it's so.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:04 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

"Didn't You Ask for This?"

Blackjack isn't too sympathetic to the cause of writers who are on strike:

Don't go on strike if the managment can easily replace you and the public really doesn't give a damn. The networks will simply pump out shows like Who Wants to Hump a Hooters Waitress and you'll watch them, because that kind of stuff amuses you.

What, you are taking umbrage at my comment? That Tila Tequila show is a hit, for crying out loud. Why should the studios listen to writers bitch about DVD royalties when the viewing public will watch a Vietnamese skank whose most notable achievement was adding a shitload of friends to her Myspace page?

I'd advise the writers to get back to work if they can before our entertainment devolves even further. Moore's law has nothing on the speed of that.

Can good television and film writers be replaced "easily"? Yes, and no: No, because it's hard to find good writers. Yes, because the average studio executive, while having a sort of ratlike cunning, possesses the eye for quality of a piece of plankton.

If more executives were looking for quality, the market would change for writers in Los Angeles, and getting a good property optioned/made wouldn't be so much like winning the mother-fucking lottery.

Instead of seeking quality and originality, studios look for what's made money in the past (The Harry Potter franchise; The Passion of the Christ) and make something that reminds them as much of that as possible, but without any pro-religion or pro-Democracy messages that may have crept into the prototype (The Golden Compass). If the film industry were all about the market, why would it be losing money like crazy on a boatload of anti-war, anti-American crap? Particularly when even Bruce Willis can't gain support for a movie about American successes in Iraq, based on the writing of Michael Yon?

And now the idiots in the studios would like writers to bend over and grab their ankles so they can get fucked in the ass just as hard on the internet as they have with DVD/VHS distribution. And reality show/animation writers can continue to get locked out of the Guild—which they'd like to be in, and which would like to have them.

Let me break it to you, kids: the cost of producing movies will continue to go down. The public will continue to seek its entertainment (verbal, visual, and audio) on the internet. Truly independent filmmakers will be able to market their work in better ways.

And in the long term, my friends, those of you who act as gatekeepers for television and film content are going to lose. Because the walls and and the gates are coming down.

As Deborah Harry would say: Bye-bye, Sugar—and not a moment too soon.

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:09 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Mark Steyn's Statement

. . . on his legal problems in Canada.

This is the logical endpoint of politically correct "speech codes."

I'm off to buy another copy of America Alone, along with another copy of Jonathan Rauch's Kindly Inquisitors. Under the circumstances, they make nice companion pieces.

I just started Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great About Christianity? And, yes: I do intend to read God Is Not Great, by the amazing (and great) Christopher Hitchens.

Because you know what's great? Free speech, and freedom of the press. Those are two of the most bitchin' concepts out there.

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December 09, 2007

Please, God.

No. Just no.

I don't think I could vote for Huckabee. I just cannot envision doing that. He's at the far end of statism—just because it claims to be benevolent doesn't make it any less a dictatorship.


Posted by Attila Girl at 02:29 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


. . . on The Curse of Short Men.

It applies to women, too. Though I get more heightism from other women than I do from men. There is this weird dynamic in which tall women feel entitled to "look down" on shorter women (figuratively, as well as literally), and treat them as if they were children.

Men, on the other hand, pretend to take short chicks seriously on an intellectual level; presumably, this is because this gives them a safe vantage point from which to stare at one's boobs.

Of course, there are the men who decide that a short chick with a figure right out of the 1930s is probably not much of a thinker. These people make me giggle, and provide great fodder for character studies.

Watch out for novelists with Napoleon complexes, okay?

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Now This Is a Goddamned Bar of Chocolate.


Posted by Attila Girl at 01:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 08, 2007

Steyn and Racism

Yeah, right. Whatever.

The only thing in America Alone that bothered me along those lines was that segment—a couple of pages out of the whole damned book—in which Steyn discussed "Hispanics" and "assimilation," and "learning English."

All very understandable coming from a Canadian who moved to New England and has spent little time in the Southwest. But of course there are plenty of people in the (make-believe) category of "Hispanic" who speak nothing but Engish. It sounds like it's a reference to a linguistic tradition, but there's nothing in any "Hispanic's" blood that I don't have: lots of European, a dash of Native American, some eye of newt, and goodness-knows-what-else. An easy mistake for a Northeasterner/Canadian/Brit to make, I imagine. And, of course, I don't have his command of the Old World—nor of stage and screen.

