Friday, January 25, 2008

Who is Voting in the Pauli Presidential Straw Poll?

I just noticed that there have been no votes for Hillary, Ron Paul or John Edwards. That means you are a bunch of misogynists, warmongers and homophobes.

Car Quiz

Cubeland Mystic accused me of driving a Gremlin, which brought a smile to my face.

But alas, nothing retro-funky gets to collect lake-effect snow in my suburban driveway. I'd already stated that I drove an American car.

McCain on the "right number" of Pork Barrel Earmarks

Check out the CAGW's Scorecard for '08 Lawmaker Candidates.

On January 1, Sen. McCain issued his response to CCAGW, stating that “Zero is the right number of earmarks.” He also said, “As president, my agencies will never have to struggle to understand Congress’ earmarking intentions. I will veto every single pork barrel bill Congress sends to my desk. If Congress continues to send them to me, I will use the bully pulpit to make the people who are wasting our tax dollars famous.”

An examination of the Heritage Foundation’s database of the earmarks in the fiscal 2008 omnibus appropriations bill revealed the total number received by Presidential candidates from the Senate and House: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), 261; Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), 57; Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), 52; Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), 46; Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), 10; Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), 9, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), 6; and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), 0.

McCain has ZERO earmarks. Yes, Libertarians, less than Ron Paul. Here is the text of his response in case you don't have Adobe:

The Democratic-controlled Congress recently sent the President an omnibus spending bill that is just more business as usual in Washington. Democrats claimed they’d “reform” Washington; but a review of the bill, which contained over 9000 earmarks totaling billions in wasteful spending, reveals the truth.

That bill is now the law of the land – and a national embarrassment. It is time to send Washington a message: No Earmarks. Not 9,000. Not 1. Zero. Zero is the right number of earmarks, and no is always the answer to wasteful spending.

Since Ronald Reagan left office, government spending adjusted for inflation has increased $2,500 for every man, woman and child in the country. Wasteful spending has gone from irresponsible to indefensible. And we’re not spending it on programs that are any more effective than they were twenty years ago.

I have fought against waste and pork barrel spending for years. It has often been a lonely fight, but a good one, and one I intend to continue as president. I am grateful for all the work the Citizens Against Government Waste has done to expose wasteful spending in Washington.

The presidency has many powers. One of the most useful is the veto pen. I believe the president should have the line item veto as 43 governors have, and I will continue the fight to get it. But I will not wait for it. As president, my agencies will never have to struggle to understand Congress’ earmarking intentions. I will veto every single pork barrel bill Congress sends to my desk. If Congress continues to send them to me, I will use the bully pulpit to make the people who are wasting our tax dollars famous.

The time has come for Washington to devote valuable taxpayers’ dollars on genuine national priorities.

I believe the man. I'll bet he buys that veto pen with his own salary at the corner drugstore. Vetoes and a bully pulpit well-used would beat a "new tone in Washington" any day of the week.

Dennis Kucinich Drops Out of Presidential Race

It's hard for me to remember who's stupid and who's evil

So which is it? Is the Republican Party a monolithic mob of rubber hosers and Leviathan worshippers, or are they in a strange circular firing squad?

Or are Republicans with different opinions merely engaging in a vigorous debate that doesn't always resemble a ladies seqing circle?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thompson Braintrust Joins Romney

More on Thompson/Romney.

I'm sure I'm late to the punch bowl on these Chuck Noris facts

But they're funny anyway.

I guess this one explains why Mike Huckabee, who is Norris's bud, said he doesn't believe in evolution:

"There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live."

Weather in Florida is Hot, Rudy G is Not

Things don't be looking so good down in Florida for America's mayor. I would suppose that the former Fred supporters will be a factor.

I haven't read or heard any substantive analysis on who they'll break for -- here's one piece about how it will help Romney, but it reads like it was penned by the Romney camp. We should really check with our Florida correspondent, Susan B. For some reason, I don't think she is thrilled with the Former Massachusetts Governor.

Novak on Flake, Earmarks, McCain

Insightful as always. I can barely believe this first sentence. These appropriators are not paying attention to a large part of the Republican base if they don't think the public is paying attention to the pork issue.

As far as Republicans recovering their fiscal brand, the appropriators say earmarks are strictly Washington inside baseball with no public support. They should follow Sen. John McCain on the campaign trail, as he is cheered for promising to veto bills with earmarked pork.

