Profiles in Fecklessness

Saturday, November 13, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

By now most are familiar with the story of the boy whose school told him to remove the American flag from his bicycle.  If not, here is the story at Creative Minority Report. After the public outcry reached a fevered pitch the school reversed its decision.  But of course no decision to ultimately do right can be made without a lame explanation.

Ed Parraz, the Superintendent of the Denair School District told us a school supervisor asked Cody to take down the flag. The supervisor will not be fired or face repercussions. Parraz says the supervisor had information that Cody Alicea’s safety was at risk because of the flag. Some students had complained about it and had apparently made threats.

“The last thing we wanted was to deny Cody his rights,” said Parraz speaking about the boy’s wish to fly the American flag.

Parraz said national flags were banned from campus after a Cinco De Mayo incident when tensions escalated between students displaying the Mexican flag and those waving the Stars and Stripes.  Recently, several students complained and there was even one threat.

“I think it would be irresponsible of us if we kind of shined it on and let him have the flag and he got jumped or something like that and got hurt,” said Parraz.

So the proper way to respond to threats is to cave in to the people doing the bullying?  Is that really the lesson we ought to be imparting to our children?

Of course, this rationale is probably a poor attempt by the school to cover its, err, behind.


Jim DeMint Speaks the Truth

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

When a politician says something that’s this on the money, one wonders if there is a “but” in there to soften the message.  Not with Jim DeMint:

You can’t be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative.

Naturally this bothers AllahPundit and some of the other shrieking libertarians at Hot Air, but DeMint is of course right.  Read the rest of this entry »


1946, 1994, 2010 => 1948, 1996, 2012?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 \PM\.\Tue\.

Picture it: Upper East Side of Manhattan, November 9, 1994.  There is a buzz throughout the halls of Regis High School, and it’s not just because today is student exchange day and there will actually be girls in our school.  The previous night the Republicans had won control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years, and my friends and I – little Republicans in training that we all were – were quite joyous.

First period was US History, and our teacher knows that I am certainly excited about the election.  So he writes on the board the following:

1994=1946

His point?  As was the case in 1946, the Republican victory would be short-lived.  Republican gains in 1946 were wiped out – and then some – in 1948.  On top of that, Harry Truman was re-elected.  History would repeat itself.

I scoffed at this ridiculous notion.  There was certainly no way that Slick Willy Clinton could possibly earn a second term as US President.  I had been counting the days to his 1996 electoral humiliation since roughly November 7, 1992.  Surely this was the first stage on the road to that inevitable defeat.

Fast forward to November 5, 1996.  Needless to say I was as disappointed on that night as all us Regians were at the end of that November day in senior year. (I mean come on, we’re talking about a bunch of nerdy kids from an all boys school.  It took most of us a full year of college before we could properly talk to members of the opposite sex.)  Mr. Anselme was right.

But not entirely.  Though Bill Clinton had indeed won re-election, the election was not a total repeat of 1948.  The Republicans lost a few seats, but in the end they retained control of both houses of Congress – something they had not done in successive cycles since the Hoover administration.

History is informative, and we certainly should be aware of the lessons of elections past when we think about what will happen down the line.  But we should refrain from assuming that events will necessarily repeat themselves. Read the rest of this entry »


Sliding Further Down the Path of Irrelevance

Thursday, November 4, 2010 \AM\.\Thu\.

Now would be a good time as any to re-visit this David Frum column from about a year ago:

Republicans heading for a bloodbath in Florida.

Well, I suppose if Frum meant that the Republicans would be the one administering the bloodbath, he was right on the money.  Alas, I don’t think that’s what he meant.

Now that Republicans, led by an array of conservative candidates, have enjoyed their most successful election in 80+ years, Frum and his acolytes must be fairly chastened.

Yeah right.  FrumForum contributor Andrew Pavelyev writes that the blame for the failure of the GOP to re-capture the Senate lies in the successful campaign of men like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Read the rest of this entry »


TAC NFL Rankings – Week 8

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

I’m filling in for Michael this week as he’s getting acclimated to the world of fatherhood.

It was a comparatively uneventful week as for once we’re all basically in agreement, though it was Michael’s turn to make one particularly questionable omission.   The AFC remains very strong, though a couple of NFC teams are finally making some noise.  Though perhaps the most interesting development had to do with some teams not even on the list: the Vikings and the Redskins.  Coach Shanahan’s decision to bench Donovan McNabb in the final two minutes against the Lions was greeted with everything from shock to outrage, and this humble correspondent is just soaking in the joy of a week’s worth of sports talk outrage in DC.  As for Brad Childress’s decision to dump Randy Moss, well, I’m sure he’ll be enjoying his time next year as someone’s offensive coordinator. Read the rest of this entry »


The Day After

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

In the aftermath of the best electoral night for the Republicans since the age of flappers, I thought I would share a few reflections on some of the common memes that have sprouted up over the past 24 hours.

