February 24, 2005
As someone who generally considers himself a Conservative, I take exception with Pat's take on many issues, but especially on foreign policy. As he explains in his most recent article:
Now granted 9/11 changed the perspective of most Americans because it forced us to deal with the reality that we are not safe from those that wish us harm. But the idea that these threats would have gone away if we had simply folded our tents, recalled our ambassadors to the countries in the Middle East and severed all relations with Israel is preposterous. This view is very much like the one harbored by those on the Left. I've got news for Pat, that's not Conservatism, that's Isolationism. And an isolationist policy leaves our future security to the whims of other nations.
"Who and what converted a president who came to office with no knowledge of the world to the idea that only a global crusade for democracy could keep us secure? Answer: 9/11 and the neoconservatives.
In his inaugural address, Mr. Bush calls 9/11 the day "when freedom came under attack." This is sophomoric. Osama did not send fanatics to ram planes into the World Trade Center because he hates the Bill of Rights. He sent the terrorists here because he hates our presence and policies in the Middle East. He did it for the same reason FLN rebels blew up cafes in Paris and Hamas suicide bombers blow up pizza parlors in Jerusalem."
The attacks on the West in general and America in particular are aimed at one thing: to stem the influence of free societies on the fear societies of the Middle East and prevent it from encroaching on the iron grip of Wahhabi Islam over the people of that region. Do our past and current policies, including our actions in the War on Terror, intensify this aim? Absolutely. But guess what? It's there if we do nothing, too. And if we do nothing, then the power of terrorism to achieve this aim is guaranteed.
Buchanan derides the influence of the dreaded "neoconservatives" - who he calls the "anti-conservatives." And he brushes aside the premise of Natan Sharansky's Case For Democracy that human beings by nature will choose freedom over tyranny despite the evidence of his own eyes when 60% of registered Iraqi voters face threats of death to exercise their right to cast a ballot in a free election. And one cannot help detect an underlying sense of anti-Semitism as he uses the term "neocon" to refer directly to the group of foreign policy advisors in the Bush administration who all happen to be Jewish. Buchanan seems to insinuate that the President is being manipulated by Israel through its sinister agents in the Defense Department and on the National Security Council.
Buchanan fails to acknowledge that philosophies change with the times. The same strain of "America First" that drove Charles Lindbergh to publicly campaign against the U.S. getting involved in "Europe's War" in the late 1930's is even less of a realistic option today. In the 21st Century, U.S. interests and global interests are more intertwined than ever. And the United States has an opportunity to help those who live under tyranny to achieve the kind of freedom that we as Americans take for granted. This, in turn, makes the world a safer place.
Sorry Pat, but with Conservatives like you, we don't need Liberals.
February 23, 2005
Six million European jews were unavailable for comment.
Ignoring snow and freezing temperatures, the demonstrators held banners chastising Bush in English with slogans such as: "You can bomb the world to pieces but not into peace." Many had pre-printed posters reading: "Bush, No. 1 Terrorist."
Before the march, which Mainz police said was one of the largest ever in the city of about 300,000, one speaker told the crowd: "Mr. Bush, please leave our country. You started an illegal war against Iraq."
Deroy Murdoch destroys this myth in this NRO piece "Grand Old Party" by reviewing the facts of history. Too grand a list to parse, I highly recommend reading the entire column.
Now I heartily believe that Democrats face three basic problems with voters of Hispanic heritage:
- Strike one: members of this community are, by and large, socially conservative
- Strike two: they believe that they have a chance at achieving the American dream through hard work and sacrifice and are less subject to the victim mentality pushed by the Democrat party
- Strike three: once Hispanic voters establish a voting pattern, they tend to be extremely loyal to that affiliation
Mellman discusses the gradual erosion of the percentage of Latino voters supporting the Democrats in favor of the GOP over the last four years:
"Shortly after the election, I wrote here that for too long Democrats had considered Latinos part of the base, failing to acknowledge changes and contradictions in their political views. For example, we found in 2002 that while Latinos identified as Democrats, unlike other partisans, they bore relatively little ill will toward Republicans a dangerous situation for us...
...While polls still differ on the precise level of Kerrys Latino support, they all converge on a decline of four to seven points compared to 2000. Over a longer period, the declines are even steeper. Dukakis garnered 65-69 percent of the Latino vote, a far cry from Kerrys 57 percent."
