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3DHS / "America is today's California"
« on: August 25, 2012, 09:16:36 PM »
This was in our little neighborhood newspaper, in the Editor's Notes section by Mike Dobbins.

This was part of Sarah Palin's congratulatory letter to Romney for picking Paul Ryan, his running mate. I have very mixed emotions on that - but that's not the issue here.

Regardless of how you perceive Sarah, the section herewith reflects exactly how I feel about this great state of which I'm proud to be a native-son.

"When I think about the direction our country is rapidly drifting in, I can't help but look at California as a cautionary tale.

The Golden State once boasted the entrepreneurial innovation of Silicon Valley, the American creative engine of the arts, economically powerful and beautiful cities from San Francisco to San Diego, and fertile farmlands that helped feed the nation.

Now it is descending into financial ruin accompanied by an exodus of middle class Californians leaving for other states.

As one writer put it, California's 'fastest-growing entity is government and its biggest prodct is red tape...'

"...(The) rest of the country (will soon) look like California, minus the beautiful scenery and warm weather ... America is today's California - complete with $100 billion taxpayer funded bullet trains to nowhere; out of control environmental extremists who have destroyed family farms and left some of the most fertile farm land in America fallow in order to protect a three inch fish; permanent high unemployment; government policies hostile to small business job creators; crippling high taxes; an abysmal real estate market; bloated government that wastes taxpayer money; endless budget shortfalls due to massive unfunded liabilities; city after city declaring bankruptcy; and a state government run by, in the words of one Wall Street Journal writer, 'a brothel of environmentalists, lawyers, public-sector unions and legislative bums.'

Ouch. But unfortunately, it's all too true - and painful to witness for those of us who remember when California truly was the Golden State.

3DHS / Now and then
« on: July 04, 2012, 06:58:39 AM »
Interesting opinion piece from an even more interesting site I came across recently.

4th of July Reflections: Freedom is Not for the Faint-Hearted

from Ricochet (

3DHS / Hilary Rosen reverses course, apologizes to Ann Romney
« on: April 13, 2012, 01:06:54 AM »
After sparking a firestorm with her accusation that mother-of-five Ann Romney has “never worked a day in her life,” Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen apologized Thursday afternoon after she had stood by her comments earlier in the day.

"I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended," Rosen said in a statement. "As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen."


3DHS / The Left’s war on conservative women
« on: April 12, 2012, 01:00:35 PM »
The Left’s war on conservative women: We’re damned if we do stay home, and damned if we don’t

By Michelle Malkin

Hillary Clinton did it to stay-at-home moms in 1992:

I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession…

Teresa Heinz-Kerry did it to Laura Bush in 2004:

Q: You’d be different from Laura Bush?
A: Well, you know, I don’t know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don’t know that she’s ever had a real job — I mean, since she’s been grown up.

And now, Anita Dunn colleague and Huffington Post Beltway insider Hilary Rosen has done it to Ann Romney:

She’s “never worked a day in her life.”

I am also reminded of the liberal elite female journalists who scolded Sarah Palin for being a working mom in 2008:

Sisterhood of the Protected Female Liberal Journalists

Let’s talk Mommy Wars, double standards, and the media elite. Last Friday, Obama Campaign National Finance Committee member Howard Gutman attacked Sarah Palin’s ability to be a good parent and have a high-powered public life at the same time. In a finger-wagging appearance on the Laura Ingraham radio show, Obama’s operative scolded the Republican mother of five children for not putting her professional career on hold.

“Your responsibility is to put your family first,” Gutman lectured as he singled out Palin’s Down’s Syndrome baby and pregnant teenage daughter. “The proper attack is not that a woman shouldn’t run for vice president with five kids, it’s that a parent, when they have a family in need,” should get out of the public sphere and stay home.

The Gutman standard has now been proffered by countless Obama hacks and water-carrying commentators. Damningly, it’s high-powered working mothers in the journalism business helping to broadcast the anti-Palin slams or doing nothing to defend her.

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien denied Palin attacks on her network, even as her colleague John Roberts asked: “”There’s also this issue that on April 18th, she gave birth to a baby with Down’s Syndrome…. Children with Down’s syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?”

