Archive for August, 2010
31 Aug 2010

Bolton For President

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Salon reports with a major effort at snark on a prospect which obviously alarms them.

John Bolton was a classmate of mine at Yale. We were both active in the Yale Political Union, but John joined the moderate Conservative Party, of which he became Chairman, and I joined the wholly immoderate Party of the Right.

Some Conservative Party members, like John Bolton, actually were pretty conservative nonetheless. The CP, as a whole, unfortunately tended to take anti-Conservative Movement, Rockefeller Republican kind of positions, being dominated in those days by the influence of Yale Law student and freshman counselor Charlie Whitebread.

I didn’t know John Bolton particularly well at Yale, but he was generally recognized as a competent guy and a vigorous competitor in the Union. I have over the years come to appreciate more and more Bolton’s performance in significant roles in Republican Administrations, especially as US Ambassador to the United Nations, and to admire in particular his commendable ability to infuriate liberal democrats.

John Bolton would be an articulate candidate, one well able to debate on even ground with the silver-tongued Barack Obama. I expect he would fill his administration with well-qualified representatives of the Republican Right, would govern with fiscal conservatism domestically, and with firmness and resolution abroad. The GOP could do a lot worse.

31 Aug 2010

NYC Considering Providing $70M in Tax Free Financing to Ground Zero Mosque

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Where was Feisel Adbul Rauf going to get the $100 million needed to construct his Cordoba House, excuse me! renamed as Park51 Islamic Center proposed to be sited within the zone of destruction caused by the 9/11 attacks?

Naturally, I suspected Middle Eastern sheiks and Islamists would simply be taking so many dollars off the top of this month’s package of financial aid to Hamas, al Qaeda, and the Taliban and sending it Abdul Rauf’s way. But, no, it’s better than that.

As Reuters reports, New York City may actually provide the bulk of the needed funding for the combined victory monument and recruiting center.

The Muslim center planned near the site of the World Trade Center attack could qualify for tax-free financing, a spokesman for City Comptroller John Liu said on Friday, and Liu is willing to consider approving the public subsidy.

The Democratic comptroller’s spokesman, Scott Sieber, said Liu supported the project. The center has sparked an intense debate over U.S. religious freedoms and the sanctity of the Trade Center site, where nearly 3,000 perished in the September 11, 2001 attack.

“If it turns out to be financially feasible and if they can demonstrate an ability to pay off the bonds and comply with the laws concerning tax-exempt financing, we’d certainly consider it,” Sieber told Reuters.

Spokesmen for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor David Paterson and the Islamic center and were not immediately available.

The proposed center, two blocks from the Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, has caused a split between people who lost relatives and friends in the attack, as well as conservative politicians, and those who support the project. Among those who support it are the mayor, civic and religious groups, and some families of victims.

The mosque’s backers hope to raise a total of $70 million in tax-exempt debt to build the center, according to the New York Times. Tax laws allow such funding for religiously affiliated non-profits if they can prove the facility will benefit the general public and their religious activities are funded separately.

The bonds could be issued through a local development corporation created for this purpose, experts said.

The Islamic center would have to repay the bonds, which likely would be less expensive than taxable debt.

31 Aug 2010

EPA Let the Bedbug Bite

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Another happy democrat party constituent

The Daily Caller links the recent bedbug epidemic in New York City and other Eastern states, just like the Housing crash, to Clinton Administration policies.

While worst in the Northeast and especially New York City, blood-sucking bed bugs [family: Cimicidae] are making a remarkably rapid resurgence worldwide.

Though not known to spread disease, the itchy welts from their bites and the general distress caused by knowing one is being feasted on while asleep prove a nightmare for many victims.

Eradication can take months and cost thousands of dollars. There’s also the stigma — many high-end New York residences, for instance, keep their bed bug infestations secret to avoid embarrassment.

But why are bed bugs back? Though they’ve been sucking humans’ blood since at least ancient Greece, bed bugs became virtually extinct in America following the invention of pesticide DDT.

There were almost no bed bugs in the United States between World War II and the mid-1990s.

Around when bed bugs started their resurgence, Congress passed a major pesticides law in 1996 and the Clinton EPA banned several classes of chemicals that had been effective bed bug killers.

