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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bush SOTU Address Success

I think Bush did a great job in State of the Union address. He has laid the groundwork for months of work at the Capitol and for the 2006 campaign. As I said in my earlier post, if the 2006 electorate is concerned about Hamas, Iran, Iraq, Al Queda or any other foreign policy menace, we win. There is no doubt that foreign policy will be a top issue for voters. Bush will be great at leading the GOP to victory.

Blogger festivus said...

I agree. Generally a good speech. I would have liked to have seen him be more strong on the Congressional lobbying scandal, but at the same time I was honestly surprised he went as far as he did.

I don't think he went far enough on energy independence. I'm almost always against increased government spending, prefering real cuts to 'cuts in the rate of growth', but I see our energy needs as one of the top few national security issues. I'd like to have seen him proposed a "Manhattan Project" sized program to solve this problem. Americans have shown what they can do when put to the task, and this is a task worth undertaking.

On a lighter note, I'm always dismayed by how few members of Congress know how to clap. I suspect there's not a lot of rhythm there.

10:23 PM, January 31, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I'm not so sure about a "Manhatten" project for energy. With the A Bomb, we knew that it was possible... we just needed to build enough machines to enrich enough Uranium. Have we even gotten to that point with Fuel cells?

Anyways, what would be do with all the oil if we stopped using it. It would just sit in the ground bubbling away.

11:50 PM, January 31, 2006  
Blogger festivus said...

I don't have any interest in stopping our use of oil. We'd still need it for many many things. I would, however, be very interested in dramatically cutting the amount that we use for the sole purpose of stopping the flow into many of those countries who wish to harm us. I think Dick Morris said it well last night prior to the President's speech - "This might be the first war in history where one side is funding the whole thing".

Sure, there will still be demand for oil, but I'd like to get to the point where the middle east's primary industry is supplying raw materials for glass.

8:34 AM, February 01, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Come on you guys, this is economics! We will successfully devlope other sources when it is cheaper to do so than to use current sources and not before. No company is going to spend billions to explore and exploit the likely oil reserves in Australia when they can get oil from the Middle East without major capital expenditure. No one is going to spend the money to really devlope alternative fuels and sources untill it is economically competitive to do so. End of story! And by the way, why not save our own reserve sources for last?

9:13 AM, February 02, 2006  
Blogger festivus said...

I could not agree with you more, which is why I'm an advocate of the government getting involved in this. Private industry won't do it until the economics work.

If you'll note, I didn't say anything about our reserves, although I do think we ought to do more drilling here. My interest is in becoming independent of the middle eastern countries, not doing it to save the world. National Security and sound (short/middle term) economic policies don't often go hand in hand.

4:15 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

True words, though as a CONSERVATIVE (non hyphenated) I doubt the ability of the Government to do it right or to stay out of it once the "defense need" is gone. As for our reserves, I meant all that we have within our borders, that we can control the recovery and use of. I don't think using up our own oil is in our security interest either long term, or short/middle term.

5:09 PM, February 03, 2006  

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Whoo-Hooo!

Blogger festivus said...

Elections matter.

7:31 PM, January 31, 2006  

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ALITO!


Confirmed as 110th Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

See the Roll Call here.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

Well, I like to think so. Some things do change, just not enough.

9:39 AM, February 03, 2006  

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Democrats Will Lose 2006 Election

I am not much of a spinner or prognosticator -- but you don't have to be to predict Democrats will not gain or lose seats in the U.S. House and Senate this year.

Why? The Rep. Murtha/Cindy Sheehan ant-war, withdraw-immediately political strategy has backfired for two reasons outside U.S. control:

(1) Iran's government has said it wants to destroy Israel and it wants the A-bomb to do it. A majority of Americans already support military action to take that threat away.

(2) Hamas won the Palestinian elections. They also want to destory Israel.

Add to this mix, Osama Bin Laden, Al Queda and other Islamo-Fascists and you've got a lot of anti-American and Anti-Israel sentiment out there. These people want to kill Americans and Israelis any way they can.

In my opinion, American people will vote with their minds and their top priority will be foreign policy-- particularly the war on terrorism. Americans will elect Republicans over Murtha/Sheehan Democrats. It's a no-brainer.

Republicans pick up seats in 2006 Senate and House elections.

Blogger ssc said...

RealClearPolitics post supporting my point:

The Independent Red Flag For Dems

The Los Angeles Times does not have a reputation for producing poll results that tend to favor President Bush. And indeed, their new poll does have plenty of bad news for the president, especially when you look at how self-described independents respond to various questions about his handling of a whole host of issues. Bush has clearly lost a decent amount of support from this group over time, and I don't think that comes as a surprise to anyone.

However, the most interesting results are found when you look at how these same self-described independents respond to questions about national security and about Congress. Here are a few examples:

> When asked who they "trust to do a better job of protecting the nation against terrorism" Independents favored Bush over Democrats in Congress by 19 points.

> When asked whether they agree with those seeking to reauthorize the Patriot Act, 55% of Independents said they agree with reauthorization, 42% said they disagree.

> When asked whether people "should be willing to give up some of their civil liberties so the government can keep the country safe from terrorism", 50% of Independents responded "yes" while 43% said "no."

> 54% of Independents think hearings should be held to investigate the NSA program, but only 41% think impeachment would be warranted if those investigations concluded the President broke the law (that number is 39% overall).

> Independents give Congress nearly as low of a job approval ratings as self-described Democrats do, 32% vs 30% respectively, but when asked about favorable and unfavorable ratings for the two parties, Independents give Congressional Democrats a only a 31% favorable rating (41% unfavorable) while they give Congressional Republicans a 38% favorable rating (34% unfavorable).

> When asked which party in Congress had "higher ethical standards," Independents gave both parties low marks (Republicans 8%, Democrats 5%) with 79% concluding there is "no difference" between the two. That was 11 points higher than overall.

To summarize, based on the results of this poll (and keep in mind it is only a single poll, though it does comport with other data we've seen recently) Independents aren't thrilled with President Bush and they don't have particularly warm feelings toward Republicans in Congress. However, they seem to have an even lower regard for Congressional Democrats and, even worse, they seem to continue to lack confidence in the Democratic party on matters of national security.

11:11 PM, January 30, 2006  

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Biden's Self-Described "Unwise" Vote to Filibuster

AP story reports today the following:

Sen. Joseph Biden (news, bio, voting record), D-Del., said he, too, would support the filibuster attempt but agreed that it was not particularly wise.

"I think a filibuster make sense when you have a prospect of actually succeeding," Biden said
on CNN's "Late Edition." "I will vote one time to say to continue the debate, but the truth of the matter" is that Alito will be confirmed, he said.

The Republicans have a lot of work to do to win this year's election -- but the Democrats are making the job a lot easier.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

At least this time Biden was able to utter nonsense using few words. Thank God for little blessings.

12:30 AM, January 30, 2006  

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Debate February 8

REPUBLICANS HAVE GROWN FAT

Christopher Phelan, Chairman
Marianne Stebbins Beck, Secretary
Larry Colson, Chief Whip
Roger Belfay, Chancellor

February 8, 2006
That which is won ill, will never wear well, for there is a curse attends it which will waste it. The same corrupt dispositions which incline men to sinful ways of getting, will incline them to the like sinful ways of spending. —M. Henry

ONCE UPON A TIME the Grand Old Party stood for something. As recently as the 1990’s, under the threat of President Bill Clinton and a Democrat-controlled Congress, Republicans were organized and spoilin’ for a fight. The GOP icon of Newt Gingrich gathered his lean troops together and orchestrated the Republican Takeover of 1994, complete with a platform of which candidates across the nation sang in accord --- a platform of smaller and more responsible government.

Flash forward a decade to today. The GOP rank and file, still seeking a smaller and more responsible government, is befuddled and discouraged with the unfulfilled promises of the elected leadership. Spending is spiraling out of control (at twice the rate as under Bill Clinton) with Republicans buying Bridges to Nowhere and enough other pork to shame a Democrat. Corruption has tainted the once saintly party, now fattened under years of victory.

ON THE OTHER HAND, under the leadership of George W. Bush, taxes have been cut, conservative judges have been nominated and confirmed, and the economy is growing at an encouragingly steady pace. There’s been chatter of Social Security privatization, overt discussion of a flat tax, or even of abolishment of the IRS altogether through a national sales tax. Looking back to the Presidency of Richard Nixon or the Senate leadership and candidacy of Bob Dole reminds us that we’ve come a long way, baby.

The chairman, nearly lean as a Pencil himself, has called for a debate to settle the question:

RESOLVED: Republicans Have Grown Fat.

The Debate will be held on Wednesday, February 8, 2004 at the University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, in Saint Paul. The Chancellor will preside over drinks beginning at seven o'clock p.m. The debate will begin at half past seven. While there is no dress code for attendance, gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies should adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen who arrive tieless yet wish to speak, fret not: the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand at least one of his quite remarkable ties for just such an eventuality. Questions about debate caucus procedures or about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (612) 204-5615 or the Secretary at (952) 470-8090.


www.johnadamssociety.org

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Congrats Festivus on being named Chief Whip.

11:51 PM, January 28, 2006  

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Pondering Hamas

The conventional wisdom is that the election of Hamas to power in Palestine will lead to an Islamic tyrannical state in Palestine. However, there are some simple issues that may cause problems with this. I have heard from several sources that Israel controls various utilities such as water and heat, which are supplied to the West bank. This means that any government needs to work with Israel regarding basic needs.

How then will Israel be able to provide such needs to a people who want to destroy Israel and have this as their policy. Therefore, Israel may need to demand that Hamas renounce the destruction of Israel as a policy both in words and action before providing services.

The Hamas election makes things very interesting and actually opens opportunities for settlement of the issue that did not exist before.

