Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ann Coulter is skinny

The Smoking Gun has released the police reports relating to people harassing conservative firebrand Ann Coulter at her home.

The obscenities lobbed at Ann were not what caught my eye. What grabbed me was the police record of Ann's weight and height. She's 5'10" and 115 lbs. That gives her a Body-Mass Index of 16.5, and according to HHS anything below 18.5 is "underweight".

Basically Ann is my height and weighs 45 fewer pounds. I may be a guy, but I have no idea how an adult human being can pull that off.

Ann, order a steak. And cigarettes are not a food group.

Monday, November 26, 2007

MS-Lebanon

An extremely geeky blogger compares Lebanon to Microsoft Vista.

And I thought I was a nerd!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thompson on FNS

Fred Thompson's recent performance on Fox News Sunday displayed a slightly more energetic Thompson than we have seen in other forums. Asked about the apparently poor state of his campaign, Thompson critiqued the media in general and Fox News in particular as being naysayers of his campaign, ignoring the good and focusing on the bad. He probably overplayed this point, but there is some substance to the allegation.

The Bad - Thompson pointed out that he has by far the most complete policy plans laid out among any of the Republicans. (Probably among the Dems too.) But voters, in particular Republican and Independent voters, do not vote primarily on policy plans. They vote on gut instincts. Who can lead? Who do you want standing with a bullhorn on the next pile of terrorist-produced rubble? Who can best Hillary in a debate? Fred has much room to improve on these points. Fred's appeal was supposed to be the marriage of consistent conservatism with the ability to sell it. He's not selling it like he should be.

The Good - Fred was energetic and fully engaged, and not just in his typical too-much-coffee-human-bobblehead way. This is the first step toward fixing the problems mentioned above.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Islamic Investing

Standard and Poor's has a family of Shariah equity indexes. Islam appears to be the only religion with S&P recognition. I've seen third party investment vehicles for Catholics and some generic ethically lofty funds, but dang.

Huckabee and the Human Life Amendment

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was on Fox News Sunday recently explaining that his support for the Human Life Amendment is in keeping with "the logic of the Civil War". Huckabee is claiming that just as slavery is wrong and was therefore wrong everywhere, so too is abortion wrong and is wrong everywhere. Merely overturning Roe-v-Wade will only create a condition where babies are still being killed in some states, and anybody who could live with that (like Fred Thompson) is in moral error.

This sort of argument does have a certain point, but by that logic we should also have one national policy on the death penalty, gay marriage, cousin marriage, divorce, age of consent, etc. The idea that we should have completely uniform views and laws across this diverse nation seems to fly in the face of reality and the Constitution.

This circle cannot be squared. There will always be a tension between morality and the law because some part of the population will disagree on what is morally acceptable. The federalist solution doesn't make this problem go away, but it does have the tendency to diffuse the problem by allowing people to make decisions along more or less culturally significant lines. Issues like slavery are the exception rather than the rule.

The National Right to Life Committee seems to have some sympathy for this position as they have dropped support for the Human Life Amendment as a condition of endorsement and they have endorsed Fred Thompson.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Opportunity Knocks for Conservative 527s

Attention conservative PAC operators - this may be your big chance to make a splash this election cycle.

Any Republican worthy of that appellation has a strong visceral dislike of Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha. Murtha has make ridiculous statements about national security affairs (Hey, let's "redeploy"... to Okinawa), and has slandered several good Marines (a few of whom already have had their charges dropped - they're suing Murtha in federal court). He's also the poster child for the corrupting influence of federal pork, and he exploits his chairmanship of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee like a schoolyard bully. He is a longtime buddy of Nancy Pelosi, and if Pelosi had her way Murtha would be House Majority Leader.

And now Murtha has a challenger: William Russell.

Russell has is own military background, which will help to counter the halo of absolute moral authority Murtha has so far successfully exercised with respect to military affairs. While Russell's motivation for running appears to be primarily a reaction to Murtha's statements about national security issues, Russell also appears to be an economic conservative with a libertarian streak.

I know, I know. Murtha has beaten every challenger. Badly. Last time was 61%-39%. And Murtha is the "biggest employer in Johnstown".

