Monday, April 14, 2008

Where Have All the Liberals Gone?

These days Democrats are not sounding very liberal. Classic liberals, after all, would support free markets, internationalism and the universal desire for constitutional government, while downplaying racial affinity. But the following examples highlight how far from these ideals today's liberals are.

Top Ten Signs the Airline you're Flying may be going Out of Business.

10. They hedged their fuel by buying $500 in Sam's Club Fuel Cards

9. The new sign in the terminal reads "BYOB" Bring Your Own Blankets

8. The Flight Attendant asks if she can borrow your iPod touch to plug in to the video unit so they can have an in flight movie

7. You look into the cockpit and noticed that the pilots are those blow up dummies from the movie "Airplane"

6. There are Google Ads running on the back of all the seats

5. Last 5 People Off the Plane Have to Clean Up

4. In order to pay for extra fuel the dreaded "$1 for every pound you're over 200 pounds" tax has been added to all tickets

3. All flights now will offer in air casinos

2. The stock's price on the screen says "Close to Zero"

1. Good drinks. Bad News......$5 toilets

Braves OF Tommy Holmes dies at 91.

Sad of course, but it does explain some of the problems they've had in the field lately.

McCain's Electoral College Math.

The Electoral math looks this way: if Florida and Ohio are safe for McCain, and Virginia and Missouri are too, as they now all appear to be, then McCain has a base of 260 Electoral College votes of the 270 he needs to win. He would need to only win10 from among the states Bush won last time that are in play this year: Colorado (currently tied), New Mexico (3 point Obama lead), Iowa (4 point Obama lead) and Nevada (4 point Obama lead), and several tempting blue states in which McCain is currently competitive: Michigan (18), Pennsylvania (21), New Jersey (15) Wisconsin (10), Minnesota (10), Oregon (7), and New Hampshire (4), among them.

McCain currently is narrowly ahead of Obama in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Michigan, and behind in the others. A Marist survey last week shocked many by showing McCain ahead of Obama by 2% in New York State (an 18% Kerry win in 2004). If McCain is within 10% of winning in New York in November, he will not need the state to win the election, for he likely will have won most or all of the blue states on his target list above.

The first photograph, 1826.

View from the Window at Le Gras, was the world's first photograph. It was created by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826, Saint-Loup-de-Varennes. His film was oil-treated bitumen and it required an 8-hour exposure. Because of the long exposure the buildings show sunlight coming from the right and the left.

So true.

Proudly stolen from Theo.

Hurricane Expert Reassesses Link to Warming.

Remember how Al Gore told us global warming was going to cause a massive increase in the frequency and power of hurricanes?

The Arab Spring?

The Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, elections in Egypt, reform in Turkey — the democratic promises of 2005 did not fail to materialize. They just took three years to arrive.

Two Americas on taxes.

There are indeed “Two Americas,” but the two aren’t the rich and poor, but taxpayers and tax consumers. It’s going to get even tougher for the taxpayers in the near future, thanks to legislation being readied by Democrats who control Congress.

The Mask Slips.

Obama ascribes their anti-trade sentiment to economic frustration — as if there are no respectable arguments against more free-trade agreements. This is particularly cynical, since he himself has been making those arguments, exploiting and fanning this sentiment that he decries. Aren’t we then entitled to assume Obama’s opposition to Nafta and the Colombian trade pact is merely cynical pandering to frustrated Americans?

Then there’s what Obama calls “anti-immigrant sentiment.” Has Obama done anything to address it? It was John McCain, not Obama, who took political risks to try to resolve the issue of illegal immigration by putting his weight behind an attempt at immigration reform.

Furthermore, some concerns about unchecked and unmonitored illegal immigration are surely legitimate. Obama voted in 2006 (to take just one example) for the Secure Fence Act, which was intended to control the Mexican border through various means, including hundreds of miles of border fence. Was Obama then just accommodating bigotry?

The 6 Cutest Animals That Can Still Destroy You.

Warning: Language.

From Bromsgrove to Trinity.

England's greatest living historian Paul Johnson, on The Letters of A. E. Housman.

12 Myths of 21st Century War.

Two trends over the past four decades contributed to our national ignorance of the cost, and necessity, of victory. First, the most privileged Americans used the Vietnam War as an excuse to break their tradition of uniformed service. Ivy League universities once produced heroes. Now they resist Reserve Officer Training Corps representation on their campuses.

Yet, our leading universities still produce a disproportionate number of U.S. political leaders. The men and women destined to lead us in wartime dismiss military service as a waste of their time and talents. Delighted to pose for campaign photos with our troops, elected officials in private disdain the military. Only one serious presidential aspirant in either party is a veteran, while another presidential hopeful pays as much for a single haircut as I took home in a month as an Army private.

Second, we’ve stripped in-depth U.S. history classes out of our schools. Since the 1960s, one history course after another has been cut, while the content of those remaining focuses on social issues and our alleged misdeeds. Dumbed-down textbooks minimize the wars that kept us free. As a result, ignorance of the terrible price our troops had to pay for freedom in the past creates absurd expectations about our present conflicts. When the media offer flawed or biased analyses, the public lacks the knowledge to make informed judgments.

Heroism, Modernism, and the Utopian Impulse.