People are fickle, even in the arab world. This election may actually end up putting Hamas out of existence.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Neocons Place Noose on Israel's Neck

Shiites Tighten it.

While seldom perusing this website, having grown wearisome of the nattering nabobs of nescience who can only repeat out of date talking points long after the policy has shifted, without the nabobs realizing it, I do visit occasionally. True to their character, while continuing to defend a policy that even the administration has now shifted, these neocons can only address an argument by first creating a strawman.

Hence, you get the following from Sloanoaurus: "I don't think it bodes well for middle east peace. Further, it emboldens the critics of Democracy (i.e. Federal Farmer) who still pray for the reemergence of Sparta in the west." Curious, that. Having served in uniform (USMC - 0311 Infantryman, Army PsyOps Specialist, Army JAG Officer, 1st Gulf War veteran), unlike all of my Neocon friends who diligently avoid military service, I don't worship the God of War, nor do I believe all problems can be settled that way. In other words, I would fit into neither Sparta, nor Prussia. Needless to say to anyone who is not an ignoramous, however, I place national security of the United States as the mission of the United States military. That being said, it does not mean that marching off to occupy a foreign land is always a solution to every problem. In fact, the United States Army used to teach that there was a spectrum of conflict, relying on Clausewitz, ranging from 1 (politics, the natural competition between States) to 10 (war). In between was operations other than war, counter terrorism, counter insurgency, etc. Implicit in the theory was trying a minimal level of conflict, while yet prevailing, recognizing the tremendous cost and unpredictability of war.

For example. Germany had a problem with the communists in the 1930's. After a communist allegedly burned the Reichstag, the leader said they were at war, an enabling act was passed expanding the powers of the executive, dissent was suppressed so that no one could question the wisdom of the leader when he did what had to be done to meet the communist threat, and he was cheered enthusiasticly when he had the army march off to the east to finish off the communists. Who could question the wisdom of that? The army made it all the way to the outskirts of Moscow and for 50 years, eastern Europe was free of the communist menace (not). No doubt, Air Marshall Goering counseled the leader that the German Air Force would ensure victory (beware of various "Air Marshall's" advise). In fact, this foolish military adventure by a corporal resulted in the destruction of the political party that was crazy enough to have had the beliefs that they did, the occupation of the country that enabled this absurdity, and harmed the rest of the world by spawning the birth of the Soviet Union as a "Superpower."

Thankfully, the USSR couldn't sustain this. Although they maintained the occupationof a disheartened Europe for a number of years, while gradually losing its grip, it too felt a need to send troops off marching, to Afghanistan. As Brzeninski (I'm not going to look up the spelling) tells it, they were tricked into doing this, in part, by a strategic deception of the US. The USSR allowed no dissenting voices (no defeatism), and the US was able to watch with delight as they floundered about, bleeding themselves dry, and an end to their superpower status as they revealed to the world that there is more to occupation than just getting the troops in the country.

Having said all of that, Sloanoaurus is partially right; the victory of Hamas does embolden, not the enemies of democracy (referring to me, Federal Farmer), but the critics of messianic neocon democrat ideologues, with their utopian schemes. Now that the full import of what we have created in Iraq becomes apparent (Iranian allied Shiites in power, theocracy being established, billions of US dollars going to Iranian allied politician, etc.), even the US government is sobering up. In fact, even while fighting the Sunni insurgency, they're trying to use the Sunni insurgents as a counterweight to the Shiites, now that it is evident who is pulling the Shiite strings.

Consequently, Israeli strategic think tanks are now saying invading Iraq was a strategic disaster for Israel for expanding the influence of Iran, through Shiite proxies, as shown by Hamas' democratic victory, even while neocons are trying for regime change in Syria (counseled against by the Israelis), demanding that Syria control Hezbollah in Lebanon, even though they succeeded in getting Syria to withdraw from Lebanon a year ago, so they are incapable of restraining Hezbollah.

Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University, and the only non-American author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers, has writted that the Iraq war is "the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them. Considering that much justification for this adventure was based on the information that Chalabi, identified by the US Defense Intelligence Agency as an Iranian intelligence asset, provided us; it is credible to believe that the neocons facilitated an incredibly successful Iranian strategic deception campaign, with the US and Israel the primary victims, as our strength is diminished relative to other strategic competitors.

As I've said elsewhere, Going by the adage; By their fruits ye shall know them, I think it's time to consider that the neo-cons are an anti-semitic and anti-Christian, secret society, being directed by their hidden Iranian masters. With the triumph of Hamas in Palestine, this becoming evermore apparent.

Finally, in stating: "Perhaps MP George Galloway (ally of some members of JAS)," outdoes himself in revealing his intellectual limitations. As a leftist, Galloway is identical in thought to Christopher Hitchens, an unapoligetic marxist, except for the issue of Iraq. In both cases, however, their opinions arise from their marxist philosophy, although they drew different conclusions on this particular issue.

I am certainly an ally of Lt. Gen. (that 's Lieutenant General for you neocons who only serve vicariously) Odom, former commander of the NSA under President Reagan, who has said the Iraq war is a strategic disaster for the US, along with many other military officers. Let's hope China doesn't call in those IOUs, which we have given to pay for this war. Maybe we can defer payment on to our children. Of course, they're going to have to pay the costs of dealing with an incredibly stronger China and Iran, as a result of this strategic disaster.

Perhaps that is all too defeatist. Let's do Syria.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I have to say, of all the people I've known who've served in the military, Federal Farmer is the only one who consistently pulls the "I've served in the military and you didn't, nyah, nyah, nyah" business. Wait. Let me correct that. He's the only one I personally know who has EVER pulled that "argument."

For most people who've served, you have to drag out of them that they indeed did. Not that they're ashamed of their service. Quite the opposite. I believe they simply see it as a far too important thing to pull out as a debating trick.

It's non-serving leftists who usually pull out the "chicken hawk" card. Oh wait. And John Kerry.

11:58 PM, January 26, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

"...has writted that the Iraq war is "the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them..."

I blogged about this article some time ago. Don't you think that perhaps this comparison is perhaps a bit much... I mean lets get real. Anyone who proclaims such a comparison is a nut:

First, I reject the notion that the destruction of the Roman legions in the Tuetonberg was in fact a foolish war... Instead this loss was a tactical error made by the Roman general, Varus, who trusted too much in local guides to lead them through the forest where they were ambushed. This mistake has little to do with the strategic decision by Augustus to pacify the german tribes, a decision which was not foolish.

Second, if the ambush on Rome was a foolish mistake as you say, how could the war in Iraq compare to dozens of more obvious foolish mistakes in history. Are we to assume that Iraq was more foolish than the folly of the Somme or Stalingrad. Certainly, Iraq is not more foolish than Duke Reginald's hasty march into the desert with his Templar army to face Saladin, thus losing Jeruselam to the muslims. Or how about the French army at Agincourt or Potiers. Or Napoleons attack on Egypt... less foolish than Iraq?

I could go on, but I will spare the masses....

11:59 PM, January 26, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

"...an enabling act was passed expanding the powers of the executive, dissent was suppressed so that no one could question the wisdom of the leader when he did what had to be done to meet the communist threats....

This is indeed true. However, you left out the part about the Nazi thugs (who never received more than 40% of the vote), who were patiently waiting outside (as the enabling act was passed) in case someone decided to vote against it. Other facts are also left out such as the various political murders, riots by the Nazis, break down in civil society, etc...

Any implication that the current administration is somehow following along the same path as the Nazis is outrageous and is also just plain dumb.

12:09 AM, January 27, 2006  
Blogger Federal Farmer said...

Acknowledging that the current administration would never misuse any power at their disposal, being preoccupied with keeping spending down and winning the multigenerational war on terror, nevertheless, conservatives should question whether we wish to establish the principle of unlimited executive authority, in the event that some future president may use these powers to oppress and silence the "Vast Right-wing Conspiracy." as unlikely as it seems. Like the president says, people do get sick of corruption and "throw the bums out" on occasion. Look at 1994 and Fatah.

In regard to Harsh Pencil, the context of the statement was that I would not fit into Sparta, or Prussia, but not because I'm a pacifist. However, I am not the first to mention relevant experience or credentials when discussing a particular topic, no matter what the subject is. And, the mention of military experience is quite frequent in politics, whether it's John McCain, Chuck Hagel, or, yes, Lt. Gen. Odom. In fact, I can imagine individuals in other fields, such as economics, ensure that their audience is aware of what the speaker would consider relevant background, such as having a Ph.D.

In that Neocons routinely engage in character assasination of anyone who disagrees with them, or declares them unpatriotic, its not unseemly to imply military service is incosistent with lack of patriotism.

As far as disagreeing about a particular policy by military members, the Army War College and the Command and General Staff College have put out some reports very critical of how the war on terrorism has been fought, including the belief in the democratization of the mideast.

We do seem to be accomplishing driving all of the oil producing countries into the orbit of China however. If that is strategic thinking, explain to me who it benefits.

1:27 PM, January 28, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

"...conservatives should question whether we wish to establish the principle of unlimited executive authority...."

I agree with Federal Farmer here. Although I am not as alarmed by the Farmer regarding recent activities of the current administration, I think it is helpful that people bring up the possible dangers of an overeaching executive (or Congress or Courts). The fact that it is brought up keeps people thinking about it and therefore it tends to moderate peoples behavior...which is a good thing.

"....the Army War College and the Command and General Staff College have put out some reports very critical of how the war on terrorism has been fought, including the belief in the democratization of the mideast....."

