12/31/2008

Parcells Gets It Done

Interesting article on ESPN.com this morning about the turnaround for the Miami Dolphins orchestrated by Bill Parcells. Whiners and prima donnas were put on notice and the legendary coach took out the trash, brought in his own people and led a stunning turnaround. What shouldn't be forgotten is the actions of owner Wayne Huizenga:

Huizenga is a fan's dream. He recognizes when the organization isn't working, doesn't hesitate to spend whatever it takes and readily admits he doesn't know enough about football to meddle. Buffalo Bills fans who scanned that sentence just had pangs of wanderlust.


And there you have it. This is why Jerry Jones may never win another Super Bowl in Dallas. It takes a big man to admit he needs help.


12/30/2008

Blagojevich Gives Clinic On How To Play The Race Card

If the Detroit Lions need a little pick-me-up after a horrible season, they should look toward Illinois for a little confidence boost. No matter how bad things are going for you, there's always a worse situation somewhere else. Hot Air has coverage on how Governor Blagojevich is adding to the fun by making the Senate appointment he had said he wouldn't make. Throw in a little Black Panther action and you have a good time my friend.


A Dutch Awakening?

One of the bigger stories lost in this dead week between Christmas and New Year's is how the Dutch are starting to see the folly of "tolerance."

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, the Netherlands had lived through something akin to a populist revolt against accommodating Islamic immigrants led by Pim Fortuyn, who was later murdered; the assassination of the filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, accused of blasphemy by a homegrown Muslim killer; and the bitter departure from the Netherlands of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali woman who became a member of Parliament before being marked for death for her criticism of radical Islam.

Now something fairly remarkable is happening again.

Two weeks ago, the country's biggest left-wing political grouping, the Labor Party, which has responsibility for integration as a member of the coalition government led by the Christian Democrats, issued a position paper calling for the end of the failed model of Dutch "tolerance."

It came at the same time Nicolas Sarkozy was making a case in France for greater opportunities for minorities that also contained an admission that the French notion of equality "doesn't work anymore."

But there was a difference. If judged on the standard scale of caution in dealing with cultural clashes and Muslims' obligations to their new homes in Europe, the language of the Dutch position paper and Lilianne Ploumen, Labor's chairperson, was exceptional.

The paper said: "The mistake we can never repeat is stifling criticism of cultures and religions for reasons of tolerance."

Read the whole story from the International Herald Tribune. Very interesting.



Same Old Song In The Middle East

Haven't said much about the latest Middle East conflict between Israeli and Hamas...and here's why: I know how it's going to end. It's going to end like all the others. Israeli is going to bomb Hamas to within an inch of their lives. At that time, world diplomats (and at this point Barack Obama) will step in and broker a deal that "stops the bloodshed" which Israel's Kadima idiots will sign on to. Peace in our time! Long live diplomacy! Hamas will then be able to regroup and rebuild with Iranian money and the process begins anew.

Simple. Easy. What more is there to say?


MORE: An absolute classic: "Death to All Juice!"

EVEN MORE: It's a whole new world...the IDF starts its own YouTube Channel. Wonder how long before YouTube gets cold feet and pulls it?



12/29/2008

Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg Gets Key Endorsement

Via...Iowahawk.


NFL Quick Hits

The NFL has finally seen the light and appears ready to end the ridiculous practice of holding the Pro Bowl in Hawaii after the Super Bowl. In a sport that has become so engaging over the past few decades, the Pro Bowl served as the ultimate anti-climax to every season. Now, they're looking to hold it during the dead-week before the Super Bowl in the same location, thus in 2010, it will be held in Miami a week before the Super Bowl in Miami. I would hazard to guess that the pro-bowlers from the two Super Bowl teams will not be playing in this game.

Meanwhile, the housecleaning continues as Romeo Crennel, Rod Marinelli and Eric Mangini have been given their walking papers. Mangini is a bit of a surprise and would argue that Brett Favre's reckless gunslinging yesterday was the final nail in the coffin. Favre is one of the best to play the game, but he's outed himself as a prima-donna that can't be coached. Too bad.

Peter King has some accolades for Marinelli who is the first coach of an 0-16 team in NFL history. He blamed no one else. He told the team not to point fingers at anyone but themselves. It's theirs, they own it, man up. That's really all you can do.


12/28/2008

Tune In Tomorrow

Hey folks, sorry for the lack of posts the last few days. Took the time to spend Christmas in Nebraska with the family and get away from it all. I'll be back tomorrow to see if I can get the Middle East under control.


12/24/2008

Obama Team Clears Obama Team

You know how when the idea is floated to get rid of the EPA and let corporations police their environmental practices themselves the environmentalists get up in arms? I wonder what these same people think about the Obama team investigating the Obama team and finding no impropriety within the Obama team? Nevermind, I know the answer.


The Queen v. Ahmadinejad In A Christmas Battle 'Royal'

I can't help but laugh at this story. Channel 4 in the UK is going to give airtime to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Christmas Day as he will offer an "alternative Christmas message" to Queen Elizabeth II's usual Christmas address.

Okay, first off, the concept here amuses me. An alternative Christmas message. What's this entail? Wishing everyone a crappy Christmas? Is he gonna say, "Liz, you ignorant slut!"? Apparently they've been doing this since 1993, but this is the most high-profile and controversial counterpoint speaker they've had.




The channel's head of news and current affairs Dorothy Byrne said: "As the leader of one of the most powerful states in the Middle East, President Ahmadinejad's views are enormously influential.

"As we approach a critical time in international relations, we are offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view."

Here's hoping he throws in a little "death to the Jews" spiel to get everyone in the Holiday spirit.