NBC’s Meredeith Viera asserted that only blogs went after Palin’s motherhood abilities while running for veep, even as her colleague Brian Williams slyly raised feminists’ “fears or doubts that she should be able to do this, that she should be doing this.”

How would CNN’s O’Brien like the Gutman standard applied to her? She’s been working overtime covering the presidential campaign season, anchoring daily coverage, nighttime conventions, and producing documentaries that require large chunks of time away from home. Disney’s Family Parenting website lauds her as “a modern mom balancing a thriving career as one of America’s top news anchors along with her four children” – two daughters now ages 7 and 6 and twin boys who are 4. Where are the Palin-bashers to lambaste O’Brien’s professional pursuits?

How about Katie Couric? Her husband died at 42 when her daughters were 6 and 2 years old. With two young children devastated by the loss of a father, she opted not to quit journalism. She anchored NBC’s Today Show through his illness and death, continued working an intensive, time-consuming schedule as one of America’s most visible broadcast journalists while a single mother with two fatherless children at home, and then jumped to CBS News, where she maintains a rigorous on-air schedule, travel plans, and off-air social calendar. Where are the finger-waggers?

Also at CNN, Campbell Brown flew to Las Vegas last year to moderate a political debate while 8 ½ months’ pregnant. Fox News host and left-wing blogger Alan Colmes, last seen questioning Sarah Palin’s commitment to prenatal care because she worked and traveld late in her pregnancy, had no comment. When she initially left the Today Show in 2007, Brown said she was stepping down to devote more time to family and baby. She immediately turned around the next day and jumped ship to CNN, where she has anchored wall-to-wall CNN Election Center coverage and will launch a new nightly show in November.

…As a working woman in the media for 16 years and a working mother in the media for the last eight. I know the commitment and energy it took for these women to get to the top. I’ve filed columns from hospital beds, written books while nursing, brought my toddlers to TV studios, and told bedtime stories on the cell phone while boarding planes. I’ve worked hard to strike the “balance” we all seek. I’ve made good choices and bad choices, and have no regrets about the opportunities I’ve taken and the opportunities I’ve rejected. I couldn’t have done it without a supportive husband willing to forego his own career goals – the kind of spouse that the media has ignored in Todd Palin and the kind of spouse I’m sure the Sisterhood of the Protected Female Journalist all have.

I don’t challenge the commitment these fellow working mothers in the media have to their home lives. What I challenge is their silence and complicity as the Palin-bashers impose a “Family First” double standard on conservatives. The sorority is closed to the Right.
This is how the Left’s war on conservative women works:

We’re damned if we do stay home and we’re damned if we don’t.

We’re damned because we conservative moms drive the Left and its feminist shills mad with our mere existence, our exercise of free will, our fierce belief in protecting our families from the Nanny State, our embrace of free-market principles, and our rejection of the perpetual victim/grievance mentality.

From Hillary Clinton to Hilary Rosen, progressive feminists have shown nothing but the most reflexive, regressive contempt for women on the other side of the ideological aisle.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a conservative stay at home mom, work at home mom, or work outside the home mom. If you’re Right, the Left is gonna hate.

Chauvinists can wear heels, too.

3DHS / Is Lobbying Closer To Bribery... Or Extortion?
« on: April 12, 2012, 03:17:04 AM »
From the depends-on-how-you-look-at-it dept:

We've certainly talked quite a bit about the institutional-level corruption of the way Congress and lobbying works, but a recent This American Life episode, done in partnership with the Planet Money team takes a much deeper dive into how lobbying works. You absolutely should listen to it. It's really fascinating, even for folks who follow a lot of this stuff. There is also a full transcript (link below), but hearing the whole thing is quite fascinating. Among the elements that are most interesting are the details of just how much time and effort goes into politicians raising money, and how the various fundraisers work.

