The Council has Spoken! (Plus a special announcement.)

Before I get to my special and exciting announcement, here are the winning entries in the Watcher’s Council vote for this week. On the Council side, first place went to Soccer Dad for Hating israel more than loving palestinians. On the Non-Council side, first place was a two way tie between Jay Cost for On Obama’s Message and Investor’s Business Daily for Barack Obama’s Stealth Socialism.  Exercising my Watcher’s prerogative for this week, I awarded first place to the IBD editorial.  Three members were unable to vote this week, but only Hillbilly White Trash suffered the 2/3 vote penalty.  Here is the list of all posts that received votes this week:

Council:

1.  Soccer Dad (2) :  Hating Israel more than loving palestinians

Two posts tied for second:

2.  Joshua Pundit (1 1/3):  “Ich Bin Ein Beginner!”

2.  Bookworm Room (1 1/3):  Nobody here but us biased chickens

3.  Hillbilly White Trash (1):  China

Three posts tied for fourth:

4.  Wolf Holwing (2/3):  Stop the Destruction of Our Environment – Drill Now

4.  The Colossus of Rhodey (2/3):  And Phil Gramm got grief?  How come?

4.  Rhymes With Right (2/3):  Obama Desecrates Holiest Site in Judaism

Two posts tied for fifth:

5.  Done With Mirrors (1/3):  Us and Them

5.  Cheat-Seeking Missiles (1/3):  An Awful Idea for Renaming a Perfectly Good Mountain

Non-Council:

1.  Investor’s Business Daily (2, winning by a tie-breaker):  Barack Obama’s Stealth Socialism

2.  Jay Cost (1 2/3):  On Obama’s Message

Two posts tied for third:

3.  Jeff Jacoby (1 1/3):  Missing from that Berlin Speech

3.  Gregory Scoblete (1 1/3):  Will Obama Really Withdraw From Iraq?

Two posts tied for fourth:

4.  Maryland Conservative (1):  Visiting Poland : A Warning

4.  Patrick Poole (1) :  Anti-Patriot Act Poster Boy Kidnaps Own Kids

5.  UrbanGrounds (2/3):  Barry in Berlin – I am Not a Presidential Candidate

6.  Daniel W.  Drezner (1/3):  America’s soft military power

Congratulations to everyone for a job well done.

And now for my exciting announcement:  Terry Trippany, who has distinguished himself by creating, managing and writing for Webloggin, and who is a frequent contributor to Newsbusters, will be the new Watcher.  He’ll be up to speed in a week or two and will take over his duties then.  I will keep you posted.  Needless to say, we are all extremely pleased to welcome Terry on board.

Ask what your country will force you to do

IBD has another superb editorial, this one about Obama’s plan to force young people to work in the new age Greenie trenches of his socialist imagination:

Obama says that as president he will “set a goal for all American middle and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students to perform 100 hours of service a year.” What he doesn’t say is that he’ll make such voluntarism compulsory by attaching strings to federal education dollars. The schools will make the kids volunteer. It’s called plausible deniability.

In a commencement speech at Wesleyan University, Obama advised graduates not to pursue the American dream of success, but to serve others.

“You can take your diploma, walk off this stage and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should,” he told the graduates. “But I hope you don’t.”

Don’t be another Bill Gates and amass a fortune making people more productive and successful in their daily lives and giving your countrymen a standard of living the world will envy. Exchange your cap and gown for sackcloth and ashes. Leave your possessions behind and come and follow Obama.

“Fulfilling your immediate wants and needs betrays a poverty of ambition,” he opined. Shame on us for being selfish and buying that SUV built by an autoworker trying to fulfill his family’s immediate wants and needs.

“Our collective service can shape the destiny of this generation,” Obama said. “Individual salvation depends on collective salvation.”

We already have a Salvation Army that is truly a volunteer organization. Collective service and salvation is not a classic definition of voluntarism. What Obama has in mind is to turn America into a socialist version of the old Soviet collectives.

