We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, May 16. 2008
Why socialized medicine is not insurance. RightWing Prof
Dating divorced people. Dr. Helen
McCain having problems raising money
What are the lessons of the W VA primary? Am Thinker
Do African kids need laptops for school? Of course not.
Sad but true: Wildlife populations plummeting (not because of "global warming")
Krauthammer on Israel, a quote:
A quote from Kathleen Parker: Dems offer thrills 'n chills (speculating that Edwards will be VP candidate):
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Edwards palatial estate, faux southern attitude now morphed into a noblesse oblige and his vanity hair will not play with the average white southerner.
He had his day and failed. Unless he's doing butt up's for Obama five times a day a VP spot ain't gonna happen.
And the non main stream media will not allow the public to forget BO's Muslim roots, his profane pastor, his ingrate wife or his cowardice which he has so far masked as "cool"
PC is the fertilizer feeding todays ignorance but will end bearing a deadly fruit. Far from uniting this country, much less the world, B Hussein Obama will become the most divisive figure in the past century, and ,will make America once again a killing field.
B. Hussein is poised to accept dhimmitude in the form of negotiation; and that will simply be the start his America will pay for our past sins
Since when are ambulance-chasers acceptible in any venue - social, political, or otherwise?
Dr. Krauthammer's observations of Gaza today are perforce manifestly accurate, though irrelevant.
The table is now fully set by President Bush's trip to Israel and the nine month run up of US warnings to Iran that their nuclear program will not be allowed to stand.
The timing awaits the coronation of B. Hussien Obamas as the Democrats standard bearer, which could happen this coming week.
I have said for over a year now that Pres. Bush will not leave office without bombing Iran into various heaps of rubble. I stand by that. From the lower levels nine months ago the warnings began, the signals sent. Now the clarity of the signal is not garbled by intermediaries but comes from the Commander in Chief and his Israeli counterparts.
It is about time.
The movie list was dazzling in length. I may have missed a few but did I see any of Curly ,Larry, and Moe's work on the list?
Here is you cascade of print, hidden from many of you behind a subscription contract..but this is a question I have been asking...Where are the Republicans? Are we such a small party, so fractured in to factions that if one can't get their way they run home and hide?
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May 16, 2008
Big picture, May 2008:
The Democrats aren't the ones falling apart, the Republicans are. The Democrats can see daylight ahead. For all their fractious fighting, they're finally resolving their central drama. Hillary Clinton will leave, and Barack Obama will deliver a stirring acceptance speech. Then hand-to-hand in the general, where they see their guy triumphing. You see it when you talk to them: They're busy being born.
The Republicans? Busy dying. The brightest of them see no immediate light. They're frozen, not like a deer in the headlights but a deer in the darkness, his ears stiff at the sound. Crunch. Twig. Hunting party.
The headline Wednesday on Drudge, from Politico, said, "Republicans Stunned by Loss in Mississippi." It was about the eight-point drubbing the Democrat gave the Republican in the special House election. My first thought was: You have to be stupid to be stunned by that. Second thought: Most party leaders in Washington are stupid detached, played out, stuck in the wisdom they learned when they were coming up, in '78 or '82 or '94. Whatever they learned then, they think pertains now. In politics especially, the first lesson sticks. For Richard Nixon, everything came back to Alger Hiss.
They are also Hill leaders, lobbyists, party speakers successful, well-connected, busy and rich. They never guessed, back in '86, how government would pay off! They didn't know they'd stay! They came to make a difference and wound up with their butts in the butter. But affluence detaches, and in time skews thinking. It gives you the illusion you're safe, and that everyone else is. A party can lose its gut this way.
Many are ambivalent, deep inside, about the decisions made the past seven years in the White House. But they've publicly supported it so long they think they . . . support it. They get confused. Late at night they toss and turn in the antique mahogany sleigh bed in the carpeted house in McLean and try to remember what it is they really do think, and what those thoughts imply.
And those are the bright ones. The rest are in Perpetual 1980: We have the country, the troops will rally in the fall.
