Archive for January 12th, 2009

January 12, 2009

Virginity = $3.7 million

Fair market value?

Natalie Dylan, 22, claims her offer of a one-night stand has persuaded 10,000 men to bid for sex with her.
Last September, when her auction came to light, she had received bids up to £162,000 ($243,000) but since then interest in her has rocketed.
The student who has a degree in Women’s Studies insisted she was not demeaning herself.
Miss Dylan, from San Diego, California, USA, said she was persuaded to offer herself to the highest bidder after her sister Avia, 23, paid for her own degree after working as a prostitute for three weeks.
She said she had had a lot of attention from a wide range of men, including “weirdos”, “those who get really graphically sexual about what they want to do to me” and “lots of polite requests from rich businessmen”.
Miss Dylan said she did not think it was particularly significant to be willing to sell your virginity and insisted that she was happy to undergo medical tests for any doubters.

Miss Dylan should consider switching her major to economics or marketing. She has, at least, established an argument useful in abstinence education, namely that innocence has value, the supply being finite and the demand . . . well, not infinite perhaps, but substantially greater than the supply.

All right, feminists: Attack!

UPDATE: Not a feminist, and not an attack, but Alan Colmes:

And she wants to be clear on one thing: This is not about having a relationship. It’s a one night stand, and that’s it. Is one roll in the hay really worth millions of dollars?

Poor Alan — still can’t get past that obsolete Labor Theory of Value, can he? Now that he’s retired from TV, perhaps he will have time to read Mises, Hayek and Friedman.
UPDATE II: Not a feminist, but an attack on her “peculiar mercenary streak” from Paul Cella:

One could note that only in the modern age could someone claim that it is “shocking” for men to prize purity and chastity, which are exemplified above all in virginity. One might observe that the whole impetus for her offer was a keen insight into how highly prized purity still is, even refracted through a distorting lens of degradation.

One could and one might, but someone will still collect $3.7 million, eh? (Notes for planned essay: “Wheres my bailout?” Pun on “whole impetus”?)

UPDATE III: I keep watching Memeorandum, waiting for Feministing or some other feminist site to jump on Miss Dylan. The apparent indifference is beginning to seem suspicious. Has the sisterhood suddenly converted en masse to free-market economics? Is the auctioning of sex viewed as some sort of “liberation”? (Bob Dole: “Where’s the outrage?”) Meanwhile, we have to make do with the un-outraged liberal Ron Chusid:

She does find it surprising that men will pay so much. . . . What she might not realize is that the majority of bids are being placed under assumed names by Eliot Spitzer.


UPDATE IV: James Joyner points out that Natalie’s offer was reported four months ago at Digital Alchemy — and who says bloggers don’t do reporting?

UPDATE V: Linked by Jules Crittenden, Fausta Wertz and by The Week.

UPDATE VI: Still no feminist outrage, but at long last Ace of Spades has taken notice

January 12, 2009

The Edwardsville Cargo Cult

You remember how Edwardsville, Alabama — “It ain’t even a wide spot in the road” — decided it needed $375 million in federal money for “green” projects? Well, now (via Michelle Malkin) the much-mocked folks of Edwardsville (pop. 194) are defending their proposal. What caught my attention was this:

Phillips went on to discuss that in various ways, long-term planning must be incorporated into cities and towns so they will not later be faced with congestion and high-cost road construction. “By incorporating golf cart paths into community design, such as the acclaimed Peachtree City in Georgia, planned green community residents can do almost all their local errands without the use of polluting and traffic congestive cars. Having recharging stations is an integral component to success when cities consider these planning options.”

Can you say, “Cargo cult“? The fallacy:

  • Peachtree City is a wonderful place;
  • Peachtree City has Policy X; therefore
  • If we enact Policy X, we’ll be wonderful, too

Peachetree City was built as a town self-consciously upscale, an entire community of planned development, and drew lots of Delta pilots from nearby Hartsfield-Atlanta airport. The extreme stringency of zoning in Peachtree City was notorious in the region by the late 1970s. (I’m an Atlanta native.) So, yeah, a posh suburb of booming Atlanta has golf-cart paths throughout. Some relevant Census data:

You cannot zone your way to wealth. It doesn’t work that way. And if you build upscale golf-cart communities in Edwardsville, you’d better start by figuring out where you going to find affluent residents who can afford to live there, because they sure ain’t the folks living there now. And if you did attract a bunch of rich outsiders, what does it mean for your current taxpayers? That their children will have the privilege of saying to the newcomers, “Want fries with that?”