Let's say for a moment that Russell can't beat Murtha. A significant scare could tie up some Democratic campaign money that might have been used in other races. (You don't think Nancy Pelosi would let her buddy Jack fend for himself, do you?) Let's talk "earned media" for a moment. National media attention is a "force multiplier", both for this particular race and in helping to establish a Democrat culture of corruption in the minds of voters outside the 12th District. Limbaugh, Hannity, and O'Reilly would probably jump at the chance to interview Russell if enough noise is made in Western Pennsylvania to move the needle on the polling data. Maybe even a Sunday show or two.

But I think Russell has a decent shot. Murtha has slaughtered his previous opponents in part because nobody's ever had the support to challenge him effectively. Murtha's sleaziness is easily established, and a few well-written television ads will drive the point home as it has never been done before. The 12th District is also bizarrely shaped and must have a degree of cultural discontinuity outside of Cambria county. This can be exploited with a good ground game built on the foundation of some solid polling data to show us where the cracks are in the plaster of Murtha's political career.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Rove's Newsweek Debut

Newsweek has hired Karl Rove as the blogging counterpart to Markos ("Kos") Moulitsas ZĂșniga. In his debut piece for Newsweek, Rove describes his plan for "How to Beat Hillary".

I gave up on Newsweek long ago, and I saw their hiring of Kos as just more of the same. My initial reactions to the Rove hire were:
  • Do they really think Kos is in the same intellectual universe as Rove?
  • Who the heck wants to read what Rove has to say now that Bush has basically crashed and burned?
While Rove certainly had a point in his earlier proclamation that Republican Congressional scandals (rather than the war) pushed some voters to flee the GOP in 2006, I still think that was a fundamentally disingenuous read of events. I expected Rove to be just as essentially disconnected from reality when he began writing for Newsweek. Viva MC Rove!

I was mostly wrong about that. Rove lays out classic, time-tested advice that will work in the best or worst of times. My only gripe is about the following segment:

Tackle issues families care about and Republicans too often shy away from. Jobs, the economy, taxes and spending will be big issues this campaign, but some issues that used to be "go to" ones for Republicans, like crime and welfare, don't have as much salience. Concerns like health care, the cost of college and social mobility will be more important. The Republican nominee needs to be confident in talking about these concerns and credible in laying out how he will address them. Be bold in approach and presentation. [emphasis added]

Herein lies the basic existential crisis for the Republican party. For the vast majority of "sellable" candidate plans for these issues, government action will cause more harm than good. Health care could cost less if there were fewer state mandates and people were able to save 15% by using Geico from out of state like they can for car insurance. The cost of college is so high in part because supply is inelastic and demand is subsidized by state and federal government grants and guaranteed loans. And there's very little the government can do about social mobility apart from funding mass transportation in urban areas and making sure K-12 education is as good as it can be, and clearly those efforts have limited effect.

Rove is saying, as others have, that Republicans need to play the Democrats' game of redistribution and nanny-statism. That may win an election here and there, but it's a long-term loser because nobody does redistribution better than the Democrats.

The long term success of any party honestly attempting to represent the principles of limited government and free trade must communicate those principles effectively. I'm not hearing much of that from our current crop, save for Fred Thompson, who so far seems to lack the enthusiasm to convince anybody of anything. Somehow the Democrats gained a lead on the issues of jobs and the economy. A populace that thinks the Democrats are better than Republicans on those issues needs to hear a heck of a lot more from Republicans than what Candidate X says about the cost of college.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A White Elephant Pardon

President Bush should grant a full pardon to...

Sandy Berger.

Indulge me in this fantasy for a moment.

Berger, WJClinton National Security Adviser who stole and destroyed documents from the national archives related to the 9/11 investigation, is now advising Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. A Berger pardon would be so high profile that the media would be forced to cover it. Even the sheeple watching the network nightly news broadcasts would be reminded that (1) a WJC crony did something very bad, and that (2) the very same crony is now working for Hillary.

It's the ultimate White Elephant gift.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ohio to Dems - No illegal drivers

A Quinnipiac poll shows that Ohioans do not like the idea of giving drivers licenses to illegal immigrants - 55% "less likely" to vote for a candidate who supports that policy, (3% "more likely"), and even among Democrats 43% "less likely" and 4% "more likely".

More in-depth coverage at HotAir.

The eye-popping thing to me is not just that Ohio is a swing state where it is still possible to elect a Republican for President (though that is interesting), but that it is nowhere near the Rio Grande. This confirms my idea that illegal immigration is a problem across the nation, even in places where you might not think (like Hazelton, PA). My county in rural Pennsylvania is losing population overall, but the high school where I graduated ten years ago now has English as a Second Language courses. When I graduated I don't think there was a single Spanish speaking student in the whole school, save for exchange students.