Evidently at about 4 in the morning CNN was running with a headline on their website that read “Split Decision.”  Even less hopeless cases pondered why the GOP seemingly didn’t do as well in the Senate as it did in the House.  While it’s true that there were some disappointing results in Nevada, Colorado, and West Virginia, the fact of the matter is the Republicans won 25 of the 37 contested Senatorial contests.  Republicans had to defend 19 of their own seats and then win an additional ten in order to gain majority control of the Senate, a rather long-shot proposition to begin with.  As it is the Republicans won two-thirds of all Senate contests, lost none of their own seats and picked up six in the process.  That would be a good night  by any measure. Read the rest of this entry »


Where They Stand: House Races

Monday, November 1, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

I am certainly not ambitious enough to forecast all 435 House races, but Jim Geraghty of National Review is.  Here is his roundup of all 435 races.  He is predicting 76 Republican pickups, with 6 seats switching from Democrat to Republican, for a net Republican pickup of 70 seats.

I think the Republicans should net at least 60, though it’s really hard to pinpoint exactly how many seats the Republicans will have when all is said and done.  The Gallup generic ballot puts the Republicans up double digits, which is just unprecedented.  Alan Ambromowitz, a professor of mine at Emory, translates how many seats to expect the GOP to win based on the generic ballot total. A GOP margin of +10 would give them a net gain of 62 seats, and a 68-seat pickup if the margin is 12.

It’s also interesting to note that the highest number of seats the GOP held during the twelve years they recently had control of Congress was 231, and that was after the 2004 election (they held 230 after 1994).  Therefore if the Republicans gain a net total of 54, they would have more seats than they’ve held at any point since 1946.  They would have basically erased two elections worth of Democratic gains in one night.  Amazing.


Crist’s Cross

Friday, October 29, 2010 \PM\.\Fri\.

It’s unfathomable to think that Charlie Crist could possibly sink any lower in his desperate attempt to cling to power.  Alas, Crist is doing his best to usurp Alan Grayson as the most despicable politician in the state of Florida.

Read the rest of this entry »


Where They Stand: Gubernatorial Races

Friday, October 29, 2010 \AM\.\Fri\.

With all the talk about the upcoming Congressional midterms, local races are getting overlooked.  This is unfortunate for a couple of reasons.  First of all, despite a century plus of actions and efforts to the contrary, federalism is still alive, and state governments still matter.  Second, these races have an impact upon national elections because states will be redrawing their districts in the wake of the 2010 census.

It would be a massive undertaking beyond my abilities and time to look at each state’s legislative elections, though most projections I have heard have the Republicans gaining a massive amount of seats in state legislatures.  Republicans are projected to switch majority control in about five or six states at a minimum.  Here I will be taking a look at each of the gubernatorial elections.

On a side note, it may seem odd to label these elections as pickups and holds.  After all, it’s not as though governors gather en masse and vote, so having a “majority” of governorships seems not to be that big of a deal.  But for the aforementioned reasons, it is important to win as many of these races as possible.  Currently there are 26 Democratic governors and 24 Republican.  Republicans will certainly have a majority after Tuesday.  As is the case with the House, the only question is how big of a majority.

And now, to the races we go:

Read the rest of this entry »


Where They Stand: Senate

Thursday, October 28, 2010 \AM\.\Thu\.

With five days until election day, I decided to take a close look at each of the Senate races, and to offer some prognostications about how I think each will end up.

First, the lock-solid holds for each party: Read the rest of this entry »


The Truth Hurts

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

Last week Donald posted a funny and all-to-true video jab at the the naivete of potential law school applicants.  Well this video hits close to home for those of us in the Humanities:

Hey, there are plenty of great options for PhDs.  I hear that political science factory is going to be opening any day now.

H/t: Scott W.


Constitutional Ignorance

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 \PM\.\Tue\.

I see that my co-blogger MJ Andrew has already posted about the Christine O’Donnell-Chris Coons debate, and I thank him as that saves me the trouble of having to sort through a whole bunch of links.

I disagree with him, though somewhat reservedly.  Having listened to the entire clip it does seem to me that O’Donnell is questioning whether the concept of the separation of Church and State is in the First Amendment, not the Establishment Clause.  There was some crosstalk at this point in the debate, and it appears to me that she’s just repeating her question with regards to the issue of separation.  It’s debatable, though, and a candidate should do a better job clearly establishing what she’s talking about in such a setting.

