Palin is Out

Well, crap.

I had prepared an eloquent post comparing Gov. Palin to Ulysses S. Grant. It was pure brilliance, comparing the sorry state of Republican leadership to the sorry state of Union generalship during the Civil War. And as a proud son of the South and graduate of her finest military institution, you’d better believe it killed me to say that.

The historical analogies were pretty clever. Or they would have been, except that she’s just announced that she won’t be running for President.

I won’t begrudge anyone for doing what’s best for their family, but it was really looking like she’d run. I was hoping she would, but that interview on Greta last week planted the first seeds of doubt in my mind. It’s hard to imagine what more the media could do to her and her family but that was certainly a major consideration. No doubt she also has some private polling data that showed her chances would’ve been a real long shot.

There’s much work ahead to bring our country back to its founding principles and restore some semblance of sanity. It’s about so much more than replacing Obama and his band of merry Marxists. Hell, a broken mop with a bucket for a head could do a better job than the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

We not only have to defeat the Democrats, we have to continually fight a rear-guard action against the country-club establishment within our own party so we don’t have to endure another Leftist onslaught like this in our lifetimes. She was hands-down the best person for that task, though perhaps too much damage was already done to her reputation. And that’s a crying shame.

So who else is out there? There’s a lot to like about Cain, but maybe not enough. Perry’s too much of a blowhard for my tastes. Bachmann is dead-on right about a lot of things but hasn’t really explained what she’d do so much as what she’d not do. And she definitely jumped the shark on the vaccine issue. Romney would be okay in many ways but is downright terrible in others. Either way, he’s certainly not the man to straighten out the party.

Despite the Governor’s expressed intentions to work for change from outside the political structure, it’s hard to see how she will have the same clout going forward. Now that she’s removed herself as a threat to the other candidates, and especially the party establishment, exactly where is her leverage? The power of ideas and being on the side of truth is sometimes not enough. Although I will say this: if she endorses a particular candidate, I’d be much more inclined to take that person seriously.

The hard work continues.

UPDATE: Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection nails it:

It disgusts me that a candidate of such quality cannot run as a practical matter, and that we are left with second and third choices.  But reality is reality, and it would have been a tough road to overcome the past three years.

Palin had the opportunity to be a game-changer in the direction of this country; someone who really understood at a gut level how far down the road we are on the path to a country we will not recognize; someone who understands that the political class holds the country by the throat, and that removing the grip is necessary not just changing who holds the grip.

Precisely.

Let’s Go To Prison!

If Pro is the opposite of Con, then the opposite of Progress must be…?

Congress.

This story is downright scary. I’ve touched on this alarming trend of criminalizing just about everything, for example the outrageous Gibson raids. And it’s being done without consideration of “willful intent”, which used to be the threshold for criminal convictions. And a lot of the things they’ve deemed illegal are just plain stupid, in my opinion.

Here’s an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal’s piece:

“One controversial new law can hold animal-rights activists criminally responsible for protests that cause the target of their attention to be fearful, regardless of the protesters’ intentions. Congress passed the law in 2006 with only about a half-dozen of the 535 members voting on it.”

Emphasis mine.

Now, I’m an omnivore and therefore no big fan of PETA. I didn’t claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat Purina Rabbit Chow. But that’s just stupid.

And there’s this one:

“…a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, man with an extensive criminal record, was back in school pursuing a high-school diploma and working as a drywall installer. While doing some remodeling work, Mr. Yirkovsky found a .22 caliber bullet underneath a carpet, according to court documents. He put it in a box in his room, the records show.

A few months later, local police found the bullet during a search of his apartment. State officials didn’t charge him with wrongdoing, but federal officials contended that possessing even one bullet violated a federal law prohibiting felons from having firearms.

Mr. Yirkovsky pleaded guilty to having the bullet. He received a congressionally mandated 15-year prison sentence, which a federal appeals court upheld but called “an extreme penalty under the facts as presented to this court.”

I should think so.

Clearly this guy was not one to blindly trust, but it sounds like the court accepted the “I found the bullet” story. I mean, come on. 15 years in Federal Pound-You-In-The-@$$ prison for a lousy .22 Long cartridge? Even a serious round like 9mm or .45 shouldn’t count…because they’re not firearms. What the hell was he gonna do, throw it at somebody? Maybe put it in a slingshot?

