Sunday, March 30, 2008

Baseball tomorrow!

But the real story is, improbably,Hillary.

The responses to the claims of her proxies--you know, the complaints about the drug-dealing, Hussein-named, maybe-Muslim, hateful-preacher worshipping, slumlord-befriending Obama--have been carried forth by the press.

As, strangely enough, have been the efforts of mainstream pressers to debunk every one of Hillary's whoppers.

I remember hearing of Hillary's claim of being named for Sir Edmund Hillary. I also remember, over a decade ago, Rush Limbaugh and The National Review pointing out, almost with a sense of weariness, that Hillary Clinton was born a half-dozen years before the meaningful Hillary ascended Everest. Rush, especially, repeated the anomaly 20 times or so, and then lost interest.

But now . . . now that Hillary has the audacity of hoping to defeat a black man . . . and a liberal to boot . . .

Friday, March 28, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

And if it weren't for global warming, imagine how cold it would be

Take a look at this.

On the second day of spring, no less.

It appears the lifestyle botherers changed their mantra from "global warming" to "climate change" just in time--just in time to keep nagging us about eliminating of Edison's incandescent bulbs (only one of the twenty greatest inventions in the history of the world; the others, if you care, are the wheel, paper, the printing press, the still camera, the clock, the voice recorder, the telephone, the wireless, the movie camera, the internal combustion engine, the airplane, the television, the computer, Sputnik, Apollo 11, the microchip, the internet, and the cellular phone) just as Al Gore flies off in another private jet or returns to one of his four, going-full-blast mansions.

To put it one way: I'll believe it's a crisis when the people who tell me it's a crisis start behaving like it's a crisis.

To put it a second way: what I look forward to is twenty years from now, when the truly intellectually honest people awake as if from a slumber as if to ask, "What the hell were we thinking?"

To put it a third way: What is truly hilarious is how the leaders (you know, movie stars) pick up panics, then discard them as if they were last year's dresses hung limply on racks in Filene's basement. Question: when was the last mention of AIDS during an Oscars broadcast? Five years ago? Ten? Fifteen? The last one I remember was those nags, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, in 1993, and that was in an attempt to co-op the AIDS ribbon to the Haiti matter. Nowadays President Chimpy Bushitlerburton pours billions of American dollars into the cause at the locus of the problem (that would be Africa, not heterosexual America, regardless of the headlines you read in 1987), and to no approbation whatsoever. George W. Bush (who, yes, had the power to marshall the full force of the exectuive branch of the US government) has done more than any person on the planet to combat both African AIDS and African poverty--so says Bob Geldof, pretty much the last popular singer not named Bono who even sniffs in the direction of that dysfunctional continent. One would think Geldof would have the proper ethos to speak about President Bush. One would.

But. But how many high-profile celebrities nowadays invest their prestige in anything African? Brad Pitt, at the edges? George Clooney, decrying genocide in Darfur, but blind to the reality that an end to said genocide would come at the cost of an American-led invasion and occupation?

Okay, got off topic. My point is this: Five years from now, "global warming" will have the same cache as AIDS in Haiti does now. Ten years, starvation in Ethiopia.

The difference? AIDS in Haiti, starvation in Ethiopia, these things are real.

Man0made global warming, with human-activity solutions, is a fraud.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Last Words

Tomorrow Astro-Girl and I depart on our semi-annual mini-tour of the Gulf Coast: first, east to the tables in Lake Charles, Louisiana. From there, back west to Winnie, Texas, then south to High Island, a drive east along the gulf shore, then a ride on the ferry to Galveston. In Galveston, we'll crash in the lap of luxury at the Hotel Galvez, and supplement out succor with by a pig-out at Gaddo's and a tour of the Titanic remnants at Moody Gardens.

Okay, that last part is me. Geek that I am. (Q: Who was the man who, in real life, turned the lifeboat around and rescued Kate Winslet? A: Fifth-mate Lightoller. One caveat: Lightoller actually existed; Kate Winslet never did.) All is prelude to my leaving town right when all the fun starts. To wit:

1. The New York Yankees. So much fun has been the political season that I've disregarded the Yankee prospects this season, much to my regret. Blue, one of my most loyal readers (he knows what's wrong with every one of my postings) wondered a few weeks ago: Hillary? Obama? What about baseball? A fair point. My answer: In time.

It's scary, who thinks himself a sportswriter. Someone (I forget whom) recently wrote close to the following: in 1996 the Yankees let Spike Owen go to make room for Derek Jeter. And his reaction back then was the same as mine: Great, but who the hell is Derek Jeter? Twelve seasons, and one first-ballot Hall-of-Fame career later, now we know. Compare that to the Yankee pitching triumvriate of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Joba Chamberlain--whom everyone seems to have an opinion of. The Yanks missed out on the statistically best pitcher in the majors over the past four years, in order to keep together the Big 3. Thank the internet. Will it work out? We'll see.