But one thing that struck me in listening to it, was a comment made towards the end by (former) Senator Russ Feingold, who points out that while most people think of lobbying as bribery, they often have the picture backwards. It's extortion:

I've had conversations with Democratic givers out here in the Bay Area and I'll tell you, you wouldn't believe the requests they're getting. The opening ante is a million dollars. It's not, gee, it'd be nice if you give a million. That's sort of the baseline. This is unprecedented. And, in fact, one thing that John and I experienced was that sometimes the corporations that didn't like the system would come to us and say, you know, you guys, it's not legalized bribery, it's legalized extortion. Because it's not like the company CEO calls up to say, gee, I'd love to give you some money. It's usually the other way around. The politician or their agent who's got the Super PAC, they're the ones that are calling up and asking for the money.[/b]

This is actually confirmed much earlier in the show, when former lobbyist Jimmy Williams explains that part of the job of the lobbyist is to avoid calls from politicians who are always asking for money:

Jimmy Williams: A lot of them would call and say, "Hey, can you host an event for me?" And you never want to say no. Actually, no. You always want to say no. In fact, you always want to say no. But, you could look on your phone with these caller IDs and you would be like, really? I'm not taking that call.

Alex Blumberg: Oh, so you would dodge calls for fundraising?

Jimmy Williams: Oh yeah. Every lobbyist does. Are you kidding? You spend most of your time dodging phone calls. Oh yeah.

What's equally stunning as you listen to it, is how much everyone seems to dislike the system. The politicians hate having to spend many hours each day fundraising (which they do from phone banks across the street from the Capitol, because they're not allowed to do it from their offices). The lobbyists hate having to focus on raising money for the politicians. The donors hate getting the calls asking for more money. One politicians talks about how he burned out all his friends:

Walt Minnick: You essentially wear out your friends and you wear out the people who are your natural supporters, because if someone writes you one check or comes to a fundraiser, they get on a list. And three or four months later you call them back again. And the best thing about being an ex-congressman is my friends now return my phone calls.

The show concludes with a fascinating discussion between Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold, who famously passed campaign finance reform a decade or so ago, only to see most of what they worked for get tossed aside by the Supreme Court's Citizens United case. McCain explains that the Supreme Court ruled the way it did because it simply has no idea how corrupt the political system is today:

John McCain: At first, I was outraged. The day that Russ and I went over and observed the arguments, the questions that were asked, the naivety of the questions that were asked and the arrogance of some of the questioners, it was just stunning. Particularly Scalia with his sarcasm. Why shouldn't these people be able to engage in this process? Why do you want to restrict them from their rights of free speech? And the questions they asked showed they had not the slightest clue as to what a political campaign is all about and the role of money that it plays in political campaigns. And I remember when Russ and I walked out of there, I said, Russ, we're going to lose and it's because they are clueless. Remember that day we were over there, Russ?

Russ Feingold: Absolutely, John. I couldn't agree with you more. It clearly was one of the worst decisions ever of the Supreme Court. The trouble with this issue-- and I think John would agree with this-- is people have gotten so down about it, they think it's always been this way. Well, it's never been this way, since 1907. It's never been the case that when you buy toothpaste or detergent or a gallon of gas, that the next day that money can be used on a candidate that you don't believe in. That's brand new. That's never happened since the Tillman act and the Taft Hartley Act. And so, people have to realize this is a whole new deal. It's not business as usual.

So why doesn't it get fixed? Well, because the people in power now know how to use the system to win, so they're afraid to mess with it, and potentially lose their ability to use the system as it stands now to succeed.

Russ Feingold: We managed to get-- against all odds, we did get people. It took a lot of hard work. Now the problem is, of course, is people are reticent to do that because they got elected under the system.

Alex Blumberg: So it's just fear of change?

[b]Russ Feingold:[/b] Sure. When you win a certain way, your people say to you, hey, this is how we do it and this is how we won. We better not mess with success. I think that's one of the problems in this presidential race, where not only the Republicans, but even my candidate, President Obama, has opened the door to this unlimited money through some of his people. It's hard to get people to change something after they win that way. And that's one of my worries about it.