Racist, no? Deceived by census categories? Yes.

Insty, natch.

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Nice Traffic for a Saturday.

But what's with all the search engine shit? And why are people looking for "Grinch sweater"? Where the fuck, BTW, did they find it on my blog?

Good to know people are out there looking for Jan Libourel; the man should really have his own site, BTW.

The last time I saw Jan, it was at a memorial service for the great Dave Arnold, gunwriter and true gentleman of a type they simply don't make any more.

Jan was trying to bait the rest of us, as usual. He expressed his "admiration" for Osama bin Laden. "All that fortune," he sighed. "Such a wealthy family. He could have spent it all on wine, women, and song, but instead he chose to take on the world's one remaining superpower."

I used to rise to these things, years ago—before I got old and tired and jaded.

"Yes," I agreed. "Osama has tremendous self-discipline. He's quite a man."

True, of course.

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Huckabee and Smoking

Ace has the scoop.

Money quote:

He really cares about my health.

It's nice and all, but here's the deal, Nurse Mike H: If I want a fucking full-time health monitor I'll fucking get married, all right?

Which is funny, of course. Though possibly slightly denigrating to women . . . or, um . . . men . . . or, um . . . robots . . . or um . . . beasts . . . or, um . . . whatever it is that Ace has in mind when he types the word "marriage."

Not that there's anything wrong with whatever-that-might-be.

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December 07, 2007

And More on Pearl Harbor Day.

With a more explicit comparison to the events of six years ago.

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Some Nice Catblogging

. . . over at Sissy Willis' place.

I mean that in the literal, rather than the perjorative, sense—of course.

I'm starting to think cats might be okay, if I could get over the allergies. The problem is, once you have cats, allergic people can't visit you. And if all allergic people acclimate themselves to cats, it's still not a solution. After all, the CalBlog twins are allergic to cats other than their own.

I was skeptical when I heard that. "No," Caltech Girl assured me. "It's a big molecule. It's entirely possible for someone to be reacting to only a small part of it."

The only solution? Gradually replace the existing stock of cats in the world with genetically engineered hypoallergenic ones whose saliva (and therefore fur) is missing the allergen. (I originally found out about these cats from neurobiologist David Linden, so I shall go full-circle and find some photo-blogging by him, thereby cleverly bringing my post back to where it began, with Sisu's photo-blog. There. This one is perfect for a gray, Sissy Willis-like cozy day, and this is my favorite of his recent landscapes. It's almost Adams-eque.)

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DEVO . . .

Part of me is digging it. Part of me is all, "what were we thinking?"

I didn't see a date on this performance, but IIRC those red hats came in around Album #3, though this song is album #1. So I suspect this same concert featured a performance of "Whip It."

(I could be wrong. I was wrong once before, but it was a long time ago, and I don't like to talk about it much.)

Thanks to resident drummer Hog Beatty, who forwards it along with the observation that, "yeah, it's fast."

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Happy Pearl Harbor Day.

"Mostly we battled a mindset that said, despite two years of war all around us, we'd be just fine." Yup.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Yet More on Ron Paul.

I know my negativity about Ron Paul is annoying people, but I just cannot get around his attitude toward the war, which seems short-sighted to me. This terrorism dealiebopper is a long, tough game of chess, and I don't much like the Paul strategy (nor the general tendancy of big-L Libertarians toward isolationism).

And then there's this.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:28 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Stud/God Reynolds . . .

on the Omaha mall shooting, and mall owners' potential liability for enacting a gun ban on the premises:

A mall is a place of public accommodation. In addition, business owners generally take on a higher duty of care for customers on their premises, including a duty to protect them from the violent acts of third parties if those acts are reasonably foreseeable. The question is, given the tendency of mass shootings to occur in places where guns are banned, and given that gun bans take away customers' ability to defend themselves -- and other customers -- does this result in liability of shopping malls when such shootings occur? Or, at least, produce a duty to have more armed security than they otherwise would have (the Omaha mall appears to have had very little) in order to make up for the increased insecurity created by the gun ban? The question isn't open and shut, but it seems to me to be ripe for litigation.

(Yeah: I quoted almost his entire entry! Breaking the blog rules! Stealing potential traffic from Instapundit!)