McCain as the party's leader is one possible new development for the earmarkers to ponder. Then there are possible new indictments tied to earmarks. In addition to Lewis, Alaska's two longtime purveyors of pork -- Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young -- are under federal investigation. Though Flake likely will be kept off the Appropriations Committee, he will not go away and will be joined this year by additional Republicans proposing elimination of individual earmarks. Flake until now has not tried to kill more than a dozen earmarks on any appropriations bill. This year, he promises to introduce "many, many more" than a dozen amendments per bill.

Feedblitz Drive Day 2

Big Willie's double bass solo is the cherry on top of his smoking version of "Got My Mojo Working."

Two folks signed up yesterday, Mark Adams and Cubeland Mystic. Welcome to the club, guys. Just don't forget the immortal words of Groucho Marx, "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."

Hey, is he flying the bird in this shot, or is it my wicked imagination?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

FeedBlitz Drive

I'm starting a "FeedBlitz Signup Drive" today. No, it doesn't have to do with trying to raise money for myself or a group I started at my house called Pauli's Kids. It's a service which is completely free and so far only one reader has taken advantage of it. Basically when you signup by entering your email and clicking on "Subscribe me" you begin getting an email each day I post something.

Believe me, this is useful; for example if I haven't blogged in awhile because I'm sleeping one off or just too lazy busy to blog you won't get an email.

And here's a bonus: I'm going to be starting an email newsletter which will be sent to all the members on the list. This will be chock full of reading material which you will not be able to find anywhere else. I'm thinking of calling the newsletter "The Staging Area". Or maybe "100% Organic Spam".

My modest goal is to sign up 15 readers. The drive will last 5 days, whether we reach the goal or not. Each day I will try to leverage your weaknesses and guilt feelings in order to coerce you into signing up. Since many of you are Catholics this should be easy.

So signup is over in the right sidebar, just above my profile picture. Just pop your email addy in there and click the button. FeedBlitz will then lead you down the Golden Road. Then you can "come join the party every day."

Be Extraordinary Today

Even Supermen need a hero.

I love the thing about international communism at the end.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Goldberg Fisks Neiwert

It's a pretty thorough job.

If nothing else, this piece should put to rest the strange notion some have that Jonah doesn't know his stuff. I suppose people would rather focus on smileys on the cover and what he allegedly said about Nazis and their penchant for organic foods.

First Blogaversary

One year ago I squeezed this blog out and I guess it's a toddler now, finally learning to walk. Or at least learning to toddle around a bit. I'm planning to have this first post bronzed at some point. It might strike some of my newer readers as fairly incoherent, and that's a good assessment. To be honest, it represents the kind of blogger "inside baseball-ism" which is the most irritating to me. Oh, well, I'm sure I can do much worse.

Andy Nowicki was my first commenter, so Happy Whatever-that-means to Andy.

So go have a party! Get off the dumb internets! Leave work early today; tell the boss it's Pauli's blogaversary, for cryin' out loud.

One Man's Bug Is Another Man's Feature

Rod Dreher has a semi-thoughtful piece about why many people have decided that newspapers are worthless. He provides several plausible explanations of what may be contributing factors to the demise of the Newsrag Industrial Complex.

But what struck me was this part:

What I'm thinking about this morning is what happened at my place yesterday. Julie decided she wanted to get rid of a particular piece of furniture we had. She put an ad on Craigslist Dallas. Within minutes, she'd sold the thing. When the purchaser who bought it showed up later to pick it up, we talked about the virtues of Craigslist. I told her that the problem with Craigslist was that it meant people didn't have to buy classified ads anymore -- which really hurt my industry.

"You work for the newspaper?" she said. "Um, we don't subscribe. Sorry! I miss the ritual of reading the morning paper with my coffee, but given that you can get the same information online, my husband and I figured that was one expense we just couldn't afford anymore."

She was clearly an educated woman, and was embarrassed to admit what she'd just admitted. But it is what it is.

So what was Craig Newmark supposed to do when he got the idea for Craigslist? I suppose he could have said to himself, "Gee, I could create a really efficient service that would help people buy and sell things and save them hard-earned dollars. But that would mean news execs would have to smoke cheaper cigars. So ix-nay on the ist-lay."

