Archive for February 5th, 2009

February 5, 2009

First, they came for the pythons . . .

(BUMPED; UPDATES BELOW) Democrats in Congress are pushing legislation that would devastate the hobby — and damage the small businesses — of a group of American hobbyists: Snake collectors.

The Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act (HR669), sponsored by Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam.) and co-sponsored by several House Democrats including Alcee Hastings and Ron Klein of Florida, has got the “reptile geeks” up in arms:

If passed as written this bill will BAN the import, purchase, sale, trade and breeding of many, many reptiles and amphibians… including Boa, Python and Eunectes [anacondas -ed.]. If this bill passes it will destroy the reptile community and industry overnight!

The U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers says this bill, although promoted as an “environmental” measure, is being pushed in response to an alarmist report, “Broken Screens,” published in 2007 by the animal-rights group Defenders of Wildlife. In their petition to stop HR669, USARK says:

— There is NO evidence to support the premise that the continued import of Boa, Python & Eunectes would negatively impact the economy, environment, or human or animal species health.
— Broken Screens, the report which is the basis for the writing of H.R. 669, is not a science based document. It is a propaganda piece produced by a radical environmentalist group in league with the Animal Rights Movement.
— The so called Risk Assessment measures in this bill take a Guilty Until Proven Innocent approach that flies in the face of reason and promotes prejudicial treatment of all animals listed. — Citizens of the United States are appalled that well funded special interest groups are able to promote fiction as fact and we demand Boa, Python and Eunectes be removed from H.R. 669.

I was alerted to HR669 by a well-informed source — my 16-year-old son, Jim, whose snake collection includes the ball python pictured above.

As with CPSIA — which threatens independent American businesses with “National Bankruptcy Day” if it goes into effect — HR669 looks like another example of the Democratic congressional majority’s appetite for unthinking regulation that creates burdens for businesses and individuals.

If the Republican Party’s new chairman Michael Steele is looking for an issue to move forward, maybe the “reptile geeks” are a constituency worth cultivating. “Save Our Snakes” might be an unlikely rallying cry, so how about: “Don’t Tread On Me!”

UPDATE (SUN. 2/1 PM): Just got off the phone with Andrew Wyatt, president of the U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers, who says that the H.R. 669 ban isn’t just about snakes, but will also affect other species of exotic pets.

“There’s all kinds of animals involved in it,” said Wyatt. “It’s an attempt to ban almost every animal that’s not native to the United States.”

Wyatt certainly can’t be accused of being “anti-environment.” A lifetime outdoorsman, he runs Outer Banks Wild, an eco-tourism and education enterprise based in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. “I love my environment — I live in the outdoors,” Wyatt says.

However, Wyatt says ordinary pro-environment activists like him are trying to raise public awareness of the “very radical agenda” of the Human Society of the United States, which he calls a “powerful animal-rights extremist” group. HSUS is “hiding behind the facade” of mainstream concerns about “kittens and puppies” while actually pursuing radicalism, Wyatt says. And, he says, HSUS is attempting to ban boas and pythons because that exploits “prejudice against reptiles.”

“They are anti-human. . . . It’s crazy,” Wyatt says.

UPDATE II: Welcome Reptile Geeks!

UPDATE III: Andrew Roth hates snakes, but guess what he hates more?

UPDATE IV (Thurs. 2/5): Linked by the F3 Coalition. Just heard the Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) “just introduced a similar bill in the Senate S373.” My source says:

[A]fter squandering untold millions on projects to save the Everglades . . . HSUS has convinced [Nelson] that he can be the Hero of the Everglades and save his legacy by championing this high profile but meritless Bill. There is no credible scientific evidence to support wasting taxpayers money to destroy thousands of families and small businesses with this issue.

Conservative activists have informed Hill staffers about this effort, and we may start seeing action soon.

February 5, 2009

‘Grassroots Woodstock’

Both Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin will speak at CPAC Feb. 26-28. Hmmm. Guess they couldn’t get any really big names like David Brooks or Kathleen Parker.

Wait until my Samoan attorney hears about this . . .

February 5, 2009

Do the Porky!

New dance sensation sweeping the nation!

(Thanks to Aaron S. in the graphics department.)

February 5, 2009

Smoking babies

Ann Coulter fisks the New York Times:

Thus, the Times writes warmly of single mothers, always including an innocent explanation: “Many of these women followed a similar and familiar pattern in having their first child: They planned to marry, found they hadn’t by their 30s, looked some more and then decided to have a child without a husband.” At which point, a stork showed up with their babies.
So apparently, single motherhood could happen to anyone!
How about: These smokers followed a similar and familiar pattern, they planned never to start smoking, found themselves working long nights at the law firm and then decided to have a cigarette to stay alert.

(H/T: James Bates.) Pregnancy is not a random accident. The demographic distribution of the phenomenon follows discernible patterns. The key to understanding the NYTimes approach is to think of the Times writer as standing six inches from a Seurat painting, looking at the dabs of paint, afraid to stand back and describe the overall pattern.

