Saturday, June 30, 2007

A few tasting notes

on Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve, 20 year old bourbon whiskey. A certain blogger presented me with a bottle as a gift, and I have to say, it is clearly in my top handful of all time spirits.

This is, without a doubt, the smoothest bourbon whiskey that has ever touched Fredo's lips. As the distiller diluted it to 90 proof, my instinct was to avoid any further dilution. And that was definitely the way to go. Ice or water would be a crime in this bourbon, which is basically a dessert, even when enjoyed neat (as I did for the purposes of this tasting).

The initial nose was intense, but behind the initial burn were whisps of chocolate, oak, and cherry. Texture was buttery, and the legs were slow and steady. Flavor lingered on each sip, and, despite the strong nose, there was very little harshness, once it was on the palette. Those who prefer their bourbon with a little Southern fight might want to look elsewhere, as this bourbon was true to its label: a brand that Grandpa would distill for his family. You know how your Grandfather is happy to tell you his stories, but always tilts towards the heartwarming over all of the rough patches? If your Grandfather was the same way, trust me, this is definitely the bourbon he'd want you drink.

Death Cab For Cutie - Soul Meets Body

This is apparently not a new song. But as it was new to me, and since it absolutely hooked me (I've listened to it approx. 40 times since yesterday), I figgered I'd share it with y'all.

Fred Barnes, spinning in circles

Fred Barnes from the Weekly Standard (the NeoCon joint that will become the second "W" cast forever into irrelevancy come 1/2009) has followed the President's lead in insuating that those who were opposed to Shamnesty reside on the political fringes. His most recent column is entitled, "Why the Center Did Not Hold."

My guess? Probably because there was no there there. There is no center on this issue. Poll after poll shows that a supermajority of Americans are opposed to amnesty. Every segment of the American political spectrum found something to oppose in this bill, from leftist union groups and minority leaders (save the La Raza types) to law-and-order conservatives and social conservatives. Sure, you have your handful of millionaire globalist libertarians who are actually profiting off the cheap labor (see the most recent American Conservative for a list of who they are and how they are direct friends of POTUS), and the occasional economics grad student who wants to argue that Americans are better off saving $.05/head of lettuce, even if it means decimiating the livelihood of their countrymen who grew up working in agriculture. But the reason the bill failed was the overwhelming (negative) grass roots (and blog!) reaction that our glorious leaders received when they attempted to ram through this legislation, legislation that only had the applause of a few loud backers who write large campaign checks (and the President).
Thursday, June 28, 2007

Senator Switchback

Ouch. That hurts.



UPDATE:

Leon Wolf, the e-campaign manager for the Brownback campaign, has responded here.

Now that's a land grab

If you're going to claim squatters rights, why do it over a building? Start with a sub-continent, and see if anyone notices.

Nice to see the Rooskies back to their old imperial selves. They're clearly a little rusty, however. The old Soviet ministries would never have a let a loose cannon like this guy deviate from the party line:

"Frankly I think it's a little bit strange," Sergey Priamikov, the international co-operation director of Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St Petersburg, told the Guardian. "Canada could make exactly the same claim. The Canadians could say that the Lomonosov ridge is part of the Canadian shelf, which means Russia should in fact belong to Canada, together with the whole of Eurasia."

Someone better start cooking his own meals.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007

An open letter to fence-sitting GOP Senators

I sent copies to the offices of these Senators this morning via www.senate.gov.

With the cloture vote set for today, we're running out of time to make our voices heard. You know what to do!

Senators McConnell, Bond, Brownback, Burr, Cochran, Coleman, and Ensign,

Take a stand and tell the American people that Republicans want security and a controlled immigration process. We already have all the laws we need, including the fence that was authorized by the last Congress. No "comprehensive" bill is needed. We just need to enforce the law.

The President has failed the country and his party on this issue, and I'm saying this as a lifelong Republican and former (and future) RNC donor. Do your part to make it clear that the Republican party has principles. That we're not just pushed around by the President's arm-twisting.