It really is worth listening to the whole thing if you want to understand the institutional, unavoidable level of corruption in DC -- even if it's not the way you may have suspected it worked. The folks at Planet Money have also done some follow up stories that are interesting, including a detailing of the most and least lucrative committee assignments. In the full episode, they explain that committee assignments are all a part of the corrupt process. If you get on a "good" committee (define by its ability to raise more money from lobbyists), it also means that your party demands that you pay more money back to the party, or you may lose that lucrative committee seat. Still, it may surprise some folks that the least lucrative position is on the Judiciary Committee. That's the committee that handled SOPA and PIPA... which involved no shortage of lobbyists. The cynical voice in the back of my head wonders if part of the SOPA/PIPA fight was really about turning the Judiciary Committee into a cash-flow positive committee, rather than a cash-flow negative committee.

Also, if you were wondering how/when most political fundraisers happen, there's a breakdown for that as well:

If you've got the money, it looks like you could eat all your meals (and have some drinks) at fundraisers.

And if you're wondering where these fundraisers happen? Planet Money has mapped those out as well. The most common locations happen to (conveniently) form a ring around the Capitol:

No reason to travel very far to collect your money, I guess...

Transcript: Take the money and run for office -

3DHS / From the what-are-we-teaching-students dept
« on: April 10, 2012, 03:49:30 AM »
SF Students Suspended & Barred From Walking At Graduation Because They Joked About Teachers On A Blog

We just recently talked about the famous Tinker v. Des Moines Supreme Court ruling that establishes that students have First Amendment rights. Apparently some schools still don't realize this. Thankfully, there are some organizations willing to step in and remind them when they get confused. The ACLU of Northern California and the Asian Law Caucus were apparently able to successfully convince a San Francisco high school to reverse a previous ruling in which three students were suspended for posting some parody/joking blogs about some teachers:

In March, after students at a San Francisco high school posted parodies and irreverent memes from their home computers about teachers and school administrators on a Tumblr blog (“Teaches Pink Floyd for 3 Weeks; Makes Final Project Due In 3 Days”; “Nags Student Govt About Being On Task; Lags On Everything”), the principal dragged three students she suspected of creating the blog posts into her office and interrogated them at length. (The blog has since been taken down.) The principal then immediately suspended the students for three days, accusing them of bullying and disrupting school activities. The students were also barred from attending a school dance and prom, and even from walking with their classmates at graduation. In addition, the principal did not provide the students with an opportunity to resolve the concerns through a restorative justice approach prior to imposing the punishments, which disregards the School District’s prioritization of restorative justice as an alternative, when possible, to suspension and expulsion.

That seems like a pretty extreme reaction. When I was in high school, I actually remember doing something similar -- parodying the teacher -- in a paper for that teacher. Thankfully, he had a sense of humor. But either way, this is something that tons of high school kids do all the time. And it's clearly protected speech. Once these groups contacted the school and explained the law, the school backed down:

After we contacted the San Francisco Unified School District, they took prompt action to investigate the matter and reverse the discipline. Although the students already missed three days of school, the suspensions have been removed from their records, and they’ll be dancing at prom, and walking with their classmates at graduation.
It's too bad it even needed to go that far. What's really disturbing in all of this is what the school officials are teaching kids. Joking and parody are key forms of education and creativity. It's too bad some schools still don't recognize that (or what the law actually says).

3DHS / Census: 1940 vs 2010
« on: April 07, 2012, 05:28:28 AM »

3DHS / Hire Just One
« on: April 07, 2012, 05:11:23 AM »
Congress eyes job creation incentives through Pennsylvania man's Hire Just One program

He's best known for his Hire Just One program, a job creation project he came up with to get Americans back to work. Now, his new Hire Just One initiative has picked up the bipartisan support of two Pennsylvania members of Congress, Rep Jim Gerlach, a Republican, and Rep. Allyson Schwartzm, a Democrat.

If implemented, the plan would transfer a person's weekly unemployment compensation to a company that hires them, as a payroll subsidy for expanding its staff.

Epstein says his plan has many steps to ensure lasting employment. He outlined the plan to Fox News, saying employers can't fire anyone to take advantage of the deal, "There has to be a net gain of jobs. Also, a person has to be unemployed at least six months, and a company has to pay that person double what their unemployment is as a minimum."
Gerlach says Epstein's plan is being considered by the House Ways and Means Committee, and members are working to craft the idea into a bill to present to Congress.

