Thursday, June 30, 2011

'My Generation'

Via Kurt Loder, on Twitter:

California's Amazon Tax Driving Business — and People — Out of State

Amazon sent a follow-up email last night confirming that they'd terminated the associates program effective immediately. The number of affiliate retailers is being placed at 25,000 and the effect of Governor Brown's budget is simply to kill business. And it's another reason for some to flee the state. See Fortune, "Will California's 'Amazon tax' cause an affiliate exodus?" And at Cato, "California Wants Amazon to Tax Californians." The article cites the Los Angeles Times, and notes:
The natural result of California doing yet more to make the state uninhabitable for business comes at the end of the story. Californians who earned and spent money in California as part of the Internet remote sales ecosystem plan to move elsewhere:
One affiliate, Ken Rockwell of San Diego, the owner of a 12-year-old photography website, said he planned to move out of state. “Will it be Las Vegas or Scottsdale or Ensenada?” he said. “It’s a question of where, not if.”
See also, Robert Stacy McCain, "Amazon Goes Galt, Cuts Off California to Avoid Internet Tax in Zimbabwe, U.S.A."

There's a disgruntled former affiliate, at Fox News, "An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos On Terminating the Amazon Affiliate Program In California." It's interesting but unpersuasive. Taxes disrupt markets, and while affiliates are getting burned, it's not good business policy to be magnanimous. Competition is fierce. Tax systems vary by state and the U.S. Supreme Court has said out-of-state companies cannot be taxed without actual physical presence at the point of sale. This is not to discount the fairness issue, or arguments that Amazon market share enables it compete in sales tax markets. It's more than California is simply hostile to business. I've noted a couple of times recently how companies and individuals are fleeing the state. Jan Norman's "Small Business" column at the Orange County Register reports frequently on the uncompetitive marketplace for California firms. (See, for example, "O.C. manufacturer to move, create 270 jobs in D.C.") And she has this on Amazon's decision, "How do Amazon affiliates lose out?":
If the online retailer has a physical presence in California — such as Walmart or Target, which have been supporters of the new law — it must charge California sales tax from California buyers.

But many of these online retailers have no physical presence (stores, warehouses, headquarters etc.) in California. And they have not been collecting California sales tax.

Understand that retailers don’t pay sales tax. They collect it for the state or local government entity.

Brick and mortar retailers say they are at a big price disadvantage because they have to collect sales tax (as much as 10% in California right now) that online retailers don’t.

However, in 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a state could only require retailers with some physical presence (stores, warehouses etc.) within the state’s borders to collect the sales tax.

So a California firm that only sells online must collect sales tax for California but not for the other 44 states that charge sales tax (5 states don’t charge sales tax). But an online retailer in Oregon, which has no sales tax, doesn’t have to add sales tax to any of its sales.

States have been trying to figure a way around that Supreme Court ruling ever since.
RELATED: At Instapundit, "THEY REALLY DO SELL EVERYTHING AT AMAZON."

EXTRA: At Sundries Shack, "Clearing the Browser Tabs – Why Does California Hurt Its People Thursday Edition."

Dr. Helen Smith — 'On Fire but Blacked Out: The Thomas Ball Story'

At Pajamas Media:
As one of my commenters pointed out in a post I put up on the case, when a woman burns her husband to death in his sleep, it’s seen as a major wake-up call regarding violence against women, and is immortalized in an award-winning movie starring Farah Fawcett titled The Burning Bed.

But somehow, when a man like Thomas Ball burns himself up, it is not seen as a wake-up call for how men are treated unjustly by the court system. Instead, some “compassionate souls” see his death as yet another wake-up call regarding the needs of women. Do men ever matter to these “feminists,” or do they get pleasure out of men’s pain? I am thinking the latter.
RTWT (via Dr. Helen on Bloggger). And then compare to Rob Taylor at Red State, "The Death of Morality and the End of America." Red State? Some people writing on the right are really on the left, although they they think they're more right than the conservative right. But to be honest, the dude's not right in the head. Seriously. Psychologically FUBAR, IMHO.

IDF Spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich on Securing Defensible Borders

A great clip from the IDF news desk:

Mark Halperin Calls Obama a Dick

The network's statement: "MSNBC suspends Mark Halperin for Obama comments." And lots of comments at Memeorandum. See Steve Benen's hilarious resonse, for example, "Mark Halperin and the Quote of the Day."
In candor, I don’t much care that Halperin sides with the right over the left, and takes cheap shots at Democrats. I care that Halperin is presented to the public as a neutral, even-handed expert, when that’s plainly not the case.
Benen's an idiot (but you knew that). We don't have an objective press anymore. Some journalists aspire to the pre-Cronkite model of media impartiality, but newspaper and electronic media neutrality went out the window a while ago. And here's Tim Graham on Twitter:
I'm sure oh-so-responsible MSNBC kept every host and correspondent from saying "teabagger," right?...No? A package double standard?
Exactly. Rachel Maddow's done entire segments defending her use of the sexualized slur. This is where we are today. And suspending Haperin? Just wow.

Althouse has questions: "Mark Halperin called Obama "a dick" and now he says "I can’t explain why I did it." Added: At The Other McCain, "Mark Halperin Apologizes for Being Right."

Transcript:

Joe Scarborough: Mark Halperin, What was the president’s strategy? We are coming up on a deadline and the president decided to please his base, push back against the Republicans.I guess the question is, we know a deal has to be done. Is this showmanship? A lot of times you go up there and both sides and they act tough so their base will be appeased, then they quietly work the deal behind the scenes.

Mark Halperin: Are we on the seven second delay?

Mika Brzezinski: Lordy.

Halperin: I wanted to characterize how the president behaved.

Scarborough: We have it. We can use it. Go for it. Let’s see what happens.

Brzezinski: We’re behind you, you fall down and we catch you.

Halperin: I thought he was a dick yesterday.

Scarborough: Delay that. delay that. what are you doing? I can’t believe — I was joking. Don’t do that. Did we delay that?

Halperin: I said it. I hope it worked.

Stunning Gwyneth Paltrow Photoshoot in New Vanity Fair

She looks great.

At London's Daily Mail, "Lovely jewellery, Gwyneth! Actress shows the results of her healthy lifestyle in topless photoshoot."

Check Vanity Fair as well. Paltrow's feature isn't up yet, but there's some other interesting stuff to check out.

Plus, Rule 5 weekend starts later tonight, so check back

John Lennon a Republican?

Well, if true, I might be able to enjoy The Beatles again (or enjoy them more, since I won't be so reminded of Lennon's stupid political idealism, and I love George Harrison no matter what).

At the Toronto Sun, "Lennon was a closet Republican: Assistant."

And worth a look: Daniel Foster, at National Review, "Fool Comes Down from Hill." (At Memeorandum.)

Melanie Phillips on the Gaza Flotilla

She's making a nice transition to blogging at her home page. See, "The Flotilla and the Third Intifada" (via Blazing Cat Fur).

New Tracy Morgan Comedy Rant Slurs Mentally Disabled

I didn't think he was all that funny back in the day, when he was on SNL. He came under fire for homophobic rants previously, and even after apologizing, is at it again. At Los Angeles Times, "Tracy Morgan apologizes, then tries out a different offensive rant":

Also at TMZ, "Tracy Morgan ... From Gays to 'Retards'."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summertime in Temecula!

The Pechanga Resort's less than a mile from some of our best friend's house, in Temecula.

And no worries, Dana! I still have the beard!

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More blogging late tonight or early tomorrow!

Thanks for reading!

Budget Cuts Hammer University of California Star Faculty Retention

I thought about this recently, having traveled to UCLA for both the Noam Chomsky and David Horowitz events, not to mention my coverage of Students for Justice in Palestine.

