Thursday, October 9, 2008

Barack Obama and the Democratic Socialists of America - a contractual relationship

So I was looking around for links to help someone connect the dots between Barack Obama and the Democratic Socialists of America, and what do I find (via the blog New Zeal) but this gem:
Chicago New Party Update
by Bruce Bentley

About 50 activists attended the Chicago New Party membership meeting in July. The purpose of the meeting was to update members on local activities and to hear appeals for NP support from four potential political candidates. The NP is being very active in organization building and politics. There are 300 members in Chicago. In order to build an organizational and financial base the NP is sponsoring house parties. Locally it has been successful both fiscally and in building a grassroots base. Nationwide it has resulted in 1000 people committed to monthly contributions. The NP's political strategy is to support progressive candidates in elections only if they have a concrete chance to "win". This has resulted in a winning ratio of 77 of 110 elections. Candidates must be approved via a NP political committee. Once approved, candidates must sign a contract with the NP. The contract mandates that they must have a visible and active relationship with the NP.

The political entourage included Alderman Michael Chandler, William Delgado, chief of staff for State Rep Miguel del Valle, and spokespersons for State Sen. Alice Palmer, Sonya Sanchez, chief of staff for State Sen. Jesse Garcia, who is running for State Rep in Garcia's District; and Barack Obama, chief of staff for State Sen. Alice Palmer. Obama is running for Palmer's vacant seat.

Michael Chandler thanked the NP for its support in his electoral victory. His achievements to date included obtaining an increase of 30 police in the 24th Ward, citizen involvement in street clean-up and establishment of a 24th Ward Organization. William Delgado is exploring whether to run for State Rep in the 3rd District. He is a former social worker and spoke with compassion and dynamism. He considers himself a community activist who wants to be an advocate for change in the community. His presence in political office would be a benefit to the democratic left.

Indeed it was an exciting evening because the NP has two crucial components. First, the NP is a true "Rainbow Coalition" consisting of both young and aged African-Americans, Hispanics and Caucasians. Although ACORN and SEIU Local 880 were the harbingers of the NP there was a strong presence of CoC and DSA (15% DSA). Moreover a good 8% were younger Generation X'ers who are critically needed. A more diverse representation of Labor is missing. Secondly, the NP is taking "action." Four political candidates were "there" seeking NP support. The NP is strategically organizing via house parties and tactically entering only elections that they can win. Furthermore they are organizing a campaign on the "Living Wage Ordinance" in the Chicago City Council.

The NP has the following working committees: political, membership/fund-raising, public relations, and legal/finance. If you would be interested in participating in one of these committees or in helping out with any other New Party activities, contact Jeff Caveney at (312) 939-7490.

You put that together with the later endorsement by the New Party of Barack Obama for State Senate, and you have the inescapable conclusion that Obama signed up for a “visible and active relationship with the NP.”

Leave it to a Kiwi to do the investigative reporting America's mainstream media won't do....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another candidate voice

A commenter at Ace of Spades blog says:

My husband does voice-over work. He's got a really good ear. He says it's Anne Gartlan. Differences in signal compression explain some slight differences, but both ads are the same woman. She pitches up, she slightly alters her accent across all her work, but the core of her voice is the same. A resonance and timbre that is clear in everyone of her spots, and you can pick her out.

Posted by: SarahW at September 22, 2008 06:57 PM

Listen to her political demo reel (QuickTime download). Sure sounds like her, and the political client list is solidly Democratic.

From a June 2006 article in Campaigns & Elections:

An accomplished voiceover artist, Gartlan has done work for many Democratic candidates including Al Gore, Jon Corzine, Leonard Boswell and a number of New York state candidates. Gartlan's non-political work includes a commercial for a laxative (which is among her favorite commercials because of the tone of voice she uses in it). She said the voice she uses in this commercial is a party hit. One of the most challenging projects she has ever done was an audio book that required her to voice five different Southern women of the same age from the same town.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Is this the voice?

So, McCain DID pitch a curveball -- and what a curveball! Sarah Palin has the Democrats tying themselves in knots, and resorting to slimy tactics that make me want to gag.

As a sidelight on the story at The Jawa Report about how David Axelrod seems to be 'astroturfing' smears of Sarah Palin all over the Internet, I was curious to see if one could find the name of the announcer Obama uses for his regular video ads. I think it's Cedering Fox.

Cedering Fox was the voice actor who did the in-hall announcing at the Pepsi Center during the DNC Convention this year. She's also a longtime voice-over talent on Democratic Party and candidate spots through her affiliation with Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns and Associates (GMMB), a political consulting and advocacy advertising agency.

Listen to her voice demo and then listen to the Palin smear video. Note in both cases the deep timbre of the voice, the sibilant 's' sounds, and how on the demo reel she varies her voice characterization just as the actor on the Palin video uses a different voice for the Alaskan Independence quote compared to the rest of the ad.