While this may be true, it is also true of every war. In fact people still disagree over tactical and strategic decisions for World War II. For example, there is constant debate whether Montey's delay at Caen enabled Patton's rapid breakthrough by chewing up German armor, or hindered the allies because of delay. Another example is the policy of "unconditional surrender." Some argue that this policy resulted in the deaths of an additional 50,000 American dead in Europe and the enslavement of Eastern Europe. Without this policy, Germany would have surrendered to the west (after Hitler was taken out), in late 1944.

Whether the middle east could embrace democracy is also an important debate. My problem with the critics, however, is that they offer relly no pragmatic solutions other than opposition to the Administration's policy. One of the faults with conservatism is that conservatives often become too cynical about things, which leads to "inaction." Inaction spells death for civilization.

Would paleo-conservatives have supported the agressive spreading of the Gospel in the 15-18th centuries in the new world? I think not. Yet, we owe everything to those who chose action over inaction in Christianizing America and the west.

Perhaps comparing the spread of democracy to the spread of Christianity is a bit much. Nevertheless, both require men of action to be realized. Bush...like him or not... is a man of action.

12:10 AM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Goering never held the rank or title of "Air Marshall". He was "Air Minister" and later "Reich's Marshall" (the only one) but not "Air Marshall".
"Air Marshall" is a rank in the British Royal Air Force and equivalent to a three star general in the U.S. Air Force (that's Lt. General for you Paleo-cons). The advice of "Air Marshalls" is completely trustworthy.

10:51 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Great catch Air Marshall. Although, I believe that "Air Marshall" was also a rank in the Luftwaffe (at least it was translated as such).

I glossed over this comment by Feceral Farmer...

"...In fact, this foolish military adventure by a corporal resulted in the destruction of the political party..."

I think it's interesting to note that Hitler was one of the most (if not the most) courageous and most experienced and decorated combat veterans ever to lead a modern nation. He spent four years at the front and only stayed a corporal because he wanted to keep his job on the front (and refused to kiss ass). Toland describes the experience as follows:

"Four years of dehumanizing trench warfare had engendered in Hitler, as in so many other German Patriors, an abiding hatred of the pacifists and slackers back home who were "stabbing the Fartherland in the back."

I hate bringing it up because its wrong to use Hitler as a comparison for anything. However, ists worthi noting....

1:06 AM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

I will have to check for sure but to the best of my knowledge the Luftwaffe used the "General" ranks, though they may have used "Field Marshall" for the top one. It interests me to note how strongly John Kline (noted Neo-con, not!) HATES to see the replay of the Vietnam defeatisim and gets very angry about it. He is a combat vet several times over starting with Vietnam and his son is now serving (willingly) in Iraq with the 101st (a helicoptor pilot like his old man). Can't acuse him of not having "been under arms". He also states from personal observation that things are going much better over there than you could understand from the news reportage. He thinks we are doing the right thing and wants us to stick it out.

8:42 AM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I think your right. I think "Air Marshall" is a version of "Field Marshall" Considering that Goering carried a higher rank than a Field Marshall, he would have never carried that title.

9:18 AM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Sloanasaurus, I just looked it up and the top Luftwaffe WWII rank was "Generalfeldmarschall". All other general officer ranks were the same as the German Army, that is various forms of General (Major General, Lt. General etc.) although they were not exact equivalents of ours). There was no "Air Marshall" or translation thereof, it is a purely British rank as far as I know. As I said, completely trustworthy.

8:59 PM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Sloanasaurus, a P.S. The RAF equivelant of "Generalfeldmarschall" would have been "Marshall of the Royal Air Force" (like our General of the Army or Air Force), not "Air Marshall." There was of course no British equivalent of "Riech's Marschall", not even the King held such a rank.

9:13 PM, January 30, 2006  

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John Adams Blog

Neocon says Pope Gay.

They say politics makes strange bedfellows. Evidently, Catholic neoconservatives don't care who they get into bed with, as follows. (From Chronicles online)
On his website, Andrew Sullivan has proclaimed Benedict XVI the “gayest Pope ever,” following up on earlier posts comparing Benedict to Liberace and calling him “the control queen of the Vatican.” Yet, the NRO crowd remains in love with Sullivan, with Michael Novak praising his “brave witness” and “love for the Church,” Jonah Goldberg congratulating him on his “engagement,” and the others anxious to seek Sullivan’s approval for their own pet schemes (and displaying their sadness when he withholds it).
Sullivan regularly gives self-absorbed, petulant narcissists a bad name. Why does any decent person (never mind self-respecting conservative) care what he has to say, about anything?

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Who here still reads Sullivan? Any reasonable conservative stopped reading his blog years ago. Thus, I reject your claims that people at NRO think Sullivan is anything but a weasel.

In fact, Paleocons have more in common with Sullivan than neocons because in their mutual hatred for Bush and the war in Iraq.

11:33 PM, January 26, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Federal Farmer: Do you actually read NRO? Sullivan's opinions have received nothing but well-deserved scorn from them for years.

Now a lot of these pundits do know each other personally. Goldberg was congratulating Sullivan for his Time gig and simply passing along the rumor that he might be "engaged." Being civilized and friendly to those who disagree with you is actually a good thing.

And no, I have not looked at Sullivan's blog in ages.

11:46 PM, January 26, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

At least he didn't call the Pope a "Girlie-Man."

11:02 AM, January 28, 2006  

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Hamas Hmmm...

Apparently Hamas has won the election in Palestine. Considering that any Palestinian of any intelligence leaves Palestine at the earliest opportunity, I am not surprised that the dummies remaining would elect in their own oppressors. Jefferson was right: we need an intelligent electorate. I don't think it bodes well for middle east peace. Further, it emboldens the critics of Democracy (i.e. Federal Farmer) who stil pray for the reemergence of Sparta in the west.

Nevertheless, Hamas is now in a precarious position regarding their political situation of war against Israel. In the past they have relied on the wiggle room in Western and international Law that terrorism is more of a criminal activity than a state act of war. This wiggle room has served to view attacks by Israel as being aggressive rather than defensive, and has allowed states in the west to oppose Israel's obvious attempt to protect itself.. However, assuming that Hamas continues their support of terrorism, any new attacks must be considered attacks by a "state" and not just individual actors. Under International law, Israel will have the legal authority to respond in ways they have not had in the past (i.e. be able to respond without the risk of international opposition).

If attacked, Israel would have the right under international law to march in and topple the Hamas government and demand reparations, which would be paid in land. The people elected Hamas, which chose war. Hamas lost the war...the people lost the war and must pay.

In the eyes of the west.... the Palestinian people are no longer innocent.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

Nice theory Sloanasaurus, but in practice Israel will be blamed no matter what the circumstances. If they were to leave the land altogether and rejoin the diaspora they would be criticized for not leaving fast enough.

10:04 AM, January 26, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Nevertheless, any Palestinian government can only survive under the good graces of the International System putting pressure on Israel to accept it. If Hamas attacks, this international pressure will dissappear and Hamas will be taken out.

1:04 PM, January 26, 2006  

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Saddam sues Bush & Blair

I don't read The Onion regularly enough to know if they've already spoofed this concept, but if not, they missed a great opportunity to for real life to imitate satire. Imagine being accused of torture by a guy who presided over stuff like this (WARNING - not for the faint of heart and NOT for children).

If there's a better reason not to have signed on to the International Criminal Court treaty, I'd like to see it.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

The lawsuit is true relativism.

Perhaps MP George Galloway (ally of some members of JAS), who has been busy pretending to be a dog on a British reality TV show, will join in the law suit.

8:23 AM, January 26, 2006  

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Canada's Polygamist Feminists or Is It Feminist Polygamists?

Recap of Canadian Election on Marriage and Family Issues:

Marriage and Family Issues
Much of Martin’s campaign was a virulent attack on an alleged “hidden agenda” of the Conservatives in which Harper, aside from allegedly selling out Canadian interests to Washington, would rescind the Liberal law giving homosexuals the right to marry, and move to ban abortion. Abortion has been legal in Canada for some 35 years, but it was only last year that Martin’s Liberal government pushed a same-sex marriage bill through Parliament.
Just edging onto the horizon during the campaign was the prospect that polygamy might well be legalized if the Supreme Court decides a Criminal Code ban on polygamy by certain Mormon sects or Middle East immigrant groups violates religious freedom under the constitutional Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
During the same-sex marriage debate this prospect was raised by religious groups and Conservatives but greeted with derision by Martin’s government. Yet a federally-commissioned study has now recommended polygamy be legalized on religious and social grounds — that the wives and children of polygamous marriages would have better protection if their marriages were legally recognized.
Harper’s Conservatives, who already plan to hold a free vote on homosexual marriage, which could lead to rescinding the Liberal-induced law, would vigorously oppose legalizing polygamy.

Wersal the Great!

In a world of convenience, Greg Wersal is a refreshing reminder that a populist who can scrap can accomplish a lot in our crazy centralized, but federalized; powerful-but-separated governmental system. This is probably the system's only redeeming feature.

As to Greg Wersal, no Minnesotan has done more in recent history to promote the cause of the common man. For this, I will be eternally grateful.

I now call him Wersal the Great!

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I heard something about attorneys fees being paid. But, that is all I know......

11:26 PM, January 24, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Am I to understand that the SCOTUS has let the lower court's ruling in Wersal's favor, stand?

11:54 PM, January 24, 2006  
Blogger ssc said...

Yes. That's right Air Marshall. Judicial candidates can now announce their views on issues, identify party, seek and use political party endorsements, attend and speak at any political party meetings and directly solicit funds. Huzzah!

7:47 PM, January 25, 2006  

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Monday, January 23, 2006

In God's sweet time? Of course. He is waiting for the punchline....

Two things I know for sure are that God loves Greg Wersal, and the Lord loves a good laugh.