12/23/2008

Looking Back At The Classical University

Victor Davis Hanson has a really interesting article on how universities have moved away from the classics and more toward job-training. It's rather long but worth your time. A quick taste:

But in recent decades, classical and traditional liberal arts education has begun to erode, and a variety of unexpected consequences have followed. The academic battle has now gone beyond the in-house "culture wars" of the 1980s. Though the argument over politically correct curricula, controversial faculty appointments, and the traditional mission of the university is ongoing, the university now finds itself being bypassed technologically, conceptually, and culturally, in ways both welcome and disturbing.


Happy Festivus!

The 60s Made Me Do It

Pajamas Media has an editorial reply to Bill Ayers recent piece in the New York Times that the Times wouldn't print. It's by Larry Grathwohl, an FBI mole in the Weather Underground in the 1960s who saw it all.


12/22/2008

Zimbabwe Shows Why U.N. Is A Failure

It's getting so bad in Zimbabwe under dictator Robert Mugabe that prison guards are stealing food from the prisoners just so they don't starve to death. Is this situation not a text-book example of why the U.N. was set up in the first place? Weren't we determined after World War II to make sure there would be no more Hitlers? Does a dictator have to spread destruction on such a mass scale as Hitler did before the world body raises an eyebrow? Diplomacy hasn't worked and the longer we wait, the more the death-toll rises. Sure many in the West feel bad about this, but for our so-called leaders, it's more important that we "prevent war and bloodshed at all costs." I've said it once and I'll say it again, the only thing more deadly than war is "peace."

UPDATE: This Reuters story is an example of the kind of thing that just blows my mind and I imagine it would blow the minds of most well-read Americans:

GENEVA (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is "a mad dictator" who has lost all sense of reality, a United Nations human rights expert said on Monday.

The only way Mugabe can be removed from power is for Europe to convince his "great protector South Africa" to withdraw all support for him, Jean Ziegler, an adviser to the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, told Swiss Radio.

Mugabe, Ziegler declared, "is a former hero of the liberation struggle who has lost all sense of reality.... and become a mad dictator." He added: "The horror in Zimbabwe today is absolutely intolerable."

Now here comes the interesting stuff (emphasis mine):

The comments from the Swiss sociologist, who has little sympathy for the Western countries most critical of Mugabe, reflected the despair over Zimbabwe on the rights council.

Four other U.N. rights experts said Zimbabwe could not control a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 1,100 people.

The four -- who report to the Human Rights Council on food, health, drinking water and the situation of rights defenders -- said Mugabe's "violations of civil and political rights" made it difficult to get a united response to the crisis.

But the comments from Ziegler, long associated with left-wing causes and development issues and who has good contacts among African leaders and diplomats, were seen as a sign of the wider gloom over Zimbabwe.

[...]

Ziegler, whose new book "The Hatred of the West" on attitudes in the developing world, has become a best-seller in France and other French-speaking countries, said U.N. military action to remove Mugabe was prevented by Russia and China.

Okay, so this Ziegler fellow, who has little sympathy for us Western types, now is serving as a bellwether for the "wider gloom" seen in Zimbabwe? He also points out that it doesn't matter how many people die, Russia and China won't allow U.N. military action. May I pose a question? Why do Western countries, defenders of life, liberty and all that, have to get the permission of these two authoritarian regimes to take military action? And remember a day when being "associated with left-wing causes" meant you wanted to end human suffering. Instead, in our day and age, it just means you hate America and you only get outraged with dictators when things really get gloomy.


12/21/2008

Detroit: For The Worst Of Everything

Detroit is a mirror image of where this country could end up if we make too many mistakes. The governor of Michigan is an incompetent liberal whose policies have made a bad situation worse; the city of Detroit has a Mayor in jail and has elected liberal Democrats for decades with the city getting worse and worse with high crime and economic futility. As a kind of mascot to this backward place, you have their professional football team, the Detroit Lions, who are now 0-15 and will probably be the first 0-16 team in history after next week. It's a shame and I feel bad for their coach Rod Marinelli and their players.

In the NFL, it's very, very simple. Teams with good owners are successful, teams with bad owners are not. New England, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Miami have owners that (with some exceptions) let the football people handle the football decisions while they write the checks. Arizona, Oakland, Detroit and Cincinnati are examples of teams with owners who either are too cheap, too meddlesome or completely in over their head. There are some exceptions: Jerry Jones is willing to spend whatever it takes to win and has the Cowboys mystique to aid in his goal, but he wants to do it his way which means the Cowboys always come up short (in the age of the salary cap).

Rod Marinelli may not have what it takes to be a head coach, but we'll never know for sure because he has been the head coach of the worst-run professional football team in the NFL. Just today, we learn that owner William Clay Ford may keep the front office as is. They're 0-15 folks. Bad coaching isn't enough on its own to get an 0-15 record.

So in Detroit, pretty much everything is a shambles...including the sporting press. In the post-game press conference, Coach Marinelli talked about the defense which is coached by his son-in-law Joe Barry. Marinelli pointed out that he has the final say on the defensive strategy, so their performance is on him. This didn't stop Rob Parker of the Detroit News asking this question:

"Do you wish your daughter had married a better defensive coordinator?"

Good Lord. What's next? Obviously, reaction has been harsh with some calling for Parker to be fired.



The Decline Of The British

Sad but true, the Brits no longer has the stomach for a fight...or even their own survival.


The NFL Hits The Home Stretch

Best time of the year if you're an NFL fan. We're into the second to the last week of the regular season with all sorts of playoff implications going on. Last nights game between the Ravens and Cowboys was excellent, especially since I hate the Cowboys and their bottom-feeder owner. I find that I have a soft spot for the underdogs. I'm rooting for the Ravens, the Dolphins, the Falcons...pretty much all the teams that stunk last year and are having huge turnarounds. Is Bill Parcells not a genius? Are Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan not amazing? Fun stuff.


The Year Of Living Scandalously

Robert A. George at the New York Post has a year-end look at the many scandals of 2008. The graphic that goes with it is priceless.


