How fast does the wind blow in Texas? I dunno, but the weather man just advised that, because it will be windy today, people should keep both hands on the steering wheel during the morning commute.
Apollo posted this at 7:29 AM CDT on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 as Deep in the Heart of Texas
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Over at First Things, Ron Sider discusses the evangelicals failures regarding gay issues:
Tragically, because of our own mistakes and sin, we evangelicals have almost no credibility on this topic. We have tolerated genuine hatred of gays; we should have taken the lead in condemning gay bashing but were largely silent; we have neglected to act in gentle love with people among us struggling with their sexual identity; and we have used the gay community as a foil to raise funds for political campaigns. We have made it easy for the media to suggest that the fanatics who carry signs announcing “God hates fags” actually speak for large numbers of evangelicals.
Worst of all, we have failed to deal honestly with the major threat to marriage and the family: heterosexual adultery and divorce. Evangelicals divorce at the same rate as the rest of the population. Many evangelical leaders have failed to speak against cheap divorce because they and their people were getting divorced just like everyone else. And yet we have had the gall to use the tiny (5 percent or less) gay community as a whipping boy that we labeled as the great threat to marriage.
What a farce. It is hardly surprising that young non-Christians’ most common perception (held by 91 percent) of contemporary Christianity is that we are “antihomosexual.” Even more disturbing is that 80 percent of young churchgoers agree.
We did not need to do this. We could have preached against hatred of gays, taken the lead in combating gay bashing, and been the most active community lovingly caring for people with AIDS. We could have taken marriage more seriously. We could have shown the world that Christians could defend marriage while loving those who wanted to live a different way.
Hubbard posted this at 4:05 PM CDT on Sunday, November 28th, 2010 as Faith
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This has got to stop. If you think visitors to the the Douglas County, Colorado courthouse should pass through a full-body scanner, you’re insane.
Angela Hellenbrand received a quick pat down Tuesday by security guard Mike Couts at the Castle Rock courthouse about 30 miles south of Denver. A guard in another room monitoring the full-body scans alerted Couts to an object in Hellenbrand’s left rear pocket. It was the paper backing of a “Junior Deputy Sheriff” sticker that one of the guards had given her two young boys.
Absolute insanity. The 4th Amendment allows for reasonable warrantless searches, but here we have a woman getting patted down because a nude image of her body revealed a piece of paper in her back pocket – that’s not reasonable. If this device is so wildly inaccurate (or if the security guards are so terribly trained) that it cannot tell the difference between something potentially dangerous and a Junior Deputy Sheriff sticker, then this is a goddamned sham. Phoney baloney nonsense designed to pat down everybody who gets summoned to jury duty or needs to register a corporation. This is insane. It’s a jawdroppingly stupid waste of security resources.
Somewhere in Douglas County, there’s an official who should be tarred and feathered, and have the cost of that infernal device deducted from his pension fund.
In the meantime, someone should sue. This is patently unreasonable. And to have it as a requirement before entering a courthouse – a building that people are legally obliged to enter – makes it doubly odious.
Apollo posted this at 11:35 PM CDT on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 as Liberty and/or Security
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Much as some of here would like to like Sarah Palin, she’s making it tough. The Weekly Standard, a conservative bellwether, seems to have just obliquely launched an Anyone But Palin campaign:
After all, Sarah Palin’s Alaska shares the network’s schedule with shows like Ton of Love (“go inside the lives of three morbidly obese couples”) and The Man With Half a Body (“meet . . . Kenny whose body ends at his waist and who walks on his hands”). Would John Adams feel comfortable exhibiting his children next to Toddlers and Tiaras, which follows families on their quest for “sparkly crowns, big titles, and lots of cash”? Would Abe Lincoln look diminished if he shared a marquee with I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant? Would William Jefferson Clinton feel at home next to Sister Wives, which explores “the complex daily life of a polygamist family”?
David Frum observes:
Politicians love to present a narrative in which they and their band of outsiders battle an entrenched party establishment. In most cases, the stories are self-serving myths: party establishments are far less entrenched than they used to be, and the insurgents usually hold paid-up memberships in the party establishment themselves. See eg Howard Dean, career of.