Not that this is Earth-shattering, just interesting.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

John McCain just might pitch a curveball

Apparently John McCain's campaign has floated the trial balloon of a Jewish running mate -- and not the boring-as-plain-matzah Joe Lieberman: A young Jewish congressman from the battleground state of Virginia has joined the shortlist to be John McCain's vice-presidential running mate.

With strong backing from hard-line conservatives, Eric Cantor [right] would shore up many of John McCain's weaknesses Photo: AP

Eric Cantor, 45, would be a dramatic choice for Mr McCain, who is running almost level with Barack Obama in national polls but whose aides believe he needs to shake-up the White House race if he is to prevail in November's general election.

Aides to Mr McCain revealed that Mr Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives, had been asked to submit documents as part of a rigorous vetting process to hunt out any closet skeletons.

He joins a shortlist believed to include Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and Mr McCain's bitter rival during the Republican primaries, Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota governor, and Rob Portman, a former Ohio congressman and budget director in the Bush administration.

Of the four, Mr Cantor would be by far the most exiting - though potentially risky - choice. A prodigious fundraiser with a young, photogenic family, support from evangelical Christians and strong backing from hard-line conservatives, he would shore up many of Mr McCain's weaknesses.

Mr Cantor would be the first Jewish vice-president, an historic milestone that Senator Joe Lieberman just missed in 2000 when Al Gore lost to George W Bush by 567 votes.

It was probably Mr Lieberman's presence on the ticket that enabled Mr Gore to get so close in Florida, where Jewish voters are an important factor. Mr Lieberman has since left the Democratic party and joined forces with Mr McCain. Campaigning by both Mr Lieberman for a McCain-Cantor ticket in Florida could give the Republican a powerful advantage in the swing state.

Virginia has been a traditionally Republican state but is very much in play in 2008 after a steady trend towards Democrats. Mr Obama is strongly considering choosing Tim Kaine, governor of Virginia, as his running mate.

It might be a good move: it would throw a monkey wrench into Obama's efforts to reassure the Jewish community that he's good for Israel. It also makes it tough to paint McCain as in the pocket of the Christian Right.

Boy, that Abbas sure is brave -- with other people's lives

So Hamas is sweeping through Gaza City and rounding up or wiping out Fatah-affiliated clans and fighters. In a fit of humanitarianism, Israel admitted almost 200 of the fleeing Fatah fighters to save them from being massacred, sending some of their wounded to Israeli hospitals.

Now Israel wants to move along the able-bodied among these refugees. You'd think they'd be welcome in the West Bank, which is the only area that's secure for Fatah members.

You'd be wrong: Watchdog petitions court against return of Fatah refugees.

The Association for Civil Right in Israel petitioned the High Court of Justice on Sunday to prevent the state from returning Fatah refugees to Gaza after they fled the territory on Saturday.

The petitioners stated that forcing the Fatah loyalists to return to the Strip could endanger their lives and called it a serious violation of human rights and of Israeli law.

The court ordered the state to respond to the petition by Monday.

Earlier on Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to grant West Bank asylum to dozens of supporters who fled Hamas-ruled Gaza to Israel under fire, during fierce factional fighting.

Abbas stood his ground, with aides explaining that he felt his embattled Fatah group must maintain a presence in Gaza. The escape posed a dilemma for Abbas. After the Hamas takeover of Gaza last summer, he had agreed to resettle some 250 of his Gaza loyalists in the West Bank.

It's been a costly arrangement - the refugees each get $350 a month, in addition to government salaries, and Abbas's cash-strapped government covers rent for dozens of the most senior among them. The 2007 exodus also sent a message that Fatah is abandoning Gaza to Hamas.

Abbas wanted to send a different message this time, aides said.

"Fatah officials in Gaza should stay in their posts and should not leave Gaza to Hamas," Fahmi Zaghrir, a West Bank spokesman for Fatah, said Sunday. An exception would be made for those wanted by Hamas, added Nimr Hamad, an Abbas adviser.

However, there were concerns that the returnees could face mistreatment by Hamas.

Hamas confirmed it detained the first group of 32 who were sent back to Gaza on Sunday. The organization said it released all but five in that group.

Gee, it's sure brave of Abbas to insist that his Fatah members go back to the Gaza Strip unarmed to face up to Hamas. Wonder how many of them will decide that Hamas membership offers a better career path -- or even just a better chance of survival -- than sticking with the pathetically weak Fatah Party.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We can't have nuclear POWER, but we can have nuclear TOURISM?

This is a bizarre bit of news from Washington State: Manhattan Project reactor nears landmark status.