If there is a legitimate demand for upscale housing in Cleburne County, Ala. — Yankee retirees looking for low taxes, or folks working in Douglas County, Ga., who want a more rural lifestyle — the market will supply that demand without any $375 million stimulus from Uncle Sugar. As it is, you’re working on a fallacious theory of causation so shockingly primitive in its backwardness that I’m amazed any literate person would fall for it.

Golf-cart trails in Edwardsville? Oh, puh-leeze.

Much better idea: Dirt-bike trails — with mudbogs!

January 12, 2009

Good-bye, fakies

Melissa Clouthier reports on one positive result of the recession:

Perky breasts, like hemlines, are going down–reflecting the economic slump. Plastic surgeons are quite confident the problem is economic. Women just can’t afford to do what they want to do which is to have glorious, hard, round, mounds of silicone.

An overdue return to reality.

January 12, 2009

Ohio: The Open Borders State

The news that Rob Portman is running for the Ohio Senate seat being vacated by Sen. George Voinovich is being celebrated by some Republicans, including Quin Hillyer. But Portman’s C-minus grade on immigration by Numbers USA is only marginally better than the D-plus grades of Voinovich and ex-Sen. Mike DeWine.

What’s the matter with the Ohio GOP? Is there something in the water that causes testicular atrophy?

January 12, 2009

Prince Harry the Hater?

So they would have us believe:

Taking the prize in the indignation derby was British Muslim activist Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation. “I am deeply shocked and saddened at Prince Harry’s racism which upsets and offends many British Asians,” Shafiq said in a statement. “The use of this sort of racism has no justification and I am saddened by those that are advocating using this term is not racist. … It’s time for real remorse.”
Among Harry’s few defenders was Ingrid Seward of the royal-watching magazine Majesty, who told the BBC that the prince and his academy friends “were having fun and … calling each other nicknames.” She pointed out that Harry’s reddish-blond hair had earned him the nickname “Ginge or Ginger.” (In the video, the prince-lieutenant pretends to give orders to his army comrades and then asks if there are any questions, to which one of them responds: “Are your pubes ginger, too?”) Alas for Harry, “gingers” don’t have quite the kind of ethnic clout in Britain as Pakistanis these days, and the revelation of his nickname prompted no demands that anyone apologize. . . .

That’s from my latest column at Pajamas Media, and you should read the whole thing. Maybe Harry’s been swept up in that “racist backlash” we’ve been warned about.

January 12, 2009

The irrepressible P.J. O’Rourke

Even with cancer, he’s still funny:

Bringing the government in to run Wall Street is like saying, “Dad burned dinner, let’s get the dog to cook.”

Lots more where that came from.

January 12, 2009

Femiinist says ‘yes’ to extinction

You can’t make this stuff up:

Thus as I realized how the cultural imperative on starting a family was unfair to women and the poor, I felt an instinctive aversion to it. That is the emotionally conditioned response that could override our responses to needs and instincts that make us want to reproduce. And if we rule out the biological ‘instinct’, which is strictly only to have sex and not to reproduce, my case for saying no to reproduction becomes much stronger.

The La Bea Tar Pits of feminism.

Darlene at PW: “Help! My uterus is oppressing me!”

UPDATE: Ace of Spades never misses a chance to mock Feministing. Let’s face it, those idiots need to be mocked, and mocked often, by someone who knows how mock.

January 12, 2009

Kate Winslet is Golden

Golden Globes for both best supporting actress (“The Reader”) and best actress (“Revolutionary Road”) go to Kate Winslet — pictured here in “Titanic,” for which she should have gotten an Oscar for Best Costume.

January 12, 2009

In which I call bullshit on the SPLC

BUMPED (UPDATE BELOW): The Washington Post today quotes as an “expert” Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center — a tautology the debunking of which would require more effort than it’s worth, which is not very much at all. As to the substance of the Post story, the world-renowned expert Don Surber comments:

The Washington Post reported that a bad economy may spark hate groups. But the KKK thrived in the 1920s, and it almost died out in the Depression. Of course, Hitler rose in the Depression. But al-Qaida rose in the affluence of the 1990s, just like the Weather Underground rose in the 1960s.