The first proof came when the proceedings at a hastily called covention of elites from the state court system and the organized bar -- in fact, it was a day-long strategy session on "what to do" about the sometime Chairman Wersal and his lawsuit -- was interrupted by the news that the Justices of the High Court had granted Greg's petition and would hear his case.

Wersal sat there beaming, having learned that he was going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, in an auditorium that was jam-packed with 400 of his closest enemies. If I live to be 100 years old, I will never forget the look on his face, or theirs, when that announcement came.

The second proof, and the Almighty's next belly laugh, came today. Minnesota Public Radio reported the events this way:


On the same day the Minnesota Supreme Court formally swore in its new chief justice and another associate justice, the landscape radically changed as to how justices will keep their seats. In Minnesota, the governor typically appoints a person to fill an open seat and then that person must run later for election.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision means judicial elections in Minnesota could look very different. For eight years, attorney Greg Wersal fought to get the courts to strike down the state's judicial ethics rules. Wersal says the changes will breathe new life into the state's legal system because many incumbents will lose their positions.

'We've been gathering up a lot of dead wood in the judicial system and this will gives us an opportunity to clear it out,' he said.

This is Wersal's second victory. Three years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Wersal and the Republican Party to strike down a section of the state's Code of Judicial Conduct that forbid candidates from speaking publicly on political and legal issues. But Wersal and the Republican Party sought more, and the latest ruling has delivered it.

It is like the old saying: Men make plans, and God (and Wersal) laughs....

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

This case really is a testament to the power of one man with conviction. Greg does not seem a very proud man to me. But he sure as hell has a right to be.

The article
from MPR's website concludes with an interesting paragraph:

Although this particular legal battle is over, there is still the issue of attorneys' fees. The state will likely have to pay Wersal and other attorneys for eight years of legal wrangling. It's unknown how much those fees will total.

2:29 PM, January 24, 2006  
Blogger ssc said...

What's the difference between a Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and God? God knows he is not a Minnesota Supreme Court Justice.

8:24 PM, January 24, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I spoke with Mr. Wersal about the attorneys fees. He said that as a plaintiff he will not be awarded any fees.

I also heard the MPR story, which was generally a fair story. However, as Harsh Pencil points out...the end of the story states that Mr. Wersal would be collecting fees, which we now know is false. Bad MPR!

3:36 PM, January 25, 2006  

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PBS Profiles Our Namesake

FYI--PBS is airing a program about our namesake, the antient and honourable John Adams, and his wife, Abigail, on Monday night, Jan. 23, from 8 PM-10 PM on TPT Channel 2. Hopefully, the "expert" analysis of Gore Vidal (used on a recent Lincoln special) won't be available for this program.

Democracy and Elitism

From Michael Barone's column

In his 2005 book "Law, Pragmatism and Democracy," Posner nominates as the Virgil to guide us through our "Inferno" and "Purgatorio" the Austrian-born economist Joseph Schumpeter. Schumpeter -- hardly a sympathetic figure -- was an elitist who believed the achievements of capitalism were threatened by the greed and ignorance of the masses. But he supported popular electoral democracy -- a controversial stand in the Mitteleuropa of the 1920s -- if only to give the masses a sense that they were in control. "Democracy," as Posner describes Schumpeter's view, "is conceived of as a method by which members of a self-interested political elite compete for the votes of a basically ignorant and apathetic, as well as determinedly self-interested, electorate."
Belief in democracy and elitism are compatible after all. And this sounds a lot like my tongue-in-cheek defense of democracy below.

Blogger ssc said...

Faux populism. Misunderstandings upon misunderstandings.

3:52 PM, January 23, 2006  

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Big Upset Possible in Canadian Elections Tomorrow

Conservatives may score big upset against liberals in Canadian election tomorrow. May God save Canada. See story at http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/01/22/canada.election.reut/

Saturday, January 21, 2006

First Things Perspective on Catholicism in America

January 19, 2006
Joseph Bottum writes:
There’s no contradiction in saying “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” for the two facts occasionally coexist.
So, I recently argued in the Weekly Standard, we are living in a moment in which a set of Catholic ideas and rhetorical gestures—the Catholic way of phrasing and framing certain arguments—plays a greater role in American public life than ever before. For both its supporters and its detractors, the moral imagination of Catholicism is a marker: to be praised and deployed, for some; to be mocked and decried, for others—but for all, a point of reference in the ongoing debates about the law, abortion, church-state relations, and many other of the issues that roil public debate.
And yet, I suggested, we are also at a moment when the institutional Church in America has less political power than ever before. For all the raging during the 2004 presidential election about the baleful effect of the Catholic hierarchy’s preaching against abortion—editorials in the New York Times, television talk show after television talk show—here’s a simple measure: pro-abortion politicians won the political district of every cardinal in the United States, from Los Angeles to Boston.
One commentator complained that I had imagined a backlash against the cardinals when, in fact, the vote proved the complete indifference to them. But that is precisely what I meant: the institutional Church has a political effect these days that is almost non-existent, even for provoking a counter-effect. Like John Kerry when he boasted that he had been an altar boy, the newspaper editorialists suppose we still live in a day in which, for instance, John F. Kennedy could win 87 percent of Mass-going Catholics’ votes.
Still, the New York Times is right to be disturbed, for there is something going on in America that involves Catholicism and is profoundly antithetical to much that the Times holds dear. But to blame it on the institutional power of the Catholic Church is a dated and false analysis. That was yesterday. Today’s problem, for those who want to resist it, is the rhetorical and intellectual role of Catholicism in America.
Yesterday, my friend Russell Hittinger, the Catholic philosopher at the University of Tulsa, sent a note warning against overestimating the influence of intellectual Catholicism in the United States—particularly in academia. Perhaps he’s right. But the question is how there can be any influence at all, for fifty years of work by sociology professors has assured us of the assimilation of Catholics, and two hundred years of polished epigrams from Enlightenment-style philosophes have informed us that religion in general, and Catholicism in particular, belong to the childhood of mankind.
The answer, I think, is this: Catholicism is the new mainline church in America. As mainline Protestantism was to the nation, so Catholicism now is. That’s not to say Catholics aren’t a sprawling mess, for they are: Catholic voters are divided nearly perfectly between the political parties, and the internal arguments are waged with an absurd venom and bile (as when the editor of a Catholic journal recently concluded a review of George Weigel’s The Cube and the Cathedral with the observation: “This is a third-rate book permeated with the odor of witchcraft”). Meanwhile, Catholic universities are in disarray, Catholic politicians are as likely to be pro-abortion as not, and Catholic art has shown little life since the 1940s and 1950s.
And yet, the nation has need of something, which—almost by default—Catholicism is providing. This is Toqueville’s kind of thesis, of course, about the American experience, but it feels right. The United States has always required some source of moral imagination in the public square that does not derive from either the politics of democracy or the economics of capitalism. For a long time, the mainline Protestant churches remained that source, even though they were often as sprawling and as envenomed as American Catholicism now is. And when, for a number of fascinating reasons, those mainline churches collapsed, the nation was left with Catholicism. (This is to leave for another day the role of the evangelical churches, and also the question of what happens when evangelicals and Catholics meet in the space that the mainline used to occupy.)
To decide about all this would require two movements: explaining what happened to America, and explaining what happened to Catholicism. And those two explanations may seem at times to give contradictory answers—like “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Still, the role of Catholicism in America today seems to me the most interesting and pressing social and political question around.

Edmund Burke, Democracy and Faux Populism

The comments to the "Aristocratic Blogging" post invite a formal reply.

Edmund Burke was no doubt an elitist -- a conservative one -- but nonetheless elitist. He favored the landed gentry and nobles. He defended their rights and privileges -- while, yes, also pointing out their responsibilities.

Somewhere in Burke's Revolution in France, he comments how wonderful democratic dialogue is in that the dialogue progresses based on each person's observations -- even if that observation is coming from the least learned person in the room. My view is this is a minimalist view of democracy -- entirely consistent with the King's view of his Court advisors. I call this faux populism.

Real populism entails risk -- that is believing the mob could do a better job than the current crew in Washington and St. Paul.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Suppose we could identify a person, hypothetically, that was the primary founder of, let's say, a debate society that, by definition and practice, was elitist. Such a society had rigorous membership standards, and although attendance was open to all, in practice only those with similar interests attended. Would such a founder be an elitist?

12:41 PM, January 21, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:58 AM, January 22, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

If land ownership and the right to pass one's property on to one's heirs (as landed gentry) is elitist, then call me a proud elitist.

Private property ownership, if solid and free from taxation and regulation, may be more important than even democracy.

8:00 AM, January 22, 2006  

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Aristrocratic Blogging

"Democracy is government by the uneducated. Aristocracy is government by the badly educated. "

Elitists believe that a lucky few (usually themselves) have a monopoly on knowledge and experience and should be running things. Elitists favor top-down government and business models.

Populists, on the other hand, believe that knowledge and experience are distributed broadly -- although unevenly -- and are not held by a few elites at the top levels of society. Populists favor bottom-up government and business models.

The funny thing is lots of people think they're populists when they are not. I call this faux populism. A lot of people think they are elitists when they're not. I call this faux elitism.

It's more than a word game. It is probably the most telling distinction in one's political philosophy.

What are you? Populist? Faux populist? Elitist? Faux elitist?

The best way to determine which category you fit in is to write a 200 word essay on the rights of the people vis-a-vis the government. Then, determine if you really believe in the people or the government. Answer.

For example, I don't believe in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why should we pledge allegiance to the republic when it should be pledging allegiance to us. This position would be typical of a populist, not an elitist.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

We are the republic. We are not pledging allegiance to the government (which you correctly point out, should be pledging allegiance to us) but to each other. Nothing wrong with that.

