Archives for: October 2012

A Smarter Lena

We all knew that the targeted demographic would make a good showing of themselves, irrespective of the pantload the other side is peddling. Misery doesn’t really love company but it is an equal opportunity employer and the bloody nose this administration has given us over the last four years demands equal bloodletting.

Women do get it, even the true feminist types; no 2 by 4 upside the head is required.

The gang member, a guy in the band, even the jock quarterback, all women need a bit of danger in their lives when they are young. For dudes, dating that girl who is also going for the notches on the bedpost, that will make you hurt in the morning, the ones that you will reminisce about 30 years later, equally reckless but necessary. But we all move on, we get smart, we chalk it up to youthful impetuousness and indiscretion, smile, then grow the eff up.

As mentioned in other posts over the years, I don’t begrudge anyone for voting for the empty suit. Biden reminded us, he was clean and articulate, he could spin a mean yarn, oh, and that magic stuff with the oceans, who wouldn’t get on board with that? Some new ideas (or the promise of them) sounded reasonable and since I am a firm believer that if one party screws things up, the other party should get a whack at it, I was not depressed believing that we only had ourselves to blame. But these ladies have it right, we all make mistakes , the smart people learn from them.

Christie and Obama

Chris Christie has never had any problem criticizing Barack Obama. A few weeks ago, for example, he uncorked this:

However, in the wake of Sandy, Christie has been praising Obama for his response to the crisis. This has prompted conspiracy theories about him having secret (or not so secret) 2016 ambitions.

Now, I’m as cynical as the next guy, but … really? Does Christie cross people as that sinister? I think Jeffrey Goldberg has the best theory:

Christie, in my experience, is a deeply emotional and highly sentimental man, and he is torn-up about the devastation along the Jersey Shore. The support he’s received from President Obama — the support he receives from anyone — at such a wrenching moment, makes him inordinately grateful. And President Obama has been extremely attentive.

Exactly. As I said earlier on Twitter, Chris Christie wears his heart on his sleeve. He says what he thinks and he doesn’t pull punches. This is, in fact, one of the things we like about him. Seeing the devastation wrought on the Jersey Shore of his youth, the Shore he has taken his children to many times, has clearly hit him hard. You can see it in his face; you can feel it in his statements. And having a President he has been highly critical of call him up and say, “tell us what you need” moved him.

Of course, I may be buying into Christie’s genuineness too much. And maybe Goldberg’s alternate theory — that Christie just wants to meet Bruce Springsteen — is the right one. But for the moment, I’m taking this for what it is: the gratitude of a man who is deeply hurt by what his state has endured. And I think it’s a sign of how weird our politics has gotten — just yesterday, I was reading about people only wanting to date politically like-minded mates — that we immediately assume a sinister motive? As Franklin Harris noted on Twitter, politicians used to play nice in the aftermath of a crisis. Katrina was the exception, not the rule.

By all accounts, Christie is doing a fantastic job managing this crisis. Why should we be upset if he wants to throw some credit in the Feds’ direction? Especially if the reports that FEMA has learned from Katrina and is doing a better job are true?

Happy Halloween 2012

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday. Halloween has always been my favorite (I pretty much hate all the others for reasons I won’t go into now).

After all these years, I still suck at carving jack o’ lanterns.

I think one of them had a stroke or something. No matter. Enjoy your night! Please post any good pics you may have.

Wherein I Defend a Democrat and Spit on Veterans

I keep seeing this story pop up on social media and I’m a bit surprised to find myself wanting to help the Democrat:

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly appears to be borrowing a page from fellow Democrat Jim Moran‘s playbook in suggesting that his Republican opponent is unfit for duty in Congress. 

Connolly, defending his seat against Army Col. Chris Perkins, said military deployments prevent service members from putting “sweat equity” into the districts they hope to serve in Congress.