The Westwood campus is awesome. Too much construction, but it's a great feeling being on a research campus again. It feels so promising. And I was a little surprised at the vitality, since there's been so much talk of decline at the UC system. Anyway, certainly things aren't going as well as state leaders would like, and that's keeping in mind that UC is more insulated from budget crises than both Cal State and the community colleges. But this report at Los Angeles Times shows a real drag on maintaining quality and prestige. See: "UC fears talent loss to deeper pockets: The departure of three star scientists from UC San Diego has officials worried about a possible brain drain tied to budget cuts."

Read the whole thing at the link. I found fascinating the salaries of the three UCSD scholars lured away to Rice Univerity:
[Jose] Onuchic, who is co-director of UC San Diego's Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, said he was drawn to Rice mainly for the research funds and new building, along with the chance to work with cancer experts in Houston. "The opportunities were spectacular," said Onuchic, whose research focuses on protein movement and chemical reactions in gene networks. His UC salary, including summer grants, is $265,000; he and his colleagues said Rice would give them 40% increases.

The three scientists are expected to take with them much of their National Science Foundation grant, which has paid $6.6 million since 2008 and is expected to provide several million more over the next two years. At Rice, their funding will also include a $10-million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, created with a $3-billion state bond issue approved by voters in 2007.

[Herbert] Levine, 55, who has been at UC San Diego for 25 years and earns $187,000 a year, said Rice's new and larger lab space and extra administrative support was too good to turn down. Another factor is that Rice, which has a fifth of UC San Diego's 27,417 students, is much less bureaucratic, he added.

[Peter] Wolynes, 58, is a 10-year veteran of UC San Diego and earns $330,000 a year. Moving together keeps the team intact — it's a "Three Musketeers situation," he said — and the Texas cancer money will mean less hustling for grants. He still greatly admires UC, he said, but believes its "period of expansion" may be over.
These are accomplished scholars, and well-compensated. And it's no surprise that they'd be able to make much more money elsewhere. There's a market for top academics. And public universities struggle to stay competitive in tough economic times.

Amazon Ends Affiliate Program in California

I got the email earlier, "Notice of Contract Termination Due to Potential New California Law."

See San Francisco Business Times, "Amazon threatens to drop California associates" (via Instapundit):
Last night, California Democrats reached an agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown on a proposed state budget that, among other things, would force online retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com to collect sales tax in California.

Already, Amazon has made its objections clear, threatening to drop the thousands of "Amazon Associates" in California who make money by referring web users to Amazon.com to buy goods.

Pitting the wealthiest and most populous state in the union against the premier online retailing conglomerate, this is a battle of two amazons — Goliath vs. Goliath, if you will.

But caught in between are thousands of bloggers, marketers and publishers who make money through Amazon's affiliate program, called Amazon Associates. Basically, if a blogger links to Amazon products on a post and a reader ends up buying something through that link, then the blogger gets a percentage of the sale for making the "referral." Small retailers and marketers also use the Associates program.

All these people are at risk of being cut off from this revenue source should the California budget pass on Tuesday.
And it's a done deal.

At Sacramento Bee, "Brown signs tax bill; Amazon tells California affiliates it will drop them":
Amazon.com today said it will sever ties with some 10,000 affiliates in California to protest the Internet sales-tax law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday.

The big online retailer has been threatening to cut those ties since February. In emails today to its California affiliates, Amazon called the bill "unconstitutional and counterproductive. " The bill is part of the budget package passed by the Legislature.

The affiliates are businesses and nonprofits that have Amazon links on their websites. When someone clicks through that link and buys something from Amazon, the affiliate gets a fee.

Under the bill, Amazon will have to collect sales tax on all sales to Californians.
Also at Los Angeles Times, "Amazon.com to start collecting sales taxes from California customers."

And from Amazon's email:
Hello,

For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of California residents. Unfortunately, a potential new law that may be signed by Governor Brown compels us to terminate this program for California-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers - including but not limited to those referred by California-based marketing affiliates like you - even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.

We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.

As a result, we will terminate contracts with all California residents that are participants in the Amazon Associates Program as of the date (if any) that the California law becomes effective. We will send a follow-up notice to you confirming the termination date if the California law is enacted. In the event that the California law does not become effective before September 30, 2011, we withdraw this notice. As of the termination date, California residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to Amazon.com, Endless.com, MYHABIT.COM or SmallParts.com. Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned on or before the termination date will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.
Bummer.

Great job Democrats!

Added: Astute Bloggers links. Thanks!

VIDEO: President Obama News Conference Addresses Debt Ceiling and Taxes

At Los Angeles Times, "Obama challenges GOP on tax breaks at press conference." And at USA Today, "Obama challenges Congress on taxes, debt limit":

WASHINGTON — President Obama warned Wednesday about "unpredictable" cuts in federal programs if Congress fails to raise the nation's $14.3 trillion debt limit by Aug. 2. He challenged lawmakers to "do their job."

In a news conference notable for its defiant tone, Obama defended both his leadership on the issue and his insistence that tax increases be included among the trillions of dollars all sides want to cut from future deficits while raising the debt ceiling.

The Republican leaders' position that as much as $4 trillion should be cut from spending alone, without any tax changes for the wealthy or profitable companies, isn't "sustainable" in bipartisan talks, Obama said.

"This is a jobs issue. This is not an abstraction," he said of the Aug. 2 deadline, which the Treasury Department has said could change by a few days. "The consequences for the U.S. economy will be significant and unpredictable. We don't know how capital markets will react."
See also, National Journal, "Obama: It's Kids Versus Corporate Jets on Debt-Ceiling Talks," and New York Times, "Obama: Republican Leaders Must Bend on Taxes" (via Memeorandum).

Violent Austerity Protests in Greece

The Los Angeles Times has an excellent slideshow, "Protesters clash with riot police in Athens strike." Also: "Greece OKs austerity bill as protests rage."

The scene's extremely violent, and the most menacing images are of those protesters clad in black, apparently identifying or affiliating with the Black Bloc anarchist movement. See Paul Mason, at BBC, "Greece: what’s burning is consent."

Teacher Evaluation System Examines Classroom Performance

I'm all for increasing performance, but most of the time it's not the fault of the teachers if students aren't learning. The culture's totally FUBAR, as I've written here many times. That said, I'm not against the classroom observations, as discussed at the article. It depends though: Who are the evaluators? If it's a bunch of progressive educators marinated in failed methodologies of reform (I don't do "group work", for example), will teachers get a fair shake? A lot of these evaluation systems seem punitive. Still, it's a complicated issue, for while I'd probably stand with the unions against flawed evaluations, I'd oppose them on fiscal reforms and teacher pay and benefits. Anyway, at least the fear factor pushes teachers to excel in the classroom.

At New York Times, "Teacher Grades: Pass or Be Fired":
The evaluation system leans heavily on student test scores to judge about 500 math and reading teachers in grades four to eight. Ratings for the rest of the city’s 3,600 teachers are determined mostly by five classroom observations annually, three by their principal and two by so-called master educators, most recruited from outside Washington.

For classroom observations, nine criteria — “explain content clearly,” “maximize instructional time” and “check for student understanding,” for example — are used to rate the lesson as highly effective, effective, minimally effective or ineffective.

These five observations combine to form 75 percent of these teachers’ overall ratings; the rest is based on achievement data and the teachers’ commitment to their school communities. Ineffective teachers face dismissal. Minimally effective ones get a year to improve.
Ouch! That is harsh!