It’s as if we’ve reached some kind of crazy lawmaking inflection point, where our representatives are constantly in such a rush to prove they’re “doing something” that pretty soon damned near everything will be illegal. Combine that with the recent trend towards militarizing our police forces, and you’ve got the key ingredients for a very disturbing situation. We may all end up in prison camps, but at least our Congress-critters can sleep well knowing they’ve done something.

Congress should only meet for, say, 60 days a year, so we can limit the damage. And every new law should have a sunset provision. Force them to revisit it in five or ten years and decide if it still makes sense.

And if it doesn’t, maybe we can find a way to put them all in the Big House to commiserate with all the other ne’er-do-wells.

A Self-Publishing Dissident

From Big Hollywood, a different take on self-publishing. Sarah Hoyt has touched on similar themes in the past, so I reckon that’s just how it is in big publishing.

Chances are I won’t get to experience that, since I’ve made the decision to go indie. Economically it makes a whole lot more sense given the rapid changes underway. No one really knows how this will end up, but I suspect that new authors could easily get screwed if they’re signing contracts right now.

“Indie” is not the same thing as “alone”, by the way. I’m working with an editor on Perigee right now, a very good friend of mine from way back who possesses a couple of important qualities: 1) experience editing fiction, and 2) is a fan of the genre. So far, so good.

I’m still searching for cover art and have found a couple of good prospects. More on that later.

As usual, I’ve found myself meandering amongst topics.

I hadn’t thought much about the politics of the business, other than the tea leaves editors and marketers read to guess at which titles might sell big. One would expect personal preferences to weigh quite a bit, though they may say otherwise. It’s a crying shame that a writer’s politics matter at all.

Though after attending my first writer’s conference, it’s not that surprising. I overheard a lot of people talking politics, most of them left of center. Being a newbie, I kept my trap shut just like the author of the post linked above. If you’ve been reading this blog, then you know I’m not shy about standing up for what I believe in. And there are ways to do that forcefully without flat-out insulting your opposition.

It comes down to asking yourself, “will my piping up make any difference at this moment?” Sometimes, it’s just better to let them prattle on.

I’ll never forget an experience we had the night before the 2000 election, which you may recall was a mite contentious. My wife and I were browsing around our local Barnes & Noble, when a group of Gore drones voters began loudly carrying on about how excited they were and how a Great New Day awaited. Or something.

The longer they talked, the more obnoxious they became. It was obvious they were trolling for an argument. My wife was right behind them and took the bait. I watched in fascination as they became more agitated. She kept her cool and stood her ground, but they just couldn’t cope with the idea that someone might have legitimate disagreements with them. One guy finally looked right at her and said, “I can’t believe anybody with a brain would be a Republican.”

To which I replied: “I can’t believe anybody with a brain would say that to my wife while I’m standing right here. Perhaps we should discuss this outside.”

Which he wasn’t interested in, of course. Which leads me to another thought: it’s funny how the far Left is frequently picking fights and agitating for revolutionary change against the Right. Yet we own all the guns.

UPDATE: First-person account of more of this kind of treatment from a well-connected individual in Chicago, the heart of machine politics.

Obama Eats Boogers

That’s right, I said it. Go ahead and report me to the thought police. I’ll get a neat Attack Watch graphic and maybe drive my blog traffic up.

Do they seriously think this is an idea that will play well with the general population, much less voters? That is, except for all the brownshirts fanboys drinking the hope-n-change Kool Aid.

They must not have learned a thing from the public outcry when George Bush did the same thing.

What’s that? He didn’t? But…I thought he was supposed to be a Nazi Fascist Meanie. And that’s what they do, after all.

More on this monumentally desperate move from Bill Whittle. And some Star Wars-y fun with it at HillBuzz.

UPDATE: You just knew it wouldn’t take long before Hitler found out. Now, witness the power of this fully armed and operational blogosphere!


They Fought the Law

…and the law won. For now at least. Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s report on this week’s Federal raid of the Gibson Guitar factories.

You read that correctly. Our Justice Department has seen fit to sic the law dogs on a guitar factory.

Gibson responds thusly. And there’s this interview with their CEO from Dana Loesch, in which he asserts the government’s position is “prove your innocence or we’ll shut you down.”

Think about that statement. NO ONE in this country has to prove their innocence of a single damned thing, no matter what they’re charged with. Burden of proof falls on the accuser, not the accused.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt — and I am, based on that quaint little “innocent until proven guilty” notion — this raises a number of bothersome questions.

