Sunday, March 24, 2013

Happy Easter/Bunny/Passover/March Madness

We're taking a week off to hunt rabbit eggs or to celebrate Easter/Passover/Kwanzaster. :)

While we're away, we're tossing the floor open to you. Tell us what's on your mind!
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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Open Thread -

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday which, depending on how you celebrate, is the beginning of the holiest week of the year for Christians. And on Monday at sundown will be the first night of the eight days of Passover for the Jews. There is also some pagan element where we await the arrival of a large invisible bunny rabbit to deliver chocolate eggs to good little boys and girls. So let's open up the floor and feel free to share how you celebrate. Do you do anything special? What do you think of the new purple Peeps?

And speaking of religious stuff, has anyone been watching any of "The Bible" on the History Channel?
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Film Friday: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Ok, so why am I reviewing this film? Am I going to tell you that this film is actually a hidden gem? Hardly. Have I found some moment of deep meaning within it? Nope. What I have found, however, is a film with some really interesting elements that just get horribly misused because the film lacks focus. That makes this film worth discussing.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Dealing With Morons

I’m sometimes asked by people who know me why I’m so intransigent toward liberals. (Actually, they don’t put it in those terms; what they ask is, “Why do you have to be such a jerk on Facebook?”) I often don’t know how to answer them…and then along comes a reminder of how idiotic liberals can get.

There was a small dust-up this week in the proud city of Columbia, MO (my current place of residence). It appears that the police department was asking the city government to purchase an armored vehicle for its use; Columbia has a population of 100,000+, and some neighborhoods are better than others, so this wouldn’t exactly be an idle investment. Anyway, for whatever reason someone in the city’s Police Officers Association decided to strengthen their case by posting an appeal on their Facebook page.

Here is the wording they used:
CPD wants a new armored vehicle. Partly b/c when you drive up in one, people surrender and come out of the house. BUT….if CPD rolled up in the new Mercedes 6x16, you KNOW all the boys in the hood would come running out the house – just to admire your ride! I say we ride up in style.
I don’t really get the humor and the grammar leaves a bit to be desired, but whatever. Worse pitches have been made, I’m sure. I only heard about this, though, because of the “controversy” that arose over the post. The Association quickly drew attacks because their statement was apparently—wait for it—racist. The Huffington Post (because why not) put the “story” up on their front page as an example of bad race relations among cops, and our dear mayor denounced it as “breathtaking racial insensitivity that cannot be tolerated,” further demanding a formal apology from the group.


Okay, first off, this is not racist. I don’t know the feelings of these police officers, and I don’t care. It’s what they said that matters, not how they feel, and what they said isn’t racist. I did a quick info check; Columbia is maybe 11% black, and it’s not like they’re all either lower-class or the ones committing the crimes. And there was zero insinuation from these cops that that was the case. I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but “the hood” is hardly a single-race category, and using the phrase does not automatically imply a black neighborhood. So I’m not even going to suggest that maybe they could have “chosen better language.” You know who’s at fault? The left-wingers at HuffPo, in the city government, and elsewhere who decided they were talking about black people.

More broadly, I wish to make a point about society in general. There are many things wrong with the world today, which I’m sure I don’t need to tell you guys. But if I could name one that really irks me above most others, it’s this paranoia we have about not hurting other people’s feelings. Truth is, I don’t think the race-baiters on the Left are really responsible for this or similar so-called controversies. These things happen because there’s a larger group of people who buy into oppression theory, multiculturalism, and whatever else that wing cooks up, and overreact to everything that might conceivably be construed as racist or sexist or homophobic or otherwise intolerant. These people—mayors, school board members, public advocacy groups—are enablers, and practically every lawsuit or instance of hand-wringing you can think of happens because of them, not because of the initial agitators.

I’d like to think I’ve correctly identified the problem. Even so, that doesn’t mean I know what to do about it. I would say, though, that you can’t really wage a “campaign” against these people. Rather, I think it’s more a matter of just refusing to play their game from the outset. If you say something that you know you don’t mean anything by, but someone says you’re being insensitive against whoever, reply with “Shut up, no I’m not.” Or better yet, “Who cares?” And no, I can’t say I always practice what I preach (in this or other matters). But maybe if more people start acting this way, those enablers will think twice before making reflexive denunciations like this one against the police. I guess what I’m saying is, this country needs more people who are just callous, unfeeling jackasses.

Note: As for the requested armored vehicle, that issue was tabled at the last city council meeting, held just after all this made the news. They’ll deny that the two are connected, but surely some felt they couldn’t just grant the request after all this came out. So a few shrill cries of racism against a group not even an active part of the police department trump a request for official equipment. Nice.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Caption This: Obama In Israel

Hurry! Lock all of the doors and turn off all the lights. Maybe if we are really, really quiet, President Obama will think that we moved and won't come back! Okay, maybe that's mean. He is out there trying his darndest to make the Israelis like him and trust him. I think he is finding out that they just aren't that impressed with his One'ness. I mean, they know about Messiahs in Israel and, well, let's just keep it at not impressed.

So that being said, here's the photo of the week:

What could they possibly be chatting about? A nuclear Iran? Those pesky settlements? And who is the empty chair for? A surprise guest or Clint Eastwood?

Please feel free to expand the discussion.

FYI - I will be travelling today and will be checking in later.
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Toon-arama: The Secret of Kells (2009)

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day being right around the corner, let’s take a trip to the Emerald Isle. Or rather, since I can’t afford plane tickets for all of you, let’s bring Ireland here. The Secret of Kells is not only set in Ireland, but was produced by a promising young Irish animation studio—so it’s Irish all-around. The film is a beautiful and unique work of traditional animation, which alone makes it worth seeing. The story is quite charming, as well, though there is one incredibly glaring omission, which I will get to.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Contest: Favorite Word

So today I am going to use the Commentarama "Way-Back" machine. [Yes, we have one, but don't tell anyone. It will be our little secret, 'kay?]*. Let's go back to a time when the world was calm and peaceful, and we were happy and carefree.

Back, wait a minute. I forgot. Our "Way-Back" machine only goes back to real places, not imaginary, fantasy places that never existed. Never mind then.

Okay, since we can't go back to a time that has never existed, let's go back to a time at Commentarama that did and have some fun with our imaginations and our vocabulary! This is a simple contest that we did years ago [and, yes, I am stealing]*, and was kind of fun and revealing. Here are the rules...oh, who am I kidding. This is Commentarama. There ARE no rules even if we wanted there to be rules!