I'm not convinced elitism has much to do with the relation between the government and the people. Suppose I think most people are ignorant morons who have a right to wallow in the fetid results of their own imbecility without interference from their betters? Does this make me an elitist for thinking so little of them or a populist for thinking they have rights? (Or just a big jerk?)

12:22 AM, January 21, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

My elitism manifests in looking down upon government. I can do a much better job of running my life than can the elected pretenders.

I can also do a much better job of running my life than can my neighbors or anyone of French heritage.

Many would be better people were it not for government interference. They would have to get jobs, learn skills, gain an education to survive without a safety net. Then, they too, could be elitists.

8:13 AM, January 21, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Would it be populist or elitist to want to secede from the Union (whether via Minnesota or New Hampshire, or Texas for that matter)?

8:23 AM, January 21, 2006  

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Where have we been?



It would be interesting to see how much of the country and perhaps world we, as a group of bloggers, can fill up. Here are mine. I know that Federal Farmer will be able to fill up some of the Middle East and who knows where else.

This site lets you create the following maps. Pretty cool.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

In the States, you could fill in WA and OR for me.

Similarly, the JA Blog is visited from around the world.

6:41 PM, January 20, 2006  

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Populist Post Piqued by Progressive Public

The Washington Post had to shut down it's blog today due to raving lunatics or similar mayhem from the left after calling Abramoff an equal opportunity, um, opportunist. The Post could learn a few lessons from the John Adams Blog.

Being properly elitist and prohibiting open discussion, we have eliminated philosophical pollution from nutjobs. Pencil experimented with opening our borders for about five minutes and my fellow bloggers will recall that it was a disaster. Anyone of quality, good taste, breeding and intelligence understands that it doesn't pay to be populist.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Besides, we don't need to allow random nutjobs to comment since we have plenty of our own.

1:51 PM, January 20, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Cut yourself some slack, Pencil. No one has ever said that about you, as far as you know.

2:45 PM, January 20, 2006  

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Why the Osama message now?

I have been pondering the timing of the Osama message....here are some of the ideas I have been hearing:

- The message is a plant by Bush to raise his approval ratings
- The message was meant to further divide America in light of the recent NSA spying and lower Iraq support in the polls.
- The message was meant to motivate Al Qaeda followers.

I think the third reason is the most plausible. One of the greatest strategies in war is to take advantage of military victories by pushing psychological warfare . Further, victories alone can seriously erode the psychological support of your enemy, especially if your enemy has been lacking in victories. I think the recent attack in Pakistan that killed Al Qaeda leaders was a major victory against the terrorists and Al Qaeda moved as quickly as possible to keep their supporters from evaporating. Al Qaeda had to show that they were still viable after losing so many top commanders.

Nevertheless the message also talks about the opinion polls in the U.S. to pull troops out of Iraq. Osama seems to be adopting the Democrats talking points.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Cool Conjecture II -- Reflections on Canada

Harsh Pencil's "Cool Conjecture" post reminds me of how much education the American public needs on the issues of immigration, multiculturalism and democracy. In the current climate, we risk everything because we know nothing.

Case in point: Canada. Canada has allowed real biculturalism for French-speaking Quebec. But now other ethnic groups want the same language and other rights that French Quebec has. How can the Canadians not give the other groups what they have given to the Quebecois?

Canada made a mistake. Either it should have forced Quebec to speak English or it should have forced it to secede? What they have done is the worse of all possible options. We are now watching Canada die as a nation.

To all multiculturalists, please do not ruin the United States. If you want to have a separate language and culture -- that is separate from our English-speaking American culture -- please rally your statesman to secede -- and be gone!

However, I must admit -- given the option of secession -- I would vote for Minnesota to secede from the Union as well. I simply believe that we would do much better going it alone.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

"...I would vote for Minnesota to secede from the Union as well. I simply believe that we would do much better going it alone...."

Maybe just parts of Minnesota.

12:33 AM, January 20, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

If the Free State Project would promise secession of New Hampshire, I'd be tempted.

12:46 PM, January 20, 2006  

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John Shadegg for Leader

As far as I could tell from the JAS meeting last night, there was consensus among neo-cons, paleo-cons and all the other cons that Shadegg would be preferable for majority leader.

Perhaps it would not be a very good debate topic.

A Truce?

Bin Ladin has apparently offered a Truce? (via Drudge).

This is almost unbelievable. Offering a truce is not a sign that you are winning.....It does not seem like Bin Ladin to show such a public sign of weakness.

Besides, Bin Ladin is a common criminal. Criminals can't offer truces except with their hands in the air.

He also makes more threats of attacks inside the United States.....once again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Cool Conjecture

From this post at The Corner (itself attributing the idea to Jim Bennett)

Immigration, Multiculturalism, and Democracy.

A society can have any two, but not all three.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Washington Post Urges Alito Confirmation

Says a Post editorial today:

"However one reasonably defines the 'mainstream' of contemporary jurisprudence, Judge Alito's work lies within it. While we harbor some anxiety about the direction he may push the court, we would be more alarmed at the long-term implications of denying him a seat. No president should be denied the prerogative of putting a person as qualified as Judge Alito on the Supreme Court."

.....


"And Judge Alito is superbly qualified. His record on the bench is that of a thoughtful conservative, not a raging ideologue. He pays careful attention to the record and doesn't reach for the political outcomes he desires. His colleagues of all stripes speak highly of him. His integrity, notwithstanding efforts to smear him, remains unimpeached."

In other news, pigs seen in flight over the Potomac....

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Lets hope for another potential nomination. Stevens should be ready to retire.

It would have been a disaster not to get Alito and at least Roberts with 55 Senators.

8:30 AM, January 16, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Agreed. This has been a piece of cake. What was W worried about? It pays to complain, which the blogs did loudly and collectively over Harriet Miers, with much help from the WSJ. Had we been proper little conservatives, Miers would have been anticlimatically confirmed by now and we'd all be wondering if it was time to move to New Hampshire and succeed. Ok, maybe we'd just be hoping for Stevens to retire. Which we are anyways.

7:45 PM, January 16, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Groan . . . I just reread this. Secede. Secede. Not succeed. Well, to succeed in the secession would be acceptable.

4:56 PM, January 19, 2006  

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Reflections on the Alito Hearings

Mindful of the series of posts on the Alito confirmation hearings, I wanted to share my own reflections on the proceedings just concluded.

1. Lindsay Graham was half-right: During the second round questioning, Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina dramatically warned that mean-spirited smear tactics in the confirmation process will reduce the number of qualified men and women who are willing to offer themselves for service on the federal courts. "Let me tell you this," Graham intoned "Guilt by association is going to drive good men and women away from wanting to sit where you're sitting [Judge Alito]...." To my mind, the observation is accurate and, what is perhaps surprising to Senator Graham, part of a deliberate strategy by senate Democrats. It seems clear that Senators Kennedy, Schummer and Durbin want to send an unambiguous message to all the members of the Federalist Society: If you are nominated, we will scour every last detail of your life, and when that fails to find anything amiss, we will just make stuff up about you. The Democrats threaten and smear because the question of confirmation is simply one part of their processes. The larger goal is to diminish Alito as a person and jurist; to marginalize him; and to make him radioactive in the community. If the Democrats are even remotely successful in this effort, they conclude, perhaps some would-be judges in the Federalist Society will conclude that the honor of being nominated is not worth being attacked and scarred in this way. And for their part, the Democrats are completely unphased by the prospect that such tactics reduce the esteem of the Senate, their standing in it, and do real violence to the federal courts. All in a day’s work....

2. The hearings offered a peak into the liberal mind and it is really scary in there: My personal scream-out-loud moment was when Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) suggested that the best way to resolve an employment discrimination case was for Judge Alito to query his wife, at home, about the facts that were at issue in the lawsuit. Says Biden: "And that's why the decision confuses me [Judge Alito]. I think all you probably have to do is turn to your wife and say, 'Hey, you know, the real world, when you're pregnant, does that sometime inhibit the amount of time you're able to -- you're required to be away from your job?'" The exchange makes clear that not only do Senate liberals have no idea how appellate courts judges are supposed to do their work but also how they hope that these judges will ignore the facts and law of case as they are presented and achieve the results that please the women at home (and presumably, on their fundraising and volunteer lists).

Oyez. Oyez. God save that honorable court and the United States.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Murtha the Defeatist

From Drudge:

MURTHA: VAST MAJORITY OF U.S. TROOPS WILL BE OUT OF IRAQ BY END OF YEAR
Fri Jan 13 2006
17:14:15 ET

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) believes the vast majority of U.S. troops in Iraq will be out by the end of the year and maybe even sooner. In his boldest words yet on the subject, the outspoken critic of the war predicts the withdrawal and tells Mike Wallace why he thinks the Bush administration will do it.

The interview, a portion of which will appear on tonight's (13) CBS EVENING NEWS, will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday Jan. 15 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network."I think the vast majority will be out by the end of the year and I'm hopeful it will be sooner than that," Murtha tells Wallace, in the 60 MINUTES interview. "You're going to see a plan for withdrawal," says Murtha, which he believes Congress will pass because of mounting pressure from constituents tired of the war that could affect the upcoming midterm elections.

The political situation will force President Bush to accede to Congress, he says. "I think the political people who give [the president] advice will say to him, 'You do not want a democratic Congress. You want to keep a republican majority, and the only way you're going to keep it is by reducing substantially the troops in Iraq,'" Murtha says.

The president has said publicly that any decision regarding Iraq would be based on the situation there and not on Washington politics.

Murtha rejects the president's argument that the war on terror is being fought in Iraq. "The insurgents are Iraqis - 93 percent of the insurgents are Iraqis. A very small percentage are foreign fighters.... Once we're out of there, [Iraqis] will eliminate [foreign fighters]," says Murtha. "[President Bush] is trying to fight this war with rhetoric. Iraq is not where the center of terrorism is," he says. "We're inciting terrorism there.... We're destabilizing the area by being over there because we're the targets," Murtha tells Wallace.