It's not anti-immigrant to insist on our laws being obeyed. We can even increase the number of immigrants that are allowed lawful entry, but not until the fence is built, and we can control who is entering the country.

Our best chance to recapture the WH and Congress in '08 is to show the American people that the GOP is serious about national security, which starts at the border.

Yes on cloture means yes on amnesty. And everybody knows it.

PS: Senator Webb isn't off the hook either just b/c he's a Dem. As someone who seems to possess common sense and ran on a platform opposing amnesty, I wrote him separately asking him to uphold his campaign pledge.

Hat tips:

RedState (includes Senator's phone #'s)

National Review
Sunday, June 24, 2007

A little blind speculation on Bloomberg

Everyone seems pretty convinced Bloomberg's planning an independent run, and with good reason. He can bankroll his entire campaign. He had little reason other than a planned run to leave the GOP. And Drudge had a story up saying he's had staffers planning the campaign for the past two years. Still....

George Will made the point on This Week today that Bloomberg has said he'll only run if he has a chance to win--and hence he won't run. Will is dead right, of course. Even if Bloomberg managed to win a few states and deny an outright win to the Dem or GOP candidate, there is no possibility for him to win an electoral majority on election night. An election tossed to the House would, by definition, be tossed to the two national parties and one of their candidates. Which is why I figure he's not running to win. So why the move to (I) status?

A couple of blind guess scenarios, the first mentioned, again, on This Week:

(1) Bloomberg wants to play king maker by tossing any electoral votes he wins to the eventual winner.

(2) Bloomberg will run, but not to win. Just to alter the outcome. He will spend a half-a-billion dollars in ad money running hard to the right (on his fiscal record and business background) in order to siphon GOP votes, if he feels the ultimate Dem candidate would make a better President than the Republican. Or conversely, he could run hard to the left on his liberal social track record to siphon Dem votes if he feels the GOP candidate is worthy of support. Would someone sink $.5 Bil into a run just to mess with the system, you may ask? Do you know the typical ego of a Wall Street tycoon?

(3) Bloomberg is not planning on running at all, but is planning to be a Veep, or merely the Sugar Daddy, for someone else's 3rd party run. After Hagel's appearance on Face the Nation in May, Chuck would seem to be a prime candidate to get Bloomy's backing. Same libertarianism on social policy, same willingness to abandon loyalty to the party for priniciple/personal ambition (I'll leave that determination to you), same stated desire for spending restraint (although in practice Hagel is much better on tax and spending the policy than Bloomy has been), same "pragmatic" approach to foreign policy.

Legendary Jet Joe Namath

Because some things are too good to forget.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Jim DeMint is the best Senator out there

He has been a rock on immigration, and continues to be out in front on the issue with this article in USA Today. Here's the heart of his column:

We do not need the Senate immigration bill to secure the border.

Congress has already passed laws authorizing border security, but the Homeland Security Department has failed to fully implement them. The administration already has the authority to build hundreds of miles of border fencing, hire and train 6,000 border patrol agents (bringing the total number of agents to 18,000), end catch and release, and create a national employment verification database. Essentially, all of the security benchmarks in the current Senate bill are already law.

Unfortunately, proponents of this bill would have us believe that none of these security measures can be implemented unless we pass a bill that grants amnesty to 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants. In short, security is being held hostage in return for amnesty.

Some more on Sen. DeMint, from the land of wiki wiki:

DeMint was ranked by National Journal as the most conservative United States Senator in their March, 2007 conservative/liberal rankings.

DeMint favors banning all forms of abortion.

DeMint opposes all forms of amnesty and would require all illegal immigrants currently in the United States to return to their home countries to apply for legal reinstatement. He has implied that he would consider leaving the Republican Party if it adopts an amnesty program.

DeMint was strongly supported by the fiscally conservative political group Club for Growth. He has been strongly praised by the group for anti-pork activities in the 109th Congress.

DeMint married his high school sweetheart, Debbie Henderson, on September 1, 1973; the couple have four children.

DeMint [is] a Presbyterian.

Calling him a leader in fiscal responsibility isn't giving him nearly enough credit, as this Fund column from the WSJ points out.

