Saturday, November 01, 2008

Conservative Litmus: George Will

Do you want to know if you're a genuine conservative? If you demand a conservative litmus test, personally, I'd leave the final verdict to George Will.

His verdict on Sarah Palin is not a good one. This editorial from him is outstanding reading.

My two favorite quotes from this are below and my commentary follows:

Did McCain, who seems to think that Palin's never having attended a "Georgetown cocktail party" is sufficient qualification for the vice presidency, lift an eyebrow when she said that vice presidents "are in charge of the United States Senate"?
-- George Will

Later in the article George Will attacks the scapegoat tactics, that have demonized Obama's fund raising:

Why is it virtuous to erect a dam of laws to impede the flow of contributions by which citizens exercise their First Amendment right to political expression? "We're now going to see," McCain warned, "huge amounts of money coming into political campaigns, and we know history tells us that always leads to scandal." The supposedly inevitable scandal, which supposedly justifies preemptive government restrictions on Americans' freedom to fund the dissemination of political ideas they favor, presumably is that Obama will be pressured to give favors to his September givers. The contributions by the new givers that month averaged $86.
-- George Will

MY COMMENT: Palin was a farcical pick, a "sugar rush" that provides instant momentum for McCain's campaign, but then crashed and burned when it was obvious that even the most basic question from the press (say a question like "what newspapers do you read?"), had her stumbling for words, and struggling to deliver a single coherent sentence.

On campaign financing, Will makes superb commentary, but missed why McCain is making noise on this issue. While we all agree, public financing of presidential campaigns, need to go the way of the dodo (public financing does far more harm than good), the reason why McCain is raising the issue isn't because he defends public financing, it is because it is setting the stage for the inevitable Republican response to this election.

That response will be: fraud, fraud, fraud.

Obama's campaign financing will receive massive scrutiny in the weeks ahead, and his use of e-Commerce to raise hundreds of millions, will be called into question, and there will be enough odd cases of fraud, that the cry that his entire victory was fraudulent will sadly gain traction in the press.

Still, Will's commentary is laser sharp in the above editorial, and ends on a "delicious" piece of trivia about potato chips. It's worthy reading, from a worthy voice in our political landscape.


ACLU & Privacy For All

It’s not often I agree with Michelle Malkin (who has written some of the stupidest things about Japanese internment camps ever).

None the less, civil liberties, are civil liberties and they must be protected for all, yes even political stuntmen like Joe the Plumber. If the claims Malkin documents are valid, then the ACLU needs to act and protect his rights.

Her editorial on this topic can be read here.

If state employees sifted through government records illegally, and then forwarded them to mainstream press in order to discredit Joe the Plumber, then this must be investigated.

I know the left are dismissing this with a shrug, and clearly the ACLU claimed they were appalled but didn’t actually do anything about it. On Bill Maher last night one liberal journalist actually claimed the state *should* violate the law, to sniff for dirt on Joe the Plumber, that this was a righteous act.

This is wrong. If we are to advocate civil rights and privacy rights (as we rightly should) then we must show our dedication to this cause, when it matters most. Civil liberties matter most, when the person you advocate for are not aligned with your own candidate or philosophy.

In short: if Joe’s privacy was violated, and if state employees broke the law for political gain, then we need to act.

I challenge DailyKOS and other leftist blogs to investigate this, and if proven to be right, then to advocate for privacy and civil liberty and criticize this violation of the law.

And yes, this blog just advocated an editorial from Huffington Post, and Michelle Malkin on the exact same day. Such is the glory of independent thought. :)


Doonsebury Out of Touch

I've ranted for years about how Doonsebury is now so hopelessly out-of-touch with those of us born after the baby-boom generation. Now I offer this proof that Doonsebury lost its relevance twenty years ago, with this startling news.

What an idiot. For someone apparently so attached to the progressive cause, a headline like this in America's largest newspaper hurts Obama's cause more than helps it. That didn't seem to bother Gary, who clearly values publicity more than actually supporting a presidential candidate.

