Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rick Santorum Ties Mitt Romney in Michigan Delegate Count: Focus Shifts to Ohio as Key Battleground for Super Tuesday

Rick Santorum's been getting ripped off in the momentum department throughout this year's campaign. The former Pennsylvania Senator actually won the Iowa caucuses. But as ABC News reported when the official winner was announced, "that’s like calling back a winning touchdown two weeks later." Right. And so now here's the news that Santorum in fact tied Mitt Romney in the Michigan delegate count, but it doesn't matter much in terms of mainstream media perceptions. CNN has the report, "Romney, Santorum tie for Michigan delegates." And also at Catholic Bandita, "Santorum Campaign: Michigan Result a ‘Disaster’ For Mitt Romney":

The Santorum campaign stressed that the media should not be reporting in any way that Michigan was a win for Romney considering that the Romney campaign has continually stressed that they are only concerned with delegates and the delegate count here is a tie in Romney’s home state. Also, the Romney campaign outspent Rick Santorum anywhere from 2-1 to 4-1 according to various estimates and so this can only be considered a “disaster” for Mitt Romney or, at best, a tie.
We'll see if the point gains traction throughout the week.

Meanwhile, check New York Times, "Ohio Offers Chance for a Santorum Rebound."

And National Journal, "Can Santorum Broaden His Base?" (That point is addressed at the interview above, in which Martha McCallum asks Santorum about his comments on women from his speech last night.)

Mitt Romney Looks Ahead to General Election

It's an avalanche of political news this morning, but the Romney team has tuned out the white noise to focus on the White House.

Huffington Post reports, "Mitt Romney Ad Raises Cash Off Obama's 'Kill Romney' Strategy."

There's still Super Tuesday, of course, what I've been calling Romney's last hurdle. If he gets over that without too much damage he'll pick up a big boost in political perceptions. But the going doesn't look easy. As noted last night, Gingrich and Santorum have advantages in their home and backyard states (Georgia and Ohio) and losses for Romney in those bellwethers will deny him additional momentum for the weeks after that. This is apparently what the RNC wanted --- a prolonged primary process --- but it increasingly looks like a really bad idea. See Charles Krauthammer on that at RCP video, "Krauthammer: Long Primary Process Has 'Diminished' GOP Brand."

And no doubt the Democrats are banking on that. See National Journal, "Michigan and Arizona: Bruising GOP Primaries Brighten Obama’s Prospects."

I'll have more later...

Sandra Fluke, Reproductive Rights Activist, Congressional Testimony on Contraceptives: Sex-Crazed Co-Eds Just Gotta Have It!

Well, you really do have to listen to the video. This Sandra Fluke lady is no fluke!

From Craig Bannister at CNS News, "Sex-Crazed Co-Eds Going Broke Buying Birth Control, Student Tells Pelosi Hearing Touting Freebie Mandate."

And from Tina Korbe, at Hot Air, "Georgetown co-ed: Please pay for us to have sex … We’re going broke buying birth control."

25 Suspected Anonymous Hackers Arrested in International Raids

At Los Angeles Times, "25 suspected Anonymous hackers arrested in international sweep."

Well, let's hope they keep up the good work, since Anonymous just declared war on the U.S.:

Ohio School Shooting Suspect Confesses

At New York Times, "Ohio Shooting Suspect Confesses, Prosecutor Says":

CHARDON, Ohio — The fatal shooting rampage in a high school in this quiet suburb of Cleveland remained a puzzle on Tuesday, with prosecutors saying that a student had confessed to the killings and had told them that he did not know his victims and chose them at random.

Prosecutors said the student, T. J. Lane, 17, admitted taking a .22-caliber Ruger semiautomatic pistol to Chardon High School on Monday and firing 10 rounds at four students at a cafeteria table. He has not been formally charged, but prosecutors said it was likely that he would be tried in an adult court.

Three of the victims — Russell King Jr., Demetrius Hewlin and Daniel Parmertor — have died. Two others were wounded. One has been released from the hospital.

“This is not about bullying, this is not about drugs,” said David P. Joyce, the Geauga County prosecutor. “This was an effect of one lone gunman. He chose his victims at random.”

Mr. Lane appeared in court for the first time on Tuesday, wincing as the prosecutors read the accusations against him. Dressed in a crisp khaki-colored shirt and dark low-slung pants with a thick belt, he sat in a wooden chair with his back straight, speaking in barely audible tones to the judge, Timothy J. Grendell, in Geauga County Juvenile Court. His face crumpled briefly into tears as he was led away, and he appeared to whisper the words “I am so sorry” to two aunts and his grandfather, Jack Nolan, who is also his legal guardian.

The police have until Thursday to charge Mr. Lane.
More at that top link.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mitt Romney Wins Michigan and Arizona Primaries

Mitt recaptures the momentum.

At Washington Post, "Mitt Romney wins Arizona, Michigan primaries."

Mitt Romney won both of Tuesday’s Republican presidential primaries, routing Rick Santorum in Arizona and narrowly securing Michigan, his birth state.

The victories will provide an important boost for Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who has sought to cast himself as the GOP’s inevitable nominee. He has now won primary contests in six states: New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, Maine, Michigan and Arizona.

“We didn’t win by a lot, but we won by enough. And that’s all that counts,” Romney told supporters in the Detroit suburb of Novi on Tuesday night.

He said nothing about Santorum in his speech, instead criticizing President Obama at length and trying to boil down a complicated economic message.

“I’m going to deliver on more jobs, less debt, smaller government,” Romney said. Later, he returned to another three-point message about government: “I’ll make it simpler, smaller and smarter.”
More at that top link.

And at Los Angeles Times, "Romney takes Arizona and Michigan primaries: Wins ease concerns over protracted battle for nomination."

March 6th is Super Tuesday, and so tonight's wins for Romney were crucial in helping the erstwhile frontrunner restore some of his previous glory. That said, even with some renewed momentum Romney's got some big challenges: Newt Gingrich is leading by double digits in Georgia and Rick Santorum leads in Ohio and Tennessee. I'll have more on this later. Meanwhile, check Christian Science Monitor, "Mitt Romney: Will Michigan, Arizona wins restore aura of inevitability?"

Santorum Up in First Raw Votes Out of Michigan — UPDATED!!

From CNN's Situation Room: "1% of #Michigan votes are in. Santorum 41%, Romney 37% Paul 12% Gingrich 7%. Still very early."

UPDATE: CNN and the other networks called Arizona for Mitt Romney at 6:00pm PST. And right now it looks like Romney's pulling out a lead in Michigan. With 23 percent of precincts reporting, Romney leads Santorum 41 to 38 percent --- and that's an 8,000 vote margin. So, we'll see how it goes ...

6:25pm PST: Professor Larry Sabato tweets: "My best MI contacts tell me they believe Romney will win by a few points in the end."

6:48pm PST: With 50 percent reporting, CNN has Romney up 41 to 38 percent over Santorum, and Romney's up 21,000 votes. Some analysts are already calling a Romney win in Michigan.

7:08pm PST: Here's the headline at LAT, "Romney takes Ariz. primary, Mich. race still tight."

7:19pm PST: CNN just called Michigan for Romney.

7:22pm PST: Here's National Journal, "Romney Wins Michigan in Home-State Cliffhanger."