Why do the Feds have it in for Gibson? Because this isn’t the first time this has happened. Do they not have the same concerns with Fender or Paul Reed Smith (now there’s some fine woodwork) for that matter? If not, why? Did someone in Nashville not grease the right palms in DC?

Even more to the point: assuming Gibson’s legal interpretation is correct, what in hell is the US Justice Department smoking to make it think it has a duty to enforce Indian law? What kind of precedent are they trying to establish? Because you’d better believe a bunch of crafty government lawyers are thinking just that any time they venture off into what is essentially uncharted territory. If they’re not, then Justice is scraping the bottom of the law-school barrel. Which maybe they are.

After first reading of this yesterday, I realized something: it seems that almost every single day, I stumble into yet another story of unbelievable government overreach. For all of last decade’s caterwauling about the Patriot Act, our present situation seems to be much worse on any number of fronts. Some of it appears to be clear harassment by the government of industries it just doesn’t like. In others, so much has been quietly criminalized that just about anyone could be brought up on Federal charges if they decided to look hard enough.

To recount a few examples:

The parents of a little girl in Virginia are fined over $500 because she nursed an injured bird back to health. Too bad it turned out be an endangered species.

NRLB vs. Boeing. ‘Nuff said there.

EPA regulating dust. Seriously: dust. A naturally occuring pollutant.

I’ll add more to the list when there’s time.

What is going on here? I’m pretty sure I know, but want to hear what everyone else thinks. Are we finally becoming the banana republic so many of us feared when The One was elected?

UPDATE: Apparently the answer to the last question is yes. Should other non-union businesses whose executives donate to Republicans (and compete with Democratic donors) be looking over their shoulders?

(In the interest of disclosure, I’m a big Gibson fan. I own an early 70’s Les Paul.)

News Team, Assemble!

Well then. Here’s something you don’t see every day:

Ohioan, 94, wakes up to blimp that landed in yard

I would say that I somehow missed this story amongst the breathless tales of traffic accidents, drug deals gone wrong, and can’t-live-without health tips from our local evening news. Which is, come to think of it, exactly why I missed this story.

I just don’t watch the local news that much for all of the above reasons. We live near Columbus, which you may recall is the state capital of Ohio (unless you went to public school, in which case the answer is “C”). It’s also where “The” Ohio State University is located.

Being so close to a hub of such vitally important activity, with the potential to affect every citizen of our fair state, you’d think the local news would devote more attention to the goings-on within. If they did, we’d have known about the football team’s shenanigans and the coach’s willfull neglect of same long before the NCAA and Sports Illustrated twigged to it.

Oh, wait a minute. You thought I was talking about goings-on in the statehouse? Silly you. Based on the time devoted by our local press, you could be forgiven for thinking the Buckeyes are more important.

Which is another reason why I don’t pay much attention to the local talking heads. They’ve had their noses so far up OSU’s butt for so long, if Jim Tressel ever came to a sudden stop he’d need surgery to remove all of the overpriced haircuts from his lower intestine.

Of course, the bloom’s off that rose now but I still like the imagery.

Though I tend to ignore the local blowhards, I’m a current events junkie because so much (too much) of what happens inside of our legislatures has a direct impact on our personal lives.

Take Ohio’s Senate Bill 5. Please (ba-dum-dum).This was, is, and will continue to be the subject of heated debate. It’s our own version of Wisconsin’s collective-bargaining reform, which you may recall was the cause of some consternation in Madison last winter. SB5 has made things pretty ugly here in Ohio, though not nearly as intensely.

That’s probably because Ohio allows us to challenge legislation we don’t like through referendums, so the unions figured they were better off taking this to the ballot box instead of making fools of themselves on the statehouse grounds (which they did anyway, but again not as badly as the Wisconsin goons).

My opinion on the law is probably self-evident: I’m for it. Not because I’m a Scrooge who thinks teachers should make minimum wage, or firemen should be relegated to bucket brigades, or cops should be reduced to bullet-in-the-pocket Barney Fifes. Although listening to the unions, it appears that’s what they believe is in store for their membership if SB5 stands.

We’ve reached a point of diminishing return, accelerated by a bad economy. Those who serve the public can no longer expect benefits that aren’t enjoyed by the people who fund their paychecks. The money’s just not there anymore. Out here in the private sector, most of us have suffered three years of pay freezes, if not outright cuts, while our health insurance premiums go up year after year.

