Right Thinking From The Left Coast
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. - Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Reax

Two great quotes on the Obama speech. First Dave Barry:

That message, in a nutshell, is that Barack Obama represents hope and change and an attractive but nonthreatening wife and experience in the form of Joe Biden; whereas John McCain—although he is a great patriot for whom the Democrats have the deepest personal respect—is the warmongering environment-wrecking house-forgetting evil demon spawn of Satan.

Then Jesse Walker:

Government cannot solve all our problems. Just the ones involving energy, education, work, the weather, cities, the countryside, sick children, sick mothers, joblessness, hopelessness, and frightening foreigners who do not live in Iraq. Now if you’ll all look under your seats, every one of you is going home with a new car!

Heh.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/28/08 at 10:41 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Friday and Weekend Post-Convention Music Thread

Now that we’ve survived the Democrats, the Republican Convention is next. In the meantime, let’s get the music going to relieve the pressure of waiting to sit through another round of speechifying. This week’s topic:

The Birth of Rock And Roll!

To start things off:

Rocket 88-Ike Turner & Jackie Brensten

Glory of Love-The Five Keys

Hound Dog-Big Mama Thornton

Money Honey-The Drifters

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/28/08 at 09:27 PM in Fun and Humor  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Fact Checking This Night

Barack Obama hit McCain for saying our economy was fundamentally sound.  Oops.

The US economy outpaced expectations as surging exports fueled a second-quarter growth spurt at a 3.3 percent pace, according to data Thursday that analysts say makes recession less likely.

The Commerce Department revised upward last month’s estimate of a 1.9 percent annualized pace of growth in gross domestic product (GDP).

The figure was much better than the average Wall Street estimate of 2.7 percent and showed a strong acceleration from the 0.9 percent rate of the first three months of the year.

The latest figures, helped somewhat by a massive economic stimulus package, suggest the world’s biggest economy had more momentum than previously thought by analysts, many of whom anticipated recession.

Now caveats apply.  Carter’s economy was only in recession toward the end, but inflation and interest rates were still killing us.  The price of gas and food and the housing market are still hurting us.  But this does indicate that despite all of the problems, our economy remains sound.  Now add to the growth the Census Bureau’s report that 2007 saw wages rise, poverty fall, inequality shrink and insurance spread and the idea of an economy in turmoil become ever less tenable.

Of course, the economy was recovering when Bush was unelected in 1992.  If you say the economy is bad long enough, no one is willing to challenge it.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/28/08 at 09:26 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Faces On The Barroom Floor

Matt Welch over at Reason observes the mood in Denver:

There isn’t a bar in Denver that isn’t showing The Speech right now, and loud, but that doesn’t mean you can hear it. The one I’m in is currently featuring a vicious (and loud!) fight right next to me between a table of mostly male Obama supporters, and a table of mostly female Hillary supporters. Sample verbatim dialogue:

“I’m a dude, I don’t care what you say! Shut your nasty ass up! I can hear you!”

“Ohhh, nobody can speak!”

Meanwhile, another table has been drinking at every utterance of the word “change.” Man, are they drunk right now.

I thought committing suicide in public was against the law…

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/28/08 at 08:43 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

What She Said

McArdle:

I was disappointed by the speech.  Your mileage may vary, of course.  But it was basically standard Democratic Convention Boilerplate:  nothing we haven’t seen before from Obama, or for that matter, every Democratic presidential candidate in living memory.

Maybe the problem is that Obama has given too many good speeches.  All Kerry or Bush had to do was show up on the podium and not vomit on their shoes, and we were impressed.  Obama would have needed to channel Martin Luther King, Jr on a steroids to knock our socks off.  This implies, that McCain will get a bigger bounce than Obama from his convention appearance; we’ll see.

Also read her response to the bullshit about how we will eliminate our dependence on Middle East oil in ten years.  I found this line to be the single most grating of the speech.  It would have been slightly less ludicrous if Obama had promised to repeal the Law of Gravity.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/28/08 at 08:21 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Obama Speech Liveblog

10:02 PM ET: Be sure to comment.  I got home just in time.  Updates as the speech goes on.  Oh, Jesus, a video tribute?

I’ve moved the rest of this below the fold so it doesn’t occupy the entire page.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/28/08 at 07:01 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Maverick Congratulates The One

Why couldn’t he have shown this much class earlier?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/28/08 at 06:18 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

God Save Fidel

Call it anarchy in the Cuba libre’:

HAVANA (AP) - Cuba has ordered jailed punk rocker Gorki Aguila, an outspoken critic of Fidel Castro and the communist government, to stand trial on Friday for “social dangerousness,” a charge that could carry up to four years in prison.

Authorities arrested the 39-year-old lead singer of Porno para Ricardo at his Havana home on Monday, shortly after the band had completed work on a new album. Cuban law defines “social dangerousness” as behavior contrary to “communist morality,” and police use it to detain offenders before they have a chance to commit a crime.

