Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The New Standard for Identifying Bigotry

God bless the crowd at NRO for reading the NY Times, because I sure as heck don't any more.

"The assertion that Mr. Obama is 'just too extreme for North Carolina' is a clear bid to stir bigotry in a Southern state."

So, this is the new standard for what constitutes a racist remark, eh?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Perzel's Ego Bigger Than Ever

From the "Are you f-ing kidding me?" department...

(Via GrassrootsPA)

Former PA House Speaker John Perzel thinks he might be speaker again in 2009, and he is unrepentant about pay raise debacle.

Perzel's sins and flaws are many - being Ed Rendell's best buddy in the legislature during Perzel's Speakership, being a key figure in the infamous unconstitutional pay-raise, being a general embarrassment to Republicans throughout the state.

If none of this was enough, John Perzel snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in 2007 when he refused to let some other Republican stand for Speaker.

The Democrats in the state house ended up with a one person majority. But there was a general ill will among rank-and-file members, and each party had its defectors in the leadership vote. Democrat Bill DeWease knew he couldn't win as Speaker, so he recruited Republican Denny O'Brien to run against Perzel for the Speakership. But Perzel refused to put anybody else up in order to counter this maneuver. Consequently the House is run by the Democrat alliance with O'Brien.

The following comment on GrassrootsPA by former PA Young Republicans Chairman Matt Best sums everything up nicely (emphasis added):
Perzel is the reason why I left the Republican Party after the general election in 2006. Should he get elected Speaker, every Republican who votes for him should know that when I have an opportunity, I will work to get them fired, thrown out of office, do anything to make their worthless lives miserable, highlight their spinelessness, embarrass them, etc. I may be only one person, but if others will take the same attitude and no longer accept pathetic leadership, arrogance, and thuggery, then we will prevail.

It starts with this election - Of all of the positions on this ballot, I’m probably not voting for a single Republican on the ballot. I’m most likely not voting for a Democrat either. Is my vote wasted - no. Why? Because the options presented are no longer valid and I won’t legitimize these idiots by voting for them or for the lesser of two evils. If both options are evil, then why would I support either one?

We need people who have had enough, to reject the options presented to us, be willing to act on that feeling, organize together so that our message is the same, and vote. We need to move past issues that are only designed to keep us divided and distracted. Whether these officials are Dems or Reps, they are essentially the same in most cases. Yeah, they differ on small issues, but on the biggest issue of all - ensuring that government business is done in secret and behind closed doors for the benefit of an oligarchy of cowardly and arrogant “leaders”, there is no difference between the two parties.

I’ve heard all the arguments before - my vote will be wasted, work to change the system from the inside, etc. It’s all BS people. I’ve attempted to change the system on the inside - I’m a past chair of the PA Young Republicans. I’ve worked for a State Rep. I’ve been a County Committeeman. The parties are not interested in change, or fresh ideas. They are interested in the status quo. The system makes me sick, and so do most of the people in it with their spinelessness. They are more concerned with keeping their jobs and their precious benefits, than they are with anything else.

Patrick Henry said it best when he stated - “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” I for one have had enough. I will continue speak out and to put my name behind it. I will cause change to happen. Will you? Or will you just complain about the options before you and “wait your turn?” Will you join with like-minded people to create a change in the way our government does business? Or will stay silent because you fear losing your job and precious benefits? Patrick Henry also once stated: “Fear is the passion of slaves.” Are you a freeman or freewoman, or are you a slave of people like John Perzel?

John Perzel may be the single biggest obstacle to some semblance of unity within the PA Republican Party. The true grassroots believers will not take the party structure seriously as long as these gangsters are allowed to run loose in our party.

So to Perzel and to those who would follow him I ask, are you f-ing kidding me?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ethanol is an IQ test

After reading devastating articles like this one at National Review, federal support for corn ethanol subsidies has become a proxy IQ test, and a test that both our political parties have failed.