YAKIMA, Wash. - The National Park Service's advisory board on Tuesday recommended designating the world's first full-scale nuclear reactor, which produced plutonium for one of two bombs dropped on Japan during World War II, as a national historic landmark.

The unanimous vote Tuesday brings former weapons workers and local residents one step closer to preserving the historic B Reactor at south-central Washington's Hanford nuclear reservation. A final decision on the reactor rests with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.

"This is a great step toward preserving both the B Reactor and an important chapter of our nation's history," Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in a statement announcing the decision. "The B Reactor will give future generations a chance to learn about the important contribution this region made to the World War II effort and the service and sacrifice of the Hanford community."

I support the development of new nuclear power generation plants -- new ones, based on technologies far safer than the ones used at the Hanford Reservation. I don't think anyone should go near Hanford if they don't absolutely have to.

The government shut down B Reactor in 1968 and decommissioned it.

Eight other reactors were built at Hanford to produce plutonium for the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. The remnants of that effort today make Hanford the nation's most contaminated nuclear site, with cleanup costs expected to top $50 billion.

Five reactors at the site already have been dismantled and cocooned, which involves removing extra buildings around the reactors, demolishing all but the shield walls surrounding the reactor cores and sealing them in concrete.

But I have to ask: since Sen. Murray thinks that obsolete nuclear reactors are safe enough for vacationing families, does she support a large-scale program to replace fossil-fuel-based electricity generating plants with nuclear plants? And building enough extra nuke plants to generate sufficient hydrogen to replace petroleum-based fuels for transportation? With its long coastline, Washington State is an ideal place to build clusters of nukes for hydrogen production. Aside from its benefits in reducing petroleum dependence and pollution, that would be a much bigger boost to Washington's economy than Hanford nuclear tourism.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sequel to Segway is a bigger deal to a smaller audience

The inventor of the Segway may not yet have changed how everybody gets around, but his team has invented something that is making a dramatic improvement in the lives of some special people: Dean Kamen, Creator of Segway, Unveils New Invention.

Famed inventor Dean Kamen is back in front among the tech elite this week with a new invention. The last time we heard from Kamen, he was unveiling the Segway, a product he hoped would revolutionize human transportation, and solve problems like pollution and urban congestion. But unlike the Segway, Kamen hopes his new product never reaches a mass market.

It’s a prosthetic arm that weighs as much as a human arm. It boasts the same range of motion, and the same tactile sensitivity. When the government called on him two years ago to build it, even Kamen wasn't sure his team could build it. In this video he tells us about the experience, what it meant for his career, and what he learned from the Segway experience.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The law of unintended consequences - again

So the Arab media thought it would show how evil and corrupt the Jews are by highlighting the legal troubles of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert over monies he received from an American contributor. I bet they never expected the reaction of the Arab street to the story: 'No one is above the law in Israel.'

The corruption case against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has earned Israel tremendous respect throughout the Arab world, where many have called on their leaders to benefit from Israel's democratic system and independent judicial system.

Even some Arabs who describe themselves as "sworn enemies of the Zionist entity" have begun singing praise for Israel.

Over the past week, the corruption case against Olmert received wide coverage in the mainstream Arab media, prompting an outcry about the need for transparency and accountability in the Arab world.

"Show me one Arab or Islamic country where a prime minister or a senior government official was ever questioned for financial corruption or bribery," said a reader who identified himself only as Majed.

Majed, like many others, was responding to a news story on an Arab Web site about the testimony in court of American philanthropist Morris Talansky, who told police he had given Olmert more than $150,000 in cash over the course of some 14 years.

Another reader, Sami, commented: "The Israeli regime with all its defects is better than all the Arab 'democracies' and still changes ministers and governments every few years."

A Saudi national named Abdel Karim urged his Arab brethren to stop criticizing Israel and learn something about its democracy. "Before we curse Israel, we must learn from the democratic and judicial system in Israel, where no one is above the law," he wrote.

Khaled, another Saudi national, chimed in: "Although we are talking about Israel, which I have always hated very much, there is still no one above the law there."

Mahmoud al-Bakili of Yemen posted the following response on one of the Web sites: "We want this kind of accountability and transparency in the Arab and Islamic world."

Apparently this episode is inadvertently helping Israel fulfill its Biblical obligation to act as "a light unto the nations." Certainly it's tapped into a deep longing in some Arab hearts.

Mohammed in Lebanon: "Can you imagine if there was an investigation against an Arab or Muslim leader? Do you know how much money they would discover?"

Abu Yusef in Egypt: "Unfortunately, this is the real democracy. Our enemies are very good in practicing democracy. In the Arab world, our leaders steal everything and no one ever dares to ask a question."

Rashid in Saudi Arabia: "Despite all our problems with the Jews, they are much better than us in fighting corruption and revealing the truth."