What is your favorite word?

Okay, there is just one rule that you must follow without question. Have fun with it!


*FYI [anything that appears in brackets is top secret stuff, so don't tell anyone]
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Cynicism Reigns Supreme At CPAC

Tomorrow, I’m going to start the Agenda 2016 stuff. By way of contrast, I thought I would discuss CPAC today. CPAC depresses me. CPAC seems to be broken into three groups: (1) those who understand the problem, but not the solution, (2) drooling idiots/cynical liars, and (3) a couple people who might actually get it.

The first group consists of people who understand the problem conservatives are facing, but have no actual solutions to offer:
Jed Bush. I HATE saying anything nice about Bush, so you better read this closely. Bush very accurately puts his finger on the GOP problem:
“All too often we’re associated with being anti-everything. Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker and the list goes on and on and on. Many voters are simply unwilling to choose our candidates even though they share our core beliefs because those voters feel unloved, unwanted and unwelcome in our party.”
Bingo. But Bush offers no actual solutions because he’s a worthless turd. What Bush is doing is a con. He’s stolen the rhetoric of brighter people and he’s using that rhetoric as a cover for doing what the Bushes always do when they get into office.

Scott Walker. Like Bush, Walker gets that the party has an image problem. It’s seen as a party of old white guys. But also like Bush, he offers no solution. His “solution” was this: “I’m not an old white guy” (actual quote). In other words, just like the insiders who label themselves outsiders, Walker hopes to convince you that HE is the answer you are looking for by telling you that he understands the problem and by assuring you that he is not the problem. . . or he suffers from gender/race dysphoria. Poor gal.
These guys get the problem, but they don’t have a solution. The next group, however, are snake oil salesmen. That group doesn’t want you to understand the problem because it doesn’t suit them to have you waking up to reality. So they play the victim card to keep you from using your brain and to deflect blame by trying to convince you that the reason conservatives keep losing is that we keep being betrayed by “establishment Republicans,” and if only we could wipe out the RINO pestilence, then victory will follow:
Honey BooBoo Palin. Palin first repeated what thinking conservatives have been trying to get through the thick heads of people like Palin:
“As conservatives, we must leave no American behind. And we must share our message of freedom and liberty to all citizens, even those who may disagree on some issues. . . they’re not our enemies, they’re our sisters and brothers. They’re our neighbors and friends. It’s time we all stop preaching to the choir.”
True. But apparently, she doesn’t mean it, because she then did the exact opposite by claiming we need to overcome the “establishment Republicans” so we can purify the party and finally present a conservative message to the public. Yeah, nothing says “big tent” like purging moderates. More importantly, notice the idea that we are losing because “establishment Republicans” control the party and are undermining us. You’ll see this again and again.

Newt Gingrich. Like Palin, private-jet-and-decades-of-insider-status Newt thinks that attacking the GOP is the way to go. First, he says the GOP needs to stop being “stupid” and “start framing its principles in a positive way that appeals to voters,” but he doesn’t define those principles. . . because he can’t. Why can’t he? Because if he tells you the principles he’s talking about, you will see that we have been running on those principles for decades and that would interfere with his victim strategy when he says, “The dominant wing of this party has learned nothing. It is as stupid as it was in 1976.” Yep, we are controlled by RINOs.

The Superduper Magic Rush Limbaugh. Quoting Pat Caddell, Rush blames the “consultant, lobbyist, and establishment complex” for stopping the GOP from having a conservative message. This is a pretty clever bit of conspiracy theory logic because it allows him to escape the problem of not being able to name any politician who actually does what he claims the secret RINOs are doing. Basically, he’s attacking a phantom “THEY”. As an aside, he also claims we should stop trying to win over independents because we can win with conservatives alone. To back this up, he uses an inspired dose of delusion and bad math.

Brent Bozell. Bozell told us, “Our days of playing second fiddle to moderates are over!” Drang nach osten! According to Bozell, we need to get rid of all those Republicans who “said all the right things to conservatives,” but then supported Obamacare (fyi, the total number of Republicans who supported Obamacare is 0.0). He also thinks that if we could just defund Planned Parenthood (or HHS) then something something victory!
There are more.

Ok, so the problem, according to these brainiacs and luminaries is that the GOP is dominated by RINOs who won’t let us poor, helpless conservatives ever present conservative positions to the public. Is this true? Consider this:

The platform is a Religious Right wet dream and Phyllis Schlafly is trying to get the GOP to refuse to fund any candidate who won’t support it dogmatically. The number of serious presidential candidates in 2012 or 2008 who didn’t sign all the abortion and anti-gay pledges the Religious Right wanted: none. Number who didn’t sign the Norquist anti-tax pledge: none. Number who didn’t try to outdo each other talking about defunding Planned Parenthood or the EPA: none. Number of Republicans in the House or Senate leadership who haven’t signed those same pledges: none. Number who advocated for amnesty for illegals (prior to this year): none. Number who voted for Obamacare: none. Number who supported any part of Obama’s agenda between 2008 and 2012: none.

See the problem? There are no RINOs, not in the leadership, not in the nominees, not in the rank and file. Sen. Rob Portman this week became the first GOP senator to endorse gay marriage. The Club for Growth has targeted all of eight House Republicans who they think aren’t sufficiently conservative enough on economic issues. . . 8 out of 232. Are McCain and Graham a pain in the butt? Sure, but they don’t control the party, nor are they liberal on most issues. And frankly, it conservatives can’t overcome two men, then conservatism is worthless.

The truth is this. These people are lying to you. Their agenda IS the agenda the GOP has been pushing since the late 1990s, and each year that agenda loses more people. But they don’t want to change because these issues are obsessions with them. So to keep you on board, they invented this phantom army of moderates who haven’t existed since Reagan changed the GOP and they lie to you about the moderates betraying their ideas. Just like liberals falsely claim liberalism has never failed because it’s never been tried, Rush and Palin and Newt falsely claim their agenda has never failed because it’s never been tried. That is garbage. Their agenda is identical to the agenda of every single presidential candidate, all of the leadership, almost all of the elected rank and file, all of talk radio, and all of the pundits (except a couple at the NYT), and it dominates the platform. Where is this RINO menace?

These people are pushing a paranoid conspiracy theory to keep you from thinking about the truth: “It’s not our fault, we’ve been undermined by secret enemies.”