Performing songs with angry lyrics that poke fun at or openly insult Fidel Castro and his brother Raul, who became Cuba’s president in February, Porno para Ricardo is banned from official Cuban airwaves.

The government often applies the “social dangerousness” charge in cases of public drunkenness or as a way to keep large groups of unemployed Cubans - or those simply skipping work - from congregating on city streets during business hours. It is also applied to cases of drug addiction and “anti-social behavior.”

Seriously, has there ever really been a better target for punk than Communism?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/28/08 at 04:56 PM in Life & Culture  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

McHonorable?

McCain seems a tad sensitive when it comes to his campaign style:

There’s a theme that recurs in your books and your speeches, both about putting country first but also about honor. I wonder if you could define honor for us?
Read it in my books.

I’ve read your books.
No, I’m not going to define it.

But honor in politics?
I defined it in five books. Read my books.

[Your] campaign today is more disciplined, more traditional, more aggressive. From your point of view, why the change?
I will do as much as we possibly can do to provide as much access to the press as possible.

But beyond the press, sir, just in terms of ...
I think we’re running a fine campaign, and this is where we are.

Do you miss the old way of doing it?
I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Maybe this is what the questioner meant:

Ronald Reagan never staged an ugly August. He attacked his opponents, but on the high ground of policy. His most famous advertising gambit was a balm: “Morning in America,” a series of ads filled with gorgeous American images that didn’t even mention Reagan’s 1984 opponent, Walter Mondale. But then Reagan was operating at the beginning of a political pendulum swing, utterly confident that his ideas were better than the tired industrial-age liberalism and post-Vietnam pacifism of the Democrats.

Granted, McCain is battling against a young, charismatic opponent with a sunnier disposition. But McCain could do better than making petty attacks against a novice rival. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to remember how.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/28/08 at 02:45 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Interventioning We Will Go

President Bush seems to have turned us into the proverbial bad houseguest:

Looks like Bush wanted a longer stay, asking for authorization until 2015. The Iraqis countered with 2010, and the compromise was 2011. The date is not finalized, and it not clear what if any U.S. presence there might be after 2011 (since, even under Maliki’s recent formulation, the Iraqis could ask us to stay longer in a support role after that.) But if you want to know why our leverage has gone down, you now know. Because Bush was begging to let us stay longer than the Iraqis wanted, we had to give the Iraqis concessions instead of vice versa to let us do so. This whole thing should have been crafted to get the Iraqis to convince us we shouldn’t leave sooner and convince us we should provide them with residual support (counter-terrorism assistance, training and advising, deterrence against external foes, etc.)--but instead we begged to stay longer.

But are the Democrats much better? Not according to their official platform:

“We believe we must also be willing to consider using military force in circumstances beyond self defense in order to provide for the common security that underpins global stability-to support friends, participate in stability and reconstruction operations, or confront mass atrocities.”

So the choice seems to be between the guy who wants to lurch from one conflict to the next and the guy who wants to lurch from one humanitarian military mission to the next. This is their idea of restoring American leadership in the world?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/28/08 at 02:31 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Bill Clinton’s Dirty Little Secret

A nice little column by Harsanyi:

Well, it’s no wonder that Democrats didn’t want former President Bill Clinton to speak on the economy; some delegates might have had the temerity to ask: Hey, why did we experience all that prosperity in the ‘90s?

It certainly wasn’t because of populism or isolationism or more government dependency or any of the hard-left economic policies being preached nightly by speakers at the Democratic National Convention.

No, it was capitalism—more of it, not less of it.

The 90’s boom was born of many things—telecom deregulation, Clinton’s “reinventing government” initiative, welfare reform, spending restraint.  Ironically, his pork economic stimulus package was filibustered by the Republicans.  What a contrast to today’s Democrats.

Then [Montanta governor] Schweitzer claimed (in a half-truth) that Republican nominee John McCain voted “against” solar energy, biofuels and wind energy.

Which is weird because I could swear my neighbor has solar panels, so they must be legal. I’ve seen windmills. So I suppose that Schweitzer meant that McCain voted against some federal boondoggle for wind and/or solar energy.

And frankly, McCain hasn’t voted against biofuels nearly enough. One need only look at the corn-based ethanol fiasco to understand how destructive it can be when politicians decide we “must” do something.

Sen. Hillary Clinton later chimed in that she would force energy companies to invest in the projects deemed worthy of the common good. (Imagine if your business were told how it “must” invest its money.) She claimed Americans “give” windfall profits to oil companies. No, we don’t “give” them anything; we pay them for a product.

But there were all the customary populist grievances. Corporations are “shipping” jobs out of the country. (Answer: Tax them more to ensure the entire corporation is shipped out.) China is stealing our money. (No trade with China?) We need to liberate ourselves from dependency on foreign energy. (Let’s hope other nations do not wean themselves off their “dependence” to wheat, steel or Pixar movies.)

