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September 30, 2008


P.J. O'Rourke has cancer. No further set up required but to say read it all...starting here:

I looked death in the face. All right, I didn't. I glimpsed him in a crowd. I've been diagnosed with cancer, of a very treatable kind. I'm told I have a 95% chance of survival. Come to think of it -- as a drinking, smoking, saturated-fat hound -- my chance of survival has been improved by cancer.

I still cursed God, as we all do when we get bad news and pain. Not even the most faith-impaired among us shouts: "Damn quantum mechanics!" "Damn organic chemistry!" "Damn chaos and coincidence!"

I believe in God. God created the world. Obviously pain had to be included in God's plan. Otherwise we'd never learn that our actions have consequences. Our cave-person ancestors, finding fire warm, would conclude that curling up to sleep in the middle of the flames would be even warmer. Cave bears would dine on roast ancestor, and we'd never get any bad news and pain because we wouldn't be here.

But God, Sir, in Your manner of teaching us about life's consequential nature, isn't death a bit ... um ... extreme, pedagogically speaking? I know the lesson that we're studying is difficult. But dying is more homework than I was counting on. Also, it kind of messes up my vacation planning. Can we talk after class? Maybe if I did something for extra credit?

(via Corner)

September 29, 2008

Big Labor's Payback

There are lots and lots of reasons why I won't be voting for Barack Obama, but this is a big one. And I don't even have a dog in the fight.

On March 1, 2007, the House passed their version of the Employee Free Choice Act, an Orwellian name for a piece of legislation if ever there was one. If the bill becomes law, (so far it has been successfully filibustered by Republicans) it would strip American workers of their rights to vote by secret ballot in union organizing elections, protections they have had since the Wagner Act of 1935.

Why? Because it is the price demanded by Big Labor for their support of Democrats, and in an Obama administration, it would have a much easier path to becoming the law of the land. Nancy Pelosi has already indicated that it is one of her top legislative priorities should the Democrats take back the White House.

A threatened Bush veto and congressional opposition has been enough to fight off this anti-business measure so far, but Obama supports it, and one can only imagine the official government support for community organizers in an Obama administration agitating in the labor movement, unburdened by the requirements of free elections.

Thomas Sowell on the influence of The One:

This legislation passed the House of Representatives last year but did not make it through the Senate. "I will make it the law of the land when I'm President of the United States," Barack Obama has said to the AFL-CIO.

Senator Obama has also said many times that he is against "special interests." But, like most politicians who say that, he means that he is against other politicians' special interests. His own special interests are never called special interests.

A movement finding itself unable to persuade most American workers of the advantages of unionism is desperate to rig the rules in their favor. Weren't they supposed to be all about workers rights?

This March 2007 WSJ op-ed frames the issue:

Big Labor has been agitating to ease union-formation requirements for more than a decade. And prior to last year's election, the AFL-CIO, AFSCME and their allies made it clear to Democrats that this vote would be the most important return they expected on their investment in a Nancy Pelosi Speakership. This is payback day.

The union claim is that employers are engaging in rampant unfair labor practices to prevent employees from exercising their right to organize. But data from the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees union elections, show no rise in such activities. The reality is that union membership has been in decline for decades, and labor leaders are desperate to rig the rules in order to reverse the trend. In the 1950s, 35% of private-sector workers were unionized. By the early 1980s the number had fallen to 20%, and today it stands at just 7.4%.

The reason for this decline isn't illegal management meddling in organizing efforts. The problem is that unions haven't been able to persuade the workers themselves. Our own, longstanding position is that when a company is organized it is almost always the company's fault. But workers of all classes and skills can also read the news and understand that unions no longer provide job security, if they ever did. The most heavily unionized industries--such as airlines and Detroit carmakers--are typically those that are financially beleaguered and shedding jobs. Workers know that unions often provide short-term wage gains at the cost of longer-term job insecurity.

All of which explains the drive to rewrite the rules and do away with secret-ballot elections administered by the NLRB, a procedure in place since the 1935 Wagner Act. Under current rules, once 30% of employees at a workplace express interest in unionizing by signing an authorization card, organizers can go to management and demand voluntary "card-check" recognition. The employer then has the option of recognizing the union or demanding an election.