EPIC FAIL:
Haitians are sick and tired of food prices that are 40 percent higher than last summer’s. Some have resorted to eating cookies made of salt, vegetable oil, and dirt. That’s right: Dirt cookies.
~~~
Keep in mind that 100 million tons of grain is enough to feed nearly 450 million people for a year” — assuming 1.2 pounds of grain each, daily.

In short, car engines are burning the crops that feed a half-billion people. That has to hurt.
~~~
As farmers turn forests into corn fields, they expend energy uprooting trees that produce oxygen, absorb CO2, and store carbon. Princeton University researchers calculate that this ethanol-driven arboricide has spawned a “carbon debt” that already will take 167 years to reverse.
~~~
Unless superior substitutes emerge, obeying Congress’ 2022 diktat will require a corn crop equal to 115 percent of 2007’s U.S. output, with every kernel going to ethanol, none for food. The consequences would be calamitous — from movies without popcorn, to over-farmed and under-rotated fields, to growing global starvation.

The meta-question on ethanol is what collective action problem is being addressed by this government action? That is to say, what goal is the government trying to accomplish that cannot be better realized by market forces? It is certainly not global warming, since land-use issues and use of nitrogen fertilizer actually worsen the greenhouse gas situation. It is not reliance on foreign oil, as evidenced by our continued reliance on ethanol subsidies with oil well over $110 / barrel.

Supporters of our corn ethanol subsidies argue that unless we support corn ethanol we will never have the ability to develop cellulosic ethanol technologies. This is utter hogwash. We already know how to transport and consume ethanol. The weakest link is the input. Sufficient infrastructure already exists to support a market for cheaper cellulosic ethanol.

The only thing the government can actually do that addresses a true collective action problem is mandate flex-fuel capacity in new vehicles, expected to cost about $100/vehicle, in order to give drivers their choice between gasoline, ethanol, methanol, and butanol.

Flex fuel is not a silver bullet. There will still be land use issues and food cost trade-offs. But those trade-offs should be made by a free market, not a manipulated market. Flex fuel mandates would accelerate the opening of these fuel markets to true competition.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

PA-5 - Money Can't Buy You Love

Or an election.

Just three weeks ago, Glenn Thompson had raised the least amount of money of all eight actively campaigning congressional candidates. Last night he won the nomination.

In a very tight race, the biggest spenders finished third, second, and fourth respectively. Shaner likely spent well over a million dollars himself, and the top three spenders probably spent over two million collectively. Thompson was outspent many, many times over. I look forward to seeing the final FEC numbers.

So to all the heavy handed free speech regulators who think the campaign finance system isn't fair and want to steal the public money to give to knucklehead candidates, well, score one for the good guys.

As an aside, the Democrats didn't end up nominating Cahir the Iraq Vet, but McCracken, who appears to be mildly retarded. Thompson should have no trouble clinching this in the fall.

Monday, April 21, 2008

PA-5 Final Call - Thompson

This is a tough one, mostly done by elimination.

I never liked Shaner. I am not convinced there is any "there" there. I can't be too impressed with his business prowess because the business was just handed to him. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with that, but it doesn't automatically qualify one for Congress. He's just managed not to screw it up since he's been doing it. I can't be impressed that he was a Hill staffer to Santorum because (a) I've known a few stupid Hill staffers, (b) Santorum blew up, and (c) Santorum was a big government conservative. I can't be impressed with how he ran his previous campaign for state house because he was a miserable failure despite practically unlimited funds. As far as his current campaign is concerned, his campaign ads have been extremely pretentious, filled with standard boilerplate Republican issues that aren't at all controversial in a Republican primary. And finally, there is his relatively recent drunk driving incident where he fled the scene and called the District Attorney while hiding out in his house.

I was inclined to vote for Walker until the recent criminal charges came out. As much as I would like to believe that Walker is the victim of a political smear, it is very likely that something unbecoming of a Congressman happened last August, and I am unwilling to take the chance of putting a potential felon against the Democrat in the general election. If Walker's accusations of political tomfoolery are correct then a few people need to go to jail for a long time. I just can't take that bet in an election though.

Stroehmann is the next biggest spender, but he thinks McCain-Feingold is basically OK, if perhaps subject to some tweaking. McCain-Feingold is one of my pet issues, and I take his acceptance of the current campaign finance regime to be deeply disturbing. His economic plan shows a great deal of thought and has some merit, but it is still essentially a command and control approach to economic development not compatible with economic libertarianism. And once again personal issues cloud a fifth district candidate, this time related to a messy divorce.

