Good News, Bad News

Good News: Apparently Barack Obama really IS the Second Coming of J.C.

Bad News: J.C. doesn't stand for "Jesus Christ," it stands for "Jimmy Carter."

Don't believe me? Check out the quotes at Roger Kimball's blog:

Barack Hussein Obama, May 2008: “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times . . . and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.”

James Earl Carter, July 1979: “I ask Congress to give me authority for mandatory conservation and for standby gasoline rationing. . . . And I’m asking you for your good and for your Nation’s security to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel. Every act of energy conservation like this is more than just common sense — I tell you it is an act of patriotism.”

Where to start with this? It seems that Barack Obama believes that the rest of the world thinks that we drive too much, we eat too much, and we consume too much energy to keep our homes comfortable. And apparently, he cares so much about the rest of the world's opinion that he thinks we should institute Carter-style austerity measures so that they will like us better. I have one word in response for Senator Obama:


Actually, that's a polite euphemism for the one-word response, although it also begins with a B. Even if we all stopped driving our cars completely, ate a diet of bread and water and opened all our windows to keep our homes at the same temperature as the outside world, the rest of the world wouldn't like us one whit more. And frankly, I don't give a damn what the rest of the world thinks of us, and neither do most other Americans. If they don't like us, they can go suck eggs.

The Obama quote is troubling in one other respect, because it tells us the kinds of things that he would do if he is given the power to do so. It also tells us what he thinks the proper relationship is between the State and its citizens. Like many on the Left, he believes that the State should make decisions for the citizens because they are not wise enough to make those decisions for themselves. You'll drive less, you'll eat less, you'll shiver or sweat more, not because you choose to do so but because the State decides that you should.

There's a word for this kind of system: Fascism.

It will be Liberal Fascism, fascism with a smiley face, fascism "for your own good," but it will still be fascism. And if you are an American who believes in personal liberty, that's a Very Bad Thing.

For example, the State will provide your health care, but in return, you will be required to take appropriate measures to keep yourself healthy and thus minimize health care costs to the State. Abuse of tobacco or alcohol or drugs, obesity, etc., will not just be personal failings but will be Crimes Against the State, since you will be causing damage to State Property (that is, yourself). You will no longer have the option of being out of shape, since that would increase the State's costs. A cadre of dietitians and physical trainers will make sure that you become healthy, whether you want to or not. Hey, what do you want, "free" health care or freedom?

You probably think I'm joking or exaggerating for effect. I'm not, not in the slightest. Things are already heading in that direction in Great Britain, which has nationalized health care and won't give people certain treatments if they have done things that caused their own health problems. They also won't give fertility treatment to women that they deem to be overweight.

Do you really want to elect someone who wants to take us down that path?

And I strongly recommend Jonah Goldberg's book Liberal Fascism. The earlier link is to his web page about the book at the National Review Online site. The book will open your eyes to the nature of Liberal Fascism in America. (And if you think that fascism is a right-wing phenomenon, then you really need to read at least the book's introduction, titled "Everything You Know About Fascism Is Wrong.")


Just Because You Can...

Doesn't necessarily mean you should. Case in point: The Lindt Creation 70% Cherry & Chili dark chocolate bar. I bought one out of curiosity and a (slight) sense of adventurousness. The verdict: I won't buy two. It's a 70% cacao dark chocolate bar with chocolate mousse and cherry & chili fillings, as the cover art puts it. It shows a couple of cherries and a red chili pepper, so there are no surprises here. It's not terribly hot, but it does have a bit of a bite to it. After trying it, I decided that chili peppers and chocolate aren't a good match. Somewhere, of course, there is a pepper-belly who loves Habaneros and Scotch Bonnets and thinks this candy is just the thing. But that's not me.

I'm just hoping that the new Indiana Jones movie won't be the film equivalent of a cherry-chili filled chocolate bar. The initial reviews from Cannes were better than lukewarm, but not quite superlative. After a 19-year wait, the expectations are going to be very high, because the initial trilogy was so popular. Raiders of the Lost Ark was an instant movie classic, and while Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was somewhat of a disappointment to some, most critics were pleased with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The big question is whether the new movie will be like the first and third installments of the series, or more like the second one. I guess I'll find out next weekend.


Oddly Enough!

Last night while driving to work, I was listening to the Tampa Bay Rays game on the radio and the announcers mentioned this odd story from yesterday:

Asdrubal Cabrera of the Cleveland Indians had a pretty good doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays. In the first game, he hit a home run. In the second game, he pulled off an unassisted triple play, only the 14th time it has been done in major league history (going back to 1876). Cabrera caught a line drive, stepped on second base for the second out and then tagged the runner to complete the triple play. Unfortunately for the Tribe, they still lost the game.

Now, here's where it gets odd: The Indians have had three unassisted triple plays pulled against them; the last time it occurred was in 1968 by Ron Hansen of the Washington Senators. Today, Hansen is an advance scout for the Philadelphia Phillies. Guess where he was? Yup, he was there at the ballpark in Cleveland and saw Cabrera's fielding gem. That's probably the first time that someone who has pulled off an unassisted triple play has seen someone else perform the same feat at the ballpark.

