Sunday, August 31, 2008
On this day:

Getting to know Sarah Palin

See Gov. Sarah Palin's March 2008 interview with Newsweek's Karen Breslau here. There are eight vids in all. (Turn to page two for the eighth.)

And here's part of an interview with Charlie Rose. Palin says "these United States." I think my federalist heart just skipped a beat.

Saturday, August 30, 2008
On this day:

Did Jib-Jab predict the Palin tapping?

No, not really. I just wanted to watch the vid and hear the song again. It's a masterpiece.

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

BUT...if you look closely, you'll see the next Vice President right there in the front of the "Straight Talk Express" bus next to Mitt Romney.

Palin reacts to the VP nod

Exclusive footage here.

Friday, August 29, 2008
On this day:

Sarah Palin - Naughty Alaskan librarian


Great (and unexpected) veep pick, by the way.

Thursday, August 28, 2008
On this day:

McCain to Obama: "Job well done"

"How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day."

Watch the ad here.


There's not one.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008
On this day:

Bestowing legitimacy

Here's John M. Murtagh in City Journal:
During the April 16 debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, moderator George Stephanopoulos brought up “a gentleman named William Ayers,” who “was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other buildings. He’s never apologized for that.” Stephanopoulos then asked Obama to explain his relationship with Ayers. Obama’s answer: “The notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense, George.” Obama was indeed only eight in early 1970. I was only nine then, the year Ayers’s Weathermen tried to murder me.

Bill Ayers speaks

For extended excerpts from Ayers's 1994 interview with Fox News...see here.

How has Barack Obama helped to redeem Bill Ayers's image?

That question was raised in a comment to yesterday's post.

The answer is simple: by bestowing legitimacy on Bill Ayers, on his views, and on his tactics.

Barack Obama has had a long, friendly relationship with Bill Ayers, and the benefits of that relationship have gone both ways. Ayers has helped raise money for Obama since the very beginning of Obama's political career. In return, the articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking Barack Obama has lent Ayers a degree of credibility that he never would have been able to attain otherwise.

Until recently, Ayers's chief claim to fame had been that he once played a role in bombing the U.S. Capitol. Now, it's that he is a Friend of Barack - the soon-to-be Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

When a respected and respectable public figure like Barack Obama befriends an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers, it's certain to have a more positive impact on the image of the terrorist than it does on that of the public figure.

If Obama had exercised better judgment in choosing his political and personal associates, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The fact that we are makes it likely that Bill Ayers is soon to become a household name. And that's even if - unlike Barack Obama - most of us won't be calling him by his first name.

Repeal the 19th Amendment!

Here's NRO's Kathryn Jean Lopez:
Okay, the 19th amendment, on its anniversary, should be repealed.
What a grand idea!

Ummm...just kidding ladies.

Really. I am.

Monday, August 25, 2008
On this day:

Barack Obama vs. the First Amendment

It's understandable why Barack Obama has worked himself up into a tizzy over this ad: it tells the truth about his long relationship with an unrepentant, home-grown terrorist named Bill Ayers. And that truth is damning. But truth and the First Amendment be damned, the Obama campaign is now demanding that the federal government step in to ban the ad from the airwaves.

Obama promises "change we can believe in." So, here's a question. Will he be as willing to trample on the First Amendment as President as he has now proven himself to be as a candidate? You'd better believe it. I do.

Sunday, August 24, 2008
On this day:

Biden brags: "I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do"

A first-class a** second-in-line to the Presidency, if Barack Obama has his way:

Saturday, August 23, 2008
On this day:


As I said, he has a habit of speaking his mind. You just never know whether the words are his own.

Joe Biden's contempt for gun owners

Watch here.


Barack Obama has selected Joe Biden as his running mate. Interesting choice. Instead of co-Presidents, the Barack and Biden can run as co-plagiarizers.

Bless their hearts.

Actually, I kinda like Joe Biden. I wouldn't vote for him for dog-catcher, but I like him. He's one of the few high-ranking Democrats these days who actually takes foreign policy and defense policy seriously. He also has a habit of speaking his mind, a trait which can be both endearing and obnoxious, and one which tends to make him a one-man gaffe machine. He reminds me Bill O'Reilley without the charm and good looks.

Barack Obama lost the election at Saddle Sore Church last weekend. His selection of Joe Biden as his running mate makes me pretty darned confident that it won't even be close.

