Register Skip to: [ search ] [ menus ] [ content ] [ show/hide more content ]

Dick Morris?


Dick Morris pooh-poohs Fred Thompson.

Easy enough to rebut. Look at the credits at the bottom: Morris, a former political adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton…

I’ve said before that I didn’t think Dick Morris was all he was cracked up to be. His major resume points seem to be Clinton–impeached, known largely for a blowjob, a running joke and a euphemism for adultery–and Trent Lott–ridiculed, shamed and kicked to the curb. Dick Morris is capable of writing a lot of convincing stuff, has name recognition and is willing to be a go-to guy for partisans. He’s a dishonest, disloyal hack. You’d have to be taking retard pills to accept his opinion without at least speculating at his selfish angle.

In this case, he’s shilling for Giuliani. Why, I have no idea, except he’s burned his bridges with Hillary. I bet even the brilliant, insightful Dick Morris didn’t figure on the GOP fronting the lamest stable of candidates since FDR faced a guy named Wendell.

Dick Morris is destined to die churning out ghost-written books.


I love Ann Coulter

Seriously, I do. She’s a skilled writer, and has a particular flair for incisive attack prose. I also deeply admire Mencken, but Ann can serve it up in fewer words. That’s no small feat.


“Hejaz Hazim, a computer engineer who could not find a job in computers and now cleans clothes, slammed his iron into a dress shirt the other day and let off a burst of steam about the coming election.
“‘This election is bogus,’ Mr. Hazim said. ‘There is no drinking water in this city. There is no security. Why should I vote?’”

If there’s a more artful articulation of the time-honored linkage between drinking water and voting, I have yet to hear it.

From the latest missive.

She misses the point entirely.

We take clean water for granted. Campers are familiar with the concept of water rationing. Every Boy Scout who’s visited Philmont is familar with the “dry” camps, where the only water you have to drink and cook with is the water you hike in by the sweat of your brow. Sailors the world over have potable water resting heavily on their minds. But 90% of Americans never think a second though about it.

And neither did Iraqis in Baghdad, until America invaded.

This bears repeating: Baghdad had more reliable potable water resources prior to our invasion in 2003. Which is not to say that Baathist drinking fountains were plentiful or admirable; but it does highlight our inability to provide basic services that the famously corrupt and inept Hussein regime managed even under our crippling sanctions. Which is also not to say that our soldiers aren’t capable or eager to provide such services, but there simply isn’t enough of them to do so, short of oppressive dictatorial tactics to suppress rebellion.

Ironically, we’re too nice a people to provide decent water, sanitation and electricity.

Ann Coulter doesn’t understand this because first and foremost she’s a pundit. She feeds on partisanship, and therefore couldn’t find a virgin in a convent if they all voted for Al Gore. But she also has no–or little enough–experience with the foundations of society. Engineeers, laborers, and mere knob-twisters, all of whom depended on Baathist money to feed his family. According to American foreign policy, each of these people are enemies.

The importance of the rule of law

Missouri: Police Threaten, Detain Motorist for Parking After Hours Particularly incriminating is the video which shows the officer escalating the situation from the very beginning.

First, there’s the rule of law. This officer clearly doesn’t respect it, as he sees the law as a weapon to be used against people as his judgement dictates. It’s not hard to see that a police officer who makes a charge against a citizen will have more weight with both a judge and a jury. Simply by accusing a citizen an officer can do extensive damage to the citizen’s standing before the public. This is a great power, and cannot be taken lightly.

Unfortunately, we as citizens turn around and expect many things from police officers. We no longer consider them “peace officers”, they are “law enforcement officers”. They are expected to clean up society, protect everybody from murderers and thieves and keep us safe on the public highways and byways. This is a lot to expect of a $27,000/year job, and I’m not surprised that we end up with officers of varying quality and abilities.

(This doesn’t excuse this officer’s blatant abuse of power, not at all. But I do think our ridiculous expectations do lead to this kind of behavior.)

In addition, local governments all over the nation consider traffic citations a revenue source. The red-light cameras are the most odious example of this. The officer in this video was obviously watching and waiting for another violation so he could bring home the bacon. Even as noble an endeavor as looking out for drunk drivers and folks driving at excessive speed, the question must be asked–would he not better serve by patrolling neighborhoods where assault and burglaries are taking place? Simply by making their presence known in a neighborhood discourages crime.

This happens to also facilitate the rule of law quite well. Pro-active police work–such as this officer’s fishing expedition for some excuse to hassle this guy–stems from antagonistic relationships between the police and the public. Cops on a beat learn their neighborhoods and its rhythms; cops on the prowl for law-breakers see every person as a potential threat. Or worse, they see everybody as a potential payday, as is the case with traffic citations.

The “policification” of America is not a good thing. Eventually everybody becomes a criminal, and disdain for the rule of law is the result. The law becomes a bludgeon to be used by governments and grievance groups to attack each other, and in the end it’s the public at large who loses.