And if your idea of service is to join the military and keep others alive and free, forget about it. And never mind about ROTC on campus.

Obama has no place for those who are willing to abandon fame and fortune to lay down their lives for their friends and ours. “At a time of war,” Obama says, “we need you to work for peace.”

With President Obama in the White House, you’ll still be free — as long as your idea of freedom coincides with Obama’s demands on your time, intelligence, and efforts.

The bloom is coming off the rose

I’ve never been a David Letterman fan — his humor and mine have few points of intersection.  Nevertheless, I think he (and his writers) hit the nail on the head with the Top 10 list of signs Obama is becoming over-confident.  As you watch this, don’t just listen to the jokes.  Pay attention to the audience laughter as well.  It’s telling.

I found this video at Hot Air, where it was part of a larger post about Obama’s declining poll numbers.  The very first comment to the post, a funny one, is that “Somewhere in Chappaqua, New York, the lid is slowly pushed away from the coffin,…”

I’ve wondered, too, if Obama’s peaking too soon will lead to Hillary’s being nominated in Denver.  The Democrats are in a cleft stick, though.  Right now, women and rational people are PO’d at the party for going with Obama.  However, if those super-delegates jettison Obama for Hillary, the Democrats will lose the African-American vote, and the nutroot vote.  And say what you will about the nutroots, they are energized.  They are the vibrant, living side of the Democratic party.  It’s an interesting conundrum for the Dems.

The joy of teaching

I think most of us watched Randy Pausch’s last lecture, delivered when he was retiring due to terminal cancer.  Although the cancer finally claimed Pausch, the messages about getting the most out of life, about living with joy and immediacy, linger on.  Charles Lipson, himself a teacher, concludes that Pausch not only taught life lessons, he taught an important lesson about what it means to be a true teacher (as opposed to someone who merely stands in front of a class).  As for me, I can look back in time and see vividly each of the wonderful teachers I had, all of whom inspired me in ways that transcended the curriculum.

I’m not the president. I just play one on TV.

If you’re old enough, you remember the famous cough syrup advertisement, in which a soap opera actor announced, “I’m not a doctor.  I just play one on TV.”  Miguel Guanipa explains how Obama, who came of age along with that TV commercial, has opted to use the same approach to convince the American public to buy his product:  himself.

In his mind Obama hopes that people will apply the duck logic to his scheme. If it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck, well, then, it must be a duck.

This is the reason why Obama has decided in the last few months before the election to start looking and walking like a president.

Make a few trips to carefully selected countries, speak to a few foreign leaders (a luxury that John Kerry unwisely did not indulge in before making the actual claim); visit a few beleaguered nations and frown as you speak in public to their heads of state; fill in a few photo-ops to make sure the world knows and shares in your concern. Pretty soon you may start not only looking like a president but like you actually should be the president.

Read the rest here.

Queen Nancy

IBD does an enjoyably neat job of cutting Nancy Pelosi down to size:

When challenged in an interview with Politico.com about her bullheaded refusal to let Republicans submit energy policies for approval, Pelosi resorted to risible hyperbole to justify her iron-fisted rule of the House parliamentary process.

“I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,” she responded. “I will not have this debate trivialized by their excuse for their failed policy.”

If the San Francisco Democrat’s magisterial narcissism isn’t off-putting enough, her intent should be. She’s saying that her importance to the survival of Earth transcends our system of open government, elections and power-sharing. Because she’s trying to save the world, she can’t be challenged and dissent will not be tolerated.

Read the rest here.

Oh, speaking of stupidity regarding oil policy, get a load of this video of Barack Obama advising us to dig out our tire air gauges to save the planet, along with John Hindraker’s little reality check.

Best analysis I’ve seen of Obama’s myriad failures re Iraq

Before today, I hadn’t heard of Frank Turek.  After today, I’m going to keep an eye out for his articles.  He’s written a really splendid article explaining how deeply, terribly wrong Obama’s every position is regarding Iraq.  Frankly, for those who are well-informed, there’s nothing in this article you haven’t seen before.  I’m just impressed by how well and elegantly he pulls it together — to the point where’d I say that, if you have to send one article to a liberal friend supporting McCain on Iraq, and opposing Obama, I’d make it this one.