Alright, that sounds like something a flag-burning, apple-pie screwing leftist asshole would say.  Great for a viral story.  So far so good, right? 

But that’s not what Connolly said.  In the video, Connolly was responding to the criticism that he’s simply a career politician who has never really done anything else.  That’s fair play on Murray’s part and Connolly has the right to justify his value.

Far from bashing veterans, Connolly pointed out that his opponent, Patrick Murray (Ret Colonel, US Army), has been so disengaged from the community affairs of the district he wants to represent in the the years since he got out of the Army that he didn’t even vote in 2010.   The relevant portion of the speech starts at about 6:30.

You may like the Iraq War hero more than the community activist turned politician who never had a real job (who does that remind me of?), but it’s dishonest to say that Connolly claimed that Murray is somehow unqualified because he served in the military.  I don’t know how anyone gets that from watching the video.

Now, I could (and probably should) stop there, but can I say that an experienced career politician can make a better case for being a member of Congress over a career military officer?  Where does this notion that military experience automatically translates into being an awesome lawmaker come from?

When I was in the Army and encountered commissioned officers, I noticed that those assholes were pretty much completely disengaged from the lives of their troops and really didn’t do much of anything ever.  When we went to field, our lieutenant went to class.   Not to bash anyone here who was a commanding officer, but to this day I have no idea what you guys did all day that the NCO’s weren’t doing.

Military leadership is different from the private sector and even government service.  In fact, you don’t need any leadership ability to be an officer.  You tell the grunts what you want done and they do it, or else.  They can’t refuse or they might get locked up and they can’t put in two weeks notice.  Anywhere else, leadership is defined by your ability to get people to buy-in and voluntarily work toward a common goal.  Knowing how to bargain, negotiate, inspire, motivate, and comprommise is essential.  I’m not convinced that leadership by fiat is really leadership.  In fact, I think it’s the opposite of that.

That’s not to say that military leaders do not frequently possess these skills, but they are not necessary for a successful career.  You can advance far within the military by going to the right schools, serving a few tours, putting in time in service, and avoiding making a tough decision that gets you in trouble.  I knew one great leader whose career was destroyed because he stood up for one of his soldiers to a two-star general.  Contrast him with the senior military commanders who cravenly sat on their hands and watched the consulate in Benghazi get sacked because they knew that if one Marine died in a rescue mission, their careers would be shot and they’d probably be court-martialed.  The Army breeds that mentality, sorry to say.  Do I know that’s what happened?  No, but I’d wager it based on what I know about senior officers.

I know pretty much nothing about Connolly’s or Murray’s record or positions and I don’t live in their district so this isn’t an endorsement either way.  I also hate to say anything nice about the careerist politicians who have screwed up our country.

BUT…I think Connolly makes a good point that he deserves to be re-elected because of his ties to the community he represents rather than the guy who has never been interested in local affairs until he wanted the community to give him a job.  If I lived in that district, I would certainly question Murray’s motives for running and ask what’s in it for my neighborhood.

Service in the military does say a lot of positives about a candidate’s character.  You sacrifice a great deal for it.  But what we need right now in Congress are people who know how to work with people who disagree with them for the common good and prioritize the interests of their own constitutents above their own job security. 

Again: I’m not saying Connolly is that guy, but he does make a good argument for his own background.

Some Guys Gaffe Easy

We’ve been having a good abortion discussion on Hal’s “The Closing Gender Gap” post.  I do not want to move that discussion over here and I don’t want to make this post about abortion either.

This is going to be one of those times that I ask everyone to completely ignore the over-riding issue.  A good blogger would struggle with this, so you can imagine how distorted this is going to be when I get through.