12/19/2008

"I Will Fight, I Will Fight, I Will Fight"

Awesome. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich says he's completely innocent and he will fight (X3) until he takes his last breath. Being as this is Chicago, that last breath could come sooner than he thinks! Watch your back.


The Tragedy Of Nicole Kidman's Forehead

Ron Rosenbaum on how Botox is ruining the natural beauty of our favorite starlets.


10 Years On, Bill Clinton Still Free As A Bird

It was ten years ago today that Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice. The sad part of the story is that 206 and 212 Congressmen respectively decided that it was okay for the president to commit these crimes. That was soon followed by 45 and 50 Senators who decided the president was above the law. A shameful period in our history. But adding insult to injury, President Clinton and his wife will soon control all foreign policy for the United States, with a bulging bank account courtesy of many foreign donors. Madness.


"Deep Throat" Mark Felt Dies

No, not that one, the Watergate one. The man that outed himself as Watergate's "Deep Throat" just a few years ago has died. W. Mark Felt was a former FBI official that fed information to Bob Woodward at the Washington Post. I'm not going to get into great detail, but if you've read as much information about Watergate as I have, you would know that calling Felt "Deep Throat" as we understand it is a stretch. Woodward's telling of the story is very fictionalized and the real Deep Throat is actually an amalgam of many people. The idea of one key incognito source makes for good movie fodder, but it's far from reality.

Anywho, Captain Ed pontificates over how Felt should be remembered.


12/18/2008

Corruption Goes Mainstream In Obama's America

Ah, the Clintons...is there anything they can't get away with? With Hillary primed to take over at Foggy Bottom, the nation's worst couple finally released their list of donors to the Clinton Library and Massage Parlor. Needless to say, if this were anyone else on the planet it would be game over, but this is the Clintons, so we'll have a few days of back and forth and one or two Republicans in the Senate who will supply a few bumps in the road to confirmation and then Hillary will be sworn in. Does anyone doubt that?


Coup Exposed In Iraq

BAGHDAD - Up to 35 officials in the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior ranking as high as general have been arrested over the past three days with some of them accused of quietly working to reconstitute Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, according to senior security officials in Baghdad.

The arrests, confirmed by officials from the Ministries of the Interior and National Security as well as the prime minister's office, included four generals. The officials also said that the arrests had come at the hand of an elite counterterrorism force that reports directly to the office of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

It would be easy to shudder at this news and take it as a negative, but I see it from the other side. Of course there are going to be coup attempts when you have a country that has gone from dictatorship to a weak democracy. Even in war you can't possibly take out all of the trash, so there's always a residue you have to deal with. This story shows that the Iraqi government is indeed able to deal with it. That's a positive thing and a very good sign for the country. Are things perfect? No, but a free Iraq won't be built in a day.


The Unbundling Of Las Vegas?

Really interesting piece in the Las Vegas Review-Journal today with excerpts from an interview with casino mogul Steve Wynn who is opening "Encore" next week. He talks about his rival Sheldon Adelson and the recent purchase of Treasure Island by Phil Ruffin and how the latter could be a sign of things to come in the city. RTWT.


12/17/2008

Greetings From Las Vegas


Wish you were here...




New Technology For Football

Sometimes science and technology just blows my mind. This past Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens on a controversial call in which is was hard to tell whether the football broke the plane of the goal line when caught by a receiver who then fell back into the field of play. A professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh thinks they may have a way to resolve these kinds of calls.

Dr. Narasimhan is a computer engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and she and her students are equipping gloves and a football with remote sensing technology to measure everything from grip and trajectory to speed and position.

In the case of the Roethlisberger-Ward hookup on Sunday, the technology would ultimately be able to tell without doubt whether the ball was caught before it bounced off the ground.

It could also show such things as who actually has the ball in a pileup, whether a runner has crossed the goal line inside a mass of humanity and whether a receiver has control of the ball before he goes out of bounds.

Dr. Narasimhan teaches a course at Carnegie Mellon in "embedded real-time systems," which is a fancy way of describing the kind of touch sensors, GPS receivers and accelerometers that the students are putting to use.

[...]

"You'd never want to replace the human referees because they make these calls based on years of experience, and no technology can replace that," she said. "But in addition to the instant replay, if you had a supplementary system that said this is exactly where the ball landed and where the player stopped with it, you could make these kinds of calls accurately."

So far, she and her squad of undergraduate and graduate students have focused on two things: gloves with touch sensors that can transmit that information wirelessly to a computer, and a football equipped with a global positioning receiver and accelerometer that can track the location, speed and trajectory of the ball.

Eventually, the same kind of sensors used in the gloves could be adapted to shoes, to measure stride and running patterns, or even shoulder pads, to calculate blocking positions and force.


I can easily see this coming to fruition in my lifetime. Just astounding. (Hat tip: PFT)



New TV Series Idea: The Real Housewives Of Crook County

Via Michelle Malkin. Heh.


Road To Serfdom In The Senate

Are dynasties taking over the U.S. Senate? Sure looks that way. What's old is new again.


12/16/2008

Quote Of The Day



Biden Gets Cutest Puppy Ever As Gift

Incoming Vice President Joe Biden was promised by his wife Jill that she would get him a puppy if he and Obama won the election. So yesterday Biden got his pick of a German Shepard litter in southeastern Pennsylvania, and it's about the cutest dog I've ever seen. The puppy is a three-month old male and Biden has promised his grandchildren will get to name him.


12/15/2008

Utterly Fascinating: The Reason We Yawn

A new study says the reason for yawning is an overheated brain:

"Brains are like computers," Andrew Gallup, a researcher in the Department of Biology at Binghamton University who led the study, told Discovery News. "They operate most efficiently when cool, and physical adaptations have evolved to allow maximum cooling of the brain."

[...]

If air in the atmosphere is cooler than brain and body temperatures, taking it in quickly cools facial blood that, in turn, cools the brain and may even alter blood flow. Prior studies reveal yawning leads to a heightened state of arousal, so a morning yawn may function somewhat like a cup of coffee in providing a jolt of energy.