When Wallace challenges him by saying, "General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, says your comments are damaging recruiting and hurting the troops," Murtha responds by saying it's the military's own fault. "[Troops] are rotated [into Iraq] four and five times. They have no clear mission," says Murtha. "One of the problems they have with recruitment is [that] they continually say how well things are going and the troops on the ground know better."President

Bush has said there are only two choices in Iraq: victory and defeat. And he has implied that Murtha is a "defeatist." Murtha, of course, disputes that.

There have been 13 servicemen from his Congressional district killed in Iraq. Could the families of those dead be offended? Wallace asks. "Well, I hope [those families] understand," says the Vietnam combat veteran. "It's my job, my responsibility to speak out when I disagree with the policy of the president of the United States," says Murtha. "All of us want this president to succeed... I feel a mission here, with my experience, that I have to help the president find a way out of this thing."

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Iraq is the central battlefield. Al Qaeda can bomb a bus station in Spain, but if they lose iraq to democracy, Al Qaeda will cease to exist. Al Qaeda has been milking the jihad victory over the soviets for years, if they lose now after no victories for 25 years...they will be finished.

10:43 PM, January 14, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Sloanasaurus, I agree with you and hope to God we stick it out. But I hear an increasing number of people including Republicans and conservatives who want out. Our people's need to cut and run from a tough job saddens me. We will not long survive as an independent society with this attitude.

9:58 AM, January 15, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Yes, everyone wants out. Gett out, however, has many meanings.

Everyone wanted out of Korea, and we did get out... except for the tens of thousands who stayed.

Eventually, hopefully sooner than later, I would like our troops to get out of the front lines and support the Iraqi troops from the behind the front Hopefully this is how we will get out - out from the front, but stay in in the rear for a long time.

8:57 PM, January 15, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Yes, the largest division in the U.S. Army is in Korea and has been for years and years. With its support units it is more than twice the size of any other division. Tommy Franks talks proudly and somewhat with awe of his time commanding it. Yet, as you say, we "got out of" Korea.

11:16 PM, January 16, 2006  

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Friday, January 13, 2006

The New Face of the Constitution.


Ramesh Ponnuru makes an important point over at The Corner

Neither over nor underestimate the importance of Alito's impending confirmation. It's true that we don't have a conservative majority. On the other hand, assuming, as I do, that Alito is more conservative (in the legal sense) than Byron White was, we will have the largest number of conservatives on the Court in the history of the modern conservative movement and in the history of the modern Court. No small thing, it seems to me.
This seems right. I am not very worried that Roberts and Alito will generally vote to interpret the Constitution the way it should be interpreted. That gives the good side four pretty solid votes - Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito. Recall the "conservative majority" referred to under some Rehnquist years never really was since it included Kennedy and O'Connor. (I believe the conservative majority was Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and O'Connor.) Essentially what we have now is a solidly liberal block (Stevens, Souter, Ginsberg, and Breyer) a solidly conservative block
(assuming Alito is confirmed) of Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito and a swing vote of Kennedy. He is what economists would call the "median voter." What he says goes. (To be concrete, I don't expect Kennedy to be in the minority on any important decisions.)

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Its more than just votes that matter, it is also the power of persuasion. Adding Roberts and Alito to the Court, two obvious judicial heavyweights, may bear more on Kennedy then we think. Before, the liberals on the court only had to convince either Kennedy or O'Conner. Now its just Kennedy, which means their argument must be twice as good. Who will be making the case for the liberals....I expect that Breyer will probably be the last hope for them... except that Breyer has become unpredictible recently....

Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia could be a tour de force in American legal history... influencing legal argument for generations.

10:46 PM, January 13, 2006  

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Why I would love to be a Senator.

Senator Pencil: Judge Alito, is it not true that you were kicked out of Harvard for paying another student to take a Spanish test for you?

Alito: No Senator, that is not true. I went to Princeton, not Harvard, and was never disciplined for anything, much less kicked out for cheating.

Senator Pencil: Oh, I'm sorry. I must have confused you for someone else. But Judge Alito, isn't it true that you graduated at the bottom of your class from UVA law school.

Alito: No Senator, that is not true. I went to Yale and did quite well academically.

Senator Pencil: Oh, I'm sorry. I must have confused you for someone else again. So Judge Alito, is it not true that as a law student you were arrested by a highway patrolman while cowering in the back seat of your car, pretending not to be the driver.

Alito: No Senator, again that is not true.

Senator Pencil: Oh, I'm so sorry. I don't know why I keep confusing you with someone else. So Judge Alito, is it not true that you once drove off a bridge, thereby drowning a young woman in your passenger seat and that instead of calling the police you instead spent the night discussing legal strategies with your family's advisers while she sat dead in the car only to be discovered in the morning by someone else?

Alito: No Senator, I have never driven off a bridge.

Senator Pencil. Oh, I am so sorry again. I seem to keep making mistakes. Oh well. So Judge Alito, is it not true that between 2001 and 2006 you accepted $7,684,423 in “donations” from special interests who perhaps wanted the law tweaked in their favour. That included $28,000 from defence contractors, $42,200 from drug firms and a whopping $745,373 from lawyers and law firms.

Alito: No Senator, I think again you must be thinking of someone else.

Senator Pencil: No further questions. And Chairman Spector, could you please call the custodial staff for a cleanup? Someone's head seems to have exploded over there.

(Hat tip: Powerline).

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Running commentary

Scribbler, where are you? We expected a day to day running commentary on the hearings. I make it Alito four, Kennedy nothing. How about you?

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

AM, my deepest apologies. I was so enthused the first day. I sat down right here and hit my picture-in-picture button for my monitor (did I mention how cool that is?), wiped the drool from my chin and . . . watched and . . . waited and . . . fell asleep to droning speeches. My head hit the keyboard, and when I awoke there was just gibberish on the screen. Funny, later, when I read it back, I swear I had transcribed Ted Kennedy's speech.

After that, I tried to tune in when possible, but always managed to hit the lunch break. I even missed Mrs. Alito bursting into tears!

Ah, such big ambitions have I. (But apparently not as grandiose as Pencil's ambitions. I have much to learn from that Pencil. I am a mere Scribbler.)

6:05 PM, January 13, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

As do I. But, so many political hacks, soo little time. (By the way, you did mention how cool that is). How can you accuse Senators of droning?

9:02 PM, January 13, 2006  

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Democrats Bullying Causes Mrs. Alito to Cry!

Democratic bullying on the Senate Judiciary Committee caused Mrs. Alito to burst into tears. I am sick and tired of the meanness of Senators Schumer, Kennedy and Leahey. It seems if a judicial nominee doesn't agree with them 100% on abortion, then they're criminals unworthy of civil treatment. It's a joke. The United States will not be great again until these jokers and jokers like them -- both parties -- are voted out of office.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I think she was just bored to tears. I would have been.

7:18 AM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

More seriously, in some sense we (conservatives) brought some of this on ourselves. We have pushed the notion that if a nominee is "qualified" then it is wrong for a Senator to vote against him. This is misguided for two reasons.

1) It certainly is possible that in the near future there will be a Democratic presidient and a Republican Senate. I see no principled reason why the Republicans should not vote against a Ruth Bader Ginsburg clone simply because, given our best estimate of her judicial philosophy, she won't uphold the Constitution.

2) It means that when we put up credentialed nominees, the only way to argue against them is to show that they are vile, racist, demonic, whatever. We have somehow made it politically unacceptable for the them to simply say "this guy isn't going to vote the way I want him to vote so I'm voting against him."

I don't want to apologize or excuse too much the truly contemptable behavior of the Democrats. We are not forcing them to smear Alito. The moral choice for them still would be to simply vote against him because he's too conservative for them. But we are making it more likely.

7:30 AM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

One more thing:

What the heck is Mrs. Alito doing there anyway? Why does a spouse have to sit there and listen? When did this start? Is it not politically acceptable for a spouse to say "look honey, if you want to be a Supreme Court justice, fine, I'm proud of you, but this is your gig dude." I respected Howard Dean's wife for this attitude.

7:50 AM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

When Ginsberg was confrimed Democrats had 57 seats I believe. Thus it was pretty much a done deal. Because Republicans do not have the same structure of special interest groups, they could vote for Ginsberg with any issues.

The modern Democrat party is a party built on various special interest groups such as the Pro Abortion, Government Union, Evnironmentalists, Gay-Lesbian, etc...

All these groups require subservience and therefore require "no" votes even when confirmation is assured. In contrast Republicans have less influencial special interest groups, perhaps making republicans in general seem more moderate.

8:16 AM, January 12, 2006  

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Alito hearings UNFAIR!

The New York Times cries that the Alito hearings are unfair.

The news that federal judges intend to testify in support of his nomination is both unusual and unfortunate, as are reports that a Republican member of the Judiciary Committee may have helped prepare Judge Alito for the hearings. So are some comments by Senator Arlen Specter, the committee chairman, who seems to be using his position to spin things Judge Alito's way.

Imagine that! Republicans trying to assist the nominee that they support? Imagine a committe chairmain trying to spin things to something he supports. This is unprecendented and we should all be grateful for the Times in pointing out thse groundbreaking revelations.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who serves on the Judiciary Committee, joined a session at the White House last week to prepare Judge Alito for the hearings. (Senator Graham concedes that he spoke with Judge Alito in the White House's executive offices, but denies that their conversation was to help prepare the judge.) This report casts doubt on Senator Graham's ability to exercise his committee duties impartially.

