Monday, January 21, 2008


Reason #too-high-to-count that ALL men are pigs

Beethoven as rapist

I’m afraid that someday, maybe soon, I’m going to want someone to respect my opinion on a matter that is directly related to my years of education and work experience.

…and that someone is going to dismiss me with two words:

Susan McClary

…and as of right now, I’d be hard pressed to come up with a good comeback.

Side Notes: A kinder look at Beethoven: Pillage Idiot: Starting with nothing

Friday, January 18, 2008


In Defense of Chris Matthews

Crablaw had a Chris Matthews posting earlier this week: Sara Robinson of Group News Blog: Chris Matthews is a Misogynist Loser

…where he noted:

“I know that the good Conservatarian, to whom warm greetings and wishes for a Happy New Year, is reluctant to criticize a fellow Holy Cross grad, but I too had a Jesuit education and nothing in that education taught me to invade a female's space.”

Fair enough – my unwillingness to publicly criticize fellow ‘Saders is my practice of identity politics and one I’ve acknowledged. That said; I really don’t know what the big deal is – since Senator Clinton isn’t the one who made a big deal about it, I’m not sure why this is anyone else’s concern…except for the unfortunate tendency of many toward victimization at every opportunity. The video seems to show the Senator embracing Mr. Matthews...which kind of implies consent...which as Gloria Steinem famously said was a good defense in these matters (well, it was if your name is Bill Clinton).

The Washington Post has an article today which further explores the “trouble” Mr. Matthews is in with some out there because of his reactions to Ms. Clinton: Chris Matthews Backs Off 'Nasty' Remark on Clinton

“On last night's program, Matthews defended the substance of his remarks that Clinton's political career in New York was launched because of public sympathy stemming from her husband's much-investigated affair with Monica Lewinsky. But, he said, "was it fair to imply that Hillary's whole career depended on being a victim of an unfaithful husband? No. And that's what it sounded like I was saying."

Unfortunately, as a liberal on a perceived liberal network, Mr. Matthews has to be concerned with the stated opinions of such ideologues as Kim Gandy and Gloria Steinem. But you’d have to a moron to realistically think that he meant that Senator Clinton’s whole career was based on her being a wronged woman. Obviously she has her legal career and now political experience for added substance. Yet the gist of the remark is true even if it’s ultimately irrelevant. Most women (or men) wouldn’t or couldn’t have pulled off a similar subsequent rise in stature…so kudos to her for taking advantage of the situation to her ultimate advantage. In other words, the correct response to such observations by Chris Matthews (and others) is:

“So what?”

…and from my recollection of that time, coverage of the Monica Lewinsky affair is also what put Chris Matthews on the map.


As a public service...

10 great places to get pumped for NCAA action

“Hart Recreation Center
College of the Holy Cross
Worcester, Mass.

"This is another tiny gem, seating just 3,600," Feinstein says. "When it's packed, it really rocks — the student section is called The Hart Attack, which tells you all you need to know. Hanging from the rafters are championship banners from 1947 and 1954, a reminder that this is the school where Bob Cousy and Tom Heinsohn played before going on to the Celtics and the Hall of Fame." 508-793-2573;

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Man bites dog: I defend the Clintons

Over ten years ago, President Clinton told us that he wanted to “lead the American people in a great and unprecedented conversation about race.” And, indeed, there was even that PBS special designed to do just that. A Dialogue on Race with President Clinton

Heh, heh…as they say - be careful what you wish for: Clinton, Obama spar on race issue - Decision '08-

The Clintons are learning what many of the more conservative among us already know: invitations to dialogues on race aren’t to be taken literally; some of us are just to be seen and not heard…well, except for the occasional “mea culpa”.

For the record, Senator Clinton’s comments on President Johnson and the Reverend King were appropriate and President Clinton was spot-on in his criticism of Senator Obama’s Iraq record. Stubborn Facts has a good overview of all of this.

…and to the former First Family, in the aftermath of this week’s reap-what-you-sow moment; welcome to the downside of identity politics.

Monday, January 14, 2008


O'Malley gets tough on energy...

Electricity is in the news again and this time the O’Malley administration is really going to make a difference:

“The blueprint, to be released by the Maryland Energy Administration, will offer 20 proposals to help O'Malley (D) deliver on his ambitious pledge to reduce the state's energy consumption by 15 percent in seven years and stave off rolling blackouts that experts predict could occur in three years. Strong Action Urged To Cut Md. Energy Use

Perhaps one of the proposals to reduce energy usage here in Maryland is to simply use energy elsewhere. This would be an instance of the Governor leading by example: For example, just in the last year, he’s had two trips to Ireland, a trip to NH, a vacation in New York AND a vacation in North Carolina as well as…well, you get the idea – he’s pretty much everywhere forcing other places to use up their energy instead of using up our meager sources.