In short, it’s the usual statist policies—everything not mandated must be forbidden; all progress is created by government; nothing can happen without government action.  I mean, it’s not as if the high price of gas has caused us to drive less or buy more fuel efficient cars or anything all on its own.

Oh wait.

Frankly, I’m finding it difficult to accept that even the Democrats accept all this nonsense.  No one’s this stupid.  Maybe it’s the inverse of the cynicism I feel when the big-government, big-spending Republicans talk about fiscal discipline.  Or maybe it’s that the Democratic Congress hasn’t done jack in the last two years.

However, as I said earlier, that doesn’t make things better.  Either the Democrats are economic ignorami or they are pandering to people’s economic ignorance.  Either way, they are not the one we have been waiting for.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/28/08 at 09:32 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Am Still Alive
by Lee

I realize I haven’t posted a damn thing on here in abut two weeks.  There are a couple of reasons.  First, there’s were the Olympics, which were pretty much occupying everything here in Beijing for two weeks.  Then there’s all the election stuff, which I am not privy to.  Other than small wrap-ups on the TV news and the stuff I read online I’m completely separated from the whole mess.  You guys are basically my eyes and ears on this thing.

I’m around, believe me.  I’ll probably chime in on some stuff when I get a free moment.

Posted by Lee on 08/27/08 at 08:48 PM in Lee in China  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

“Thanks But No Thanks”

First let me say this: I think the Clintons were scumbags during the campaign. But there’s no denying the man can still deliver one heck of a speech. For the moment, here’s Sully’s reaction:

I don’t buy his evisceration of everything the Republican party has done in the last quarter century. I think the GOP did a great deal to rescue this country in the 1980s and early 1990s. In fact, I think Clinton would have failed as a president without the foil of the Gingrich GOP. But since 2000, the worst aspects of Republicanism have crowded out its once necessary virtues. The reflexive impulse to use force over diplomacy, to use aggression over persuasion, to spend and borrow with no concern for the future, and to violate sacred principles such as the eschewal of torture with no respect for the past: these must not just be left behind. They have to be repudiated.

The United States needs this repudiation, as does the world. McCain, alas, cannot provide it. He may once have. But his party is too far gone, and his moment passed. His use of fear and deception and brattish contempt in this campaign have sealed the deal for me. But Clinton reminded all of us of what is more broadly at stake. He did it with passion and measure and eloquence. And surpassing intelligence.

We’ve seen the worst of Bill Clinton these past few months, Tonight, we saw the best.

Who would have thought that Bill Clinton would have been able to pass the torch with as much class as he did? Note that while I still don’t think that Obama is necessarily right either politically or ideologically, I think Clinton summed up the mood of this entire election by reminding people of why the idea of four more years of the same (or on steroids) is so distasteful to many.

P.S. I’m also glad that it was so much shorter than Hillary’s speech.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/27/08 at 06:36 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

We Are The World We Have Been Waiting For

Egad.  I defy anyone to watch more than 10 seconds of this pap without getting violently ill.

(RTLC disclaimer: This video should not be watched by children.  Or pregnant women. Or non-pregnant women.  Or non-pregnant men.  Or any men.  Or anyone of the human race.  Or even non-humans.  Cover up the goldfish tank before you play it.  And please, for the love of God, don’t let anyone beam this out into space.  If aliens ever see it, they will immediately destroy the Earth.)


These guys think they are reliving the 60’s.  I’m sorry, guys.  You are no Bob Dylan.

If I were John McCain, I would make this my campaign commercial.  Play it non-stop and you would get an electoral landslide.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/27/08 at 05:59 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Eyes Across The Water

Should we be worried about this?

US and Russian warships took up positions in the Black Sea today in a risky war of nerves on opposing sides of the Georgia conflict.

With the Russians effectively controlling Georgia’s main naval base of Poti, Moscow also dispatched the Moskva missile cruiser and two smaller craft on “peacekeeping” duties at the port of Sukhumi on the coast of Abkhazia, the breakaway region that the Kremlin recognised as independent yesterday.

The Americans, wary of escalating an already fraught situation, cancelled the scheduled docking in Poti of the US Coast Guard vessel, the Dallas, and instead sent it to the southern Georgian-controlled port of Batumi, 200km (124 miles) from the Russian ships, where it delivered humanitarian aid.

“Let’s hope we don’t see any direct confrontation,” said Dmitri Peskov, the spokesman for the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, as the Russians challenged the US policy of using military aircraft and ships to deliver relief supplies.

“The decision to deliver aid using Nato battleships is something that hardly can be explained,” said Peskov. “It’s not a common practice.”

He said Russian naval forces were taking “some measures of precaution” around the Black Sea as the worsening dispute caused by Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia independence brought strong criticism from the key European countries most reluctant to sever relations with Russia.

There seems to be a lot of sabre-rattling going on for a country so interested in a “Peacekeeping” mission…

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/27/08 at 04:06 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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