To report on what “may” happen in the future is a job for psychics, not journalists, but if I feel like the urge after I make a run to the store, I may update this post. I’m open for suggestions in the comments as to whether I should update, but I defy any expert to predict whether I actually will do so. You’ve got about an hour before I get back from the store, so I’ll let you experts gaze into your crystal balls and read your tarot cards until then.

UPDATE: Well, I had other business to attend to when I got back from the store, but if you predicted I’d update, congratulations — you’re an expert!

Many hands make light work, as my mother-in-law says, and here is LoneWacko to lighten the load:

What Carrie Jonson forgot to mention is that the SPLC’s definition of a “hate” group is rather fluid, and it basically means any group that opposes the SPLC; the rise in their numbers is more a reflection of them lashing out at those who oppose them. Johnson also forgot to mention that Mark Potok has been caught misleading about statistics in the past. And, when discussing immigration matters, it would be helpful to point out that the SPLC has an indirect link to the Mexican government.

While watching Memeorandum for additional laborers, I’ll just add my two cents by explaining why Potok’s expertise is tautological. When did he become an expert on “hate”? When he went to work for the SPLC, and “hate” is whatever an SPLC “expert” says it is. Maybe I should put in an application with Dees & Co., so I can become an expert, too.

Also, do you think maybe one reason the SPLC is seeking publicity by hyping hate (its modus operandi) is because the recession has diminished contributions to the Church of Morris Dees? We know that the Madoff swindle has hurt major liberal donors and their pet beneficiaries. Could it be that even the SPLC’s $100-million-plus endowment has taken a hit? Is this why they’re pushing the absurd notion that — unless you give generously now to the SPLC! — America is on the verge of a Ku Klux coup d’etat?

Well, I’m no expert. But I do wonder. Don’t you?

UPDATE II: Sweetness & Light notes that the SPLC/MSM axis have been pushing the “explosion of hate” meme for a few months, including a USA Today article from October. Understand that, if Obama had lost the election, the result would have been trumpeted as proof of America’s endemic racism. Now that Obama has won in a landslide, of course, brace yourself for the backlash from America’s endemic racism.

Everything that happens is explained by America’s endemic racism. Why, just recently those evil racists killed a 14-year-old Asian honor student and a 63-year-old widow named Havenstein in the redneck stronghold of Montgomery County! Paul Mirengoff is shocked!

January 12, 2009

Praying for Conor Friedersdorf

Conor Friedersdorf and I have been going ’round for what seems like forever, and today he jumps on me about Sarah Palin:

I don’t think this is aimed at Sarah Palin detractors like me, since unlike the people that Robert Stacy McCain names — David Frum, Peggy Noonan, David Brooks — I’ve never been a George W. Bush booster, or a Republican speechwriter. Still, I’ve agreed with much of what those pundits have written about Sarah Palin, so let me say this: I neither fear nor loath the Alaska governor, and am rather impressed by her rise to head her state, but my misgivings about her qualifications and capacity to serve well in national office are quite conciously grounded, in part, in my belated recognition of just how bad a president George W. Bush has been.

So, he grants the basic point I made, that the failures of the Bush administration are a factor in the scapegoating of Sarah Palin. As long as Bush was popular and (perceived to be) successful, the whole down-to-earth, straight-shootin’ Texas cowboy style was an acceptable mode of political discourse to the Republican elite, especially when that discourse was scripted by their friends and allies. Had Palin burst upon the national stage in 2002-04, we may surmise, the moose-huntin’ Wasilla hockey mom would have been enthusiastically embraced by the Frums and Noonans of the GOP commentariat.

The ship aground
Ah, but somewhere between “Mission Accomplished” and “heckuva job, Brownie,” the wind shifted and those whose political notions are meteorological in nature have been blown in another direction.

These fair-weather helmsmen were at the rudder when the ship foundered upon the rocks, yet now they insist that they — and only they — are qualified to steer the ship to safety (assuming the hull can be sufficiently repaired to make her seaworthy once more). My contention, by contrast, is that the folks in the luxury cabins are responsible for the wreck because they ignored the warnings of the experienced deck hands who tried to tell them for years that the ship was veering dangerously off-course.