The new findings also explain why tired individuals often yawn, since both exhaustion and sleep deprivation have been shown to increase deep brain temperatures, again prompting a yawn-driven cool down. Yawning additionally appears to facilitate transitional states of the brain, such as going from sleep to waking periods.


They study says the reason yawning can be contagious among humans is an innate instinct from our more tribal days to stay alert in case of danger.

And as for boredom:

But the new study on yawning changes the popular notion that yawns are mere signs of boredom.

On the contrary, as Gallup said, "yawning more accurately reflects a mechanism that maintains attention, and therefore should be looked at as a compliment!"

I love science.



Cornhuskers Loading Up On DB's

It may seem an obvious point, but I'm glad to see that Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini understands what needs to be done to get the team to the next level. The Huskers are loading up on defensive backs, perhaps the biggest weak spot on the team:

San Antonio prep standout Andrew Green said yes to the Huskers over conference rivals Missouri, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Baylor and Iowa State, boosting NU's current class to 21 known commits.

"It's where my heart felt right," Green told Rivals.com, which rates him as a three-star player and as the 50th-best prospect in Texas regardless of position. "I wasn't trying to do that many interviews, and I was just trying to clear my mind and think because I had a lot going on and stuff. I just kept praying and praying about where I should go. It's what felt right."

The Huskers have been loading up on defensive backs, the 6-foot, 180-pound Green becoming the sixth secondary player in the 2009 class.

Other defensive backs on NU’s commitment list include DeAndre Byrd (Tallahassee, Fla.), Dejon Gomes (San Francisco), Lazarri Middleton (Long Beach, Calif.,), Dijon Washington (Lawndale, Calif.) and Taylor Martinez (Corona, Calif.).

Excellent. We need all the D-backs we can get. Another thing I've been reading about Nebraska's recruits is that they like the way the coaching staff doesn't try to BS them like car salesmen. It's all very professional with straight talk about what the program is all about and what they want to do, with no promises made that the program can't keep.


A Draft Ditka Movement? Maybe

Word out of Chicago at the moment is that Governor Blagojevich is considering signing legislation that would strip him of the power to appoint a successor to Barack Obama in the Senate and instead the state would hold a special election.

So despite the fact that Illinois is a deep blue state, Bruce Walker at Enter Stage Right offers up a proposal for the GOP to trump ideology with popularity by drafting Mike Ditka to run for the seat. Remember, he almost did when Obama first ran for the the Senate. Hard to say if he would have won then or if can win now, but it makes about as much sense as anything thing else going on in the country at the moment. Why not?


Iowahawk Declares "Five Year Plan" A Failure


Five years of blogging and Iowahawk has yet to rule the world. Perhaps a bailout is in the offing?


Geesh! Now Bill Richardson Is Under Investigation

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- A federal grand jury is investigating how a company that advised Jefferson County, Alabama, on bond deals that threaten to cause the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, did similar work in New Mexico after making contributions to Governor Bill Richardson's political action committees.

And so we return to the Clinton years. However, I have to say this is your classic political crime. Just like "holding" is a penalty that could be called on almost every football play from scrimmage, sweetheart deals for campaign donors are just as prevalent. That doesn't make them right, but this is Politics 101 and it's not going to stop until the populous has had enough.


12/14/2008

Biden To Take Vice Presidency Back To Its Irrelevant Roots

John Adams, the first Vice President in the history of the United States said of this particular office:

"My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived; and as I can do neither good nor evil, I must be borne away by others and meet the common fate."

And so it went for some 200 years until a man named Dick Cheney changed all that by taking an active role in the presidency of George W. Bush. Some called him the real president thinking that Bush wasn't smart enough for the job, while others went so far as to call him a blood-thirsty, power-mad criminal. But despite the fears of the extra-chromosome crowd, Cheney will be leaving office come January 20th. On that day, Joe Biden intends to return the office to the status that the Founding Fathers intended:

Joe Biden is laying plans to significantly shrink the role of the vice presidency in Barack Obama's White House, according to an official familiar with his thinking.

It's not just that Biden won sit in on Senate Democrats' weekly caucus meetings - a privilege Republicans afforded outgoing Vice President Dick Cheney. He won't have an office outside the House floor, as House Speaker Dennis Hastert gave Cheney early on.

Biden will not begin every day with his own intelligence briefing before sitting in on the president's. He will not always be the last person Obama speaks to before making a decision.

He also will not, as a transition official calls it, operate a "shadow government" within an Obama administration.
. . .

As part of that understanding, Biden is unlikely to have a specific docket of issues.

Jennifer Rubin's take is classic. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll)


Shoe Attack On Bush Could Have Been Worse

A reader at Michelle Malkin's site has it right: the Secret Service did a horrible job protecting President Bush at his news conference in Iraq. This journalist got to throw both shoes, one at a time, before the Secret Service even blinked. What the hell? Somebody needs to be fired.



MORE: Gateway Pundit points out this incident shows how Iraq has changed:

The man did not have his tongue cut out, did not have his arms broke and was not thrown off a roof.

Now that's success.


UPDATE: It should be noted:

Some Iraqi journalists stood up to apologise.



It's Blago Week

Well, this should be the week where a few things come to a head in the Blagojevich scandal. Most likely the Governor will resign once he's sufficiently lawyered up. Obama has promised a full accounting of who in his inner circle was talking to Blago and about what, but nothing yet. Obama will come out of this clean with the MSM's help, but it'll be interesting to see if this changes anything in Illinois. Probably not.


12/12/2008

Bettie Page Dies

Perhaps the most famous pin-up girl that ever lived, Bettie Page, has passed away at 85.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bettie Page, one of America's most photographed pin-up girls during the 1950s, died in Los Angeles on Thursday from pneumonia, her agent said. She was 85.