For example (emphasis in original):

Barack Obama’s recent op-ed in the New York Times declares, “It’s time to end this war.” (You remember that Senator McCain tried to respond, but the Times apparently wanted to give McCain his opinion rather than allow him to express his own.   Every day I read the New York Times and the Bible just to see what both sides are doing.)

Is Obama right?  Is it time to end this war?  Maybe it is time to begin drawing down our forces and handing-off more responsibility for security to Iraqi forces.  This idea is gaining favor in Bagdad and Washington.

The problem for Obama is that withdrawal, not victory, has always been his goal.  Obama wanted to “end this war” when it would have meant an American defeat.  The only reason a slow withdrawal is possible now is because President Bush made the unpopular but wise decision to increase our efforts while Obama and the Democrat party tried to get us to cut and run.

This raises a larger question about Obama’s fitness for the presidency.  Obama has four positions related to the war which, in my view, disqualify him for the presidency.

First, how can a serious candidate for President of the United States have a long-standing goal to end the war rather than win it?  Great presidents don’t end wars—they win them. The only way the American military can be defeated is when American leaders forfeit the fight for them.  And that’s exactly what Obama has wanted to do for years.

For those of you in or near Somerset, Pennsylvania

I just received this press release:

Alec Rawls and Tom Burnett Sr. (father of Flight 93 hero Tom Burnett Jr.) are traveling to Somerset PA to condemn the crescent/broken-circle memorial at the Memorial Project’s public meeting this Saturday, August 2nd. The meeting will run from 10-am to 1pm at the Somerset County Courthouse.

Immediately after the meeting Mr. Burnett and Mr. Rawls will host a press conference in the Master’s Room at the Somerset County Courthouse, next door to the public meeting room (Courtroom 1). Also on the press conference panel will be Diane Gramley, President of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, and the Reverend Ron McRae of Johnstown.

In addition to our own statements, Mr. Burnett will read a statement from Congressman John Kline (R-MN), and Alec Rawls will present statements from Rich Davis, founder of the Chester County Victory Movement, and from Khalim Massoud, President of Muslims Against Sharia Law.

After the press conference, Mr. Burnett and his supporters will host a rally to stop the re-hijacking of Flight 93. Members of our informal Western Pennsylvania Compatriots group (who spoke out at the last public meeting) will be in attendance, and some out of town folks will be coming as well.

To inform and invite the local populace, a half-page full-color ad will be running in tomorrow’s edition of the Somerset Daily American. (Ad copy here.) It explains how the original Crescent of Embrace design remains completely intact in the Circle of Embrace redesign, which is explicitly described by the Park Service itself as a “broken” circle. That is exactly how architect Paul Murdoch described his original Crescent design.

All the redesign does is include an extra arc of trees that explicitly represents a broken off part of the circle. The unbroken part of the circle (the crescent), remains exactly as it was. It is still a giant Islamic shaped crescent, still pointing to Mecca , as your colleague Kirk Swauger verified a year ago:

Rawls maintains that the midpoint between the tips of the crescent points almost precisely toward “qibla,” the direction to Mecca, which Muslims are supposed to face for prayer.

His claims seem to be backed up by coordinates for the direction of qibla from Somerset that can be found on Islam.com. When superimposed over the crescent in the memorial design, the midpoint points over the Arctic Circle, through Europe toward Mecca.

Except for Kirk’s verification of the Mecca orientation of the crescent (which was not picked up by any other news organization), reporters have not been bothering to check the facts. When our claim that there are to be 44 inscribed translucent blocks emplaced along the flight path was reported a few months ago, Gordon Felt, President of Families of Flight 93 was quoted denying it, but despite this clear conflict of factual claims, no reporter bothered to simply open up the design drawings and count.

