Sunday, November 30, 2008

Moab, Utah and Oil

I was down in Moab, Utah, for Thanksgiving.

Agreed: it's one of the most beautiful spots in America. I stayed at my father-in-law's house in Castle Valley.

No, oil wells shouldn't be put on the top of the arches, as one poster put it.

But there are thousands of square miles of land in which some oil or gas wells were be utterly inconspicuous, if you could find them at all.

Yes, drill, baby, drill.

I don't object to having spots in national parks that are off limits. But environmentalists won't accept any. Either people will see the wells -- or the land is unpolluted by humanity, so it must not have wells either.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Goodbye to the Gipper?

t's time for the GOP to say goodbye to the Gipper.

Not to Ronald Reagan, the president who faced down the Soviet Union and helped revive American morale. But Republicans should turn away from the Gipper, the president's sometimes glib, sometimes misguided. sometimes reckless alter ego.

And it should perhaps turn back to other icons of its history.

For the Gipper is far different from President Reagan. Reagan accurately assessed the danger and the weaknesses of the Soviet Union. As many have noted, he stood almost alone among American leaders in believing the evil empire must be resisted and could be defeated. Its demise in 1989 is a huge achievement.

Republicans rightly exult in that legacy. But that is from Reagan, the cold-eyed yet fearless strategist. He grasped the whole historical situation and the essence of communism. He was courageous, but — despite what his critics said — he wasn't reckless. Basically, he outwaited his opponent.

Consider in contrast the Gipper's feckless venture into Lebanon. There, in contrast, he presented a bold face, but he never understood the situation. That's why he sent U.S. Marines into a stronghold of fanatics, but wouldn't let them load their weapons.

When suicide bombers killed 241 American servicemen and 58 French servicemen, The Gipper and the U.S. cut and ran, emboldening Islamic militants. The Gipper was good for stirring words, and easy promises, but not so useful when it came time to hang tough.

Reagan helped revive the U.S. economy. But he did it by backing Fed chief Paul Volcker, who jacked up interest rates to choke off inflation.

The legacy of the Gipper, however, is that financial progress can be achieved without pain. But light of the financial meltdown, it may be time to re-evalute that.

Yes, Reagan helped restore American optimism. But did The Gipper make "pessimism" -- a.k.a. caution and prudence -- taboo in political discourse?

The Republican Party needs to rethink its fixation on the Gipper.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Not all doom and gloom

Don't give up just yet.

A bipartisan ticket

Run this guy with Sarah Palin and they might win in a landslide.

I am a professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at UC Irvine, and I have consistently refused, on principle, to participate in the sexual harassment training that the state and my employers seem to think is so important.

(Thanks to

The Gipper vs. Ronald Reagan.

The Gipper backed amnesty for illegal immigrants.

But was that wise? Did it encourage millions of people to come here -- to build shopping centers, condos and McMansions it turns out we neither needed or could afford?

Or to take care of the lawns and children of Wall Street hustlers who will soon be as extinct as dinosaurs?

Is this a case where we needed Ronald Reagan, and NOT the Gipper?

So the GOP needs to rethink where it stands on this.

Hard money, hard choices

And didn't Reagan -- unlike the Gipper -- take a tough stand by backing Volcker in raising rates to squeeze the crap out of the financial system in the early '80s?

And a tip of the hat to much-maligned President Grant, who vetoed inflationary legislation. Right now that sounds better than it has in years.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Goodbye to Gipper, welcome Abe back

It's time for the GOP to dismiss the Gipper, but turn its attention to Abe. And maybe Ike too.

It should continue to honor the achievements of Ronald Reagan, of course. But the party must wean itself from the mythologic Gipper.

Reagan defied the Soviet Union. Along with Margaret Thatcher and John Paul the Great, he led a successful stand. Soviet Communism couldn't take it.

But is excessive spending on the military also part of his legacy? Remember President Eisenhower, who warned against the military-industrial complex.

And the Gipper cut and run in Lebanon, after putting U.S. troops in an untenable spot.

Immigration? The Gipper signed the first amnesty. This encouraged millions of people to enter the country illegally.

The mantra is that they were needed. It's now becoming evident that many came here to build houses and shopping malls that weren't needed in the first place.

Or to take care of the homes and families of stock market hustlers who -- it is now evident -- were running financial schemes they didn't understand.

Yes, Reagan helped restore American optimism. But did The Gipper make "pessimism" -- a.k.a. caution and prudence -- taboo in political discourse?

Did the Gipper's tax cuts temporarily stimulate the economy, but also ignite what now seems like growth with a faulty foundation?

And note that his tax reforms removed millions from the tax rolls. These voters now, notoriously, are unconcerned with raising taxes.

Maybe that's why the party needs to turn back to Lincoln.

Monday, November 17, 2008


A persuasive look at the meltdown.

Well, it would be nice to have some hope for us journos too

With newspapers cutting back and predictions of even worse times ahead, Rupert Murdoch said the profession may still have a bright future if it can shake free of reporters and editors who he said have forfeited the trust and loyalty of their readers.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Debunking climate change

More lies ... er .... errors of global warming.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mark Steyn on the tipping point

Why govt. health care is a terrible idea:

While few electorates consciously choose to leap left, a couple more steps every election and eventually societies reach a tipping point. In much of the west, it's government health care. It changes the relationship between state and citizen into something closer to pusher and junkie. Henceforth, elections are fought over which party is proposing the shiniest government bauble

A real test for Obama

Now this will be a real litmus test for Obama.

(From Kausfiles via Instapundit.)
Ronald Reagan is dead.

Good. He's overblown on the right.