If you want to know who at CPAC gets it, the guy is Artur Davis. Davis is a Democrat turned Republican and he laments the fact that many voters “think like us” but won’t support us. This is what I’ve found in talking to moderates as well. Here is the problem as he sees it:
“They just need to hear it from our politicians that our values will work for their lives and their circumstances. . . . for all that money [spent by Romney], we couldn’t find the language to tell enough Americans why our conservative politics and policies would work in their lives? We became the first Republicans since the ’30s who didn’t talk about middle-class tax relief. The first Republicans in my lifetime who didn’t have the self-confidence to talk about how our policies reduce the poverty and lift the poor out of dependency. The first Republicans since World War II who didn’t seem to get that in this competitive world, education is part of promoting the common defense. So is it any surprise that we are the first conservatives in the modern era to see the number of conservatives fall?”
This is exactly right. As you will see starting tomorrow, the problem with the “conservative” agenda is that it’s crap. It speaks to no one except pure ideologues. It offers nothing to average people who aren’t on a religious crusade or don’t own international corporations. It provides no jobs, no security, no opportunity. It does nothing to help people get ahead or keep what they’ve earned. It offers no help to people who’ve stumbled.

Rush, Palin, Newt, etc. are wrong. They are blind to reality and they have invented boogeymen to keep them from seeing the truth about what they offer. Tune in tomorrow and we’ll start talking about a better way.
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Any Good Conservatives Out There?

Okay, here’s the deal: I originally had planned what I thought would be a very interesting post about the concept of political rights and what that has to do with everything. Unfortunately, other events intervened. I have a mid-term exam today (yes, even in grad school, we still have those), and my computer’s had some viruses and other problems recently, so I’m skittish about using it too much anyway.

So for now, we’re going to have another question time/open thread post. Maybe I can get back to more lengthy discussions next week.

It’s no secret that few of us think much of the politicians in Washington, or of the leaders of the GOP, or of the non-official opinion makers. What I want to know is, who, if anyone, do you admire, and see as a great potential leader for conservatism? It doesn’t have to be an elected official; it can be a private figure like Dr. Ben Carson, or a talk radio guy who you think “gets it” (shut it, Andrew), or just whoever. Who would you like to see at the forefront of the conservative/Republican/libertarian movement?

Personally, I’m still holding a torch for Bobby Jindal, but he’s just one of many. If you’ve got someone you want to make a case for, persuade me. (Or persuade other people, too. I’m a well-known intransigent.)

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

When Is A Crime Really a Crime?

Okay, please feel free to discuss anything today because there is just so much going on, it's hard to focus on just one subject. So what do you want to talk about today? The new Pope? The recent meeting between President Obama and some random Republicans - the first in two years? Local news or just random thoughts? Let's talk, muse, discuss, or just randomly riff on whatever topic you want. Or this...

This week in New York Federal Court, a former New York City cop was convicted of the crime of conspiracy to kidnap, torture and commit cannibalism. Yes, cannibalism. Frightening and disturbing, but I am still trying to figure out what actually crime he committed. According to all reports that I have read, other than commiserating in great detail in writing with other like-minded cannibal wannabes on a cannibal chat site (yes, you can find just about anything you want on-line!), I am not exactly sure of what crime he actually committed. He was convicted of conspiring to kidnap, torture, and eat women without actually doing it or, from what I can tell, even getting close. But, please read this New York Times article and let's discuss.

Here's my question: When does or should a potential crime become a real convictable crime?
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Just Say No To More Bushes

There was an article at Politico the other day by some Republican strategist about the GOP’s elitism problem. He actually claimed that both parties suffer from this, though his reasoning against the Democrats was misplaced – his reason was their ideology rather than their people even though they are rife with nepotism and millionaire lawyers. The truth is that both parties suffer from an elitism problem and the GOP needs to fix theirs.

Elitism has long been a problem for the GOP. As far back as I can recall, our side has been represented by wealthy old men who were the sons of wealthy old men who held political office themselves. This is where the image of the country-club Republicans came from as these people were all from old-money and old-power. The Democrats were the same thing, but they were better at hiding it because:
(1) They claimed to represent the poor,

(2) They were smarter about highlighting their women and minorities to give the appearance of a meritocracy, and

(3) The Republicans never leveled the charge of elitism. Why didn’t the Republicans level the charge of elitism? Because the Republicans were elitists and didn’t really see elitism as being a bad thing. Who could object to young Winthorp following in daddy’s footsteps after all?
Reagan changed the image of the party, but he couldn’t change the mindset. Yes, modern Republicans all claim to be outsiders, but few of them really are. To the contrary, they keep picking Washington insiders for everything they do. The problems with elitism are this:
(1) Bad PR. Americans love merit, not accidents of birth. Elitism is unAmerican. Electing elitists turns our ideology into nothing more than a vehicle for entitlement, and that is death with American voters.

(2) The public knows the inbred kids of rich people are over-privileged morons who can’t be trusted with responsibilities. Moreover, elitism keeps out the smart and the capable in favor of the connected. That means the more of these people we have, the lower the brainpower of the party – essentially, we are surrounding ourselves with deadweight. Also, elitists cluster in bubbles so they don’t understand America or its citizens, which means they are a liability waiting to happen and they make our image problem worse.

(3) It’s impossible to point out how elitist/nepotistic the Democrats are when our side is the same thing.
Sometimes, it shocks me that anyone could seriously consider voting for another Bush. How many disasters does it take before conservatives get the message? And why would anyone vote for the son of Quayle? The wife of Dole? The GOP needs new blood. Seriously, no more Bushes. No more Doles. No more Quayles. No more Cheneys. No more Kristols. No more spouses or kids of people in power. No more political lifers. If you spend your life in politics, what can you possibly know about the real world?

The Republicans need to remake their image. They need to be seen as the party of small business, the party of entrepreneurs, the party of young workers and young families... the party of aspirations and the American dream. To do this, we need to get more people who fit that image and stop picking people who scream “privileged” and “nepotism.”

No more Bushes.
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Outlanders Raus, Comrade!

Hmm. This is interesting. As I’ve pointed out before, the GOP is doomed if they can’t make inroads with minorities. Frankly, this is indisputable. So what are we to make of this doozy of an article from a Harvard Professor in the Washington Post (LINK)?