'Storm the Embassy'

Until later, enjoy some Stray Cats:

Fifty man taken captive in a hostile foreign land
Scorchin' sun beaming down onto miles and miles of sand
A mideast country being ruled
By a man who thinks it's fun
To hold our people in return
For a sjah that's on the run

I think it's funny
Freedom takes money

It's a heartache and it's hard luck
Well that's tough shit
Man it's no fun
Storm the Iranian embassy
Before they start shootin' down you and me

Scourge of suits in control
Of the diplomatic mess
While the nations of the world
Look on and they care less
The Soviet Union won't agree
To an economic plan
And then they laugh and march their troops into Afghanistan

Orders from Moscow
Invade Teheran now

It's a heartache and it's hard luck
Well that's tough shit
Man it's no fun
Storm the Iranian embassy
Before they start shootin' at you and me

A nation worries and reads the papers
Hoping that no-one has died
Hearin' rumours that the hostages
Will soon be tried as spies
Demonstrations on the street
Saying that the end is near
The man from New York Times on vacation
Wants to know what happened here

Agressive acts now
We want the best now
Fifty moms crying
Is my son dying ?

It's a heartache and it's hard luck
Well that's tough shit
Man it's no fun
Storm the Iranian embassy
Before they start shootin' at you and me...
RELATED: From Max Boot, at Commentary, "Paying the Price in Egypt and Iran."

INSPIRATION: Linkmaster Smith.

How to Define Rick Santorum?

From Kim Strassel, at WSJ, "The Race to Define Rick Santorum":

Troy, Mich.

The Michigan primary, and possibly the Republican presidential nomination, may come down to this one question: Who is Rick Santorum?

Is he, as the former Pennsylvania senator avers, a consistent "full-spectrum" conservative, a pioneer on tough policy, and the only candidate who can provide a clear contrast with Barack Obama? Or is he, as his opponent Mitt Romney argues, little more than a Bush-era big-spender, a political insider?

Michiganders will make that choice Tuesday, as an estimated 1.7 million voters go to the polls. Mr. Romney may be Michigan's native son, but the state has become Mr. Santorum's to lose. His early-February victories in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri vaulted him to the top of national polls and to a double-digit lead by mid-February in the Great Lake State. Yet Mr. Santorum has been steadily losing ground and enters in a dead heat...
Continue reading.

Strassel makes the point that Romney wins by tearing down his opponents with Blitzkrieg negative advertising, a point William Jacobson has made over and over again.

Meanwhile, Nate Silver has this, "Michigan Forecast Update: Romney's Lead Looks More Tenuous" (via Memeorandum).

Pamela Geller on Pennsylvania Zombie Mohammad

Via Atlas Shrugs, "VIDEO: Pamela Geller on SUN TV with Ezra Levant on Sharia Justice in Pennslyvania."

'The Con Artist'

We can't afford a sequel, via Nice Deb.

Japan Barely Avoided Nuclear Worst-Case Scenario During Fukushima Disaster

A fascinating report, at New York Times, "Japan Considered Tokyo Evacuation During the Nuclear Crisis":
TOKYO — In the darkest moments of last year’s nuclear accident, Japanese leaders did not know the actual extent of damage at the plant and secretly considered the possibility of evacuating Tokyo, even as they tried to play down the risks in public, an independent investigation into the accident disclosed on Monday.

The investigation by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, a new private policy organization, offers one of the most vivid accounts yet of how Japan teetered on the edge of an even larger nuclear crisis than the one that engulfed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. A team of 30 university professors, lawyers and journalists spent more than six months on the inquiry into Japan’s response to the triple meltdown at the plant, which followed a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that shut down the plant’s cooling systems.

The team interviewed more than 300 people, including top nuclear regulators and government officials, as well as the prime minister during the crisis, Naoto Kan. They were granted extraordinary access, in part because of a strong public demand for greater accountability and because the organization’s founder, Yoichi Funabashi, a former editor in chief of the daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun, is one of Japan’s most respected public intellectuals.

An advance copy of the report describes how Japan’s response was hindered at times by a debilitating breakdown in trust between the major actors: Mr. Kan; the Tokyo headquarters of the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power, known as Tepco; and the manager at the stricken plant. The conflicts produced confused flows of sometimes contradictory information in the early days of the crisis, the report said.

It describes frantic phone calls by the manager, Masao Yoshida, to top officials in the Kan government arguing that he could get the plant under control if he could keep his staff in place, while at the same time ignoring orders from Tepco’s headquarters not to use sea water to cool the overheating reactors. By contrast, Mr. Funabashi said in an interview, Tepco’s president, Masataka Shimizu, was making competing calls to the prime minister’s office saying that the company should evacuate all of its staff, a step that could have been catastrophic.

The 400-page report, due to be released later this week, also describes a darkening mood at the prime minister’s residence as a series of hydrogen explosions rocked the plant on March 14 and 15. It says Mr. Kan and other officials began discussing a worst-case outcome if workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant were evacuated. This would have allowed the plant to spiral out of control, releasing even larger amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere that would in turn force the evacuation of other nearby nuclear plants, causing further meltdowns.
More at that top link.

Smokin' Angelina Jolie on the Red Carpet at Oscars

Well, when Angelina was announcing the awards for best screenplay and so forth I told my wife she looked fabulous. Man, that's some style.

And Telegraph UK has some video from the red carpet:

And check the slideshow, "Oscars 2012: Red carpet fashion best dressed."

BONUS: At London's Daily Mail, "And the award for best breakout star goes to... Angie's right leg: Miss Jolie's lithe limb attracts attention, mocking and 15,000 Twitter followers."

EXTRA: At WaPo, "Oscars red carpet Polyvore remix: Dressing down the best-dressed."

Monday, February 27, 2012

One Dead in Shooting at Chardon High School in Ohio

The New York Times is updating at The Lede blog, "Ohio High School Shooting Leaves 1 Student Dead and 4 Wounded."

And at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Chardon High School shooting: A guide to what happened and how word spread."

CHARDON, Ohio - The chilling actions of a teenager as he systematically shot Chardon High School students sitting at a cafeteria table were captured by surveillance video at Chardon High School, which also showed the chaos afterward.

According to a source who viewed the video, the student - identified by fellow students as T.J. Lane -- sat down by himself at a table in the cafeteria around 7:30 a.m. Within moments he reached into a pack or a bag. He pulled out a .22-caliber handgun.

Lane walked around his table and stood behind students identified by classmates as Russell King, Demetrius Hewlin and Nick Walczak, all juniors and friends. Russell and Nick were waiting there before catching a bus to Auburn Career Center.
Also, "1 student killed, several hurt in shooting at Chardon High School; suspect in custody."

UPDATE: At New York Daily News, the death toll is now at two, "Ohio high school shooting kills two students, suspect in custody."

And at Fox 8 Cleveland, "Teachers’ Heroic Actions During Chardon High Shooting," and "Community Deals with Chardon High School Shooting at Vigil."

GOP Class War Hits First Industrial-State Primary of 2012

At Los Angeles Times, "Santorum and Romney fight their own class war in Michigan":

Rick Santorum, flaunting the fieriest populism in years by a GOP presidential contender, is waging a determined challenge against Mitt Romney, heir to a storied Michigan political dynasty. Romney had once been expected to cruise to victory in the state his father governed and that he won four years ago.

But Santorum was aiming for an upset that, as he says, would shock the Republican world. In the first industrial-state primary of 2012, he has cast himself as a fighter for working men and women against the "elites in society who think that they can manage your life better than you can."

The biggest threat facing the country, the former senator from Pennsylvania says, is a big government in Washington that is bent on expanding its reach ever more deeply into the lives of ordinary Americans. And he links Romney to those forces and to the plutocrats of Wall Street, while drawing implicit contrasts between himself and one of the richest men ever to seek the presidency.

Romney defended his wealth — and by implication the wealthy — during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday."