What is this new rule that members of Judiciary Committee need to exercise their "committee duties impartially." I am laughing my ass off. I think what the Times really wants is Senators to be more liberal.


Alito will no doubt be confirmed if the only thing the Times has left is to complain about patisanship on the Judiciary Committee.

ALITO!


Creeping up on us is the major victory for conservatives taking place in the Senate this week. Alito's nomination is a crushing setback for the liberal agenda and the left's strategy to impose revolution on us through unelected judges. As the Senate confirmation hearings end it will start to sink in how important Alito's nomination and confirmation is and how all the work and dedication conservatives have put in over the last 10-15-20 years is paying off this week. Air Marshall often comments that he feels betrayed by the inept performance of the Republican Congress after all the work that went into the conservative movement in the 1990s. However, I think Air Marshall can take pride in the confirmation of Justice Alito (and Roberts too). Alito's confirmation would not be possible if Republicans did not hold 55 seats in the Senate. I do not think Alito's confirmation would be possible if Republicans only held 52 seats. Certainly. the President deserves some credit, he is partially responsible for these gains in the Senate and the nomination of Roberts and Alito. Although the cause was almost lost with the Miers nomination, it wasn't..... I am grateful to all those who stood forcefully against the Miers nomination. I admit I was not as forcefully opposed to Miers, which was a mistake.

It is interesting to note that despite the differences between conservatives, differences with the paleocons, the neocons, the free marketeers, the Bush supporters, etc... at JAS, we all seem to agree on Alito (at least I hope so).

Three cheers for Justice Alito. Three cheers for the Untited States of America.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sunnis stuck on Stupid

From Strategy Page:

[A]ttacks are made deliberately, and it's difficult to be sure what the purpose is. Captured terrorists indicate the idea is to cause a civil war between Sunni Arabs and the Shia Arabs. But this makes no sense, as there are three times as many Shia Arabs, and there are as many Kurds as there are Sunni Arabs. Such a civil war would lead to catastrophe for the Sunni Arabs. But captured terrorists, most of them Sunni Arab zealots, believe that Sunni Arabs are actually the majority in the country.

I have heard this before, but it seems hard to believe: Here is more:

There hasn't been a census for decades, but the best estimates put the population at about 59 percent Shia Arab, 19 percent, 19 percent Kurd and a few percent other minorities (Turks, Chaldean Christians, and so on). The December 15th parliamentary elections ended up with people being elected in that proportion. Many Sunni Arabs, after they got over the shock of those results, accepted the fact that they are indeed a minority.

What a terrible awakening to know after you and all your relatives and all your relatives relatives voted that you only got 19%. Recall that famous 1970s New York liberal Pauline Kael who is reported to have said on the 1972 electoral victory of Richard Nixon over George McGovern: "How can that be? No one I know voted for Nixon!"

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I'm wondering to what extent the Sunnis in Iraq are comparable to Whites in the post-Civil War era in the South. That is, regardless of the fact that they are a minority, they believe they simply have a God given right to be the ones in charge and refuse to give up after losing a war. In effect, the KKK can be considered a terrorist insurgency, killing blacks which attempted to cooperate with the occupiers. Unfortunately, the North basically gave into them after Lincoln's death and this worked. They were in charge for another 100 years.

My guess is that the Shiites and Kurds are better armed, educated, trained and financed than blacks in the South, and things won't work out as well for the Sunnis in this case.

9:10 AM, January 10, 2006  

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Coup in Iraq

A column in the LA Times argues that the return of dictatorship in Iraq in inevitable.

[T]he mere fact of an election cannot change a fundamental truth about Iraq: Saddam Hussein governed as a brutal dictator not simply because he was cruel but also because of the treacherous political landscape that destabilized his relationship with his own military. Hussein was highly vulnerable to a military coup, and future Iraqi leaders will be just as susceptible. Regardless of the election's outcome, a coup will probably follow a U.S. pullout, and Iraq will again be ruled by a dictator.

They know a coup is inevitable because of historical research:

The test looks at three factors. First, the strength of a nation's civil society, which is based on the number and robustness of civic organizations such as political parties, unions, social clubs and the like. Second, a nation's history of past coups. A recent coup increases the score; past coups are a good predictor of future coups, because the violent overthrow of a government undermines institutions, such as courts and legislatures, that check instability...the third dimension of our coup-risk test, refers to whether citizens accede to the state's right to make society's rules. When a political system enjoys legitimacy, the armed forces are unlikely to try to take control.

The article then argues that life under Saddam was more stable:

Before the U.S. invaded, Iraq performed well — that is, it showed a low risk for military takeover — in only one area: it hadn't had a coup in more than 30 years. But that very fact meant that Iraq scored dismally on the other two factors. That's because to prevent coups, Hussein ruthlessly cut off challenges to his power, executing or jailing high-ranking generals, for example. Such actions don't nurture a civil society or create political legitimacy.Hussein also imprisoned, tortured and executed would-be organizers of civil society: intellectuals, artists, clerics and politicians who demonstrated an independent streak. He may or may not have understood that civic groups act as a guard against coups, but he clearly realized that they also can be the source of popular revolutions. Had Hussein allowed Iraqi civil society to prosper, he might have ended up overthrown, like the shah next door in Iran.

Certainly a coup is possible in Iraq. But, the article left out any fact that would make a coup unlikely. For example, the article cites institutions as a very important factor but fails to cite the three most important instituions in Iraq; that being the Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish ethinic groups. These institutions are so solid that a coup from one group will most certainly be opposed by the other two.

The article also assumes we will just leave Iraq and then forget about it like we did in Vietnam. This is ridiculous. America may not be in Iraq proper, but it will influence Iraq for the next 50 years at a minimum. We will have forces in the middle east until we cease to be a world power. Further, the Coalition is in the process of professionalizing the Iraq military to the extent that it will be so intertwined with America and other western militaries that a coup means Iraqi military leaders will have to abandon the comfort of being allied with the greatest military power on earth. A good comparison is the Turkish military where integration with NATO made the military in Turkey the most dependable institution.

Certainly, a coup is always possible. However, such an analysis needs to be fair and discuss both the positive and negative influences on a potential coup.

This article is also a great example of the typical cynicism and defeatism about Iraq. it reminds me of the core paleocon argument that the Iraq war is a failure because arabs cannot be democratic. Hmm...

Iraq War to cost $2 Trillion

This article appeared briefly off the Reuters Wire.

The cost of the Iraq war could top $2 trillion, far above the White House's pre-war projections, when long-term costs such as lifetime health care for thousands of wounded U.S. soldiers are included, a study said on Monday.... Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes included in their study disability payments for the 16,000 wounded U.S. soldiers, about 20 percent of whom suffer serious brain or spinal injuries. They said U.S. taxpayers will be burdened with costs that linger long after U.S. troops withdraw.

This struck me as an interesting fact since I recalled that we currently spend some $50 billion a year on current veterans. A lot - except that the numbers include hundreds of thousands who were wounded in battle in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

Hmm... wait you have to read on:

Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001 and has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, and Bilmes based their projections partly on past wars and included the economic cost of higher oil prices, a bigger U.S. budget deficit and greater global insecurity caused by the Iraq war.

They said a portion of the rise in oil prices -- about 20 percent of the $25 a barrel gain in oil prices since the war began -- could be attributed directly to the conflict and that this had already cost the United States about $25 billion. "Americans are, in a sense, poorer by that amount," they said, describing that estimate as conservative.

This article reminds me of Paul Krugman - provable, but totally dishonest. You could also argue that Iraq saved use $100 trillion because 1) we prevented a nuclear attack from Saddam and terrorists, kept the price of Oil from going to $200 per barrel because Saddam could not take over Saudi/Kuwait. If democracy spreads in the middle east that return on asset could reach more than a quadrillion.

All articles like this do is present another way to say you oppose the war and hate Bush. Now people will cite Iraq - the $2 trillion war. How ridiculous. If your going to cite the cost of an asset you need to cite the return on that asset also.

I'll bet the Interstate Highway system is nearing $100 trillion in costs considering all the repairs and lost farm land and lost real estate the highways have taken up. Also consider the lost productivity wasted from all the workers who perished while building the highway system and would have done something different but for the system. The Interstate Highway system should have never been built. What a waste.

Great Quote

From today's bleat

If you own a private jet and call yourself an environmentalist, you ought not content yourself with the thought that you encouraged your gardener to buy a Prius.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Always been a big fan of Lileks. Really miss the Diner (AM1500 8 years ago or so).

But on this topic, you must read Michael Crichton's State of Fear which portrays a major Hollywood environmental activist with his own jet, etc.

My picture-in-picture view of C-SPAN is interfering with my blog view, which is regrettable, given the blathering speeches currently being vomited up by self-important legislators barely interested in eventual responses from Judge Alito.

1:56 PM, January 09, 2006  

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Holy Hip Hop Batman!

The Strib ran a story today on Hip Hop music in Christian churches. The article took a line similar to one that I drew in my speech in December's debate on Rock-n-Roll. A good place to start with analyzing music objectively is sacred music -- music worthy for worshiping God. After that, one can discuss music to work to, play to, dance to, sleep to, etc. But, start with Sacred Music -- then when one considers other forms there is something to refer back to.

Dahlberg did not give a speech -- but told me later his theory of aesthetics. Modern aesthetics looks for complexity, unity and vivaciousness. Conservative aesthetics agree with the first two -- but are naturally oppossed to the third. I think he's got a point -- but I'm not sure I know what it is.

So, in that respect, I am opposed. I will stick to my pragmatic, consider Sacred Music approach first approach and then consider other forms in relation to Sacred Music -- not only for me but for my children.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

What the @#*!


I'll tell you what's wrong with this country: it's focus groups and bloggers who criticize good clothing. Shame on you.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

Guy has real class doesn't he?