Page was a ubiquitous sight during the 1950s, propelled to stardom when she posed for Playboy as Miss January 1955. Soon her image was gracing playing cards, record albums and bedroom posters across the country.

Reading the rest of this Reuters report is pretty sad as she lived a tough life that including a period in a mental institution. Fortunately, she was able to take with her the fact that she was popular with several generations up until her dying day.



Sarcasm Gets Its Due

SYDNEY (AFP) - Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit, but Australian scientists are using it to diagnose dementia, according to research published on Friday.

Researchers at the University of New South Wales found that patients under the age of 65 suffering from frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common form of dementia, cannot detect when someone is being sarcastic.

The study, described by its authors as groundbreaking, helps explain why patients with the condition behave the way they do and why, for example, they are unable to pick up their caregivers' moods, the research showed.


I am ready to offer my services.


It's Down To Rahm

So the press is abuzz with the fact that incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is ducking the press in light of the Blago scandal. At first we were hearing from the MSM that Rahm could be the hero in all of this by having tipped off Patrick Fitzgerald of the shenanigans, but his recent avoidance of the media leads to other conclusions:

Don Surber: "...if he's smart, Obama is vetting a new chief of staff."

Gateway Pundit: "This could be it for Rahmbo."

Possibly, but I'm doubtful that Rahm won't be serving his post as Chief. Am I cynical? You be your ass, but this could be the bellwether event for this scandal. If Rahm survives, chances are this goes away. If he's thrown under the bus or worse, implicated in the scandal, then it could mushroom into a big problem for the new president. Just spitballing here.


12/11/2008

Che Chic

Post-Democracy In Europe

I've blogged many times about Czech President Vaclav Klaus and how I admire his tough stands on freedom, democracy and global warming hysteria in an increasingly unfriendly atmosphere in Europe. Much to the chagrin of the political elites in the continent, Klaus is now going to assume the presidency of the European Union. Recently he met with members of the Conference of the Presidents of the European Parliament and it wasn't pretty. Brussels Journal has an excerpt. You may not understand everything they're talking about, but read the whole thing closely and see just what you come away with.

Klaus makes a very poignant statement:

President Vaclav Klaus: Thank you for this experience which I gained from this meeting. I did not think anything like this is possible and have not experienced anything like this for the past 19 years. I thought it was a matter of the past that we live in democracy, but it is post-democracy, really, which rules the EU.


You mentioned the European values. The most important value is freedom an democracy. The citizens of the EU member states are concerned about freedom and democracy, above all. But democracy and freedom are loosing ground in the EU today. It is necessary to strive for them and fight for them.


I would like to emphasize, above all, what most citizens of the Czech Republic feel, that for us the EU membership has no alternative. It was me who submitted the EU application in the year 1996 and who signed the Accession treaty in 2003. But the arrangements within the EU have many alternatives. To take one of them as sacrosanct, untouchable, about which it is not possible to doubt or criticize it, is against the very nature of Europe.


As for the Lisbon Treaty, I would like to mention that it is not ratified in Germany either. The Constitutional Treaty, which was basically the same as the Lisbon Treaty, was refused in referendums in other two countries. If Mr. Crowley speaks of an insult to the Irish people, then I must say that the biggest insult to the Irish people is not to accept the result of the Irish referendum. In Ireland I met somebody who represents a majority in his country. You, Mr. Crowley, represent a view which is in minority in Ireland. That is a tangible result of the referendum.


A couple points here. I like the definition that Europe is now a "post-democracy." It rings true. It was the great Vaclav Havel who coined the term "post-totalitarian" for China as the communists country moved toward capitalism while still controlling peoples' lives in general. Europe, which is mostly democratic, has been moving in the other direction for the last decade.

Incredibly, this parliamentarian Brian Crowley is upset that Klaus wants to follow the will of the Irish people which voted against the Lisbon Treaty. He's then accused of "telling us what the Irish think." Only Crowley, as an Irishman, knows what they think even though they voted against it. Klaus responds he's just looking at the data.

It all has a slight Kafkaesque tinge. It's like Klaus is Josef K.




Finger Licking Good? Not Quite

Three girls working at a KFC (that's Kentucky Fried Chicken for those of you unaware of the company's self-censorship) in Anderson, California are in trouble with the restaurant for posting photos on MySpace of them taking baths in the KFC sink. I bring this story up because it serves as kind of a snapshot of our culture at this point. Obviously, teenage pranks have been going on for as long as we've had teenagers and certainly there are things that go on at fast food restaurants we would rather not know, but in the age of the Internet, people across the globe can see this pranks in high resolution. I'm a libertarian so it doesn't bother me any, I just find it rather interesting. It would be easy to say that our culture has gone to hell and in some respects that's indisputable, but we should remember that thanks to technology we can now see what in say the 1950s we would have been blissfully unaware.


The Judgment Of The Voters

This paragraph in Richard Baehr's piece in the American Thinker got me thinking:

Perhaps the most shocking part of the wiretaps revealed so far was a sequence where Blago talked of needing to get out of the Illinois Governors' chair so as to avoid impeachment, and instead get to the US Senate, which would also serve to position him better for a 2016 Presidential run. How do you describe someone so delusional? A few words that have been tossed around the last two days are revealing-sociopath, psychopath, and dumb.
(Emphasis mine). We've heard a lot of talk on the political right about how Barack Obama lacks judgment based on the company he keeps. Now we're getting a glimpse into the governor of Illinois who is refusing to step down from his position despite damning evidence of wrongdoing. A psychopath, they say. A sociopath they say. At some point we need to get down to the heart of the matter and look at the judgement of the voters. Granted, the MSM has done a spectacular job of protecting Democrats and Barack Obama especially and creating portraits of a Messiah and other candidates that only have the best of intentions. Does the media really have just that much power to shape public perception that even a "psychopath" can be elected to high office as in the case of Governor Blagojevich? Is it really that easy? Can voters not see what they are doing or are they in denial? Many questions.