It shouldn't be surprising that many workers who sign these cards later have second thoughts after getting the employer's side of the story. Workers sign cards for all kinds of reasons, including peer pressure and intimidation. It's not uncommon for an organizer to approach an employer with cards that show 90% of the workforce wants to unionize, only to have the percentage plummet once employees hear about the downside of a union shop and have a chance to vote by secret ballot. So Big Labor wants to dispense with these petty elections and make union recognition mandatory as soon as a simple majority of workers sign a card.

Notably, nearly every American business group is united in opposing this affront to worker freedom. They understand this will make organizing that much easier, thus making their own businesses that much less competitive. One business response would surely be to hire fewer workers--the opposite of what the unions claim to want.

Stripping away a procedure put in place 70 years ago to protect workers' privacy rights, and to guarantee their freedom from intimidation, shouldn't be arbitrarily trashed because union membership is down and they want some political payback for the money they feed to Democrats.

This thing is so far to the left that even George McGovern can't stand by and watch it happen. Surveys show that 89% of the public say these free-election protections should remain in place.


David Weigel at Reason

George Will, Washington Post; Feb., 2007

It would be hard to imagine a more anti-business (let alone anti-worker) action that a U.S. President could take. It's another reason Obama is the wrong man.

UPDATE 10/6: Human Events: Obama's Payoff to Unions

Questions For Obama

Peter Kirsanow has some suggestions for people who get to question Barack Obama on October 7.

1. Sen. Obama, you dismissed your association with William Ayers by stating that his actions, while "despicable", occurred when you were just eight years old. Ayers was still a fugitive when another terrorist bomber, Ted Kaczynski (the "Unabomber") began his bombing campaign (btw — Senator, you were 20 at the time). Would you have had any reservations working with Kaczynski? Would you have had any reservations launching your political career from Kaczynski's home (prior to his apprehension)? What about from the home of abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolf? If so, please explain your criteria for working with some terrorists but not others.

2. Did you and Ayers ever discuss his participation in the bombing of the Pentagon? If so, when? How did you respond? Did you continue working with him afterward? Why? Did this discussion occur before or after he hosted your political coming-out party?

3. Did Ayers ever tell you how you were chosen to chair the Chicago Annenberg Challenge ("CAC"), given that at the time there were thousands of more experienced lawyers in Chicago?

4. Did you ever tell Ayers that his actions were "despicable"? If so, did you do so at the time you interviewed to chair the CAC or later? If not, why not?

5. As president, would you appoint any member to your cabinet who had worked with terrorists? Would you appoint any individual whose political career had been launched at the home of a terrorist? If not why not? If you consider an association with terrorists to be a disqualifier for, say, the position of attorney general or national security advisor, why shouldn't it be a disqualifier for president?

A few more at the link.

UPDATE 9/30: Stanley Kurtz in the NY Post

Totten - Qaeda is Global

Michael Totten at Contentions:

Senator Barack Obama said something at the presidential debate last week that almost perfectly encapsulates the difference between his foreign policy and his opponent’s: “Secretary of Defense Robert Gates himself acknowledges the war on terrorism started in Afghanistan and it needs to end there.” I don’t know if Obama paraphrased Gates correctly, but if so, they’re both wrong.

If Afghanistan were miraculously transformed into the Switzerland of Central Asia, every last one of the Middle East’s rogues gallery of terrorist groups would still exist. The ideology that spawned them would endure. Their grievances, such as they are, would not be salved. The political culture that produced them, and continues to produce more just like them, would hardly be scathed. Al Qaedism is the most radical wing of an extreme movement which was born in the Middle East and exists now in many parts of the world. Afghanistan is not the root or the source.


September 27, 2008

Chill Wind, Part XIV

Lifting a segment from Taranto, link, stock and barrel.

Shut Up They Explained

While the McCain campaign is clashing with the media, the Obama campaign appears to be trying to intimidate its critics into silence. St. Louis's KMOV-TV has a disturbing report:

Prosecutors and sheriffs from across Missouri are joining something called the Barack Obama truth squad. . . . They will be reminding voters that Barack Obama is a Christian who wants to cut taxes for anyone making less than $250,000 a year. They also say they plan to respond immediately to any ads and statements that might violate Missouri ethics laws.