4:15 PM, January 05, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Well, he did with the good hat.

5:19 PM, January 05, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Yeah, this one goes with it like combat boots with a suit.

9:17 PM, January 05, 2006  

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Dahlberg and Kaardal on Modern Economics

The Honorable Tom Dahlberg and I have been working on a contribution to neoclassical economic theory of labor supply. We think neoclassical economics would be more fruitful in its application to the modern economy if it gave the uniqueness of human capital its proper place.

Here is our pitch to the economists, “Uniqueness of human capital is now much more important in the new economy than we originally thought.” Here it is:

(1) In the new technology-driven economy, all capital, including human capital, is a commodity.
(2) However human capital – unlike virtually all other capital --because of its uniqueness (this proposition if not falsifiable at least can be shown to be true by a preponderance of the evidence) offers opportunities for rent seeking to a vast number of workers.
(3) Firms operate to maximize profits. Workers maximize utility.

So, really what we’re proposing is a new perspective on the neoclassical labor supply curve. The economy should be understood in part through the uniqueness of each worker because that uniqueness forms their rent seeking behavior which in turn leads to the formation of firms and the establishment of an economy.

What do you think?

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I hate to say it, but there is really nothing new here. It is true that most models of labor supply assume, for the sake of simplicity, that either all labor is identical, or that having a higher amount of human capital simply makes you, in a sense, "bigger" than those with less. (ie: a more educated worker simply has more units of "effective labor" to provide to the market than a less educated worker, and the market trades in units of effective labor.)

Messrs. Kaardal and Dahlberg are proposing that each laborer is instead a monopolist in the provision of a particular type of labor service (his own) and that each type of labor is an imperfect substitute for each other type. This is called "monopolistic competition." This assumption has been studied. The Dixit-Stiglitz model is the most common modern form.

Now I most go off and finish my reconciliation of quantum mechanics with Einstien's treatment of gravity.

10:39 AM, January 04, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Pencil, investigate the loop quantum gravity (LQG) theory, which tends to reconcile the two seemingly incompatible theories. It's not very elegant, in my opinion, and needs more work.

2:52 PM, January 04, 2006  

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Put Down the Coffee!

I sure hope ssc doesn't have a coffee to slam down in disgust after reading the following (from the author of God and Man at Georgetown Prep: How I Became a Catholic Despite 20 Years of Catholic Schooling)

[The song "Redneck Woman"] represented the one thing I truly cannot stand about modern conservatism: its defense of anything dumb, tacky, and second-rate, as long as it comes from "the people." The common man is deified by the right. NASCAR, an absolutely idiotic "sport" which consists, as the joke goes, of "a bunch of rednecks makin' left turns," is hailed as red state America's favorite pastime -- and ipso facto comparable to the Olympics of ancient Greece. Actually, scratch that: NASCAR is not treated as something grand and noble, which makes it all the worse. To populist conservatives, the simple fact that Bush country embraces the sport makes its aesthetic quality quite beside the point. This is the sport of people, we are told ad nauseam by folks like Laura Ingraham, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity, who "work hard, go to church, and play by the rules." They are the ones who watch the WWF -- a "sport" even apes laugh at -- and who read the Left Behind series of books, which should probably be called Theology for Dummies.
As they say, read the whole thing. Actually, I mean it. Read the whole thing. But not holding hot coffee.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

What's the problem? The man has excellent points. Not exactly a populist, he, to which I say "bravo!" Not a television watcher, I wasn't able to parse the tv show references, but otherwise, he's speaking my language.

7:41 AM, January 04, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Me too, Scribbler, but then again, I'm a self avowed elitist (I would never use the term "metrosexual") as opposed to a coffee slamming populist like ssc.

7:45 AM, January 04, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

The point brave elitists is not whether NASCAR is interesting to watch, (I don't find it so, but I used to love Road Racing A La Le Mans), or Country Music interesting (it can be fun, it isn't all supposed to be taken seriously), or if off beat Protestant religion is sophisticated theology or not. The point is whether or not the people who like these things are good, fun, loyal friends and co-workers: hard working generaly honest patriotic Americans whose fondest wish is for any and all elitists of both the Left and self proclaimed Right to butt the H*** out of thier lives and go back to carping about the "Church" not endorsing contraception. The "populist people" are probably the only ones in the Country who have a culture they want to hang on to, and don't care if elitists like it or not (probably prefer that they don't). Their ability to ignore day to day life in the rest of the country is perhaps their most endearing quality. You would never find one of them writing such a childish article carping about how boring elitists are (and boy, they ARE!). The wine and croissant crowd is about as interesting as watching paint dry. I think if this Country has any hope at all of recapturing something of the honest, clean, and religion based social structure that once made the Country great (and pleasant to live in), it will come from them. Sure as heck ain't comin from no SUV drivin, wine drinkin, self proclaimed elites, with edjecated tastes!

9:55 AM, January 04, 2006  

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Hat Trick



From the Drudge Report, story about Jack Abramoff. I have no commentary on the story. I just wanted to say, this is how men should dress. Every man needs a good fedora and trench coat.













ADDED BY HARSH PENCIL:


Scribbler,

Are you sure you like this look?



(hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ)











SCRIBBLER HERE, wrestling control of the post back from Pencil.

Like the look; prefer it without the stomach. I was picturing more of a Humphrey Bogart. ACE admits later in his post that he DOES like the get-up, attributing it to Abramoff's Jewish heritage. ACE's problem with the attire was that it was mobster-escent (my word). To me, his outerwear says "Go to hell," which is what I would want to say in that situation. And still, cool hat.

Blogger ssc said...

What reason does Mr. Judge have to hate the people? This country has been good to him. I can pick up my coffee now.

10:26 AM, January 04, 2006  

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Monday, January 02, 2006

Alito Spit-Polishing Performance

With Alito's confirmation hearing fast approaching, the New York Times reports "Alito Team Says He Lacks Polish, But Grit Is a Plus," referring to the dress rehearsals:

Judge Alito displayed a "street smart" New Jerseyan's willingness to talk back to his questioners. Unlike Chief Justice Roberts, Judge Alito often turned inquiries back on the lawyers who were quizzing him, politely asking them to spell out exactly what they meant, two participants said.

Judge Alito "had no bones about coming back for clarification," the same person said, adding that the judge sometimes stumped the legal experts acting in the roles of senators and suggesting that he could pose an even greater challenge to actual senators reading from staff talking points.

I'm spending this week getting ready myself, conducting practice tunings of C-SPAN on my monitor's picture-in-picture while simultaneously refreshing blog sites. This is going to be fun.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

Looking forward to your running commentary.

8:19 PM, January 03, 2006  

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Bush Approval Ratings On Rise

Website realclearpolitics has Bush's approval ratings on the rise. One poll they track even shows a 50% job approval rating. There are many theories regarding Bush's comeback. Here are a few:

1) Conservatives were upset about war and Harriet Miers -- now they are coming home after the relatively-violence-free election and the nomination of Samuel Alito.

2) Democrats made a mistake by U.S. Rep. Murtha calling for immediate withdrawal before election. Bush is a counter-puncher. Democrats should have just let him rot on the vine rather than pick a fight. Poll bounce due to election was mostly Dems' fault.

3) According to Wall Street Journal, economy is going well -- President gets some credit.

4) When the topic in the papers is national security, Bush does well. When the topic is domestic policy, he doesn't.

My inclination is to believe #2. Bush's better poll numbers is the Dems' fault. The Dems are blowing a big opportunity. If Dean and the Deaniacs don't turn it around, they will get whipped in 2006.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Certainly, the Murtha hoopla allowed Bush to change the debate of the war from Bush lied to when the troops should be pulled out.

In the end, however, the NSA stuff will bring Bush back with independents. it reminds people why they voted for Bush over Kerry in 04'

10:35 PM, January 02, 2006  

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Blogger Participation Poll

What was your favorite debate of '05 and why?

For me, it was September's Resolved: The NeoCons are Right! Why? Because it failed so spectacularly. And it was by far the most fun debate of the term, though little was actually discussed on neoconservatism.

For reference, see the Previous Debates page at www.johnadamssociety.org.

(To clarify, the above resolution actually failed by an extremely narrow margin. When I say spectacularly, it is meant that the vote was indeed a spectacle.)

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I enjoyed the Crusades debate. Much for the location (at Nolte Hall) than anything else.

9:39 PM, January 01, 2006  
Blogger ssc said...

Ditto. But I also enjoyed the debate regarding Conservatives and Empire in November. Smaller crowd -- but intelligent and witty debate. Great year for society.

10:32 AM, January 02, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I liked the debate "Conservatism has peaked." It had the great speech by Captain Ferguson: "I remember hearing Gingrich say at the ascent of the Republican takeover of Congress `In ten years, you won't recognize this place (Washington).' Looks the same to me."

11:33 AM, January 02, 2006  
Blogger Courier A said...

I liked the December rock and roll debate the best. It remained entertaining throughout while staying on topic and avoiding personal insults. The return of the aging rocker, Sometime Chairman Povejsil, to defend rock and roll music was the highlight of a very good debate, and a great way to end the term.

3:24 PM, January 02, 2006  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

I am torn between the crusades and the Rock and Roll debate, although I like all the debates in which Capt. Ferguson starred.

11:21 PM, January 02, 2006  
Blogger The Strongman said...

My favorite was the September debate - Resolved: The Neo-Cons are Right. It was excellent both in terms of educational and entertainment value, as well as for the the way the Chairman so swiftly, decisively, and fairly gavelled the debate to an end, declaring the failure of the resolution. It was a pleasure to see such strong leadership from the Chairman, particularly while presiding over his first debate.

12:47 PM, January 03, 2006  

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