Friday, August 22, 2008
On this day:

The One - Road to Denver

More gentle ribbing from the McCain campaign:

Thursday, August 21, 2008
On this day:

Another cautionary note on Georgia, Ukraine, and NATO

From the New York Times:

The trouble is, back in 1949, the alliance was formed with a central tenet of collective defense. The famous Article 5 of the NATO Charter stipulates that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all, a principle that assured Western Europe during the cold war that America would come to its defense if Moscow encroached.

But the notion of collective defense is a more complicated matter now that NATO has expanded to include 26 countries, foreign policy experts said, including former Soviet republics like Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, not to mention the Czech Republic and Poland. Although some said that NATO might at least try to rustle up a defense for those countries if they were attacked, the concept of collective defense falls apart completely in the case of Georgia and Ukraine — both smack in Russia’s backyard and sphere of influence — even if they were NATO members.

“If Georgia was in NATO now, would we be defending them? I don’t know,” said Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations. “The alliance needs to make sure that when it takes on pledges of collective defense, it is prepared to stand by them.”

Amen to that. Is there no one inside the administration who has been making that argument to the President? If so, they've been noticeably silent.

If anyone should be making it - or at least counseling the President on the possible repercussions of NATO expansion into Russia's backyard - it's Defense Secretary Robert Gates. NATO is, after all, a military alliance. In the years since the breakup of the Soviet Union, America's foreign policy elites have been prone to either overlook or ignore that fact. Nonetheless, it's as true now as it was when the North Atlantic Treaty was signed in 1949. The familiar language of Article 5 has never changed:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Historically, NATO's strength has derived from the voluntary commitment of each member state to abide by those unequivocal terms.

There's a great deal of wisdom in President Reagan's old motto of "Peace through Strength." And so we have to ask whether the Bush administration's behavior towards Europe - from it's support of Kosovar independence, to it's push for NATO expansion into Georgia and Ukraine, to its rush to deploy missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic - has served to make the allied commitment to collective self-defense stronger or weaker. On each of these three issues, administration policy has exposed deep rifts within the alliance that the Russians and others have sought to exploit. Is there any doubt that they've been successful?

President Bush said the other day that "The days of satellite states and spheres of influence are behind us." If that were true, it would be something completely new in human history. Has anyone informed the Russians?

Gorbachev speaks out on Russia v. Georgia

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's op-ed in Tuesday's New York Times is worth reading. There's no doubt that it's part pro-Russian propaganda...but it's also important to understand where the Russians are coming from.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
On this day:


Carnival announced today that it will be bringing a bigger cruise ship to Mobile next year.

Monday, August 18, 2008
On this day:

Should Alabama's appellate court judges be appointed?

Democrat Deborah Bell Paseur, a candidate for Alabama Supreme Court, thinks they should be. So do I. However, the key question for me is not whether they should be appointed, but how.

One of the downsides to electing judges is that it tends to make the judiciary too dependent on the prevailing winds of the political climate. That said, I am convinced that certain methods of appointing judges would lead to a judiciary that is even less independent and more politicized than it is today.

For instance, lets take the Alabama Bar Association's proposal for appointing judges under a system of "merit selection." Under the ABA plan, the Governor would select judicial appointees from among three nominees submitted by a nine-member nominating commission, four of whom would be lawyers appointed by none other than the Alabama Bar Association. How that could be any less "political" than the current process of popular election is a mystery, since lawyers - and particularly those who are likely to win favor within the Bar Association - are among the most political animals in the universe.

An even bigger problem with this proposal is that it would essentially make the Alabama Bar Association a part of Alabama government. That's simply unacceptable. I don't care who it is - whether the Bar Association, the ACLU, the NRA, the National Right to Life Committee, or anyone else - whether they're conservative, liberal, Republican, or Democrat - no special interest group should be afforded a constitutionally-guaranteed right to wield the powers of government. Period. To grant such privileged status would be an open invitation to corruption and would defy the principles of republican government. That the Alabama Bar Association would even propose such a measure is a testament to its regard for those principles.

Now, back to the main question. If we are to appoint our judges, how should we go about it? Instead of looking to the so-called "Missouri Plan" as a guide, as the Alabama Bar Association has done, I prefer to use the U.S. Constitution: direct appointment by the Governor and confirmation by one or the other branch of the state legislature. If retention elections would help to make that system more palatable, I see no problem with that, provided that judges' terms in office were long enough to grant them independence from the whims and fads of both the populace and the legal community. Eight or ten year terms sound about right to me.