2. This Friday: the opening of Horton Hears a Who, a film co-written by my pal o' my heart Cinco Paul. Don't look for Cinco to get any love, but I'm thinking that many of the asides, many of the I-know-you're-a-parent-but-isn't-this-funny stuff will be traceable to him.

Is what I'm thinking. Horton. Check it out.

And until the weekend, I bid your farewell.

And one other thing

As for the hookers:

Did I hear those figures correctly?

Forty-three hundred bucks a night?

Fifty-five hundred bucks a night?

I mean, let's take the lower number.

Last year, in the midst of an English conference in Midtown Manhattan, I treated Astro-Girl to the splurge of a lifetime at the Capital Grille on 44th.

Cocktails, wine, appetizers, salads, steaks, some flaming-ass dessert with coffee, a nice digestif. It helped we had massive points to draw off, but the tab proper--tax, tip, and all--was less than $350.00.

Which raises the question.

Take the lower figure. Forty-three hundred And . . . ah . . .

Okay, look. If you have the itch that bad, why not, um, you know, kind of, you know, take care of things . . . and then take your best friend out for a three-hundred-dollar steak dinner? Wouldn't you fall asleep happy in the knowledge that you just saved four thousand dollars?

Spitzer Update

1. No resignation after all--not today, anyway. Wait for a couple two days; once the overnights come in, what you'll be hearing is Spitzer saying either a) "I am a John-American, and must resign to heal the hurt I have caused to my loved ones"; or b) "Regardless of what I have done, I owe a debt to the people of New York that is too large to step away from the awesome responsibility I have and the work that must be done."

I he has channeled his pals the Clintons properly, he'll choose Door B.

2. Bush! As reported, several links away, in The Corner, one of the Kossaks is already blaming W. See, it was his wiretapping that brought about the . . . oh, never mind.

Astro-Girl was intrigued: "How can President Bush be at fault?"

Me: "Easy. Spitzer slipped on a bar of soap. He landed on his back. Then President Bush shoved the hooker onto his penis."

Astro-Girl: "Huh. Bush Push, indeed."

NY Governor Spitzer caught in prostitution ring, will resign

Only leaving one question (with apologies to Best of the Web):

Exactly what political party does Eliot Spitzer belong to?

Hmm. Well, the New York Times story mentions it--as an aside, in paragraph nine.

The Huffpost quotes extensively from the Times story, but crops out
any reference at all.

Give up?

Hillary Watch IV

Reading a lot of essays like This one lately:

She has no idea how many times I defended her. How many right-leaning friends and relatives I battled with. How many times I played down her shady business deals and penchant for scandals -- whether it was Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, Cattle Futures, Web Hubbell, or Norman Hsu. She has no idea how frequently I dismissed her husband's serial adultery as an unfortunate trait of an otherwise brilliant man. For sixteen years, I was a proud soldier in the legion of "Clinton apologists" -- who believed that peace and prosperity were more important than regrettable personality traits.

And then she ran for president.


She accused Mr. Obama of his own shady business deals (the irony of which nearly ripped a hole in the fabric of space/time). She accused him of being two-faced on NAFTA, when it was her campaign that had winked at the Canadians. She demanded that he "reject" the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan, but remained silent when Rush Limbaugh stirred up votes for her in Texas. And she crafted the now-infamous "3am" attack ad -- which used scare tactics to highlight Senator Obama's perceived lack of experience in foreign affairs. Straight out of the ol' Atwater/Rove playbook. Of course, all of this paled in comparison to her husband's patronizing, racially insensitive comments earlier in the primary season.

Was this the same Hillary Clinton whose husband ran on the idea that hope was more powerful than fear? The wife of a president who had less foreign policy experience than Barack Obama when he was elected? And exactly which crisis is she referring to when she claims to have more experience? And while we're at it, where the hell are those tax returns?

It's clear that Hillary's back in this thing, at least for the time being. But at what cost? Short of some cataclysmic event, there's no way either she or Mr. Obama can reach 2,025 delegates in the remaining contests. That means she's accepted the inevitability of a brokered convention. A convention she'll almost certainly enter with fewer delegates than her opponent. That raises some important questions:

Will she subvert the will of the voters? Will she turn Denver into a series of shady back-room deals and arm twisting? Will she dispatch her husband to pressure superdelegates into switching allegiances at the last minute? Are we in for, as one pundit put it, a good ol' fashioned "knife fight?"

For these answers and more, tune in next week, when we'll hear the Clintons claim once again that, Oh, of course it's an honor to run against the inexperienced, Muslim, drug-dealing, Farrakhan-embracing, NAFTA-fibbing, shady land-deal-profiting Barack Hussein Obama.

