Archive for January 6th, 2009

January 6, 2009

Britney’s titneys

I have no idea if the photo is real, but it’s definitely not safe for work. In this kind of economy, you don’t want to risk getting fired, so you probably shouldn’t click that link. I mean, the odds are it’s a PhotoShop fake and you wouldn’t want to get fired for that.

UPDATE: In thematically related news:

“Not only is she the most amazing actress in the entire world, she’s nude in a lot of her films which shows she’s just fearless.”

Via WeSmirch.

January 6, 2009

Breitbart’s Big Hollywood debuts

The site went live this morning and there’s nothing (yet) that knocks me out, but it’s a work-in-progress. I interviewed Andrew Breitbart last month:

The content of “Big Hollywood” will be a “constant evolution,” Breitbart says. He recalls that the Huffington Post was originally conceived as a group blog for Arianna’s celebrity friends, but has since “developed organically” into a more news-oriented venture with political commentary and only occasional contributions by big names. “It really is hard to look at that site and see it as a celebrity blog,” he says.
And while he expects “Big Hollywood” to undergo a similarly slow process of development, the one aspect of HuffPo that Breitbart’s new site won’t emulate is the vitriol. “That’s not my style,” he says, declaring that the blog will strive for “a more tolerant tone.” Tolerance? In Hollywood? What a concept!

The “organic development” model is the only sensible way to do things on the Internet. You start the site with some particular vision in mind, see what works and what doesn’t, do more more of what works and drop those things that don’t. What Big Hollywood is on Jan. 6 is probably but a shadow of what it will be on July 6.

BTW, Andrew, if you want to add some kind snarking-on-paparazzi-plagued-starlets feature — or maybe occasional essays on the cultural signficance of Christina Hendricks’ cleavage — just let me know. And good luck!

January 6, 2009

Blackwell ‘dangerously incompetent’?

Ken Blackwell’s campaign for RNC chairman comes under anonymous attack. Suspects? Given what I know about South Carolina GOP politics — there is nothing dirtier this side of Chicago than a Republican primary in South Carolina — my suspicion would naturally fall on the Caton Dawson camp. But that’s probably unfair, and certainly there is no direct evidence to support my suspicion. It could be the Duncan people or any of the other rivals. Whoever is behind it, I hate to see oppo-research smear tactics deployed in intramural combat.

January 6, 2009

Gaza update

Jules Crittenden suspects Glenn Greenwald of self-parody, although Greenwald’s latest is actually one of his more rational exhalations. Perhaps his encounter with Hugh Hewitt steadied him. Or maybe he saw the light via the Sonny Corleone analogy. At any rate, there is no shortage of cruel irony in the latest news:

At least thirty people were reportedly killed and 53 wounded in an explosion in a UN-run school in the town of Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, according to Palestinians. The IDF issued a statement saying the school grounds were used by terrorists to fire mortar shells at the troops.
Troops inside Gaza The infantrymen returned mortar shell fire into the school grounds, the army said. Defense officials told The Associated Press that booby-trapped bombs in the school triggered the secondary explosions which killed scores of Palestinians on the site.

So, the United Nations builds a school in Gaza, which Hamas converts into a mortar base. (Michelle Malkin shows that this has been going on for months, and Ace has related thoughts.) As good an argument for defunding the U.N. as I’ve heard lately (of course, there are no bad arguments for defunding the U.N.). Other recent items:

Muqata has comprehensive coverage.

January 6, 2009

Justice by percentage

Ta-Nehisi Coates gets interviewed on NPR and James Poulos reflects:

Ta-Nehisi was challenged to affirm that a Senate which lacked even one black Senator, in this day and age, was by definition an unjust and/or unacceptable Senate. . . . “Okay,” I told the radio evenly, “imagine I grant that a Senate without any black and/or African(-)American Senators is unjust and/or unacceptable. Why doesn’t the minimum threshhold then become two such Senators? Or three? Or…?”

Or how about 12? If 12% of the U.S. population is black, and the Senate is a representative institution, then why aren’t blacks equally represented? And why aren’t there 51 women senators? Why don’t we have a Senate that “looks like America”?

We are once again back to the liberal fetish of equality, rooted in the hidden premise that equality and justice are the same thing, the obverse of which is that wherever one finds inequality, one has also found injustice. And James discovers CNN giving voice to Latinos who assert that they are underrepresented in the Obama Cabinet.