The article in question accepts the conventional wisdom that: (1) minorities will become the majority soon, and (2) minorities will keep voting for the Democrats in record numbers. It seems to assume that being a minority makes one prone to becoming a Democrat. It then notes that because of these fact, people believe this will result in the Democrats becoming the majority party in the US. However, the article warns, this is not necessarily true. Oh my! To the contrary, this professor frets that this may actually result in Republican majorities.


Ok, first, I’ve debunked the idea that minorities will soon become the majority. As I’ve noted, this assumes a massive, steady influx of Mexicans and there ain’t no more Mexicans to ship north. Indeed, Mexico’s birthrate is so low that they are experiencing a people shortage, so there won’t be another wave of them as the “demography-is-destiny”ers assume. Moreover, the Hispanics who settle here have the same birth rate as whites. So they are about topped out already. . . nowhere near a majority. Also, the idea that minorities are inherently Democratic is false. This wrongly assumes the recent trend of an ever increasing gap means there is something inherently Democratic in these groups. That’s disproven by Texas, however, where the Texas GOP gets around 40% of Hispanic votes compared to the 20% national average. Basically, conservatives are at fault for turning these people off. . . there is not something that automatically makes these people Democrats. So the premise of the article is wrong. But that’s not what interests me. What interests me is what this guy is trying to achieve.

According to our professor, the reason the GOP will end up with majorities if more minorities come to the US is that whites become less liberal when they encounter minorities. Essentially, he claims that everyone is racist and will actively vote against the interests of people of other races. To prove this, the professor claims he ran various tests which showed that when people come face to face with other ethnic/racial groups, their voting patterns change and they become Republican.

This is an interesting theory, but I have to say that his studies reek of inadequate controls. He claims to have found evidence of racism in voting patterns after conducting “experiments” like sending two Spanish-speakers on a train and then watching voting patterns even though he has no way to even know if anyone witnessed the Spanish-speakers. Nor does it appear he could rule out other factors that are much more likely to influence voting patterns. So basically, I’m calling bullship on his studies. BUT, it is an interesting theory, and there may be proof in the population. If you look at our country, the most conservative areas are also the most mixed racially. States like Georgia and Texas with large mixed populations tend to be quite conservative. By comparison, places like Minnesota, which are awash in Euro-socialists like Norwegians and Germans vote overwhelming for the Democrats. So maybe there is something to this.

So why does this Harvtard raise this issue? What is he hoping to achieve? I think what this guy is worried about can be summed up best by realizing that the most socialist places are also the most homogenous. Thus, while it would seem to make sense to the Democrats to import minorities because they tend to vote for the Democrats, he may be right (though he doesn’t say this directly) that they are actually dooming their long term dream because diversity leads to competition rather than cooperation and that will kill any attempt to create a socialist country.

I’m not saying the theory is right, but it will be interesting to see if this leads to a rethink on the left about immigration. That would actually make sense since the left’s interest groups (blacks, poor, unions) are most hurt by immigration, and since liberal impulses tend to be racist. Studies like this could well form the core of a “new approach” (read: “ban”) by the left to immigration. I guess we’ll see.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Countdown to Armegeddon...New York Style

It's Countdown to Armegeddon. No, it's not the recent threat by Kim Jong Un to burn the 60+ year old cease fire pact with South Korea (which as of today is no longer a threat, but a reality!) or a fly-by comet that may destroy another small Russian town. Today is the last day that we, the great unwashed of New York City, will able to exercise our right as a free peoples to drink large sugary soft drinks any larger than 16 oz. We will no longer know the pleasure of slurping on a large Dr. Pepper along with our triple cheese burgers and buckets 'o popcorn in restaurants, delis, and movie theatres. Of course the great irony is that 7-Eleven stores, the creators of the 64 oz Super Big Gulp are exempt.

Seeing as how Hugo Benito Fidel de Bloomberg has less than 10 months (and counting down) to be Mayor of our fair city, let's put our heads together and make a list of any other objects, issues, or food stuffs that he can possibly ban from our ignorant lives before his term finally expires on December 31, 2013 at 11:59:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. We don't want him to leave office without completing his mission of total domination over our daily lives. I will make sure he gets a copy of our list...

And on a related topic: At the beginning of his term as Mayor way back in January 1, 2002, Bloomberg took control of the NYC school system. As of last week, it was reported that as of right now, 80% of the graduates from NYC high schools cannot read? How the hell can that actually happen??? I will expand on this later on in the week. But just spend the next couple of days trying to wrap your head around that and I will get back to you...
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This Is Who The Democrats Are: Ashley Judd

For those who may not realize it, Kentucky is a state. Just kidding... it’s not. Anyways, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hails from Kentucky and he’s been hard to remove from office, but the Democrats have a plan and what a plan it is. They’re going the celebrity route and boy have they picked a doozy... Ashley Judd.

Judd comes from an amazingly dysfunctional family. They feud and toss allegations of sexual abuse back and forth like much of the white trash world. Ashley’s mother apparently lied to her about who her father was as well. Ashley responded by moving to Hollywood and becoming an man-hating idiot... nice plan. Though, as you can see from the image above, she’s not at all above selling her body to those same hateful men for profit. I guess that makes her a self-exploiter? Anyways, like most Hollywood liberals, she’s spit out some true stupidity. This is high quality stuff. Here is a sampling of her ranting:
Ashley The Man-Hater: “Throughout history, men have tried to control the means of reproduction, which means trying to control woman. This president is a modern day Attila the Hun.”

Ashley The Child-Hater: “It’s unconscionable to breed, with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries.”

Ashley The Environmental Wacko: “President Clinton has repeatedly said doing nothing during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 is the single greatest regret of the Presidency. Yet here at home, there is full blown environmental genocide and collapse happening, and we are doing nothing. Naturally, I accept that I set myself up for ridicule for using such strong terms, or perhaps outrage from human victims of slaughter.”

Ashley The Environmental Wacko II: “The era of coal plant is over, unacceptable.”

Ashley The Father-Hater: “To this day, a common vestige of male dominion over a woman’s reproductive status is her father ‘giving’ away her away to her husband at their wedding, and the ongoing practice of women giving up their last names in order to assume the name of their husband’s families, into which they have effectively been traded.”