His original post that takes up the idea of liability is here, and it's ripe with links, so get over there. In the meantime, I agree with his first point (yawn . . . another mass shooting in a "gun-free zone"), and applaud his second suggestion (that it might be time to consider litigation—"If it saves just one life, it's worth it."). Well, of course.

I don't really have anything to say that I haven't said before. But it's worth noting -- since apparently most of the media reports haven't -- that this was another mass shooting in a "gun-free" zone. It seems to me that we've reached the point at which a facility that bans firearms, making its patrons unable to defend themselves, should be subject to lawsuit for its failure to protect them. The pattern of mass shootings in "gun free" zones is well-established at this point, and I don't see why places that take the affirmative step of forcing their law-abiding patrons to go unarmed should get off scot-free. There's even an academic literature on mass shootings and concealed-gun carriage.
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December 06, 2007

Okay. This Is Strange.

I think this happened last year, and you guys were able to help me figure it out: outside, it's like the sprinklers are on, but they aren't. And it's like they're on full force or something.

And there's this rhythmic sound against the roof and the porch. Kind of strange. Makes me want to pee a little.

It just seems . . . I dunno. Like I'm at a car wash or something. I don't get it.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Jonathan Rauch:

Still one of my favorite gay boyfriends.

Also, unlike the case with Jeff, I don't have to fight over him with the other Cotillionites. *

Seriously. There are a handful of demographic subgroups that need to know how to handle guns. These are: (1) Jews, (2) women, (3) blacks, (4) gays, (5) the elderly—and (6) everyone else.

* Actually, the other ladies backed off after I told them I once out-shot Jan Libourel (then with Handguns, now with Gun World). It's a long story, but a true one. (It's Mr. Libourel who is responsible for my lifelong ambition of owning a Colt Commander. What a sweet gun: Jan has one with ivory inlays that shoots .38 Super. You didn't even know that gun existed in .38 Super, did you?

But first, like everyone else on the planet, I want a German Luger. Bad.)

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Shattered . . . Foer

Iowahawk pwns The New Republic.

Facing the difficulties of verifying the piece, but wanting to ensure its plausibility before publication, we sent the piece to a correspondent for a major newspaper who had spent many tours embedded in Iraq. Had he noticed the US Army in Iraq? Check. Did they have Bradley Fighting Vehicles? Check. Had he seen dogs? Check. So far, the story seemed to be plausible. But what of the disfigured woman of the Cleveland Steamer episode? This became the focal point of our fact-checking. We asked Reeve to push Beauchamp for corroboration of this woman's existence. In an e-mail, she relayed his answer (throughout this story, we've withheld the names of soldiers who never gave us permission to use them):

OK, now I am talking to Scott on the phone. Now he is asking all of the other soldiers in the Army if they had seen the her. Now I am hearing the other soldiers shout yeah. The other soldiers are now shouting that all of the facts that Scott wrote about are true. They are now shouting that don't call us or the Army again, or we will have to deny this conversation because we will get into trouble, and if we deny anything it is really a secret signal that we are actually verifying that the story is true. Now more soldiers are shouting something. What's that? The New Republic is their favorite magazine? But that they think the fact-checkers are underpaid? I am now telling Scott to tell all the other soldiers that I will pass on this information.

And there's this moment:

Did we have a Jayson Blair on our hands—or, closer to home, another Stephen Glass, the fabulist who did so much to tarnish this magazine's reputation ten years ago? Or perhaps another Ruth Shalit, whose plagiarism at this magazine did somewhat less tarnishing two years earlier? Or could he be another Lee Siegel, whose 2007 sock puppeting at this magazine resulted another tarnishing, albeit only around 40 on the Glass Tarnish Quotient? One fact was clear: painful experience has taught us at The New Republic to be on the lookout for tarnishings, so Beauchamp should know better than to "pull a fast one" on us.

We published an online statement pledging an investigation. That weekend, members of the editorial staff assembled at my house to divide up the task of re-reporting his stories. It would be a long an arduous task, with the possibility of uncomfortable conclusions. Ted, the new intern from Columbia Journalism School, brought along Pictionary.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm Up for Conservative Blogress Diva!

That is, if someone seconds me in the comments here.

I'm looking forward to getting trounced by SondraK again. Not to mention some of the other heavy-hitters who are now under consideration for inclusion. It's a bit intimidating, if you want to know the truth.