"If people think that there is something wrong with being successful in America, then they better vote for the other guy," he said. "Because I've been extraordinarily successful and I want to use that success and that know-how to help the American people."
More at that top link.

And also at LAT, "Romney, Santorum locked in dead heat."

Santorum's up 37 to 35 in that poll cited at the article above.

We'll see how it goes. I'll be checking around for more news. But see CNN, "Santorum adviser on Michigan: 'We have already won'." (At Memeorandum.)

Denver Anarchists Throw Urine Bombs at Police

At FOX31 Denver, "Protestors throw urine bombs at Denver police" (via Memeorandum), and KMGH-TV Denver, "5 Arrested In Anti-Police Protest: Activists Accused Of Spray Painting Graffiti On Cars."

There's video at that first link. The report indicates that this wasn't an Occupy protest. The anarchists were protesting police brutality, and it's an annual event apparently.

Still, those urine bombs have Occupy written all over them.

Obamacare Hurts Obama in Battleground States

At USA Today, "Swing states poll: Health care law hurts Obama in 2012" (via Memeorandum):

WASHINGTON – The health care overhaul that President Obama intended to be the signature achievement of his first term instead has become a significant problem in his bid for a second one, uniting Republicans in opposition and eroding his standing among independents.

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of the nation's dozen top battleground states, a clear majority of registered voters call the bill's passage "a bad thing" and support its repeal if a Republican wins the White House in November. Two years after he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act— and as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments about its constitutionality next month — the president has failed to convince most Americans that it was the right thing to do.

"Mandating that you have to buy the insurance rubs me the wrong way altogether," says Fred Harrison, 62, a horse trainer from York County, Pa., who was among those surveyed and supports repeal even though he likes some provisions of the law. "It should be my own choice."

"It seems like it forces you to take health care (coverage), and you don't really have a say in the matter," says Beth Leffew, 26, a college student from Cincinnati. She says the president "didn't really listen to people" when they objected to the proposed bill. "It seems like he just shoved it right through Congress."
Also at Lonely Con, "Obamacare Still Unpopular in Swing States," Doug Powers at Michelle's, "Health Care Law Hurting Obama in Swing States," and Pirate's Cove, "Obama’s Signature Legislation, Which He Won’t Talk About, Hurts Obama In Swing States."

More On the Academy Awards

At the New York Times, "Loud Oscar Roar for ‘The Artist’: 5 Wins," and the Washington Post, "Oscars 2012: The comprehensive Academy Awards recap."

Plus, at the Los Angeles Times, "'The Artist' wins three top Oscars, including best picture."

Meryl Streep Wins Best Actress Oscar for 'Iron Lady'

I suppose this is a good time to post's video on "Iron Lady." Meryl Streep took home the Oscar for best actress for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher.

And see Los Angeles Times, "Oscars 2012: Meryl Streep wins for lead actress."

Meryl Streep won the Oscar for lead actress Sunday at the 84th Academy Awards, for her role playing former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady."

Though the film itself was greeted with mixed reviews, Streep's performance received universal acclaim. In the film, Streep portrays Thatcher throughout her life and career, beginning in her later years and looking back.

This was Streep's third Oscar for lead actress, but her first since "Sophie's Choice" in 1982. Additionally, it was her 17th overall nomination.
And lots more at Los Angeles Times.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

George Friedman Resigns as CEO of Stratfor

This would normally be an inspirational level of personal responsibility, although in this case I think Friedman has a point. Stratfor got pwned.

At Instapundit, "AN EMAIL JUST RECEIVED..."

And check CNBC, "Wikileaks Stratfor Memo Reminiscent of a Spy Novel," and Daily Beast, "WikiLeaks to Publish Stratfor Emails."

Added: At Sacramento Bee, "Stratfor Statement on Wikileaks," and Wired, "Wikileaks Pairs with Anonymous to Publish Intelligence Firm’s Dirty Laundry."

'Saving Face' Wins Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject

Well, I hadn't heard of this one (and I'm moved by this), so I checked online for some information. There's a page at Wikipedia, and the Los Angeles Times reports, "Oscars 2012: 'Saving Face' wins for documentary short."

'Act of Valor' Dominates Box Office Weekend

Well, it's movie night, with the Academy Awards and all.

So, here's a movie-related post, via Los Angeles Times, "Box Office: Navy SEALs take out Perry, Aniston, Seyfried."

And from Ed Morrissey, "Film Review: Act of Valor."

Full Interview: Rick Santorum on 'This Week with George Stephanopoulos'

Well, here's your afternoon non-controversy. The progs are up in arms over Rick Santorum's comments on the separation of church and state. And you have to understand this: Progressive really are working for a complete separation of religion and public life. It's not just that folks of non-belief should be protected by constitutional doctrines against religious establishment, the left has gone on the warpath against people of faith, demonizing religion and hammering to destroy traditional values. That's what this is about.

At ABC News, "Rick Santorum: JFK’s 1960 Speech Made Me Want to Throw Up" (via Memeorandum):

There's lots of commentary at Memeorandum.

Israel Apartheid Week

William Jacobson reports, "'Israel Apartheid Week' Sickness Returns."

I visited UCLA last year on February 23. See: "Israeli Apartheid Week, Students for Justice in Palestine, UCLA, February 23, 2011." These people are basically terrorists. And Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA has an event planned for next week, a "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Panel." Check that link. The panel,, alternatively titled "Confronting Apartheid," features members of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, including Professor Robin D. G. Kelley, who was recently interviewed at Mondoweiss: "‘A level of racist violence I have never seen’: UCLA professor Robin D. G. Kelley on Palestine and the BDS movement." Last week the university hosted a talk by anti-Israel propagandist Ilan PappĂ©, "The False Paradigm of Parity and Partition: Revisiting 1967." Professor Steven Plaut had this the other day on PappĂ© at FrontPage Magazine:
Pappe is a notorious fabricator, someone who claims proudly that facts and truth are of no importance. “Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers,” the French newspaper Le Soir, has cited Pappe as saying.

Pappe is an expatriate Israeli who devoted one of his “books” to his sons with the wish that they may grow up in a world without Israel. His own University of Exeter recently chastised him for his infamous habit of playing fast and loose with facts. Pappe is best known as a fulltime anti-Israel propagandist who has done more than any other anti-Israel Israeli to promote the moral equivalence of “Nakba denial” with Holocaust denial. (For those who are unaware, “Nakba,” meaning “catastrophe,” is the term Arabs use to refer to Israel’s birth.) He is a “new historian” in the sense of pseudo-historian. His mission in life is to invent an imaginary Palestinian historic “narrative.” Nearly all those beating the “Nakba” drum today cite Pappe and his books about the supposed “ethnic cleansing” of Arabs by Israel in its war of independence.

Pappe was a lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa, but moved to resume a pseudo-academic propagandist position at the University of Exeter in the UK. Even other anti-Zionists have repudiated Pappe as a liar and fabricator. He openly calls for Israel to be exterminated and endorses Hamas terrorism. He considers Noam Chomsky insufficiently anti-Israel.

Pappe, who ran for the parliament in Israel on the slate of the Stalinist communist party and played a central role in fomenting boycotts of Israel in the UK and elsewhere, was also the central figure in the now infamous “Tantura Affair.” In this incident, Pappe coached a graduate student of his into inventing a non-existent “massacre” of Arabs by the Hagana Jewish militia (Alexandroni Brigade) in Tantura, south of Haifa, a “massacre” that Pappe claims took place in 1948. Not a shred of any evidence for any such “massacre” exists. Arab and other journalists who were present at the time of the battle that took place in Tantura reported no massacre. Arabs living in the town at the time confirmed that a battle did occur, but that after the battle the Jewish militiamen aided and assisted the townspeople, not massacring anyone. The graduate student in question was sued for libel by the veterans of the Hagana militia. He later admitted in court with his lawyer present that the entire massacre was an invention.