Israel Lover in Saudi Arabia: "Israel is a state that deserves to exist. It deserves our profound respect. I wish I were a citizen of this state."

Hani in Ramallah: "This is democracy at its best! Enough of dictatorship in the Arab world! Let's learn from the Israeli example. Let's benefit from Israel's democracy."

Rashid Bohairi in Kuwait: "I swear Israel is a state that will succeed. They are prosecuting their prime minister because of tens of thousands of dollars. What about the millions of dollars that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority stole? How come the Palestinian people are still hungry?"

Friday, April 4, 2008

Why didn't I see it before? It's BRILLIANT!

The Democrats' war strategy, that is. From the AP: Democratic leaders wrote to President Bush on Friday that it's not too late to change course in Iraq and pleaded with him not to hand the war off to the next president.

Democrats signaled on Friday that they don't see much hope in ending the Iraq war this year so long as President Bush insists U.S. troops remain committed there in large numbers.

But party leaders wrote to Bush on Friday anyhow, telling him it's not too late to change course and pleading with him not to leave the war for the next president to handle.

"We are deeply concerned that you and the congressional Republican leadership are intent on staying the current course throughout your administration and then handing the Iraq war off to future presidents," the Democrats wrote.

They have a much better plan than the one the military has been floundering under.

Democrats are engaged in a full-court press against Bush's Iraq policy in advance of next week's testimony by Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador there. Petraeus and Crocker are expected to say the recent buildup in troops has succeeded in improving security. But, they also will say that a period of assessment is needed this summer before officials can decide whether troop withdrawals can continue.

Democrats called this approach unacceptable and said they would pursue an alternative policy through legislation. They said their focus will be on restoring the strength of the Army and Marines and refocusing the nation's resources on fighting terrorists in Afghanistan.

The Democrats propose a strategy that is brilliant on two levels. First, consistent with their own experience as legislators, they have hit on the simple idea that we can end the conflict in Iraq simply by picking up all of our marbles and going home. The Bush Administration, the Maliki government in Iraq, and most Republicans are mired in the paradigm that leaving a battlefield during a war means that the enemy wins, dismissing the Democrats' bold and innovative reframing of that tactic and deriding it as "retreat," "surrender," or even "defeat." But the Democrats understand that we wouldn't be surrendering or losing, provided they don't ask the enemy for any input into the decision. By focusing solely on President Bush, they can't be accused of offering the enemy anything.

They take their strategic brilliance to a new and higher plane by redefining America's mission as going after the terrorists in Afghanistan. Once the U.S. has fully withdrawn its forces from Iraq, the terrorists now in Afghanistan will face little opposition in relocating to Iraq. Thus, Afghanistan will be free of terrorists and the Democrats will be able to claim success for their strategy. Of course, the terrorists will quickly assume control of Iraq, its oilfields, and their vast revenues, but the Democrats will be able to blame that on the Bush Administration's failure to fulfill a flawed mission in Iraq.

With such brilliant thinking on display, it's no wonder the Democrat Party is now enjoying the exquisite agony of choosing between the two Smartest People In The World(tm) for its Presidential candidate. But really, with those two on tap to become the next President, why worry about whether one or the other inherits the Iraq war? It's a cinch that either one of them could solve it as one of their six impossible thoughts before breakfast on Inauguration Day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Is Israel's real enemy "the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam"?

I am sure that everyone who heard or read Senator Obama's speech on race has keyed in on a particular passage that resonates with him or her, whether as a sign of the Senator's greatness or as evidence of his pettiness. For me, it is this:

"a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam"

To my mind, this is a prime example of how the Senator uses carefully-chosen words to score points simultaneously with various constituencies that might otherwise be at odds. He calls Israel a "stalwart ally" in order to curry favor with American Jews, and it will probably fool a number of them -- but what I want a candidate to say to make me feel more secure as an American Jew is recognition of Israel's status as the Jewish homeland, not just a geopolitical asset. If the USA has a moral obligation to Kosovar Albanians and Sudanese in Darfur because of their inherent rights as humans, certainly the USA should support the right of the Jewish people to claim one corner of the world as its own secure homeland.

But even more clever -- too clever by half -- is his contrasting Israel with "radical Islam." In doing so, he scores points for "recognizing the Islamofascist threat," but at the same time he covers up the real source of the conflict: good old-fashioned Jew-hatred on the part of Arab and Muslim countries and peoples. The Arab countries didn't attempt to kill the State of Israel aborning because of radical Islam; Nasser's calls for Israel's destruction were driven by secular pan-Arabism, not the Muslim Brotherhood; and the PLO needed no imams or muftis to urge them to murder Israelis and other Jews.

