Right Thinking From The Left Coast
No legacy is so rich as honesty - William Shakespeare

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sewer Divers

By now you’ve probably heard of this.

Progressive Democrats are speculating that Sarah Palin’s four-month old son is really not hers. Democrats believe that Palin’s daughter is really her daughter’s son.

Sarah Palin shot from obscurity when John McCain selected the 44-year-old governor of Alaska to be his running-mate last Friday.

Fueling the speculation was that the birth of the Down Syndrome baby, born April 18, 2008, was a surprise and even her staff were unaware she was pregnant until seven months into the pregnancy. Additionally, Palin’s water broke one month before the baby was due yet she kept a speaking engagement in Texas then made the eight-hour flight to Alaska. Three days after the birth of Trig, Palin returned to work as Governor.

Democratic bloggers are pointing to a video (located at the end of this article) by Palin where she discusses motherhood in March 2008, weeks before her delivery but doesn’t mention her pregnancy.

Ann Althouse has more. Also, Alan Colmes self-destructs over Palin’s fitness as a mother. I think these people may have just handed McCain the election.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/31/08 at 09:13 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Last Refuge of A Scoundrel

How desperate do you have to get to be quoting Sarah Palin’s mother-in-law to deride her as a candidate.  Jesus.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/31/08 at 08:42 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Old Mikhail Had A Farm

A look at how farming has changed in Russia:

A decade after capitalism transformed Russian industry, an agricultural revolution is stirring the countryside, shaking up village life and sweeping aside the collective farms that resisted earlier reform efforts and remain the dominant form of agriculture.

The change is being driven by soaring global food prices (the price of wheat alone rose 77 percent last year) and a new reform allowing foreigners to own agricultural land. Together, they have created a land rush in rural Russia.

“Where else do you have such an abundance of land?” Samir Suleymanov, the World Bank’s director for Russia, asked in an interview.

As a result, the business of buying and reforming collective farms is suddenly and improbably very profitable, attracting hedge fund managers, Russian oligarchs, Swedish portfolio investors and even a descendant of White Russian émigré nobility.

Earlier reformers envisioned the collective farms eventually breaking up into family farms. But the new business model rests on a belief that Russia’s long, painful history of collectivization is destined to end in large corporate factory farms.

Part of the reason why Putin is highly popular in Russia is because the economy has grown under his rule, and this has extended to agriculture as well as oil. But is this just leading to a new era of corporate rather than government collectivism?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/31/08 at 07:29 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Oh Yeah, There’s World Out There

While we’re discussing our Presidential candidate, the Rest Of the World continues to exist.  And it’s not looking good.  Georgia has cut off diplomatic ties with the Russians, who are threatening to annex South Ossetia.  Putin is claiming that we deliberately caused the problem to help John McCain.  And the EU is passing resolutions, including one that could punt Russia from the G-8.

I wish I knew how this was going to play out, but I don’t.  Putin is very hard to read, President Bush’s peering into his soul not withstanding.  I oppose withdrawing from NATO or kicking Russia out of the G-8; the latter because I’m a big believer in alliances—especially in the nuclear age—and the former because I think Russia needs to be contained, not isolated.  We need them on our side when it comes to Iran and Afghanistan.

We’re entering a very dangerous phase of world affairs in which we have to balance China, Russia and the MIddle East and probably India before it’s all done.  It’s like a chess game with an unknown number of players.  I’m not sure, looking at either Presidential candidate, that we have someone capable of handling this (where’s Bush 41 when you need him?).  But right now I feel like we’re waiting for the next shoe to drop, waiting to see where Putin moves his tanks next.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/31/08 at 12:21 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

11 Alive


image

Is it just me or does the new GOP banner make you think, “I’m John McCain.  And I’m Sarah Palin.  Welcome to the 10:00 news.  With Sports Guy Tom Tancredo.” Seriously, if I saw this on a billboard, I would assume it was for the local newscast, not the future leaders of the nation.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/31/08 at 12:15 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Query from Ambers

You should really read Mark Ambinder’s Q&A about the Palin Pick.  But what stuck me was this:

Is the pick good for the Republican Party?

Absolutely. Even if McCain loses in November, the GOP’s new standard bearer will be a younger working mother from outside Washington and not a rich businessman with perfect hair from Massachusetts.  McCain may have saved the GOP at the expense of the campaign.

I think this is the reason conservatives are jazzed about the pick.  Even if McCain loses, this seriously shakes up the GOP and clearly passes the torch to the Gen-X leaders like Palin and Jindal.  I worry about that somewhat since both are very in with the Religious Right.  But the desiccated corpse of the GOP is getting ripe.