Just about everyone wants to have judges that are fair and impartial, but it's hopelessly naive to expect that we can ever completely separate politics from judicial decision-making. If we approach this issue from that point of view, we might be able to come up with something better than we have now. But let's not trade something that is not altogether good for something much worse.

How to fix GM?

I like Rich Kaarlgard's suggestion in Forbes:

Of course GM can be fixed. The question is whether CEO Rick Wagoner or anyone can fix the auto giant while it remains a public company and gasps under union contracts and pension obligations in union-friendly Michigan. I'm not sure Wagoner's plan to cut $10 billion in costs over 18 months and raise $4 billion to $7 billion through asset sales and debt is quite enough, bold as it is.

Here's an alternative: Take GM private. Move it to the South. Get auto-friendly but union-hostile states, such as South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma, to compete for its business. Pay the workers union salaries. If GM wants to compete with Toyota, the competitive barrier will not be worker salaries. It'll be productivity on the factory floor and quality in the finished product. To achieve these goals, GM must free itself of rigid union work rules so it can install Toyota-like flexibility in its manufacturing.

GM also needs workers who are motivated--by carrot and stick--to actually show up and work. Here's a shocker: The average daily employee absentee rate in a United Auto Workers plant often exceeds 10%. Compare this with the 2% to 3% absentee rates at Honda, Nissan and Toyota plants in the South.

There's no reason why General Motors shouldn't be able compete with the foreign auto giants who have been so warmly received in the South. It has the capital, it has the know-how, and it has roots in an auto-crazed country that desperately wants to buy American-made cars. What it apparently doesn't have is enough employees who are willing to work.

So, come to Alabama, GM. Just leave the union army behind.

Saturday, August 16, 2008
On this day:

The secret of longevity

Ernest Borgnine gives his answer.

Somewhere, Joycelyn Elders is smiling.

Thursday, August 14, 2008
On this day:

Obama on infanticide

Does Barack Obama believe that infanticide is protected by the U.S. Constitution - if only it is done under the right circumstances? It sure sounds like he does. Here's NRO's David Freddoso:
On March 30, 2001, Obama was the only [Illinois state] senator to speak in opposition to a bill that would have banned the practice of leaving premature abortion survivors to die. The bill, SB 1095, was carefully limited, its language unambiguous. It applied only to premature babies, already born alive. It stated simply that under Illinois law, “the words ‘person,’ ‘human being,’ ‘child,’ and ‘individual’ include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development.” ...

Obama would speak against the born-alive protection bill once again when it was proposed in 2002, and he would kill the bill when it came before the committee he chaired in 2003, after Democrats had taken control of the Illinois General Assembly.

Bama's Nick Saban: "The Most Powerful Coach in Sports"

According to Forbes magazine, "no coach, including those in the professional leagues, can match Saban's combination of money, control and influence."

Read the article here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008
On this day:

Last word on Russia v. Georgia...for now

I am in 100% agreement with NRO's Andrew Stuttaford:
John O'Sullivan writes this:
It has been widely argued, for instance, that Mr. Putin's recognition of South Ossetia was a response to the recognition of Kosovo's independence by the United States and European Union. Since Russia has been helping the secessionists for 16 years, this would make Russia's response a unique event in history: the first occasion on which an effect preceded its own cause.
Cleverly put. Nevertheless, while I don't believe that it justifies what has happened, I do think that it is a mistake not to face the fact that the recognition of Kosovo has helped provide useful cover for the way that Russia has now dramatically ratcheted up (a far, far too mild a term to describe the horror of what is now going on) the level of force it has long applied in Georgia/South Ossetia.

The more I think about it, the more I think that the timing and the manner of the Kosovo recognition were mistaken. In his piece, John describes South Ossetia as "a squalid depopulated entrepôt for drugs, smuggling, money-laundering and other criminal endeavours." I wouldn't be at all surprised if that were indeed the case. You can, however, take a look at this report in the Washington Times from 2007 and quite reasonably wonder how different that sounds from the Kosovo that the US and various EU countries decided to recognize this year. Food for thought, perhaps.

As to what to do now to assist Georgia, the answer, will in the end, I suspect, be a matter of generous aid and assistance with reconstruction more than anything else. What won't help anybody is proceeding as if Russia is in the process of transforming itself into some sort of revived Soviet Union. It's not.
I would add also that it won't help anybody for the U.S. to continue supporting NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine, as the Bush administration - and now both John McCain and Barack Obama - have suggested we should do.