But to call out the Arab nations for Jew-hatred would draw attention to the fact that Reverend Wright is at home with Jew-haters in the Black community. Certainly he's cozy with Louis Farrakhan, and if he doesn't share Farrakhan's view of modern Jews as adherents of a "gutter religion" and identical to the "white Devils," he's certainly tolerant of that view. Indeed, the notion he expresses in his Christmas 2007 sermon, that Jesus was a poor Black man, indicates that his theology is based on the idea that the Judeans, the direct descendants of the Hebrews, were Black Africans -- which necessarily means that he believes that Jews from the European diaspora must be impostors, hijackers of the Jewish faith. Does he blame Askenazic Jews for the genocide of the original Black Jews? And what of the Jews of the Maghreb or of the eastern Arab lands -- are they legitimate Black Jews or just another brand of illegitimate interlopers?

This takes us back to the first half of the statement. I can imagine the Senator or his supporters telling radical Black constituent groups that he supports Israel only inasmuch as it is a useful tool and not out of any love for, or recognition of the rights of, Israel's Jews. I can further imagine him assuring those groups that he is diligently working to make Israel more secure by helping to rid it of its racist Zionist practices and principles and evolving past its outmoded fixation on being a homeland for the Jewish people.

Push hard enough, and the truth will emerge

The Arab and Muslim nations of the world have been working diligently to get the United Nations to craft an agreement whereby it would be a "crime" to disrespect or insult a religion. Guess what nation is throwing up a roadblock to the proposal?

Nope. Saudi Arabia. Turns out that they're worried that the proposal would protect religions other than Islam:

The Saudi Arabian parliament on Monday rejected a recommendation to adopt an international agreement that forbids insulting religions, prophets and clerics, the Saudi daily Al-Watan reported.

Seventy-seven members of parliament rejected the recommendation, claiming that if they adopted the agreement, they would have had to recognize the legitimacy of idolatrous religions, such as Buddhism.

The recommendation was put forward by MP Muhammad Al-Quweiha's. He wrote that the Saudi Foreign Ministry should cooperate with the Arab and Islamic bloc in the United Nations to adopt the agreement.

"The concept of religions varies from one country to the other and from one culture to the other. Buddhism and Bahaism are considered religions in some countries, but must Muslims respect these sects and not condemn them," said MP Khalil Al-Khalil, who rejected the recommendation.

Al-Quweiha explained that his incentive was to prevent the ongoing campaign of insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad, in particular the cartoons and films which are shown in the US and Holland.

A member of the Saudi Shoura Council who voted against the resolution told The Media Line the question of whether it implied recognition of other religions was not the issue.

"To me, this resolution is in conflict with main principles like human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of opinion," he said.

Two years ago, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), which Saudi Arabia is a member of, submitted a five-point action plan to the European Union, regarding the controversy over the anti-Muhammad cartoons. The plan included legislation by the European Parliament against the anti-Islam phenomenon in the West and exerting joint efforts by both the EU and the OIC to issue a UN resolution forbidding offenses against religions and prophets.

Look at it this way: you can believe that the Saudis are champions of human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of opinion when they allow a Gay Pride Day parade to march from a church in Medina to a synagogue in Mecca, and not a second sooner.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Here, he says it better

George Neumayr writes in The American Spectator:

Left-wing paternalists regard themselves as architects of racial progress, guarding and guiding blacks along the path of success -- a role in which they assume to stand forever at the head of the march. But what happens when blacks overtake their enlightened white helpers? All hell breaks loose and the mask of progress drops to reveal the stricken faces of the white avant-garde .

Geraldine Ferraro's remarks confirm that beneath left-wing paternalism lurks considerable racism. "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she said to the Daily Breeze. "He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

Since liberalism is not based upon natural justice but willfulness, it never fails to devour its supposed beneficiaries. Ferraro's condescension captures the tone of paternalistic liberalism perfectly. Its "victims" should know their place and plot their ascent according to the progressive charts set up by the white liberal establishment.

The rest of the article goes on to give a much better illustration of the poison with which affirmative action has permeated our society than I was able to give in my previous post (The Affirmative Action Candidate).

The Affirmative Action Candidate

No, not Barack Obama.

Geraldine Ferraro.

Let's look at what she said, to Jim Farber of the Torrance (Calif.) Daily Breeze:

"I think what America feels about a woman becoming president takes a very secondary place to Obama's campaign - to a kind of campaign that it would be hard for anyone to run against," she said. "For one thing, you have the press, which has been uniquely hard on her. It's been a very sexist media. Some just don't like her. The others have gotten caught up in the Obama campaign.

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she continued. "And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

That's pretty specific. She's saying that Barack Obama is where he is because he's a Black man.

In other words, he's the beneficiary of affirmative action.