Oddly enough!


Kim Jong Il Has Competition

I've long thought that North Korea has the most irrational, xenophobic military dictatorship in the world, but the military junta running Myanmar (aka Burma) seems to want to challenge Kim Jong Il for the title. Almost a week after Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Nargis sent a 12-foot wall of water up to 25 miles inland across a large swath of the Irrawaddy River Delta, killing around 23,000 people with more than 40,000 still missing, the junta is dragging their feet in allowing international aid workers to come in to help the suffering Burmese people in the affected area. They just confiscated the first United Nations aid supplies that arrived in Burma, causing the U.N. to suspend further assistance at this time.

The U.S. Navy has ships and aircraft nearby with large amounts of relief supplies, but so far, Myanmar's isolationist government doesn't want them. Better that their people should suffer and die than that they should get aid from the Americans. Contrast that with what happened in Indonesia after the tsunami a few years ago: The U.S. Navy was on the scene providing aid to survivors within two days, because the Indonesians were not going to cut off their nose to spite their face by refusing American aid.

In the Nargis flood zone, the roads have all been washed out, and the only way to get aid to the victims is by air. The U.S. Navy's helicopters would be the best way to do that, but the junta doesn't want to allow a foreign military force into its territory, because that might cause a loss of face in front of their people.

I had originally heard that the Myanmar government gave no warning to its people, and that the only ones who knew the storm was coming were those who listened to foreign radio. I thought that was nothing short of criminal. It appears that they may have given some warning to the people, but it was too little and too late. In the 21st Century, when we have satellite tracking to tell us where storms are going, it's just unbelievable that the Myanmar regime did nothing to try to save their people from the wrath of the storm. And it's even more unbelievable that they are preventing foreign do-gooders from alleviating their suffering.


NC Primary: Hillary's Eight Belles Moment?

The filly was an underdog, but she ran a spirited race until Big Brown turned it on at the end and finished four-and-a-half lengths ahead at the finish line. Moments later, she collapsed to the track, both of her front ankles broken, and she had to be euthanized. I'm talking about Eight Belles' performance at the Kentucky Derby, but I could just as easily be talking about Hillary Clinton's performance yesterday in North Carolina, where Barack Obama came up with a big double-digit win.

There had been some hope among Hillary's supporters that she could have made it closer, but the state's demographics made it unlikely that she could win. More than 90% of the black voters in the state voted for Obama, and he also did well in North Carolina's college towns, allowing him to win even though he polled poorly among working-class white voters. His performance yesterday did little to alleviate doubts about his ability to get that demographic group to vote for him in the general election in November.

So is it all over for Hillary? The delegate math would seem to suggest that it is. She will do well in the upcoming primaries in West Virginia and Kentucky, but for her to catch Obama, she needs something like 68% of the remaining delegates, according to what I heard Karl Rove say on Fox News last night. That's unlikely to happen. She may try to stagger to her feet on those broken ankles, but in the end, the needle awaits her.


Domo Arigato, Mr. Interneto

That naughty Internet got a Japanese civil servant into a spot of trouble: Japanese official demoted for 780,000 hits on porn sites

A Japanese civil servant was demoted for logging more than 780,000 hits on pornographic Web sites on his office computer over nine months, an official said Friday.

The man, a Kinokawa city government employee in western Japan, visited porn sites from June 2007 to February 2008, city official Tomiko Waki said. The man's name was withheld.

His name may have been withheld, but he's a Hiro to me.

The article notes that clicking on certain porn sites generates multiple hits in the computer's browser record, so he may not have visited 780,000 different web pages. That's a very impressive amount of goofing off, one that most of us could only dream of. His greatest problem may not be having to explain to his wife why he got demoted and took a $190 a month pay cut, but why he was on those web sites. And given the extremely kinky nature of Japanese porn (don't ask!), there's bound to have been some pretty bizarre stuff on that list of web sites that he visited.

Banzai, Mr. Name Withheld, banzai! Those who are about to surf salute you!


Who's Having The Worst Week?

Barack Obama or Roger Clemens?

Actually, that was a trick question. The correct answer actually is Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "DC Madam," who was found dead yesterday in Tarpon Springs, Florida, an apparent suicide. She had hanged herself in a shed outside her mother's home, and left suicide notes at the scene. Then again, the conspiracy theorist would note that suicide notes would be just what one would expect to see if someone in her little black book had her killed and then tried to make it look like a suicide.

In any case, it's too bad that she apparently killed herself rather the go to prison. And it's too bad that we're wasting prison space on people like her who never harmed anyone with their consensual "crimes."

If I was in charge, the first thing I would do would be to eliminate all of the laws that criminalize conduct by consenting adults that harms no one but themselves. Then we could keep the really dangerous criminals, who rob, rape and kill, in prison for the full length of their sentences, rather than releasing them early to make room for prostitutes and druggies.

/libertarian rant