Which only leaves us with one additional question.

When does the statute of limitations run out on describing the Clintons' tactics as from the Atwater/Rove playbook?

The Democratic convention is in six months. To give you a sense of how long that is, consider that it was six months ago that Fred Thompson announced for the presidency.

Would six more months of all of the above convince at least the Apologists Emeriti that these Clinton tactics are theirs, always and forever, that their behavior can no longer be blamed on nor traced to Ken Starr or Newt or Rove or Atwater, any more than the exhaust from my new Ford Edge causes floodwaters in Bali-Bali?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Hillary: How Low?

The invaluable Irish Trojan spots this from New Republic's Jonathan Chait. Chait, an unreconstructed Democrat (hence Clintonite), writes:

All politicians, including Obama, spin. But the way the Clinton campaign says night is day is just especially audacious. ... I think Obama and his staff say things they at least believe to be essentially true. Working for Clinton has to be a soul-deadening experience.

The Irish Trojan (aka Brendan Loy) continues:

Chait is echoing Josh Marshall, who wrote last month that "good spin is clever and forward-leaning pitches of actual realities, facts. ... But this Clinton campaign has been doing it in a weird parody mode. Not sharp 'spins' on favorable realities, but aggressive pitches of complete nonsense."

On the basis of what I read, I wrote the following on his comments page:

Message from Republicans to Jonathan Chait:

So now you know. Only took 18 years, smart guy.

Then I went back, to Chait's entire entry, and wrote the following:

On second thought, Brendan, I went to the link and think you ellipsied out the sentence where Chait once again resumes the role of Clinton enabler:

"It's as if they have internalized the attacks they suffered in the 1990s to such a degree that they believe to their core that the only way to win is to imitate their worst tormentors."

Newt made 'em do it! Ken Starr made 'em do it!

And understand the Chait's implication here: that the current black-is-white (or, in the case of Obama, black-is-blacker) behavior of Mr. and Mrs. Snope from Hope is somehow new.

Chait's sub thesis: Oh, they were NEVER like this when I loved them.

The GOP's best chance this fall is a Dem train wreck. That may not be enough, especially if Obama makes inroads in the South. (Without the Confederacy's 160 electoral votes, McCain is sunk.) But the Dems have been known to affect such a wreck.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Clinton romps in OH, wins in TX


Astro-Girl and I go out to the caucus, and come home to a world on fire.

Okay, not really.

But the next few months, watching the Dems, are going to be fun.

But for now, some news:

We're Republican delegates. To the Senate county convention, anyway.

It happened like this.

Our precinct is allowed 21 delegates to our county convention. On the way to our caucus, I specfically cut north two blocks out of our way, to Westheimer Boulevard, in order to pass between two Democatic Cauci.

As I wrote below, Astro-Girl and I live near the seam of two Houston neighborhoods, with us in Upper Kirby, which is south of River Oaks, the home of our city's millionaires and billionaires: oil CEOs, old-monied barons and world-famous heart surgeons. (One burning-hot summer Sunday afternoon, while jogging up an otherwise abandoned River Oaks Boulevard, the half-mile strip of mansions between Lamar High School and the River Oaks Country Club, I happened upon a man out by himself for a solitary Sunday stroll, who smiled and said hello as our paths crossed. Ken Lay.) Running from Weslayan east to Kirby Boulevard, Westheimer Boulevard is the dividing line between the two neighborhoods--and, at opposite sides of Westheimer and River Oaks, facing across the street from one another, sat the two Dem caucus sites. The River Oaks precinct was St. John's Church, on the northwest side of the intersection; Upper Kirby was in Lamar High School, on the south side, and as we passed on Westheimer between the two precincts, I marveled at the traffic, at the spilling-over parking lots and the long, long lines to enter, as if for (on the one hand) Midnight Mass and (on the other) a high school basketball playoff game.

We drove down to the GOP Upper Kirby Caucus, which was held in a boardroom that served as a kind of storefront. This had been the same room in which Astro-Girl and I had voted five hours earlier; I had assumed that, come the evening, the voting machines would be carried out to make room for caucusing GOPers.

As it turned out, the space was unneeded. The voting machines stayed where they were, and circular folding tables were rolled into the waiting area.

At our table, in three concentric circles, there were 19 of us, many of whom had presumably decided that lungs were a measure of intelligence. Two guys kept going on and on about how the IRS needed to be abolished. Two others kept going on about how they hated McCain. The loudest was the large girl* who went on and on about how Huckabee could still pull off the nomination; she kept drawing designs on a pad of paper and explaining what she referred to as "The Scenario": a loss here, an endorsement there, and bang, a brokered convention.

The precinct captain counted us off, then announced that there were 21 slots for county delegates. He then said, "Umm, does anyone not want to be a delegate?"