The debate isn’t over long-banned DDT, since modern bed bugs have developed a tolerance for that chemical. But in the pre-1996 regime, experts say, bed bugs were “collateral damage” from broader and more aggressive use of now-banned pesticides like Malathion and Propoxur.

Now some health officials are clamoring to bring those chemicals back to help solve the bed bug “emergency.” Meanwhile, EPA bureaucrats have downplayed the idea and environmentalists are pushing hard against the effort, citing safety concerns.

The issue has led to a standoff between Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, and EPA chief Lisa Jackson, who shot down Strickland’s appeals over the issue in a tersely worded letter in June. …

According to research at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, academic headquarters for studying the six-legged beast, some strains of bed bugs can survive, zombie-like, for up to 16 days after being directly sprayed with currently used pesticides.

If you consider that in most instances insects are intended to die shortly after coming into brief contact with pesticide residue, that’s pretty dramatic.

Meanwhile, tests at the University of Kentucky show the EPA-banned pesticides are still deadly effective at bed bug mass murder.

30 Aug 2010

Prosecutor Who Indicted No One in Town Bully Shooting Retires

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The late Ken Rex McElroy

After 30 years, David Baird, prosecuting attorney of Nodoway County, Missouri, is retiring after being defeated 1,356 votes to 1,381 votes, a margin of 25 ballots, in the democrat party primary.

The famous town bully shooting in Skidmore which took place within months of Mr. Baird first assuming office remains unsolved to this day.

Kansas City Star:

Ken Rex McElroy, 47, was a big, burly man with bushy sideburns, cold eyes and an ever-present gun. He was the Skidmore bully. On July 10, 1981, on a hot summer morning in a fed-up town, he was shot to death in plain view of 30 to 40 people who gathered around his Chevrolet pickup outside a beer joint on Main Street.

Killed instantly by rifle bullets, his foot pushed the accelerator to the floor. The engine roared. Like something in literature, no one shut it off. They just walked away.

Except for McElroy’s wife, nobody told who did it. Investigators and grand juries heard the same thing time and time again: “I heard shooting and got down. Didn’t see a thing.”

Apparently, McElroy was mean enough to unite a town of plain, good folks to do murder. He had terrorized Skidmore for years. He allegedly stole livestock, burned houses, chased women, preyed upon young girls — and threatened a bullet or buckshot for anyone who got in his way.

Baird could never charge anyone.

Wikipedia article.

Despite being a democrat, it sounds like Mr. Baird was a responsible prosecutor. Let’s hope his successor continues to follow his example.


McElroy’s pickup truck

30 Aug 2010

Italy Declines to Recognize Islam as a Legitimate Religion

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AdnKronos:

Mosques in Italy will not receive a share of income tax revenue the Italian government allocates to religious faiths each year. Hindu and Buddhist temples, Greek Orthodox churches and Jehovah’s Witnesses will be eligible for the funds, according to a bill approved by the Italian cabinet in May and still must be approved by parliament.

Until now, the government had earmarked 8 percent of income tax revenue for Italy’s established churches. The great majority of these funds go to the Catholic Church, although if they wish, individual tax payers may elect to give the money to charities and cultural projects instead.

The head of COREIS, one of Italy’s largest Muslim groups, Yahya Pallavicini, said he was bitter that Islam had been denied the revenue from Italian income tax.

“Work should be begun on legally recognising those moderate Muslims who have for years shown themselves to be reliable interlocutors who are free of and fundamentalist ideology,” he said.

Islam is not an established religion in Italy and there is only one official mosque in the country, Rome’s Grand Mosque (photo). Politicians from the ruling coalition cite radical imams, polygamy and failure to uphold women’s rights by Muslims immigrants as obstacles to recognising Islam as an official religion in Italy.

Obviously, we are not Italy, and the US framers ruled out any federally established churches in 1787, but the Italian government’s decision is interesting because it demonstrates that some countries within Christendom do recognize that the differences between the culture of Islam and our own are gravely important and Islamic intransigence and pretensions to supremacy inevitably lead to conflict.