Paul vs. Huckabee

A Ron Paul/Mike Huckabee debate? What a fantastic idea!

Even considering my being a fan of Dr. Paul’s campaign, I welcome this no matter how it turns out. While I think Huckabee’s argument was heavy on sentiment and short on sound thinking, I got the vibe he was breaking from the script and wanted to speak from the heart. I’m not a Huckabee fan in particular, but I find him less fake and plastic than the top tier.

This is where both parties miss out. The big-name top-tier candidates are forever looking to minimize their damage, whereas the bottom-tier candidates have nothing to lose. The slickly marketed candidate is reaching–has reached?–its acme. It’s getting harder and harder to sell a manufactured image. (And thank God for that.)

R.I.P. Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007)

Purging the Feeds

I just dumped Protein Wisdom from my news feeds. Another page full of Dan Collins’s dumbass posts just did me in. That’s not the only reason, though.

I’ve dropped a lot of former favorites. Some because of ideological differences–I don’t like distortions or slogans presented as facts–some because I can only hear the same joke a handful of times before it annoys me. But many of the right-wing blogs are gone largely because I think they are utterly devoid of new ideas.

Except for a few unspecific attacks on unspecified “Islamofascists”, the right-wing bloggers are primarily interested in attacking Democrats. It’s an “us vs. them” mentality that engenders enmity rather than amity. In constant attack-mode, they perceive all criticism as a sign that the criticizer harbors untold other heretical beliefs, leading to incessant strawman attacks. If you don’t like the Bush administration’s suspension of habeas corpus, you probably also want to kowtow to terrorists, and you are a “hate-America-firster”.

(If Sean Hannity were struck dumb today, we’d notice an elevation of public discourse by tomorrow. This is not to say that censorship is good; this is to say that Sean Hannity is stupid.)

I notice that most of my remaining feeds tend towards the paleo-conservative and libertarian. I still read Ann Coulter’s column, so I suppose I’ll be allowed into neo-con Heaven. I wish there were more reasonable pro-war bloggers. Jeff Goldstein I would count as one, but he’s abandoned his blog to lesser lights for the most part, and he seems to be forever trying to recapture the magic days of his great blog-wars: incessant and tedious nit-picking rebuttals with whoever calls him a bad name. I think part of the reason he does that is because it’s fun. I like to do it, too. That doesn’t make it compelling to anybody other than the parties involved, unless you’re a fanboy. But another reason is that there’s nothing left to debate.

The Iraq war is clearly not what the 2003-era supporters hoped it would be. It isn’t even what the 2003-doomsayers hoped it would not be. It’s a mish-mash of some good, but mostly bad. Incoherent sloganeering replaces objective metrics. We’re little closer to a stable Iraq than four years ago, and indeed what meager progress that has been made is balanced on the edge of a sword. Insistence that we stay is argued with the threat of widespread genocide, but at no time is this clearly inherent instability acknowledged when talk turns to political solutions. Why is a land prone to bloody anarchy likely to gel into a functioning democracy? This question is not answered, and never asked.

And to top it all off, now there’s talk of moving on Iran.

These are not happy positions to defend. You can find a story here or there that puts a shine on that turd, but it tastes like weak-tea handwaving to do so. Nobody can provide anything like a clear and cogent argument for how everything is going great and that we should do more of this, so talk instead turns to how the media makes mistakes, or how the media shows bias, or how the Democrats lied about something, or how this or that left-wing blogger sounds like a girl. This too is weak-tea handwaving, but it’s aggressive weak-tea handwaving; maybe you are still wrong, but at least you’re not a pussy.

Wes Anderson rides again

The Darjeeling Limited.

My first exposure to Wes Anderson was Rushmore, on recommendation by the Filthy Critic. It was a good recommendation; the movie was excellent. The Royal Tenenbaums was a good followup, although it didn’t have the same spring in its step as Rushmore did. I haven’t seen The Life Aquatic, because I got a vibe that it was not my taste. Maybe I should Netflix it.

The Darjeeling Limited, however, looks to be my kind of flick. I’m eager to see the three leads interacting–all of them are favorites of mine–and the imagery looks to be a smorgasbord for Wes’s eye for the gently sardonic, while the characters are brittle, believable archetypes–Wes Anderson characters. Rightly so, since he wrote the damn thing.

I hope I won’t be disappointed. Here’s hoping for a good show.

Kinda knocks the nice off that shiny new job, huh?

Google and Microsoft tangle over “open-source” software.

Of course, it isn’t really “Google” or “Microsoft”. It’s “Chris DiBona’s Unprofessionalism Tour of 2007″.

How the hell did Chris DiBona rise to relevancy? He doesn’t seem to have any particular skill at actually, you know, writing software, “open-source” or otherwise. As near as I can tell, he’s a fat guy with a fat mouth he likes to shoot off indiscriminately so he can brag about how edgy he is. I can’t swear to this, because I know next to nothing about the guy other than what my ignorant prejudices dictate, but I think that he keeps getting promoted because he smells like old cheese and nobody wants to work around him.