The report includes interviews with Jennifer Joyce and Bob McCullough, chief prosecutors for St. Louis city and county, respectively. Neither threatens to prosecute Obama's critics, so it's possible that the station's citing of "Missouri ethics laws" makes this look more troubling than it is. But ABC News reports that the Obama campaign is trying to silence criticism elsewhere:

In this letter sent this week to TV station managers from Obama campaign general counsel Bob Bauer, obtained by ABC News, the Obama campaign argues that a TV ad by the National Rifle Association should not air. "Unlike federal candidates, independent political organizations do not have a 'right to command the use of broadcast facilities,' " Bauer writes. "Moreover, you have a duty 'to protect the public from false, misleading or deceptive advertising.' " The Obama campaign takes issue with an ad called "Hunter," pointing out that claims in the ad were called "false" by Factcheck.org, andwas given three Pinocchios by the Washington Post's "Factchecker."

A copy of the letter is here. David Kopel has a detailed rebuttal of the Factcheck.org critique. Whatever one may conclude about the merits of the ad's claims, the notion that an ad should be suppressed because the Washington Post or the Annenberg Center disapproves of it flies in the face of America's tradition of open debate. Never mind what Obama thinks of the Second Amendment, there's reason to worry about the First.

UPDATE 9/29:

Via LGF, a message from Missouri Governor Matt Blunt:

“What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.

“This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson’s thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights. The only conceivable purpose of Messrs. McCulloch, Obama and the others is to frighten people away from expressing themselves, to chill free and open debate, to suppress support and donations to conservative organizations targeted by this anti-civil rights, to strangle criticism of Mr. Obama, to suppress ads about his support of higher taxes, and to choke out criticism on television, radio, the Internet, blogs, e-mail and daily conversation about the election.

“Barack Obama needs to grow up. Leftist blogs and others in the press constantly say false things about me and my family. Usually, we ignore false and scurrilous accusations because the purveyors have no credibility. When necessary, we refute them. Enlisting Missouri law enforcement to intimidate people and kill free debate is reminiscent of the Sedition Acts - not a free society.”

Blunt indeed.

They're calling these volunteer compliance troopers "Truth Squads"...

...coming in January..."Neighborhood Watch Groups"?

UPDATE 10/1: Andy McCarthy; "Obama's Assault on the First Amendment"

September 24, 2008

10/1 is Energy Freedom Day

The Democrats are forced by political reality to back down from their anti-drilling position, handing American consumers a major victory. Phil Kerpen at NRO calls that victory "incredible, improbable"...and "stunning"

With the clock ticking down to what some are calling “Energy Freedom Day” — October 1, 2008, when the congressional bans on offshore oil drilling and onshore oil-shale development are set to expire — anti-drilling Democrats have backed down from a high-stakes stand-off that could have caused a government shutdown and will now result in the complete demise of the drilling bans. This is a stunning victory for grassroots activists over environmental special interests and business-as-usual in Washington. If not derailed, it also will be great news for all American consumers.


The normal process of funding the U.S. government through appropriations bills broke down this year, forcing Congress to prepare a continuing resolution to keep the government funded at last year’s levels. Proponents of American oil and gas production have long suspected that the Democrats would use the resolution to hide an extension of the wildly unpopular bans on offshore drilling and oil-shale development. The theory was that by simply extending last year’s Interior Appropriations act, which included the bans, they could hide an extension without even mentioning it in the text of the bill.

To pre-empt this strategy, Jim DeMint in the Senate and Jeb Hensarling and John Shadegg in the House collected signatures from enough members of Congress to make it clear that an expected presidential veto of any such extension of the drilling ban would be sustained. Meanwhile, free-market and conservative groups presented a united front to Congress and the White House, urging lawmakers to let the ban expire. Facing organized opposition in Congress and overwhelming public opinion in favor of drilling, Democrats signaled late last week that a continuing resolution would not include an extension of the drilling bans.


Proponents of increasing American energy production (including all the signers of the DeMint and Hensarling/Shadegg letters) deserve credit for this incredible turn of events, which seemed to be outside the realm of the politically possible just a couple of months ago.

By doing nothing, and allowing the drilling bans to expire, Congress earned a left-handed compliment from Taranto:

Finally, the congressional Democratic majority has something to show for their nearly two years in power.

The Extortion of American Banks

Eight years ago in City Journal, Howard Husock examined the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in an essay that helps explain how during the Clinton administration, Congress and newly-empowered leftist community advocacy groups grabbed the banking industry by the throat, and helped lead us into the mortgage lending nightmare we're living today.