Heres a hint to the Democrats: youre not going to reverse this trend by lurching left. Mellman's final statement should give the Democrats food for thought:
"Recapturing the enthusiasm of the Hispanic community is a central task for Democrats. To be successful, we must first admit we have a problem and locate it with precision. Only then will we be able to develop the strategies and tactics to stanch the losses."
February 22, 2005
I'm so upset that the latest fad in Belgium is to put these stickers on public urinals, so they can pee on the likeness of my President.
Oh dear, oh dear. How Humiliating. And I do so desperately want their approval too...NOT!
And imagine my surprise to find out that some of these French-lite, chocolate-eating, socialist, girlie-men actually STAND-UP to pee!
photo via the Weekly Standard.
But the Constitution says that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech, it does not say that those who exercise it are immune from other considerations namely economic or social ones. The reality is that if you say something unpopular or controversial, there may be repercussions that have nothing to do with your Constitutional rights.
For example, theres no law saying that I cant express whatever particular views I have at work. However, as an employee, I have a responsibility to not put the employer in a bad light. If I advocate clubbing baby seals for sport or mandatory euthanasia at age 65 (neither of which I condone, please understand), Ill be fired in a heartbeat. And I have no recourse because my employer expressly prohibits this type of activity at work. They have a business to run and dont need the bad publicity.
So whats the difference if a celebrity speaks out against the current administration or if a professor makes outrageous charges against the government? There is none. If I choose not see the films of an outspoken actor whose views annoy me, thats my right. And if enough people exercise that right and the actor becomes box-office poison, filmmakers have a right not to hire them.
When the Dixie Chicks criticize the President while on foreign soil, the have to assume that the core of their fans country music lovers will turn on them. The Chicks bread is buttered by the most patriotic people in the nation. So if those same fans decide to boycott their shows and dispose of their CDs welcome to the free market. Its all about choice, folks.
I refer to Ann Coulters latest about Ward Churchill, about whom Ive posted in the past here. His employer, the University of Colorado fired him for the comments he was published and pushed in his classroom. She makes a good point about academic tenure:
Tenure was supposed to create an atmosphere of open debate and inquiry, but instead has created havens for talentless cowards who want to be insulated from life. Rather than fostering a climate of open inquiry, college campuses have become fascist colonies of anti-American hate speech, hypersensitivity, speech codes, banned words, and prohibited scientific inquiry.And lest we forget that, ultimately, Churchills employer is accountable to the Colorado taxpayers.
Even liberals don't try to defend Churchill on grounds that he is Galileo pursuing an abstract search for the truth. They simply invoke "free speech," like a deus ex machina to end all discussion. Like the words "diverse" and "tolerance," "free speech" means nothing but: "Shut up, we win." It's free speech (for liberals), diversity (of liberals), and tolerance (toward liberals).
Even accepting the modern notion that the First Amendment applies to state governments, the Supreme Court has distinguished between the government as sovereign and the government as employer. The government is extremely limited in its ability to regulate the speech of private citizens, but not so limited in regulating the speech of its own employees.And its usually those Liberals who scream about free speech that show up to heckle and shout down Conservative speakers, like Coulter, and go so far as to throw pies at her. In the marketplace of ideas, Liberals often lose in the minds and hearts of the American people. Which is why for them free speech only applies as long as it isnt in conflict with their ideas. And that my friends, is why the Left despises such outlets as cable news, talk radio and the Internet. Because they cant shut them up.
So the First Amendment and "free speech" are really red herrings when it comes to whether Ward Churchill can be fired. Even state universities will not run afoul of the Constitution for firing a professor who is incapable of doing his job because he is a lunatic, an incompetent, or an idiot -- and those determinations would obviously turn on the professor's "speech."
The American Spectator runs down the list of moderate Democrats who make up the Concord Coalition and their criticisms aimed at the Democrat party's unwillingness to even accept that there is a problem with Social Security. Funny, but I've never heard of these guys, have you? As William Tucker points out in the article:
The mainstream media constantly celebrate the maverick stances of the Senate's three "moderate Republicans" -- John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins, of Maine and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. Yet no one ever asks what happened to the moderate Democrats? The answer is, they are now in exile, completely read out of a party that has Howard Dean as its national chairman and "Hell No, We Won't Go" as its solution to Social Security.
Apparently, being banished from the Democrat reservation is enough to keep "responsible" journalists away from talking to you.