Stroehmann has a decent chance of winning, perhaps the best, but I want to do better than him.

Richardson speaks strongly about Constitutional issues and is correct on everything as far as I can tell. His legal background shows strongly. His biography indicates to me that he will not have any personal bombshells to come out. His only potential weakness is his emphasis on his evangelical faith. I'm OK with the fact that he's a Baptist minister, but doesn't that sort of speak for itself? Why does he need to stress that so much? It turns me off slightly, and I suspect that in an area that is not heavily Baptist, it will turn of some others as well. Overall though, he's a decent candidate and I wouldn't say anything bad about somebody who voted for him.

Thompson also seems to be a fundamentally good person. He has a long history of public service in various organizations. He also strikes me as a serious and generally intelligent person. The fact that he has a son with a Purple Heart gives him electoral credibility against the likely Democrat candidate Bill Cahir, who is himself an Iraq veteran. He's not as forceful as Richardson on Constitutional issues, but he is against the current campaign finance regime.

Media reports put polling in the pre-scandal race with Shaner and Walker leading, followed by Stroehmann, then everybody else. If my FEC analysis is any indication, all the candidates with finances below Stroehmann are pretty much equal weight in terms of viability. So really this ends up not helping at all.

I feel like this is a very imperfect analysis, but I'm going with Thompson. Generally speaking, I trust him. He's better than most, if not all of the other candidates, and he has the backing of outgoing Rep. John Peterson, which probably counts for something. I don't have any special love for Peterson, but I so have some abstract degree of trust in Peterson as a generally decent person.

Why is Shaner the CFG candidate?

Looking at this video of Matt Shaner, I wonder if the Club for Growth really knows what it's getting.

In the video, Shaner describes how he used his mad gub'mint skillz to convince some local officials to give his company a low-interest (i.e. subsidized) loan to develop some properties as a part of a "beautification" project.

That's right Keystone Staters, your tax dollars helped subsidize Matt Shaner.

Think he needed it?

Club for Growth, take note: This is exactly what is wrong with Pennsylvania's economy.

PA is littered with these worthless beautification and development projects. DCED is the state equivalent of the much maligned Congressional earmarks. Basically, the productive sectors of the state are taxed and a bunch of central planners decide how to waste that money throughout the state to make it look like the state is doing something to help. From what I've seen, very little actual thought is put into how these DCED funds are supposed to help local economies.

Additionally, every mention of Shaner's education says that he "attended" Penn State as a History major. Did he even graduate? I'm guessing not. Did he get his job with Sen. Santorum because his family is very wealthy?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

PA-5 Preliminary Analysis

I haven't decided which candidate I will be voting for.

The basic formula is "the most conservative candidate who has a chance of winning". There are two moving parts to his mechanism, who is conservative and who can win.

Exploring the idea of who can win, I've been poking around the FEC website to see how everybody's finances are. These graphics are based on reports from the end of March/beginning of April (about three weeks ago), and in some cases are mysteriously incomplete. Krupa seems not to have filed any financial paperwork, and several candidates do not have contributions broken down to the individual level as is required (Exarchos, Stroup, Thompson).

Total Dollar receipts, receipts of Individual contributions, and Total Disbursements:
PA05 Finances Summary

Total Dollar of Individual Contributions, all candidates:
PA05 Individual Contribs


Since Shaner and Walker seem to have so much personal baggage and dominate the financials, let's zoom in without them...

Total Receipts, Individual Contributions, and Disbursements, Ex-Shaner and Walker:
PA05 Finances ex Shaner and Walker

Seeing all of this, Stroehmann may be the beneficiary of a Shaner/Walker meltdown. After getting past Stroehmann, the other candidates look much the same. Even Thompson's weakness must have been mitigated by outgoing Rep. Peterson's endorsement.

I hope to post some policy analysis soon, along with my final decision.

Act Blue - an FEC reporting loophole?

Act Blue is a processor of campaign contributions to Democratic candidates. On their privacy page, they clearly assert their compliance with FEC reporting requirements:

Information Sent to Campaigns
When you contribute to candidates and committees on ActBlue, we are required to collect your name, postal address, occupation, and employer, and to send this information along with your donation. We also record this information alongside your contribution amounts and recipients in our reports to the FEC. Each candidate receiving your donations may also include this information in their FEC reports, and is required to do so if you contribute more than $200 to their campaign. FEC reports containing this information are publicly available from the FEC web site. ActBlue submits its FEC reports on a monthly basis; most campaigns submit their reports quarterly.