Well worth a look as a means to understand how we got here, and as another example of the folly of social engineering by government. (hat tip - Randy)

More From Kurtz on Ayers-Obama-CAC

Stanley Kurtz at NRO:

New evidence strongly suggests that Barack Obama has been less than forthcoming about the role that unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers may have played in choosing him to lead the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC). Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, I have obtained an e-mail message from former CAC executive director, Ken Rolling, to Warren Chapman and Anne Hallett, two of CAC’s three co-founders. Bill Ayers was the third founder. In Rolling’s message, sent the morning after I first requested access to CAC records housed at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), he admits to avoiding a reporter’s inquiries about who picked Obama to head CAC. Rolling also appears to prime Chapman and Hallett to avoid telling the press the whole story of how Obama was chosen, and provides them with an apparently incomplete story to use instead. Although it’s too early to draw definitive conclusions from this evidence, it does raise serious questions about Barack Obama’s own account of the process by which he was chosen as CAC board chair.

UPDATE 9/25: More from Clarice Feldman at PJM

Bush Tried, Reforms Died

From a New York Times article, September 11, 2003:

The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.


The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt -- is broken. A report by outside investigators in July concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics have said Fannie Mae does not adequately hedge against rising interest rates.

''There is a general recognition that the supervisory system for housing-related government-sponsored enterprises neither has the tools, nor the stature, to deal effectively with the current size, complexity and importance of these enterprises,'' Treasury Secretary John W. Snow told the House Financial Services Committee in an appearance with Housing Secretary Mel Martinez, who also backed the plan.


After the hearing, Representative Michael G. Oxley, chairman of the Financial Services Committee, and Senator Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, announced their intention to draft legislation based on the administration's proposal. Industry executives said Congress could complete action on legislation before leaving for recess in the fall.

''The current regulator does not have the tools, or the mandate, to adequately regulate these enterprises,'' Mr. Oxley said at the hearing. ''We have seen in recent months that mismanagement and questionable accounting practices went largely unnoticed by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight,'' the independent agency that now regulates the companies.

''These irregularities, which have been going on for several years, should have been detected earlier by the regulator,'' he added.


''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.

''I don't see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,'' Mr. Watt said.

(via The Wizard, fkap)

UPDATE 9/24: Kevin Hassett on the 2005 reform bill (co-sponsored by McCain) which could have averted the crisis has it not been killed by Democratic party opposition.

Mark Krikorian: "credit is not a civil right"

UPDATE 9/25: Via Ace, here's video of Barney Frank making the above-quoted remarks about the needless "exaggeration" of the problems with Fannie Mae...and more

September 23, 2008

The Ayers-Obama Education Plan

Stanley Kurtz has spent a couple weeks investigating the public records of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and the first of his reports is up today at the Wall Street Journal.

Slow Joe

And they mocked Dan Quayle for a misspelling. This guy's a walking gaffe-fest. It really is getting comical. I keep reading this talk that the DNC/Obama plan is to replace Biden on the ticket with Hillary in early October, citing health problems for Biden...an aneurysm or some such will be cited, it is said. Crazy talk, no doubt. These guys couldn't be desperate enough to try to pull off something like that. How stupid do they think the American peop..........never mind.

UPDATE 9/23:

Biden telling Ohioans that the ticket wants "no coal plants here in America" might not have been exactly on message. Nor was his criticism of his own campaign's ads, tacky though they were.

In the meantime it's entertainment.

A Welcome For A Death Fetishist

An open letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from Michael Ledeen.

September 22, 2008

Calling Out the NYT

At Power Line, the audio of McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt telling it like it is in a conference call with the national media.

And finally, a little major media acknowledgment of the deception and fear-mongering of the Obama campaign's ads, from Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post.

September 21, 2008

Pryor Takes Over

It only took three games for Terrelle Pryor to beat out the returning All-Big Ten quarterback for the starting job at Ohio State. I can't wait to see this kid when he figures out what the hell is going on. Here's my wrap-up of the OSU-Troy game at The Cleveland Fan.

September 17, 2008

Time To Update the History Books

Ron Radosh, author and expert on the Rosenberg case...

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed 55 years ago, on June 19, 1953. But last week, they were back in the headlines when Morton Sobell, the co-defendant in their famous espionage trial, finally admitted that he and his friend, Julius, had both been Soviet agents.