But in Palin’s case, the myth rings true. There really is a GOP party establishment. That establishment took up Palin as a useful tool in 2008, deployed Palin as an edged anti-Obama weapon in 2009 – and is now horrified to see that they may have set in motion a force possibly too powerful to halt when its time has ended. The story of the behind-the-scenes struggle to squelch Palin – and her ferocious determination not to be squelched – will be the big GOP-side story of the coming year.
It reminds us of a line from Hilaire Belloc’s biography of Cardinal Richelieu: “Once [Gustavus Adolphus] took the field, Richelieu found that he had called up the devil, and that the devil was too much for him.”
Hubbard posted this at 4:38 PM CDT on Monday, November 22nd, 2010 as The Passion of St. Sarah of Wasilla
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Jack Baruth, one of the internet’s more enthralling characters, does the math and determines that for the price of flying he can pay someone to drive him to and from his destination while he does productive work in the backseat, avoids potential airline delays, and does not get his junk touched by someone he doesn’t want touching it.
I particularly like Baruth’s analysis of TSA’s motives:
As far as I can tell, the purpose of the TSA is to address the inconvenient racial and religious aspects of modern terrorism by enraging white, Protestant Americans to the point that one of them blows up an airport, thus eliminating the proven advantage of Israeli-style profiling and returning us to the rainbow wonderland of imaginary political thought.
That sounds more plausible than the reasoning TSA is giving in public.
Apollo posted this at 2:27 PM CDT on Monday, November 22nd, 2010 as Liberty and/or Security
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If you’re a fan of reasonableness and common sense, whatever you do, do not read news stories about the death penalty in America.
The notion that executions might be delayed because the drugs used in the execution are expired is bonkers. The phrase bat-shit crazy also applies. If Camus were to rewrite The Stranger today, he would work in this plot twist to provide additional confusion for the protagonist.
There comes a point in every absurd story where an objectively idiotic event seems perfectly reasonable because of absurd situation created by previous idiotic events. We have long sought to make the death of murders more humane, and in doing so we have abandoned hanging and shooting, both of which, when done properly, are perfectly humane, immediate, and painless ways to kill people.
We then went to the electric chair, which must be regarded as the most cockamamie method of execution ever fcontemplated, and one that is flukish enough that, even when properly used, has a significant chance of causing lengthy and agonizing pain (warning: slightly gruesome pictures of Tiny Davis). Then someone thought that a more humane way to kill a man was to strap him to a chair and fill the room with cyanide gas and advise him to breath deeply so as to speed up the process.
Now, in an advancement for humanism, we kill our murderers in much the same way that we put our cancerous dogs out of their misery. This has resulted, more times than anyone cares to think about, in prison guards fumbling around with a needle to find a vein, the occasional “blowout” (where the needle pops out and poisonous drugs spray around the room), and condemned inmates gasping for breath and apparently being in excruciating pain because – *shock and amazement* – drugs don’t work the same on everyone.
Finally, we’re at the point where we’re having problems procuring a particular drug and our current stockpile is expiring. Of all the possible ways of killing a man, our legally sanctioned method of execution is one that can be foiled by hardened arteries or the expiration of ingredients. It’s taken quite a bit of work, but I think, at long last, we’ve reached a marginally more absurd situation than the electric chairs of a century ago.
Apollo posted this at 1:48 PM CDT on Saturday, November 20th, 2010 as Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be!, The Law Is An Ass--An Idiot
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This article, from some New York-based publication, is sheer enjoyment from start to finish.
Turns out, lots of Congresscritters who lost feel bad about it, and some are confused about why they lost. But if you’re concerned that the Democrats are going to learn any lessons from defeat, or even believe that they did something wrong, you can rest at ease.
Denial and bargaining are behind them, and some members who lost seem to have arrived at a shaky acceptance, shaped by their sense that the election was not about them.
I’m glad that they’ve stopped denying that “the election was not about them.” If there’s one thing that truly shows they’re moving along in the grief process, it’s the shifting of blame away from themselves.
“I don’t think the election had very much to do with me, and I don’t think it had much to do with my opponent,” said Representative Rick Boucher, a Democrat who had served Virginia’s Ninth Congressional District since 1983. “That frustration and anger and desire to send a message transcended the knowledge my constituents had of my work in the district.”