Ashley The Christian/Man-Hater: “Patriarchal religions, of which Christianity is one, gives us a God that is like a man, a God presented and discussed exclusively in male imagery, which legitimizes and seals male power. It is the intention to dominate, even if the intention to dominate is nowhere visible.”
It’s pretty obvious that this is a mental condition. Judd’s lack of an actual father has left her psychologically scarred and rather than admit that she’s a fruitloop (technical term), she’s decided to focus her hate on everyone else. She has become a creature of hate and anger and stupidity. And I would pity her except that it’s hard to pity someone who is an assh*le.

So why am I talking about this moron? Because the Democrats want to run her for Senate. And if the Democrats want to run this fruitloop, then Republicans need to hang her around their necks. We need to start defining the Democrats so the public understands who they really are and making someone like Judd the face of the Democratic Party is the ideal way to do it. This is a golden opportunity and I hope the GOP runs with this. Make them the Ashley Judd Democratic Party.
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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Open Thread -- Vox Populi

“A single conversation across the table with a wise person is worth a month's study of books.”

-- Chinese proverb

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Film Friday: Highlander (1986)

Highlander failed at the box office, making only $12 million worldwide on a $19 million investment, but it quickly found a cult following. This cult following was strong enough to spawn sequels and a television series. It’s never been clear why some films become cult classics, but I wonder if this film might not hold the answer?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Requiem For A Scumbag

Hugo Chavez was proof that leftists learn nothing from the past. Every socialist would-be dictator, like him, operates on the premise that this time, they're employing "true" Marxism; this time, it'll work for sure. Of course, he ended up being just another petty despot. What a shame.

As a brief recap of his unfortunate life, Chavez, a former military man, started a revolutionary movement in the '80s, was briefly imprisoned following a failed coup in the early '90s, then released, and then swept to power in the 1998 presidential elections, after capitalizing on disenchantment with the prior regime after an economic downturn. (All he needed was a German accent and a funny mustache to complete the comparison.) Indeed, El Hugo was praised by the U.N. (go figure) and other authorities for his fiscally conservative lifestyle and his famously populist agenda, which included massive public relief efforts, a crackdown on business corruption, nationalization of oil companies, and lots of other stick-it-to-the-Man policies. Such actions, these international bodies have proclaimed, cut Venezuela's poverty rate by half and significantly improved the standard of living.

What a guy. Only problem--all of that is bull@#$%.

Whenever you hear statistics praising Chavez' development of a social democracy (and you will, if you're following the news), keep in mind those statistics are grossly manipulated by Venezuelan government agencies. Unemployment, for example, is only counted in terms of people working less than one hour per month, so that the real rate is three or four times higher than the official figure (which itself is nothing to write home about--in 2010 it was about eight percent. You do the math.)

This mendacity hides the truly basketcase economy Chavez presided over in his final years. The real picture includes the closing of over 4,000 businesses during the 2000s, an annual inflation rate regularly topping 50%, a significant decline of GDP compared to its neighbors' growing economies, and a crumbling infrastructure that sees frequent electricity brownouts and water shortages. Ironically--but predictably--the main burden falls on the poor, who regularly experience scarcities of food, utilities, and medical care. Crime in the capital city of Caracas is off the charts, and the drop in investment that comes with bashing business interests isn't exactly helping the jobless problem, either.

Clearly, Chavez' government hasn't done much for the "social" part of "social democracy." And I'm sure I don't need to tell you how it's lived up to the other half of that equation. (Which I will.) It was no unusual thing for the Venezuelan president to "suggest" during his weekly broadcasts that certain political enemies should be imprisoned--which, of course, they then were--under atrocious conditions which have frequently drawn the protest of human rights groups. And the government's "to be rich is to be bad" slogan has led to the arbitrary takeover and break-up of various private firms and the groundless convictions of bankers and other "enemies of the people." When one of these last was paroled, Chavez gave the offending judge a 30-year sentence. Has any purported friend-of-the-little-man violated the rule of law as frequently and blatantly as Chavez has?

Hey, how did that get in here? That's not funny.

I could go on. There's more, much more--Chavez' personal lavish spending, the alleged corruption of family members, his use of Cuban special forces to quell dissent, and a conspiracy-theorist paranoia so extreme even Sean Penn was taken aback--but this is bad enough, isn't it? And yet, when word of his death came this week, hacks like Jimmy Carter, Michael Moore, and Oliver Stone immediately lauded him as a friend to democracy and social justice. To put that in perspective, let me leave you with this, courtesy of
Practically alone, farmer and biologist Franklin Brito launched a hunger strike last year to protest the government's 2005 invasion and plundering of his property in Bolivar state, which was later expropriated without a just compensatory payment....When authorities failed to return clear title to his property, Franklin Brito resumed his strike, only to be taken forcefully to the Military Hospital, where attempts were made to declare him insane. Since being hospitalized in December [2009], Mr. Brito has defied efforts to force-feed him and fought to resume his hunger strike. The government finally allowed the Red Cross to visit him and he has since resumed drinking water. His condition remains grave.
That's what those hacks are defending.
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fun With Your Brain!

Do you see a face?
It's funny how the human brain works. Have you ever looked a cloud formation and seen a ducky or a horsey or Abraham Lincoln? For the devout it could be images of the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast or in the hollow of a tree. There is actually a name for this phenomenon - "pareidolia".

It is hypothesized that the human brain has been hardwired to be able to recognize a human face at lighting speed as a protection mechanism to be able to quickly discern friend from foe. This has also translated into seeing images in random objects too.

You may recognize this famous image from Mars that early astronomers misinterpreted as evidence of life on Mars.

The Rorschach inkblot tests use this brain phenomenon to measure mental and emotional state. Well, sometimes this can be used in architecture too.

Sometimes on purpose...

And sometimes it is pretty obvious...

But sometimes it's not on purpose with really comical results...

So now that you know everything there is to know, let's get your pareidolia on!

What (or who) do you see when you look at this house?

As in all things, there is an opposite to pareidolia. It's called prosopagnosia, or "face blindness". People who suffer from this literally cannot distinguish faces, not even their own family. Famous sufferers of this include primatologist Jane Goodall and author/neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks. You may remember Dr. Sacks. He was portrayed by Robin Williams in the movie "Awakenings". And Markos Moulitsas, founder and publisher of Daily Kos (that explains a lot!)
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hittin' the Links

Today we reintroduce the “links” articles. In these articles, I’ll talk about one of Scott’s links in detail and then Scott will provide brief blurbs on some others. Sadly for Scott, I’m going to do something with the link he gave me that he did not expect: I’m getting political. :( The link in question (LINK) is an interview of Pixar’s Brad Bird, and I want to talk about what the Republicans can learn from Bird.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms

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Entitlement Reform, Yeah, but...