No matter – Pappe roams the world and continues to spread the lie about the imaginary Tantura “massacre,” a lie that has found its way into nearly every anti-Semitic web site and Neo-Nazi magazine on Earth, and even a handful of otherwise respectable mainstream journalists foolishly rely upon him. Pappe has lied about practically everything else, including about being “persecuted” by his own university in Israel. In fact, Pappe was never fired for his fraud and fabrication by the University of Haifa, although he should have been. (Some wags even suggested the university should be boycotted for not firing Pappe.) That did not stop Pappe from waving his stigmata as a “victim of Zionism” before the European anti-Semites promoting “divestment” from Israel. His recruitment by the University of Exeter proves how indifferent that school is to scholarly standards. His coming appearance as the star of the Harvard academic pogrom shows that things are not much better there.
Well, that's a pretty good flavor of what all this "Palestine Awareness" is about.

PREVIOUSLY: "Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to Host Conference On the Extermination of Israel."

How Moderate Republicans Became Extinct

It's really amazing listening to this interview with Reihan Salam at the clip below. Salam is the co-author of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream. Written with Ross Douthat, the book came out around the time of the 2008 campaign. The first half of the book is a tour de force on the changes in the Republican Party and general party realignment since the 1960s. The thesis is that the GOP can't hold onto the "Sam's Club" constituency --- which is basically the old working class Reagan Democrat types who have frequently shifted over to the GOP column since the cultural tumult of the 1960s. It's a fickle demographic, and the problem diagnosed in Grand New Party returns in Salam's new piece at Foreign Affairs, "The Missing Middle in American Politics." It's all fascinating from an academic perspective, and realistic in terms of our two-party system, but the notion of the "moderate Republican" is quaint. In seven minutes Salam mentions the tea party not once. So while all the talk of the old-style GOP moderates makes for some good establishment-style nostalgia, I think in the age of Obama it's not too risky to widen the perspective a bit. The economy will continue to be a huge issue through November, so those "swing voters" allegedly repulsed by the "fanatical" GOP candidates are hardly cemented into the Democrat column as if it were October 2008. More on that later. Meanwhile, here's this from Salam's essay:

The dominant ideology and style of today’s Republican Party would have been utterly alien to [Mitt] Romney’s father. In Rule and Ruin, the historian Geoffrey Kabaservice’s vivid account of the pitched ideological battles that shaped the postwar Republican Party, George Romney is cast as the last hope of a moderate Republicanism that has all but vanished. Born into poverty in a Mormon colony in northern Mexico, Romney rose to become the chief executive of the American Motors Corporation. There, he succeeded in taking on the Big Three car companies, scoffing at their “gas-guzzling dinosaurs” and offering sleek, fuel-efficient compacts that anticipated the later triumphs of the Japanese automobile industry. Like many self-made business executives of the time, Romney felt a deep sense of moral obligation, which flowed in part from his devout religious faith. As poor African Americans from the Deep South settled in and around Detroit, Romney made it his mission to better their condition. Shortly after his election as governor in 1962, Romney pressed for a massive increase in spending on public education and on generous social welfare benefits for the poor and unemployed. During Romney’s first term alone, Michigan’s state government nearly doubled its spending, from $684 million in 1964 to $1.3 billion in 1968. To finance the increase, Romney fought for and won a new state income tax, which would become a thorn in the side of future Michigan Republicans.

What separated Romney from liberal Democrats who were similarly eager to expand government was his conviction that he was doing God’s work on earth. Today, it is entirely common for Republican presidential candidates to describe the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as divinely inspired documents, as Romney did. But in the mid-1960s, as Kabaservice observes, such religiosity was unusual, at least for a moderate Republican. Kabaservice briefly speculates that Romney’s brand of moralistic progressivism might have resonated with many Christian voters who instead embraced a harder-edged form of conservatism infused with evangelical fervor. But Romney’s political program was badly undermined by the 1967 Detroit riots, which discredited the notion, fairly or not, that large-scale social spending was the most effective route to social uplift, at least among conservatives.

Disagreements on race and the Vietnam War fueled the split in the late 1960s between the radical New Left and the liberal Democratic establishment. But the upheaval of the late 1960s also divided the Republicans. Conservatives of that era saw themselves as defending the United States’ founding ideals against communism abroad and radicalism at home. Moderates, in contrast, sought to modernize the GOP: to keep up with the baby boomers’ shifting sensibilities on social issues and to share in their embrace of a more diverse and dynamic society. Some even praised what they saw, perhaps naively, as the freedom-loving spirit of the antiwar movement.

Yet as Kabaservice relates, the moderates never coalesced into a movement with a coherent program and ideology, despite Dwight Eisenhower’s earlier attempts to build a modern party that embraced the New Deal and a vision of responsible American global leadership. This failure left moderate Republicans in an awkward position. Those who shared the Democratic faith in activist government, tempered by a desire for decentralization and fiscal rigor, found themselves gravitating to the left. Those who shared conservative skepticism of big government, tempered by a recognition that Social Security and Medicare were here to stay, found themselves gravitating to the right. There was no glue to hold the two sides together.

Ultimately, Kabaservice argues, it was this lack of coherence that doomed the centrists within the Republican Party. The absence of a rigid ideology freed them to embrace creative solutions to emerging social problems, which proved useful when they were in power. But precisely because they were so allergic to ideology, the moderates were disinclined to rally the troops or to wage scorched-earth campaigns against their political enemies. Even when they had the advantage of numbers, as they did after Goldwater’s 1964 defeat, they routinely failed to coordinate their efforts, never managing to build the kind of grass-roots fundraising network that fueled the rise of the political right.
Continue reading.

What Has America Become?

I've read this letter before, but it hit home more closely this time.

Via Theo Spark, "A Letter to the Editor of a Small Northern Michigan Newspaper."


And the text is published in full at Questioning With Boldness…

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison Delivers GOP Weekly Address

Sen. Hutchinson will retire at the end of this Congress.

A genteel Southern lady:

Hollywood's Golden Age in Pictures

A compelling photo-slideshow at Telegraph UK, "Oscars glamour in Hollywood's golden age."

Review: 2012 BMW 328i

What's really interesting is that BMW downsized the engine to four cylinders.

But see LAT, "BMW 328i raises the bar as it takes a new path."

Imagine if Orson Wells [sic] was expected to improve on "Citizen Kane" every six years, or if Kobe Bryant's contract demanded that every time he put Nike to hardwood, he needed to score 60 points.

Such is the sphere of influence where BMW's 3 Series operates.

The company says one out of every three BMWs sold since 1975 is one of these compact sport sedans — that's 12.5 million in all.

Not only has the car been the automaker's most recognizable ambassador to the car-buying masses for the last 30 years, but with such volume comes corresponding profit.

If brand identity and corporate affluence weren't big enough burdens to bear for the 3 Series, consider that more than one rival automaker has lost plenty of sleep trying to capture the gestalt-in-a-bottle the car has long represented.

So, you know, no pressure on BMW in bringing this 2012 328i to life.

The biggest change for this new model, other than some interesting design choices, is the 328i's engine. Reflecting the trend toward smaller and more efficient, this model, starting at $35,795, is now moved by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four cylinder.