Presenting Craigslist as a "problem" which is "embarrassing to admit" that you use seems to indicate an extremely one-sided way to look at the world. The only reason the newspaper corporations have become enormously successful is by providing products and services to people which are in demand. In a sense, they created the model of selling subscribers to other corporations by way of advertising, the internet companies just perfected it. They had all these big "annuities" rolling in for years because they were the only game in town, not because their copy was so great.

This post is partially in response to people who often question why many of the readers here and I have "picked on" Rod Dreher so much. But this seems to be a reverse of the argument against Wal-mart, i.e., Wal-mart is seen coming in to the small village flexing is gigantic muscles and putting the little business owners out in the street or running hair salons and Kung Fu schools. Newmark describes his website as a "happy accident" and yet the insinuation here is that he is playing Wal-mart against the "little guys" represented by all these huge media corporations? It just doesn't make sense. Newmark says in that interview that he turned down venture funding many times; everything about Craigslist cries out "Small is beautiful". Can that be said of the big media corporations which consume forests to deliver a Sunday paper which is so full of advertising that an old granny can barely lift it?

I can see the point of the anti-Wal-mart fanatics and their ilk about how they "unfairly" leverage economies of scale. But if anything, getting beaten by Craigslist just highlights the stupidity of Old Media which should have jumped into the internet full force in the mid-nineties. It also maybe helps break the capitalism-only-helps-the-fat-cats narrative, and presents a "problem" for those who cling to that canard.

And the odds that Rod's wife will stop using Craiglist are about the same as the odds that my wife will stop using Craigslist. Extrapolating from her use of Craigslist they'll probably be putting Wal-mart out of business at some point.
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Jonah fills in the gaps left by the Daily Show

Jonah Goldberg delivers the "rest of the story". Excerpt:

It started civilly enough, discussing my new book, "Liberal Fascism." But things got sufficiently testy that we spent nearly 20 minutes swearing and sparring, and only six minutes aired. The result was "choppy as hell," Stewart had to concede.

Largely left on the cutting-room floor were some important points that might have made my book seem a bit more nuanced. When he railed about conservatives and gay marriage, I pointed out that in my book, I'm sympathetic to it. When he took shots at Republicans, I noted that I criticize the likes of President Bush and Pat Buchanan for being "right-wing progressives."

He explains the smiley face, which seems to be everyone's biggest objection since they haven't read the book:

As for the smiley face, that's a reference to the comedian and social commentator George Carlin, who explained on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" that "when fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jack-boots. It will be Nike sneakers and smiley shirts. Smiley-smiley."

He points out that all the wise folk scratching their chins and saying "You mean you think that modern-day liberals are fascists? Really?" just nod their heads when the moniker is hurled at the right.

Meanwhile, liberals routinely and cavalierly call conservatives Nazis and fascists -- with the Holocaust fully in mind -- without inviting an ounce of opprobrium from the same folks screeching about me. Naomi Wolf argues in "The End of America" that the United States today is in every important way identical to early 1930s Nazi Germany. Christopher Hedges (a former New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner) penned a book called, subtly enough, "American Fascists." Guess who he was talking about? Jesse Jackson, Paul Krugman and Bill Clinton, among other prominent liberals, have insinuated or declared that conservatives are the spiritual or intellectual heirs of Nazism.

New Poll

I put up a new poll about who you're planning to vote for in 2008 over on the right. It's a secret ballot, it's not mandatory to vote at all, it's unscientific and it's meaningless. And sorry, you can't vote for Cynthia McKinney. But here's a free picture if you like her. And as far as I know, this photo has not been doctored in any way.

Monday, January 21, 2008

How Huckabee's Plans for Improving America's Health and Cleaning Up the Environment Will Work

Mike Huckabee hasn't made all this stuff public yet, but nonetheless I have figured out the secrets.

1) He's going to make all the illegal immigrants go "home" in 120 days after his inauguration in January 2009.

2) This will mean the lawns and gardens will grow uncontrollably with no one to take care of them, thereby eating up all the excess CO2 out of the atmosphere.

3) Then all the overweight Americans will have to do the gardening, yard work, constuction and maid service thereby getting in shape and losing the extra weight.

This will work for awhile until all the illegals find how to get back into the land of opportunity. After that people will get fat again and the planet will once again be plagued by American's deadly love affair with the infernal combustion engine.


Polls: Giuliani trails McCain in NY.