My disdain for this goes beyond the headline though. My biggest beef with Doonsebury, is the implied message that Gen-Xers (like me) were stupid, shallow and materialistic because we didn’t always fall in line with the cause of liberal baby-boomers. This has been obvious in his work for years, where almost every new character (that were younger than the original characters), were always shallow, vain, confused and seeking advice from the orthodox-liberal characters in the strip.

Don't get me wrong, Doonsebury deserves high marks for breaking barriers in daily cartoons. He also inspired greater cartoonists like Breathed and McGruder. However, in my opinion, Doonsebury stopped being genuinely progressive and open-minded a long time ago. Now of course, headlines like the one above from USA TODAY, (a clear and obvious marketing-stunt), just makes Obama’s cause synonomous with the arrogant and self-righteous leftists of the 60’s and 70’s.

It also makes Obama and his supporters look arrogant, and cocky, and quite frankly, I take exception to that.

Apparently none of us even need to vote, because Doonsebury tells us it is already over. A cartoonist, is counting the votes, before any of us have actually cast them, how can that not be perceived as arrogant, presumptuous and just plain stupid?


Hurrah for Grace Stanchfield

We've talked a lot about "generational politics" these past few days.

I think it is important to remind ourselves just how much we owe the generations that came before us.

On that note, I thought the Post-Intelligencer had just a superb article yesterday, about a woman who is about to vote for her 19th president. You can read the full article here.

My favorite quote in the article, is her central advice on how to live such a long and happy life:

"Older people tend to complain," she says. "Don't complain. Take it as it comes. Attitude is the most important thing."


Biofuel is Worthy Research

I've had many arguments with friends, about the validity of ethanol and biofuels in general. I concede all the valid criticisms of corn-based ethanol, and that many biofuels don't truly tackle our carbon emissions.

However, I've always argued, that anything is better than oil, and that all research that weens us of oil, is valid and worthy research to explore. Research begets more research, and science can breed new understanding and techniques that can often yield discoveries that become a catalyst to bigger breakthroughs.

I have experience with cancer research for years, and I can tell you, scientific discovery requires an iterative process, and what may seem like an imperfect solution at stage one, can yield far more promising resarch in future stages.

This is why I applaud, articles and research as the one outlined below...

In what could be a major breakthrough for second generation ethanol production, German researchers have developed a new method that easily converts raw wood into sugar using a liquid ionic salt bath at room temperature followed by reaction with a solid acid resin.

I believe we so often get caught up in the issues surrounding corn ethanol and making fuel from food crops that we tend to write off biofuels as a flop. In reality, corn ethanol is a stop gap to help us develop an infrastructure for the second generation of non-food biofuels like cellulosic ethanol.

The full article can be found right here.


Generation Gaps & Israel

I criticize HuffingtonPost regularly, as being just a collection of celebrities, who cheerlead for democrats. Also I believe every time Arianna opens her mouth, the cause of progress suffers. :)

None the less, on rare occasion, smart people (rather than famous people) write intelligent things at that highly partisan site. Yesterday, I thought this editorial was quite interesting.

Much of the editorial, is just boiler-plate endorsement of Obama, but contained within that, is this important commentary on how the younger generation views Israel:

Now there is a generation growing up that is more distant from Israel than I should like. Young Jews do not automatically support Israel, and many are rightly troubled by what they learn about the ill treatment of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. No longer motivated by fear of anti-Semitism, they seek to understand what Israel stands for, not to say "my Israel, right or wrong." Without strong support among the younger generation of American Jews, Israel may lose its vital relationship with the US government.
-- Edgar Bronfman

MY COMMENT: We now have many young Jewish voters, who cannot remember the Suez crisis, and read about the peace treaty between Begin and Sadat in their history books.

The divide between orthodox and secular in Israel must be monumental right now, but I wonder if there is middle-ground between the two, and if the young generation in Israel can help to find that common ground?

I also wonder how demographics Israel's elections. How many Israelis under the age of 30, support the Likud I wonder?