Although size drops by two cylinders from the previous in-line six cylinder, this direct-injected turbo unit is up on power. Its rating of 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque is a gain of 10 horsepower and 60 pound-feet of torque over the old engine. BMW says the 328i I tested with an automatic transmission will go from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.

More at the link.

Shepard Fairey Pleads Guilty Over Obama ‘Hope’ Image

A report at the New York Times.

Image via Jim Treacher (c/o Instapundit).

Unlimited Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Syria Violence on Eve of Vote

At USA Today, "Syria violence spreads on eve of constitution vote":

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) – Syria has defied international calls to halt attacks on rebel enclaves and at least 89 people have been killed nationwide on the eve of a constitutional referendum that the opposition sees as a ploy by President Bashar Assad's regime.

Assad presented the revised charter — which allows for at least a theoretical opening of the country's political system — as an effort to placate critics and quell the 11-month uprising against his rule.

But the Sunday vote is unlikely to overshadow a new round of international condemnation and calls that Assad leave power.

The new charter would create a multiparty system in Syria, which has been ruled by the same family dynasty since Assad's father Hafez seized power in a coup in 1963. Such change as unthinkable a year ago.

After 11 months of bloodshed, however, Assad's opponents say the referendum and other promises of reform are not enough and have called for a boycott of the vote.

Assad was roundly criticized Friday at a major international conference on the Syrian crisis in Tunisia, where U.S., European and Arab officials began planning a civilian peacekeeping mission to deploy after the regime falls.

President Barack Obama said Friday of Assad's rule: "It is time for that regime to move on."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Romney Campaign Prepares for Long Haul to the Nomination

At New York Times, "Prolonged Race Forces Romney Campaign to Recalibrate":

TROY, Mich. — Whether Mitt Romney wins or loses the Michigan and Arizona primaries on Tuesday, his advisers are warning donors and other supporters to prepare for a longer, more bruising and more expensive fight for the Republican presidential nomination that may not be settled until at least May.

That is prompting a new round of intensified fund-raising by his financial team, which had hoped by this point to be collecting money for a general election match with President Obama. The campaign is increasingly trying to quell anxiety among Republican leaders, while intently focusing on the mechanics of accumulating delegates needed to secure the nomination.

Mr. Romney’s aides said they were confident their sustained attacks portraying Rick Santorum as a Washington insider, and Mr. Santorum’s shaky debate performance in Arizona on Wednesday, had slowed their rival’s recent surge here in Michigan.

But Mr. Romney is by no means in the clear, they said, as he fights to avert a loss in the state where he was born and raised — and where less than three weeks ago he was expected to win handily, before Mr. Santorum’s surprise triumphs in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

Regardless of the results Tuesday, Mr. Santorum is preparing to fight on for weeks or months, enticed by new rules that award delegates in early primaries and caucuses based on each candidate’s share of votes. “The race is going to go a long time,” he said after addressing a meeting here of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group.

The party’s new delegate system is a major contributor to the prolonged nature of the contest, along with the advent of supportive and well-financed “super PACs” that have helped Mr. Romney’s competitors stay in the delegate hunt when their candidacies might otherwise have withered without enough cash.

For many Republicans, the question is not just whether Mr. Romney will eventually capture the nomination, but at what cost.
Continue reading.

It seems to me that this is exactly the kind of prolonged campaign that the GOP National Committee planned for when they "back-loaded" the nomination process and shifted more delegates to proportional representation. I wrote about this at Pajamas Media in December, although at that time it looked like Newt Gingrich was about to permanently dethrone Romney's coronation. But the Times' piece has all sorts of examples of party insiders biting their fingernails about how the harsh primary battle will diminish the party's prospects against Obama in the fall. I think we hear the same worries every four years. Frankly, as Sarah Palin has said repeatedly, the long process will strengthen the nominee because the dirty laundry will have been fully aired and the MFM will have little left for those October surprises that work to damage the Republicans.

In any case, there's some polling out that substantiates the idea of a long campaign, at WSB-TV, "Gingrich holds commanding lead in Georgia" (via Memeorandum) and at Second Front, "Poll: Santorum comes from behind in Alabama three-way" (via Buzzfeed and Memeorandum).

Two U.S. Military Officers Shot and Killed in Kabul

At Los Angeles Times, "2 Americans killed in Afghanistan in new Koran-burning violence," and Blazing Cat Fur, "Two U.S. advisers killed by Westerner at Afghan Interior Ministry: officials (VIDEO)."

And at Telegraph UK, "Two senior American soldiers shot dead in Kabul":

Two Americans, believed to be senior US army officers, were shot dead by a gunman on Saturday in a secure area deep inside one of the most high-security buildings in Afghanistan.

The shootings came after five days of protests against the burning of copies of the Muslim holy book at an American base in Afghanistan.

A Taliban spokesman immediately claimed responsibility for the shootings. A Nato source said an "aggressive search" was underway for the gunman, who was believed to be Afghan.

The two officers, a colonel and a major, were killed inside the interior ministry in Kabul, where they had been advisers working with Afghan counterparts.
Continue reading.

And at USA Today, "U.S. condemns deadly attack on Americans in Afghanistan."

Santorum Was Right About Iran — When It Was Unpopular

A great piece from Michael Ledeen, at Wall Street Journal:

Rick Santorum doesn't fit any of the stereotypes of current foreign-policy ideologies. He's too idealistic to be a "realist," too conservative and too religious to be a "neocon," and too revolutionary to be a "paleocon." He's an old-fashioned, feisty patriot, in the mold of Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Santorum's hatred of tyranny traces back to his grandfather Pietro, who took the family from Lake Garda in northern Italy to Pennsylvania's coal country to escape Mussolini's dictatorship in the 1920s. Pietro Santorum worked in the mines until he was 72 and, as Mr. Santorum often says, taught him "to treasure the gift of freedom [and] to have faith in God's grace."

Mr. Santorum believes the United States must lead the struggle for freedom throughout the world, on grounds of morality and national security, which he believes go hand in hand. He does not like the drift away from leadership and engagement in that struggle, especially under President Obama. He often quotes Lech Walesa's recent lament: "The United States was always the last resort and hope for all other nations," Poland's first post-communist president said. "There was the hope, whenever something was going wrong, one could count on the United States. Today, we have lost that hope."

Mr. Santorum wants to restore the hope that America will rescue those for whom things have gone terribly wrong...
Continue reading.

Harvard's Kennedy School of Government to Host Conference On the Extermination of Israel

It's called the "One State Conference."

Caroline Glick wrote about it the other day, "Harvard, Jew haters, motherhood and Israel."

But there's a lot of additional commentary.

See for example, Leah Burrows at the American Jewish Committee, "Harvard under fire over Israel." And also at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, "Harvard to Host Conference Promoting Israel's Destruction."

And at FrontPage Magazine, "Harvard’s Academic Pogrom."

Plus, from the Anti-Defamation League, "ADL Letter to Harvard University regarding 'One State' Conference," and "Harvard's Statement in Response to ADL Letter on 'Offensive' Anti-Israel Conference Welcomed."

And at Big Peace, "Protest, Don’t Ban, Harvard’s Anti-Israel Conference."