Rudolph Giuliani's once commanding lead in the race for New York's Republican delegates has evaporated and he now trails Sen. John McCain in his home state, according to two polls released Monday.

How to take on the big greedy corporations

From one of the best movies of all time. It's basically a retelling of the Lord of the Rings story with some profanity and no horses.

Whose Single Harmonious Order?

Mark Shea quotes St. Athanasius:

The Word creates a divine harmony in creation In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made. In these words John the theologian teaches that nothing exists or remains in being except in and through the Word.

Think of a musician tuning his lyre. By his skill he adjusts high notes to low and intermediate notes to the rest, and produces a series of harmonies. So too the wisdom of God holds the world like a lyre and joins things in the air to those on earth, and things in heaven to those in the air, and brings each part into harmony with the whole. By his decree and will he regulates them all to produce the beauty and harmony of a single, well-ordered universe. While remaining unchanged with his Father, he moves all creation by his unchanging nature, according to the Father's will. To everything he gives existence and life in accordance with its nature, and so creates a wonderful and truly divine harmony.

To illustrate this profound mystery, let us take the example of a choir of many singers. A choir is composed of a variety of men, women and children, of both old and young. Under the direction of one conductor, each sings in the way that is natural for him: men with men's voices, boys with boys' voices, old people with old voices, young people with young voices. Yet all of them produce a single harmony. Or consider the example of our soul. It moves our senses according to their several functions so that in the presence of a single object they all act simultaneously: the eye sees, the ear hears, the hand touches, the nose smells, the tongue tastes, and often the other parts of the body act as well as, for example, the feet may walk.

Although this is only a poor comparison, it gives some idea of how the whole universe is governed. The Word of God has but to give a gesture of command and everything falls into place; each creature performs its own proper function, and all together constitute one single harmonious order.

I heartily agree with this. I think this is why I like reading write-in lists from elections so much, God always gets a few votes. In this particular one, he received three votes: one for "Jesus Christ", one for "God Almighty" and one for just plain "God".

However I think it's a bit of a waste of a vote since God is already king of the universe. And I'd rather vote for someone who recognizes that the universe is already harmoniously tuned by God -- albeit marred by human sin -- than someone who wants to give it their own version of a tune-up. (Don't let your grease-monkey 17-year-old tune-up your Lexus either. Or your Chevy for that matter.)

Let me just state for the record that I totally support Almighty God in his initiatives of providing universal health care and in immanentizing the eschaton. Oh, yeah, don't forget immigration reform.

(HT to Rich Talbert who first alerted me to the wonderful world of online write-ins. I couldn't believe God received a vote for "Sheriff" in Mercer County, PA... no, on second thought, I believe it.)

Stone to Make a "Fair" Bush Movie

Interesting. I hope Dan Rather's crackup is covered.

I'm glad Oliver Stone is finally making a "Fair" movie. That will be a step up most of the others which are "Poor".

UPDATE: A reader just emailed me to say that when Mr. Stone said "fair" he was not indicating the quality, but meant fair as in unbiased. OK, my mistake. Hmmmm... wonder how that will work....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

JGDS: Jonah Goldberg Derangement Syndrome

I promised a reader of this blog that I'd post on Jonah Goldberg's new book, Liberal Fascism and the gross over-reaction to it from different quarters. It is fascinating to me; before the book was even out, the Amazon page was overrun with the scurrilous attacks of leftists commenting mainly on Goldberg's weight. These were mostly in the form of "tags" placed by teams of determined leftists which you can still see such as "Editor promised cake", "Mmm bacon" and "Cheetohouse Five". As a human being with feelings this might have annoyed him, but it no doubt amused him as an author that an unpublished book was so enraging his liberal detractors that they were behaving like a bunch of fascists before anyone had had a chance to read past the book cover. Besides, Goldberg's physique would resemble Brad Pitt's if you stood him next to Michael Moore, a Buddha-like sage whom I'm sure many of these anger-mongers consider to be a living saint.

Listening to all the interviews on talk radio with Goldberg has made me interested in checking out the book. He talks about how the phrase "liberal fascism" wasn't something he cooked up, but a quote from a speech delivered by H. G. Wells at Oxford in 1932 where Wells made a plea for his version of The New Man: "I am asking for liberal Fascisti, for enlightened Nazis." It seemed to Wells that democracy includes too many people who aren't "with the program"; there needs to be totalitarian control by "elites" to effect the correct Utopian system.