"What stuck with me about Gene's proposal is that rather than us debating in Washington how many weeks somebody should have unemployment compensation benefits, and how do employers continue to fund unemployment compensation," Gerlach said, "why aren't we talking about better, easier ways to connect unemployed people with employers today and get them back to work?"

Gerlach wants to "get it moving through the legislative process by getting the support and attention of the committee chairman where the bill will be, as well as the leadership in the House and the Senate, and hopefully get it moving through the process as soon as possible."
Epstein says his original Hire Just One project, in which he donated $1,000 to charity if a company hired just one employee, has put over 100,000 people back to work. He believes this new phase could take at least three million people out of the unemployment line. Once they are employed, he hopes they will start spending, which will stimulate the economy further.

When asked why he continues to try so hard to get other people a paycheck, Epstein says with a smile, "I think without caring about other people and doing everything you can to help other people, you are a foolish person and there's no downside to doing good."

3DHS / Now there's a smart girl
« on: March 13, 2012, 06:44:21 PM »
The bad news: Florida (along with California) is among the states with the highest number of foreclosed properties in the nation. Realty Trac reports 1 in every 624 homeowners received a foreclosure notice in 2011, and this of course is only the tip of the distressed property iceberg, which indicates home values, and the economy in general, might not be done tanking.

The good news:  kids are learning to steer the boat– at least one kid, 14-year old Willow Tufano. Because instead of using her $6,000 savings to buy the latest iPad, Willow bought herself a distressed property. And now she’s renting it out.

The rest of the story, with before and after pics:

3DHS / 10-year-old discovers new molecule during science class
« on: March 01, 2012, 12:25:17 AM »
Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Now is probably the most appropriate time to ask yourself that. A girl named Clara Lazen recently discovered a previously unknown molecule — and she hasn't even graduated from grade school yet.

Clara's fifth-grade teacher, Ken Boehr, handed his students molecule model building toys during science class one day. The curious 10-year-old built a model that she thought looked stable with atoms that fit together perfectly, not knowing that nobody had ever thought of it before.

Intrigued by the model his student built, Boehr snapped some pictures of it and sent them to his college friend, Robert Zoellner, who's now a chemistry professor at Humboldt State University in California. Upon further inspection, Zoellner determined that the molecule was indeed a new discovery. He dubbed it tetranitratoxycarbon, and wrote a research paper on it that was just published in a major journal called Computational and Theoretical Chemistry. Clara, who's probably never heard of the journal before, was named one of his co-authors.

Nobody knows what the molecule can actually do — it's something that we'll find out if and when a chemist succeeds in synthesizing it. But while Zoellner is still wondering whether it could store energy or create large explosions, Clara's already thinking of what she can do with it: "I could sell this to the military for money."

3DHS / Obama Lexicon: Neologisms for the age of hope and change.
« on: November 18, 2008, 01:46:36 AM »
By Mark Hemingway

Everyone scoffed at the idea that a man named Hussein was running for president. While Barack Obama has an unusual name by any historical or conventionally American aesthetic standards, it has turned out to be an asset. By the time his successful campaign had ended, his supporters in the media and elsewhere had embraced its distinctiveness and lexical malleability fully and completely.

First there was Obamamania. And the media declared it good. Now that the senator from Illinois is our president-elect, we have to ask the question: What comes after Obamamania? And we don?t mean what does he stand for. That would require responsible, objective journalism.

No, the real question is: What other neologisms await the American public in the upcoming Obama administration?

The Associated Press has already produced a helpful glossary of terms including Obamaphoria, Obamalujah, Obamalicious, Barackstar and Bamelot. No doubt Ambrose Bierce is doing about 75 rpms in his grave. Your humble correspondent?s favorite selection from the Associated Press was the following:

    OBAMASCOPE: Media scrutiny of the new leader. (Example: ?One hundred days after Barack Obama took office, newspaper editors put the president?s economic plan under the Obamascope.?)