The unexamined “truth” that equality and justice are synonymous is pernicious enough when it involves ethnic mau-mauing over political spoils. Egalitarianism is actually more dangerous when applied to economics, as Ronald Reagan once wryly observed:

We have so many people who can’t see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion that the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one.

And it is this same egalitarian fallacy, I have argued, that motivates both feminism and the gay-rights movement. Mere liberty — the freedom to live their lives with a minimum of government interference — will not do. Rather, they demand that the coercive power of government be applied to rearrange society for their benefit.

Believe me, sir, those who attempt to level, never equalize. In all societies, consisting of various descriptions of citizens, some description must be uppermost. The levelers, therefore, only change and pervert the natural order of things; they load the edifice of society by setting up in the air what the solidity of the structure requires to be on the ground.

The egalitarian fallacy rears its ugly head not merely in complaints of underrepresentation, but in overrepresentation, as in the ADL’s fearfulness that some people suspect Jews of controlling Hollywood. Well, they do — so what? And, to bring the subject back around to the Senate, while Jews are less than 2% of the U.S. population, they are 14% of the Senate. My own ethnic group, redneckus Americanus, might be said to be overrepresented among NASCAR drivers and country music stars. Is this evidence of a fiendish hillbilly conspiracy?

When children are thwarted, they are wont to complain, “That’s not fair!” And as my parents inevitably replied, “Whoever told you life was supposede to be fair?” There is something puerile in the complaint that every inequality is unfair. Political maturity — statesmanship — requires a certain indifference to such complaints, and if Obama can resist pressure to apportion his appointments by quota, he will deserve praise for his statesmanship.

January 6, 2009

Vive La Difference!

The amazing Helen Rittelmeyer enthusiastically embraces the radical notion that men and women are different:

How do I know that gender differences matter? Gay men told me so. The very fact that people think of hetero- and homosexuality as inflexible sexual preferences tells us that gender isn’t just any characteristic, but a fundamental one. . . .
A culture that cannot acknowledge gender differences has hobbled itself: it can’t speak the truth and, if we know one thing about truth, it’s that it always comes out one way or another. If we can’t talk about gender, we can’t develop helpful ways to deal with it; if we can’t deal with it, we guarantee that, when gender differences do surface, it will be in unhealthy ways. If gay marriage consigns us to that slow, unpleasant declension — and it does — it’s something to think twice about.
Advocates of gay marriage may think they’re showing due conservative respect to the institution of marriage, but, however much deference we give the institution of marriage, the fact of gender deserves infinitely more.

Miss Rittelmeyer is one of the few intellectuals who sees this issue with clear common sense. More often, the confrontation between common sense and intellectualism reminds me of a memorable scene from “No Time for Sergeants”:

Like Private Stockdale, I’m from Georgia.

UPDATE: Donald Douglas at American Power gets in on the debate, as does liberal Freddie at L’Hote. There’s even a thread at Memeorandum.

January 6, 2009

RNC chair debate

(RE-BUMPED; UPDATES BELOW)
Republicans need to have a “shareholder revolt,” Ken Blackwell told a standing-room-only crowd Monday at the National Press Club, where the former Ohio secretary of state was one of six candidates engaged in a debate for the Republican National Committee chairmanship.

Blackwell, who has been endorsed by several major conservative leaders, is widely considered a favorite for the RNC post. He is challenging challenging incumbent chairman Mike Duncan, as are Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis, South Carolina GOP Chairman Caton Dawson, Tennessee GOP activist Chip Saltsman and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele.

The debate was liveblogged by “Buddha Riggs,” a guestblogger at LOTUS. Also liveblogging was David Weigel (Part I, Part II, Part III). More than 500 people turned out for the debate, which was emceed by Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.

Some highlights of the debate:

  • In his introduction, Norquist got a laugh when he noted that Obama’s handpicked choice for DNC chairman was “Tim Kaine, the tax-raising governor of Virginia.” Norquist noted that this debate was the first of its kind, so “everybody here is part of a historic first.”
  • After Dawson had talked about his party work in South Carolina, Blackwell got a laugh when he said, “We know how hard it is to win elections in that swing state of South Carolina.”
  • Norquist asked the candidates who their favorite president was and everyone said Ronald Reagan. “You all got that one right,” Norquist said drily.
  • Blackwell compared Bush’s bailout policies to Herbert Hoover, suggesting the bailouts would “pave the way” for even bigger boondoggles by Obama.
  • Asked to name the biggest Republican mistake of recent years, Duncan said the Iraq war.