There was an interesting article the other day about comments by White House hacks David Axelrod and Melody Barnes. Both said the same thing about entitlement reform and taxes. This got me thinking, but they won’t like the answer I came up with.

By way of background, entitlements are slowly eating the entire federal budget and soon there won’t be any money left to do anything more than cover entitlements and pay the interest on Obama’s debt. This will get much worse soon too as the number of retired baby boomers is expected to soar. Like locusts, they will drain the system dry. The solutions being proposed to fix this are: N/A.

Solutions that could solve this problem include (1) pushing back the retirement age, (2) lowering benefits, (3) means-testing benefits to cut them off for people who don’t “need” them, (4) increasing co-pays and fees on things like Medicare, and (5) tax increases on workers.

According to Axelrod and Barnes, the Democrats understand that entitlements are out of control. They also are willing to fix the crisis. . . BUT they need tax increases to be part of the equation. And the reason isn’t what you think. According to both, the Democrats know that tax increases can’t solve this problem and they are only looking for tax increases as a means to provide them political cover with their base. Said Asselrod:
“What we’re saying is that if you’re going to ask Democrats to vote for entitlement reform, then that you have to at the same time have revenue increases on the other side of the equation in order to move forward.”
Barnes added:
“You’ve got to link arms and jump ship together.”
The thinking is that entitlement reform will anger Democratic constituents so the Democrats want the tax hike to anger conservatives equally so they don’t get crushed in the next election. Ok.

Here are my thoughts. First, I don’t think conservatives are as opposed to tax hikes as the Democrats want to believe. I believe the conservative opposition is rational rather than principled. In other words, conservatives aren’t opposed to tax hikes no matter what, they have simply learned that there’s no good reason to accept hikes. Basically, since government spending never goes down, we’ve learned that agreeing to tax hikes only gives the Democrats more money to spend. It’s called throwing good money after bad. IF conservatives could be assured that the taxes would actually go to fixing the problem, AND we got genuine cuts in addition to make the government smaller, then I think conservatives would be willing to accept tax hikes. . . even at the risk of incurring the wrath of a man called Grover.

So problem solved right? //scratches head

Hmm. Actually, no....

... why do WE want to fix entitlements?

Entitlement reform will hit our people more than theirs. Indeed, the people who will be hurt are oldster and veterans. . . they vote for us, so why do we want to be seen voting to take their benefits away? And why should we also agree to tax the middle class (our other supporters) in exchange for being allowed to inflict pain on the rest of our supporters? That doesn’t make any sense.

Moreover, the Democrats are the party who love government, not us. So why should we do anything to upset our voters just to help make government work? If the Democrats love it so much, let them do their own dirty work. Not to mention that as the entitlement problem grows, the real harm will be to the government’s ability to do anything. Indeed, as the share of the budget going to entitlements grows, the share available for all the programs the Democrats love will go down. Fixing entitlements just frees up that money for more Democratic party time. Why do we want that?

So yeah, I think conservatives would be willing to agree to tax hikes if we believed they would actually fix a problem, but I don’t really see any reason WE should fix the problem. The Democrats created this mess. Since at least the age of Reagan, they’ve fought every attempt to fix it, even when they could have done so with only tiny changes, so let them fix the mess on their own now.

I know a lot of Republicans have recently decided this is the magic bullet that will somehow win us something or other, in fact, the "think tanks" seem to have become obsessed with the issue. But frankly, the more I think about it, this is a really stupid idea for us to run on... “Hey, we’re gonna cut your benefits so the Democrats can keep all their other programs going!” It sounds like a change of focus is needed. We need to focus rhetorically on “protecting” Social Security and Medicare and condemning the Democrats for letting these programs die. Then make the Democrats do the dirty work of proposing benefit cuts. Alternatively, if we are going to trim these programs, then the Democrats will need to agree to across-the-board cuts in their programs.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Obama Layin' Pipe?

One facet of Obama’s administration that I have enjoyed is watching liberal hopes and dreams get dashed time and again. It looks like that’s about to happen on the Keystone Pipeline.

For those who haven’t been keeping score, the Democrats have been masters at appearing to embrace environmental causes without actually doing so. Examples of this abound, including Obama’s big happy Copenhagen promise to think about promising to promise to fix everything to a Democratic Congress that was "somehow" unable to pass anything related to carbon. . . or anything else.

The one issue where it seemed like environmentalists would get their wish was the Keystone pipeline. You probably remember this project, but for those who don’t, this pipeline would pump oil from western Canada to Oklahoma, where the wind and oil comes sweeping down the plains to the refineries. Environmentalists hate the idea of this pipeline because they don’t want the US having more oil... there doesn’t really appear to be any other reason for their objection.

Prior to the election, Obama promised environmentalists that he would kill the pipeline and he promised the public at large that he would allow the pipeline. To make this doublespeak work, he kept saying he was just waiting for the environmental impact assessment which the State Department was preparing. That would tell him what to do, and he wink, wink, nudge, nudge’d both sides to let them know the assessment would turn out in their favor.

Well, the assessment is in, and the State Department has concluded that there is no scientific reason to reject the pipeline. Ooops.

That means Obama has no reason to oppose the pipeline. And given the hike in gas prices and the continuing economic struggles of the country, it looks increasingly likely that Obama will allow the pipeline, and thereby sell out his environmental friends once again.

Environmentalists aren’t happy.

The Sierra Club, for example, said they were “outraged” by the State Department report and they suggested wrongdoing by Obama’s State Department: “We’re mystified. . . whether this failure was willful or accidental, this report is nothing short of malpractice.”

Greenpeace warned that “letting corporations get rich off of environmental devastation will make Obama’s climate rhetoric look like the worst kind of greenwashing.” I can see the ad now, with a smelly hippie shedding a single tear as workers on the Obamapipeline throw litter from a car and kill a spotted babyseal owl. As an aside, do you think this “greenwashing” thing is like the Batphone, the Batmobile, the Batbelt and the Batcrapper? Do you think Greenpeace people label everything “green”? “Hand me the greenpaper, Greenhippie, I need to use the greenthrone.” Hmm, well, probably not... I doubt they use paper.

Should be interesting to see which way Obama goes on this, but given his track record though, I’d bet he’s going to do whatever benefits his corporate donors the most. Greentastic!
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Monday, March 4, 2013

Finally They May Be Catching On!