Not the affirmative action that may or may not have had anything to do with his opportunities for education or employment -- Ferraro is postulating that the Democrat Party electorate is weighing Obama's race as a specific factor in evaluating him as a candidate. By inference, then, they are both forgiving his lack of objective qualifications for the office of the President, and overlooking Hillary Clinton's obviously superior qualifications for the office.

It's bunk.

Let's be clear: affirmative action is how you pick a running mate. A Mondale picks a Ferraro not because a Ferraro has any clue how to take over the top job if the Mondale keels over, but because by picking her the Mondale shows how enlightened he is, and creates through the choice itself the sort of excitement his corpse-like appearance and demeanor could never muster.

How you get to the top of the ticket relies on a more objective process. Set aside the question of objective qualifications for the Presidency -- the "who do you want taking the 3 AM phone call?" or the "great speeches are wonderful, but it takes spade work to pass legislation" (and let's also set aside the Clinton campaign's choice of the metaphor "spade work"). Let's focus on the process of choosing a candidate.

Candidates and their campaign operations present an image and message to the electorate. The electorate turns these into subjective assessments of whether they want that candidate to be the nominee. And then the electorate provides the sole form of objective evidence about the candidate's qualifications for the party's nomination: votes.

It doesn't matter whether Barack Obama would, in fact, crumple into a quivering mass of jelly if Hezbollah terrorists detonated an atomic weapon in Houston, leading to the collapse of American power in the world and relegating the USA to second-world status. One could make a very good argument that such an eventuality is possible or even probable -- but it's still a conjecture, a forecast, and therefore subjective.

But a tally of state contests won and delegates pledged is an observable, measurable and concrete fact. It is objective evidence -- in fact, the only objective evidence that counts for anything in this process -- that a candidate is more qualified to be his or her party's nominee than the rival candidates.

If any other objective criteria about experience, temperament, gravitas, and all the qualities a President should have made a dime's difference in this process, Bill Richardson would have won the nomination handily. But for whatever reason, he did not, and for whatever reason, Barack Obama has amassed a lead in pledged delegates, states won, and even the popular vote. That makes him inarguably the most qualified of the Democrat candidates in the same sense that Chauncey Fauntleroy is the most qualified pitcher on the sandlot if he's the only kid who owns a ball and bat: whatever you think of his ability to do the job once he has it, he's got an inarguable claim to the job based on the relevant selection process.

There is, of course, a delicious irony to Ferraro's comment. A Black man couldn't possibly have achieved the front-runner position in the Democrat Party's nominating process on merit -- no, he must have been given a leg up unfairly just because of his color. The affirmative action mentality taints any success on the part of a minority member with a whiff of suspicion that the success was not so much earned as bestowed by the white male establishment under duress from the enlightened (also mostly white) liberal establishment. As political conservatives and a certain segment of Black social commentators have observed, this is perhaps the most insidious poison of affirmative action.

Friday, February 29, 2008

He Who Must Not Be Named

Michelle Obama has revealed the terrible truth: her husband's name is so powerful that it cannot be uttered without inspiring terror and dread.

Michelle Obama, who often has decried "the fear bomb'' that opponents have used against her husband for his middle name -- Barack Hussein Obama -- said in Canton, Ohio, today that it is happening again and shows why it's so important that he wins election as president.

"They threw in the obvious, ultimate fear bomb," Obama said today of her husband's 2004 Senate race. "We're even hearing [that] now. … 'When all else fails, be afraid of his name, and what that could stand for, because it's different.'"

As with most great questions of life, J.K. Rowling has shown us the way forth from this dilemma. Her villain Tom Marvolo Riddle so hated his birth name that he formed it into an anagram to give himself the title by which he reduced the wizarding world to abject terror: Lord Voldemort.

So, since his real name inspires terror, let's apply the same solution in reverse to Barack Hussein Obama's name and see what anodyne alternatives we come up with. Hmmm... some very promising candidates:

  • Cabana Braises Hokum

  • Cabana Amok Hubrises

  • Cabanas Amok Bushier

  • Cabanas Abhor Muskie

  • Cabanas Ukase Rhombi

  • Casaba Bohemian Rusk

  • Casaba Manure Kibosh

  • Caesarian Kabob Mush

  • Maharani Abuses Bock

  • Maharani Kabobs Cues

  • Marihuana Babe Socks

  • Marihuanas Cakes Bob

  • Anaerobic Samba Husk

  • Aback Amoebas Inrush

  • Aback Abash Monsieur

  • Aback Aha Submersion

  • Aback Mania Rosebush

  • Aback Sahib Enamours

  • Scarab Bohemian Auks

  • Scarab Banshie Oakum

  • Scarabs Bemoan Haiku

  • Abacus Amoeba Shrink

  • Abacus Abash Moniker

  • Amebas Caribous Khan

  • Baseman Cobras Haiku

  • Abrasion Ambush Cake

  • Marabou Scab Hankies

  • Chimaera Nabobs Auks

  • Massacre Nabob Haiku

  • Maraschino Babes Auk

  • Maraschino Beau Bask

  • Harmonicas Beau Bask

  • Ashcan Kabobs Uremia

  • Maniac Hauberk Basso

  • Sharia Kabobs Acumen

  • Sauna Kabob Chimeras

  • Saurian Kabob Sachem

  • Mania Backhoe Bursas

  • Shamans Caribou Bake

But for my money, there's one clear winner. I want to hear the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House say these immortal words:

"Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.... BABUSHKA MACARONIES!!!"