The Billions Behind 'Cultures of Resistance' Filmmaker

An excellent essay from Dave Swindle, at FrontPage Magazine, "The Flotilla Jihadists’ Artsy Propagandist and Her Billionaire Husband." And propaganda it is. A sample:

And she's affiliated with this premiere group of communists and anti-Semites:

Israel's Settlements Are Not the Problem

An awesome essay at the July/August Foreign Affairs, by Elliott Abrams, "The Settlement Obsession: Both Israel and the United States Miss the Obstacles to Peace." It's a review essay, in fact. Abrams covers Occupation of the Territories: Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies 2000-2010, a collection of interviews from Breaking the Silence, available online. And also Gadi Taub's, The Settlers: And the Struggle over the Meaning of Zionism, at Amazon.com.

I read Abrams' review in hard copy on the road out to Pechanga, and I'd envisioned writing some big analysis with lots of block quotes, etc. But I'm not in the mood now. Mostly, it's a piece of scholarship and it requires shifting back into a more neutral, analytical frame of mind while reading. It's tempting to look at any analysis of the Middle East through current events, such as the Gaza flotilla. But Abrams avoids that, which is impressive, since Occupation of the Territories is about Jew-bashing propaganda more than close empirical and historical analysis. Indeed, Abrams notes:
Some of the testimonies are deeply affecting, and there is no doubt that occupation duty brings out the worst in some soldiers: violence, bullying, vandalism, and theft. Official accounts of the U.S. occupation of Germany after World War II, for example, make clear that there is no such thing as an immaculate occupation. But in this book, Breaking the Silence appears less interested in the current impact of the settlements and the backdrop to the IDF's actions in the West Bank than in advancing particular ideological and political points. For one thing, why produce a volume in 2010 that has so many testimonies about Gaza, from which all Israeli forces withdrew in the summer of 2005? Why include so many interviews from 2000-2002, the years when the second intifada was at its height, rather than interviews from more recent years? In the section on the methods the IDF uses to prevent terrorism, for example, there are 67 interviews, but only five are from 2008 or later; similarly, a section on how the IDF carries out a "policy of control, dispossession, and annexation of territory" contains 44 interviews, of which just six are from 2007 or later.

A logical inference from this data would be that the IDF's conduct is improving, but Breaking the Silence does not discuss this possibility. Nor does it discuss what the IDF was attempting between 2000 and 2002, namely, trying to stop terrorist acts that were maiming and killing thousands of Israelis. There is just one sentence about terrorism in this entire volume, acknowledging that "it is true that the Israeli security apparatus has had to deal with concrete threats in the past decade, including terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens."
That sounds like blogging rather than research, but Abrams gives the work a fair shake.

As for The Settlers, Abrams' review of that book forms the bulk of the essay, and there's a key thesis that emerges: The future of Israel will play out over the issues of religion and secularism. The Jewish state as originally established was based on sovereign territory as a secure safe haven for any Jew anywhere in the world. Israel was to be a secular democracy with a Jewish majority. It wasn't until 1967, and the beginning of the occupation, whereby the most dramatic assertions of religious Zionism emerged. This might sound strange for those most informed by the blogosphere, but the Taub book sounds like a magisterial accomplishment. I learned a lot just from Abrams' overview. The entire work is no doubt a keeper. In any case, some of Abrams' conclusions indicate that religious Zionism --- which is only a small part of settler activity in the West Bank --- is unsustainable over the long term. Here's an interesting quote, which again, goes against what partisans normally argue:
The conflict between secular Zionism and the settler movement did not appear overnight following Israel's conquests in the 1967 war, for there was an argument that bridged the gap: security. The Israeli right viewed the settlements as critical for Israel's future. The old borders were not defensible, Israel could be attacked again from the east, and settlements on the ridges of Judea and Samaria were part of the state's new system of defense. So the religious settlers and Israeli hawks made common cause, and year after year, settlers by the tens of thousands moved to the West Bank.

For the religious settlers, this was an exciting period, filled with spiritual and also political and psychological satisfaction. Whereas the Orthodox had largely sat out the hard work of building Zionist institutions and founding the state, Taub says, "the act of settlement was a chance to reenact the days of pioneering glory, which religious Zionists felt they had half missed."

The alliance between the religious settlers and secular Israeli hawks held for some years, but before long, the underlying contradiction began to emerge. In 1974, Gush Emunim, or "Bloc of the Faithful," was founded as the main settler organization, and its manifesto spoke of its "obligation toward the Land of Israel." To the actually existing State of Israel, there was apparently no such obligation. Three years later, in 1977, leaders of the Israeli right were forced to confront this uncomfortable fact when Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat came to Jerusalem offering peace in exchange for the Sinai. Menachem Begin, founder of the Herut Party (a predecessor of the right-wing Likud coalition), handed the Sinai back to Egypt in 1982 and in the process evacuated 2,500 Israelis from Yamit, a settlement there. It was apparent, Taub explains, that "in Begin's view the realization of the right of Jews to settle anywhere in the Land of Israel was always subordinate to a higher value: political independence, the sovereignty of the state."

A far more significant moment came in 2005, when Sharon evacuated all Israeli settlers from Gaza and also removed four tiny settlements in the West Bank. The settlers, Taub recounts, found that their adoption of the security argument as a means of reaching out to secular Israelis had backfired badly. For in the end, Sharon and his fellow hawks had come to the conclusion that keeping all the territories was a huge mistake and a danger to the Jewish state itself. As Taub writes:
Even staunch secular hawks in Likud understood that extending Israel's sovereignty to the territories, as opposed to maintaining the temporary status of these regions, would spell an end to Zionism; it would force the state into a double-bind where it would have to choose between a non-Jewish democracy and a Jewish apartheid. . . . Likud under Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Ariel Sharon, despite repeated declarations that Judea, Samaria, and Gaza would remain forever a part of Israel, never considered such a possibility seriously, and so never moved to annex these territories.
For both the Israeli center and the Israeli right, the failure of the Camp David talks in 2000 and the ensuing intifada taught a lesson: a negotiated settlement was unlikely. Combined with the continuing Palestinian insistence on the right of return of millions of Palestinians to Israel, an outcome that would doom Israel as a Jewish state, the seeming impossibility of a negotiated deal led Sharon to favor unilateral withdrawal. That approach, Taub says, "gradually acquired legitimacy. . . . Leaving the territories no longer looked to many like a concession to the Palestinians. It began to look like an urgent Israeli interest." The alliance between the settlers and the hawks against the Israeli left, or "the peace camp," was now at an end; the right joined the left in believing that separation from the West Bank was desirable.
Anyway, I promised I wouldn't go overboard on this blog post. Read the whole thing. You'll need to, in order to understand Abrams' conclusion:
In the face of this cessation of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation and peace negotiations, the issue of settlement activity will rise again in importance in many capitals, especially in Washington. In an odd way, current U.S. officials have now adopted the mirror image of the religious settlers' obsession. The more extreme settlers believe that settling the land is more important than protecting the interests of the State of Israel. At the same time, according to current U.S. policy, getting them off that land -- indeed, stopping them from placing one more brick on it -- is worth badly damaging Washington's relationship with a longtime ally and putting Israel's security and reputation in jeopardy. The settlements, and the end of the settlements, are a great problem for Zionism, but they are not the obstacle to peace in the Middle East. The sooner the United States realizes that, the sounder and more constructive its Middle East policy will become.

Fran Drescher on 'Happily Divorced'

Our television viewing is a little messed up, being at the Pechanga hotel and all. Normally I might watch some Fox News or "Nightline" while skimming the headlines around the web. But I'm holed up in the hotel room with my youngest son while my wife's out playing slots. My oldest boy's at a friends house (the resort's in Temecula). So, I'm watching Nick at Nite with my youngest, and the network's been running "The Nanny" reruns, which are a lot of fun. But they just broke up programming with a half-hour of "Happily Divorced," and it's pretty good. And Drescher looks great --- she's got one of the best smiles on television. No previews on YouTube, but TV Land has some videos. And here's this from "The View":

Fran Drescher is lovely, and that reminds me: It's almost time for weekend Rule 5.