Yes, Democrats, your stupid constituents are to blame for this. Your ignorant, stupid constituents. I think lots of the remaining Democrats need to start pre-explaining their 2012 losses by calling their constituents ignorant before the election, rather than waiting until afterward when it just looks like rationalization.
Mr. Oberstar, who was tossed out with several state legislators from his area, said he was no match for the “upfeed” from the powerful Republican ground game that moved against him. “I expected to leave at some point, that I’d make that decision in due course,” he said. “I’m not angry; I’m disappointed.”
Is there any greater demonstration of our governing class’s sense of entitlement than for a Congresscritter, who faces an election every two years, to presume that he controls how long he’ll stay in Congress?
But my favorite comes from Mike Castle. Now if you’ll jump in the Wayback Machine with me, we’ll revisit 2006 and 2008. After (and even before) those elections, Republicans actually mouthed words that purported to show they had learned a lesson. Phrases like, “We’ve come unmoored from our principles,” or “We were elected to change Washington, but Washington changed us” were rampant, even from elected Republicans who stayed in office. There was a palpable sense from the party that understood they had done something wrong.
In hindsight, there are not many who better represents what Republicans did wrong than Mike Castle. His one saving grace (morally speaking) is that he never had any of the conservative principles that others in the party lost. But he was the sort of big-spending, bring-home-the-bacon Republican who we were blaming for our losses over the last two elections.
He ponders daily, he said, which is preferable: to falter in a tight race with a Democratic opponent, or to have lost in the primary, as he did, to the inexperienced Tea Party candidate who never had a shot in the general election.
“My wife argues it’s almost better to lose the way we did because it all seems so irrational,” he said. “But you lose, you lose. I wish I could say one way was fun. They’re both pretty bad.”
Can you think of a better example of someone just refusing to accept any personal responsibility? He lost to an “inexperienced . . . candidated who never had a shot in the general election,” and there’s absolutely no indication here that he thinks he had anything to do with the loss. O’Donnell’s inexperience and unelectability are here used to show how irrational the voters were, not to show how badly Castle failed.
It just up and happened. Had nothing to do with him not adequately representing Delaware Republicans, had nothing to do with him being a petty jackass (as proved by his refusal to campaign for O’Donnell), had nothing to do with him being part of our big spending problem.
Nope, it’s just “irrational.” Can’t understand it. Elections are as unpredictable as roulette wheels, and his number finally came up.
Good riddance. If I had to attribute our current problems to a single cause, it would be a lack of individual responsibility. Elected officials refuse to accept it, and voters refuse to force them to accept it. Show me a defeated Congressman who says “I lost because I failed to do my job properly,” and I’ll be sympathetic to that guy. As for the no talent ass-clowns quoted in this story, I hope they keep shedding those yummy, yummy tears.
P.S. Arlen Specter is going to be replaced by Pat Toomey. Not since Lincoln replaced Buchanan has a newly elected official been such a dramatic improvement over his predecessor.
Apollo posted this at 11:04 AM CDT on Saturday, November 20th, 2010 as Buffoon Watch, Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be!, Politics, Running with the antelope, The Democratic Congress
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If you’re a typical reader of this website, then you’re probably pretty ticked off about all the speeding tickets you get in your Lamborghini. Fortunately, though, readership has its privileges: I’ve got a solution! Move to Australia, where your judge will be a Top Gear fan who make will make fun of the police officer’s crappy car and fine the police for having the impunity to ticket you in the first place.
Apollo posted this at 11:29 PM CDT on Thursday, November 18th, 2010 as Those Wacky Foreigners
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“If you want to know the law and nothing else, you must look at it as a bad man, who cares only for the material consequences which such knowledge enables him to predict, not as a good one, who finds his reasons for conduct, whether inside the law or outside of it, in the vaguer sanctions of conscience.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
We here at Federalist Paupers are nothing if not ecumenical, and we have a guest post by President Barack Obama a senior White House Official who spoke on deep background, off the record, yadda yadda yadda. Some of his thoughts about potential 2012 Republican nominees:
Mississippi governor Haley Barbour Please nominate this man. I The President would make this a campaign between a black man from the Land of Lincoln against the lawyer-lobbyist from the Land of Jefferson Davis.