"This was a real wakeup call for us," someone named Robert M. Duncan, who is chairman of the Republican National Committee, told the New York Times. This was after Mississippi. "We can't let the Democrats take our issues." And those issues would be? "We can't let them pretend to be conservatives," he continued. Why not? Republicans pretend to be conservative every day.
The Bush White House, faced with the series of losses from 2005 through '08, has long claimed the problem is Republicans on the Hill and running for office. They have scandals, bad personalities, don't stand for anything. That's why Republicans are losing: because they're losers.
All true enough!
But this week a House Republican said publicly what many say privately, that there is another truth. "Members and pundits . . . fail to understand the deep seated antipathy toward the president, the war, gas prices, the economy, foreclosures," said Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia in a 20-page memo to House GOP leaders.
The party, Mr. Davis told me, is "an airplane flying right into a mountain." Analyses of its predicament reflect an "investment in the Bush presidency," but "the public has just moved so far past that." "Our leaders go up to the second floor of the White House and they get a case of White House-itis." Mr. Bush has left the party at a disadvantage in terms of communications: "He can't articulate. The only asset we have now is the big microphone, and he swallowed it." The party, said Mr. Davis, must admit its predicament, act independently of the White House, and force Democrats to define themselves. "They should have some ownership for what's going on. They control the budget. They pay no price. . . . Obama has all happy talk, but it's from 30,000 feet. Energy, immigration, what is he gonna do?"
Could the party pivot from the president? I spoke this week to Clarke Reed of Mississippi, one of the great architects of resurgent Republicanism in the South. When he started out, in the 1950s, there were no Republicans in his state. The solid south was solidly Democratic, and Sen. James O. Eastland was thumping the breast pocket of his suit, vowing that civil rights legislation would never leave it. "We're going to build a two-party system in the south," Mr. Reed said. He helped create "the illusion of Southern power" as a friend put it, with the creation of the Southern Republican Chairman's Association. "If you build it they will come." They did.
There are always "lots of excuses," Mr. Reed said of the special-election loss. Poor candidate, local factors. "Having said all that," he continued, "let's just face it: It's not a good time." He meant to be a Republican. "They brought Cheney in, and that was a mistake." He cited "a disenchantment with the generic Republican label, which we always thought was the Good Housekeeping seal."
What's behind it? "American people just won't take a long war. Just name me a war, even in a pro-military state like this. It's overall disappointment. It's national. No leadership, adrift. Things haven't worked." The future lies in rebuilding locally, not being "distracted" by Washington.
Is the Republican solid South over?
"Yeah. Oh yeah." He said, "I eat lunch every day at Buck's Cafe. Obama's picture is all over the wall."
How to come back? "The basic old conservative principles haven't changed. We got distracted by Washington, we got distracted from having good county organizations."
Should the party attempt to break with Mr. Bush? Mr. Reed said he supports the president. And then he said, simply, "We're past that."
We're past that time.
Mr. Reed said he was "short-term pessimistic, long-term optimistic." He has seen a lot of history. "After Goldwater in '64 we said, 'Let's get practical.' So we got ol' Dick. We got through Watergate. Been through a lot. We've had success a long time."
Throughout the interview this was a Reed refrain: "We got through that." We got through Watergate and Vietnam and changes large and small.
He was holding high the flag, but his refrain implicitly compared the current moment to disaster.
What happens to the Republicans in 2008 will likely be dictated by what didn't happen in 2005, and '06, and '07. The moment when the party could have broken, on principle, with the administration over the thinking behind and the carrying out of the war, over immigration, spending and the size of government has passed. What two years ago would have been honorable and wise will now look craven. They're stuck.
Mr. Bush has squandered the hard-built paternity of 40 years. But so has the party, and so have its leaders. If they had pushed away for serious reasons, they could have separated the party's fortunes from the president's. This would have left a painfully broken party, but they wouldn't be left with a ruined "brand," as they all say, speaking the language of marketing. And they speak that language because they are marketers, not thinkers. Not serious about policy. Not serious about ideas. And not serious about leadership, only followership.
This is and will be the great challenge for John McCain: The Democratic argument, now being market tested by Obama Inc., that a McCain victory will yield nothing more or less than George Bush's third term.