Instead, I want to dwell on this phenomenon I’ve been studying that I call a sort of Comfortable Extremism.  First, I think we should confront the Republican Party’s weird problem with rape.  It’s getting to be frustrating for those of us who just can’ t vote for a Democrat, don’t want to stay home on Election Day, and don’t read Infowars enough to keep up on the Libertarian platform.   I’m especially annoyed because I had no idea until Akin spouted off that this is an emerging trend among pro-life conservatives.  It bothers me when my own cluelessness gets me ambushed like this.  I even still managed to be surprised by Mourdock’s similar statement.   Apparently, I shouldn’t be expecting mature candidates for the US Fucking Senate.  This is well and good for dopey state legislators, but the Senate?

Now you can say that I’m being unfair here.  After all, the Romney campaign keeps coming forward and condemning members of their own party who tell us what they actually think about girls who claim they were raped.  And that’s why this is a GOP problem.  Why are Republican national candidates being compelled to stop talking about their national agendas to remind us that they disapprove of sexually-aggressive felonies?

The reason is that politicians–like us real people–believe stupid things, are kind of stupid themselves without realizing it, hang out with other stupid people, and talk about the stupid things they believe and they promptly run into trouble when they get near a microphone (knowingly or unknowingly) and tell the world what they really think.  It turns out that we only want the sane politicians to be honest.

You know what it is?  For years, liberals could say: “Sure, abortion isn’t great, but you don’t REALLY want to force women to carry a child conceived from rape or incest, do you?”  And that argument has been persuasive for the majority of Americans.  In fact, pro-choice advocates thought the beauty of it was that nobody on the other side would be so callous, crazy, foolish, or all of the above as to pick on rape victims.  Yep.  Turns out, they are and they will.  And then, for some reason, they feel the need to apologize and explain that they really do disapprove of raping women.   

I’m not saying that Akin or Mourdock are bad guys who want to go all Taliban-y on rape victims.  I’m not even going to criticize people who agree with their viewpoint that there should be no rape exception for abortion.  It’s not my point here today.   It’s a great example of how the opposing party has so completely owned an issue that the other party has to go to the most ridiculous extremes to keep their own argument consistent.  Akin and Mourdock (and I suspect many, many pro-lifers) have had to either redefine or downplay rape to keep from ever having to admit that abortion is justified in even more than 1% of pregnancies.

Americans have gotten to be so extreme on certain pet issues that they don’t even realize how far out they are when they get outside of their circle of friends and followers. That’s why the reactions these political guys make is always a day-later “whaaa?” instead of an immediate clarification.

Democrats aren’t immune to this either.  The GOP has successfully dominated the 2nd Amendment issue so well that Democrats won’t dare bring it before a national audience.  Behind the scenes during the 2008 campaign, however, Obama let loose with his “bitterly clinging to guns and religion” comment.  He apologized later, but that’s what he and his intended audience really believes: “There isn’t a right or even a need to own firearms.  It’s all about hating people different from yourself.”

The observation I have is that too many Americans have become comfortable in holding extreme viewpoints because they don’t fucking talk to people they disagree with and never have to defend their own views or articulate and explain concepts such as the Vaginal Anti-Rape Firewall.  It’s just about impossible to have a grown-up conversation on the big issues these days with anybody because of it. 

When people have to contort their arguments to avoid reality, deal in Sith-like absolutes, and attack; they’re probably holding an extremist viewpoint.  Obviously, when people have been backed into a corner and are arguing nutty things, it’s because they’re losing.  Don’t let them get comfortable with it.  Call bullshit.  You’ll be doing him or her a favor and probably saving that person from future embarrassment.

Thrillocracy Revisited

Like this post if you’re not surprised.

I don’t think I need much by way of introduction.  I have been making a pest of myself on RTFLC for about seven years now and basked in the glory of its many years of Christ-punching, flame-warring, editorial shifting from right to left and back, and employee turnover.