And yet, fec.gov does not show the identities of individuals who have contributed more than $200.

Photobucket

So is this the FEC's fault, or Act Blue's?

Friday, April 18, 2008

PA-5 - Walker Strikes Back

I just heard a Walker robo-call...

[Man's voice]: While Matt Shaner hid from police while driving drunk, he improperly contacted the District Attorney seeking help. Now more corruption! Shaner conspires behind closed doors to fix an election. Derek Walker is the victim of a smear!

The alleged victim supports Walker, saying:

[Woman's voice]: Anyone who would spread such blatantly false rumors four days before an election is clearly politically motivated. My family and I will be supporting Derek Walker.

[Walker's voice]: I'm Derek Walker and I approved this message.


Those are some pretty strong accusations against Shaner.

This is getting interesting!

PA-5 - Walker Multiple Felony Charges

Ouch.

flaming skull

When I said we had a bad batch of candidates I didn't even know the half of it.

Derek Walker has denied the charges, but he has some 'splainin' to do. Two felonies and four misdemeanors. Stalking and burglary.

Supposedly the ex-girlfriend has changed her tune, but the print edition of my local paper had not confirmed this as of this morning's edition. Clearly something went down last August.

Rival candidate Chris Exarchos expressed shock, and was quoted,"Four or five days before an election? This sort of smells to me."

Yes, it does.

So of the big-spending silver spoon crowd this leaves Shaner and Stroehmann, either of whom might walk away with the prize. I can't say I'm thrilled with either one, but of the two I'd probably pick Stroehmann despite chatter that he has his own personal problems.

I'll have to spend the weekend contemplating this, waiting to see if there are any new developments, and examining the other candidates.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lieberman is no Zell Miller

Sen. Joe Lieberman occupies a soft spot in the hearts of a lot of Republicans for his aggressive stance in the Global War on Terror, and specifically his support of the Iraq mission. This cross-party goodwill is the premise of reports by The Hill that Lieberman may address the Republican National Convention just as Democrat Senator Zell Miller did in 2004.

Senator Lieberman, you are no Zell Miller.

Quoth Dick Durbin in The Hill:
“We have one difference of opinion, maybe two with Sen. Lieberman,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a prominent supporter of Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) presidential candidacy. “As a whip, I can tell you time and again, he’s been there when we’ve needed him.”

Lieberman is a hawkish leftie. Zell Miller was a truly moderate-to-conservative Democrat, as one can tell from reading his book A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat, and quotes like, "Secular socialism, heavy taxes, big spending, weak defense, limitless lawsuits and heavy regulation — that pack of beagles hasn't caught a rabbit in the South or Midwest in years".

I appreciate Lieberman's support of the GWOT, and it does serve as a template for one's ability to divorce national security issues from the typical partisan spectrum of domestic issues. But on those domestic issues Lieberman is the polar opposite from what the Republican base is looking for. Lieberman is not able to make the case as Zell Miller could on the difference between moderate liberalism and progressive totalitarianism embraced by both Obama and Clinton.

The other important issue is that McCain may have a bigger problem nailing down the right wing of the party rather than moderates and independents. Lieberman does not help the perception that McCain is willing to sell his partisans down the river for a little bit of media support and attention as a "maverick".

And just what is Lieberman selling to the public audience? An unpopular war. He'd better give a damned good speech or he'll do more harm than good.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Walker goes Negative in PA-5

Today I received in the mail two mailers from Derek Walker. One was an endorsement from former State Senator J. Doyle Corman (father of the current State Senator Jake Corman).

The second mailer went negative against Matt Shaner, which in addition to telling us about Shaner's drunk driving shenanigans, states that Shaner "pled guilty 10 times to breaking the law", and showing us images of court dockets from Magisterial District Judges (the lowest courts in PA). No mention is made of what these guilty pleas were for, but some docket numbers are visible.

I was never inclined to vote for Shaner, and I was curious to see who would be the first to go negative.

(A citizen "going negative" on Shaner. Mild content warning.)

The endorsement from old man Corman may blunt what support Shaner might have had in Shaner's native Centre County, since Corman represented and lived (lives?) in Centre County. If anybody is to beat Shaner, he must probably be from outside Centre County, and there is a chance Walker might be the one to do it.