Islam is not just another, alternative mode of religious expression like Zen Buddhism or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or the Church of Latter Day Saints. Muslims cannot be assumed to be willing to attend their own services, raise their children in their faith, hold the occasional fund-raising bazaar or annual parade and be content.

Muslims typically attempt to prevent, even to punish, criticism or mockery of Islam. Muslims refuse to recognize the equality of other religious faiths or of unfaith. Muslims commonly decline to assimilate. And Muslims reject fundamentally the principle of separation of church and state.

As long as Islam aspires to replace our culture and politics with its own; as long as Islam refuses to criticize itself, reform, or accommodate itself to modern pluralist societies; as long as Islam is both a religion and a political adversary of the West; Islam is not entitled to claim the immunities and privileges associated with being just another religion.

30 Aug 2010

Smartest Man in America in Action

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Don Surber said he thought the photo “does not reflect his competence as president.” Don ‘s much more charitable than I am.

29 Aug 2010

2010 Cubbing Begins

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Hunting during fox hunting’s annual preseason consists of cubbing.

Before the regular hunting season begins in October or November, the new entry of hounds is taken out and introduced to hunting, and the same year’s crop of young foxes is introduced to being pursued by hounds.

Training young hounds to hunt properly is a delicate business and by convention hunt membership normally carries no automatic invitation to come out cubbing. Cubbing traditionally is strictly by special invitation of the Master, as inexperienced riders or unreliable horses can represent a serious hazard to inexperienced hounds or create distractions and impair their training.

So confident are the Masters of the Blue Ridge Hunt, however, of professional huntsman Dennis Downing’s management of his pack that cubbing is treated informally. Everyone is notified of cubbing meets and everyone is invited to attend.

During cubbing, traditional hunt uniforms are not worn. The correct attire, referred to as Ratcatcher, consists of non-formal hunting boots, a tweed coat, and a collared shirt and necktie. This summer was exceptionally warm, so even though starting early in the morning, the Blue Ridge field yesterday was prepared for warm weather, eschewing even Ratcatcher jacket and tie in favor of polo shirts.

Yesterday morning at 7:00 A.M., the Blue Ridge Hunt conducted its first cubbing of the year from kennels.


Staff and experienced members of the field stand guard on Kennel Road to keep any young hounds from crossing and going astray. (Click on photo for larger image)


Whipping in in the morning mist.


Huntsman Dennis Downing, accompanied by Whips Ross Salter and Sue Downing, brings the pack down the road in astonishingly good order.

Karen’s photo essay.

29 Aug 2010

The Oikophobia of the Elites

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In the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto, responds to the recent editorial by Charles Krauthammer, to explore even further the pathologies of “the snobbery of the cognitive elite.”

The Ground Zero mosque is an affront to the sensibilities of ordinary Americans. “The center’s association with 9/11 is intentional and its location is no geographic coincidence,” as the Associated Press has reported. That Americans would find this offensive is a matter of simple common sense. The liberal elites cannot comprehend common sense, and, incredibly, they think that’s a virtue. After all, common sense is so common.

The British philosopher Roger Scruton has coined a term to describe this attitude: oikophobia. Xenophobia is fear of the alien; oikophobia is fear of the familiar: “the disposition, in any conflict, to side with ‘them’ against ‘us’, and the felt need to denigrate the customs, culture and institutions that are identifiably ‘ours.’ ” What a perfect description of the pro-mosque left.

Scruton was writing in 2004, and his focus was on Britain and Europe, not America. But his warning about the danger of oikophobes–whom he amusingly dubs “oiks”–is very pertinent on this side of the Atlantic today, and it illuminates how what are sometimes dismissed as mere matters of “culture” tie in with economic and social policy:

    The oik repudiates national loyalties and defines his goals and ideals against the nation, promoting transnational institutions over national governments, accepting and endorsing laws that are imposed on us from on high by the EU or the UN, though without troubling to consider Terence’s question, and defining his political vision in terms of universal values that have been purified of all reference to the particular attachments of a real historical community.

    The oik is, in his own eyes, a defender of enlightened universalism against local chauvinism. And it is the rise of the oik that has led to the growing crisis of legitimacy in the nation states of Europe. For we are seeing a massive expansion of the legislative burden on the people of Europe, and a relentless assault on the only loyalties that would enable them voluntarily to bear it. The explosive effect of this has already been felt in Holland and France. It will be felt soon everywhere, and the result may not be what the oiks expect.