I’ve said that Barack Obama’s campaign has already done a favor to the nation by weakening the Clintons.  If he wins, not only will the Clintons be finished once and for all, but so will the Old Guard GOP.  That alone might make up for four years of President Happypants.

Update: Contra Sullivan, it looks like McCain made this pick after reasonable deliberation.  I think we now know why.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/31/08 at 12:08 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Grumbles From The Grave

Jerry Pournelle on Palin:

Palin will undoubtedly stay where she has always been, conservative personally and libertarian-republican politically. Were matters left to her, she would leave a great number of issues to the states—as would I.  I’d rather see her President than McCain, but we live with the choices we have.

Mr. Heinlein once speculated that we ought to reserve high political office for women with children because they tend to see things a bit more realistically. While I didn’t necessarily agree with him, I never won the argument with him. On the other hand, Robert used to take positions for the sheer fun of it. (Actually I think he’d have preferred that anyone elected be a woman with children who could solve quadratic equations in her head, but he never went quite that far in public statements. Ginny never had children, but she could certainly do the math....)

In other words, methinks Sullivan doth protest too much. I sometimes wonder what Heinlein would have made of this election. He was an avowed libertarian and some of his beliefs were decidedly ahead of his time.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/31/08 at 01:20 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Fowler Wind

Not to be outdone by Michael Moron, former National Chairman of the DNC Don Fowler gets caught on tape weighing in on Gustav during a conversation:

The disconnect with reality these people have would be laughable if it wasn’t so damn pathetic.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/30/08 at 07:15 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Man Who Wasn’t There

For a guy who caused so much commotion during the primaries, Ron Paul seems to have become all but invisible these days.

...Paul has no speaking role at the GOP convention. He said his staff made overtures to the party, but nothing came of its efforts.

Republican Party spokeswoman Joanna Burgos said she had to research whether Paul was invited to speak when asked about a convention role for Paul.

“Our focus is really on this side of the river,” Burgos said. “We think there’s enough excitement and energy on this side.” McCain’s campaign spokesman did not return a phone message.

Paul’s faithful still hope to permeate the ranks of the establishment by winning local and state races and pulling in disenchanted party members. There are a couple dozen Paul delegates attending the GOP convention, though some loyalists say there are more delegates who support Paul.

The end of the Revolution? Meanwhile, his die-hard followers seem even more intent on reliving the Sixties than the Democrats:

Paul backers who aren’t staying at the Minneapolis hotel or a budget motel planned to bunk in group cabins at Camp Ihduhapi on Lake Independence, park RVs or pitch tents at campgrounds or head to a Goodhue, Minn., dairy farm for Ronstock ‘08, an imitation of the 1960s Woodstock counterculture festival. Organizers there say a neighbor of the farm’s owner is donating a cow to feed the flock.

For my own part, I think either Ron Paul or Bob Barr should at least be allowed to attend if they’re not already. McCain has chosen a running mate who’s about as libertarian as the party is going to get these days; perhaps some outreach to libertarians is in order. But if the Paulites want to sit it out in protest, that’s their problem. Libertarianism deserves a serious discussion, but the Paulites don’t seem ready to have one.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/30/08 at 03:00 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Pondering Palin

It’s kind of amazing to watch the blogosphere react to the Palin pick.  This site is having more argument than we’ve seen in a while.  Sulivan is freaking out.  The various attack memes are emerging.  As I predicted, the Left are attacking her as a “beauty queen”.

Part of the furor is anger at McCain for stealing Obama’s thunder.  We were supposed to be spending the weekend talking about Obama’s luminous transcendent speech that shook both Heaven and Earth.  Instead we’re talking about Sarah Palin.

But a larger part is that conservatives—real conservatives at least—do not automatically fawn over every decision made by their leaders. We’re unwilling to automatically proclaim Palin to be the Best Vice President Ever, as the Left instantly did with Biden (and Lieberman, and Gore).  Indeed, the most cogent criticisms—the only ones that are affecting me—come from the Right. Frum, for example:

Here’s I fear the worst harm that may be done by this selection. The McCain campaign’s slogan is “country first.” It’s a good slogan, and it aptly describes John McCain, one of the most self-sacrificing, gallant, and honorable men ever to seek the presidency.

But question: If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?

Or Ponnoru:

I am not even sure that the pick will have quite the galvanizing effect on conservatives that it seems to be having now as it sinks in. The concerns I’ve mentioned here—about her readiness and her credentials—are the kind of thing that many conservative voters take seriously.

Now, as I said, there are pros too. Maybe Palin will be a terrific candidate and vice president. But let’s not underestimate the potential downside.

I’ll lay out a few of my random musing now that I’ve slept on it.