More seriously, you kind of have to pity the guy. He’s notable because people like him as a go-to guy for something outrageous. He’s the equivalent of a subway busker for the IT industry–John Dvorak with a less-impressive address book and a willingness to return emails. If you’re a 3rd or 4th tier writer for a photocopied computer rag, you can drop a note to DiBona who will put down his cheese fries and dash off something cheerleading-yet-douchebaggy, and presto–you’ve got a story. Forward DiBona’s screed to somebody more important–but not too important–and now you’ve got a riveting drama that might get nerds to turn away from their anime for two or three minutes.

I like this brouhaha particularly because it’s so amazingly stupid. Only DiBona could be such an ass, and only DiBona could find this unremarkable event worthy of note. I’m guessing that the folks that work with him at Google have started calling him “DiGouda” and he’s looking to get his name back in circulation for the next gravy train.

The Fed, monetary policy, and pirates in neckties

Interesting post at RedState. Several points:

The reason to keep the Fed is the same reason it was established in the first place, in the wake of the panic of 1907: to serve as a lender of last resort.

That’s not what the Fed is doing. This $40 billion bailout of banks and Wall Street is not a “last-resort” kind of situation; and Ben Bernancke, for all the outraged accusations of being a mere “academic”, rolled right over when asked.

I can’t explain this any better than to ask whether you would be willing to lend money, even overnight, to a person or business that is in even a slight danger of going bankrupt.

No, I wouldn’t, and when you remove these kinds of pressure you are meddling with the efficiency of the free market. This is not necessarily bad. In times of real trouble it can prevent major catastrophes. The problem is that Wall Street and hedge funds and private equity firms etc. have come to expect a Fed bailout at every turn. It doesn’t bother them that it creates monetary inflation. Inflation is a great tool, so long as you’re among the first to get your hands on the money.

Believe me, people like me who are close to Wall Street have been having major trouble sleeping for almost a week now, and I’m among the people that have been sounding alarms for months (read my RS posting history).

Why should Wall Street listen to your warnings? When trouble comes, the Fed will pump money into the system. Wall Street’s ills will be salved. You can carry on as before. La di da!

The primary reason we don’t need either one at this point in history is that the US Treasury has so much credibility as a debt issuer around the world, that for all ends and intents US Treasury bonds are money. Have you ever thought to ask yourself how much US Treasury debt there is? About $9 trillion. And have you ever asked yourself the total size of all the world’s assets (counting real and financial assets, and discounting derivatives by 100-to-1)? About $100 trillion. And what’s the usual reserve ratio in modern fractional-reserve banking? That’s right. It’s 10%.

I read that several times and keep hearing a circular argument. (Also, fiat currency isn’t money in the strictest sense.)

The history of bimetallism is so full of weirdness (like France manipulating the precise gold-to-silver ratio) that I think a simple reading of history should dissuade anyone serious from it. It’s just way too easy for other countries to mess you up through unilateral action.

Of course, Dr. Paul isn’t necessarily advocating bimetallism. He’s advocating hard currency, and he’s suggesting that we allow co-existence of such in our economy. The Fed opposes such things because they like their monopoly on legal tender, and for the same reason all corporations like monopolies.

I am glad, however, that such discussions are taking place. Dr. Paul is stimulating real debate, which makes his opponents look like rhetorical cheerleaders for mealy-mouthed talking points.

“…hard to believe that he could lead a people.”

Edit to add the link which inspired me:“Long before he was Ron Paul, presidential candidate or Ron Paul, cable show hero. He was just Ron Paul, the neighborly doctor from Lake Jackson.”

Ron Paul inspires intellectually among libertarians and paleo-conservatives, but he doesn’t inspire the heart. He’s a born legislator, a man of consistent values and an even philosophical keel, but I find it hard to believe that he could lead a people.

A quote from spmat, from the “Messiah” thread.

He’s all substance and no style.

This I do not think is true.

Perhaps the Zoo Mommy can back me up on the significance of this–Dr. Paul is a man who has personally witnessed the emergence of some 4,000 lives into this world. All substance? Absolutely true. No style? False beyond all measure.

This is a man who has witnessed the miracle spark of life enter this world thousands of times. Thousands of times. If his style is understated it is because he is humbled.

Perhaps it colors his ideology.

Perhaps it biases his empathy.

I am not convinced that is a bad thing.

I recall the concern of our own doctor, worried for our child when we had no frame of reference to judge the concern. He acted, immediately and decisively, to protect that life. This is the substance and style which motivates Dr. Paul. His ideology appeals to me, but his devotion resonates with me. I recognize from whence his passion comes.

Ridiculous, petty partisanship does not fascinate me. It pleases me beyond description to throw my support behind such a man whom has shepherded so many lives into this world.