This is coming from the same news organization that wrote two days after Obama was elected, ?Even after nearly two years in the spotlight, little is understood about the 47-year-old first-term senator?s approach to leadership. His resume: community organizer, eight years as state legislator, and less than four as U.S. senator. . . . Personally, he?s a bit of an enigma, too.?

It?s a tough business climate for news organizations, and so when the AP ? which has always been a wire service ? wrote of media scrutiny of Obama, we were pleased to discover that they had diversified into the realm of joke writing:

Q: What do you see when you look through the Obamascope?
A: Whatever you want to see!

Still, even though the media is cranking out Obama-related neologisms at roughly the same rate their industry is shedding jobs, there?s still something undeniably awkward about the practice.

For instance, what is an Obama follower? (We need something broader than the current ?producer for MSNBC.?) So, in the interests of helping you, dear reader, we are going to offer the best terms for those swept up by Obamamania. Obama-philes? Too dirty. Obamanauts? They?re spacey. Obama-ists? Sounds like something from PCU.

All too awkward. Let?s move on. What are we going to call a President Obama?s opponents?

Anti-Obama-ite - Not bad. No doubt, these beknighted individuals will be the source for the unfortunate ?Yo?, Obama? jokes that will hammer the Administration for all four years.

What about adjectives?

Obamean? Messes up the spelling.

Barackean? Cumbersome.

Barackite? Weren?t they smote in the Old Testament with the jawbone of an ass or something?

The media persists in contorting the president-elect?s name to suit their purposes, so it should come as no surprise that Obama?s opponents have begun to develop a lexicon of their own. Here are a few entries:

Obamedia - Interchangeable with MSM.

O-basm - The climactic paragraph or statement in the standard media coverage. (Some might vote for The Big O.)

Obasequious - The standard journalistic position when covering Obama.

Obama Sesame - The gaping yaw of discretion shown by Obama after high-level meetings with sitting presidents.

Obamaganda - Styrofoam columns, fake presidential seal, even placards of imaginary ?Offices? of the President Elect and the other narcissistic accoutrements that seem to pop up around Obama wherever he goes.

Obamomatopoeia - The sound of mindlessly repeating phrases such as ?Yes We Can? and words like ?hope? and ?change? until they are sounds that bear no relation to the words they approximate.

O-blah-ma - The white noise of rhetorical overkill that accompanies one of his speeches. He?s promising to make the oceans recede, and yet all anyone can hear is a voice not unlike the adults in Peanuts holiday specials saying ?O-blah-ma, O-blah-ma.?

Finally, we seem to be forgetting to ask what Barack Obama really stands for. What are the policies behind his slogans and speechifying? The media has seized on Obamanomics.

That?s one term we definitely can?t use. Simply too unwieldy. Obamanomics doesn?t work for the hippest, youngest, freshest candidate and his economic theories. We suggest sticking with ?socialist.? Other appropriate policy terms may include:

Between Barack and a hard place - the precise location of America?s foreign policy interests for the next four to eight years.

Obamahol - The candidate?s proposed alternative energy source. It has enough energy density to replace hydrocarbons, deliver 5 million green-collar jobs and save the U.S. auto industry. The exact formula is a closely guarded secret, but it?s believed to be comprised primarily of tofu, recycled ?Jimmy Carter in ?80? bumper stickers and unicorn flatulence.

Barackalypse - The state of the world if his policies are enacted.

Now to put these terms to use. We recommend trying your hand at the following lesson.

Exercise: Use at least eight of these new terms in a well-formed paragraph.

Sample solution: ?His inauguration speech was vintage o-blah-ma, and that ginormous statue behind him on the podium as he was being sworn in ? the one of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. holding hands ? was the most egregious piece of obamaganda we?ve seen yet. However, the obamedia is so obasequious I?m sure Olbermann?s ?special? comment on MSNBC this evening will be a hellbroth of obasms and obamomatopoeia. I can?t wait to see what these jokers have to say when he follows through on his new plan to pull us out of Iraq in three months and Al-Qaeda has us between Barack and a hard place. In the meantime, I?m hoarding all the dried meat and canned food I can get my hands on so I can ride out the coming Barackalypse.?