NATO is first and foremost a military alliance. Its basic terms are simple: member states agree that an attack on one is an attack on all.

As the week's events have made clear, for NATO to live up to such a commitment to Georgia and Ukraine would almost certainly require the stationing of NATO forces in both countries at some point in the future, since it's highly unlikely that the Russians would simply accept those countries' accession into NATO without a challenge. A very realistic scenario would see escalation following upon escalation, as the Russians engaged in every possible means short of war to test NATO's will to defend its new allies. There are serious doubts as to whether the alliance - stretched more thinly than ever - could win that particular contest of wills. If it didn't, its credibility would be damaged beyond repair.

This is a dangerous and dirty game we're playing here, but as "citizens of the world," our participation is mandatory. One of the game's rules - albeit one that we're free to break - is that we shouldn't make commitments that we're either unwilling or unable to keep. Just something to think about as the politicians try to out-tough each other this election year.

Monday, August 11, 2008
On this day:

In Georgia, Russia retaliates for Kosovo

Last February, I asked whether the EU and the U.S. should have been more cautious in their support for Kosovar independence, noting that:
In response to Kosovo's declaration, Russia has threatened to make mischief not only in the Balkans, but also in the Russian "near abroad" by supporting separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are currently ruled by the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
This week, Russia made good on its threat, and now the Bush administration and our Western allies are trying to pretend that they were caught off guard.

That's not to say that Russia's invasion of Georgia was justified. It wasn't. But in this geopolitical chess game in which Georgia has now become a mere pawn, our recklessness in failing to take Russia at its word has now resulted in a diplomatic crisis and a serious blow to NATO's credibility. If the West is determined to tame the Russian bear, we're gonna have to do better than this.

What would Clinton do?

This was good for a chuckle:
After slipping into dry clothes, the president headed for the beach volleyball at Chaoyang Park, getting sandy with defending gold medalist Misty May-Treanor on the practice courts during a half-hour stop.

Bush posed for pictures with the U.S. players and staff. May-Treanor and her partner Kerri Walsh, took a break in practice so Bush could try out a few bumps himself.

The president needs some work on his passing, mis-hitting a pair off his knuckles. When May-Treanor passed the ball back to him, he acted like he was going to dive after it but decided to stay on his feet.

Then May-Treanor turned her back to the president, offering her bikinied rear for one of the traditional slaps that volleyball players frequently give each other.

"Mr. President, want to?" she asked, repeating an offer she made when Bush gave a pep talk to the U.S. athletes before Friday's opening ceremonies.

Bush smilingly gave a flick with the back of his hand to the small of her back instead.

Friday, August 08, 2008
On this day:

War breaks out between Georgia and Russia

What timing. Yesterday, I suggested that the U.S. could stand to be a little more cautious in its support for Georgian accession into NATO. Today, we saw a stunning example of why such caution is warranted.

James Joyner has a link-rich rundown of the day's events, along with plenty of background and commentary.

NYT: "Obama's View on Abortion May Divide Catholics"

True, and might it not also divide pro-choicers?
Republicans are gearing up campaigns to depict Mr. Obama as a radical on the question of abortion, because as a state senator in Illinois he opposed a ban on the killing of fetuses born alive.

Mr. Obama has said he had opposed the bill because it was poorly drafted and would have threatened the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that established abortion as a constitutional right. He said he would have voted for a similar bill that passed the United States Senate because it did not have the same constitutional flaw as the Illinois bill. Mr. Obama has opposed the federal ban on so-called partial-birth abortions for similar legal and constitutional reasons.

That explanation did not wash with many abortion foes and most Republicans.

Since when do you have to be a Republican or an abortion "foe" to believe that government has a moral and constitutional obligation to afford equal protection to any and all infants that are born alive?

Thursday, August 07, 2008
On this day:

More on NATO expansion

It seems to me that former British Defence Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind's views on the subject are much more sensible than those of former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

How much NATO expansion is enough?

One would hope that stories like this one would prompt a bit more caution among those leading the charge to expand NATO further eastward. If the alliance extends membership to nations like Georgia and Ukraine that share borders with Russia, it will automatically become a party to numerous conflicts and rivalries that are of little interest to the West but of great interest to Russia, a nation that we sometimes forget remains a great power with a great capacity to cause mischief. That doesn't mean that we should simply let the Russians have their way in the region or that we shouldn't seek some sort of security partnership with Russia's neighbors short of NATO membership. But neither does it mean that we should pursue NATO expansion in a way that is needlessly provocative and that doesn't even serve our own interests.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008
On this day:

Chavez acting up

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is trying to impose by decree what voters in his country rejected at the ballot box last year. Many of the Venezuelan people aren't amused.