The unions may have to accept that the real benefit (besides a paycheck) that they’ll get from their jobs comes from personal satisfaction. I’ve always thought that was hugely important for teachers, cops, and firefighters; maybe not so much for Patty and Selma at the DMV.

There’s a great deal more to SB5, some of which I disagree with. But to expect the rest of us to fund benefit packages at a level we’ve never enjoyed is frankly obscene.

So what does any of this have to do with local news? Well, I just spent a couple hundred words describing a thorny issue that will affect everyone living in my state. My position and rationale should be quite clear to anyone who can read and understand English. Hopefully the underlying issues are equally clear.

Do you think the TV stations are talking about that? Think hard.

Ding! Time’s up.

The painfully small amount of attention they’ve devoted to this very big deal, in comparison to otherwise trivial events, is almost criminal. And when they do discuss it, it’s almost always about the “controversy” and little else. We all get why the unions are pissed. That’s extremely well understood. But a little more explanation of the actual issues, budget realities, and the consequences of our choices would be appreciated.

Keep it classy, San Diego…err, Columbus.

NOTE: This has been edited from a much larger, bloated, and meandering post. I’m no Hunter S. Thompson, thank goodness.

Downgrade This

As if on cue, Standard & Poor’s downgrades US debt. Yet another historic achievement for El Presidente. If you’re thinking about buying anything on credit, now would be a good time to lock in your rates.

It remains to be seen how far-reaching this will be. Supposedly Moody’s and the other big agencies aren’t budging, which I suppose would help. And while I think our problems are quite serious, this decision also smacks of politics.

Why’s that? Recall that S&P got burned pretty bad in the 2008 mortgage meltdown, by not downgrading clearly insolvent lenders until it was too late. Plus this quote from the linked story:

“S&P added that it expects that the upper income Bush-era tax cuts will continue, despite vows from Obama to end the breaks next year.

‘The majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues,’ the firm said.”

So are they choosing sides? I wouldn’t put it past the Post to insert their own biases and flat-out make stuff up, but that would be pretty brazen. While there’s also more talk about cutting spending, you can bet that comment will be used to bludgeon the Republicans. I hope they’re prepared to fight back.

If they’re smart (always a question), they’ll use this fact to their advantage. We can’t soak the rich enough to balance our budget. Confiscate everything they make and it wouldn’t do it. And it would wreck the economy (how hard are you going to work if you know the Feds are going to take every dime?). That might make the social-justice crowd feel better, but the math is not on their side.

It also presumes that all government spending is somehow justified, and cannot be cut to the necessary degree. Therefore, we must fund it.

Sorry, I’m not buying it. And the way things are going, I may not be buying much of anything.

UPDATE: China weighs in. Among other things, our single biggest creditor demands “substantial cuts” to military spending. Surprise!

The Hollywood Economy

It’s like a movie set: looks impressive on the outside, until you peek behind the facade.

Right now, the facade ain’t looking too great either. Or my 401k, for that matter.

No sooner do I make a sweeping categorical statement about avoiding politics, that it once again becomes unavoidable.

Wall Street is not reacting to phony budget cuts, they’re reacting to the fact that these sorts of promises are never kept. And because they’re also good at math, they probably figured out the government-spending-as-compound-interest problem long before I stumbled onto it.

The Keynesian supports have finally been kicked out from under us, and we’re about to finish the reckoning that began in 2008. The fact that our betters did so much to postpone it will only make things worse. Too much of our economy was driven by debt, both Federal and individual. When you live beyond your means long enough, the inevitable withdrawals are painful.

In a sense, it’s a good thing that we have such a hard-left President. A great deal of our current problems have their origins in policies the left has pushed since the ’70s. After decades of quietly sabotaging the economy, it’s fitting that they should own it.

But enough of my blathering. Guys like Roger Kimball at PJ Media make me wonder why I even try blogging. An excerpt from his must-read piece:

“Alas, we threw caution to the winds and elected someone who resented this country, was suspicious of wealth, and whose reflexive commitment to left-wing nostrums would gravely damage the most productive economy the world has ever seen. Tens or hundreds of thousands of people will suffer because of our naïveté and Barack Obama’s malevolent stupidity.”

And finally, a timeless quote from Heinlein via Glenn Reynolds:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”