Hunter S. Thompson was a rebel to be sure. But just because he liked to shoot his guns while wearing his bathrobe doesn't mean he wasn't a lefty. Why do think journalists loved the guy? Why do you think Johnny Depp played him in the movie version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Why do you think he was Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner's buddy?
Look, Thompson may have been a cutting-edge writer but he was a basically not much more than a old hippie who took a lot of drugs and idolized Jack Kerouac.
Stephanie Mansfield interviewed several folks who knew the real Thompson for her article in the Washington Times today:
"He was depressed about the state of society," said Loren Jenkins, foreign editor for National Public Radio in Washington. A vehement opponent of President Bush, Mr. Thompson, 67, "was feeling maudlin about the current conservatism sweeping the country," Mr. Jenkins said. "He felt he'd had a long run, trying to create a freer society in the '60s and '70s and he felt it had all been closed down."
Another Bush hater so consumed by his misery over the last election, he pretends he's Ernest Hemingway and takes a bullet to the head. And why is the guy so famous? Well, basically because he was a whack-job:
Known to magazine editors as a prima donna who turned in outlandish expense accounts and demanded high fees, he nevertheless earned respect for his entertaining rants. Mr. Jenkins said Rolling Stone once sent Mr. Thompson on assignment to Vietnam. Rather than cover the war, he spent his entire stay in a Saigon bar getting drunk and arguing on the telephone with editor Jann Wenner, who had canceled the writer's health insurance.
We should all be sad when someone takes their own life in a fit of desperation, but let's look at the whole picture of the man's life before we go and award him a post-humous pulitzer, shall we?
UPDATE: 1:55 pm
A blurb at the end of Stephen Schwartz's Weekly Standard column on Thompson really adds a nice coda here:
One must imagine that in his own middle '60s Hunter Thompson looked into the mirror and saw that nobody needed a gonzo interpretation of the world after September 11, that nobody was amused by his capacity to survive fatal doses of sinister concoctions, and that, increasingly, nobody knew or cared who he was.
February 21, 2005
The GOP wasn't around back then, but if old George were alive today, he'd definitely be a Republican. How do I know this? Simple.
1. He was for a strong, pro-active, national defense
2. He hated the French
3. He certainly was NO liberal pansy.
And I can barely read what I'm typing because my four-year-old son has been smudging the screen again with his grubby little mitts.
Anyway, as a NY Mets fan, I wasn't all that into the last World Series. I did however think it quite sweet that just at the moment all seemed lost for the Red Sox in the ACLS and the Yankees had their foot on Boston's neck...bam, the kids come back and defy history by beating them winning four games straight - after being down three games. For me it was more of the Yanks getting clobbered by their hated rivals that made it a moment to remember. Yankee fans, normally a rather arrogant lot, were humbled beyond recognition for days afterwards.
But even I didn't think that the Sox had it in them to go all the way. So they did, good for them. I've never seen anything like the glee and relief that has hit this region since October. You can't go anywhere in New England these days and NOT see Red Sox paraphenalia everywhere you look. This part of the country really is Red Sox Nation.
But as I drove home from points North on Saturday, I happened upon some Boston area sports radio station and the two jamokes on the air where arguing - get this - whether or not the team should have it's World Series ring celebration just before their home opener with Yankees in April. One of these guys was actually trying to make the case that Red Sox should NOT rub their World Series Victory - the first one in 86 years - in the faces of a team whose slogan in the ACLS was "Who's You're Daddy?"
I think the public should call on the radio station to fire this idiot. Yankee fans have tortured Red Sox fans like a red-headed stepchild for almost a century. Twenty-Six World Series Championships IN.THEIR.FACE! Over and over. It's excruciating to watch these poor saps have to take it year after year. And now, they have a chance to shove it right back in their faces and this guy says "Now wait a minute, maybe we shouldn't get greedy here." WHAT!?!?!
Hey Sox fans - get GREEDY. Get VERY GREEDY. Hang Babe Ruth in effigy if you like. You gotta do it because you know damn well that if the situation was reversed, Yankee fans would do the exact same thing. And there isn't one Yankee fan out there who can honestly say that's not true. Face it guys, they won. Now take your medicine and move on.
The day Yankee fans hoped that they would NEVER live to see - the Sox winning the Series and going through their team to do it - has finally happened.
Shadenfreude is a German word that means taking pleasure in the misery of others. It's time for the Red Sox Nation to enjoy this period of Shadenfreude and milk it for all that it's worth.