More here at The Main Adversary. I’m sure we’ll later learn why any increases in electricity costs attributable to this ‘bold’ plan will all be Ehrlich’s fault.

Friday, January 11, 2008


You Go Girls!!

Interesting editorial decision by the powers-that-be at Ms. Magazine:

The Volokh Conspiracy - The Ad Ms. Magazine Refused To Run (H/T: NRO)

For the uninitiated, Ms. Magazine proudly proclaims itself “More than a Magazine – A Movement” ...and lest you think I’m mocking it, here is Ms. Magazine courageously reporting on a film festival in Ramallah a few years ago: Ms. Magazine Images of Palestine: The Ramallah International Film Festival challenges stereotypes

Right on!!


I blame Global warming…

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Governor O' the news

The Maryland Blogosphere has been highlighting this amusing story: O'Malley's job approval lower than Bush's

“Marylanders gave Mr. Bush, a Republican, a 36 percent job-approval rating, just slightly more than the 33 percent they gave Mr. O'Malley, according to the Fox 5/The Washington Times/Rasmussen Reports poll.”

Soccer Dad notes this unexpected grasp of the obvious:

“I think what people are responding to is that their own pocketbook is shrinking and they are frustrated with anyone they think may have shrunk it more," said Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Senate.” - O'Malley Has Lower Approval Rating Than Pres. Bush

But the line that sticks with me is this Mike Miller quote:

"Martin O'Malley is going to be very popular. He had a great year as governor, very progressive year. He moved forward on education, healthcare and the environment...His approval ratings are going to go nowhere but up," said Senate President Mike Miller.”

Yep – he’s really moved "forward" on education.

“Mr. O'Malley, who was Baltimore's mayor at the time of the attempted schools takeover, has made no secret of his lack of trust in Ms. Grasmick and his desire to replace her.” A galling grasp for power -- (note: the “galling grasp” is Ms. Grasmick’s) (H/T - The Main Adversary)

That’s right; he’s following up on his stellar efforts to protect some Baltimore schools from the clutches of the state with a well-reasoned campaign to oust Ms. Grasmick. And after reading (or, more likely, having read to them) the following news, no doubt those Baltimore schools are today breathing a huge sigh of relief that Mr. O’Malley won that showdown and prevented the state from taking them over:

“The complex formula, which measures student achievement, standards and assessments and teacher pay, among other factors, rates Maryland as the third-best state school system in the country with a B average.”

“"Maryland is very proud to be among three states, in their words, 'leading the pack,' " said State Schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick. "Through this you see how well we've done compared to other states."
Report: Md. and Va. Schools Rank Among Nation's Best; D.C.'s Are the Worst


The Post is impressed with McCain - when he doesn't act all GOPy

The Washington Post has an editorial up today that just illustrates how utterly lacking in conservative (and Republican) input it has on its editorial board. Waxing lyrical on John McCain, they write of his “…unwillingness to abandon his support for the war in Iraq, even when it threatened to cost him his bid for the presidency…”

Let’s be clear – his support for our efforts in Iraq was one of the few things that DIDN’T threaten his presidential quest. But to be fair, the editorial does later mention just what it was that hurt Senator McCain with his fellow Republicans…and it highlights how just being associated with the GOP can be bad for your social standing with the Post-ites,:

“Mr. McCain offers a voice of reason tempered by the knowledge that many voters are furious about illegal immigration. His…willingness to take on such issues as climate change and campaign finance reform -- neither of which were (sic) particularly popular with his party -- reflects well on his character and judgment.”

The editorial then gushes over the Democrats choice between Senators Clinton and Obama:

“The contrast between her experience and his inspiration opens a legitimate and important debate. It's good that more voters will have a chance to weigh in.”

In other words, the Post needs more time to decide which of the two has a better chance of getting elected in November before it endorses a candidate. The party of its endorsee, however, is clearly not in doubt.


An Economic Kumbaya with Steve Pearlstein

Today, Steve Pearlstein rails against partisanship with a bit of partisan sniping of his own:

“The president started it off with a speech in Chicago in which, after acknowledging that there is too much partisanship in the capital, he argued that the best way to keep the economy humming was to extend his tax cuts. Not only is this a non-starter with the Democratic Congress, but there isn't a credible economist who would argue that extending tax cuts set to expire in 2010 will do much to help the economy in 2008.”

Mr. Pearlstein refers to all of this as “Bush's partisan nonsense”. Here is the President’s talk; you decide. He opens with kind words for Chicago’s Democratic mayor(the younger Daley) and Democratic Congressman Rahm Emmanuel and then gives an outline of some preferred economic policies…including extending the tax cuts. If outlining policy recommendations is now the equivalent of partisan bantering then the intellectual heft behind non-partisan musings can be little more than “Happy Holiday” greetings. That the Democratic Congress does not wish to consider such an extension merely plays to the essence of politics – this and future Congress’s can go on record as opposing extended tax cuts…and garner all the political goodwill such a move will no doubt engender.