Don't tell me the media aren't biased toward Obama

Certainly media outlets are on the prowl for opportunities to take unflattering, even subliminally damning, photos of Hillary.

First these pictures of her waving with what looks like a stiff right arm salute (Madame Goebbels, your car is waiting):

And now this (is she supposed to be standing in front of her boss's portrait?):

Lest you think I am cherry-picking, here's the kind of photo the media takes of Obama:

Some difference, huh?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cindy Sheehan in Egypt for Islamists - Yahoo! News

Someone will have to explain this to me.  Even through the lens of her opposition to U.S. involvement in Iraq, how is it a good thing to demand the release of Muslim Brotherhood members -- who are standing trial on money laundering and terrorism charges?

Quoted from;_ylt=AsvwzSd3run0IFQl_4yUh8cLewgF:

Cindy Sheehan in Egypt for Islamists - Yahoo! News

CAIRO, Egypt - Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan joined a protest Wednesday seeking the support of Egypt's first lady in ending a military trial of members of the country's largest Islamic organization.

Under the watchful eyes of dozens of black-clad and helmeted anti-riot police, some 50 heavily veiled wives and children of 40 senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood detained for the past year, gathered in front of the headquarters of first lady Suzanne Mubarak's National Council Women carrying banners calling for their release.

"I am here to protest the trial of civilians in front of a military tribunal as this is a violation to international law," said Sheehan, who gained fame in the U.S. for her sit-in outside President Bush's Texas ranch following the death of her son in Iraq.

"As a mother of a son who was killed in the war, I presented a letter to Ms. Suzanne Mubarak to realize how those women and children are suffering."

How is it that in Cindy Sheehan's world, the only mothers who are suffering are mothers of terrorists... and herself?  She'd be a useful idiot, if she was useful.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Triangulating McCain

John Bicknell at Congressional Quarterly hits the nail squarely on the head: The Real Conservative Conundrum: A President McCain Working With a Democratic Congress.

Conservatives who have opposed McCain during the campaign have cited his positions on a range of issues — immigration, campaign finance, climate change, tax cuts, legal rights for detainees — where he has sided with Democrats.

But the positions McCain has taken are only part of the problem for conservatives.

As president, with a Democratic Congress, it is the other part — the stylistic part — that will prove to be a much greater problem for conservatives.

When McCain has been on the conservative side, as he has been on the vast majority of issues, he gives it full-throated support. He is not afraid of giving offense to appropriators when he sticks up for cutting spending, and he has not been shy about deriding Democrats who oppose the war in Iraq, to cite two potent examples.

But when he is with the Democrats, he is really with them. McCain is not someone who simply reaches across the aisle to form coalitions with the other side. He walks across the aisle, puts on the other team’s uniform and sings the other team’s fight song.

If he wants to accomplish things — and every president wants to accomplish things — he will have to do so on the Democrats’ terms.

That means his agenda will include those things on which he agrees with the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate:

• A cap and trade regime for climate change.

• Expansion of McCain-Feingold regulations for campaign finance.

• Expanded legal rights for enemy combatants, and probably the closing of Guantanamo.

• Comprehensive immigration overhaul, with a guest worker program and a path to citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants already in the country.

This will not be a “reaching across the aisle.” This will be a full partnership of the president and the Congress, who just happen to be of different parties. The shrunken GOP minority in the Senate might serve as a brake, especially on immigration. But it will be only a brake, not a standing astride history yelling “stop!”

Compare and contrast (excerpt from same article):

In his victory speech on Super Tuesday, McCain laid out his GOP credentials.

“I am a Republican because, like you, I want to relieve the American people of the heavy hand of a government,” he said. “I am a Republican because, like you, I believe government must defend our nation’s security wisely and effectively,” he said. “I am a Republican because I believe, like you, that government should tax us no more than necessary, spend no more than necessary,” he promised.

And, he said, “I am a Republican because I believe the judges we appoint to the federal bench must understand that enforcing our laws, not making them, is their only responsibility.”