Among those old salts was one Al Regnery, author of Upstream: The Ascendance of American Conservatism (which you should buy immediately), whom I interviewed in the May issue of the American Spectator (to which you should subscribe immediately). From that interview I quote:

“You look back in the earlier times, there were no opportunities, so there were no opportunists,” Regnery says, noting how liberals heaped abusive epithets on Buckley, Goldwater, and other early conservative leaders. “Later on, you have all these people who figure it’s probably a pretty good political thing to do. And so they start talking about being conservative when they’re running [for office], but they really aren’t. So when they get to Congress or wherever they go, they’re pretty easily dissuaded.”

Exactly, and what Regnery says of politicians can be applied in some sense to certain intellectuals who boarded the S.S. Conservatism in the belief that the ship would deliver them to their desired destinations: Book contracts, think tank sinecures, White House gigs, the op-ed pages of major newspapers, lucrative speaking fees, and/or a regular spot on Jim Lehrer’s show.

Well, a fellow’s got to make a living somehow, and some folks have not merely made a living, but made a killing, by marketing themselves as “conservative intellectuals.” And as we who have gazed steadily upon the scene behold these people in 2009 uttering things quite different from their utterances of 2003 or 1998 or 1994, we are moved to ask ourselves: To them, is “conservative” a set of firm beliefs, or merely a career description?

The slow road to Damascus
Unlike some people, I came to the conservative movement not from ambition, but by persuasion. Picture me, dear reader, as I was circa January 1994: A 34-year old Democrat, happily plugging away as a writer and editor at a daily paper in Georgia, my hair down to my shoulders and a Clinton/Gore bumper sticker plastered proudly on the bumper of my ’78 Impala.

Now consider what a powerful revolution was wrought in my mind so that, by November 1996, I voted for the Libertarian presidential candidate, Harry Browne, because I couldn’t bring myself to vote for that moderate RINO sellout Bob Dole, “the Senator from Archer Daniels Midland,” a/k/a “the tax collector for the welfare state.” There was not one “road to Damascus” moment, no train to the Finland Station in my personal revolution. If in hindsight it appears to have occurred suddenly, the process as I lived through it was gradual but steady.

My mentors were chiefly people I’ve never met: Thomas Sowell, William F. Buckley, Jr., Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Richard Weaver, Ayn Rand, John Stuart Mill, Edmund Burke, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and John Locke, to name a few. A few friends offered advice (thanks, Tommy Toles, Jim Arp, Tito Perdue, and others), but there were no professors, no scholarships, no internships, no seminars; just some magazines, some columnists, and lots and lots of books.

The result? By January 1997, I was most thoroughly miserable, finding myself in increasingly furious arguments with my newsroom friends, with whom I used to chuckle amiably over jokes of the Republicans-as-Nazis variety. Out of a sense of frustration, I logged onto my new home Internet connection, located the Web site of America’s only conservative newspaper, found the e-mail address of an editor, and sent him a 5-point brevis of my resume. On thing led to another, and in November 1997, was hired as an assistant national editor at America’s only conservative newspaper.

‘I’ve served my time in Hell’
Within four years, I found myself smeared as a hatemonger by the Southern Poverty Law Center and — please pay attention — forbidden to respond to the smear. To understand this, you must understand the concept of loyalty.

I was smeared because I was employed by America’s only conservative newspaper (the SPLC would never have bothered smearing an obscure journalist with a small mainstream daily in Georgia, and certainly not when I was a Democratic journalist). This was understood by my employers, who realized that to respond to the SPLC smear would only be to publicize it, and so — chastened for having given Morris Dees “a stick to beat you with” and warned against further error — I was ordered to bite my tongue and ignore it.

Well, welcome to the Internet age. Over the course of five years, the smears were expanded and elaborated so as to encompass those who had ordered me not to defend my good name. The smears were disseminated across the Internet, repeated (with laughable errors of addition) by liberal bloggers, and these smears were then circulated, with gossipy augmentation, by certain disgruntled employees of the same newspaper. No point in naming names, when the point is that I was maligned by fellow employees whose frustrated ambitions motivated them to attack the same newspaper that employed me, when loyalty required me to remain silent.

Which is more important, the reputation of one journalist, or the preservation of America’s only conservative newspaper? Duty and honor sometimes require a heavy price, and others have paid far more than I was asked.