Unfortunately I fall short of a full endorsement of Walker since I did not see him perform at the recent candidate forum I attended, but at this point he is the person I am inclined to vote for.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Guns and Hunting

The Obama "bitter gun owner" controversy has opened some discussion about guns and hunting. Guns and hunting are not the same issue. Democrats seem to think that guns are just about people's ability to kill furry animals in keeping with their simplistic Neanderthal traditions, which is OK as long as it doesn't threaten their efforts to impose socialism on America. And as much as I support people's right to hunt, hunting is not the primary justification for gun rights.

Amendment II, US Constitution
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Pennsylvania Constitution, Section 21
Right to Bear Arms
The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

Freedom and the defense of one's self and the State. Those are the reasons we need an armed citizenry. Guns are the final "check and balance" against the tyranny of the state.

The Olympic Question

President Bush is under some pressure to avoid the opening ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics to protest China's human rights record, particularly the oppression of the Tibetan people and culture.

I think Bush is pretty well committed to attending the ceremony, barring some particularly egregious incident. Bush does need to have some subtle way of showing his disapproval of China's human rights abuses, but Tibet is not necessarily the issue. The Chinese are especially sensitive to territorial issues, particularly Tibet and Taiwan.

I propose that Bush avoid the Tibet issue, but show his moxie by wearing a Team Darfur wristband.

It will soften the criticism of the activist crowd without touching the raw nerve of territorial issues.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Obama's Jedi Mind Trick wearing thin

The biggest consequence of the "bitter gun lover" controversy is that Barack Obama's capacity for the Jedi Mind Trick (aka Reality Distortion Field) has been damaged.

As with the Rev. Wright dust-up, Republicans are infuriated, but this time Hillary Clinton is taking a swipe too. She didn't want to have the race-and-gender conversation, but she'll sure as heck take on cultural issues. If it pans out for her, she even gets partially inoculated against some of these issues come November.

Finally, here is what I hope to be my last word on parsing Obama's statement. The most generous interpretation of his remarks includes the idea that small town people are being exploited as single issue voters against their better economic interests, a la Howard Dean's "Guns, God and Gays" statement. Leaving aside what might be in anybody's economic interest, this interpretation still includes a diminution, if not quite an absolute dismissal, of the aforementioned single issues. Obama fails to recognize that the Democratic party's policies are hostile to the culture, freedoms, and rights of gun owners, the faithful, and those who want existing immigration laws enforced. The Democrats just can't understand why any issue would take primacy over the furtherance of the Great Society. This misunderstanding has been and shall continue to be their greatest weakness.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Obama on small town PA

How dare we hold dear our freedoms and rule of law!

This is so mind-numbingly stupid I'm not sure what BHO's point was:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them...And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
As Politico says, "That's a pretty broad list of things to explain with job loss."

Clinging to ... our FREEDOM. Our Second Amendment freedom. Our First Amendment freedom.

Our right to have the government enforce its own laws, enacted by our democratically elected representatives. What evidence do you have that the same people you just called hospitable and friendly are racists? Might our problems with illegal immigration have something to do with, oh, say, the millions of illegal low wage workers who have seriously impacted the labor market yet disproportionately drain local public-service resources?

Economic freedom. And on the trade thing, ... eh... weren't you banging that drum yourself, Senator Obama? Mister "I hate NAFTA more than you do".

So I ask, What is your point, sir?

Furthermore, what part of your socialist agenda "helps" beleaguered regions improve their lot, so we can do away with our love of freedom and law?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bill Clinton's economy vs Bush's

As if we couldn't have seen this coming a mile away...

The economy: 1996 -vs 2008 at NRO's Corner.

Funny, that.

A Wiki world

Heh. If only somebody would do this at all political speeches.

http://xkcd.com/285/

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

PA-5 : Crappy Choices, Weak Party

I just attended a local candidate forum of Congressional candidates for the PA-5 district. Five of the nine Republican candidates appeared long enough for me to dislike them (Shaner, Richardson, Exarchos, Thompson, Stroehmann), and Walker showed up at the very end so I didn't get a good read. I ended up disliking Richardson a little less than the others, though my spidey sense tells me he's a long shot. As best I could tell Richardson was the only one who even mentioned the words "smaller government" and "Constitution", though he did lose style points for having his little pocket Constitution as a prop.