It was a stunning admission; Sobell, now 91 years old, had adamantly maintained his innocence for more than half a century. After his comments were published, even the Rosenbergs' children, Robert and Michael Meeropol, were left with little hope to hang on to -- and this week, in comments unlike any they've made previously, the brothers acknowledged having reached the difficult conclusion that their father was, indeed, a spy. "I don't have any reason to doubt Morty," Michael Meeropol told Sam Roberts of the New York Times.

With these latest events, the end has arrived for the legions of the American left wing that have argued relentlessly for more than half a century that the Rosenbergs were victims, framed by a hostile, fear-mongering U.S. government. Since the couple's trial, the left has portrayed them as martyrs for civil liberties, righteous dissenters whose chief crime was to express their constitutionally protected political beliefs. In the end, the left has argued, the two communists were put to death not for spying but for their unpopular opinions, at a time when the Truman and Eisenhower administrations were seeking to stem opposition to their anti-Soviet foreign policy during the Cold War.


...after Sobell's confession of guilt, all other conspiracy theories about the Rosenberg case should come to an end. A pillar of the left-wing culture of grievance has been finally shattered. The Rosenbergs were actual and dangerous Soviet spies. It is time the ranks of the left acknowledge that the United States had (and has) real enemies and that finding and prosecuting them is not evidence of repression.

Chill Wind

More attempted censorship by the Obamabots. Is there anything more illiberal than the attempt to silence the free speech of people with whom you disagree?

Is this a preview of an Obama presidency? Can you imagine the reaction from the media if McCain supporters were trying to prevent a liberal author from being interviewed on a radio show? Brownshirts and jackboots.

It's For the Hides, Stupid!

The latest Sarah Palin scandal has hit...and it's not pretty. Seems she bought a tanning bed and had it installed in the Governor's mansion. (As the man says, worth about five John Edwards haircuts.)

I know Americans everywhere share my outrage tonight.

And as the truth emerges about Sarah Palin, some little known facts about her are being compiled over at Palinfacts.com (via The Corner)

September 15, 2008

That Was Then...

Ace has posted a new YouTube message, containing footage of Barack Obama taken during his campaign for the U.S. Senate, in which he touts his time as Chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge as a qualification for elected office. Today, any mention of the Annenberg Challenge is likely to get the Obamabots out in full force to attempt to silence the discussion and punish its instigators.

The topic of Obama's political...uh, sorry...philanthropic track record from the years 1995 through 2001, and the matter of his close working relationship with the terrorist Bill Ayers throughout those years, have so far failed to arouse the interest of the major media. (As Tom Maguire quips earlier today, "We know the Times will want to probe this after they resolve open issues about Ms. Palin's 4-H dues from 1971.")

One can hardly blame Obama for wishing he could now downplay his relationship with Ayers, ("Why is McCain talking about the Sixties?") But if the work of the CAC was a qualification for U.S. Senate, it surely is relevant today. It also appears to be a major segment of Obama's much-lauded "community organizing" career, and an example (the only one?) of his judgment and effectiveness in allocating large sums of money to address social problems. Could that in some way be relevant to the presidency?....especially given BHO's proposed laundry list of social engineering projects?

The three big reasons the Obama campaign wants no discussion of the Annenberg Challenge: It ties him to Ayers in a recent (1995-2001) and close business relationship, and puts the lie to his prior characterization of his relationship with Ayers as just "a guy who lives in my neighborhood". It would reveal that the CAC project was a failure, according to their own internal evaluators. And it has the potential to tie Obama even more closely to far-left groups including ACORN, which has a track record of engaging in voter fraud.

Those of us eager to learn more are awaiting the report from Dr. Stanley Kurtz, who has been reviewing the public records of the CAC for a couple of weeks now.

September 12, 2008

Big Numbers

The #1 prospect in the Indians' organization is 22-year old switch-hitting catcher Carlos Santana, who arrived in the Casey Blake trade, and is on the (AAA) Buffalo roster. He could be in Cleveland late next season. The kid looks like a star, and probably no one outside the organization would know better than Tony Lastoria. The serious Tribe fan (so long accustomed to living in the future) really should be reading Tony's stuff (and Buffum and Cousineau) at TheClevelandFan.com. His coverage of the Tribe's minor league system is on a level nobody has ever attempted before, in any media. A cool resource for hardcore Tribe fans. Have I said this before?