February 5, 2009

CBO: ‘It Won’t Work’

Great minds think alike:

President Obama’s economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.
CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.

Who told you this first, huh?

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: Harry Reid says he has enough GOP Senators to pass the Weimar America Act of 2009. Michelle Malkin is on the case.
February 5, 2009

You thought you’d heard the last word on the Culture11 Hindenburg?

Richard Spencer of Taki’s Magazine lays the knife deep in the bones of the decaying carcass:

In the end, Culture 11 wasn’t just focused on all the boring non-culture I associated with the late-90s, but had itself become a kind of dot-com company, replete with ill-informed funders, an ill-defined product, massive capital expenditures, and a guru-like CEO who’s in fact naïve and buffoonish.

At last night’s CEI open house, I talked to a former Culture11 staffer or three, and one of them was keen to inform me that they had a gut feeling something was badly wrong with the project, but were in no position to fix it.

UPDATE: Scott Payne says farewell, and also does a roundup of reaction at The Moderate Voice. Anyone else who feels the need to throw a shovel-full of dirt on the casket, e-mail me the link. I wouldn’t want to miss anything.

UPDATE II: Flame war in the comment field? I’ve done a series of columns for TakiMag, but nobody’s asked me to write about 9/11 Trutherism, and . . . well, I write for money.
February 5, 2009

The Doomsayer-in-Chief

Barack Obama, bidding fair to become the 21st century’s Jimmy Carter, lays a heavy downer on us via the the Washington Post op-ed page:

By now, it’s clear to everyone that we have inherited an economic crisis as deep and dire as any since the days of the Great Depression.

(Via Memeorandum.) Read the rest of it if you want, but the key word is “inherited”: Blame Republicans First!

Amazing that our new president can find time in his busy schedule to pen a 767-word op-ed column. What further wonders can we expect from the creator of the Department of Unicorns and Rainbows?

UPDATE: “So much for ‘rejecting the politics of fear’ “

UPDATE II: Michael Goldfarb on “The Audacity of Panic.”

February 5, 2009

Free markets, free beer

The Competitive Enterprise Institute held an open house Wednesday night to show off their new offices at 1899 L Street. Policy wonks, journalists and sundry activists of the free-market right turned out for the wine and cheese and wine, wine, wine. The reception was scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m., but when I left at 10, the soiree was still going strong. Photos via the famous BarbieCam(TM):

American Spectator managing editor J.P. Freire and Heritage Foundation‘s David Barnes.

Sean Higgins of Investor’s Business Daily and Jeremy Lott of the Capital Research Center.

Jamin Guenette of IHS, Matthew Vadum of the Capital Research Center and Franklin Raff of Radio America.

Center is Nick Gillespie of Reason magazine.

Kevin Mooney of the Washington Examiner and Nicki Kurokawa of the Cato Institute.

At right is CEI Communication Director Christine Hall.

CEI Director of Development Al Canata, Derek Hunter of First Friday, Garrett Murch of Townhall.com, James Dellinger of the Examiner, and David Barnes.

CEI’s John Berlau, Brookes Fellow Lene Johansen, and Christa Davis of Corporate Press.

February 5, 2009

ACORN fighting over the spoils

ACORN is riven by an internal feud, investigative journalist Matthew Vadum reports at The American Spectator:

When the extortion and vote fraud conglomerate ACORN isn’t staging sit-ins to pressure banks to lend to high-risk borrowers, busing schoolchildren to the nation’s capital to protest proposed tax cuts, campaigning for big government policies, or raising the dead from battleground-state cemeteries and leading them to the voting booth, it is at war with itself.
Months after the radical left-wing group gave the bum’s rush to disgraced founder Wade Rathke last summer, leaders of the normally cohesive Association of Community Organizations for Reform’s network began aligning themselves with internal factions.
The process accelerated in October when ACORN national board members Karen Inman and Marcel Reid were unceremoniously booted from the board for asking too many questions. They wanted to know more about a nearly $1 million embezzlement that senior ACORN officials covered up for eight years. . . .

Read the whole thing.

February 5, 2009

NY Times editor mocks Ann Coulter?

Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, gave this mocking answer to a reader’s question in an online chat:

Lunch at the Four Seasons is always a high point. Today it’s my weekly tête-à-tête with Bill O’Reilly. He’s really not the Neanderthal blowhard he plays on TV. He’s totally in on the joke. After a couple of cosmopolitans, he does a wicked impression of Ann Coulter. We usually spend the lunch working up outlandish things he can say about The New York Times and making fun of Fox executives. (Once Rupert Murdoch showed up for a lunch date, and O’Reilly had to hide under the table for half an hour.)

(Via Newsbusters.) I’d love to give Ann Coulter a chance to respond to this cheap shot. Unfortunately, Miss Coulter continues to deny my requests for a phone interview, so . . .

UPDATE: Speaking of the New York Times, Tom Kuntz takes notice of my Splice Today essay comparing Miss Coulter to Hunter S. Thompson.