The inexperience angle both bothers me and doesn’t.  Obama is light on experience, as you may have noticed.  But he has also spent the last year meeting with foreign leaders, diving into think tanks and improving his credentials.  He also tapped a VP with tons of foreign policy experience.  Palin has never said anything about Iraq.  For all the talk of her being the only candidate with real executive experience, two years as Governor of Alaska does not exactly ring my bell.

On the other hand, this concern is predicated on the idea that McCain is going to pull a Harrison on us.  That seems unlikely.  There’s no reason not to expect that someone like Palin can become a foreign policy “expert” in the same amount of time Obama did.  And no, she didn’t really mean it when she claimed she didn’t know what the VP did.  And even if she did, no one really knows what the VP does.  The first Vice-President, John Adams, was extremely frustrated because he didn’t know what he was supposed to do.

Her stands on creatonism and abortion are, as you can imagine, very bothersome to me (although Allahpundit argues, rather unconvincingly, that’s she’s not that bad).  Her record on taxation is not that good.  However, her history of cracking down on corruption, even within her own party, is impressive.

Of course, some of the napalm being thrown at her is just stupid.  For example, I don’t think accepting the nomination makes Palin a bad mother.  If that were the case, every single mother in America would be a bad mother.  Moreover, I wish the Left would make up their minds on the meme to use.  They are claiming that McCain made an unserious choice because he only met her once in person.  Fair enough.  But then they turn around and claim that he chose her only because he was smitten with her looks (there, apparently, being no attractive women in Washington).  Make up your mind, guys.

All in all, I’m still slightly positive on the pick but have some concerns as to whether she’s ready for a national post, least of all the Presidency.  I’ve flogged Palin as the future of the GOP on this blog, but I was thinking more of 2012 or 2016, when she would have finished one or two terms as Governor and maybe taken that weevil Stevens’ place in the Senate.

I’ll withhold judgement until I see how she fares in the debates.  The general consensus is that BIden will make a meal of her (in the Lincoln-Douglas sense, not the Clinton sense).  That’s where we’ll really see her command of the issues, her grace under fire and her ability to step in should John McCain pull a Harrison.

Bonus Prediction:  By the end of the week, the Dems will be calling her the “Katherine Harris of Alaska”.

Update: A reason for optimism on the Palin pick?  The Left’s reaction.  If that many liberals dislike her, there must be something really good about her.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/30/08 at 08:03 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, August 29, 2008

Mikey Hearts Hurricanes

Oh, for...WTF?

If there is indeed a God then I hope he/she/it strikes Mikey down with a massive heart attack/stroke, which His Lardness seems to have miraculously avoided so far.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/29/08 at 10:08 PM in Michael Mooron  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sarah Smile

Amid a host of reactions, Noah Millman over at The American Scene seems to be the most impressed.

McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin (assuming it’s confirmed) is a brilliant first counter-stroke. She helps the ticket on so many different fronts: she gives women who are angry about Hillary being passed over another reason to vote McCain; she gives fence-sitting whites who feel they “ought” to vote for Obama because of the historic nature of his candidacy an excuse to find history on the other side; she burnishes McCain’s credentials as an independent, reform candidate; she restores McCain’s credibility on energy and environmental issues, where Obama personally feels most comfortable going on the attack; she will generate enthusiasm among evangelicals among whom Obama was hoping to make inroads; she absolutely locks down the gun-rights vote (where McCain needed to play a bit of defense against Barr); she helps McCain in the Mountain West (Colorado and Montana) where he cannot afford to lose any states (except New Mexico); she neutralizes Biden in the debates (if he comes out zinging, he’ll seem ungentlemanly); and, most important, she makes McCain seem bold, future-oriented, and in control of his Administration, where Obama has seemed timid, defensive and unable to control his own party.

I’m not sure about the diehard Hillary-ites. But this makes me like her already:

Palin doesn’t support legalizing marijuana, worrying about the message it would send to her four kids. But when it comes to cracking down on drugs, she says methamphetamines are the greater threat and should have a higher priority.

Palin said she has smoked marijuana—remember, it was legal under state law, she said, even if illegal under U.S. law—but says she didn’t like it and doesn’t smoke it now.

“I can’t claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never inhaled.”

A more libertarian Veep isn’t necessarily a bad thing. She sounds more socially conservative in other areas, but doesn’t come across as a nutbar. I think I could live with this.


Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/29/08 at 02:42 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Outlook for the Dems

Coates starts in with what I believe will be the Democratic meme for the next two months:

Also, if you’re making a play for Hillary voters---older, middle-aged white women in rust-belt states--is the way to get it done by bypassing, say, Carly Fiorina and Kay Bailey Hutchison, to pick a former Ms. Alaska who’s only been governor for two years? There’s a meme about Barack Obama reminding older women of the slick, handsome guy who beat them out for a big promotion, even though they were more qualified. But here’s another very likely meme--Sarah Palin as the inexperienced, younger, attractive woman who beats them out for a promotion, even though they were more qualified.