Extending the tax cuts will not, in and of itself, salvage 2008. The President’s talk addressed other economic policy priorities, including housing and health care costs, but he also did explain why extending the cuts was important:

In times of uncertainty it's very important to make sure that the people on the front lines of job growth -- that would be the entrepreneur -- knows taxes are going to remain low. And so one of the first basic principles that I'll be talking to Congress about is this administration will use its authorities to keep taxes low.”

Calling such policy recommendations “partisan nonsense” may play well in Mr. Pearlstein’s social circle but they do not inform the reader as to why the policy is a bad one. I’m guessing he thinks it is simply because the President supports it.

Side Notes I: Mr. Pearlstein opines that no “credible economist who would argue that extending tax cuts set to expire in 2010 will do much to help the economy in 2008.” Well, okay, I don’t think anyone – including the President – would make that proposal the centerpiece of a 2008 stimulus package but some economists would certainly argue lower taxes as important overall – notably Martin Feldstein.

“With all the talk, though, from the Democratic side about raising taxes, do you think your plan can fly?

“They are talking about letting the Bush tax cuts lapse, and that would be a tax increase. And I think that would have an adverse effect, not only when it happened, but even in anticipation as people realize that their aftertax incomes would be coming down.” Martin Feldstein: The Danger Ahead

Side Notes II: But who can tell who Mr. Pearlstein thinks is a credible economist. Here he is on one particular danger to our economy:

“And it could take some of the pressure off the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates, which could stoke inflation, prompt a run on the dollar and reinflate the credit bubble that got us into this mess.”

So I’m guessing he doesn’t agree with economist Andrew Caplin who would seem to argue that pussyfooting around with modest rate cuts is ineffectual:

“Contrarily, there can be a case for the Fed taking very aggressive action. …that gradual interest rate moves can fail because they do indeed validate private sector expectations. Policy, say Andrew Caplin and John Leahy "needs to be more aggressive than the reaction it seeks to elicit." June 14, 2006 #4

But Mr. Pearlstein is very effusive for the ideas of an NYU economist who has been long working on the idea of a “shared-equity mortgage”:

“In simple terms, these "shared-equity mortgages" would offer homeowners the opportunity to lower their monthly interest and principal payments in exchange for sharing any long-term appreciation in the value of the house.”

That economist? Andrew Caplin.

Side Notes III: I’ve noted previously that no matter the economic problem, Mr. Pearlstein will consistently see such troubles as another excuse to give more and more responsibility to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Today, he doesn’t disappoint:

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would probably have to step in and jump-start the market for the new "shared equity" instruments, at least until there is enough experience with them to attract private underwriters into the market. To do that, the housing finance giants would need special legislative authorization.”

Can't we at least let them show they can handle the accounting for their present business before thrusting even more work their way?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Don't worry - there is no National Security tie-in...

In an article describing Prince George’s County’s adoption of a new SmartBoot for parking scofflaws, there was a description of the nabbing of a Tahoe that had $15,000 in unpaid tickets associated with it:

“County parking enforcers spotted the vehicle as they used the other half of their new system: cameras that scan license plates, alerting them to cars with unpaid fines.” These Boots Are Made for Unlocking

Prince George’s County is using these technological marvels to raise money for government. Would it make a difference if the surveillance was instead used to scan for known terrorists, illegal immigrants or those with warrants out on them?

Monday, January 07, 2008


Fun O'Malley Factoid

December 2003 and Howard Dean is all the rage. Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley courageously picks this moment to endorse Howard Dean.

The presumptive front-runner finishes 3rd in Iowa.

May 2007 and Hillary Clinton is all the rage. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley courageously picks this moment to endorse Hillary Clinton.

The presumptive front-runner finishes 3rd in Iowa.


Physician, heal thyself

“"Given the adverse climate that prevails for the Mexican community in the United States, aggravated by the electoral debate in that country, we also have to give particular attention to the problems confronted by our migrants," Mexican Foreign Minister Criticizes U.S. Candidates -

But still they come and still they stay…which tells me that the climate in Mexico must be that much worse for them.


John Edwards Cares...