There are several more worthy candidates (other than Fausta, Sondra, and me) over here.

Posted by Attila Girl at 07:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 05, 2007

Who Makes a Living Blogging?

This came up in conversation at my father's house the other day. Part of this depends on what you call "a living." One eminent blogger chooses to do this so she can stay home with her child, because pursuing a "real" career would take her out of the home too much.

Some reject the idea of professional blogging as a potential "sellout." I estimate that there are probably 20 people out there making decent livings via blogging, and another 20 who eke out a sort of existence, paying their bills via their blog-incomes.

My stepbrother asserted that he thought the "break even" point was 5000 hits a day, but he didn't realize a lot of us have PayPal/Amazon Honor System buttons on our sites, so one of the variables is the generosity of one's readership (just like NPR stations—without the public subsidies). And, of course, there is the question of whether one makes more at any given traffic level by selling blogads (via BlogAds, or another agency) vs. participating in PJ Media.

There exists a partial list of people who may be making significant incomes from blogging, though I'm not sure I need numbers that are that specific: after all, one of the factors involved is whether one resides in Southern California, the greater Chicago area, New York City, the San Francisco Bay area, Washington, D.C., Tokyo, London, or another high-cost-of-living environment. Raw numbers don't tell us much, particularly if you're in Atlanta or somewhere reasonable like that. (Another variable: do you have roommates? Are these roommates humans, or cockroaches?)

Thanks to Janette, for sending that last link— and to the Cotillion Women, for posing the question.

Posted by Attila Girl at 04:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


. . . on the "Is Huckabee Too Moralistic To Be President?" meme. He makes some good points. Likewise, James makes an important point here about why "retail politics" is different from what we associate with a smoothly running national campaign.

And yet, at the moment, "retail politics" is where it's at. It's like dressing for a job interview: one has to do it. Just the cost of admission. (Or, as the economists would have it, "signalling.")

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down the decades.

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. . . Repeal Day.

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:16 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

December 04, 2007

Slublog of Spades:

Chuck Norris doesn't know everything:

Powerline wonders if Huckabee is "too moralistic" to be president. Personally, I think it's a combination of moralism and misguided optimism, with a healthy dose of inexperience in world affairs. Comparisons have been made to a former U.S. president from the south, and I've always thought those comparisons were a bit harsh.

Now I'm not so sure.

Huckabee is bad on taxes and immigration. He's got overly-statist views on the limits of government power and now we find out that he lacks the fortitude to withstand international criticism of our foreign and military policy. The Huckabee boomlet has got to stop.

Personally, I'm waiting until Royce Gracie endorses someone.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mmm . . . Borscht.

I love borscht. But not the canned version!

I'll have to try this recipe. I think it might be nice with orange or yellow beets for a change; the flavor is sometimes milder with those.

The legendary Gorky's (of Hollywood and downtown L.A.) used to put just a bit of cilantro in the borscht. With a dollop of sour cream, that stuff was heaven. Yum. I may not miss socialism, but I sure miss Gorky's.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Podhoretz on the NIE Flip-Flop Regarding Iran's Nukes

Maybe the folks at the NIE aren't just on crack, as one might suppose from the wild fluctuations in their assessments:

a full two years after Iran supposedly called a halt to its nuclear program, the intelligence community was still as sure as it ever is about anything that Iran was determined to build a nuclear arsenal. Why then should we believe it when it now tells us, and with the same “high confidence,” that Iran had already called a halt to its nuclear-weapons program in 2003? Similarly with the intelligence community’s reversal on the effectiveness of international pressure. In 2005, the NIE was highly confident that international pressure had not lessened Iran’s determination to develop nuclear weapons, and yet now, in 2007, the intelligence community is just as confident that international pressure had already done the trick by 2003.

It is worth remembering that in 2002, one of the conclusions offered by the NIE, also with “high confidence,” was that “Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions.” And another conclusion, offered with high confidence too, was that “Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material.”

I must confess to suspecting that the intelligence community, having been excoriated for supporting the then universal belief that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, is now bending over backward to counter what has up to now been a similarly universal view (including as is evident from the 2005 NIE, within the intelligence community itself) that Iran is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons. I also suspect that, having been excoriated as well for minimizing the time it would take Saddam to add nuclear weapons to his arsenal, the intelligence community is now bending over backward to maximize the time it will take Iran to reach the same goal.