Now, that brings us back to Glick's piece. The issue is not just the progressive left's campaign for the destruction if Israel, or that Stephen Walt was able to get an "Israel Lobby" conference going at Harvard. It's that our very institutions of cultural transmission have become so irreversibly corrupted that its frankly not safe for the education of people of decency, faith, and values. And I quote from the essay:
 ... today's crop of corrupt intellectuals of the Walt and Mearshimer variety with all their allies in academia and the media and the blogosphere and politics are seeking to delegitimize Israel - the collective Jew -- intellectually. Like the work of the eugenics champions of the late 19th and early 20th century, their work will provide Muslim Jew haters with the political leeway to murder Jews on a scale they could never have dreamed possible. Hence you'll never find a so-called "anti-Zionist" like Walt lose sleep over the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, but rather over the prospect of Israel preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

And this brings me to the second point. I read the CAMERA alert on my Iphone as I was feeding my newborn son. I looked out the window at Jerusalem and all I could feel was thankful to be living in the independent, free Jewish state of Israel. I am thankful that these pseudo intellectuals no longer can determine the future of my people, as they could in the 1930s. I am thankful that my children will in all likelihood not study in US universities but in Israeli ones that are not as demented as their American counterparts.

And here's a couple of disturbing thoughts for all the parents in the US who are about to put themselves in the poor house to pay for their children's university education.

The embrace of the cause of Israel's destruction by so many celebrity professors today is part and parcel of the destruction of the US higher education system.

At the Harvard conference, not a drop of truth will be spoken by any of the eminent Jew hating participants. Students who attend will be presented with lies dripping with moralistic gobbledygook and be told that they are enlightened for embracing this sewage.

The absence of truth from academic discourses is not limited to discussion of Israel. Rather, the ability of professors like Walt and his pals to prosper with their lies is a function of the general deterioration and corruption of academic institutions.

This general decline and indeed failure was highlighted last week by Prof. Peter Berkowitz in an article he published in the Wall Street Journal about Yale's totalitarian system of "informal justice" that allows the university to effectively destroy young male students' future by blackening their reputations on the basis of unsubstantiated and even anonymous allegations of sexual misconduct. The policies in place deny young male Yalies due process and enable witch hunts.

In his conclusion Berkowitz wrote that the abandonment of even the semblance of due process for male students on campuses is in line with the general deterioration or even disappearance of educational standards. As he put it:
At its best, university education has deteriorated into little more than random forays into the sciences, social sciences and humanities. But traditionally, and for good reason in a democracy, liberal education at its heart involved instruction in the principles of freedom.

If Yale and other institutions across the country were fulfilling their promise to educate students, then their faculties would teach that riding roughshod over due process shows ignorance of or contempt for the rule of law. Professors would be teaching that the presumption of innocence is rooted in a commitment to treating individuals as ends in themselves and not as a means to advancing some social goal or another, even if that goal is given the name of equality or justice. And students would be learning that our established and legitimate justice system does not presume guilt, because to do so is to fail to appreciate the limits of human knowledge and the propensity of those who wield power to abuse it.
Let's not forget that this is the same Yale University that saw fit to close its interdisciplinary center for the study of anti-Semitism last year because YIISA had the unmitigated gall to highlight contemporary "progressive" Jew hatred and its unwashed cousin Islamic Jew hatred.

CAMERA has launched an email campaign to try to fight Harvard's descent into Jew hating insanity. I think that it is good for what it's worth. But I have no expectations from that institution. The madness that has taken control of America's elite educational institutions is a threat to the US because it is robbing a generation of young people of the ability to think freely and critically about the world.

For me, the message is clear enough, as a Jew, a Jewish mother and a person who clings to my freedom, guns and religion, my job is to do everything I can to ensure that Israel remains strong and gets stronger so that today's corrupted elites can't touch us.
Recall my post a week ago, "Why Progressivism Should Scare the **** Out of You." I continue to deal with this kind of corruption at my college. It's not just "elite educational institutions." It's higher education and K-12 as well. Teachers and administrators are educated by the elite, the educational curriculum is designed by the elite, and faculty are held accountable based on the ideas and institutions created and enforced by the elite. Progressivism has metastasized deeply inside the institutions. I have learned this because I'm on the inside. I see how it's the normal course of events for the major agents of the educational bureaucracy to push socialism and the obliteration of traditional culture. I did not understand this years ago. My dissertation built on some of the theories of Stephen Walt, theories of alliance formation and the balance of power. Indeed, at first I didn't even understand the implications of Walt and Mersheimer's "The Israel Lobby." It's taken a while, but seriously, just look at the roster of participants at that conference. That is not an academic gathering. It's a political gathering to further organize for the elimination of the Jewish state. Being disguised as an academic conference and sponsored at the world's most prestigious university makes it all the more insidious. But these things fly under the radar and they work to pick away at the moral foundations of society, infecting the young and idealistic with ideologies that they might not fully comprehend in their hopes for a better world. But the world will not be a better place should the exterminationists win the day. And that's why I keep fighting for what's right. I would leave academe if I could, if I was financially able. But I'll be working on making that a possibility as soon as I can.

More on this later my friends....

Newt Gingrich Slams Obama for Afghanistan Koran Apology

A big report at London's Daily Mail, "'They don't deserve an apology': Gingrich slams Obama for saying sorry to Afghans over Koran burning as death toll rises to 23."

More at Bloomberg, "Gunfire Erupts as Afghans Protest Burning of Koran at Main U.S. Air Base."

BONUS: From Asra Nomani, at Daily Beast, "Outcry Over Afghanistan Quran Burnings Shows Misguided ‘Honor’ About Sacred Book."

"You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, 'There is a price we will not pay'"

Via Theo Spark:

And that's the last part of Reagan's "A Time for Choosing" (1964)

Kate Upton Soaks Up the Attention

Well, Sports Illustrated is leisurely dribbling out the videos on YouTube, so the pace of bikini blogging has been pretty mild around here actually. And frankly, most of the other models are just as lovely as Kate Upton, so I'm looking forward to a little diversification of the coverage. I'll have more on that later. Meanwhile, here she is:

And see London's Daily Mail, "Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton raises temperature again as she steps out braless in a low-cut top."

More Women Seek Pay-for-Sex in No-Strings-Attached Situations

This is an interesting report, although embedding's disabled so check it out at the link: "Gigolos: Is It Prostitution?"

Is this immoral? Perhaps. But personally, it doesn't bother me because I don't see this as a lifestyle choice seeking to overturn societal institutions (like homosexuality and gay marriage, for example). Besides, the setting's in Las Vegas. I think folks should be able to cut loose out there --- "Sin City" and all that.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Accuses Michael Coren of Anti-Semitism

This is an extremely bizarre exchange.

Michael Coren has become one of my favorite commentators. I check over at Blazing Cat Fur's everyday to see if he's got any new clips embedded. And so imagine my surprise at this one, where we have this Rabbi of whom I've never heard going off on some ridiculous rant alleging that Coren claimed the Jews "control" Hollywood. You just have to watch it. It starts off extremely cordial and friendly and then gets ugly fast. Via: "Coren Scraps With Michael Jackson's Rabbi."

Coren has responded at Huffington Post, "Apparently, I'm an Anti-Semite":
The closest I said to my new best friend about Jews and Hollywood was that "Jewish people do have an influence in Hollywood, and that's a wonderful thing, thank God for it, and we should congratulate ourselves on the fact." But by this time the Rabbi was irrational. He became increasingly aggressive, harangued me, and alleged that Pope Pius XII was one of the wickedest men in history.

He obviously knew little about me, about my Jewish background, and about my most recent book -- Why Catholics Are Right -- a best-seller in Canada as well as the U.S. -- in which I devote an entire chapter to Pope Pius. I referred him to Rabbi Dalin's book , The Myth of Hitler's Pope, and my good friend Sir Martin Gilbert's exemplary work on the Church and the Holocaust.

