Archive for February, 2007

Tobacco Terrorism

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Cigarette cravings can cause desperate measures for prison inmates:

[Inmates] Billy Grubb, 32, and Bradley Johnson, 25, held the unidentified guard hostage for about six hours. He was recovering Tuesday after the inmates broke his front teeth.

The inmates ultimately freed the guard in exchange for cigarettes in the smoke-free facility, Warden Howard Carlton said.

Huckabee’s Choice

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Some GOP bigwigs are encouraging longshot GOP candidate Mike Huckabee to drop out of the presidential race and challenge Mark Pryor, a vulnerable Democratic Senator in Arkansas, instead. There is much wisdom in this advice; after all, Huckabee has very little chance of winning the GOP nod for president, but he would stand a good chance of knocking off Pryor. If he did so, he could spend the next few years making a name for himself in the Senate, then run for president again. There is a good chance this might happen.

But there is another scenario that might also work wonders for Huckabee. He could take the Bill Richardson strategy: run a rather mild campaign for president in which he emphasized his conservative credentials but did not openly criticize the front runners. As a minister, Huckabee can connect well with Evangelicals, and, as a Southerner, he could help any of the three front runners connect with the Southern, religious base. Huckabee would be an attractive VP for either Giuliani, McCain, or Romney, all of whom have problems with social conservatives, and none of whom is Southern. Certainly, he’d have to be on any of these men’s short lists for vice-president.

I suspect this might be the strategy Huckabee decides on. And it might just pay dividends for him.

Via ACK.

UPDATE: This post is taking part in the Beltway Traffic Jam.

Liberty and Democracy

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

They aren’t the same, and Dr. Walter Williams tells us why:

In Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison wrote, “Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.” That’s another way of saying that one of the primary dangers of majority rule is that it confers an aura of legitimacy and respectability on acts that would otherwise be deemed tyrannical. Liberty and democracy are not synonymous and could actually be opposites.

Around Appalachian State

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Giuliani Surge Continues

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Rudy Giuliani’s conservative credentials have been under fire since before he declared his candidacy, but Steven Malanga contends that he is indeed conservative:

But in a GOP presidential field in which cultural and religious conservatives may find something to object to in every candidate who could really get nominated (and, more important, elected), Mr. Giuliani may be the most conservative candidate on a wide range of issues. Far from being a liberal, he ran New York with a conservative’s priorities. Government exists above all to keep people safe in their homes and in the streets, he said, not to redistribute income, run a welfare state, or perform social engineering. The private economy, not government, creates opportunity, he argued; government should just deliver basic services well and then get out of the private sector’s way. He denied that cities and their citizens were victims of vast forces outside their control, and he urged New Yorkers to take personal responsibility for their lives.

Meanwhile, polling data suggests that Rudy is shoring up support among white evangelicals. If this support holds, he will be difficult to beat. Additional data available here.

Tennessee 86, Florida 76

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Any day Tennessee beats Florida is a good day. And this is… interesting, to say the least.

Governing is Hard

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

And it’s even harder when you make impossible promises:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is discovering the cold truth about governing with a slim majority: It’s much easier to promise behavioral change for Congress than to deliver it.

Pelosi vowed that five-day workweeks would be a hallmark of a harder-working Democratic majority. So far, the House has logged only one. Lawmakers plan to clock three days this week.

The speaker has denied Republicans a vote on their proposals during congressional debates — a tactic she previously declared oppressive and promised to end. Pelosi has opened the floor to a Republican alternative just once.

Pelosi set a high standard for herself when she pledged to make this “the most ethical Congress in history” — a boast that was the political equivalent of leading with her chin. And some critics have been happy to hit it.

She is drawing fire for putting Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), who had $90,000 in alleged bribe money in his freezer, on the Homeland Security Committee. And The Washington Post reported during the weekend that she is helping chairmen raise money from donors with business before their committees.

It’s much harder to be the majority party than the minority party. As the minority party, all you need to do is block legislation, and even if you can’t, you mostly get a pass. The expectations are very low.

On the other hand, as the governing party, you are expected to work wonders. The problem for Pelosi and the other Democrats is that she must walk a tight rope: her base is much more liberal than the general public. She must try to bridge the gap by providing for her base without alienating the moderates that gave her the majority. She accomplished this with the minimum wage increase, but it will get much harder. It’ll be interesting to see how she does.

Fighting Snobbery with Anna Nicole

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Covering, you know, real news stories as opposed to Anna Nicole Smith is a form of snobbery. Or at least, that’s what Fox News host John Gibson would have us believe:

GIBSON: Now I submit to you that that is a real, honest-to-God drama. Now it may not fit the high-minded views of a lot of news professionals, people who think that their news program is just another part of Foreign Affairs Quarterly. That only a certain kind of news is worthy of their discussing. Those people are snobs. They’re people who, when they see a story, go, “Ew, icky. I don’t want to do that.” I did this for years. I’ve been doing a long time. I’ve approached many stories and said, “That story isn’t worth our trouble.” It has always been a mistake. Always. Every single time I did it. So when I see people like this guy —

[CLIP ANDERSON COOPER] There’s a war on, there’s a war on, there’s a war on.

GIBSON: Oh, there’s a war on, there’s a war on. Maybe, just maybe, people are a little weary, Mr. Cooper, of your war coverage, and they’d like a little something else. Maybe that’s why they all thundered to this story.

[CLIP ANDERSON COOPER] There’s a war on, there’s a war on, there’s a war on.

GIBSON: My complaint about this is what you’re listening to when you hear that guy lecture the audience, is you’re listening to news-guy snobbery. Essentially saying, “I’m better than you. I know what you want to hear about, but I’m better than that story. I’m too high class for that story. I won’t stoop to what you want to hear about.”

I’m not playing that. People want to hear about the Anna Nicole story, I’m happy to tell them.

No doubt about that, Mr. Gibson. That’s about all you tell them. It’s amazing that I find myself in agreement with this guy most of the time, yet I still can’t stand him. His news show (I’ve never listened to his radio show) is one of the most worthless on television, as it’s simply an hour devoted to whatever sensationalism happens to be playing on whatever given day. If anything, Gibson shows his own snobbery, or at least the fact that he is woefully out of touch, in insisting that “real Americans” want to hear about Anna Nicole Smith instead of Iraq. Americans aren’t stupid, Gibson.

Parkway Pioneer

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Whatev-uh!

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

I can attest to the accuracy of this study:

Today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.

Read the whole article. I don’t think many people will disagree.