As will be detailed at our press conference, several of our supporters have gone to the trouble of going back to the source documents and fact-checking our basic claims about what is in the design. If reporters want to do the same, I have posted a set of fact checking guides, with links to source documents, at CrescentOfBetrayal.com.

Obama and reparations

Obama was caught during his speech to minority journalists making noises that sounded remarkably like reparations talk:

“I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged,” the Democratic presidential hopeful said.

“I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it’s Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds.”

There was immediate speculation about whether he really meant to have the US pay reparations, not to still-living former slaves (since there are none), but to the descendants by several generations of former slaves.

Unwittingly, the New York Times has provided further insight into the answer to that question.  In a long article describing Obama’s years teaching at the University of Chicago Law School, this little bit leaped out at me (and I probably wouldn’t even have noticed it if I hadn’t first seen this story about the reparations talk):

Mr. Obama was especially eager for his charges to understand the horrors of the past, students say. He assigned a 1919 catalog of lynching victims, including some who were first raped or stripped of their ears and fingers, others who were pregnant or lynched with their children, and some whose charred bodies were sold off, bone fragment by bone fragment, to gawkers.

“Are there legal remedies that alleviate not just existing racism, but racism from the past?” Adam Gross, now a public interest lawyer in Chicago, wrote in his class notes in April 1994.

If Obama had raised that as a hypothetical legal question in the context of an abstract talk about race relations in America, I could conceive of it being a truly open-ended discussion.  However, given that he paired it with requiring his students to read about the horrors African-Americans suffered generations ago, it’s easy to see that, lawyer-like, he is pushing his impressionable students to an affirmative answer to the question he asked of them.

James Taranto gives a good run-down of why reparations are a bad idea:

The idea of reparations is highly unpopular, and with good reason. Unlike the Japanese-Americans who in 1988 received compensation for their internment by a Democratic administration in the grips of wartime hysteria, no one alive today has ever been a slave. The idea of the government cutting checks to compensate people for a wrong that they did not personally suffer is unlikely to appeal to anyone except perhaps those who stand to receive those checks.

Taranto goes on to wonder why Obama would be making reparations an issue anyway?  African-Americans will vote for him regardless, and reparations are unpopular with anyone else.  What Taranto misses is that he provided the answer in the material I quoted above:  it’s about receiving checks.

To the extent that Obama seeks to raise taxes, not to fund the government (whether for popular or unpopular initatives), but instead to redistribute wealth a la the Communists, reparation is yet another tool in that arsenal.  That is, it’s not about race qua race, it’s about painting a sympathetic victim face on a socialist wealth grab.

Olmert to go

At long last, not a moment too soon, and probably way too late, horrible Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is stepping down:

Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced on Wednesday he would step down in September after a party leadership vote, announcing the end of a premiership dogged by graft investigations.

“After the election of my successor I will step down to allow a government to be formed rapidly,” he said, after declaring he would not run in the centrist Kadima party election due in mid-September.

I’d say Hurrah!, but I’ll hold my enthusiasm until I see who replaces him.

Okay, now the Saudis have finally gone too far

I’ve tried to be mellow about the Saudis.  My all-American training in moral relativism has allowed me to find excuses for the misogyny that makes women 54th class citizens, and for the antisemitism that makes it illegal for Jews to travel to Saudi Arabia, and for the censorship that makes possession of a Bible punishable by death, and for the stoning of adulteresses, and for whipping and hanging gays, and for funding the world-wide Madrassas that train boys to kill Jews and Americans.  Each of those was just a by-product of the unique Saudi culture and, really, who am I to criticize them?

But today, for the first time, the Saudis went too far — they’ve banned dogs!

Saudi Arabia’s religious police have announced a ban on selling cats and dogs as pets, or walking them in public in the Saudi capital, because of men using them as a means of making passes at women, an official said on Wednesday.Othman al-Othman, head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Riyadh, known as the Muttawa, told the Saudi edition of al-Hayat daily that the commission has started enforcing an old religious edict.