3DHS / The Libertarian Temptation
« on: November 16, 2008, 06:46:16 PM »
John Derbyshire

A reader who, if not disgruntled, is certainly very far from being gruntled:

    Mr. D ? As a 'young intellectual conservative' mulling over factions in the coming Big Conservative Brouhaha, I'm thinking of jumping the USS GOP in favor of the Libertarian party. 3 quick reasons

        * It's ideologically coherent. Or, at least, built on a strong foundation of promoting individual liberty and, y'know, actually deferring to the Constitution.
        * It's 'cool'. Libertarians are generally viewed as either uncompromising personal freedoms/open market zealots, or in the case of those just looking for a political party that justifies their bad behavior, party animals. Both are preferable to the 'sexually repressed bigoted fundamentalist freakshow' image the Republican party now engenders, thanks largely to the media and, well, Republicans in general lately.
        * Compassionate conservatism sucks. I don't want a holy-roller welfare state any more than I want a degenerate welfare state.

    I'm not under the illusion that we're somehow going to see the end of the two-party system, and of course I take pause with some of the nuttier Libertarian policies, but what on earth is nuttier than Republicans nationalizing swaths of the economy hither and thither?

    Right now, the Republican brand is in shambles, mainly having ignored its own principles. The party that most unabashedly protects those principles I hold paramount ? individual liberties, respect for the Constitution, and free markets ? is the Libertarian party. Either way, I suspect conservatives will be out in the wilderness for a while, and if you're going to be a bear, you might as well be a grizzly.

Hmm. As the parent of two teenagers, I come out in hives when someone tells me something is "cool." As for "sexually repressed bigoted" etc.; I thought Sarah Palin kicked that pretty decisively into the ditch, as an emblem ? I hope she won't mind my saying so ? of happy reproductive vigor in the framework of traditional companionate marriage. And if it's "freakshow" you want, check out some of the lefty blogs. "Fundamentalism" is just American religion, and always with us. It does no great harm that I can see, and some of its strains ? Mormonism, for instance ? are wonderfully encouraging of good citizenship and reproductive success. Libertarianism ought anyway to be able to make some kind of appeal to fundamentalists. Liberty includes tolerance of religious diversity: that is almost the first thing it meant in these United States! Why that wouldn't appeal to religious minorities of all sorts, beats me.

I certainly agree about "compassionate conservatism." I came in for some obloquy on this very blog a few years ago for calling it "turkey poop," but in retrospect I think I was too kind. At least one of its aspects ? the determination to show kindness to poor people by making it easier for them to buy houses, by chucking sane credit standards out the window ? contributed mightily to our current economic mess. And there are certainly people in the GOP who think our error has been that we weren't "compassionate" enough. In fact that is probably George W. Bush's thinking, and John McCain's too. I'd like to see the GOP get its green-eyeshade image back; but alas, green eyeshades in the kind of deep recession we are entering are snowflakes in hell, politically. We must hunker down and look to the future.

For political power ? i.e. for actually getting anything done ? third parties are a poor bet. There's a lot to be said for sticking with the devil you know, and hoping to trim his horns.

Although, if Sarah were to defect to the Libertarian Party ?

[For more on libertarianism, check out my recommendation that libertarians take a leaf from Stalin's book.]

3DHS / Raise your hand if you know this.
« on: November 10, 2008, 10:06:58 PM »
Without using Google...who said the following?

"There will be times when we must again play the role of the world's reluctant sheriff. This will not change - nor should it."


3DHS / Interview: Meet Joe the Plumber
« on: November 09, 2008, 08:46:26 PM »
He just wants the American Dream ? and politicians that secure our freedom to achieve it.

He?s going to be a country music superstar. He?s starring on the next season of ABC?s reality series, The Bachelor. He signed with Ben Affleck?s agent. He was seen canoodling with comedienne Kirsten Wiig after John McCain?s recent appearance on Saturday Night Live.

Those are just some of the (sadly untrue) rumors that have been floated about Joe the Plumber in the weeks since his unlikely rise to national notoriety. But with the election over, and Joe?s preferred candidate having lost, what?s the most famous plumber since Mario going to do now?