Eye of Polyphemus is due for some linkage, and Zion's Trumpet's got some totties.

RELATED: At Los Angeles Times, "There's real drama behind the comedy 'Happily Divorced'."

John Lennon a Republican?

Well, if true, I might be able to enjoy The Beatles again (or enjoy them more, since I won't be so reminded of Lennon's stupid political idealism, and I love George Harrison no matter what).

At the Toronto Sun, "Lennon was a closet Republican: Assistant."

And worth a look: Daniel Foster, at National Review, "Fool Comes Down from Hill." (At Memeorandum.)

VIDEO: 'What Liberal Women Don't Get About Liberal Men'

At Right Wing News, "Liberalism in 120 Seconds":

Kathy Shaidle blogs at Five Feet of Fury.

NewsBusted: 'Tom Hanks says Obama has saved 1 billion jobs'

Via Theo Spark:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pechanga Getaway

I'm with my family at Pechanga Resort.

Here's the view from my room, Northeast, earlier today, about 6:00pm. Beautiful:

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And speaking of rooms with a view, have you been reading Andrew Sullivan? I haven't, but since E.D. Kain's been featured here recently, my web surfing's taken over me over to RAWMUSCLEGLUTES' page, at The Daily Beast. (And his latest "View From Your Window.")

Suffolk University Poll: Bachmann Gains in New Hampshire; Minnesota Congresswoman Tops Field as 'Most Conservative'

Fox News has a write up, "Poll Shows Bachmann Gaining Momentum Among NH GOP Voters." Mitt Romney is by far the GOP frontrunner in New Hampshire, but as other media outlets are stressing, Michele Bachmann comes on strong in the survey, surging 8 points in favorability since May. The Suffolk press report is here, and the poll data here. What I liked best is that Bachmann beats out the field as the "most conservative" candidate in the race. Bachmann was most conservative at 15 percent, followed by Ron Paul with 13 percent, and Romney at 11 percent. The rest of the candidates were in single digits, and the roster includes big name personalities such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Bachmann's had a big week. One of the indicators of that is how aggressively the Democrat-Media-Complex has been trying to take her down.

There's a whole string of threads on Bachmann at Memeorandum, and just now the San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Morford (who announced that Barack Obama was the "Lightworker" in 2008) has weighed in with the latest misogynistic sleaze attack on the congresswoman, "Michele Bachmann, Hell's Barbie":
Yes, Michele Bachmann is running for president. Michele Bachmann, fundamentalist Christian zealot, paranoid isolationist, lowbrow conspiracy theorist, heavily shellacked automaton, anti-choice anti-gay anti-everything neo-Stepford throwback and easily the flat-out nuttiest female ever to raise a hugely depressing $13 million for her clumsy campaign launch, Michele wants to lead us all to salvation.
It's been a week of virtually non-stop attacks like this. No doubt Bachmann's sending shivers down the spine of the progressive establishment. And that's on the left. Will the GOP embrace Bachmann as well, or would Beltway insiders prefer a McCain 2.0 over the Iowa-born congressional upstart?

The GOP needs a conservative candidate. And while Sarah Palin may still enter the race, Michelle Bachmann's making all the right moves, and getting some well-deserved recognition among potential voters.

RELATED: At National Journal, "Is There a 'Generic Republican' to Beat Obama in the Polls?"And the discussion with Gretchen Carlson on Fox & Friends this morning:

What You Should Know About the Second Gaza Flotilla

Read the whole thing, at Yid With Lid.

(Added: Just found this at Blazing Cat Fur, "The Truth behind the Freedom Fauxtilla.")

And at Britain's far-left Guardian, "Alice Walker: Why I'm joining the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza."

And see the responses at CAMERA, "Color Purple Author Smears Israel with False Colors," and CiF Watch, "Alice Walker and the audacity of useful idiocy."

Melanie Phillips Quits Britain's Spectator Magazine

She has two announcements, "Why I left the Spectator," and "My blog's new home."

There's very little written regarding an explanation why, although Phillips writes: "Those interested to learn more can do so in the update on this CiF Watch post, the original quote from which led to this apology." The apology issued was to Alastair Crooke, Director of Conflicts Forum, "an international movement which engages with Islamist movements broadly ..."

Given Mr. Crooke's background, folks probably have an inkling as to what happened: Melanie blogged about Crooke, he got mad, launched legal action, harming the Spectator financially, and Melanie Phillips felt it necessary to resign.

That just the line of logic, but let's see if I can piece some of this together. For one thing, reports indicate that Alastair Crooke, a former member of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency, had direct and ongoing contacts with Hamas as part of his official business at the British consulate in East Jerusalem. A 2007 blog post by Israeli Eliyahu m'Tsiyon has the details, including a quotation from Melanie Phillips which is no longer available elsewhere. And London's far-left Guardian reported on this, "UK recalls MI6 link to Palestinian militants." These are some really sinister dealings, and Phillips wrote about them. See Jihad Watch, "Melanie Phillips on Alistair Crooke." And following the links takes us to FrontPage Magazine, "Alistair Crooke's Meeting with Sheikh Yassin." I don't see the exact date of Crooke's departure from MI6, but even left-wing sources report on his deep ties to global terrorism. See Mother Jones, "The Spy Who Loved Hamas. And Hezbollah. And Iran."

Now note that the Spectator published an apology to Alastair Crooke, cited by Roy Greenslade at the Guardian:
A blog by Melanie Phillips posted on Jan 28 2011 reported an allegation that Alastair Crooke, director of Conflicts Forum, had been expelled from Israel and dismissed for misconduct from Government service or the EU after threatening a journalist whose email he had unlawfully intercepted. We accept that this allegation is completely false and we apologise to Mr Crooke.
Again, I'm piecing things together, but it looks like Spectator issued the apology as part of a legal settlement, which has the New Statesman's Mehdi Hasan jumping for joy:
... was this a voluntary or enforced departure? The blogger Guido Staines beat me to it, but I can't help but notice how the Spectator has had to apologise to Alastair Crooke, director of Conflicts Forum, on its website this week, after a blogpost by Phillips made "false" allegations about Crooke's past. Phillips's decision to move on might just be a coincidence but a well-connected source tells me that the payout to Crooke cost the Spectator "tens of thousands of pounds" and left Fraser Nelson and Andrew Neil "furious" with her.
So we're now back to Melanie Phillips' blog entry, where she writes, "For legal reasons, I cannot go into the details."

The legal reasons appear to be (further) threats of legal action, but Melanie Phillips has rejected the premise of the apology. And CiF Watch says Phillips made "no such" allegation regarding threats from Alastair Crooke.

Well, we know that Alastair Crooke's collaborating with terrorist organizations, and as Melanie Phillips was writing about it, my sense is that someone made threats, and since this controversy involves people at the highest levels of British power, clearly some pro-jihadists had strong incentive to destroy Melanie Phillips. And what's more fascinating is that so called right-wing outlets are simply crippling under threats and apparent litigation. Indeed, Mehdi Hasan can't contain his glee:
Blinded by their monomaniacal obsession with Islamists under every British bed, members of the UK media's neoconservative faction have been the subject of other (successful) legal complaints and libel actions in recent years.