Writing in the Washington Post about the dedication of the new Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, D.C., Philip Kennicott suggested that there is encoded in it the subtextual and “contentious” claim that “the left failed to adequately oppose communism.” As the memorial consists of a statue based on the replica of the Statue of Liberty carried by the students of Tiananmen Square in 1989, while the inscription on the plinth doesn’t mention “the left” at all but only says “to the more than one hundred million victims of communism and to those who love liberty,” you might almost think that somebody on the left had a sore conscience.

It is hard to see, moreover, what would have been “contentious” about the claim—if it had been made—that, so far from opposing communism “adequately,” many on the American left hardly opposed it at all. Many others were unashamed apologists for the regimes that murdered the (estimated) 100 million people now being memorialized. Much of the left was—and remains—“anti-anti-communist.” This is what accounts for what Ferdinand Mount calls the “asymmetry of indulgence” afforded communistic and fascistic state-sponsored murders.

Immigration is new affirmative action.

The comparison between affirmative action/racial preferences and immigration shows similar challenges for presidential candidates, especially Democrats. In both cases, key portions of the Democratic base — blacks on affirmative action and Hispanics on immigration — feel strongly about the issue and contrary to the general public.

In addition, once the political discussion moves from the general concept to specific ways of implementing it, the politics get messy.

With affirmative action/racial preferences, when the debate turned to specific programs that gave minorities an edge, the issue began to hurt those — mostly Democrats — who supported them.

Please ignore our other... um... crashed airliner.

On August 22, 1999, Mandarin Airlines Flight 642 from Bangkok to Hong Kong crashed upon landing. The plane, an MD-11, encountered a 24-knot crosswind coincident with Typhoon Sam and came down too hard on its right side, causing the No. 3 engine to hit the runway and the right wing to separate from the fuselage. The MD-11 rolled over and slid off the runway upside down, bursting into flame and grinding to a halt on a grassy area adjacent to the runway, and stayed there for a couple of days, so all passengers from arriving flights came to see it.

I take a World According to Garp view of this sort of thing. I mean really what are the odds that your plane will crash too...

An important public service announcement.

...and the tragedy is that it's 100% preventable.

A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request.

The immortal Steve Goodman.

This was Steve's last public performance. He was dying of the leukemia which he had battled on and off since his early 20's. Less than two weeks after he died at age 36, the Cubs won their first playoff game since 1945. Ultimately they lost the series (curse you Steve Garvey). Rest in Peace Steve.

Update: As Clay Eals points out in the comments, this not Steve's last performance. In any case, the song is more than a little melancholy given Goodman's impending death.


In honor of the new baseball season.

McCain Girl Update

With over 1,500,000 views on Youtube The McCain Girls have gone viral. Whether they love or hate them, everyone is talking about them. They have now made it onto major news networks and in the newspapers.

Just who are The McCain Girls?

snipped from the New York Times:

Drum roll, please: The creators of the McCain Girls turn out to be the comedy team behind 23/6, a five-month-old Web site owned by an affiliate of IAC/InterActiveCorp that parodies the news. The site, at, uses the motto “Some of the news, most of the time.”

Indeed, the videos’ makers say they were trying to tread the line between sincerity and irony.

“We wanted to parody the campaign-song phenomenon,” said Sarah Bernard, the president of 23/6. Because most of the so-called stars of YouTube are amateurs, the comedy site decided to take no credit for its creation.

Jon Benjamin, a contributor to 23/6 who produced the “Raining McCain” video, had watched some of the more earnest campaign songs online. Recalling one particular video, an elaborate choir production called “Hillary4U&Me,” “it just looked like somebody paid them money to do it,” he said.

So that’s what 23/6 decided to do: hire three women with acting and singing backgrounds to create a video for Mr. McCain.

article in full
h/t Happyacres


McCain weighs in too:

Distorted Beauty

Judge Bob over at the Judge Right blog has an excellent post up about "true beauty". I wish I could communicate as eloquently as he. I have two daughters 16 and 8 and a son age 10. This issue concerns me greatly as they grow up surrounded by mocked up impossible images of beauty. You can see a blatant example of how these distorted images have had a devastating effect on the minds of our youth culture by reading the disrespectful comments posted on Youtube (yes the ones I have been ranting about).

A snip from Judge Bob's post:

The result is that both women and men have unreal expectations of what a woman is in today's society. As the second video presents the devastating market to young girls, pressuring them to measure up to an unrealistic standard, so the pop culture is selling the pornification of our society so that men expect these unrealistic behaviors from women. It creates an environment where women are pressured further to change themselves to fit into a character model that is both self destructive and unfulfillable. The great search for happiness is forever elusive because the expectations drilled into us through these ads can never be met.
read the rest here

Indy Jane Vlogs: The McCain Girls

In an earlier post I ranted about the hateful comments directed at the McCain Girls. Rather than critique them on just the quality of their video it has turned into an all out virulent attack on them personally and their physical appearance. It was so disturbing to me that I posted a ranting and rambling vlog response on Youtube. Amazingly, it has had over 600 views in the first 48 hours.

This first vlog was just an experiment and I really didn't expect it to work as I had no idea what I was doing. I was just really shooting from the hip and with my cellphone. I was stunned when it actually worked.

Before sharing it here I put it up again on a new Youtube account where I may be posting more Indy Jane vlogs in the future. My original Youtube account (that's the one with the most views) is hosting it as well for now but it will be taken down soon, and the account deleted when I get around to transferring my favorites and subscriptions. If you have a Youtube account please friend me at