This leaves out the fact that he is, to my knowledge, the first candidate to be elected to the U.S. Senate campaigning in support of the Fair Tax and the abolition of the IRS.

Hi.

I like writing stupid things in the MSM. Read my column:

Who is Bloomberg's constituency? Is it Republicans who are desperate for a standard-bearer in the mold of Ronald Reagan? Bloomberg doesn't appeal to the GOP base -- he's liberal, from New York and is Jewish. (Be honest, if he was a hard-core conservative and a Baptist, they would be falling over him.)

[My emphasis]

And if Che Gueverra were Miguel Estrada, I'd want him nominated to the Supreme Court. What's your point, snapperhead?
Friday, June 22, 2007

That's my President, Kay, it's not me

Glad to see Senator Kay Bailey-Hutchison is standing up to W, McCain, Kennedy, Lott and the Dems in opposing amnesty.

After some previous waffling, she seems to be finding her backbone.

Even the minority leader appears to be on the fence now. How many times do we have to slay this dragon?

People's Republik of Amerika

Nyet! You can't say that on the radio.

Here's the link from Drudge:

SENATOR CLAIMS: BOXER/CLINTON WANT 'LEGISLATIVE FIX' FOR TALKRADIO

And the accompanying photo:



The good witch of the North must have already been dispatched for these sisters to be smiling.
Thursday, June 21, 2007

Some Just Can't Live Without Greenspan

Ron Paul has proposed a bill to get rid of the FED. Read about the few details here. What do you think?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A must read from Jennifer Rubin

From the "Ob"-ed page at the New York Observer, Human Events columnist Jennifer Rubin has written a piece that captures my mood to a "T", though I've been trying not to dwell on it. She has the indictment of Bush from a conservative's perspective, and the sinking sense that we're repeating 2000 by looking to FDT. I couldn't agree with or recommend this article more.

A few quotes. First, her dead-on criticism of Bush:

It is worth remembering that before he became president, then-Governor George Bush had to convince the Republican elders that he was their man: solidly conservative, more reliable than John McCain and an easy sell to the voters by virtue of his family name. He courted and was tutored by the likes of Henry Kissinger, George Schultz and Dick Cheney. They returned from the meetings confident of his bona fides and assured donors that he would be a safe choice for the G.O.P. establishment...

He’d be just fine, they said.

Well, he turned out to be not so fine. Conservatives had sold themselves, not to mention the country, short. Yes, President Bush cut taxes. But he also added Medicare Part D, the largest entitlement expansion in a generation, federalized K-12 education with “No Child Left Behind” and failed to veto a single spending bill. From the perspective of fiscal conservatives, this was a record worthy of, well, Al Gore or John Kerry.

Then of course there was “nation building.” During the pre-campaign tutorials and the 2000 campaign, he seemed to have mastered the notion that America doesn’t do well imposing itself on other cultures. That opposition to foreign adventures vanished after 9/11, when his administration immediately set about planning to democratize the Middle East by remaking Iraq.

And the worst insult of all, from conservatives’ viewpoint, was that the President eventually had the nerve to train his sights directly on them. As he pursued immigration—an endeavor that angered a large segment of the conservative base—the President and his surrogates began talking about his conservative critics with the same disdainful language he had previously reserved for Democrats.

According to the administration, the critics did not have the country’s interests at heart and were racist and ignorant.

The base was predictably outraged, and right-leaning bloggers and conservative columnists protested that they had been betrayed. But none of them should have been shocked.

Had they been more honest, they would have acknowledged that they had anointed a minimally qualified man with limited intellectual skills. He had voiced token support for their causes, but his narrow experience and sheltered life had left him unprepared for the intellectual and personal demands of the Presidency.

Unable to marshal facts and persuade a skeptical public on Iraq, immigration or Social Security, he resorted to emotional pleas and empty buzzwords. When his advisors failed him, he had no independent source of knowledge or analytical skills to guide him back on course. Moreover, the prized trait of Bush loyalty quickly lapsed into stubborn cronyism; conservatives, like the rest of the public, reacted in horror as Bush advanced unqualified friends like Harriet Miers and Alberto Gonzales.