South Dakota Senator John Thune He did a statesman like thing, voting with me then-Senator Obama on S.R. 213 in the 110th Congress: that is, voting for the $700 billion bailout. Watch the Tea Partiers sit out an election, and we can do it while praising his record. For that matter, just about any Senator or Congressman would be fun for us to run against. They’ve got lots of votes on issues and pork to defend.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney He’s one of a handful of people in American politics who makes me the President look genuine. Plus we can thank him for providing inspiration in our health care bill; remember Romneycare preceded Obamacare. We’re sure the tea partiers will love that, almost as much as they loved him in the 2008 primaries.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin We’re sure we can let Tina Fey do most of the dirty work. Palin gave us a huge gift when she didn’t finish her term of governor, and we can tie every wingnut she’s endorsed around her neck: Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle are gifts that’ll keep on giving. Imagine the ad: O’Donnell says something kooky, cut to Palin praising her. Angle says something nuts, cut to Palin endorsing. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty He may represent a state that has the longest streak of voting for Democrats, but this two term governor never actually won with a majority of the vote. He’s wonkish, though, and might be able to out argue me the president, which good old John McCain never quite did. He could be a threat, but we’re not sweating yet.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels Here’s a potential threat. A governor, balanced the books. Fortunately, he’s a Bush administration alumnus (OMB director). Thankfully, he has the charisma of plain oatmeal.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee He’s from the land of Clinton, where anything’s possible. His social conservative bona fides are impeccable, but will the tea partiers make peace with him? If they unite, this man has the charisma to be dangerous.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal The man wrote an article defending exorcisms. It’s almost a shame that Christine O’Donnell lost: the Jindal-O’Connell ticket would balance an exorcist with a (former) witch.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich The man is a human pinata: we can bash him from almost any angle and good stuff comes out. He can’t stay on message. Plus it isn’t that hard to get him to say nice things about the Rockefeller Republicans, which will infuriate the Goldwater-lovin’ tea party crowd.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani If he could win the nomination, he’d roll into the presidency. Since he won only one delegate in 2008 after millions spent, we’re not worrying about him.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie This man’s a threat. The tea partiers and the establishment Republicans all love him, plus he’s effective. He’s claimed he ain’t running, but then, I the president did that, too. Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt had both served less than 4 years as governor when they were elected president, so there’s precedent.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell See Chris Christie, but fortunately, McDonnell managed to get himself tangled up in the Confederacy. That won’t hurt him in the south, but it’s poison in much of the midwest.
Presidential Strategy: If the election is about my Barack Obama’s record, Democrats lose, just as George Bush would probably have lost in 2004 had he not been given the gift of a ridiculous candidate. The urban parts of the country are safely Democratic. New England and the Pacific West are safely blue. Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado are places we should be able to hold or pick up—Harry Reid and Michael Bennet give me hope. The midwest is seething right now, so the best thing for us to do is pander to them. Even so, my probable opponents the Republican nominees, whom we hold in the highest esteem, have baggage we can exploit. Yeah, we got the political equivalent of a bloody nose a few weeks ago, but from where we sit, things look reasonably on track for a second term.
Hubbard posted this at 12:33 PM CDT on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 as Humor, I have seen the future. . ., Is It 2012 Yet?
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What does the electorate actually think? AEI crunched the numbers.
Hubbard posted this at 11:54 AM CDT on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 as Nerdom, Politics
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Following Apollo’s post, the difficulty in protesting airline security is that the cost of resistance is astronomically high. Even putting aside the legal fees*, air travel is expensive, time-sensitive, and emotionally important. Nobody wants to blow $400 and ruin his family’s Thanksgiving just to prove a point, especially when making that point may require Dad to post bail.
Suffice to say, organic civil disobedience is going to be very hard to do. What’s needed here is organized activism. Some organization — or perhaps some unholy alliance of the Reason Foundation and the ACLU — needs to purchase plane tickets for hardy volunteers and supply them with a generous defense fund, enterprising lawyers, and a powerful PR campaign on Youtube.
So, come on liberty-loving organizations: I’ve got $50 to donate to the cause. Any takers?
*And the fact that you were adopted. What? You didn’t know?
Tom posted this at 9:59 AM CDT on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 as Liberty and/or Security
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I think the Haitians are trying to tell the world, in no uncertain terms, that it is time for us to leave them alone.