Three hands went up, neither of which were Astro-Girl's or mine.

And that's how I became a delegate.

(*Changed from "fat chick")

Obama wins RI; TX, OH down to the wire

Voted today; soon (in Texas's crazy-quilt primary/caucus system) it's back to the precinct.

Over at the Irish Trojan, Brendan Loy solicited predictions. I offered the following:

Clinton narrowly wins Texas (primary only), wins Ohio by 7.

I added:

Oh: My precinct in Houston is Upper Kirby, a kind of yuppie middle-class professional/just-out-of-med-school/just starting in law area south of posh River Oaks.

The area set aside for the Dem Caucus is the local Lamar High School, either in the gym or the expansive adjacent lobby.

The GOP? An office boardroom.

Poster 4-7 rejoined:

I guess that's appropriate. The GOP is where you go to get business done, the Dem. party is where you go for childish games that lead nowhere if you don't eventually grow up.



Primary/Caucus Day in Texas

And the only suspense left--let's face it--is, How far will the Clintons go?

Never mind today. Come the day after Pennsylvania, will the Clintons lead in pledged delegates? No.

Will they lead in pledged-plus-super? No.

Will they (absent Michigan and Florida, a phrase that nearly puts me to sleep to type) be within 150 delegates of Obama, total? Not so much.

So: What will they do?

Two options. Cut losses, retrench, and position Hillary as, say, Majority Leader as soon as pipsqueak Reid can be disposed of.

Then Hillary can call for for cloture the next 20 years.

Or else? Napalm.

You gotta believe the press is craving the latter. Right now, there is a general consensus of Hillary-as-drag, as someone embarrassing herself by not knowing when to exit.

But if she goes, what then? Obama v. McCain? If the past twenty years (Dukakis v. Bush 41) tell us anything, general election polls don't mean a damn until they stabilize after the second convention. The GOP is due up in September.

So: Absent the Clinton slash-and-burn strategy, the Washington press is stuck waiting around for six months--waiting for Obama or McCain to say f&^* or get shot.

So, again: what will the Clintons do?

Orwell used to say that understanding the Soviet Union required imagination more than intellect.

Not that the Clintons are the Politburo.

But you get the idea.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Amy Poehler as Hillary

Hilary was on SNL last night. She bombed. (To be fair, so did Rudy in his cameo.)

Much better was Amy Poehler as Hillary in their debate:

Poehler-as-Hillary said, taking on the special interests required someone like Mrs. Clinton:

''Someone so annoying, so pushy, so grating, so bossy and shrill, with a personality so unpleasant, that at the end of the day the special interests will have to go, 'Enough! We give up! Life is too short to deal with this awful woman! Just give her what she wants and she’ll shut up!' And I think the American people will agree, that someone is me.''

Clinton in the Vortex

Juan Williams, on Fox This Morning, guessed that Hillary would get out if she did not sweep Texas and Ohio.

What was significant, however, was not his words but something else:

The pleading in his eyes.

As in: please please please, Hillary, don't give McCain the gift of a divided party.

This entire election year seems designed as a gift to the Dems.

Three to four Senate pick-ups, very close to a filibuster-proof majority, once the Olympia Snowes of the world are factored in.

No worse than a push in the House, and probably 10 pick-ups, with over 24 GOP retirees.

And, as if anyone noticed, Obama-mania is sweeping the nation.

All that is left is for Hillary to step aside.

But will it work out that way?

The text wil be this Tuesday, and whether the Clintons will step forward with a legal challenge to Texas's (admittedly) byzantine primary/caucus system, a procedure so complicated it was best ignored for years, until suddenly Texas mattered.

Astro-Girl and I will be caucusing for McCain Tuesday night, so we'll probably miss the fun.

Meanwhile, this, in the New York Observer.

Gloria Steinam joins Mark Penn, Bill Shaheen, Howard Wolfson, Bob Kerrey and Bill Clinton in Hillary's "For God's Sake, Stop Helping Me" Hall of Fame.

“Suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and Joan McCain had got captured, shot down and been a POW for eight years. [The media would ask], ‘What did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years?’” Steinem said, to laughter from the audience.

McCain was, in fact, a prisoner of war for around five-and-a-half years, during which time he was tortured repeatedly. Referring to his time in captivity, Steinem said with bewilderment, “I mean, hello? This is supposed to be a qualification to be president? I don’t think so.”

The Clintons do what they can to cover up:

UPDATE: The Clinton campaign sends over the following statement from Howard Wolfson: "Senator Clinton has repeatedly praised Senator McCain's courage and service to our country. These comments certainly do not represent her thinking in any way. Senator Clinton intends to have a respectful debate with Senator McCain on the issues."

In her dreams, presumably.