But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations. As the intelligence community must know, if he were to do so, it would be as a last resort, only after it had become undeniable that neither negotiations nor sanctions could prevent Iran from getting the bomb, and only after being convinced that it was very close to succeeding. How better, then, to stop Bush in his tracks than by telling him and the world that such pressures have already been effective and that keeping them up could well bring about “a halt to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program”—especially if the negotiations and sanctions were combined with a goodly dose of appeasement or, in the NIE’s own euphemistic formulation, “with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways.”

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:43 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 03, 2007

My Question for the MultiCultis:

As long as we're being so "tolerant" of other cultures and their various approaches to radical genital mutilation, why not bring back the castrati?

Not removing the testicles of young boys so they will have greater vocal range later in life strikes me as intolerance of traditional Italian culture, and a terrible blow to opera-lovers everywhere.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:25 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

If Gambling Run by the States Is Legal,

gambling run by private charities should also be legal. What's next?—will my local Roman Catholic Community get busted for having a raffle?

I understand that there is a strong anti-gambling strain within some faiths: In fact, the nonprofit I work for has events at a Methodist-run location at which we cannot have raffles. We are forbidden to even use the term "fundraiser" on our flyers for these events. (N.B.—I come from Methodist stock; my parents met at a Methodist-run charity homebuilding project in Mexico.)

However, the structure of a fundraising event—the rules regarding when/how money can change hands in running a particular ministry—is a private matter between nonprofit organizations. When the local vice squad raids a VFW hall, we have a major freakin' problem with selective enforcement of silly laws.

When the States are themselves running lotteries (and don't get me started on how predatory/regressive these are), the hypocrisy factor goes way up.

Take it, Drew:

Fear the government that fears your deck of cards. Legalize gambling, at least for nonprofit organizations. Now.

Via Insty.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Professor Reynolds:

And Lou Dobbs slouches nearer, his moment come 'round at last . . . .

Nice. This is in reference to a mention of "Joel Kotkin and Fred Siegel on the Gentry Liberals: 'Over the last half a century, liberals have moved from strong support for basic middle-class concerns—epitomized by the New Deal and the G.I. Bill—to policies that reflect the concerns and prejudices of ever more elite interests.'"

Yup. They sure have.

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December 02, 2007

MKH vs. Jack (of Spades)

Mary Katherine Ham on why we should preserve the YouTube debate format:

've never bought into the idea that YouTube debates were a revolutionary format-- different but not revolutionary--mostly because moderators still pick the questions, and technology's transformative only to an extent. I'm not a tech triumphalist.

I've also never bought into the idea that YouTube debates debase politics, partly because they're already plenty debased, and partly because political YouTubers are-- to a great extent-- regular Americans who want to be engaged and get a chance to ask their own questions of a candidate that they wouldn't necessarily otherwise get. That's not debasement, that's democracy.

Jack M. over at Ace's digs deplores what he calls her "hipness uber alles" attitude, and remarks:

Of course YouTube debates debase politics. Their entire premise is based on bringing politics to the level of a carnival freakshow. Talking snowmen don't belong on a stage addressing questions to men and women seeking elected office. It belittles the process. And yet, the talking snowman was picked. Why?

Exactly because he WASN'T one of "the regular Americans" you seem to believe they are. Are there regular Americans who read blogs and create videos for YouTube? Of course there are (present company excluded, of course). But YouTube places a different emphasis on the matter: it becomes not "I want my question to be heard" as much as it becomes "I want my question to be aired/seen."

And why is this an important distinction? Because it allows the "deciders" to set the framing of the issue.

But Jack—that's MKH's point. The problem with the CNN debate wasn't in the format. The problem was with the "deciders." Those who choose the questions have to do so impartially, and have to resist the temptation to choose style over substance. CNN failed, and that must remain our focus.

Jack M. again:

Look...I know you have a lot vested in this internet video thing. And you do a great job. You know I hold you in nothing but the highest regard, both personally and professionally.

But it's disappointing to see Conservatives worshipping at the altar of "cool", as you appear to be doing here. To treasure style and appearance over substance.

For, if college teaches us anything, it is that the Conservatives who do this are the Conservatives who end up on the path that leads to Libertarianism.