These legal complaints look sketchy, "successful" or not, given all that we know about Alastair Crooke. Clearly, if Melanie Phillips was speaking truth to power her own health and livelihood became increasingly at risk. And this is something I've been writing about quite a bit, since Scott Eric Kaufman and Carl Salonen launched campaigns of workplace intimidation against me, including libelously false allegations of sexual harassment, with potentially very damaging personal consequences, simply for speaking truth to their evil deeds. And while I'm not an author of such prominence as Melanie Phillips, some allegations against me have gone all the way to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat. So the similarity is to the lengths at which progressives will go to literally destroy those who speak the truth. Remember, for radical leftists and jihad enablers, "truth is the new hate speech." And I want to remind people of my report on Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, who announced on Canadian television:

The thing is, you don't care about freedom of speech until you've lost it. But I'm here to tell you that I will never, ever give up the fight for freedom of speech.
Neither will I.

'American Girl'

Well, the big surprise of the day, at Politico: "Tom Petty wants Bachmann to lay off 'American Girl'."
It would be another way in which a GOP candidate could compare themselves to Ronald Reagan, who Bruce Springsteen called out for using "Born in the USA" as a campaign song.

And at Raw Story, "Tom Petty reportedly issuing cease and desist letter to Bachmann" (via Memeorandum).

Michele Bachmann on John Quincy Adams

Nothing Michele Bachmann said was factually wrong. The controversy hinges on whether John Quincy Adams was part of the Founding generation. He was. President George Washington appointed John Quincy Adams Minister to the Netherlands in 1794. The Bill of Rights to the Constitution was ratified in 1791 during the same presidential administration. And John Quincy Adams traveled to Paris with his father John Adams, when the latter served as America's Ambassador to France from 1778 until 1779. Hence, Congresswoman Bachmann's statements aren't all that off the mark. John Quincy Adams was not a signer of the Declaration of Independence or Constitution, but certainly was serving importantly as a member of the era, as Bachmann states after George Stephanopoulos tries to elicit a misstatement:
John Quincy Adams most certainly was a part of the Revolutionary War era. He was a young boy but he was actively involved.

I try to like Stephanopoulos, despite the fact that he was a top adviser to President Bill Clinton. See, "John Quincy Adams a Founding Father? Michele Bachmann Says Yes" (via Memeorandum). Was John Quincy Adams a Founder as in a signer of our founding documents? No? Was he a member of the Founding generation who would have a substantial impact on the course of American history? Absolutely. Yes.

Wouldn't it be nice if folks like Stephanopoulos went after Democrats just an aggressively?

ADDED: I've got some progressive idiots visiting from Instaputz's stinkhole, and one of these idiots writes:
That 57 states gaffe said THREE YEARS AGO is still giving you wingers serious mileage isn't it?

The number of gaffes Obama has made compared to the number of gaffes Bush made... anyone? ...
Well, folks can check out how many gaffes Bush made, but he never made one like this:

I wrote on this last week, but Michael Barone points out today the wicked media double standards when it comes to political misstatements, "Mainstream media covers up horrifying Obama mistake" (at Memeorandum):

It’s interesting that mainstream media journalists who are so eager to zing Michele Bachmann for getting John Wayne’s birthplace wrong, have not been interested in asking whether this was a mistake Obama made in ad libbing or whether the White House speechwriters and fact-checkers fell down on the job. You might think that their chief motive is to make Obama look good and to suppress facts that make him look bad.
Well, yeah, you might think. Idiots.

Joshua Treviño on Twitter!

You gotta follow this guy.

Photobucket

He tweets with the frequency of a man on a mission, and boy has he pissed off some of the pro-terror progressives on Twitter. Remember M. Jay Rosenberg from Media Matters, the guy who tweeted that Benjamin Netanyahu is a terrorist? Well, he's all up in a ruffle over Treviño. See, "Former Bush Speechwriter: Shooting People On Gaza Flotilla 'OK' Because Participants Are Like Nazis." And you can see why at the post. I scrolled through Treviño's feed to find some of his other tweets, but there were so many it was taking too long (a sample is here, though). And I'll tell you, if Americans are on board the flotilla ships, I won't weep if they're killed during an engagement. They're deliberately sailing into harm's way. We'll know more, of course, especially if there is a clash at sea. But last year the "human rights activists" on the Mavi Marmara beat Israeli soldiers and turned their own weapons against them. The IDF killed nine and injured dozens in self-defense. That's not the story one hears from the Israel-hating global media, but the truth doesn't matter to progressives and anti-Semites. Lies are their coin.

Blagojevich Likely to Lose State Pension

But he also has a federal pension, available at age 62, for the three terms he served in Congress.

At Chicago Tribune:

SPRINGFIELD — Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich stands to lose a $65,000-a-year state pension as a felon, but he's likely to be eligible for $15,000 a year in federal retirement pay for his time as a congressman.

The defrocked Democrat also would be eligible for a refund of about $128,000 in personal contributions he made to the state's retirement fund.

Such is the financial fallout Blagojevich and his family face following Monday's guilty verdict on 17 corruption counts and last year's conviction for lying to the FBI.

Blagojevich served 10 years in state government — four years as a state representative and six as governor — before he was impeached and tossed from office in January 2009. Had he not been convicted of any crimes, Blagojevich would have been able to draw a $65,000-a-year state pension beginning Dec. 10, when he turns 55.

No ruling has been made on whether he can collect the state pension.

Obama Courts Wealthy Contributors

Yeah, because Hope-and-Change has worn thin with the progressive youth of '08.

At Los Angeles Times, "Obama campaign team courts wealthy donors."
President Obama's reelection team has launched an invigorated effort to draw money from wealthy donors, buttressing the campaign against a potential decline in contributions from the everyday supporters who helped fuel his massive take in 2008.

A new program called Presidential Partners asks supporters to commit $75,800 to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint project of the campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

That would put Democratic contributors at the maximum they are allowed to give national party committees for the entire 2012 cycle — leaving then unable to donate to the party's congressional fundraising entities.

The effort to court deep-pocketed backers comes amid uncertainty about whether Obama will be able to reproduce the level of small donations that were estimated to have made up about half of the $745 million he raised in the 2008 campaign.

The Obama campaign has not given up on recharging that source of support: A recent email solicitation offered four supporters a chance to have "Dinner with Barack" for as little as a $5 donation.

But the increased emphasis on major fundraisers — including those who gathered money for Hillary Rodham Clinton's competing presidential bid — carries some risks. While Obama continues to woo supporters at low-dollar fundraisers, his meetings with high rollers — including a $35,800-a-plate dinner Thursday night with Wall Street executives in a posh Manhattan restaurant — could undercut the image he has tried to craft.
Yeah. "Dinner with Barack." And with Joe "Big Effin' Deal" Biden. Losers:

Seagull Steals Video Camera in Cannes, France

At London's Daily Mail, "Bird's-eye view: Seagull 'steals' video camera and shoots footage of its soaring flight above French Riviera." The only question I had is how the owner of the cam found it, which is discussed at the link. Otherwise, looks legitimate.

Male Being and Unhappiness

An excerpt from a rant by Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert cartoon (via Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Technology):
The way society is organized at the moment, we have no choice but to blame men for bad behavior. If we allowed men to act like unrestrained horny animals, all hell would break loose. All I’m saying is that society has evolved to keep males in a state of continuous unfulfilled urges, more commonly known as unhappiness. No one planned it that way. Things just drifted in that direction.
Adams' blog is here.

I'm interested in this primarily in that I've been following the Thomas Ball suicide. I'm politically incorrect. But I'm also happily married. Society develops normative regimes to control and satisfy men and their desires. There's something about Adams that's extremely discomfiting, and that's saying a lot. That said, Adams' rant bothers me less than Amanda Marcotte's response to Tom Ball's self-immolation. It's all wrenchingly interesting, in any case.

