Archive for November 28th, 2008

November 28, 2008

Obamaphilia

Kathleen Parker’s got it bad:

The change we’ve been waiting for may not be immediately quantifiable, but personal responsibility, educational ambition and smart public diplomacy — all by example rather than exhortation — could go a long way toward curing what ails us.

November 28, 2008

Video: Death by shopping

“I’m rendered speechless. I cannot believe the barbaric nature of this.”

November 28, 2008

Mumbai aftermath

Allahpundit has an extensive roundup of the news on the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. Still waiting on the all-clear at the Taj hotel.

This was a sophisticated attack. The terrorists had thoroughly cased the locations, and had checked into the hotel days in advance. The terrorists targeted Jews, killing five, including a rabbi and his wife. Americans were also targeted, including a Virginia man and his daughter who were killed.

There is no fool-proof means of preventing such attacks, in India or anywhere else. The only effective long-term strategy is to identify terrorist groups and their members, place them under surveillance, and try to disrupt their plans by arresting them for weapons charges, immigration violations and the like.

November 28, 2008

Miley Cyrus bikini pics

Miley Cyrus. Bikini pics. OK, you didn’t really expect me to post pictures of Miley Cyrus in a thong bikini, did you? The girl just turned 16, for crying out loud!

For reasons that you probably don’t want to contemplate too much, I keep getting random Google-hit traffic from a post I did about Miley Cyrus months ago. So, I was staring at my Site Meter, and thinking of my successful traffic-baiting with “Sarah Palin bikini pics,” and it occurred to me that “Miley Cyrus bikini pics” might generate similar interest. (Yeah, traffic’s slumping lately.) So think of this as an experiment.

And check out this sexy video!

November 28, 2008

Jimmie blogs the classics

Jimmie at The Sundries Shack tackles an unusual topic for bloggers, classical music, complaining about a WETA listener poll in which five of the top 10 selections were Beethoven. I’m with Jimmie in wishing for more variety. (Hello, Mozart? Liszt? Shubert?)

My tastes in classical music are eclectic. Jimmie wants more Wagner, but Wagner is mostly opera, and I can’t stand operatic singing. (I’m convinced the demons in hell warble like operatic sopranos.) The only Wagner I like is instrumental parts like “Ride of the Valkyries.” I like Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and “An American in Paris.”

I suppose I’ll be written off as a philistine for confessing that I also like John Williams, but it’s kind of a sentimental thing. I used to have a girlfriend who was a huge “Indiana Jones” fan, and she liked to . . . uh, enjoy some quality time listening to the soundtrack.

November 28, 2008

On hating O’Reilly

Very interesting, if true, especially the assertion that “last year’s purchase of the Wall Street Journal [by Murdoch] ‘was in no small way about wanting to trade the illiberal — the belligerent, the vulgar, the loud, the menacing, the unsubtle — for the better-heeled, the more magnanimous, the further nuanced.'”

This is another aspect of the “Fox Effect” I’ve written about before. Fox has its own combative brand that has in recent years tended to define the GOP brand. Two Irish Catholic guys from New York, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, have effectively become the face of the Republican Party. Is it unfair ethnic stereotyping to say that these two argue like a couple of Irish Catholic guys from New York?

Both O’Reilly and Hannity have a habit of bullying guests with whom they disagree. If you’ve ever seen this shtick — constantly interrupting, badgering, insulting, demanding that the guest “answer the question!” but never giving them time to do so — it is impossible to enjoy unless you have a sadistic streak. It’s the same cacaphonous ugliness that I always hated about CNN’s old “Crossfire” show, and every other “shout show” imitator. There is an audience for that confrontational style of TV (4 million tune into O’Reilly regularly) but you’re never going to build a genuinely mass audience for rude disagreement.

When a David Brooks or a George Will or a David Frum sneers at Republican “populism,” it is this belligerent mode of discourse that they have in mind. Hard-core Republicans may cheer when Hannity works his bully-boy routine on a liberal, but such acts of signification — “I aggressively diss liberals, therefore I am a true conservative!” — can never persuade the unpersuaded.

Most conservative Fox viewers don’t notice this, simply because of their ideological affinity with the bully boys. But remember when Bill O’Reilly sneered at talk-radio “Kool-Aid drinkers” and “right-wing liars” who opposed the bailout?