September 9, 2008

Debunking the Smears

It's hard to keep up with the various smears and lies being propagated about Sarah Palin, but getting the truth out is necessary business.

James Taranto takes apart the "book-banning" canard as well as anyone else today, and Power Line does a number on claims that Palin lied about her role in stopping the Bridge to Nowhere. (If you can't believe the Alaska Democratic Party on this issue, who can you believe?)

The distortion of her record by the left has been accompanied by resort to unvarnished sexism, sneering religious bigotry and just old-fashioned hate.

Any number of commentators have been weighing in on the reasons for the hatred. Jeffrey Bell says that just being a mother of five who has a thriving political career is enough to annoy leftists, smashing as it does their central narrative that:

...for women to achieve dignity and self-fulfillment in modern society, they must distance themselves, not necessarily from men or marriage or childbearing, but from the kind of marriage in which a mother's temptation to be with and enjoy several children becomes a synonym for holding women back and cheating them out of professional success.

Palin apparently just isn't "held back" enough from professional success to suit their grievance message.

Dean Barnett links a Mona Charen column suggesting it's about Trig.

And Christopher Hitchens, who has equal contempt for Christians in both parties says Obama supporters are in an awkward spot to be ridiculing Palin's faith:

Interviewed by Rick Warren at the grotesque Saddleback megachurch a short while ago, Sen. Barack Obama announced that Jesus had died on the cross to redeem him personally. How he knew this he did not say. But it will make it exceedingly difficult for him, or his outriders and apologists, to ridicule Palin for her own ludicrous biblical literalist beliefs.

And while it's a bit off-topic, the other V.P. nominee does some more of what he does best...say stupid stuff. The latest Joe Biden idiocy was this remark:

“I hear all this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents who have both the joy, because there’s joy to it as well, the joy and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability, who were born with a birth defect. Well guess what folks? If you care about it, why don’t you support stem cell research?”

One assumes for the sake of conversation that Biden is aware of the distinction between "stem cell research", which is opposed by virtually no one, and "embryonic stem-cell research", the federal funding of which is opposed on moral grounds by many Americans and some political leaders (although Democrats have made an art form of blurring those important distinctions in their demagoguery on the issue.)

But even if you assume Biden was talking about ESCR, (if he's not, the point makes no sense at all, since everyone supports SCR) he contradicts his own stated conviction that life begins at the moment of conception, by endorsing a practice that creates and kills embryos for research purposes. His dismissal of his own principle only highlights the reverence of Palin for hers. (Admittedly, McCain's support for ESCR shows the same disconnect. At least he's not attacking and/or distorting his opponents' positions)

Then there's the political stupidity, which Allahpundit points out. Biden's raising of the issue allows McCain to tout his own support for ESCR, and helps keep the issue of Obama's extreme abortion stance in front of voters.

Even though Biden often sounds stupid, maybe we should give him more credit than that. It seems just as likely to me that this is another cynical appeal to under-informed voters who don't understand the differences between SCR and ESCR, in the ongoing attempt to portray Republicans as opposed to all stem cell research, even though they know that's a lie.

So...stupidity or a cynical distortion of the opponent's position. Pick one.

UPDATE 9/9: Biden: Just plain dumb.

September 2, 2008

A Little Optimism

Don't miss Bret Stephens' lead essay from the new issue of Commentary.

Looking back at Huntington's Clash of Civilizations, Stephens retraces some of the history of Islam, noting that the strife in the Muslim world, then as now, has not been just between the Muslim world and the West, but within the Muslim world, with as much if not more violence and savagery visited upon Muslims as upon non-Muslims.

Stephens charts the decline of al Qaeda's fortunes, a function both of U.S. military and counter-terrorism successes, and the growing distaste of regular Muslims for their brutality and radicalism. He contrasts the popularity and influence of al Qaeda in the Muslim world following 9/11 with their status today, and invites the reader to imagine what that perception and influence might be today had the United States not confronted them seven years ago. Pack a lunch.

Lee Sorts Sox

Congratulations to Cliff Lee for winning No. 20 tonight. The guy has just been a joy to watch all year. I think only K-Rod represents any competition for the Cy Young. Two or three more wins should do it, in what will likely be five more starts.

Thanks for salvaging a lost season, Cliff.

UPDATE 9/2: Paul Cousineau has lots more on Lee's amazing season.