But the Rabbi was a friend of Michael Jackson's and appears on Oprah; clearly he was out of my league! After the interview he refused to leave the studio, threatened me, insulted a young Orthodox Jewish intern who works with us, and then got down to writing, calling, and tweeting the world about the Jew-hater Coren.

It's all come as a bit of a shock to leaders of the Jewish community in Canada, who just last week had me MC the launch of a book by one of their most senior staffers. There are, however, serious issues here. I almost wept when that young intern pleaded with me to not think all Orthodox Jews behaved thus. I told him not to worry -- there were plenty of arrogant and rude Catholics and Protestants as well.
And see, "Statement on “antisemitism” allegation against Michael Coren."

'Does the Left Understand Psychological Denial?'

A must-read essay, from Dr. Sanity.

'Runaway Slave'

Blazing Cat Fur has a report, "Blacks Enslaved by Left, Argues New Film."

Friday, February 24, 2012

New Romney Emphasis on Taxes, Policy Working in Michigan

Well, I took after Romney for the fumble at Ford Field, so here's a little bit more positive news, at IBD, "Mitt Romney Shift to Talking Tax Cuts, Other Policy Specifics, May Be Working in Michigan":

DETROIT — After months of gauzy statements that he "believes in America," Mitt Romney is trying to give Americans concrete reasons to believe in him.

He still believes in America, but he spent about half of Friday's 25-minute speech to the Detroit Economic Club laying out fairly detailed policy proposals that he would pursue as president.

"I want to talk to you about policy today," he said. "It's not exciting and barn-burning, but it's important."

In are discussions of tax rates and entitlements; gone are the quotes from "America the Beautiful." It is a marked shift from a few weeks ago, when Romney's speeches were long on American values and criticism of President Obama, but short on policy.

Romney has had to employ a new tactic after Rick Santorum swept the three caucuses on Feb. 7 and took the lead in Michigan, which along with Arizona holds its primary on Tuesday.
That sounds good. And more at the link.

Wizbang Apologizes for Post Attacking New York Times Columnist Charles Blow as 'Stupid Nigger'

Well, there are some lines you don't cross no matter how bad progressives are --- and Wizbang crossed a line in a post yesterday, seen at the screencap, c/o All American Blogger, "There’s Proving a Point and There’s Going Too Far – Guess Which One This Is?"

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And here's the thing: Charles Blow is outrageous. I write about him pretty regularly because I'm blown away at how radical he is, and unintelligent too --- and he's at the New York Times (which explains it, I guess).

Anyway, I posted on this last night, "Charles Blow's Religious Bigoty: New York Times Columnist Mocks Mitt Romney's 'Magic Underwear'." As noted at the title, Blow's a bigot. But I never thought to respond to him with racist bigotry of my own. And I'm surprised that the Wizbang author thought it would be okay, or funny even, to attack Blow as a "nigger." It's not funny. Wizbang's in my blog feed at the sidebar and I saw the "Stupid Nigger" post earlier and it looked dead serious. I don't think that kind of language is ever acceptable, and I don't think it's okay even when black folks call each other "nigga" as a term of endearment, or something.

So, I'm not surprised that the reaction was apparently swift and furious. The author, "Paul," has updated, "About That Disappearing Charles Blow Post." Unfortunately, I don't think he quite gets it. He writes, for example, that the post was pulled only because the title might be misunderstood as genuine racism, not "faux-bigotry" intended to attack real bigotry. Actually, it doesn't work that way, and I think Paul understands this in the end, ultimately, by the looks of the update at that post (added before the post even went live, it turns out).

And that's not all. Kevin, the owner of Wizbang (I guess) now has his own entry: "A Word From the Boss." It's an apology and a good one.

And as Charles Blow has now apologized for his anti-Mormon tweeting, I think it's now a teachable moment for everyone.

I will hazard that the folks at Wizbang have done something here by way of apology that progressives would not do, and I have the Olbermann/Moulitsas #OWS rape denials and attacks on Dana Loesch in mind as I write this.

Mitt Romney's Speech From Ford Field

ABC News has the killer headline, "Mitt Romney’s Ford Field Fumble?" (Via Memeorandum.)

And see New York Times, "For Romney, a Message Lost in the Empty Seats":

DETROIT — Mitt Romney set out on Friday to deliver a sweeping and sober vision for how to revive the American economy in a major policy speech here. In the end, he delivered something else as well: an unintended lesson about how poor visuals and errant words can derail a candidate’s message in this modern political news culture.

In an unusual choice, Mr. Romney gave his speech inside Ford Field, a cavernous indoor football stadium with 65,000 seats.

To the television audience, it appeared perfectly normal. Mr. Romney could be seen standing at a lectern in front of a backdrop that had the logo of the Detroit Economic Club, the event’s host. And when the audience — about 1,200 people — clapped, they filled the screen as cameras panned across them.

But in the age of Twitter and the Internet, that is not all that matters.

Before Mr. Romney had uttered a word, reporters began posting pictures online showing the stadium from every available angle — almost empty, except for the chairs set up on the field itself, near the 20-yard line.

Row after row of barren blue seats across the giant stadium made the crowd seem minuscule. Across the Web, a storyline for the day began to take hold that undercut and detracted from Mr. Romney’s words: big speech, tiny crowd.

Ordinarily, such imagery might be overwhelmed by the news of the day: a highly anticipated, substantive address packed with previously unknown details. Mr. Romney called for a 20 percent cut in income taxes; handing control of federal welfare programs to the states; and creating private sector competition for Medicare services.

But the Romney campaign had leaked most of the speech’s contents several days ago, leaving members of the news media with little to focus on — except, of course, the scene itself.
And shoot, here I was thinking Romney was gonna get a big boost out of that debate the other night. So here he is shooting himself in the foot?

Man, it ain't over 'till it's over, that's for sure.

Los Angeles Times to Launch Subscription Paywall

I've been a subscriber to the Los Angeles Times for almost 30 years.

I cut my political teeth reading that newspaper. But like anything else these days, there comes a time when you rethink your loyalties. I don't need the paper in hard copy. Mostly, I renew my subscription out of familiarity and habit. And I'm old-fashioned. I still like reading a broadsheet. And I like having the hard copy for teaching. But there are many days when I don't even pick it up. I go online first thing in the morning and the dead-tree version sits there all day. I might take a look at it over coffee if I go out for breakfast or lunch.

Yet for the first time last week I seriously thought about cancelling my subscription. I was almost physically sick at the Times editorial on the Heartland Institute's "Fakegate" scandal. The background's at Mememorandum. And here's the editorial at the Times, "Climate denial in the classroom." Especially loathsome is the editorial's reference to Michael Mann, the discredited climate change asshat at the University of Pennsylvania:
Fortunately, if we're about to enter a battle over classroom instruction on climate change, it won't go on for decades, because the impacts of global warming are already patently obvious. Seven of the 10 warmest years since global record-keeping began in 1880 have occurred in the 21st century. Despite an intense campaign to discredit his work, Pennsylvania State University professor Michael Mann's "hockey stick" graph, which shows that temperatures in the latter half of the 20th century soared to their highest level in 1,000 years, has been validated repeatedly. Last year set a record for the most climate-related disasters in the United States costing more than $1 billion in damage each — drought-fueled wildfires in Texas, Hurricane Irene, and Mississippi River flooding were among the 14 cases.

These are facts, not philosophical or religious dogma. Another fact: Sophisticated climate models show that things are going to get a lot worse. It's bad enough that we're gambling our children's futures by doing so little to fight this problem; let's not ask their teachers to lie to them about it too.
The "hockey stick" was at the center of the East Anglia research scandal a few years ago. Since then whatever genuine "consensus" there was on global warming has been destroyed once and for all. There is simply no one on the left who is credible or trustworthy on the "science" of climate change. A good backgrounder is Marc Shepard's piece from 2009, "Understanding Climategate's Hidden Decline," and more recently, from Steven Hayward, "Climategate (Part II)."