Because of Haiti’s heroic beginnings, its failure is particularly tragic. More than two hundred years of independence, and the best they can produce are some mid-quality rum exports and a cholera (!) epidemic. Whatever is wrong with that place is not going to be solved by Nepalese (!) soldiers, or probably any sort of foreign soldiers. Perhaps they can sort out their business without a civil war; perhaps not. But I cannot think of a finer example of the phrase “throwing good money after bad” than the world continuing to give aid to Haiti. We seem to be paying money to extend the Haitians misery, and we should probably stop that.
Apollo posted this at 8:57 AM CDT on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 as Those Wacky Foreigners
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We will win an election when all the seats in the House and Senate and the chair behind the desk in the Oval Office and the whole bench of the Supreme Court are filled with people who wish they weren’t there.
The great P.J. O’Rourke.
Jamie posted this at 12:06 PM CDT on Monday, November 15th, 2010 as Age and Guile and P.J. O'Rourke
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This gentleman is on the right track. TSA has gone off the rails in terms of the invasiveness and stupidity of its procedures, and if being noncooperative jerks and refusing to fly is the only way we can fight it, then we need to be noncooperative jerks and refuse to fly.
I was once on the team that wrote the training manuals for airport screeners (both baggage and passenger checkpoint). If my experience and knowledge is still accurate (and I’ve seen nothing to persuade me that there’s been a change at TSA), these new screening techniques are little more than a combination of petty bureaucrats on a power trip and political appointees attempting to create the appearance of security in lieu of actual security. I’m not an expert, just someone familiar with TSA’s SOP.
Conservatives often say that “freedom isn’t free,” in the context of honoring our veterans. But I think the phrase has much broader implications. Being a free people means that there’s a level of risk we must put up with on a daily basis that peons in totalitarian regimes might not be subjected to. We might get killed by a man who legally bought a gun, run over by a driver who legally bought alcohol, or blown out of the sky by terrorists who weren’t strip-searched before getting onto the plane.
Giving others the freedom to endanger us is the price each of us pays for our own freedom. Freedom isn’t free. We shouldn’t ban guns, we shouldn’t ban booze, and being sexually violated (either by being viewed in the buff or having one’s crotch groped) should not be a prerequisite for flying. Free people should avoid flying until the situation changes.
Apollo posted this at 3:32 PM CDT on Sunday, November 14th, 2010 as Amer-I-Can!, Liberty and/or Security
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I’m glad that reporters spent so much of 2008 analyzing the big questions, like whether Sarah Palin was literate, rather than wasting their time rehashing uninteresting stories like how Our Most Philosophical President Ever came to be an author:
The story of Obama’s writing career is an object lesson in how our president’s view of himself shapes his interactions with the world around him. In 1990, Obama was wrapping up his second year at Harvard Law when the New York Times ran a profile of him on the occasion of his becoming the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review. A book agent in New York named Jane Dystel read the story and called up the young man, asking if he’d be interested in writing a book. Like any 29-year-old, he wasn’t about to turn down money. He promptly accepted a deal with Simon & Schuster’s Poseidon imprint—reportedly in the low six-figures—to write a book about race relations.
Obama missed his deadline. No matter. His agent quickly secured him another contract, this time with Times Books. And a $40,000 advance. Not bad for an unknown author who had already blown one deal, writing about a noncommercial subject.
By this point Obama had left law school, and academia was courting him. The University of Chicago Law School approached him; although they didn’t have any specific needs, they wanted to be in the Barack Obama business. As Douglas Baird, the head of Chicago’s appointments committee, would later explain, “You look at his background—Harvard Law Review president, magna cum laude, and he’s African American. This is a no-brainer hiring decision at the entry level of any law school in the country.” Chicago invited Obama to come in and teach just about anything he wanted. But Obama wasn’t interested in a professor’s life. Instead, he told them that he was writing a book—about voting rights. The university made him a fellow, giving him an office and a paycheck to keep him going while he worked on this important project.
In case you’re keeping score at home, there was some confusion as to what book young Obama was writing. His publisher thought he was writing about race relations. His employer thought he was writing about voting rights law. But Obama seems to have never seriously considered either subject. Instead, he decided that his subject would be himself. The 32-year-old was writing a memoir.
I don’t think there’s anything prescient in that story at all.
Apollo posted this at 11:50 AM CDT on Sunday, November 14th, 2010 as Journalism
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