Who won the debate? Some conservatives I talked to afterwards said they thought Saltsman — who managed Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign — “exceeded expectations” with a very smooth, concise message. Another told me he thinks Duncan will surprise everyone by retaining the chairmanship. And another said he thinks the current situation favors Anuzis, whom he described as “everyone’s second choice.” I scored a brief post-debate interview with Anuzis:

I also caught Michael Steele talking to a TV crew:

And here is Patrick Ruffini talking about the debate, during which he and Rebuild the Party colleague Mindy Finn got to ask questions.

Everyone agreed the debate, carried live on C-SPAN, was a splendid idea. “I think this is great . . . to let the grassroots see what’s going on,” said Texas RNC member Tina Benkiser, who has endorsed Blackwell, along with such heavy hitters on the Right as David Keene, Al Regnery, Ed Meese, Richard Viguerie, James Dobson, Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins, and Brent Bozell.

Eight TV cameras and scores of reporters and bloggers were on hand for the debate. Among those I saw were John Tabin, Philip Klein and J.P. Freire of the American Spectator, Amanda Carpenter of Townhall.com, Ben Smith of the Politico, Jon Henke of the Next Right, David Weigel of the Economist, John Gizzi of Human Events, Penny Starr of CNS, Tom LoBianco and Ralph Z. Hallow of the Washington Times, and Mary Katharine Ham of the Weekly Standard.

Pictured (L-R): Phil Klein, MK Ham, John Tabin.

Ralph Z. Hallow with Texas RNC member Tina Benkiser.

Among the more piquant (and accurate) characterizations of the current state of the GOP:

“Some people are pissed off at [Americans for Tax Reform President] Grover [Norquist]. Some people are pissed off at the Conservative Steering Committee. Some people are pissed off at [current RNC chair] Mike Duncan. Some people are pissed off at social conservatives. The social conservatives are pissed at leaders in Congress,” said a Republican consultant who has worked with the RNC. “Everyone is basically pissed.”

Hey: Don’t blame me — I voted for Bob Barr!

Michelle Malkin is certainly “pissed off at Grover” :

Will the next RNC chairman remain silent about Norquist’s security-undermining strategic alliances? Will the next RNC chairman openly reject the same race-card-playing strategies that have corrupted a money-grubbing party establishment? Or will the field of candidates kiss the ring and hold their tongues?

Allah has a roundup, and Little Miss Attila wonders, “Why are we doing this?” The Washington Times reports:

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, an accomplished speaker, and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, not well known for dazzling performances, each repeatedly drew sustained applause and appreciative laughter during Monday´s debate among the six candidates for the Republican National Committee chairman post. . . .
The debate produced more entertainment value than any national party chairman contest in recent memory.
Candidate Robert M. “Mike” Duncan, the incumbent national chairman, shocked the audience when he said “the Iraq war and its prosecution” was the worst mistake of the Bush administration in an answer to moderator Grover Norquist’s inquiry.

Dana Milbank in the Washington Post:

The half a dozen men vying to be Republican National Committee chairman assembled at the National Press Club for a debate yesterday, but it quickly turned into a duel over who could best disparage their president and their party. Even the incumbent chairman, Mike Duncan, who is running for another term, warned that “if we don’t do something about it, we’re going to be the permanent minority in this country.”
Luckily, all six RNC candidates agreed on a solution to the party’s woes: They would say Ronald Reagan’s name over and over, as if it were a tantric incantation.

Notice how Milbank puts a pejorative spin on Republicans criticizing Bush; now imagine what Milbank would write if any of them had praised Bush. Well, that’s the kind of snark to be expected, I suppose. Liberals haven’t had a president they could be proud of since JFK. Jimmy Carter sucked beyond words, and Bill Clinton is not exactly a name to conjure with. So the fact that nearly all Republicans today consider Reagan a lodestar is something that liberals routinely ridicule — even as the self-same liberals prostrate themselves in idolatry of Obama.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers. And thanks to Joan of Argghh for this comment:

You could put every member of the RNC leadership in a big, canvas sack, close it up, hit it with a stick, and be completely certain you’d hit the right person.

Perhaps the GOP should try this method. Not that it would necessarily produce a better chairman, but surely we can all agree that politicians getting hit with a stick is a good idea.

PREVIOUSLY: Just got back from the debate for Republican National Committee chairman, sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform. I’ve got photos, videos, and lots of notes — but hey, conservatives don’t do reporting, right? Will begin uploading, etc., in a few minutes. Stand by for updates.