He said the commission was implementing a decision taken a month ago by the acting governor of the capital, Prince Sattam bin Abdul Aziz, adding that it follows an old edict issued by the supreme council of Saudi scholars.

The reason behind reinforcing the edict now was a rising fashion among some men using pets in public “to make passes on women and disturb families,” he said, without giving more details.

Othman said that the commission has instructed its offices in the capital to tell pet shops “to stop selling cats and dogs”.

Somebody had better get the big guns on this one and call PETA, ’cause you just know that an edict like this will swiftly be followed by street-corner beheadings of dogs (and maybe their owners, too).

Submitted for your approval

This week, I have the great honor of hosting the Watcher’s Council vote — although I can hint at the fact that our gypsy status won’t last much longer.   I know that you will find each of the submitted articles extremely interesting:

Council:

1. The Razor: Here’s my response to Jack Markell’s commercial

2. Done With Mirrors: Us and Them

3. Wolf Howling: Stop The Destruction of Our Environment — Drill Now

4. Soccer Dad: Hating israel more than loving palestinians

5. Cheat-Seeking Missiles: An Awful Idea for Renaming a Perfectly Good Mountain

6. The Colossus of Rhodey: And Phil Gramm got grief? How come?

7. The Glittering Eye: Ooh-ooh-ooooh!

8. Rhymes With Right: Obama Desecrates Holiest Site In Judaism

9. Joshua Pundit: “Ich Bin Ein Beginner!”

10. Hillbilly White Trash: China

11. Bookworm Room: Nobody here but us biased chickens

Non-Council:

1. Bjorn Lomborg: How to Get The Biggest Bang for 10 Billion Bucks

2. Daniel W. Drezner: America’s soft power military

3. Jammie Wearing Fool: A Real Democrat Party

4. Maryland Conservatarian: Visiting Poland : A Warning

5. Patrick Poole  – Pajamas Media: Anti-Patriot Act Poster Boy Kidnaps Own Kids

6. The Atlantic Online: Electro-Shock Therapy

7. Gregory Scoblete – Real Clear Politics: Will Obama Really Withdraw from Iraq?

8. UrbanGrounds: Barry in Berlin — I Am Not a Presidential Candidate

9. Jay Cost – Real Clear Politics: On Obama’s Message

10. Investor’s Business Daily Barack Obama’s Stealth Socialism

11. Jeff Jacoby Missing from that Berlin speech

Be sure to check back Friday morning for the results of this week’s vote.

What is the “ideal” tax rate?

Hi, this is DQ, and I have a question that I know Bookworm’s readers will have an answer to.  I read a story today that said that next year’s federal deficit will hit a new record.  Now, conservatives (with Bookworm leading the charge) always say that the answer to closing the deficit is to reduce taxes because this will stimulate the economy and produce more revenues over all even at the lower rate.  This is true — up to the point when the loss in tax revenue due to the lower rate is so great that it is not cancelled out by the increase in revenues from the stronger economy.  Liberals always say the answer is to raise taxes because this will produce more revenue.  This is also true — up to the point where the negative effect the higher tax rates have on the economy is so great that it more than cancels out the increased revenues from the higher rates.

(As an aside, everyone knows the best way to close the deficit is to lower spending, but that’s not going to happen and, anyway, it is beside the point to my question.)

So, my question is, has anyone ever done any actual studies to determine what the ideal tax rate is?  I mean ”ideal” in the very limited sense of the rate that will result in the highest revenues to the government.  If so, what were the results of the study?

Update:  Rockdalian’s comment made me realize my question is a bit too simple.  I was asking for a study that yielded a specific number — the percentage tax rate at which the maximum amount of tax revenue will be raised.  But such a simple answer may not be possible.  Does it matter what you tax?  By that I mean do income taxes, sales taxes, inheritance taxes, etc. differ in their effect on the economy?  Just to take those three, my theory would be that high income taxes discourage hard work and earnings, sales taxes discourage spending and encourage saving and that inheritance taxes have the least effect of the three but probably encourage spending.  However, the question remains.  Has anyone done any actual scientific studies to determine these effects?