See? When O’Reilly points the obnoxious name-calling at you, it’s not quite so enjoyable, is it? (My apologies, BTW, to any Irish Catholic New Yorkers who don’t like being lumped in with O’Reilly.) This kind of rudeness gives the conservative intellectual class a pretext to disparage “populism” and to denounce Sarah Palin as a particularly divisive populist. The intellectuals, quite rightly, don’t want conservatism to become so closely identified with rhetorical belligerence.

If Murdoch himself is concerned that the O’Reilly style is “vulgar” and “menacing,” to what extent has the general public absorbed that general perception of conservatives that O’Reilly and his Fox cohorts have helped create?

November 28, 2008

Myths of moderation

John Hawkins addresses the false arguments for a more “moderate” Republican Party:

After a GOP beating, there is always a debate between the people who want the party to become more principled and those who want to turn the GOP into a poll-driven pile of mush that they believe will be more appealing to centrists. . . .
One of the most surreal aspects of the post-2008 campaign is listening to moderates pretend that the last eight years never happened.
You say that the GOP can’t win as a small government party. Well, we’ve already tried being a big government party for the last 8 years and it failed. You think running a moderate, pro-amnesty candidate who eschews social issues is the key to winning elections? Well, that’s who we ran in 2008 and he received even less votes than George Bush did in 2004.

The big-government approach — whether you call it “national greatness” or “compassionate conservatism” — is not a fighting creed, because it does not offer a meaningful alternative to Democratic Party liberalism. Republicans were able to win elections in 2002 and 2004 on national-security issues, but ultimately it was failure to pursue a politically effective domestic agenda that undid Karl Rove’s “permanent Republican majority.”

More to the point, as I’ve previously noted, independent voters are not “centrist” or “moderate” in an ideological sense. Independents are actually “low-information” voters whose political ideas are an ill-informed hodge-podge that conforms to no ideological template. There is no coherent middle-of-the-road agenda to which they subscribe.The moderate argument that Republicans lose independents because of specific conservative policy stances — on immigration, abortion, gay rights, etc. — simply does not fit the reality of who these voters are. (And there is plenty of evidence that independents tend to be conservative on social issues.)

Low-information voters often can’t name their representatives or senators, but they usually know who the president is and which party he belongs to, and if they don’t like the president (Bush is at 26% approval), his party will pay the price. The Republican Party’s electoral problems, then, are more simple than some would have us believe. The simplicity of the problem doesn’t mean the solution will be easy, but “moderation” — chasing a centrist will-o’-th’-wisp — is unlikely to be part of the solution.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

November 28, 2008

Two Americans killed in Mumbai

A father and his daughter:

The U.S. State Department said on Friday two Americans were among those killed in the attacks by militants in the Indian financial capital Mumbai.
Spokesman Gordon Duguid said the department had notified the families of the victims. He did not give details or identify the dead Americans.
Earlier, a group called the Synchronicity Foundation said two Americans who were in India as part of a meditation program had died in the attacks.
The Synchronicity Foundation said in a statement on its website that Alan Scherr and his 13-year-old daughter Naomi were killed.
It gave no details about how they were killed but said Scherr and his family had been involved in the Synchronicity community in Faber, Virginia for more than a decade.

Allahpundit has a fresh thread.

UPDATE: Five Jewish hostages killed at Chabad House.

Death toll estimated at 145.

November 28, 2008

Death by shopping

A victim of capitalism:

A worker died after being trampled and a woman miscarried when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island Wal-Mart Friday morning, witnesses said.
The unidentified worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.
Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.
“He was bum-rushed by 200 people,” said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. “They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too…I literally had to fight people off my back.”

Should have shopped the Holiday Book Sale.

November 28, 2008

Holiday Books: Black Friday Special

Only 27 shopping days until Christmas, and for today’s installment of the 2008 Holiday Book Sale, we round up the previous seven days of featured books. Let your wife go fight the crowds standing in line for those 4 a.m. Black Friday “door-buster specials” while you save time and money by shopping at Amazon.com. Great books delivered nationwide — ORDER NOW!

11/27: THE CIVIL WAR

11/26: IMMIGRATION

11/25: THOMAS SOWELL

11/24: THE GREAT DEPRESSION

11/23: BLACKLISTED BY HISTORY

11/22: MISES & HAYEK

11/21: WHITE GUILT BY SHELBY STEELE