There is one important difference between the American oik and his European counterpart. American patriotism is not a blood-and-soil nationalism but an allegiance to a country based in an idea of enlightened universalism. Thus our oiks masquerade as–and may even believe themselves to be–superpatriots, more loyal to American principles than the vast majority of Americans, whom they denounce as “un-American” for feeling an attachment to their actual country as opposed to a collection of abstractions.

Yet the oiks’ vision of themselves as an intellectual aristocracy violates the first American principle ever articulated: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .”

This cannot be reconciled with the elitist notion that most men are economically insecure bitter clinging intolerant bigots who need to be governed by an educated elite. Marxism Lite is not only false; it is, according to the American creed, self-evidently false. That is why the liberal elite finds Americans revolting.

28 Aug 2010

“EPA Surrenders to NRA on Gun Control Issue”

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Chuck Heston is celebrating in Valhalla

Some headlines are so good they just have to be quoted.

The NRA is not completely above criticism. I was a bit appalled by its cynicism in simply making a backroom deal carving out its own exemption from democrat bans on campaign free speech.

But we have to give the NRA’s current leadership credit, they have been doing an effective job of defending the particular segment of American liberty under their purview that is equaled nowhere else in American political life.

Frankly, I think the NRA ought to found a for-profit subsidiary organization that insurance companies, doctors, and consumers could pay to protect our right to private and unrationed choice in health care.

Isn’t it amazing that the Obama Administration just ignored negative polls in the high 50 percentage points and nationalized health care anyway? They are facing two-thirds disapproval ratings on the way they’re handling the economy and that is not deterring them a bit. But when democrat mischief connected with the shooting sports is afoot these days, the NRA works on the Obama Administration like a crucifix works on vampires.

If you’re not a member, go to the column on the right and join the NRA. Just click on the other picture of Charlton Heston holding up a rifle.

In a swift and unexpected decision, the Environmental Protection Agency today rejected a petition from environmental groups to ban the use of lead in bullets and shotgun shells, claiming it doesn’t have jurisdiction to weigh on the controversial Second Amendment issue. The decision came just hours after the Drudge Report posted stories from Washington Whispers and the Weekly Standard about how gun groups were fighting the lead bullet ban.

The EPA had planned to solicit public responses to the petition for two months, but this afternoon issued a statement rejecting a 100-page request from the Center for Biological Diversity, the American Bird Conservancy, and three other groups for a ban on lead bullets, shot, and fishing sinkers. The agency is still considering what to do about sinkers.

The decision was a huge victory for the National Rifle Association which just seven days ago asked that the EPA reject the petition, suggesting that it was a back door attempt to limit hunting and impose gun control. It also was a politically savvy move to take gun control off the table as the Democrats ready for a very difficult midterm election.

Earlier overly pessimistic post.

28 Aug 2010

A Commercial VW Won’t Be Broadcasting

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It is going the rounds by viral email, titled MUSLIM CULTURE MEETS GERMAN ENGINEERING. 0:22 video

Hat tip to Robert Breedlove.

27 Aug 2010

A Minority Government Thumbing Its Nose at the Majority

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Willem-Adolphe Bouguereau, Liberal Democrat Pursued By the Furies, 1862, Chrysler Museum of Art

Rich Lowery explains how the democrat minority lucked into control of both electoral branches of government and then proceeded to self destruct.

The frustrations of minority status can drive a political party batty.

The temptation is to substitute belligerence for thought, insist on a self-destructive purity, lash out at the American public and question the wisdom and viability of the country’s institutions. Indulging in these tendencies almost always makes a party’s position worse rather than better.

The Obama Democrats may be the first party to engage in this self-defeating behavior — borne of a frustrated desperation — while holding the presidency and both houses of Congress by substantial margins.

Through an accident of timing (a national election coinciding with a financial crisis) and the exhaustion of the Bush-DeLay Republicans (who lost power almost by default), liberals took the commanding heights of the federal government while remaining a minority disposition in our national life. In short, they became a rump majority.