That is going to be powerful, and it is going to get out the vote. And not for Republicans.
PS. I haven't agreed with Peggy Noonan now for over a year. 9-11 remade her somehow into a cardiac deficiency writer. But her she is.
I also want to say that for decades the Republicans have known how to win elections ( until now) but they do not know how to govern. I hold to that. Too many are satisfied with simply having U.S. Senator or U.S. Representative on their resume
Apologies for all the crap preceding the article; The Pity Party starts somewhere around Oklahoma.
The movie list has many movies that I've seen and could have lived without seeing. It also does not have some greats on that list. One great that was left out was Capra's You Can't Take It with You, which won the Oscar for best picture of 1938. I'd list it as one of my top 10 favorite movies
"The question -- should this duo have their way -- isn't when will the poor be wealthy enough? But, when will the wealthy be poor enough?"
Might be answered at Denver.
For those of you who have never been to Denver- At the front doors to the convention center there is a 20-30ft, maybe larger, sculpture of a bear. Not just ANY bear, but a large bright blue bear on it's hind legs with paws up, peering into the convention center as if to say "let me in". The symbolism is delicious.
(The bear is the "blue" population of wannabe communist citizen voters who can only look on as their leaders chart the next 5 year plan.)
Negroponte's scheme to provide artificially-cheap laptops was doomed from the start, driven more by ego than anything else. The marketplace will, eventually, provide African children with laptops or similar devices. And to answer the question placed in the post, YES, they do need them. Unfortunately, they cannot get them, yet.
What poor countries need most is connectivity - phone service. This is coming, in some areas, via cell phone networks, which are cheaper to institute than landlines. This is another case where the marketplace (providing increasingly cheaper equipment and service) created a breakthrough that had previously been impossible. No one was EVER going to fund phone service for poor countries prior to the availability of affordable cell service.
Here's an article from 2000, but the pace of cell phone implementation - and its impact on the world's unuderprivileged - have accelerated dramatically since then.
So yes, African children need cell phones and laptops (or roughly equivalent devices). Moreover, WE need for them to have these things, because we benefit from a more stable, prosperous world where people have more opportunity. The good news is that this will happen. The bad news is, there is little we can do to accelerate the process aside from what we are already doing - driving the technology forward by purchasing these products.
Here I am again, belaboring the point. But I am just so struck by the potential breakthrough that laptops (or, as I am fond of saying, some future rough equivalent) and cell phones represent for changing those cut-off parts of the world. A poor nation, like India, can develop expertise and sell it because of laptops and cell phones. And suddenly it is not so poor. A tribal dress maker in some small country finds a worldwide market for her designs. African singers become folk-rock stars. (That actually happened for Ladysmith Black Mambazo via a Paul Simon connection - but what happens with an Internet connection?)
How can anyone ask whether the kid in that picture needs a laptop? Just because the picture looks incongruous ("a dirt-poor kid carting a piece of 'high tech' - why he probably doesn't even know how to use it!") does not mean he does not need it. He will learn something that will change his life, or one of his classmates will do something that will change his village, or some new local industry will be created. All because of what that kid has in his hand, and what the other kids like him have in theirs.
I don't think you belabor a thing MS. Well reasoned comment. I would just add that in addition to the more practical reasons you state is that information and communication, most especially among the young, puts fear into any tyrants heart. Africa could use a bit of that too.
I agree with Luther completely on that. I understand the Cubans are trying to allow computers into the country, but NO internet service. Good luck with that. And the Chinese are constantly trying to crack down on certain sites, but thank God there are so many workarounds. Yes, access to free information is absolutely a very important thing for Africa.
Something else too. In reading that article, I noted that Nigerian authorities said that it was a matter of 'priority' because there's no point giving a kid a laptop if he 'doesn't have a chair' to sit in with it.
Let me tell you, if that's my choice, I'll sit on the floor. I'll wear the same clothes every day, I'll live in a cave, I'll skip meals if I have to. But I would not do without 'net access, and the freedom to think for myself.
I doubt I'm alone in that.
three cheers for Mister Snitch for taking the trouble to shout this stuff out in no uncertain terms.