So do Republicans learn from their mistakes?

...conservative insiders have flagged down the next undistinguished, albeit appealing, fellow to fit the bill of conservative standard bearer: Fred Thompson. (He communicates! He creates pithy ripostes to Michael Moore! He thinks Iran is a danger!)

Once again, they are enchanted by the banal. They seem unmoved by his lack of accomplishment in any field of endeavor other than acting. The highlights of his Senate record seem to be a single bill to track wasteful spending, an ineptly run investigation on illegal Chinese campaign contributions and stewardship of a McCain-Feingold campaign-finance bill that most of them despise. And so far this year, Mr. Thompson has yet to offer any specific policy proposals.

A track record of determined leadership, intellectual creativity, extemporaneous speaking skills and well-thought-out plans for the future should be minimal qualifications for the Presidency. Should conservatives reflect on the error of their previous choice, they might adopt criteria more meaningful than a willingness to genuflect to ideological convention. If not, the next chosen candidate will be as hapless as the last.

Fred Thompson might be one of the candidates with whom I share the most common ground, ideologically. But as I've been writing here for months, I've learned my lesson from Bush 43, and couldn't support FDT in the primaries. I need to see a canidate who who has displayed excellence in his professional life, who has a proven track record of executive competence, and who has the confidence and eloquence to control a debate. For the record, FDT is only 1-for-3. Romney, Huckabee and Rudy: 3-for-3. And Romney and Huckabee are much more to my liking, ideologically.

From this point forward, I have nothing else to say on the topic of a Fred Thompson candidacy. Jennifer Rubin has said it for me.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Old dog, old tricks

CNN can't be trusted, episode #983.

Just saw this over at Race 4 2008 from the classy Kavon, who is a big Rudy supporter and also happens to run the best '08 GOP blog around:

And speaking of CNN… Let me give you reason #478,399 to reevaluate whatever stock or faith that you may place in their reporting.

At the Dubuque “Ask Mitt Anything” Q&A, Anne Romney took a rather violent fall as the part of the stage that she was standing on collapsed as she concluded her remarks.

Mrs. Romney regained her composure almost immediately and assured the shocked audience that she was OK. She calmly returned to her seat and beamed at her husband as he continued his speech.

She mingled with the crowd afterwards and singed every autograph, answered every question, and posed for every picture showing absolutely no signs that the fall had caused her the slightest injury.

So imagine me and Dr. Fuller’s surprise as we read a CNN report that was filed shortly after the event which described the accident as Anne Romney misjudging the edge of the stage leading to her fall; then going on in great detail about her diagnosis and struggle with MS. The implication of course, was that her MS was somehow the cause of the fall.

Now that version of the story has since been pulled and replaced with a new one. Here’s the new version filed by CNN’s “American Morning” anchor John Roberts:

DUBUQUE, Iowa (CNN)–At an “Ask Mitt anything” event at the Best Western in Dubuque, Iowa on Saturday, Ann Romney fell to the floor as she stepped off a small stage she was sharing with her husband. She recovered quickly, quipping that she was bucked off a horse earlier in the week and that this fall didn’t compare to that. The stage was only a few inches high.

She later made light of the tumble, joking to me “I fell on da butt in Dubuque”.

The campaign said that she fell because of “stage failure”. One of the legs of the riser folded up as she stepped toward the edge.

Ann Romney suffers from multiple sclerosis, which is in remission.


Now let me ask you this: what on Earth does Mrs. Romney having a stage collapse under her have to do with her suffering from MS? It is bad enough that CNN erroneously implied that her fall was somehow the result of her condition (and let me assure you, I was 5 yards from Anne Romney with a clear line of site when this happened. It was clear to everyone in the room that the stage collapsed from under her. Not that she misjudged, or somehow could not control the movement of her legs.)

So why is the fact that she has MS still in the corrected story?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Old quote, today's news:

Fred Thompson: “The ultimate decision must be made by the woman. Government should treat its citizens as adults capable of making moral decisions on their own.”