Through President Obama’s alchemy, these temporarily enlarged congressional numbers were supposed to be transformed into a permanent realignment. It hasn’t worked out, obviously.

In the last 20 months, Democrats have had the power to do almost everything they want, except command the allegiance of the public. That has made them and their allies feel embattled, isolated and perpetually aggrieved. They act like a forlorn minority at the same time they control every lever of elective power in Washington.

The ultimate source of the Democrats’ discontent is quite simple: They’ve lost independents. In 1994, in taking Congress, Republicans won independents by 14 percentage points. In 2006, in taking it back, Democrats won independents by 18 points. In the latest Gallup survey, Republicans lead among independents by 11 points. …

The pollster.com average of Obama’s approval rating among independents is a dismal 37.9 percent. This meltdown should have launched a thousand agonized liberal op-eds, conferences and strategy papers on how to win back the center. If, that is, liberalism had any realistic sense of its limits.

In the midst of a catastrophic loss of the middle, Obama’s supporters exhort him to get more angry, insistent and ambitiously liberal. Having already pushed for a bridge too far, they want to go farther still. When they can’t, they conclude it’s a damning indictment of Obama’s failure of nerve and the nation’s ungovernablility.

There’s little acknowledgment that the country is in a different place than they are. To the extent there is, so much worse for the country, which is condemned for its backwardness and intolerance. The majority is not just wrong on immigration enforcement and the Ground Zero mosque, it’s contemptible. Who knew that the American public would get accused of bigotry more often after electing an African-American president than before?

As former Bush speechwriter Peter Wehner writes, liberals “are expressing deepening alienation from our nation and turning on the American people with a vengeance.” They thought they had a mandate from heaven in 2008 and can’t bear the thought that they deluded themselves. They’ve gone from triumphalism to a petulant and uncomprehending tantrum in less than two years. The rump majority looks more exhausted by the day.

27 Aug 2010

The Last Refuge of the Liberal

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The single most annoying thing about liberals is their false claim to intellectual superiority founded not on the merits of their arguments and analysis but on their long-term successful domination and near monopoly of certain institutions and professions conferring exceptional power and prestige.

They never really win any debates, but rely on their ability to shout down and, as Charles Krauthammer describes, marginalize their opposition with smears.

Liberalism under siege is an ugly sight indeed. Just yesterday it was all hope and change and returning power to the people. But the people have proved so disappointing. Their recalcitrance has, in only 19 months, turned the 40-year liberal ascendancy that James Carville predicted into a full retreat.

Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the “bitter” people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging “to guns or religion or” — this part is less remembered — “antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.”

That’s a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.

Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.

Disgust and alarm with the federal government’s unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.

Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.

Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia.

Now we know why the country has become “ungovernable,” last year’s excuse for the Democrats’ failure of governance: Who can possibly govern a nation of racist, nativist, homophobic Islamophobes?

Note what connects these issues. In every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public opinion. Majorities — often lopsided majorities — oppose President Obama’s social-democratic agenda (e.g., the stimulus, ObamaCare), support the Arizona law, oppose gay marriage and reject a Ground Zero mosque.

What’s a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that pre-empts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument.

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Laura Ingraham denounces the same pattern of liberal behavior and calls for genuine debate. 2:23 video

27 Aug 2010

Nico Would Be a Republican Too Today (If She Were Still Alive)

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In this 3:01 WALB-TV (Albany, GA) video reporting on Tea Party protests in South Georgia, we find at 2:41 former Velvet Underground drummer Maureen “Moe” Tucker denouncing the advance of socialism and excessive federal spending.

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Velvet Underground — Beginning to See the Light (1969) 4:43 video


Some people work very hard
but still they never get it right.
Well I’m beginning to see the light.

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Hat tip to John Brewer.

27 Aug 2010

Vindictiveness Backfires

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Daniel Foster commented on the Obama Administration punishing New Jersey for insufficient compliance to the demands of the teachers’ union by disqualifying the state for hundreds of millions of dollars of federal education funds based on a trivial error in more that 1000 pages of paperwork.

This 5:29 video of Governor Chris Christie’s response is making him a national star and producing a wave of “Christie in 2012” enthusiasm.

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