In any case, I read the Times' editorial knowing all this and then forgot about it as one more stupid example of progressive journalism. But the Heartland story continued to develop. Most significantly is that climate scientist Peter Gleick confessed that he'd lied when he sought information from the Heartland Institute. He published an admission at the Huffington Post, "The Origin of the Heartland Documents." There's more on that at Christian Science Monitor, "Climategate sequel? Scientist lies to get Heartland Institute documents," and Steve McIntyre has the latest at Climate Audit, "Heartland Publishes Gleick Emails." And here's this at The Other McCain, "In Apologizing for Global Warming Hoax, Peter Gleick Blames His Victims," and from Moose and Squirrels, "Alarmist climate change quacks debate the “ethics” of stealing: #Gleickgate / #Fakegate":
I am sick to death of these communist-loving, global governance anti-humanity assholes trying to shove their climate change quackery down our throats. Please, Heartland et al (WUWT, etc), sue Gleick into extinction. And here’s hoping criminal charges against the identity thief leading to incarceration will follow.
And even more from Rand Simberg at PJ Media, "Fakegate: Can’t Hide This Decline."

So, with that, there's now the news that the Los Angeles Times is going to a subscription model beginning March 10th: "Los Angeles Times launches new membership program." Folks can read it at the link. Apparently, the New York Times is having success with its subscription paywall and the folks at the Los Angeles Times are looking to share some of the profit. I don't really care either way. I won't be subscribing online. If I reach my limit of 15 free articles per month I'll cut and paste the headline into Google and read it for free. And as for home delivery? I think I'll let the subscription expire. I can do without it, frankly. I'll continue to read the news as I always do and evaluate each and every article on its own merits. Even the progressive hack newspapers like LAT and NYT sometimes publish good stuff and these are the leading outlets for institutional news. You ignore them at your peril frankly, although I don't have to contribute to their bottom line.

Woman Pushed Onto the Tracks at Leicester Square Tube: British Transport Police Seek Information

This is literally unreal.

At Telegraph UK, "Police hunt man who pushed woman onto Tube tracks - CCTV footage."

And at London's Daily Mail, "Who is this vile thug? Shocking CCTV images show the moment crazed commuter shoves 23-year-old woman on to Tube tracks."

Obama Welcomes High Gas Prices

At The Foundry, "Correcting the Record: Five Half-Truths From Obama on Higher Gas Prices":

During a speech on gas prices Thursday in Miami, the President tried to dodge responsibility for the pain Americans are feeling at the pump. Recognizing the trouble these higher prices are causing Americans, the President tried hard to demonstrate his concern over higher prices.

But as the video above shows, the President and his Administration have repeatedly stated that they want higher energy prices. They want to use the pressure of higher energy costs as an excuse to force their green energy boondoggle on Americans.

In a new report, Heritage’s Nick Loris breaks down five half-truths in the President’s speech...
Continue reading.

Also at IBD, "5 Biggest Whoppers In Obama's Energy Speech" (via Memeorandum) and Doug Ross, "Deconstructing Barack Obama's Blatant Energy Lies."

BONUS: At Washington Free Beacon, "Obama Politicized High Gas Prices in 2008, Now Accuses GOP of Playing Politics."

Danica Patrick Crash at Daytona 500 Qualifying Race

Well, The Lonely Conservative ties up some of the loose ends surrounding Danica Patrick's comments and crashes, "Danica Patrick is Just a Symptom, not the Disease":

The other day Danica Patrick made an inane political comment, and Smitty was there to point out her absurdity. I was going to weigh in, but got sidetracked by more important matters. But then Danica crashed, and Troglopundit blamed it on the political question that resulted in heaping piles of scorn.

It’s all quite stupid. Danica Patrick is a race car driver and a model or actress, or whatever she is. She’s certainly not someone most people would look to for political advice. Her answer to the question kind of proves the theory.

I guess this is the sort of thing that happens when it’s a slow week in politics.

I’m sure Danica Patrick is a nice person, but that’s not the point. She’s just the symptom of the problems plaguing our republic. Too many of us are so busy watching the latest reality shows, playing games, or engaging in other distractions to have even the slightest clue about what’s really happening to us.

There once was a time when it was uncool to trust the government. I don’t know when it changed, but now the “in” thing to do is to believe everything the government tells you. The left taught us one important lesson – to distrust the government. And now we’re supposed to just take their word for it and we should just trust the government? If so, does that mean when Republicans take over we should trust them, too?
Yeah, well. Maybe Danica should stick to racing and bikinis.

 BONUS: At USA Today, "Danica Patrick uninjured, earns respect after violent crash." And at Los Angeles Times, "NASCAR: Danica Patrick crashes during Daytona 500 qualifying race."

Explaining the Santorum Surge

From Larry Sabato, "The Santorum Surge and Its Larger Meaning" (via Memeorandum):

Buyer’s remorse is very common in the history of presidential nominating politics. Just when it appears that one candidate is headed for the party nod, the voters pause and say, “wait a minute, let’s think about this some more, the frontrunner’s inadequacies trouble us.” Then they opt to keep the contest alive by elevating one of the other candidates — for a while, at least. Rarely, though, has buyer’s remorse been as acute as in 2012. In fact, it is not at all clear that most Republicans have ever bought into Romney at all. Temporary non-Romney frontrunners included Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann, not to mention ghost frontrunners (such as Chris Christie) who never entered the race. Romney has only floated to the top in the absence of a well known substitute.

Of the three remaining non-Romney alternatives, only Ron Paul has never held the title of king-for-a-day. Newt Gingrich has risen from the dead twice, and he will persist as long as his iron will and Super PAC angel Sheldon Adelson’s money hold out. His chances of becoming a three-time Lazarus are not bright, but remembering the first two resuscitations, who would risk real money to bet against him?

However, it is Rick Santorum who wears the current anti-Romney crown. Propelled by an unexpected trio of victories in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri on Feb. 7, Santorum now leads Romney in most national surveys, some by a wide margin. More disturbing for Romney, Santorum led Romney in his own home state of Michigan for quite a while, before dropping back in some surveys. As we’ve just suggested, Santorum is partly on top because he is the latest ”great anti-Romney hope.” But it is more than that. As the economy improves and President Obama’s ratings creep upwards, many Republicans have become less certain that any nominee is going to defeat the incumbent. This may change if worse economic numbers crop up later in the year and high gas prices begin to take a presidential toll. But for the moment, the trend is encouraging activists to look beyond Romney, the economic manager, to someone whose social-issue conservatism and blue-collar image may enable the GOP to serve up a different kind of presidential option.

A few intellectual leaders of the Republican party’s right-wing have begun to convince themselves that Santorum may be a risk worth taking. He gives activists some fallback reasons to vote should economic recovery continue, and he will stir the base, especially Tea Partiers and evangelical Christians. GOP enthusiasm has been on the wane lately but with Santorum, goes the thinking, GOP turnout may increase. (The swing independents in competitive states are another matter. Many independent analysts think Santorum is too far right on social issues to be elected in November.)
That's sounds great, up to a point. Frankly, Tuesday night's debate could be hurting Santorum --- and the debates have been a significant factor in the surging (and resurging) prospects of previous challengers to Romney's lead. See, for example, Los Angeles Times, "Michigan polls show Romney gained after GOP debate."