February 20, 2005
Need one good reason to watch? Here ya go:
In 1992, he created "Picket Fences", which was one of those shows that doesnt get phenomenal ratings but attracts a loyal audience and receives critical acclaim. What I like about the show is that it was set in a fictional small town in Wisconsin and every week there was some sort of criminal case of lawsuit that focused on a controversial issue. Now regardless of where you stood - or thought you stood - on that particular issue, Kelly had a knack for allowing both sides to be presented clearly and cogently so the average lay person could understand it. Whether the issue was the death penalty, euthanasia, abortion or some kind of civil liberties conundrum, Kellys characters argued both ends forcefully and quite convincingly. Frankly, he was fair even if the ultimate result was the one that he wanted. It was a very thought-provoking and enjoyable show.
Unfortunately, what happens to most David E. Kelly TV shows happened here. It got weird. Whether he ran out of ideas or the character development reached a plateau, Im not really sure. But all of a sudden the characters started to do things that were, well, totally out of character. Not only did the story lines get more improbable, but they seemed to go off on tangents totally unrelated to the core premise of the show. The same thing happened to "Chicago Hope", "Ally McBeal" and "Boston Public" .
Another show that I enjoyed was "The Practice" which was about a small, close-knit firm of lawyers who handled mostly the defense side and had to cope with the fact that their work was noble while knowing that an occasional client really was guilty, and would get off thanks to them. Pretty good premise. But again the characters got weird. For example, one of the partners, Lindsay Dole (also wife to the senior partner Bobby Donnell) was being stalked and she ended up shooting the creep point blank at a moment when he was actually unarmed. Any jury would view this as a "vengeance" slaying so in her defense they tried to argue "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" despite the fact that the audience knew full well that Lindseys state of mind was normal. In fact her state of mind seemed to have more to do with her marriage which was falling apart and her inability to juggle motherhood and career.
Ratings began to slide, and the cases got so bizarre and clients were so blatantly guilty that you actually found yourself rooting for the Prosecution most of the time. One particular show that really ticked me off was when this guy comes to one of the attorneys - Lindsay again - and says hes done something "awful". He says he inadvertently strangled a young girl and her body was hold up in an abandoned building. Lindsay makes the guy take her there and, sure enough, there is a thirteen year old girl dead from strangulation lying in a bed. So what does she do? Nothing. The show was about attorney-client privilege. Too make it worse, somehow the police get wind that Lindsey knows where the body is and they implore her to tell them the location - even just a general direction. They have no idea at this point who her client is, they just want to find the body for the parents. Nope, attorney-client. The parents BEG her to tell just so they can bury their daughter. They already know shes dead at this point but they desperately want to find her body. Nope, sorry. Attorney-client, you know. Too important. A judge even throws Lindsay in the slammer until shell talk. But she wont.
Now, Im sorry I certainly understand the importance of the attorney-client relationship but this is absolutely ridiculous. Does this woman have NO soul? Clearly the show no longer did and it was reflected in the continual downward spiral of ratings. It was bleeding out like an ebola victim. Kelly was desperate to save the show. He cut most of the major characters including the lead, Bobby Donnell. At this point in the show, Donnell apparently is going through some crisis of soul-searching, his marriage is in the sh*tter and he decides to "bug-out" of the firm. Now David E. Kelly is an artist and a Hollywood Liberal bitter over the 2000 and 2002 elections (he is also married to Michelle Pfeiffer). Im sure at this point in the show he was as whacked out as his character Bobby Donnell, pacing around the room, unshaven, talking to himself. Hes probably wondering why the stupid audience isn't watching his show any more. Hes probably is also beside himself that George W. Bush is President and he thinks hes living is some fascist State.
So he makes one more attempt to save the show. Renaming the show "Boston Legal", Kelly keeps one character named Alan Shore, played by James Spader, and spins him off to another law firm whose senior partner is played by William Shatner. OK, he seemed to be onto something. Spader and Shatner are terrific with their characters. I think this is some of Shatners finest acting since...well, maybe ever. (Love ya Bill, but sorry youre no thespian). So whats the problem? Well, now David E. Kelly the creator of enjoyable and thought-provoking television has been taken over by David E. Kelly, frustrated liberal. It seems he just cant resist using the show to take gratuitous shots at George W. Bush and his administration.