Dreher has excellent comments. Some of my own:

-- Social conservatism isn't dead. But it may have concede some battles are lost, or are losers. Gay marriage may be one of them. Perhaps we have to let the states experiment with it and see the results.

-- I disagree on Iraq and Afghanistan in the long run. Freedom is a practical end, as well as an idealistic one.

-- The right needs a coherent picture. "Hamilton's Curse" berates that Founding Father's legacy. But is that right?

Does any party reject? Jefferson and Jackson did not. Nor did Wilson, Lincoln, either Roosevelt, or Reagan, when it comes to that.

Others on the right take a different view, a more Hamiltonian view.

Less government, but a strong nation? How to synthesize that?

Which brings up ....

-- The Big Tent has to be rethought. The right can't be a select coterie. But beware of those Republicans who can always be counted on -- to stab Republicans in the back.

Friday, November 7, 2008


What went wrong for McCain:

1. Wrong historical moment: Americans do want to get rid of the stain of racism, and this was a big and easy way to do something.

2. Obama's a great politician. The Reagan Revolution wouldn't have happened if Reagan weren't a great politician.

3. Meltdown.

4. McCain had no convincing answer, because, as he admitted, he doesn't know or care about economics. Perhaps a Third Way could have been staked out. Or, for a real gutsy move, if he'd fought the bailout, maybe it would have worked out. The bailout isn't doing much now, anyway.

5. Palin was rushed to the big leagues before she was ready. As Krauthammer notes, this took away from McCain's pitch.

6. And he shouldn't have run against Obama, but against Pelosi, Reid and Frank. Point all the things they could do to America, and how Obama couldn't or wouldn't stop them.

In a way, he's like Mr. Irrelevant, the last man drafted in the NFL: any Dem would be in the same spot.

Monday, November 3, 2008

more thoughts on The One

Voting will finish up today, and may present us with an American first: A president who has flouted the spirit of the law, proclaimed his intentions to undermine the Constitution and our notions of the law, and shown his disdain for the moral awareness that must undergird any genuine law.
First, all the lawbooks, judges and courts are useless if people aren’t willing to respect both the letter and the spirit of the law. One telling example of this is Obama’s ruthless switch on campaign-finance laws. For liberals have long bewailed the supposed evil influence of money in politics, and backed strict campaign-finance laws. Obama sang in the same choir — until it became clear he could raise far more money that the $84 million he could get from the federal system.
He opted out of that law as fast as he could. So he has raised $640 million. Sen. John McCain, who sponsored the key campaign-financing law, has stuck to the $84 million limit, and has been clobbered by a deluge of Obama ads.
Beyond that, moreover, Obama has shown his contempt for all that campaign finance laws tried to address. Legally, donors under $200 don’t have to be disclosed. Obama’s campaign has kept those donors’ names under wraps — and they have given at least $218 million. Think about it: Obama has gotten two-and-a-half times as much from secret donors as McCain has gotten in total.
It gets worse. Obama accepts donations from prepaid credit cards, so the real payers may never be known. Some of the names that have come to light are obviously phony, such as “Doodad Pro” or “Es Esh.”
What other laws will he hold in contempt once he takes the oath of office? For the above is not a fluke. He has made it plain that he cares little about keeping the legal system fair for all people. He’s clearly stated that if he gains the White House, he wants to name judges with “the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.”
Many people seem to think that sounds good. But only when the laws are clear and firm are people are free, because they can act accordingly. When the law becomes pliable, however, they can no longer predict what the judges will say; they must therefore shuffle meekly into court, and beg their black-robed rules for mercy. Arbitrary rulings from the bench, no matter how well intended, enslave us all.
This attitude goes as far as our nation’s fundamentals. In a radio interview that has recently surfaced, Obama lamented the “tragedy” that even the liberal Supreme Court of the early 1960s stuck to the traditional notion that “the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted.”
First, it shows an utter ignorance of the power and rightfulness of “negative liberty.” For that is real liberty: having a sphere into which government can’t intrude. If there are things government must do for you, then there are things it can do to you.
For example, the First Amendment forbids the government from infringing on your freedom of speech. Consider, however, what might happen if President Obama appoints Supreme Court justices and federal judges who believe with him that the Constitution must say what the government must do for us. Will that require the government buy books and newspapers for you?
Maybe to some folks that sounds like a good deal. But beware: When the government buys, the government selects. Landing on front doorsteps each morning may be the Obama Times. Turn on the TV, and all the channels might be showing “Good Morning, America,” with its new hosts — Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank. Flip on the radio, and you might find that Rush Limbaugh has been replaced, permanently, by Joe Biden.
If this above is a bit satirical, history paints of much sadder picture of what happens when a government expropriates too much power.
More troubling than all that, however, are the signs that Obama lacks a fervent sense right and wrong are basic realities of the universe — that we are truly “endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.”
The most revealing act is that as an Illinois state senator he fought against legislation to protect babies who survived late-term abortions because he did not want to concede that living infants, outside their mothers’ wombs, were in fact “persons.” When an identical bill came up in the U.S. Senate, it passed 98-0. Even zealous liberals in the Senate couldn’t stomach the picture of babies born alive being allowed to die in a hospital. But Obama could.
A human being who won’t act to protect babies lacks something more important that the recall of statutes or the ability to recite flowery phrases. He lacks some basic sense of right and wrong — of the moral law that must support humanity.
In all these ways, Barack Obama has showed his disdain for the law on all levels. By tonight, he may be set to become, as Abraham Lincoln used to say, the chief magistrate of the United States; in a few months, he may take an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
That’s as disturbing as anything else that faces our nation in these troubled times.