And here's a radical feminist take, FWIW: "Scott Adams' defense of rape mentality."

Los Angeles Dodgers File for Bankruptcy

Well, the McCourts divorce settlement was only going to work if the Dodgers got a huge Fox Sports television contract, but Selig nixed that, so I guess the bankruptcy was inevitable.

At Los Angeles Times, a huge story, "Dodgers file for bankruptcy — and arrange for $150-million loan."

'I think everyone was kind of suspicious how I was going to be a sexual being, missing key pieces of equipment'

Says British actress Imogen Poots, at Interview:
[CARY] FUKUNAGA: Can we talk about boobs and why they’re necessary for Fright Night?

[IMOGEN] POOTS: Oh, the boob situation. I had to have a bra that made me look like I had bigger boobs because, you may know from being my friend and hanging out with me, that’s not a big situation, regarding my bust [laughs]. So we had to try all these props. I think everyone was kind of suspicious how I was going to be a sexual being, missing key pieces of equipment.

FUKUNAGA: Did you feel like somebody else?

POOTS: I did. The first bra we tried on was so big I got kind of emotional, and Craig Gillespie, the director, was standing there, and the tears were brewing in my eyes—and I’m sure I was blushing so much. I said, “I just feel like a cartoon.” And Craig turned to me and was like, “Okay. We’ll take them a size down.”
There's a Fright Night trailer at the interview, but she's seen here across Michael Douglas in "Solitary Man":

San Francisco Gay Pride Parade 2011

Photos at San Francisco Chronicle, and also, "S.F. Pride - a grown-up vibe, cheers for New York."

And an excerpt from Shane Phelan literature review, at the American Political Science Review, "Queer Liberalism" (June 2000):
The problems of orthodox liberalism led gays and lesbians, along with other new social movements, to explore other theoretical resources. Gay liberation theory grew out of Marxism, in particular Marcuse's treatment of sexuality in Eros and Civilization (1955), and focused on the relation between sexuality and capitalism. Dennis Altman ([1971] 1993), Mario Mieli (1977), and Guy Hocquenghem (1978) each offered analyses suggesting that without the guilt and renunciation demanded by capitalist discipline we would all be polymorphously perverse, free to experience pleasure with a variety of different partners. This "liberationist" theorizing is now virtually unknown and/or discredited even by students who see themselves as radical (Lehring 1997). In academic circles Marxism was pushed aside not by liberalism, however, but by poststructuralism. This shift marked the decline of utopian or universalist theories that aimed at the end of repression in favor of theories that sought to account for the particular constructions of self and society that include not only repression but also forces of desire, meaning, and agency -- that is, theories that understand the heterosexual self not simply as one forced to abandon its homosexual desires upon pain of expulsion but as a self created and given meaning precisely by the lure of belonging to the "normal."

Homosexual Activists Outraged at Not Getting a Google 'Doodle' for This Year's Gay Pride Month

It's amazing the level of nitpicking, but gay rights groups are mad at Google for not getting a "doodle"?

At PC World, "Google Fights Perception it Doesn't do Enough to Support Gays."

Just read it all at the link. New York passes a gay marriage bill and all hell breaks loose. And Google sponsored this "It Gets Better" campaign earlier this year. Kinda manipulative. Google gives, and gay rights accuse them of discrimination. Figures.

Beyoncé's Exclusive Pop Star Deal at Target

The question is why, considering Lady Gaga bailed out three months ago.

Needed the money, I guess. She's less controversial, in any case.

At Brand Channel, "Target Safe On Beyonce Deal, Not On LGBT Pride Events Sponsorship."

The "Telephone" video is here ("clean version").

Lady Gaga's Gay Pride Gig in Rome?

I had no idea? Much less the fact that the State Department sponsored. Rim-station diplomacy. Who knew?

At CNS News, "Hillary: State Dept. ‘Instrumental in Sealing Deal’ For Lady Gaga’s Gay Pride Gig in Rome":

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday that the State Department played an instrumental role in “sealing the deal” for pop-rock star Lady Gaga to perform at a gay pride rally in Rome, Italy.

Clinton specifically pointed to a letter that David Thorne, the U.S. ambassador to Italy, sent to Lady Gaga urging her to participate in the event.

“And then there is the work that our embassy team in Rome has been doing,” Clinton said. “Two weeks ago they played an instrumental role in bringing Lady Gaga to Italy for a Euro Pride concert.

“Now as many of you know Lady Gaga is Italian American and a strong supporter of LGBT rights,” said Clinton. “And the organizers of the Euro Pride event desperately wanted her to perform and a letter to her from Ambassador Thorne was instrumental in sealing the deal.”
Via Memeorandum and Weasel Zippers.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Romney, Bachmann Lead Republican Field in Iowa

At Des Moines Register, "Iowa Poll: Romney, Bachmann lead Republican pack":

Two-time candidate Mitt Romney and tea party upstart Michele Bachmann are neck and neck leading the pack, and retired pizza chief Herman Cain is in third place in a new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll of likely participants in the state’s Republican presidential caucuses.

The results are bad news for the earnest Tim Pawlenty, a former Minnesota governor who is in single digits despite a full-throttle campaign.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and business executive, claims 23 percent, and Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman and evangelical conservative, garners 22 percent. Neither has done heavy lifting in Iowa.

The rest of the Republican field is at least 12 points behind them.
Bachmann's lit a fire on the prairie. She's the one to watch.

Israeli Actor Impersonated Activist in Video Attacking Gaza Flotilla

At New York Times, "Israeli Video Blog Exposed as a Hoax."

The funny thing about this is that for progressives to denounce what's apparently a hoax, they also have to reject the message at the video, and the Israel-hating left is all too ready to do that. Indeed, Max Blumenthal, that conspiracy-driven self-hating Jew extraordinaire, was the first to point out the discrepancies. Check the link, in any case. Progressives are eating this up, so you know they're jonesin' for some PR victories.

San Francisco May Ban Pet Sales

This is the practical effect of the animal rights movement. People will take away your pets, and not just guppies.

At Los Angeles Times, "San Francisco considers banning the sale of all pets."
The first vision was simple and straightforward: To curtail puppy mills and kitten factories, the sale of cats and dogs should be banned in San Francisco, where the loving guardians of animal companions come to regular blows — politically — with the loving parents of children.

The ban was put on hold last year after animal advocates broadened it to include anything with fur or feathers. Now it's back, with a new name and a new strategy: More is more. The Humane Pet Acquisition Proposal is on its way to the Board of Supervisors, and it hopes to protect everything from Great Danes to goldfish.

Yes, goldfish. And guppies, gobies, gouramies, glowlight tetras, German blue rams. No fish, no fowl, no reptiles, no amphibians, no cats, no dogs, no gerbils, no rats. If it flies, crawls, runs, swims or slithers, you would not be able to buy it in the city named for the patron saint of animals.

Representatives of the $45-billion to $50-billion-a-year pet industry call the San Francisco proposal "by far the most radical ban we've seen" nationwide and argue that it would force small operators to close. Animal activists say it will save small but important lives, along with taxpayer money, and end needless suffering.
More at the link above, and interestingly, the Los Angeles Times has come out against San Francisco's proposed ban on circumcision: "Ban the circumcision ban."

Wikipedia Removes Thomas Ball Page

And Dr. Helen Smith asks, "Why has Wikipedia removed the Thomas Ball page?"

Following the link takes us to A Voice for Men.
Now, lets imagine a world so totally twisted that the media totally blanks this as a news item. That dismissive and scant reporting of this act of political self immolation is written off with throw away lines calling you, the burned corpse – a deadbeat, a lone nut.