PETA's animal instincts

PETA people are just plain warped. (Background here.)

About that last post

Like...I totally meant it. But, then again, I had just finished watching the latest Paris Hilton video, in which Paris says, "Ill see you at the debates, b***hes. (Warning: this one's safe for work. Sorry 'bout that.)

But talk about a rapid response. It didn't take a Hollywood minute till John McCain (aka "white-haired dude") had this comeback:
It sounds like Paris Hilton supports John McCain’s ‘all of the above’ approach to America’s energy crisis - including both alternatives and drilling. Paris Hilton might not be as big a celebrity as Barack Obama, but she obviously has a better energy plan.
Haha. Loves it.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008
On this day:

America's Olympians: keeping it classy

Not only is this sort of foolishness bound to needlessly offend the Chinese people (as opposed to the Chi-Com government, which greatly needs offending), it also makes our athletes look like complete wusses.

So...whoever's in charge of spreading America's capitalist imperialist propaganda for the Chi-Com Olympics like totally needs to be fired. Dontcha think?

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, RIP

A paperback copy of The Gulag Archipelago has been sitting largely unattended on my bookshelf for about fifteen years now. I know I started reading it once, because I picked it up a little while ago and found one of those magnetic refrigerator ads placed as a bookmark at the beginning of Chapter Two.

If I'd taken the time to read further, I might be able to write a more fitting tribute to the book's author, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, who died yesterday. As it stands, I can do little more than introduce those of you who may never have heard his name to the man who made it worth remembering.

The first page of The Gulag Archipelago is a dedication:

I dedicate this to all those who did not live to tell it. And may they please forgive me for not having seen it all nor remembered it all, for not having divined all of it.

Solzhenitsyn was one of the most important literary and political figures of the past century, and justifiably so. In his early years, Solzhenitsyn had been a Communist. He was later imprisoned in the Soviet gulag for speaking out against the Communists and for exposing them and their ideology for who and what they were. From the moment he picked up the pen to write that first page of The Gulag Archipelago, he knew the risks involved, but he also knew it to be his sacred duty to keep writing and to keep remembering...and to tell the stories of those who had given their lives so that we might remember.

In his "Author's Note," Solzhenitsyn explained the rush to get his book published:

For years I have with reluctant heart withheld from publication this already completed book: my obligation to those still living outweighed my obligation to the dead. But now that State Security has seized the book anyway, I have no alternative but to publish it immediately. In this book, there are no fictitious persons, nor fictitious events. People and places are named with their own names. If they are identified by initials instead of names, it is for personal considerations. If they are not named at all, it is only because human memory has failed to preserve their names. But it all took place just as it is here described.
What took place in the gulag - and Solzhenitsyn's account of it in all its horrific detail - was enough to convince even some of the most sympathetic Leftists in the West that their views on Soviet Communism had been mistaken. Even so, and up to the very end, the Communists had plenty of willing defenders and propagandists outside his beloved Russia, but Solzhenitsyn was always there as a living rebuttal.

Living in the wilds of Huntsville, Alabama, it's remarkable that I even know who Alexandr Solzhenitsyn is. It's perhaps more remarkable that I have a copy of his book resting on my bookcase. Not remarkable that I bought it, but remarkable that I knew I should buy it. And there's a reason for that. There were people who did listen - who actually read past that first chapter - and who therefore understood how important it was to speak Alexandr Solzhenitsyn's name and to tell his story, just as he had spoken the names and told the stories of those who had suffered with him in the gulag.

His was a name that helped bring an evil empire to its knees. His is a name that we all should remember.

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn.

May he rest in peace.

Friday, August 01, 2008
On this day:

Senate Dems object to offshore drilling even if price of gas reaches $10 a gallon

This bit of action from the floor of the U.S. Senate is a Republican campaign ad all by itself. Mitch McConnell is a genius.

The One

McCain's latest ad had me laughing...

...but apparently "The One" can't take a joke.

UA v. Daniel Moore update

The B'ham News reports that "the Aug. 4 trial pitting the University of Alabama against sports artist Daniel A. Moore has been delayed by a federal appeals court." Sounds like the treacherous Dr. Witt and his evil minions are pleased.