Well. Heaven forfend. Personally, I take supplements that are supposed to keep me from turning into a libertarian. I hear that skepticism about the government is the result of a vitamin B deficiency . . .

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

So the Blog Chix and Their Husbands Came Over.

As usual, I was the only non-football person present; I'm starting to pick up some of the nuances of the game. Slowly. (As Rita Mae Brown once put it in quite a different context, that would be "as in, slowly the Ice Age ended."*)

Caltech Girl and I discussed the cultural phenomenon of The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Daring Book for Girls. She definitely felt the latter was worth a read, and a lot of fun. The entries are apparently longer than those in Dangerous, and have more explanatory text. ("Developmentally appropriate!" she joked, and of course I laughed.)

"Some of it's practical," she informed me. "Like the segment on what girls should carry with them at all times."

"Well, that would be everything the boys have in their pockets, plus lipstick or chapstick—and a tampon," I responded. "Right?" She smiled, and her husband rolled his eyes. So everyone was happy.

Justene of CalBlog and her husband informed me that as their daughter's sponsor into the Catholic Church, I'm now responsible for any misbehavior she engages in. (Of course, that would be a sobering thought if she weren't quite such a well-behaved young lady.) As I understand it, though, they still get the credit for her accomplishments. Certainly there's some fine print I should have read, somewhere.

Juliette of Baldilocks and I laughed about our experiences in rough neighborhoods with scummy men, and compared our reading material. She's deep into the mighty Thomas Sowell (always a good choice)—and digging Conflict of Visions right now. I'm still pimping Jonathan Rauch's Kindly Inquisitors to any multi-cellular organization I come into contact with. The cool thing is that we realized that some of the arguments that Dr. Sowell makes in Conflict of Visions are very similar to those Rauch put forward in his book: the process by which one reaches conclusions can be as important as the conclusions themselves, because scientific and philosophical inquiry must have a way of correcting its mistakes.

Of course, Rauch and Sowell take quite different routes to get there; the books probably make a nice complementary set.

At some point the subject of Larry Elder came up; Juliette and I both admire him intellectually, and have each had a chance to talk with him at some length. Razor-sharp guy, very articulate. His good looks didn't enter the discussion, of course; neither Baldilocks nor I are that shallow.

I also gave Juliette a good laugh by completely flubbing military terminology. "Let me help you out, Sister," she told me, and explained the finer structural points I'd been missing.

And, as advertised, Justene and I had a few cigars. She enjoyed a Cohiba, and I took a Punch (my Cuban of choice). It was too cold to take them onto the balcony, so we just smoked them in the dining room, with the rest of the crowd moving as far away from us as they could get. Justene's other daughter—the hyper-moral one—looked on disapprovingly, waving the smoke away from her face.

"She doesn't like it when I drink, smoke, or cuss," Justene explained. (Once again, that Yeats line about "youth restraining reckless middle age" comes to mind.**)

I suggested a game of poker at that point, but the CalBlog family was up past the curfew its teenage taskmasters have set for it, so after we finished our smokes the CalBloggers went home. Caltech Girl, the Caltech Hub, Baldilocks, Attila the Hub and I talked for a while longer, until the party broke up around midnight.

Now that everyone's gone, I'm considering cleaning the house—something I couldn't be bothered to do before my guests came over. (A the H decided in his kindly fashion that there should be snacks at my party, even though I had explained this afternoon in my literal-minded way that all I'd promised was red wine and pizza, and those were therefore the only items that were contractually required of me. He set out some chips, dip, peanuts and grapes early on in the evening, and people liked them just fine, even though they fell outside the purview of the gathering's stated intent. Thank goodness I'm not turning into my minimalist, non-domestic mother; that would be simply awful.)

* The quote is somewhere in Six of One. As one might imagine, Brown's current fiction is outside of my reading parameters, but I loved her earlier work when I was in college, and went to a few of her book-signings in my youth. (The Wikipedia entry, BTW, does not mention Plain Brown Rapper. This might be just as well; that book didn't age nearly as well as Rita Mae.)

** It's here, on page 76.

Posted by Attila Girl at 04:24 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Foer's Follies

Karl at Protein Wisdom just ran a nice little update on the fact-checking scandal at The New Republic in the wake of their "Baghdad Diaries" farce. The New Republic is now a new-media laughingstock on an almost Ratherian scale. That takes some doing, but Franklin Foer was up to the task.

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "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.

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