National Review Online?s Mark Hemingway caught up with Joe Wurzelbacher a few days after the election to ask him about U.S. politics, Obama, his new-found fame, and more.

NRO:  So what happened in your home state of Ohio? Why did it go for Obama?

JOE THE PLUMBER:  It was pretty close. Quite frankly, Obama ran an incredible campaign. It was very organized and he communicates very well. It?s usually split anyway, you have more Democrats up north and it?s very conservative down south. Which way it goes depends a lot on the rhetoric of each side. Obama?s rhetoric was very good.

NRO:  Is there anything that you?re looking forward to about an Obama presidency?

JTP:  No. There?s not anything I agree with in what Obama has put forth. That being said, there?s a lot that I don?t agree with that John McCain has said either. Unfortunately, there wasn?t one candidate I agreed with 100 percent, so like the rest of America, you voting for whoever is closest to what you like.

NRO:  Are there any politicians in America right now that you do look up to for guidance?

JTP:  Alan Keyes is absolutely an incredible man. I like a lot of what he says. Maybe part of his problem is that he?s too smart and comes off very condescendingly. The answer seems so obvious to him he doesn?t see why the public doesn?t see it. But personally, I?d much rather have someone who?s a little condescending but has the right answer.

NRO:  What?s the most pressing political issue you think Americans need to confront?

JTP:  The health insurance issue. Having a government provide that type of assistance is just going to tie up millions and millions of dollars of taxpayer money ? that?s something that shouldn?t happen in a democracy. If the government starts taking on these things ? like they have with the bailout ? owning banks, owning properties, taking care of everyone?s health, you?re leading us away from a democracy and turning it into a socialist society. It?s a very serious business.

NRO:  What?s the biggest threat you think Americans are facing?

JTP:  What scares me is it that Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are congratulating Obama. If our enemies are congratulating Obama ? that scares the hell out of me.

NRO:  So what?s next for Joe the Plumber? Will you run for Congress?

JTP:  Well, I won?t be the next guy on The Bachelor. I don?t plan on being a country music star, and I have no interest in Congress for at least ten years. I?m hoping this watchdog group comes to fruition and that will be what I spend most of my time on for the next few years to come.

I?m starting two websites, which are still getting up and running, but we?re getting incredible feedback. The first website,, is going to be a watchdog group to make sure that we hold not only the Democrats but also the Republicans accountable and make sure that they remember that they?re working for us. Too many times they get on the Hill and they forget that ? they get a sense of entitlement. We want to take that sense of entitlement away and make sure they?re working for us and not the other way around. If that interest was there prior to the bailout, maybe we could have headed that off.

The second website,, is going to be a charity. Americans give more money to charity than any other nation in the world and that?s where I think spreading the wealth should start.

NRO:  What are you doing about the allegations that state authorities in Ohio accessed your personal information in order to use it against you?

JTP:  A point needs to be made that actions like that cannot take place against private citizens. I asked a question and there were no grounds whatsoever even by their own guidelines to look up my records and leak them to the press. That?s asinine and completely wrong. I plan on taking every step I can to make sure that doesn?t happen again. I?m not the type to sue and I?ve always spoken against it, but this is an intrusion and other Americans might be scared to ask elected officials questions again in the future. We can?t have that.

NRO:  Have the ACLU or any other civil rights groups contacted you about what happened?

JTP:  Funny you mention that, but no [laughs]. It kind of makes me wonder what those groups are for ? or who they are for. It?s kind of wild that none of those groups have contacted me, given that my civil rights have been violated.

NRO:  Now that you?re famous, have you given up on plumbing?

JTP:  About an hour ago, I had a buddy of mine call me up and ask if I could come and fix a stool for him. I?ll still do that kind of thing and I enjoy working with my hands. I?ll always do that.

NRO:  Has your unexpected rise to fame been a blessing or a curse?

JTP:  To be honest with you I was very happy being a plumber coming home hanging out with my son and doing it all over again the next day. So I thought I had the American dream. I had my house, I had my boy, and we had a lot of fun. I was pretty content.

So as far as this goes, I don?t really have an answer for you yet. My life got turned upside down.

The Corner

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