Losing a family member is as bad as it gets but there’s no reason that your loss can’t be John Edwards’ gain:

“A family who says its daughter died because a health insurance company refused to pay for an operation campaigned with Democrat John Edwards on Sunday, reinforcing his election message that corporate greed is hurting Americans.” (emphasis mine) Bereaved family campaigns for Edwards

Now that’s a fine piece of reporting by an obviously dispassionate Reuters’ reporter. Still, from what I read in the article, it seems there were a few other people/entities that also refused to pay for an operation: her parents, UCLA, the doctors at UCLA and even the John Edwards for President Campaign.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


The Constitution - buffet style

The 2nd Amendment is back in the news again as DC tries to justify its near total ban on handguns within the city. Of interest was this argument put forward by the District:

"Even if the court decides the amendment does protect an individual right, the brief says, it must be read as a restriction only on the federal government, to which it was aimed. "District-specific" legislation cannot "implicate the amendment's purpose of protecting states and localities from the federal government." Gun Law Prevents Harm, D.C. Argues

Sounds like DC is now the ideological home of State-Right’ers…well, at least for this one sliver of the Constitution. For this argument to hold up, though, the Supreme Court will have to somehow conclude that prior decisions reading the Bill of Rights as also applying as prohibitions against state and local governments (and not just Congress) were never meant to include the 2nd Amendment…and, in this instance, a local government that is, in fact, a federal entity.

I’m not unsympathetic to such arguments as I believe the 14th amendment was never intended to fully incorporate the Bill of Rights into general state prohibitions. But of all the governmental entities to make such an argument, federal enclave District of Columbia is the least-well positioned to do so since it is a creation of Congress. That said, I have no doubt that there are some legal giants on this Court who possibly see this as another instance to apply Justice Brennan’s inane “living constitution” theorem and have the necessary legal flexibility to carve out such an exception.

On a larger scale, this gun battle is an excellent example of a peculiar tendency I note among predominantly leftist legal observers. Few things are as axiomatic among that group as there being a constitutional right to an abortion – with no restrictions of any kind being countenanced. This despite the Constitution never once mentioning abortion.

Yet, when it comes to matters the Constitution does mention, we find a different mindset. Leftist heroes Justices T. Marshall and Brennan somehow declared the Death Penalty to be unconstitutional despite its expressed legitimacy within the Constitution. Restrictions on speech – one of the hallmarks of our Constitutional protections - were approved as a legitimate restriction on cash. And, as seen above, many are striving mightily to codify a perceived loophole in the Constitution to restrict a right to gun ownership. From my vantage point, it seems many on the left – seeking an ever increasing presence of government in our daily lives - simply view the Constitution as more an obstacle than a bulwark

Side Notes I: DC has long had one of the most stringent restrictions on the books against gun ownership and yet it leads the league (by a significant amount) in number of deaths per 100,000. Although deterrence is not the only argument for a death penalty, a consistent argument against the death penalty is its ineffectiveness as deterrence. Well, deterrence is pretty much the only reason for restrictions on gun ownership…

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Israeli Crisis...redux

Over the years, Soccer Dad’s blog, among others, has adequately documented just how pathetic a news source the Israeli daily Haaretz is. Today I want to join in on the fun. Over at (Post Global) they have a piece by Yossi Melman who, when not writing for the Post, is a senior commentator for Haaretz. He purportedly is responding to a query as to his country’s (Israel’s) biggest story for 2007:

“The continued shelling of Israeli towns and rural communities near Gaza by Hamas could have been a natural choice for the most significant event in Israel in 2007.”

But Mr. Melman is much too bright to go with the obvious:

“But I’ve decided to select the impact which globalization is having on our society as the most important, the most formative event of 2007.”

This then leads to a predictable rant against capitalism. Fortunately for Mr. Melman, he had already written word-for-word much of this retrospective on 2007 for his 2006 country report for Global Integrity (

Here’s part of Mr. Melman’s assessment of “the most important, the most formative event of 2007.”

“Israel now worships the golden calf of the free market: privatization and sink-or-swim competition, what British Prime Minster Edward Heath once called the “ugly face of capitalism.” The country’s economy is under the influence of a handful of families who, like robber barons, rob public assets, utilities and national resources, all with the help of corrupt officials and ministers.” Yossi Melman at PostGlobal: PostGlobal on

Now here’s part of Mr. Melman’s report on Israel for 2006:

“Israel now worships the golden calf of the free market: privatization and sink-or-swim competition, what British Prime Minster Edward Heath once called the "ugly face of capitalism." The country's economy is under the influence of a handful of families who, like robber barons, rob public assets, utilities and national resources, all with the help of corrupt officials and ministers.” Global Integrity - Israel Notebook

I’m certainly no expert on Israel but I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that this new year will unfortunately find Israel worshipping the golden calf of the free market (and damn - isn’t that a great turn of phrase – I can see why he wants to use it over and over). Sure, Israelis may continue to be blown up by terrorists and their towns continue to be indiscriminately shelled but it’ll be this false god worshipping that, come January 2009, we’ll all be talking about as the obvious Israeli story of the year for 2008.

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