Frankly, if either Benninghoff or Corman would have run it would have been an easy choice. Either one of those two would have been better prepared to stand up to the Democrats than any of the guys I saw on stage tonight.

But the Party is in shambles; it couldn't produce a good candidate; it couldn't even produce a consensus candidate that people could learn to live with.

If we nominate a real chump, as I expect we will, he may have a hard time if the Democrats nominate Iraq war vet Bill Cahir, who appears to be less blatantly socialist than his primary competitors.

Yes Virginia, there is a plausible scenario where the Republicans lose one of the most solidly conservative districts in the entire nation, PA-5.

Also, sadly, I saw an unchallenged State Rep on stage who voted for the pay-raise, took the unconstitutional "expense" money (eventually paid it back), indignantly defended the pay-raise vote, and voted for the king pay-jacker John Perzel as Speaker when the Assembly reorganized after the election. Totally unopposed. Pathetic.

Dems on Trade: 16 months? What's the rush?

CQ reports that the Colombia Free Trade agreement was negotiated 16 months ago, yet Speaker Pelosi wants to change the House procedures to delay (for an unspecified time) a vote on the issue. Under standing procedure the House has 90 Legislative days from Bush's recent submission of the legislation to hold a vote.

Pelosi: If brought to the floor immediately, it would lose, and what message would that send?

"Immediately"... 90 "legislative" days... practically the same thing.

Assuming Pelosi made her minions work four days a week (which they don't) without any weeks off (which they won't), 90 legislative days is about five and a half months.

So to those who say "I think it’s implausible that the next administration is going to try to renegotiate NAFTA," -- I say hogwash! In this Colombia deal, Democrats have chosen the epitome of a no-brainer trade agreement to flex their cred with the Big Union vote, who frankly have absolutely nothing to fear from the Colombia deal since the status quo is so one-sided against US producers.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

No to Veep Condi

Condoleeza Rice is an extremely intelligent woman with an impressive academic background. This however, is not enough to qualify her for Vice President.

Condi's academic expertise was supposed to be Sovietology, the now seemingly antiquated field concentrated on the ins-and-outs of the USSR, including all the ridiculous political gibberish and maneuvering that went on in high political circles. At the time of Rice's appointment to NSA, the promotional photos showed a Dr. Rice engrossed in a Russian newspaper, thereby demonstrating her mastery of the Russian language.

She had one frakking skill, and look how well things have turned out with the very Soviet-reminiscent Putin. How's our favorite Kremlinologist been doing?

Not so well.

This is to say nothing, of course, about all the baggage she carries from the Bush administration.

What the heck are people thinking putting Condi on the Veep list?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

House Dems still closed minded on Petraeus

VOA reports that House Democrats "don't intend to accept a picture that candy coats (minimizes) the military, political or reconciliation situation."

In other words, they already know everything there is to know, and if Petraeus strays from their script he will be branded a liar.

Nancy Pelosi:
"We have to know the real ground truths of what is happening there, not put a shine on events because of a resolution [of the situation in Basra] that looks less violent when it has in fact been dictated by someone [Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada] al-Sadr who can grant or withhold that call for violence or not," said Nancy Pelosi.

Or... Sadr may or may not have much control over insurgents, and to the extent that he may have power perhaps he felt... um.. DEFEATED?

Howard Berman, Chairman of House Foreign Affairs:
"The purpose of the [U.S. military] surge was to create political space for Iraqis to make meaningful strides toward national reconciliation, but sectarianism sadly remains the dominant force in Iraq and the sacrifices involved in getting us to this point don't seem to have put us much closer to the goal."
This is just factually wrong. There have been many meaningful movements towards reconciliation. Democrats are complaining that we haven't put the thousand piece jigsaw puzzle back together yet, even if you can see the some of the dogs playing poker.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

McCain's Socratic Epistemology

John McCain:
"I don't know much about economics."

Socrates:
"I am wiser than this man; it is likely that neither of us knows anything worthwhile, but he thinks he knows something when he does not, whereas when I do not know, neither do I think I know; so I am likely to be wiser than he to this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know."
(Plato's Apology 21d, trans. Grube)

and for good measure...

Ronald Reagan:
"It’s not that liberals are ignorant. It just that so much of what they know isn’t true."

Droppin' some knowledge on all you Commie suckas.