Okay, I think that I have said this before and I think it was sometime around April 2009, but I am going to go out on a limb again. It looks like the MSM just may be getting it. By "it", I mean, they may just be catching on how they are being played by the Obama Administration.

It all started a few weeks ago when the WH Press Corps was frozen out of those special photo ops of our President playing golf with Tiger Woods or Tiger Woods' coach. Actually we will never know exactly who he was playing golf with, but then that's not really the point is it?

So as a result of the lack of access, the Press Corps had time while sitting on their bus outside the golf course to turn their attention to other times where the WH has denied them access. They started commiserating on how many times his Press Secretaries Gibbs and Carney have side-stepped their direct questions and how the President just never answers any unrehearsed questions at all.

As I see it, the Obama command center forgot one of the fundamental rules of propaganda. Keep the Press fat and happy with useless information and deflections, so they don't have time to look around for the truth. Well, and they miscalculated that sometimes the lies coming out of the WH are just so obvious that even the fat and happy WH Press Corps can't ignore them.

For those of you who have been following the brou-haha between seasoned journalist Bob Woodward and WH Propaganda Minister of Truth Gene Sparling, it has been quite entertaining. But just in case you have been away, let me catch you up really quickly. As we all know, President Obama has flying around the country, telling everyone who would listen that if he cannot get the evil Republicans to call off the pending results would be catastrophic. So, smelling a rat, the intrepid Bob Woodard published an Op/Ed piece in the Washington Post six days ago calling out the President for repeatedly insinuating that the WH had nothing to do with the sequestration when in fact, it was Obama's idea.

Well, right on cue, the WH went on the defensive literally calling Woodward and screaming at him for daring to call the President out and "threatening" Woodward with exile. What ensued was a "he said, but didn't mean" public drubbing that was pure classic Obama deflection. The WH called on all of their MSM loyalists to take out Woodward. But something happened on the way to MSNBC and Polico. They starting to catch on with how they were being played. The argument the WH was asking them to make was not about whether Woodward was right on the facts of his Op/Ed piece, but whether Woodward was actually threatened by Sperling. Eureka!

So, then on Sunday, they started calling Sperling out on the facts:

And even SNL got in on it:

There are many more examples, but we can only hope this is a trend. Any questions?
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Sequester This. . .

LMAO! :D... The Democrats are not happy. When Obama proposed sequestration, the idea was that the Republicans would freak out and give him tax hikes. Not only did it not turn out that way, but it looks like Obama will be responsible for the first genuine cuts in American budget history. In fact, sequestration has turned into a rather interesting tale, which could become a watershed moment in American History.

Sequestration began when the Republicans and the Democrats were locked in a phony death struggle over the budget. They needed to find a way to reduce the deficit by about a trillion dollars, but neither side really wanted to propose anything. So they put off the deal with an agreement to agree in the future. BUT... that would not be enough to satisfy angry voters, so Obama came up with the brilliant idea of sequestration: “Uh, why not, uh, agree to reach an agreement in the future (after the election wink, wink), and to calm everyone we’ll slap a doomsday provision on this sucker. Basically, uh, if we can’t reach an agreement, then $500 billion in cuts will befall the favorite programs of each side.”

They shook on it and passed it into law.

Then the election happened and nothing really got resolved. So now it was up to both sides to reach an agreement to stop this doomsday device from going off.

But a funny thing happened on the way to doomsday. The Republicans discovered that this wasn’t really a doomsday device after all, at least not with their voters (I actually credit Rand Paul and some of the Tea Party people for breaking the Rasputin mindlock military spending has had on the Republican Party). So they started to realize that perhaps they were better off letting this thing happen.

For Obama, this was intolerable, because for the Democrats this was a true doomsday device. Not only would this actually cut programs they loved for real for once (the horror, the horror), but it gave the Republicans no reason to agree to the tax hikes the Democrats wanted. So Obama rushed out to try to pressure the Republicans to agree before anyone realized this doomsday device was really a Republican unicorn bomb. Oldbama hit the campaign trail and smeared the Republicans fiercely. Apparently, when these cuts kicked in, the world would literally end. The money in our wallets would melt away to ash, Yellowstone would be repo’d by China, old people would die of plague, and children would be eaten by the dinosaurs who escaped the Federal dinosariums. . . crunch crunch. Oh my!

But the Republicans held fast.

Then the cuts hit and the... world... didn’t... end... See, unlike prior shutdowns, this one didn’t result in chaotic things that could appear on the television. Doors weren’t looked, tourists weren’t stranded, and benefits didn’t stop coming. Few people will actually lose their jobs. Indeed, all that’s going to happen is that agencies will need to find ways to shave about 3% off their budgets for the year. In a federal government that wastes at least a third of all spending, this can be done quite painlessly. And since the public doesn’t really care about the fates of overpaid federal workers, it’s going to be very hard to upset the public with stories of one-day-per-week furloughs.

So the public yawned.

Actually, I would suggest the public not only yawned, but they smiled. The problem with cuts has always been that no one would accept having their own programs cut because they don’t want to be the only one whose programs get cut. So no one agrees to cuts. But people would accept across the board cuts that actually affect everyone equally. This sequestration feels like an across the board cut. Moreover, most people will find that nothing they want has actually been cut. So as far as the public is concerned, these appear to be ideal cuts because they happen to everyone else.

So now the Democrats are freaking out and you’re starting to see the first wave of articles about how horribly they’ve played this. In December, they were bragging how this would force the Republicans to agree to tax hikes and now they’re trying to explain how they could let the programs their supporters love get cut and why the Republicans no longer have any incentive to ever agree to tax hikes to cut the deficits. Ha ha. Basically, what the Democrats saw as the unthinkable nuclear option turned out to be everything the Republicans wanted in the budget deal and then some, and now they are struggling to explain how they missed this. Savor the sorrow of Rep. Gerry Connolly (Duh-Va), “We lost the bet on just how intransigent the Republican majority can be. We made a mistake betting on reasonable compromise ultimately prevailing. We bet on that and we lost.” Yep, sucker.

Now, I can’t really pin this on tactical brilliance on our part. To the contrary, I suspect our side was busy trying to find a way to hand a victory to Obama the whole time and just couldn’t find a way to do it. I also suspect some members of the party. . . looking at you McCain. . . are probably still struggling to find a way to hand Obama a victory in the days to come. But it’s still nice that we stumbled upon this and I do give Boehner credit here.