The Jackson "5"

If there's corruption in Chicago, chances are the Jackson family is there with their collective hands in the cookie jar. The Jesse Jackson family that is, father and son. The Congressman, Jesse Jackson, Jr. says he is not a target in Patrick Fitzgerald's probe and did not authorize anyone to promise anything to Governor Blagojevich for an appointment to the U.S. Senate. This statement is amusing for it's not like Jr. necessarily calls the shots. Jesse Sr. could very well have made some moves on his behalf, after all, that's what he does...shakedowns.

It'll be interesting to see what comes out of all this, but a few things are clear: Obama will come out of it clean, Blago will go to jail for a few years and life in Chicago will continue as normal. Don't get your hopes up for any kind of justice in the Windy City, that's not how our system works.


12/10/2008

It Begins: Obama's Culture Of Corruption Ahead Of Schedule

Gateway Pundit has the goods on how Barack Obama did indeed meet with Governor Blagojevich about his open Senate seat, despite his denials. Meanwhile, the MSM tries to convince us that Obama is completely untouched by this whole affair. Get comfy folks, we've got eight years of this coming down the pike.


MORE: As predicted.

UPDATE: KHQA retracts. Hmmmm...

12/09/2008

The Time Is Now: Mike Ditka For Senate (or Governor)

An open Senate seat that has been up for sale, a governor that's going to the clink. Who can rescue Illinois from this political abyss. Who else but "Iron" Mike Ditka! After all, he was supposed to run for the Senate against the no-name Obama but bailed. As John Brodigan says, "you owe us."

It'll never happen, though. Ditka just has too short of a fuse for politics, but hell, in this political environment anything is possible. It's like a sitcom.


Holy Crap! Illinois Governor Arrested For Trying To Sell Obama's Senate Seat!

We all knew that Illinois has the most corrupt political system rivaled only by pre-Katrina Louisiana, but this takes the cake. Governor Blagojevich apparently tried to sell the appointment to Obama's open U.S. Senate seat. What's all the more mind-blowing about this is that Blagojevich had to know that with all the Rezko investigations going on that people had to be listening. I mean, come on! This isn't the "Fitzmas" the Democrats were hoping for. Wow.


12/08/2008

Kristol v. Hayek

Bill Kristol has drawn the ire of some conservatives for his recent column in the New York Times in which he seems to belittle those that still cling to small-government conservatism. Kristol's prose are usually glib in nature so you're never quite sure if he's serious or just trying to get a rise out of his peers. Regardless, the column is summed up in this paragraph:

So talk of small government may be music to conservative ears, but it's not to the public as a whole. This isn't to say the public is fond of big-government liberalism. It's just that what's politically vulnerable about big-government liberalism is more the liberalism than the big government. (Besides, the public knows that government's not going to shrink much no matter who's in power.)

Uh huh. So, rather than educating a cynical public, conservatives should just accept the ignorance of the masses and craft their message accordingly...or something.

John O'Sullivan offers some words of wisdom from F.A. Hayek:

The best riposte to Bill Kristol comes from Hayek. He pointed out years ago--sorry, don't have time to track down the citation--that the idea of small government was vital even if there was no prospect of its ever being achieved. So powerful and varied was the pressure in and on government for every kind of new spending that an automatic barrier was necessary to prevent the fiscal river sweeping all before it. A general prejudice against higher spending and taxes served as such a barrier. It might not prevent all or even most spending, but it would stop some. It would compel the government to think through its spending priorities and to confine them all within or nearly within taxable capacity. And though the government would probably grow anyway, it might grow less because of the prejudice that it should not grow at all.

In other words, fight the good fight and keep the great American experiment going for a little bit longer.



Call In 'Gay' To Work

Some same-sex marriage supporters are urging people to "call in gay" Wednesday to show how much the country relies on gays and lesbians, but others question whether it's wise to encourage skipping work given the nation's economic distress.

Organizers of "Day Without a Gay" - scheduled to coincide with International Human Rights Day and modeled after similar work stoppages by Latino immigrants - also are encouraging people to perform volunteer work and refrain from spending money.

Sean Hetherington, a West Hollywood comedian and personal trainer, dreamed up the idea with his boyfriend, Aaron Hartzler, after reading online that a few angry gay-rights activists were calling for a daylong strike to protest California voters' passage last month of Proposition 8, which reversed this year's state Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage.

Classic. The humorous possibilities are endless. You know how when you call in sick and then there is some doubt when you get back to work as to if you were really sick? Imagine coming back to work and getting questioned as to whether you're really gay. A guy gets caught ogling a female coworker and has to do damage control...you get where I'm going here.


Too Much Time On My Hands

A little Styx for you there. Think you just don't have enough time? Well, you'll have no excuse come December 31st when the day will be one second longer.

Like the more well-known time adjustment, the leap year, a "leap second" is tacked on to clocks every so often to keep them correct.

Earth's trip around the sun - our year with all its seasons - is about 365.2422 days long, which we round to 365 to keep things simpler. But every four years, we add 0.2422 x 4 days (that's about one day) at the end of the month of February (extending it from 28 to 29 days) to fix the calendar.
Likewise, a "leap second" is added on to our clocks every so often to keep them in synch with the somewhat unpredictable nature of our planet's rotation, the roughly 24-hour whirl that brings the sun into the sky each morning.

Use it wisely.


12/07/2008

The End Of Freedom

Little by little it fades away:

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - Amsterdam unveiled plans Saturday to close brothels, sex shops and marijuana cafes in its ancient city center as part of a major effort to drive organized crime out of the tourist haven.

The city is targeting businesses that "generate criminality," including gambling parlors, and the so-called "coffee shops" where marijuana is sold openly. Also targeted are peep shows, massage parlors and souvenir shops used by drug dealers for money-laundering.