But — oh! — the bitterness. The rarest sentence in the English language is, “Gee, Stacy, why don’t you tell us what you really think?” And yet here I was, portrayed to the world as a rank bigot, my employers smeared by association, and I not allowed to make any explanation. There is a bit of doggerel popularized by GIs during World War II that captures how I feel looking back:

When we get to heaven,
Saint Peter we will tell:
“Another Marine reporting, sir —
I’ve served my time in Hell!”

The religious reference is perhaps appropriate here, because that experience certainly made me reliant on faith in a serious way. There was a point, in April 2006, when I found myself praying for angels.

A Ned Flanders moment
The Psalmist appeals to God as “the lord of hosts,”and the “hosts” refers to the angels who serve Him. And I felt myself at that low ebb where, powerless to help myself, I needed some kind of miraculous intervention:

They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty . . .

Well, God can answer a prayer quite literally, and you wouldn’t believe it if I told you, but “some have entertained angels unawares.” Pardon me for what I call a “Ned Flanders moment.” I am but a wretched sinner, yet I have faith, and I know that things don’t happen by accident. God rebukes and chastens those He loves, and there was a purpose in my chastisement.

At some point, reflecting on the smears against me, I said to myself, “Wait a minute! How dare they accuse me of ‘hate’? Hate is against my religion.” Pride and anger can get the best of me, but . . . hate?

No. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” In the whole Bible, there is perhaps no commandment more difficult than that. Certain as I was that, whatever the SPLC claimed, I had never been so foolish as to hate entire races of people — especially since I have so many friends of so many different races –yet it occurred to me that in my resentment and wrath, I had fallen far short of loving my enemies. Had I said any prayers for Heidi Beirich? Or George Archibald? Or any number of other people I felt had wronged me?

Well, though she still occasionally throws a smear my way (hey, she’s got to make a living, too) Heidi Beirich is my Facebook friend and I’ve promised her that the next time I’m visiting kinfolk in Montgomery, we’ll go out and sing karaoke together. And at CPAC 2007, when the ballroom was packed to fire-code maximum for a big speech, I intervened to make sure that Max Blumenthal (also Thomas Schaller and Garance Franke-Ruta) got inside.

Ask yourself this: Does anybody really want enemies? I wish that everyone in the world was my friend, and if somebody is my enemy, is that their fault or mine? If I’m faithful — doing good even to people who hate me — it can’t be my fault, can it? So if someone is my enemy, it is by their choice and not mine.

The gospel truth
After the crisis of April 2006 passed, there came a time when I found myself granted liberty to talk to one who had chosen to be my enemy, and I told Max Blumenthal: “I’m too lazy to be evil.”

That was my only quote in his story and, as a colleague remarked, it was the only thing in the whole story that she knew to be the gospel truth. Evil is just too strenuous — all that plotting and scheming and grudge-holding and trying to keep track of your lies — and life is too short to be lived that way. Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

Then there came that morning a year ago when America’s only conservative newspaper decided it wanted to be something else, and it was if God said, “Go!” I’d prayed to get that job, and I prayed some more before quitting, so I certainly can’t lament that I’ve missed the opportunity to work for Jeffrey “Real Journalistic Standards” Birnbaum (who nevertheless deserves to be remembered in prayer).

And thus, back around to Conor Friedersdorf. When last we left him, Conor was making The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage, and now he is back at work on another long-term project of his, The Conservative Case Against Sarah Palin. Clearly, my brothers and sisters, he is a man standing in the need of prayer. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof is The Conservative Case for the Re-Election of Barack Obama.

Is Conor too far gone in his wickedness to be beyond hope of redemption? Is he simply a bad seed bearing evil fruit? Nay, my brethren. He has gotten in with a bad crowd, and followed some of those Pharisees who have seduced him, the blind leading the blind. Yet if he would open his eyes, he might still avoid falling in the ditch with them. Do not condemn him too harshly, dear brothers, for such were some of ye once, and I myself was once that foul and loathsome thing, a Democrat.

So, just as we know that Sarah Palin is praying for Katie Couric and Christopher Buckley and Andrew Sullivan, we must all pray for Conor Friedersdorf. Don’t doubt that your prayer will be answered, but remember — as I had to explain to one of my Christian conservative friends who was praying for John McCain’s election in October — that “no” is an answer, too. Was Conor foreknown and predestinated? Or is he doomed? Either way, he needs your prayer.

Love your enemies. It’ll drive ’em nuts.