Are oil prices coinciding with lifted bans or demand worries?

Okay, I admit, that’s an incredibly awkwardly phrased post title (I’m making a habit of those), but I wanted to ask you all a question.  What I noticed some weeks ago was that, the moment Bush lifted the executive ban on offshore drilling, oil prices dropped.  My view was that the mere expectation of increased domestic oil supplies was enough to put in a spike in the never-ending escalation of oil prices.

Today, however, I’m assured by Reuters that oil prices dropped because the market is “worried”:

Oil falls to 12-week low on demand worries

Oil fell to its lowest level in nearly three months on Tuesday, extending a steep slide since mid-July on mounting evidence high prices and a souring economy were cutting into world energy demand.

The drop coincided with a firmer U.S. dollar, which may have reduced the appeal of commodities to some investors playing the strong negative correlation between the markets in recent months, analysts said.

There is no mention at all in the article about Bush’s actions.

I’ll always be the first to admit that I’m woefully ignorant about the ways of the market.  However, my understanding has always been that, whenever there are oil worries, oil prices go up.  This is the first time I’ve heard of worries driving prices down.  And another thing — considering that rising oil prices have been terribly damaging to world economies, why does this article make it sound as if dropping prices is a bad thing?

Can anyone explain this to me?

Phone messages from crazy people

I was out this morning getting my oil changed — and learning that it will cost almost $2,000 to fix my car from its recent run-in with a low post.  When I got home, I found an interesting message on my answering machine.

It’s the recorded voice of Dennis Kucinich begging me to “Press 1 now” on my phone to be added to the “growing list” of people calling for George Bush’s impeachment.  I don’t know how to tell Kucinich this, but George Bush is leaving office, with or without impeachment, in six months.

Impeachment is, in any event, a dumb idea.  Even though Clinton used the White House as his own private cat house, committed perjury himself, and encouraged others to lie as well, I thought the impeachment against him was vindictive politics that would backfire.  I think the same holds true in this tit-for-tat attempt to dislodge Bush, or just to humiliate him, with the end of his presidency drawing near.

It’s also unusually stupid — and this is saying a lot even for Kucinich — considering the potential fall-out here.  Clinton’s crimes were his own.  In this case, however, any Democrat calling for impeachment should consider the number of Congress people (Democrats included) who had possession of precisely the same information as George Bush, and who were as gung-ho for war as he was.  Any attack on Bush is necessarily going to create a wide-ranging defense that attacks a whole bunch of Congress people as well.  (You know, thinking about it, that’s not such a bad thing, is it?)

Bumper sticker news

In Marin,  9 out of 10 bumperstickers one sees are liberal in context.  Make that 9.9 out of 10.

There’s the “Endless This War” sticker; and the still popular “Somewhere in Texas a village is missing its idiot” sticker; and the saccharine, unrealistic and facile “Coexist,” with the symbols of various religions used in lieu of letters.  More concretely, there are uncountable Gore and Kerry bumper stickers on older model cars.  And with increasing frequency, there are the “Barack ’08″ and “Change ’08″ bumper stickers.  Those last are popping out like fungus after a rainfall.

But today I saw a lovely first.  It was a “Hillary” sticker, partially overlaid by a “McCain” sticker.  I gather that someone is deeply offended that a woman who has paid her dues (and this is true whether or not one likes her), has been cast aside for a man who has paid nothing.

I know you are, but what am I?!

I’ve noticed an interesting trend in the comments to my Barack Obama posts lately whenever liberals wander by.  I’ll put up a post pointing out something very specific we’ve learned about Obama, despite his rather thin resume.  I might blog about his relationship with Rezko and the peculiar coincidences of his real estate purchase; or perhaps I’ll note that he’s been friends with some anarcho-terrorists; or I’ll blog about the fact that he doesn’t flip-flop (which implies an actual change in position), but simply has a new position for every audience and every occasion (witness his Jerusalem contortions); or I’ll point to the fact that his church of 20 years was a hate-filled cess pool; or maybe I’ll just point out that this man has less than a thimble-full of real world experience — you know, that kind of stuff.