Except that he's likely to be so busy selling out conservatives on the things the Democrats want that he's unlikely to be able to push back on those same Democrats for the conservative values (lower taxation, less government, non-activist judges and strong defense) that he claims he wants too. The Democrats are willing to accept compromise from opponents but never offer it in return (unless their re-election prospects are on the line): they're funny that way.

"... it would require an act of deep duplicity by Mr. McCain."

In his Feb. 7 Wonder Land column in the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger advises conservatives to shut up and get with the McCain program:

Conservatives, for whom any glass is always half full, have sold themselves short. Notwithstanding the moderate pedigrees of the three major GOP candidates on entry, all emerged from the debates as Reagan conservatives on what matters: taxes, spending, regulation and national defense. Most of the worrisome moderate positions were in the past.

When Reaganomics appeared in the late 1970s, the Republican establishment mocked it. Voodoo economics, someone said. Today for a Republican presidential candidate, it's gospel.

This is an achievement.

Some will say the debate promises were just politics. As opposed to what? Presumably moving people toward one's position is the point of all this daily political heavy-lifting. To now call a candidate's embrace of your ideas unacceptable is churlish and self-defeating. Conservatives won a decades-long debate in their party. Bank it. The demand now that Sen. McCain repudiate that old vote on the Bush tax cuts is an attempt at public humiliation. Ain't gonna happen. If life doesn't work for you without public penance, join a monastery.

Most of the distrust of the McCain candidacy is rooted in personal ill will. He's a hard case, and activists are often brittle. The fear is that one of the strongest impulses in a McCain presidency will be payback, and that he might sell out conservatives on taxes and the judiciary. That is possible, though by now it would require an act of deep duplicity by Mr. McCain. Here again, the conservatives should show more self-confidence.

Hmm... I don't think conservatives lack self-confidence. Rather, they are all too confident in their knowledge that Senator McCain is capable of acts of deep duplicity. Bill Clinton ran as a centrist and immediately began to govern as a hard-left liberal, until Newt Gingrich and the new GOP majority in Congress forced him to "triangulate" back to the center. Who in Congress will force a President McCain to triangulate, and in which direction? What in his record in the Senate indicates that he would even wish to stand up to Congressional Democrats to defend conservative domestic policies -- especially given the likelihood that they will demand he cave to their domestic policy priorities in return for allowing him some leeway on foreign policy and military affairs?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The diminishing value of racial profiling

The Scotsman newspaper reports that al-Qaeda is recruiting non-Asians to convert to Islam and carry out jihad in Britain: Al-Qaeda's white army of terror.

As many as 1,500 white Britons are believed to have converted to Islam for the purpose of funding, planning and carrying out surprise terror attacks inside the UK, according to one MI5 source.

Lord Carlile, the Government's independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation, said many of the converts had been targeted by radical Muslims while serving prison terms.

Security experts say the growing secret army of white terrorists poses a particularly serious threat as they are far less likely to be detected than members of the Asian community.

It appears that British law enforcement understands how the jihadist threat is evolving and is trying to adapt to match. It remains to be seen whether the public understands the issue, and whether the political class has the guts to back up law enforcement. A silver lining in this story is that it aligns with the political correctness of the political class: now law enforcement is saying that the color of a man's skin isn't the best predictor of his propensity to jihadist murder.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Life imitates movies

First, we have "Weekend at Bernie's": Men Wheel Dead Roommate to Check Cashing Store, Arrested for Trying to Cash His Social Security Check

Second, "Idle Hands": Man Sees 'Mark of the Beast'; Cuts Off, Microwaves Hand

Lastly, "The Godfather": Man Gets Probation for Mailing Cow's Head to Wife's Lover

BONUS -- I can't remember the movie (if there was one), but there should be one: Polish Man Finds Wife Working in Brothel (come to think of it, it's a bit reminiscent of the Rupert Holmes song "Escape (The Pina Colada Song).")

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Be prepared

Why can't we see more of this in the Muslim world (the Boy Scout, I mean, not the Islamofascist would-be assassin)? Boy scout saves leader of the Maldives.

The scout was identified as Mohamed Jaisham Ibrahim, who had lined up to welcome Gayoom, according to the president's Web site.

The boy was injured in the hand by the knife. "His wound was stitched but later he complained that he could not move some of his fingers, so he was flown by a sea plane to Male," Shareef said...

The attacker had wrapped the knife in a Maldives national flag as he stood among a crowd waiting for Gayoom, 70.

A police Web site identified the attacker as Mohamed Murshid, 20. No motive was given, and other details were not disclosed.

More evidence of UN uselessness

Proffered without comment:

UN peacekeepers ambushed in Darfur barely a week after launching mission

Bomb wounds 2 UN peacekeepers on patrol south of Beirut

Status quo won't change after Katyusha': 2 rockets hit North; Barak to "assess situation before responding;" UNIFIL to 'Post': No suspect ruled out.