Rich Taylor suggested to me a few months ago that I ask JimK for a contributor spot.  Rich has never given me anything but good advice, but I wanted to get back into the swing of things around here and (more importantly) make sure that I’d have time to post.  Going through the archives last week and reading over some of my favorite discussions with Lee, I remembered why I first got interested in blogging.  It was because of Lee and the way he could tell a story, shock the shit of his audience, debate, and persuade, persuade, persuade.   As much as we disagreed on the issues of the day, I highly respected him as a writer and learned more than I can even begin to describe.   I’m certainly not alone on that and many of you here who remember similarly want to keep that magical…thing…alive.

So I asked JimK to add me to the roster, and he graciously did.  And there we are.

As a Contributor here, I’ll write whenever I damn well feel like it and tell you exactly what’s wrong with you focus on what has always made this a great site: Solid writing built on rational arguments richly laced with biting humor, blasphemy, and pornographic references.

For those of you who have disliked my commentary here and aren’t sure what to expect, I suspect you will probably deepen your animosity within a couple of weeks.  Please give me a clean slate and let me give you the chance to fall deeply in hate all over again.

Sandy

The Frankenstorm is due to pass over us with the eye about 15 miles from my house sometime in the next 24 hours. I expect to lose power but we’re on high ground and staying home and the storm will have vented much of its fury on New Jersey, so we shouldn’t be in any real danger. (Thank God we have New Jersey to shield us from this stuff.)

Use this thread to post any updates or thoughts. It’s looking very bad but not catastrophic at this point. I just wish the networks would stop the hazing ritual of putting reporters on the beach for this stuff. It’s ridiculous.

Political implications are minimal. Nate Silver has some discussion here. We might see some weird polling numbers (although Gallup is suspending polling until the crisis has passed). I don’t think this will impact the Presidential race unless Obama badly mismanages it. And that appears unlikely since Chris Christie is doing a lot of the heavy lifting and, by all accounts, doing a fantastic job. If you’re in New Jersey and still have power, his Twitter feed is island of calm reassurance.

Anyone else in the path of this, stay safe. And see you on the flip side.

The Closing Gender Gap

Ross Douthat has a great article up on the gender gap. After discussing Obama’s bizarre and paternalistic appeals to women (the Life of Julia bullshit, the first time video I posted below) and his attempt to make abortion the key issue of the election (e.g., the “War on Women”), Douthat notes:

The gap between men and women on issues like abortion is overstated, and the female preference for Democrats predates Roe v. Wade. In a recent blog post, Christina Wolbrecht of the University of Notre Dame calls the gender gap “a recurrent, if not consistent, feature of presidential elections throughout the postwar era,” which probably dates to Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign.

Not coincidentally, that was a year when Republican economic rhetoric took on a particularly individualistic cast. If there’s a deep driver of the gender gap, it’s usually views about spending and the role of government. Men are more likely to be libertarian, women are more likely to be communitarian, and this creates what Wolbrecht calls a natural “divergence in preferences for social welfare policies.”

This helps explain why, among recent elections, the gender gap yawned widest in 1996 — not an election with many culture-war flash points, but a year when Bill Clinton relentlessly tied Bob Dole to the Congressional Republicans’ attempted cuts to domestic spending and entitlements.

It also helps explain why Romney made ground with women after his performance in the first presidential debate — when he mostly pivoted toward the center on economic issues, and emphasized solidarity and community rather than “you built that!” individualism.

I think this analysis is dead on. I know few people — pro-life or pro-choice — for whom abortion is the make-or-break issue. And those few are party line loyalists anyway (there was a huge amount of dissension within NOW, for example, when the New Jersey chapter endorsed pro-choice Republican Christine Whitmann for governor). Douthat’s specifics are a little off: the history of the Gender Gap is pretty consistent apart from 1992, which is affected by the Perot factor.