"I think that the new reality will be more in line with our image as a tolerant and crazy place, rather than a free zone for criminals" said Lodewijk Asscher, a city council member and one of the main proponents of the plan.

The news comes just one day after Amsterdam's mayor said he would search for loopholes in new rules laid down by the national government that would close marijuana cafes near schools citywide. The measures announced Saturday would affect about 36 coffee shops in the center itself - a little less than 20 percent of the city total.



Sonny von Bulow Dies

I just caught this by accident. After 28 years in a coma, the heiress socialite has died. Her husband, Claus von Bulow was accused of trying to kill her with an overdose of insulin and was convicted of the crime before he was acquitted in a retrial with Alan Dershowitz as his attorney. Another piece of pop culture comes to a close.



Music For A Dreary Sunday Afternoon

Via the Boards of Canada:

Why Susan Rice Is Perfect For The U.N.

She'll fit right in.


Fairness Doctrine Talk Continues

George Will gets into the act, mostly stating the obvious, but still good reading if you need a primer on the subject.


William Jefferson, (D) LA, Defeated!

The man who had $90,000 in his freezer and made rescue workers save stuff from his house before they helped Hurricane Katrina victims has been defeated in his quest for a 10th term in Congress. There is some justice in the world.

What's more, the winner is quite a story. His name is Anh Joseph Cao, a little-known 41-year-old community organizer and GOP attorney. That's right, a community organizer and a Republican. He is also Vietnamese, having escaped the fall of Saigon as a young boy. So here we have a Republican who is an immigrant that understands tyranny first-hand and he's a community organizer. I don't know much else about him, but seems like he just might have the resume to become a superstar in the party if he plays his cards right.

Granted there was a very low turnout in this election that was delayed by Hurricane Gustav, but it also shows the slight demographic shift in Louisiana since Katrina. There seems to be a silent majority in the state that has said enough is enough. Let's hope the likes of Bobby Jindal and Anh Cao have what it takes to bring Louisiana true hope and change.



12/06/2008

40 Years On, Are We More Or Less Free?

While many libertarians and conservatives are in the grips of anger and fear at the current political state of affairs, when you take a deep breath and look at things clearly you realize that we are as free as we've ever been in many ways. It's an ebb and flow, we lose some here, gain some there, but as Shannon Love explains, it is in the area of economic freedom that we face the greatest danger and rollback.


Bill Ayers, A Man For Our Time

Not surprisingly, the New York Times has given Bill Ayers plenty of space to lie about his past. Who cares, right? Obama won, it's over. Well, if you want to understand where we are and where we're going as a country, you need to understand this man. Don Surber puts it in perspective.


What A Drag It Is Getting Old


So sang the Rolling Stones. Hopefully my best years are ahead of me.

12/03/2008

A Tale Of Two Wallaces

Posted the other day how Chris Wallace of Fox News defending President Bush against comparisons to Richard Nixon during a panel discussion on Ron Howard's new movie "Frost/Nixon." Ed Driscoll reminds us of an infamous panel discussion comment from Chris Wallace's father Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes. He also found a YouTube clip of the incident.


Burress Arrest Points Out Bigger Problem

First, we need to remember that Plaxico Burress is an idiot; a spoiled athlete who thinks rules don't apply to him and is willing to put his team's Super Bowl chances in jeopardy (though in reality they'll probably have a better chance now). But be that as it may, David Kopel aptly points out that New York's gun law in this case may very well be unconstitutional. It is at the very least un-American.


12/02/2008

Mel Martinez Out, Jeb Bush In?

More excitement in the U.S. Senate as Jeb Bush is seriously considering a run for the Senate in Florida now that Mel Martinez is going to step down. I think it's a good idea no matter what you hear about the Bush "brand" being poison right now. He's hugely popular in Florida and by 2010 it'll be a whole different ballgame.

Meanwhile, I suspect Martinez is really leaving the Senate because he has accomplished what he set out to do:



Mission accomplished.

Sexy Saxby Wins Georgia Senate Seat

He's not the best Republican we have in the Senate, but given the balance of power at this point, we'll take him. The AP has called the race for Chambliss and the margin of victory is surprisingly big. Should make for interesting punditry in the days to come.

By the way, I say "sexy" just because it rolls off the tongue. We're not going for accuracy here.


No More Smelly Peasants

Via the DC Examiner.

The Capitol Visitors Center, which opened this morning, may have tripled its original budget and fallen years behind schedule, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid found a silver lining for members of Congress: tourists won't offend them with their B.O. anymore.

"My staff tells me not to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway," said Reid in his remarks. "In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it's true.

"But it's no longer going to be true, noted Reid, thanks to the air conditioned, indoor space.

And that's not all. "We have many bathrooms here, as you can see," Reid continued. "Souvenirs are available."

$621 million well spent.

Really says it all.



Quote Of The Day



"I had a vodka as big as your head last night."



Bush Nixon Parallels Fall Flat

Well, the latest movie to bash Richard Nixon is just coming out. Ron Howard's "Frost/Nixon" about the famous interviews with the former president and British journalist David Frost was previewed by a select group in Washington followed by a panel discussion. Naturally, Howard and his writing staff tried to draw parallels between Nixon's crimes and President George W. Bush. This drew the ire of one of the last honest journalist, Chris Wallace of Fox News:




But then "FOX News Sunday" host Chris Wallace, braving the liberal wind, asked a question, which was actually more of an accusation. "To compare George W. Bush to Richard Nixon is to trivialize Nixon's crimes and is a disservice to Bush," Wallace said. Recalling that 3,000 people were killed on 9/11, and noting that there hadn't been any attacks on U.S. soil since, Wallace suggested that something had been done right. That’s why, he said, "we are all sitting here tonight so comfortably"-and not afraid of another terrorist attack. Moreover, Wallace said, "Richard Nixon's crimes were committed solely for his own political gain, whereas George W. Bush was trying to protect the American people." To suggest otherwise, Wallace insisted, "was a grave misrepresentation of history, then and now." And, amazingly, Wallace received a smattering of applause.