What invariably happens when I get comments from liberals is that they don’t defend Obama, probably because they can’t.  Everything I blog about is documented.  He was buddies from Rezko and he did pay below market for his house as part of a Rezko related transaction.  He is friends with Ayers and Dohrn, and has sought as mentors many other arch-Communists.  He has stated three different, conflicting positions on Jerusalem.  The only way to reconcile them is to credit him with a sophisticated knowledge of rather arcane Jewish law.

His position on the Iraq War is equally open to criticism (“I was against it before I was against it except for the Surge which I was against even though I support it, but I still would vote for it despite acknowledging that it works and supporting it now. . . .  Uh, no further questions.”)  The Church kerfuffle is as well documented as anything else, and takes pride of place as the first publicity grenade that even a loving media couldn’t keep from blowing up on him.  Lastly, with regard to the experience issue, Obama’s resume speaks for itself.  I wouldn’t vote for him for County dog catcher on that slender a record of practical experience and real world competence.

Faced with the fact that I’ve never said a single untruthful thing about Obama’s failings and ugly baggage, the liberal response is unanimous:  George Bush is worse.  I’m finding this an increasingly peculiar response.

Assuming solely for the sake of argument that everything the liberals say about Bush is true — that he’s dishonest, power hungry, inept, has evil friends and entered the White House without any useful experience — what’s that got to do with Obama as a candidate?  First, Bush is not running in this election.  His day in the presidential sun is over.  With that stark fact it place, it’s clear that comparing the two is like comparing applies and spare tires.  It’s a pointless exercise.

Second, if liberals truly do hate the fact that Bush is dishonest, power hungry and consorts with evil people, and that he entered the White House as a useless neophyte with no practical experience, why in the world are they supporting Obama?  As we’ve already noticed, they never challenge the same substantive attacks against Obama, because they are heavily factually documented and irrefutably true.  This means that, if Bush is a rotten apple, so is Obama.

The smart thing to do, if issues of ineptitude, corruption, and bad friends really bother one, would be to consign both men (Bush and Obama) to the rubbish heap of history and to vote for John McCain.  I think most will concede that, while McCain is less than perfect, there is no trail of slime leading to his door comparable either to the ones liberals have concocted against George Bush or that the indisputable paper and video record shows against Obama.

I have to wrap up with Pee Wee Herman, giving context to this post title:

The eyes of love

The release of a Tyrone Power DVD collection reminded me of a story my parents told.  To appreciate the story, you have to appreciate that Tyrone Power was so handsome that he was almost too handsome.  He just skated along the edges of pretty.  (He definitely lacked the assured virility Clark Gable projected.)

Back in the early 50s, when my parents still lived in Israel, they became friends with an man who was the Israeli liason to the Italian film community.  They were never quite clear on the details, but I gather he was the one who arranged to have Italian films shown in Israel.  This was the time, of course, of the famous post-War Italian beauties, such as Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida.

My parents said that their friend was distinguished by being spectacularly good looking, with most people comparing him to Tyrone Power — only more handsome, because he was a tad more masculine looking.  Interestingly, his wife was a singularly unattractive woman, as dowdy and frumpy as a person could be.

Whenever their friend came back from junkets to Italy, every one would chafe him in a good natured way about the time spent with Sophia or Gina.  His response was unvarying:  “I don’t understand what everybody sees in those women.  If you want true beauty, look at my wife.”

As a child, I adored that story, because I viewed it as the ultimate expression of the way we beautify the object of our affections.  As a more cynical adult, I wonder whether his response wasn’t the best cover possible for someone sampling the feminine delicacies in Italy.  Even if that’s the case, though, it’s a great story.