Link

Hat tip: Aron Goldman

Makes me wonder if we'll see an analagous FDT quote on emancipation: "The ultimate decision must be made by the citizen. Government should treat its citizens as adults capable of making moral decisions..."

P.M. al-Maliki makes an eloquent plea for patience

...in a letter to the editor at the Wall Street Journal entitled "Our Common Struggle." Well worth reading.

I'm not sure what the next step in Iraq should be (more troops engaging sectarians, removal from cities to provide border security, reduction in troops coupled with a an attempt at obtaining multi-lateral political support and stability, etc.), but I know what it must not be: an all-out abandonment of Iraq to Islamists that resembles the abandonment of Saigon to the NVA in '75.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Finally, someone cuts the sacred cow

Thanks to Jonah Goldberg and the (gasp) LA Times for taking on an assumption that is so ingrained in the US that we never question it: that a government monopoly over education services is a good thing. Here's the guts of his article, IMO:

HERE'S A GOOD question for you: Why have public schools at all?

OK, cue the marching music. We need public schools because blah blah blah and yada yada yada. We could say blah is common culture and yada is the government's interest in promoting the general welfare. Or that children are the future. And a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Because we can't leave any child behind.

The problem with all these bromides is that they leave out the simple fact that one of the surest ways to leave a kid "behind" is to hand him over to the government. Americans want universal education, just as they want universally safe food. But nobody believes that the government should run 90% of the restaurants, farms and supermarkets. Why should it run 90% of the schools — particularly when it gets terrible results? ...

There's a consensus in America that every child should get an education, but as David Gelernter noted recently in the Weekly Standard, there's no such consensus that public schools need to do the educating.

Really, what would be so terrible about government mandating that every kid has to go to school, and providing subsidies and oversight when necessary, but then getting out of the way?

Milton Friedman noted long ago that the government is bad at providing services — that's why he wanted public schools to be called "government schools" — but that it's good at writing checks. So why not cut checks to people so they can send their kids to school?

What about the good public schools? Well, the reason good public schools are good has nothing to do with government's special expertise and everything to do with the fact that parents care enough to ensure their kids get a good education. That wouldn't change if the government got out of the school business. What would change is that fewer kids would get left behind.

He points to Mitt's MA health care approach as a possible solution in the education arena:

Right now, there's a renewed debate about providing "universal" health insurance. For some liberals, this simply means replicating the public school model for healthcare. (Stop laughing.) But for others, this means mandating that everyone have health insurance — just as we mandate that all drivers have car insurance — and then throwing tax dollars at poorer folks to make sure no one falls through the cracks.
Monday, June 11, 2007

Will pokes at the Thompson "bubble"

The article is not so noteworthy for the content (similar to themes seen here and at R 4 '08), as for who is offering it: George Will, a conservative intellectual heavyweight, who apparently feels the same way about the budding FDT campaign that I do.

Speaking of Fred Thompson ...

Some say he is the Republicans' Rorschach test: They all see in him what they crave. Or he might be the Republicans' dot-com bubble, the result of restless political investors seeking value that the untutored eye might not discern and that might be difficult to quantify but which the investors are sure must be there, somewhere, somehow.

One does not want to be unfair to Thompson, who may have hidden depths. But ask yourself this: If he did not look like a basset hound who had just read a sad story—say, "Old Yeller"—and if he did not talk like central casting's idea of the god Sincerity, would anyone think he ought to be entrusted with the nation's nuclear arsenal?
Friday, June 08, 2007

The New Media Spin Cycle

Just when you thought the new media had made the news safe for the truth again, John McIntyre at RealClearPolitics.com comes out with this bit of reporting that is some of the most blatant spinning I've ever seen. I know it's an opinion column, but sticking with reality would be nice.

McIntyre's argument: Rudy and McCain have dealt Mitt a major blow by bowing out of the Ames straw poll, where Mitt had hoped to build momentum against the would-be "frontrunners."

Let me get this straight. Rudy and McCain ran away from Ames b/c they're already getting killed in polling in Iowa, and they know they can't solve the problem with advertisements b/c Mitt has a hammerlock over them on several issues midwest conservatives care about (namely, abortion and immigration). And that's a huge win for Rudy and Johnny Mac?