Seemingly not wanting to get into a fight with the TV newsman, Dallek answered that we knew full well of Nixon's criminality because of the Watergate tapes, but that no similar documentary record existed yet for Bush. Only when such information comes out, Dallek suggested, would the full horror of Bush's presidency become visible. Which, of course, proved Wallace's point: It was not fair to equate proven facts about Nixon with mere allegations about Bush.

"You make suppositions on no facts whatsoever," Wallace concluded.

"Do you read The New York Times?" Dallek countered. That might not have been the strongest comeback ever, but it worked just fine with this audience. And with that, the Q & A session resumed its liberal course for the rest of the evening.

Today's journalists and so-called historians never let facts or the lack thereof get in the way of what they want to believe. The dirty secret is the Robert Dallek's of the world want us to have another Nixon presidency. Corruption allows journalists and historians a chance to be seen, to be in the arena. The Vietnam/Watergate era is for journalists what the Babe Ruth era was for baseball. They want to relive it any way they can, even if it means blurring the line between allegations and facts. Journalism died in 2008 and it won't rise from the ashes, if at all, until the Watergate era journalists are dead and gone.




12/01/2008

Bill Clinton In The Senate? Sure, Why Not?

Ever have a car accident where your car was badly damaged but still able to be repaired with a lot of work and you wish it had just been totalled and you could be done with it? That's kinda my feeling on the idea of Bill Clinton taking over Hillary's Senate seat. If we're gonna go down this road, might as well go all the way.


Just A Reminder About Michael Bloomberg

The Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, is steamed over the Plaxico Burress incident and how it went down and wants Burress prosecuted "to the fullest extent of the law." Bloomberg is right that Burress should be prosecuted and the hospital that treated him should be investigated for not reporting it to police, but just a gentle reminder: Bloomberg is a crypto-fascist who would completely ban gun ownership if he thought he could get away with it. It's easy for the casual observer to laud Bloomberg for his tough law and order rhetoric, but we need to remember where this fire in his belly comes from: a vehement hatred of guns and gun ownership of any kind. That is not the answer to crime in the city.


MSNBC Contines To Destroy Journalism

This is the kind of sharp, intelligent thinking coming from our news media. Alex Witt, anchor at MSNBC: (Hat tip: Hot Air)

ALEX WITT: You know, John, and it's interesting because there are many who had such an optimistic and hopeful opinion of things, and you certainly can't expect things to change [snaps fingers] on a dime overnight, but there are many who suggested that with the outgoing Bush administration and the incoming Obama administration there would be something of a lull in terrorism attacks. There had been such a global outpouring of affection, respect, hope, with the new administration coming in, that precisely these kinds of attacks, it was thought - at least hoped - would be dampered down. But in this case it looks like Barack Obama is getting a preview of things to come.
This woman actually thought that Barack Obama's election and celebrity status around the world would be enough to stop terrorism. It boggles the mind that there are so many members of the Fourth Estate that think this way.



Don't Confuse Issue With Black Football Coaches

I seem to be doing a sports theme this morning. Anyway, three black head coaches in college football this year are on their way out, so naturally we have a barrage of stories about what a shame there are so few black head coaches. The problem with this is that it belittles the issues when we hit the panic button every time there's an ebb and flow in the process.

The three coaches losing their jobs (or quitting) this year are Slyvester Croom at Mississippi State, Ron Prince at Kansas State and Tyrone Willingham at Washington. Why did they get fired or quit? Because they didn't win enough games...the same reason every coach is fired or quits. Willingham drove a once proud program in Washington into the ground, Croom couldn't turn the corner at MSU, neither could Prince at KSU. So, in the natural order of things, they're out of work, but because they failed in their tasks we're back to lamenting the lack of black coaches. There's racism out there, of course, but it's a slow process changing the culture. These three coaches didn't fail because of racism, they failed because they're human beings just like the white coaches that have been or will be fired.

Greg Robinson isn't going to be coaching Syracuse any longer because he failed in his task. The Orangemen will look for a new coach which could be black man in Turner Gill (a legend from my childhood) or a white guy. The best thing Syracuse University can do for Gill is to give him a interview along with other candidates and pick him only if they feel he's the best man for the job. Any other reason would be an insult.


Who Needs Plaxico?

The New York Giants are turning into the New England Patriots. Last year they pulled a miraculous playoff run and beat the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl. During this run, their Tight End Jeremy Shockey was injured and they found out that they were better off without him and his mouth.

Now, in the year following their Super Bowl victory, the Giants are even better than they were last year. They play hard every week and have incredible depth on both sides of the ball. More importantly, they've decided to take a page form the Patriots' book and have convinced themselves that one championship isn't enough. There's been no Super Bowl letdown for the Giants. However, they have this wide receiver Plaxico Burress who seems to feel that he's got his ring, so who cares what happens now. In the shooting event over the weekend, Burress tried to find a hospital that would treat him incognito, which worked for a while with New York-Cornell, but the cat is out of the bag. Despite this, Plax seems unfazed:

But to the extent that Burress is feeling sad about his current situation, he didn't show it on Sunday night. According to the New York Daily News, Burress was "laughing" about the state of affairs on Sunday night.

"He called me laughing and grinning," Giants running back Brandon Jacobs said. "He is doing fine. He is feeling good. I called him and made a few jokes about the situation and he laughed - which is what I wanted to hear."

This should have been a distraction to the Giants, but no, they walloped the Redskins and seemed to play better without Plaxico. The lesson: he's not worth it. If the Patriots have taught us anything, it's that you can win championships with no-name players. The Giants have a chance to repeat last years magic formula: lose the loudmouth and win a Super Bowl. Do that and a dynasty awaits.