...

Palin was appointed by a 72-year old man who passed over many more qualified, older women for a much younger, former Ms. Alaska with a thin resume. Add in the fact that this is a dude who left his wife after coming home from Vietnam for a much younger rich, former rodeo queen and you have the makings of a narrative. And it’s not the sort of narrative that attracts “Hillary voters,"--it’s the sort of narrative that attracts dirty old men. To be clear, I’m not saying that that’s what McCain is. In fact, I think it’s the opposite--this looks more hamfisted than sexist.

This is the angle the Dems are going to take, I think.  The most common description of Sarah Palin over the next two months will be “beauty queen”.  They’ll portray her as inexperienced (compared to Obama?) and the head of a small population (Limbaugh, in between fits of idiocy*, noted that Biden represents only 100,000 more people) and in the pocket of Big Oil.  How she fares in this crucible will tell us a lot about her future.

*Limbaugh was claiming that only radical leftists are vouching for Obama.  Apparently, he’s missed the endorsements from the very conservative members of the University of Chicago’s Economics Department.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/29/08 at 10:08 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Accredited

Egad.

Clayton County schools are the first in the nation in the past 40 years to lose accreditation, failing to meet eight of nine improvement mandates.

The action by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools came a few hours prior to Gov. Sonny Perdue’s announcement that he was immediately removing four school board members found to have flouted the law. A state administrative judge had recommended their removal.

Superintendent John Thompson said the district will appeal the accreditation loss, which takes effect Monday.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure these kids get full accreditation,” Thompson said.

School officials have 10 days to file an appeal, but will have to show that SACS was incorrect and that the district has met the mandates spelled out earlier to avoid accreditation loss.

By Thursday afternoon, parents flooded school offices to withdraw their children. Two thousand students have already fled the district this school year and the number is expected to grow.

Thompson said he was disappointed that families were not willing to give the district another chance.

“A storm came through and look at it now, the sun is shining,” Thompson said. “That’s what’s going to happen in Clayton County.”

School officials can regain accreditation if they show before Sept. 1, 2009, that have met all the mandates. If successful, accreditation would be restored and would be retroactive to Sept. 1, 2008. If they aren’t successful, the school system would have to start the accreditation process from the beginning, which likely would take about three years.

That means that if Clayton meets the mandates by May, this year’s seniors could graduate with an accredited diploma.

A loss of accreditation means the 50,000 Clayton students could have trouble getting into some colleges and universities, or receiving scholarship money. High school juniors and seniors will be able to maintain Hope scholarship eligibility because of legislation signed earlier this year by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

In an overview of the system’s loss of accreditation, SACS officials said problems with the board were a factor.

The main problem was that the school system did not have a functioning board, said Mark A. Elgart, president and chief executive officer of SACS. The board’s conflicts affected everything from teaching and learning to staffing and allocation of resources, accreditors said.

“It affected the entire school system,” Elgart said Thursday afternoon at a news conference. “Today, the students’ education in this particular district is being compromised.”

Looking over the report, it seems that this had little to do with the accomplishments of Clayton County students and more to do with the failure to administer the schools in anything approaching a coherent or legal manner.  One gets the feeling that the schools could be terrible as long as the administrative process complied with the law.

But I’m curious to hear other views (flogg?).

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/29/08 at 08:44 AM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

It’s Palin

McCain has made his choice:

Sen. John McCain has picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, a senior McCain campaign official told CNN on Friday.

Palin, 44, who’s in her first term as governor, is a pioneering figure in Alaska, the first woman and the youngest person to hold the state’s top political job.

She catapulted to the post with a strong reputation as a political outsider, forged during her stint in local politics. She was mayor and a council member of the small town of Wasila and was chairman of the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates Alaska’s oil and gas resources, in 2003 and 2004.

The conservative Palin defeated two so-called political insiders to win the governor’s job—incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski in the GOP primary and former two-term Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles in the 2006 general election. iReport.com: What do you think of McCain’s VP pick?

Palin made her name in part by backing tough ethical standards for politicians. During the first legislative session after her election, her administration passed a state ethics law overhaul.

I think that this is mainly an effort to woo the disgruntled Clinton supporters.  But no matter what the reason, it’s a good choice.  Palin is conservative, likable and popular.  She has supported windfall profits taxes on oil companies in Alaska, however.  So we’ll have to see how that plays out.

Your thoughts?

Update: Dad gum, I wish I’d thought of this.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/29/08 at 08:22 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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