Last night, I watched a tape of the most recent show and it had two cases being tried. Both were interesting but they also included some unsolicited preaching on behalf of Kelly. He always manages to hook you into the story and then sucker-punch you. Now Alan Shore is in a bar with his honey (as associate of the firm played by Rhona Mitra) and some big guy starts hitting on her. Shore steps in and acts cocky to the guy who proceeds to smash him in the face. So Shore goes over to another bar patron and pays him $300 to go punch the big guy, and he accepts. Soon the big guys buddies get involved so Shore pays an additional $100 to other bar patrons to go to his guys defense. A full-blown brawl ensues. Where am I going with this? Stick with me here.
Shore is arrested for inciting violence and at trial he is defending himself. In his closing statement tries to connect with the jury. Now here it comes. He says his first instinct - which is primordial - was to hit back but he was afraid, so he payed the first guy to fight for him and things got unintentionally out of control. Then, with a voice and countenance full of emotion, he goes on and on about how awful it is that some people are driven to anger and puff up their chests and send other people to do their fighting for them in a fight that was totally unnecessary. You see the point?
Basically, Shore being on the receiving end of a cheap shot to the face was the result of his arrogance - like U.S. foreign policy - and he essentially "asked for it". Then he goes off and continues to act cocky, paying people to do his fighting for him while he stands on the sidelines while what he should have done was to have just walked away. This is exactly the way the moonbat left sees Americas War on Terror. They just.dont.get it. As for the other case, it was this big brouhaha where witnesses testified to a big conspiracy theory that the Beef lobby is in bed with the U.S.D.A. and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to cover up incidences of potential "Mad-Cow Disease" in the U.S. I kid you not. And even the witnesses had to admit that they have no proof. They actually cite Bush Administration officials - though not by name - as being corrupted by the Beef industry. This is the kind of black-helicopter sighting, tin-foil hat wearing kind of stuff you run across at the "DU"mmy website (Democratic Underground). Can you see why this is frustrating? Kelly takes an otherwise good show and uses it as a vehicle to lash out in the face of his partys political impotence.
Kelly writes Shatners character, an eccentric legal eagle who goes around saying his name - Denny Crane - as a conservative Republican. But in this respect, Crane comes off as a caricature at best. The reason is that Kelly doesnt know how to write a conservative character. He doesnt know any conservatives, so he relies on all the sterotypes he has buried in his left-wing psyche. There are countless other examples of this kind of crap, but Ill only mention one other. A Somalian man living in American wants to sue the U.S. government for doing nothing to stop the genocide of the people of his native country. You see where this is going, dont you. Of course, America claims it wants to "liberate" Iraq and ignores Somalia because theres no oil there. They actually argued that in court. Cmon. Are they serious? Again, they just.dont.get it.
I have no idea what the future holds for "Boston Legal" but unless "Desperate Housewives" is a strong enough lead in for it, I dont know if it will go beyond this season. I keep watching because my wife likes the show and I DO like the characters. But if it dies, it dies. I notice that Kelly has a new show in production for the fall called "The Law Firm". Very original. I know right now, however, that I wont be watching.
Will try to post on occasion today - in between fever convulsions.
BTW, I think it's cool when my wife where's my bathrobe, but it really pisses me off when she leaves a whole bunch of used tissues in the pockets. Grrrrr.
February 18, 2005
Some time later, a couple of other families dive in and a bunch of the little kids start to go into the whirlpool. My son - clever little chap - goes over to them to warn them of the dangers of germy whirlpools. He tells them, "Remember. A fungi is NOT a fun guy." I have no idea where he heard this - probably on "SpongeBob" or something. All of the adults got a real kick out of that.
Well, need to get back before I'm missed. Be back at the home base by tomorrow night...
February 17, 2005
Consider this an opportunity to check out all the old posts from the last two weeks or so.
Peace (through strength).
Mrs. Gandalf is home with three boys between the ages of 1 and 8. God bless her. She's got the hardest job in the world and often harbors doubts about herself that she's somehow not as good as some of these high-powered miracle moms.
As far as I'm concerned, she's the best. And my sons are all the better for dedication.
Hat Tip: Instapundit
And I didn't even bring up Carter's pathetic record on the military during his Presidency.
Today's column is about the many reasons why the blogosphere so infuriates the Main Stream Media these days.
I won't bother posting excerpts as I think it really needs to read in its entirety.
I'm sorry, but this thing looks like a bunch of Hari Krishnas hung their robes up to dry. I guess you need to be a chardonnay-sipping, Upper West Side Liberal to appreciate this one.
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