In any event, I would do the following at this point if I were running the Republican Party:
(1) Embrace these cuts as intentional, “genuine, across the board 3% cuts,” and point out how this is still less than normal people have taken in the way of pay cuts during the Obama years. Either way the media fights that we win. If they call these not genuine, they you say “so what’s the problem with sequestration?” and you demand more. If they call them draconian, then you pound away both on these being significant/real and you ask how the Democrats could object to a 3% cut.

(2) Attack Obama for the specific cuts he makes. Remember, we caused the 3% cut, but he picked what would actually be cut: “We didn’t want your stuff being cut, dude. Obama picked you. . . he’s a very bad man, a very bad man.”

(3) IF any particular cut(s) creates a problem that begins to sway the public, fund that cut and that cut alone. And when you send the funding bill, include other things you want and dare Obama to veto it. Also, I would challenge Obama to find an alternate cut.
Finally, here’s the watershed. The longer this goes on and the world doesn’t end, the more I think the public will feel at ease with cuts. That could well give us the ability to propose across-the-board cuts to get cuts in place, and that is a very good thing for us. Watch for signs of an attitude change in the public.

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Open Thread and Puzzle

Ok, here's a mental puzzle. I did not invent this...

Q. Quick! Count the num­ber of times that the let­ter F appears in the fol­low­ing sen­tence:

"Fin­ished files are the result of years of sci­en­tific study com­bined with the expe­ri­ence of years."

A. Did you count 3? The answer is actually 6, but most people will count 3. It turns out that the brain has a hard time correctly processing the word "of" because the "f" in "of" makes a "v" sound in our heads instead of an "f" sound.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Guest Review: 2012 (2009)

by ScottDS

What better way to ring in the new year (and, uh, the new month) than by discussing a movie made four years ago that has now been rendered obsolete? Yes, we’ll be looking at Roland Emmerich’s disaster movie to end all disaster movies: 2012. The short version of the review is this: “F--- this movie.” For the longer version, please... read on. [smile]

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Conservatism and the City

There are many disagreements among us right-wing nuts about how the demographic picture looks, but one aspect of it has rarely been up for debate: Urban areas suck. Heck, if it wasn't for those inner-city areas, the Democrats would be dead in the water. Can this be changed? Well, probably not, but we can still try.

Why are the cities so bad for Republicans? The most obvious answer: They're full of black people! (This is where I say "Come on, everybody was thinking it, I just said it!") But seriously, American large cities commonly have populations that are minority-majority, low-income, and welfare-dependent: in short, they are reliably liberal voting blocs. And in many cases, such as Newark, Baltimore and America's favorite example of leftist failure, this is a fairly sufficient explanation. But what about other cities, such as Indianapolis or Nashville, which have significantly different compositions and yet tend to vote blue as well? What's the deal there?

Here's the thing. The GOP has, for a very long time, been a party of suburban and rural voters, not of the big cities. Being a rural guy myself, I can't complain too much; but being so composed, I think conservatives have forgotten that urban constituencies have different interests and concerns, especially given the grassroots activism of late. Not that such activism is a bad thing, don't get me wrong; when you're focused on big issues like liberty and faith, though, that doesn't leave much time for the municipal-based issues that determine city slickers' votes. Matters like public transit and gentrification may sound boring to a lot of us--and, okay, they are--but that doesn't mean they're irrelevant. And since these issues seem to imply an expanded role for government, even if on the local level, it's no surprise that the Right's rhetoric leaves urban voters a bit cold. As Russell Kirk put it, so much of conservatism "withers upon the pavements."

So does this mean the cities are tone-deaf to any and all conservative ideas? Well, no, because otherwise I'd have to stop writing, and this article is still pretty short. There are some things that we could do to win support in urban areas. Here's a few.

-Highlight a law-and-order platform. Largely self-explanatory: Run municipal candidates who pledge to push for tougher sentences, letting the police do their job, etc. This is no small concern in many large cities, of course. But don't just offer platitudes; propose specific measures. For example, NYC cut down on crime during the Giuliani era thanks in part to new police structures that devoted resources to high-crime areas and gave more responsibility to local precincts. One could also point to policies of allying with community leaders to improve the cops' image in minority neighborhoods, which has worked in Boston and L.A. Look, I don't actually know what I'm talking about--I read all this in an article somewhere--but the point is, a GOPer running in the city shouldn't just say "I want to get those criminals off the street!" Give actual ideas on how to bring crime down. If nothing else, it shows that conservatives are serious about the problem.

-Public works are your friend. The Republican platform for 2012 attacked, among other things, the government's "exclusively urban vision of dense housing and government transit"--the clear implication being that those are bad. There are good reasons to hold this position. Also, stop saying it. I haven't lived in cities much, but I know that residents like having their bus and train lines and their high-rise apartments. Again, this just makes it sound like conservatives don't care about urban voters. Besides, consider the logic of federalism; a nationally-subsidized Amtrak is one thing, the city-operated subway....not such a big deal. This doesn't mean you can't critique the city services being offered, though--as with policing, the name of the game is how you do it. For example, most people know that transit lines, garbage disposal, etc., while fairly reliable, can also be woefully inefficient and low-quality. Propose letting private companies bid on these services; if they can do better, great.

-Rebuilding the communities. Remember, cities are rarely a sheer mass of people; they're collections of neighborhoods, each with a life of its own. Regardless of political affiliation, the folks who live there care about maintaining them against blight and crime. A conservative agenda can help with that. Encouraging activity in the private sphere gives a spur to all sorts of civic associations and neighborhood organizations, who understand things on the local level better than higher official bodies--this should be pointed out. Also, emphasize the importance of doing away with rent controls. Not only would this go a long way toward solving the housing problem in many cities by freeing up the market, it encourages gentrification and rising property values, acting as a bulwark against decay and giving residents (especially landlords) a stake in the maintenance of their neighborhoods. And civic pride can be a strong rebuke to the liberal policy of victimhood.

Look, I'm not saying that there's ever going to be a day when Chicago and Pittsburgh and Seattle and so on are going to even be purplish. Democrats have a lot of cards to play to keep their voters loyal, and until or unless we see changes in large voting blocs, such as the black population, most large cities will not be in play. But it is possible to build a respectable conservative minority in these blue islands. And when they happen to be located in critical swing states, that could make all the difference.

Other suggestions?
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