Imagine all that. It's pretty far-fetched, but try.
At the video, the self-immolation of Thich Quang Duc in Saigon, June 11, 1963.

A Voice for Men made a copy of Thomas Ball's page.

Update on Allegations Against David Prosser

Reading at Althouse's yesterday, some sockpuppet left this comment:
Althouse would like you to believe that Bradley is to blame because her neck got in the way of Prosser's fists. And note too, how AA turns the story around to shoot the messenger. I'm just waiting for the dirt to be dug up on Bradley now. There doesn't seem to be much but there's plenty on Prosser's violence against women. But AA won't let that get in the way of a good smear on the writer now and Bradley next.
I responded at the thread, demanding evidence for the claim of "Prosser's violence against women." That's pretty strong, and while tooling around yesterday for videos I came across this clip from One Wisconsin Now, a far left Soros-styled thug outfit:

Turns out Prosser's apparently got a temper, although I don't see anywhere about alleged violence against women: "Prosser’s conduct unbefitting a justice." This might explain why progressives jumped on the allegations before anything was really known. It's an epic smear job designed to force Prosser from office, not unlike some of the other stories I've been reporting earlier, like the PC attack against Paul Mirengoff in January, and the recent campaign against me at my college, in which progressive bloggers have falsely accused me of sexual harassment.

Anyway, Althouse has a new report, "'D]o you think that a woman like Bradley, who seriously considered calling the cops because Prosser used a profanity about another justice...'" Althouse links to Darleen Click at Protein Wisdom, and here's the full context:
It appears Bradley is now upping the ante by specifically alleging to the press that, Prosser put her in a “choke hold.”

Funny thing, though …
Prosser told the newspaper in March that he had used profanity in a meeting the month before and threatened to destroy Abrahamson.

Bradley sent all the justices an email after that meeting, saying Prosser’s behavior was unacceptable. She said later that she considered making a report to law enforcement but decided against it.
… do you think that a woman like Bradley, who seriously considered calling the cops because Prosser used a profanity about another justice would not call the cops if she was the victim of an unprovoked, physical assault in front of witnesses?

Yeah, me neither.
So, Prosser uses profanity in public. It's not something I'd do, but he's on the up and ups about it, which is admirable. But Darleen really gets to the nub here, which is that Justice Bradley certainly would like to have Prosser hauled into the dock. There's some extreme animosity going on at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and it's going to be playing out for some time. Indeed, William Jacobson makes a prediction: "Wisconsin will be losing a Supreme Court Justice, we just don’t know which one yet." There's a police investigation going on, so stayed tuned. See also, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Dane County Sheriff's office investigating Bradley claim."

Gay Marriage and Sexual Exclusivity

David Frum gets all wishy washy, "I was wrong about same-sex marriage." (Via Memeorandum.) Frum indicates that he'd long opposed gay marriage, and he'd engaged Andrew Sullivan on the topic in online debates. But he's had a change of heart. Here's the gist of Frum's argument:
... I find myself strangely untroubled by New York state's vote to authorize same-sex marriage -- a vote that probably signals that most of "blue" states will follow within the next 10 years.

I don't think I'm alone in my reaction either. Most conservatives have reacted with calm -- if not outright approval -- to New York's dramatic decision.

Why?

The short answer is that the case against same-sex marriage has been tested against reality. The case has not passed its test.

Since 1997, same-sex marriage has evolved from talk to fact.

If people like me had been right, we should have seen the American family become radically more unstable over the subsequent decade and a half.

Instead -- while American family stability has continued to deteriorate -- it has deteriorated much more slowly than it did in the 1970s and 1980s before same-sex marriage was ever seriously thought of.
It keeps going like that, on the not-so-bad decline of the traditional family structure in America. But it's a lousy argument. I wrote on families the other day. In California just 23.4 percent of households include a traditional married family with children. The causes are complex, but making same-sex marriage easier will cause those numbers to further erode.

I don't think David Frum has a clue. More likely, he's just consolidating his shift away from the conservative right-wing. And this seems like a losing proposition, since it's not like there aren't enough incisive and influential commentators on the left, which is where Frum's headed. He's basically doing a Charles Johnson, except that he was a major pundit and conservative insider rather than a husky pony-tailed psychotic narcissist.

Anway, since Frum's using data from the mid-2000s, let's flash back to an article from 2004, by David Tubbs and Robert P. George "Redefining Marriage Away":
Conservative advocates of same-sex marriage insist that their goal is not a radical alteration of the institution itself. They favor the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships as marriages in order to secure "equal rights," they say. Their goal in redefining marriage is not to weaken or abolish it but to expand access to it, while leaving its core features intact. Far from harming marriage, they contend, the move to same-sex marriage would strengthen the institution.

Though this argument has a certain superficial appeal, it is profoundly mistaken. The issue is not one of equality or the right to participate in a valuable social institution. What divides defenders of traditional marriage from those who would redefine it is a disagreement about the nature of the institution itself. Redefining marriage will, of course, fundamentally change the posture of law and public policy toward the meaning and significance of human sexuality, procreation, and the bond between the sexes. Even more important, there are powerful reasons to fear that the proposed redefinition of marriage will destabilize and undermine this already battered institution.

To understand the destabilizing effects, consider this scenario. A young man and woman are engaged to be married. A month before the wedding, the man approaches his fiancée to ask whether she will consider an "open marriage," in which they will free each other from the duty to be sexually faithful.

Even today, the man's proposal is shocking, and his bride-to-be will almost surely be horrified by it. Nearly everyone would say that what the man has proposed is something other than a true marriage, since the norm of sexual exclusivity within marriage is essential to the institution. That is why the overwhelming majority of couples entering marriage do not even discuss whether they will follow the norm; they simply accept it.

Do most American husbands and wives honor the principle of sexual exclusivity in practice? The best evidence says yes. In their rigorous and acclaimed 1994 study on American sexual behavior, University of Chicago sociologist Edward Laumann and his associates found that 65 to 85 percent of American men and more than 80 percent of American women (in every age group) had no sex partners other than their spouses while married. These figures are remarkable, especially if we recall the many ways in which popular culture has mocked or trivialized human sexuality and the demands of marriage in recent decades.

But do most same-sex couples accept the norm of sexual exclusivity? In a 1999 survey of such couples in Massachusetts, sociologist Gretchen Stiers found that only 10 percent of the men and 32 percent of the women thought that a "committed" intimate relationship entailed sexual exclusivity. An essay called "Queer Liberalism?" in the June 2000 American Political Science Review reviewed six books that discussed same-sex marriage. None of the six authors affirmed sexual exclusivity as a precondition of same-sex marriage, and most rejected the idea that sexual fidelity should be expected of "married" homosexual partners. For more than a decade, a wide array of authors who favor redefining marriage to include same-sex partners have advanced similar views. In a 1996 essay in the Michigan Law Review, University of Michigan law professor David Chambers even suggested that marriage should be redefined to include sexual unions of three or more people--so-called polyamorous relationships.
Sorry, David Frum. That's decidedly NOT keeping families stable. What an idiot.

Anyway, I cited news reports earlier that the battle for gay marriage has a long way to go nationwide, and I'll be writing more on this, since New York has energized the Democratic Party's rim-station base.

Meanwhile, Robert George had a major research paper out last year, which updates some of the arguments above, "What is Marriage?"

Michele Bachmann Makes Formal Presidential Announcement in Waterloo, Iowa

At New York Times, "Bachmann Is In, Officially" (via Mememorandum).

My Fox Chicago has video and text of the speech, "Michele Bachmann's Presidential Announcement Speech."