But the underlying cause — a difference of opinion on the size of government — is probably accurate. It can be seen in the direction our politics has moved since the 19th Amendment was passed. Indeed, one of the arguments of the suffragettes was that certain views were not being represented in politics. But the key words in that are that women are “more likely to be communitarian”. We’re talking probability, not destiny. We’re talking about a difference, not a yawning chasm. A majority of women voted for Reagan. Twice. Women are not socialists; nor are they infants. They Democrats have done a very good job, for the last twenty years, of playing the “elect Republicans and you’re going to be poor” card, not just to women, but to everyone. I have to think, at some point, the endless condescension and paternalism of the Democratic Party is going to catch up with them and the gender gap will shrink.

Benghazi-gate update

The usual LSM outlets are reporting nonsense like CBS affiliate in DC which are trying to pretend that there is no stank to this whole fiasco. Yeah, Panetta, certainly isn’t doing CYA for the WH at all. Not everyone is playing along, though. Maybe it is because they are tired of getting thrown under that Obama bus. I already talked about the Clinton’s sticking it back to Barack for his attempt to throw Hillary under the bus, but now it seems that even
Patreaus at the CIA is punching back. After all Obama & his crew threw the Intel community under the bus during the debate and tried to shift the blame to them. But the truth will out even if the LSM is ignoring it:

Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement: “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ”

So who in the government did tell “anybody” not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No.

It would have been a presidential decision. There was presumably a rationale for such a decision. What was it? When and why—and based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversations—did President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need?

Rumors are circulating about assets being on site and not being used because the WH ordered a stand down as well. But there is an even bigger rumor going around about how the commander of Africom, General Ham, was relieved from command because he refused to follow an order to stand down from the WH and was in the process of deploying assets despite the order. It is not coincidental that he is being replaced by a likely stooge:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will nominate Army Gen. David Rodriguez to succeed Gen. Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command and Marine Lt. Gen. John Paxton to succeed Gen. Joseph Dunford as assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Thursday.

Gen. Ham is not the only one being relieved. I guess when relieved from command in this manner they are facing possible charges, and hence, will be told by their council to not comment publically. Win-win for the WH which just wants this to stay quiet until the election. After they steal that, Holder can make this go away for them, like he has done with so many other acts that far exceed anything Nixon did and got kicked out of office for.

This Benghazi-gate stuff is turning out to be uglier and uglier. Yes, a lot of this stuff is in the category of hearsay or unconfirmed, but I would trust hearsay or statements from these sources – yes, even the damned Clintons because those bastards are about survival at all costs and they know the LSM is not in their corner right now – over the lame cover-up by the LSM, any day of the week. This was an epic failure. I am now convinced that the WH ordered a stand down and that is the direct reason that these 4 people died. The problem is that we have a fifth column that has no interest in finding out, let alone telling the truth now, because it will screw up the guy they are rooting for, Obama, even harder next week.

UPDATE: Looks like the LSM has to adit that the removal of the admiral that was in charge of the Med group is because of the ongoing investigation. Of course, the fact that when relieved and under investigation this admiral silenced, is conveniently ignored.

You can not make this kind of stupid up…

This unbelievable story would right now be front page news, and we would have the usual suspects in the LSM doing their best to link Romney to it, if this was done by a republican:

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- The woman named “Democrat of The Year” this year by the Jefferson County Democratic Party has been convicted of felony theft by a Jefferson County jury for stealing from a developmentally disabled 71-year-old woman.

“The jury did right,” said Cindy Maxwell, an advocate for the victim.

On Thursday, a jury convicted 66-year-old Estelle Carson of felony identify theft and felony theft from an at risk adult for stealing checks from the woman and using them to pay her own cable, cell phone and internet bills.

The victim is partially blind, developmentally disabled, has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. She is on a fixed income of $596 per month according to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

Just wow. And seriously, I find no irony in the revelation that this woman was a top democrat. If this was a republican, we would be hearing how we should not be voting for Romney, because this is what Romney believes in. Just take a look at the regular policies democrats back and force upon us though, to help us, of course, and you will see most of their feel good nonsense is on par with robbing developmentally disabled people in wheel chairs. Heh.