John Edwards — national not-father figure

Yesterday, I blogged about the fact that the British media is not only noting the John Edwards paternity scandal, but is pointing to double-standards in the American media.  (Say it ain’t so, Joe!)  Today, Deceiver.com has a splendid rundown of the scandal’s history, from the first moment Rielle Hunter appeared on the world’s radar.  It’s lucid, fact-filled and, without the need for any nasty language or below-the-belt attacks, devastating about both the American media and, believe it or not, Wikipedia.

Hat tip:  Hot Air

I decline (again) to accept responsibility

I can’t stand Stephen Sondheim, but I’ve always found rather amusing one of his songs from Into the Woods, the one that tells the boring and pathetic tales purportedly behind the fairy tales).  The song is called “Your Fault,” and sees each of the lead characters passing the buck, disclaiming any responsibility for all the myriad things going wrong about them.  Here’s a video of the blame-passing game:

Barack Obama seems to have made a life study of that song.  In his world, everyone else is always to blame for anything that goes wrong (which is, I made add, I typical narcissist trait).  The latest example is his insistence that he was “hustled” by the German reporter who oohed and aahed over his pecs and sweat-free hip.  By the way, please note as you read the following that this is one reporter who is unimpressed by Obama’s tightly controlled and scripted media appearances:

Barack Obama knows how to handle the media. His appearances are strictly choreographed, as if they were held on movie sets, and you only get access to the star if you fit the marketing concept. During his visit to Berlin, for example, he only allowed hand-picked journalist to interview him — with one exception.

[snip]

Now Obama has revealed how he experienced the encounter. “She hustled us,” he told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

“We walk into the gym,” Obama told Dowd. “She’s already on the treadmill. She looks like just an ordinary German girl. She smiles and sort of waves, shyly, but doesn’t go out of her way to say anything. As I’m walking out, she says: ‘Oh, can I have a picture? I’m a big fan.’ Reggie takes the picture.” Reggie Love is Obama’s personal assistant.

So, according to Obama, he didn’t know she was a reporter.

Poor Obama — an unmediated encounter with the public and look what happens! By the way, he wasn’t hustled.  She didn’t lie to him.  She wasn’t unduly aggressive.  She just was there, saw her opportunity and took it.  If that’s all it takes to hustle Obama, can you just imagine the games the world’s bad guys will play with him?

This man is just a pathetic example of someone who can neither take a joke or take responsibility for his own actions.  I really shudder when I try to imagine an Obama presidency.  I leave it to witty satirists such as Iowahawk to envision such a future possibility and spell it out for you.

Low flow posting

Sorry about the mostly silent blog day today, something I’ll try to change tonight.  Part of it was due to the fact that I’m working on a long post for the benefit of the local Marin for McCain organization (I hope to run that post next week).  Part of it was paying work.  Part of it was work on another professional blog I’ve started.

And part of it was because I sent my daughter off to outdoor soccer camp this morning without sun screen.  So I drove over and delivered the sun screen — at which time I learned that, if I’d read the information on the camp web site I would have known that she needed her sneakers for indoor soccer after lunch.  So I went home, worked for a half an hour, and then drove right back to the camp.  Two hours later, I was back at the camp to pick up my daughter and her carpool.  When I’m this stupid, I deserve all the hits on my fairly limited time, not to mention the expensive draw on my gas tank!

Blind optimism

This post is not about politics.  It’s about ants. . . and trees.

As you all know, I’ve been plagued with ants lately.  I could just say that this is bad luck, because my house got on their radar, and it takes a lot of work to wipe it off.  However, I’m choosing to see this invasion in connection with something else that’s happening outside my house:  the trees are already changing colors.  Usually, this happens a week or so later in the summer and with less intensity.  One can attribute this to the drought we’re having, and say that dry trees lose their green more quickly.

However, and this is where the blind optimism comes in, I’ve decided that the combination of ravenous ants and fall-colored trees means that this will be a wet winter, ending the drought.  I have no scientific basis for this belief.  Indeed, the only thing driving my prediction is my refusal to see ants and red trees as separate events with unremarkable causations.

Let’s see if blind optimism overwhelms rational analysis this winter in Northern California.