Andrew Breitbart is New York Times' Blogger Provocateur

Well, he should be. He's declared war on the Democrat-Media-Complex.

See, "The Right’s Blogger Provocateur."

The Other McCain responds: "The Semi-Smear."

Below, as promised, is the video from the Breitbart talk in Newport Beach. And buy a copy of Righteous Indignation here.

'José, Can You See?' U.S. Soccer Team Booed at Gold Cup Final, Rose Bowl, Pasadena

You get used to it. You're a foreigner in your own country sometimes. You get the feeling in many parts of Southern California. And in some of the small agricultural towns in the Central Valley you might as well be in Mexico. Democrats and progressives don't care, except to the extent that it keeps them in power, but we've long ago basically undergone a foreign invasion of people whose primary loyalty remains to the countries of their origin. The Los Angeles Times has the report, from Bill Plaschke, "In Gold Cup final, it's red, white and boo again." The U.S team was booed. Here's a quote from the piece (via Memeorandum):
Most of these hostile visitors didn't live in another country. Most, in fact, were not visitors at all, many of them being U.S. residents whose lives are here but whose sporting souls remain elsewhere.

Welcome to another unveiling of that social portrait known as a U.S.-Mexico soccer match, streaked as always in deep colors of red, white, blue, green … and gray.

"I love this country, it has given me everything that I have, and I'm proud to be part of it," said Victor Sanchez, a 37-year-old Monrovia resident wearing a Mexico jersey. "But yet, I didn't have a choice to come here, I was born in Mexico, and that is where my heart will always be."
Right.

This is an old debate, largely taboo for discussion in polite company, like academic departments. But it's not a new thing, at all. Recall Samuel Huntington's seminal essay in 2004, "The Hispanic Challenge"
Massive Hispanic immigration affects the United States in two significant ways: Important portions of the country become predominantly Hispanic in language and culture, and the nation as a whole becomes bilingual and bicultural. The most important area where Hispanization is proceeding rapidly is, of course, the Southwest. As historian Kennedy argues, Mexican Americans in the Southwest will soon have “sufficient coherence and critical mass in a defined region so that, if they choose, they can preserve their distinctive culture indefinitely. They could also eventually undertake to do what no previous immigrant group could have dreamed of doing: challenge the existing cultural, political, legal, commercial, and educational systems to change fundamentally not only the language but also the very institutions in which they do business.”

Anecdotal evidence of such challenges abounds. In 1994, Mexican Americans vigorously demonstrated against California's Proposition 187—which limited welfare benefits to children of illegal immigrants—by marching through the streets of Los Angeles waving scores of Mexican flags and carrying U.S. flags upside down. In 1998, at a Mexico-United States soccer match in Los Angeles, Mexican Americans booed the U.S. national anthem and assaulted U.S. players. Such dramatic rejections of the United States and assertions of Mexican identity are not limited to an extremist minority in the Mexican-American community. Many Mexican immigrants and their offspring simply do not appear to identify primarily with the United States.
Déjà vu.

RELATED: At Pamela's, "US SOCCER TEAM VICIOUSLY BOOED IN L.A. -- MEXICO WAS "HOME TEAM" - ENEMEDIA CALLS IT "UNIQUELY AMERICAN'."

'The Local Government Pension Squeeze'

We're going to be hearing more and more about stuff like this, particularly as the Obama Depression deepens.

From Stephen Malanga, at Wall Street Journal (via RealClearPolitics).

RELATED: The process is playing out in one of the cities right next door to where I live. See NBC News Los Angeles, "Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Talks About Unprecedented City Cuts." And at Los Angeles Times, "Costa Mesa's police chief abruptly quits over council's plan to slash workforce," and O.C. Weekly, "Costa Mesa Police Chief Resigns With a Letter, Calling City Council 'Incompetent' and the City's Fiscal Crisis a Lie."

BONUS: "Republicans promote Costa Mesa as a pension-slashing leader."

Power Line Making Switch-Over to Wordpress

John Hinderaker has the announcement, "COMING SOON: POWER LINE 3.0."

Power Line's been on a Movable Type platform for almost ten years, not Blogger, so it's interesting in light of the other recent upgrades, at Legal Insurrection, for example. But what I noticed at Power Line, at the bottom of the page, is that all three of the original bloggers are listed, John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, Paul Mirengoff. But recall that Mirengoff's no longer a Power Line blogger. He's no longer featured at the "About Us" page. There is a partial archive for Mirengoff, but the timeline cutoff seems totally arbitrary. Entries are available up through February 2009, and it's something worth an explanation in the context of the shameful campaign of PC destruction against Mirengoff early this year, when he criticized the memorial services for Gabrielle Giffords at the University of Arizona in Tuscon. I watched live, and personally thought the opening blessing delivered by Dr. Carlos Gonzales of the University of Arizona College Medicine was a politically correct nightmare. It was a indigenous time-waster of Native American PC overkill, and frankly, Dr. Gonzales seemed like an amateur in performing the ritual. But you can't criticize criticize stuff like that in the U.S., or not if you want to keep your job. Mirengoff wrote a post, long since deleted, strongly criticizing the event, "An evening in Tucson — the good, the bad, and the ugly":
…I didn't appreciate the president of the University of Arizona (and master of ceremonies) telling us how lucky we are to have Barack Obama as our president and Janet Napolitano as our Homeland Security chief. Nor did the frequent raucous cheering by the huge crowd seem appropriate at what was, at least in part, a memorial service.

As for the "ugly," I'm afraid I must cite the opening "prayer" by Native American Carlos Gonzales. It was apparently was some sort of Yaqui Indian tribal thing, with lots of references to "the creator"
but no mention of God. Several of the victims were, as I understand it, quite religious in that quaint Christian kind of way (none, to my knowledge, was a Yaqui). They (and their families) likely would have appreciated a prayer more closely aligned with their religious beliefs.

But it wasn't just Gonzales's prayer that was "ugly" under the circumstances. Before he ever got to the prayer, Gonzales provided us with a mini-biography of himself and his family and made several references to Mexico, the country from which (he informed us) his family came to Arizona in the mid 19th century.
The reaction was fierce. Here's the headline at Right Wing Watch, "Right Wing Blogger In Trouble for Insulting Native American Prayer at Tucson Memorial." And here's this from a PC ayatollah at Crime & Federalism, "Paul Mirengoff Humiliates Himself and Akin Gump":
If you, Paul Mirengoff, honestly do not understand why calling someone's religious invocation "ugly" is insulting, then your professional judgment is suspect. You are a total dipshit moron whom I would never trust to handle a parking ticket for me.

Anyhow, here's hoping Mirengoff gets all the negative publicity he deserves.
Yeah, negative publicity. It happens, but in this case it was costly, because Mirengoff's firm had major contracts with Native American tribes. The backlash came swiftly and forced Mirengoff off the blog. William Jacobson, a law professor who was previously in private practice, criticized Akin Gump's handling of the complaints, "Big Law Firm Takes Down Big Conservative Blogger." Read the whole thing, and note especially William's update: "Eric Boehlert of Media Matters is practically jumping for joy that Mirengoff no longer is blogging, which is what Boehlert had been hoping would happen, 'Note To RW Bloggers: Could Obama Derangement Syndrome Cost You Your Day Job?'" (That post went down the memory hole at Media Matters, most likely because it was way too honest about the progressive program of destruction against people who break from the acceptable narrative --- more about that stuff later, as I'm still working with my lawyer about the related progressive campaigns against American Power.)

Anyway, more at The Other McCain, "Power Line Gets Scalped: Did Indian Tribe Money Influence Akin Gump Decision?," and Pope Hat, "I, Paul Mirengoff, Offer Heap Big Apology To My Indian Brothers."