Oh sure, I guess I can see where Rudy and John would decide it's worse to lose than pre-emptively surrender. But when a reporter can spin that to be "dealing a major blow" to the obviously stronger candidate, that reporter has lost all credibility.

McIntyre's been shilling for Rudy on Kudlow's radio program, among other places, but I never thought he'd stoop to such obvious campaigning in his column.

By way of contrast, Pat Buchanan offers a conclusion that seems a little more grounded in reality:

Mitt Romney has been robbed of a triumph over his two main rivals on Aug. 11. They evaded the trap he had set. But in running Rudy and John out of Ames, Romney has shown real strength, and must now be the favorite to take Iowa in January and probably is the man to beat in New Hampshire.

Insurgents turning against al Qaeda

Although only a small victory, this represents a major accomplishment. This is exactly the original goal of special forces missions in the US in the early days of Korean and Vietnam wars, they would go from town to town winning over the residents to turn against the enemy one village at a time. I believe this type of on the ground activity is essential to short- and mid-term turnaround in Iraq.
Thursday, June 07, 2007

Romney on the issues

Mitt offering up some more specifics here, particularly on post-war Iraq reconstruction.

The more I hear, the more I like. Best blend of conservative ideas into pragmatic policies.

Do you think there is any chance Obama would be willing to be VP to hillary? If so, that could be a big uphill battle for us in general election... I think Hillary alone is a loser, too many people will vote against regardless of who republicans put up. But hillary + obama could be tough..
Tuesday, June 05, 2007

This isn't exactly charitable

but when I read this headline:

Clinton: Faith got me through marital woes

All I can think is, who is Faith and how did Ken Starr not find about her, too?

Good news

I think this ABC poll, which is just the latest to confirm that the Dems have effectively squandered any advantage they had from public as of '06 mid-terms, is great news for Republicans. It shows that the playing field is level again in public's eyes, and whichever candidate presents a compelling case for how to move America forward will win. I think this has to play to Romney's strengths, he needs to come out strong tonight in the debate.
Saturday, June 02, 2007

Conservatives reach a breaking point

It seems like the the President's continued push for amnesty for illegal immigrants, coupled with his and his team's insuations that those opposed to amnesty are "bigots" (Sen. Graham), "chauvinists" (Michael Gerson) or simply "don't want to do what's right for America" (the President), has irreperably damaged a relationship that was already on life support. From Speaker Gingrich to Peggy Noonan, major names in the conservative movement are not merely murmuring, but rather shouting at the top of their lungs that they've had enough. Erick Ercisson is wondering aloud if the Bush administration is a Democrat sleeper cell in the GOP. His article mentions the firing of NRC fundraisers who are presiding over a steep decline in the number of donors. Hey, I'll admit, I'm one of those. The two issues I bothered to write Chairman Mehlman about when I was a paying donor were the filibustering of CCA nominees and our complicity in amnesty programs. When the NRC rolled out Sen. Martinez as it's new Chair, it was a pretty clear F.U. to me and the almost 80% of GOP voters who oppose Hagel-Martinez and any other form of amnesty. They won't be seeing my cash for a while, although selective GOP candidates certainly will.

When the most strident foreign policy interventionists in the conservative blogosphere are piling on, you get the feeling, as Peggy Noonan wrote, that conservatives finally understand that this President has little but disdain for them. Here's her conclusion:

One of the things I have come to think the past few years is that the Bushes, father and son, though different in many ways, are great wasters of political inheritance. They throw it away as if they'd earned it and could do with it what they liked...

Bush the younger came forward, presented himself as a conservative, garnered all the frustrated hopes of his party, turned them into victory, and not nine months later was handed a historical trauma that left his country rallied around him, lifting him, and his party bonded to him. He was disciplined and often daring, but in time he sundered the party that rallied to him, and broke his coalition into pieces. He threw away his inheritance. I do not understand such squandering.

Now conservatives and Republicans are going to have to win back their party.

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