Being "pro [illegal] immigrant" is a losing issue, and perhaps increasingly so the further one travels from the southern border because the problem is not even close to being contained.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Did you get the memo? Armitage on Plame

CNN's Wolf Blitzer interviewed Richard Armitage about several topics including the Plame affair:

BLITZER: Normally in memos they don't name covert operatives?

ARMITAGE: I have never seen one named.

BLITZER: And so you assumed she was, what, just an analyst over at the CIA?

ARMITAGE: Not only assumed it, that's what the message said, that she was publicly chairing a meeting.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Double Standards: Bake Sales

So this bake sale at San Diego State University where people were charged different amounts corresponding to their race and gender was a bold move by the National Organization for Women ("NOW") to "raise awareness" of "difference of pay between genders and races".

But this bake sale in 2004 at the University of Rochester conducted by the College Republicans where people were charged different amounts corresponding to their race and gender was "bigoted, intolerant, and patronizing".

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Double Standard for "Conservative"

In our ongoing quest to find the perfect transcendental conservative Presidential candidate, we have stumbled across a fairly large internal inconsistency.

On one hand, we have TV-evangelist (and 1988 Republican Presidential contender) Pat Robertson endorsing Giuliani. This despite all of Giuliani's well-documented policy disagreements with social conservatives, not the least of which is his idea that a "strict constructionist" jurist might rule that Roe-v-Wade is consistent with the US Constitution... or not. No big deal either way.

On the other hand we have columnist Robert Novak criticizing Fred Thompson for taking a Federalist, anti-Roe position on abortion. Novak claims Thompson is, as the title of the column indicates, making "a major abortion blunder" by not supporting federal laws or a Constitutional amendment outlawing abortion.

Now I understand that the Real Conservative Alternative® hasn't emerged, but can we stop pretending that Giuliani's positions are acceptable while the other candidates' positions are insufficiently conservative?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Zing! Parsing Hillary Clinton

The Edwards campaign has been getting some understandably good reviews for this ad:



Despite this absurdity, Clinton's numbers may have improved slightly after the most recent debate (according to Rasumssen), and NYT commentator Gail Collins gave HRC some left-handed (?) complements about her performance:

She took it all and came out the other end in one piece. She’s one tough woman. Kudos.

Her fighting spirit was all the more impressive because so many of the positions she was defending were virtually indefensible.

For conservatives this is the most infuriating aspect of Clinton's candidacy. She's been implicated in so many scandals, screwed up so many policies, made so many gaffes that all the bad news is already cooked into her stock. She has the Teflon coating to shake off any challenge literally effortlessly, to lie about any subject and come out stronger. And the media loves her for it, just as they loved Bill.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Tough Questions for HRC Just Beginning

On the heels of the so-called pile-on by Hillary Clinton's competitors, Jonah Goldberg at NRO has some more questions...

Among them:

You keep saying that Social Security has lost 14 years of solvency on President Bush’s watch. In 2000, your husband’s last year in office, the program’s trustees said it would be solvent until 2037. Now they say it will be solvent until 2041. As the most serious female candidate for president we’ve ever had, aren’t you setting a bad example by not being able to do math?
~~~
You’ve said this administration’s secrecy “on matters large and small is very disturbing.” In particular, you and other Democrats have criticized Dick Cheney’s refusal to be more open about his energy task force. Were you disturbed by your health care task force’s similar secrecy? How about your refusal to turn over subpoenaed documents for two years? Why do you tacitly support your husband’s refusal to release your White House correspondence from the National Archives? You’ve said the documents are being released on the Archives’ timetable, but your husband appointed his longtime henchman, Bruce Lindsey, to manage the release of such records. Why isn’t that disturbing?
~~~
You’ve repeatedly denounced Halliburton’s “no-bid contracts.” Did you object when the Clinton administration awarded a similar non-competitive contract to Halliburton for reconstruction work in the former Yugoslavia? If not, why not? If so, why didn’t your husband listen?


[note: It has come to my attention that Halliburton-proper no longer has those contracts. They are now owned by the spun-off Kellogg-Brown-Root ("KBR"). Hillary can't take any contracts from Halliburton because they don't have them. - Joe]