That being the case,  I was more intrigued by  Coons’s own response to the question.  While O’Donnell possibly made a gaffe – an unfortunate one if indeed it was a gaffe – Coons’s response is the more troubling aspect of this exchange. Read the rest of this entry »


Well Now I’m Convinced

Monday, October 18, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

You know, it looks like I might have to change my mind on gay marriage.  I’ve been opposed to the concept for some time, but this video has completely changed my mind thanks to its persuasive logic.  WARNING: Extremely not safe for work or probably your own house language at this video.  Do not click on this link if you do not tolerate cussing, because there’s a lot of it.

The video, for those that didn’t feel like clicking over and having their audio canals violated, was essentially a bunch of really peeved off gay marriage advocates engaging in a collective primal scream.  The long and short of it is that gay marriage opponents are bleeping hypocrites because Rush bleeping Limbaugh has been married four bleeping times, and also because we don’t bleeping oppose no fault bleeping divorce, and bleep bleep bleep we’re just a bunch of bleeping bleeps.

Yeah.

I have to say that this video does hammer home one thing for me: the most convincing opponents of gay marriage are gay marriage supporters.


A warped sense of community

Friday, October 15, 2010 \PM\.\Fri\.

Well it looks like Cynthia Tucker has been beaten out for the most obtuse observation of the past 24 hours.  Let’s hear from Chris Mathews, who decided to turn a great story about survival into a partisan political point.

Down 2,000 feet in the ground, a group of 33 men not only survived for 69 days but prevailed. What a story of human faith, hope, charity and yes, community. I know that last word drives people on the right crazy: community.

Theirs is the popular notion that it`s every man for himself. Grab what you can, screw the masses, cash out of the government, go it alone — the whole cowboy catechism.

But how would those miners have survived, the 33 of them, and their loved ones living above if they`d behave like that with the attitude of every man for himself. This is above all, and deep down they`re in the mine about being in all there together. It`s about mutual reliance and relying on others. Not just to do their jobs, but to come through in the clutch.

Not only is this a sophomoric and shameful bit of analysis, but it further proves the point that great swathes of the left fundamentally do not understand what is meant by “community.” Read the rest of this entry »


Fictional Reality

Friday, October 15, 2010 \AM\.\Fri\.

It’s good to know that the term “Beltway Bubble” applies beyond just the circular roadway a mile from my house out in the suburbs of Washington DC.   It looks like there is another cocoon in another old dwelling of mine in the city of Atlanta, as evidenced by this bit of insanity from Cynthia Tucker.  Ms. Tucker’s thesis is that President Obama’s political problems stem from trying too hard to cooperate with Republicans.  Buckle yourselves in for a ride aboard the crazy train.

Read the rest of this entry »


When God Says “No”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 \AM\.\Tue\.

Msgr. Charles Pope is a Priest in the Archdiocese of Washington.  In addition to his duties as pastor at a parish in southeastern DC, he regularly celebrates High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Mary’s in Chinatown once a month.  He is perhaps the finest homilist I have ever had the privilege of hearing on a regular basis, and he demonstrates why in this blog post from the Archdiocese’s website.  He tackles what may be one of the most difficult subjects that Catholics and indeed people of all faith struggle with: why does God seemingly say no to some of our prayer requests?  He provides a fantastic answer, and in the process gives some guidance on he proper disposition we should have when praying.

1. Sometimes, “No”  is the Best Answer – We often think we know what is best for us. We want to have this job, or we want that person to fall in love and marry us. We want to be delivered from a certain illness or receive a financial blessing. We see these as good outcomes and are sure that God must also see them this way. But God may not, in fact agree with our assessment as to what is best for us. And thus his “No” is really the best answer to our prayers.

For example we may always prefer that God answer our prayer that none of our children be born with any disabilities. But God may see that the experience of disability may be just the thing that we or the child may need in order to be  saved ultimately. St. Paul prayed for deliverance from some sort of physical affliction: Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me,My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:7-10).

Read the rest of this entry »


Twirling, Twirling Towards Freedom

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

On Monday night there was a debate between Connecticut Senatorial candidates Richard Blumenthal and Linda McMahon.  During the debate Linda McMahon asked Mr. Blumenthal, “How do you create a job?”  Blumenthal’s answer was, well, see for yourself.

Watching this, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another example of genius on display.

Read the rest of this entry »


Gracious Loserman

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 \PM\.\Tue\.

Here’s an update to my post from last week.  Doug Hoffman has just announced that he is dropping out of the NY-23 House race and has endorsed the Republican nominee Matt Doheny.  His full statement is here.