Goldberg goes on explain how Stalin didn't like the nationalism of the socialists of Western Europe so, like a capitalist worried about brand confusion, he wouldn't allow them to use "socialist" to describe themselves. Instead, they had to refer to themselves as fascists.

From listening to him converse freely on his topic and field calls from those hostile to his thesis (on Medved's show) you can tell that the guy has done extensive research on the history linking fascism to leftist ideology. I recall I always had difficulty in school and college discerning the difference between fascists and socialists when we discussed their forms of government, other than the fact that they seemed to hate each other. I was told that in the economic sphere the difference can be stated thusly: in socialism the state owns the means of production, i.e., business ventures, whereas in fascism the state has full control over businesses. It always sounded like a distinction without a real difference to me, dreamed up by liberal academics who wouldn't know a good business plan if it bit them in their tenured asses.

So control versus ownership -- reminds me of the adage "Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?" I'm sure the poor farmer who raised the cow wouldn't see the difference between the two, the state takes all the milk and gives him back 2 gallons a week plus a six of Heineken, or the state takes the cow and then forces him to milk it for them -- since they don't know which end of the cow makes the milk -- paying him a wage of 2 gallons per week plus a fifth of Vodka. Maybe fascism is simply socialism with more cowbell. Or vice versa, with a "Good job, Comrade!" thrown in as a bonus if you aren't one of the ones they kill.

So fascists as the spiritual grandfathers of modern day liberals isn't too much of a stretch for me. Or many others, such as the Anchoress, for example.

I mean, come on... do these Blackshirt blokes look like conservatives? Look more like a bunch of metrosexual John Edwards supporters to me, waiting for the local Whole Foods Market to open.

Anyway, Jonah was quick to point out in all the interviews I heard that he is not accusing all modern day liberals of the horrendous acts of evil which Stalin and Hitler carried out, merely that the tendency to believe in their ideology as an absolute "unified theory" to bring about a bright new age and to curtail individual freedom in order to hasten the realization of this "greater good". And although I haven't heard him state it, I'm sure he wouldn't rule out that fascism does exist within some of the wilder-eyed ranks of the right.

Oh, that reminds me. Speaking of clowns and tricycles, several reader friends have pointed out several small side-shows to the 3-ring circus being put on by those showing the symptoms of the burgeoning mental disorder: Jonah Goldberg Derangement Syndrome. Please feel free to point out warning signs and prescribe treatment and preventive measures.

One warning sign might be linking to a Daily Show youtube video rather than anything substantial. Uhhh... this is a publisher's commercial for the book, OK? Even my 3-year-old can recognize advertising when he sees it and knows that's when you take a bathroom break. And by the way, there is an official blog for Liberal Fascism at National Review. That would be a good thing to read for substance if, say, you can't afford the book.

This is possibly unrelated, but remember when Stephen Morrissey, of all people, was accused of being a fascist? Hey, didn't he write a song called "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful"?


(Update: Welcome LF-blog readers. I have the computer geeky habit of putting quotes around my search terms, so when I Googled "Jonah Goldberg Derangement Syndrome" last night nothing came up or I'd have acknowledged the existence of the DS was already known. My abbreviation does distinguish between hatred for that other author guy the left dislikes.)

Mitt Romney: Crunchy Conservative


Would-be-president Mitt Romney starts every morning with a bowl of granola with oats, honey, sesame seeds and almonds. Every other morning he jogs three miles. "And then at the end of the day," Romney tells Jay Leno on tonight's "Tonight Show" on NBC, "just to really relax, I take off a dark suit like this and put on a light one."

I read this another piece in People, I think, in the dentist's office the other day about what one single "rabbit's foot" item each of the major candidates carries around with them. Most of them seemed to be made up (Huckabee has a Bible, natch, because he was a preacher, John McCain has a wrist-band from a soldier killed in the War on Terror since he's a veteran, Hillary has her cell phone since she's a woman and has to chat with her friends, etc.) although they probably were actual items reported by the campaigns.

Romney's was the most curious: a Dora the Explorer cereal bowl to remind him of his 11 grand-children. I don't think it mentioned what kind of cereal it was, however. The Romney team probably hadn't done the calculation yet on whether to let the word out that Romney was a Crunchy Conservative.