“It was never my intention to split the Republican vote in the 23rd District.  So today, I withdraw as a candidate from this race.  Under New York State Election Law my name cannot be removed from the Conservative Party line on the ballot. However, I strongly urge and request that my supporters not vote for me and certainly not vote for the Democrat or Working Families Party candidate.

“Matt Doheny and I may have differed on some issues during the course of our primary race. Now, we must put those differences aside and do what is best for our nation. So today, I am asking all my supporters to cast their vote for Matt Doheny on Election Day, November 2nd.

Classy move, and I think the right one.

And yes, I need to work on my headline writing.


Why Is This Bad?

Monday, October 4, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

Rookie hazing is common to all American professional sports.  Normally it amounts to rookies carrying veterans’ bags, being dressed up in women’s clothing for “fashion shoots,” or simply having to buy dinner for the veterans.  Well last week Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys was subjected to the latter.  Unlike most rookie hazing incidents this caused headline news.  Why?  Because the bill came out to just under $55,000.  That’s a lot of steak.

This has led to all sorts of outrage.  I think this nugget from Peter King’s (never-ending) column fairly represents the typical media reaction to the story.

This doesn’t deserve a monumental amount of coverage, but one thing should be said to the Cowboy veterans who delighted in spending about $2,500 per man (one estimate I heard for the 22 to 25 men who attended this dinner) as most of America struggles to pay for weekly groceries: Stop being pigs. It’s disgusting.

This comes from the same column in which Peter King discusses his three-hour meal with Texans running back Arian Foster.  People are struggling with the grocery bills and Peter King is out carousing with football players?  What a pig.

Read the rest of this entry »


Joe Pos and Scully

Saturday, October 2, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

A little weekend sports treat.  Joe Posnanski is, by leaps and bounds, the best sports writer in America.  On SI.com he has a wonderful article about Vin Scully, who is still, by leaps and bounds, the best announcer in all of sports.

Enjoy.


Sore Losermen

Thursday, September 30, 2010 \AM\.\Thu\.

One of the big stories of the year is the growth in prominence of the tea party movement.  Whether or not you are in accord with them politically, they have had an undeniable impact on the political landscape, bringing a new energy to the political scene.  Though tea party- backed  candidates have not been 100 percent successful, they have defeated a fairly substantial number of GOP incumbents and other Republican establishment candidates.  Even relatively conservative Republican incumbents like Senator Bob Bennett of Utah have been sent to an early retirement thanks largely to a grassroots revolt against his like.

One of the most recent successes of the tea party rebellion occurred in Alaska where Joe Miller defeated Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary.  Murkowski was appointed to the Senate to replace her father.  The governor who appointed her also happened to be her father, and it seems that she was led to believe that she is entitled to said seat.  So in the face of electoral defeat in the primary, Senator Murkowski – or Daddy’s Little Princess as she’s being dubbed in some circles – has launched a write-in campaign.  Evidently many voters in the state of Alaska crave royalty as she is actually running neck and neck with Miller in the general election campaign.

Murkowski is not the only moderate Republican who has demonstrated his or her contempt for the unwashed masses who dared to remove them from office.  Governor Charlie Crist, faced with a humiliating primary defeat in Florida against Marco Rubio, decided to jump ship and run as an Independent.  Alas Charlie now faces a humiliating thumping in the general election instead.  Mike Castle, who lost to Christine O’Donnell in the Republican primary for a Delaware Senate seat, toyed with a write-in campaign.  He decided against it, but has ostentatiously declined to endorse O’Donnell.  Other defeated incumbents, like Bennett above as well as Representative Bob Inglis have thrown temper tantrums because the voters dared remove them from office.

Alas it is not just so-called RINOs who have rejected the will of the primary voter. Read the rest of this entry »


Cultural Rot

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

My wife and I often joke that we are going to raise our children Amish so as to shield them from our depraved culture.  We jest, but there’s a sliver of truth in our jesting.  And of course  Donald has written a series of excellent posts here at TAC on the signs of our cultural decay.

It’s not exactly a newsflash when a bunch of cranky bloggers at a website called the American Catholic bemoan our hedonistic culture.  But when others of a less socially conservative bent join the fray you know that things may have reached a breaking point.

Ace of Spades is a conservative blog, though one that tends to a certain amount of, err, frivolity with regards to cultural matters.  I don’t think Ace deviates from most social conservatives on the core issues, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect a rant like this one a site like his.  But Ace completely lays into the singer Katy Perry and the awful message that she spreads to our youth.

Ace posts the lyrics to one of Perry’s new songs: Read the rest of this entry »