Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A response to Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker, a synidcate columnist and "self-described conservative" - a term necessary to delineate between those who are actually conservative, and those who simply enjoy the acclaim that comes with being a conservative who adheres to liberal ideological principles - has penned an article decrying the influence of evangelicals within the Republican party.

It's shallow and poorly written, and I am an evangelical conservative, so I'm going to make fun of her. You know how this works. Excerpts, responses and such below.

As Republicans sort out the reasons for their defeat, they likely will overlook or dismiss the gorilla in the pulpit.

Three little letters, great big problem: G-O-D.

It's always good to begin a piece with an unsubstantiated assertion, especially when you do not intend to defend your assertion with argument.

I'm bathing in holy water as I type.

A holy water joke. That's keeping it fresh.

To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

Oogedy-boogedy counts as specificity? How can a narrow branch simultaneously afflict AND marginalize consituents of a broader subset? Are we just stringing together action verbs in an effort to make word count?

Nice use of "cometh" though. I didn't see that coming.

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party.

A Hitler reference. How nuanced.

And, the truth -- as long as we're setting ourselves free -- is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.

The party intelligentsia is Catholic, babe. Real oogedy-boogedy types, them, the Catholics.

So it has been for the Grand Old Party since the 1980s or so, as it has become increasingly beholden to an element that used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners.

And also gigantic architectural masterpieces, which predate the aforementioned streets. But why quibble?

Short break as writer ties blindfold and smokes her last cigarette.

I hope it was cathartic for you to write that, Kath. Now, where is my machete?

Which is to say, the GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows.

Syndicated columnists? I kid... Kinda.

In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle.

Yeah, atheist Democrats are just ripe for the picking come election season.

Here's the deal, 'pubbies: Howard Dean was right.

If that's the case, I couldn't be more delighted to be wrong.

And shifting demographics suggest that the Republican Party -- and conservatism with it -- eventually will die out unless religion is returned to the privacy of one's heart where it belongs.

On what basis does she make this assertion? How has a public versus a private faith manifested in evangelical voting patterns? Which issues are "private" vs. "public"? I mean, as long as we're being specific...

Religious conservatives become defensive at any suggestion that they've had something to do with the GOP's erosion.

They are defensive because the notion is offensive. The GOP exists to serve its constituents, not vice versa. It is not our responsibility to comport our values to the political zeitgeist.

Suffice it to say, the Republican Party is largely comprised of white, married Christians.

This isn't the case, but were it so, it would defeat Kathleen's argument. It is never in a party's best interest to alienate the MAJORITY of its constituents.

Anyone watching the two conventions last summer can't have missed the stark differences: One party was brimming with energy, youth and diversity; the other felt like an annual Depends sales meeting.

A Depends joke. Does Kathleen get her material from stand-up routines from the early 90s? Stick to the script, sweetie...

With the exception of Miss Alaska, of course.

Again, Kathleen has undone her argument. The problem is that the GOP is stale. The solution comes in the form of an evangelical.

Meanwhile, it isn't necessary to evict the Creator from the public square,

That's what you have spent the last 250 words arguing. Faith can't be public and private at the same time.

Belief in something greater than oneself has much to recommend it, including most of the world's architectural treasures, our universities and even our founding documents.

Don't forget great literary works, a category to which Kathleen will not be contributing anytime soon.

But, like it or not, we are a diverse nation, no longer predominantly white and Christian. The change Barack Obama promised has already occurred, which is why he won.

Barack Obama made an unprecedented effort to reach out to evangelicals. He was rebuffed. The lesson Kathleen learns from this is that the GOP should shun evangelicals? This has no hint of logic.

The young will get older, of course. Most eventually will marry, and some will become their parents. But nonwhites won't get whiter.

And, of course, blacks went to the polls in droves to oppose measures banning gay marriage... Social issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and education rights represent the only bridge between conservative ideology and most minority populations. Plan B is to set those issues aside, and mimic the Democratic practice of offering (taxpayer funded) goodies and affirmative action programs.

If this is what Kathleen supports, then she should vote for Democrats, as I suspect she will henceforth. This is poison pill advice, an intellectually dishonest case for liberal ideology masked as advice to the party that rejects same.

But Ms. Parker should exercise care in her wishes. If the oogedy-boogedy crowd jumps ship, we take with us our defense of free speech, opposition to terrorism, and rejection of moral equivocation with us. And, believe me, another batch of oogedy-boogedy types will come to occupy this vacuum of zeal, one not so terribly tolerant of female syndicated columnists.

Oh, and you lose God, who is kind of a big deal.

But since Kathleen has concerned herself with the impact of demographic shifts on party identity, I should take the time to remind her of another reason to love married evangelical Christians:


Oogedy-boogedy yourself, lady.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Musings

As you read this, try to imagine a turkey being annihilated in some cone-shaped device behind me. I like it that way.

Congratulations to Minneapolis, which rated as the 20th most crime ridden city in the annual crime survey published by the CQ Press. While we are nominally safer than Compton, CA (17th worst), we did manage to outcrime Washington D.C. (21st) and Miami (35th). Under Rybak's leadership, I think we can catch Gary, Indiana (7th) at by the year 2013.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a conservative think tank, released the results of their civic literacy test. Of course, most people failed, and Harvard students proved that it is possible to be smart and ignorant at the same time.

Normally, I am leery of such pop quizzes. Americans aren't stupid because they don't know the name of Fillmore's Secretary of State, or the number of Members of the House of Representatives. And everyone makes a couple of dumb mistakes on any test.

But this test is pretty easy, unconcerned with minutae, and highly relevant to the political issues facing any voter. I got an 88%, and felt pretty dumb for having done that poorly. The average score on the test was 49%, which means (since the test is multiple choice) the average American only knows 37% of the answers. Blech.


As regular readers are aware, my wife watches HGTV (Home and Garden Television). This station is devoted to making prohibitively expensive, time-consuming remodeling projects appear easy and affordable. There is also copious editing and "swishing" transitions.

Of course, every home remodel involves "opening up the floor plan". 1,000 square foot great rooms with giant kitchens are the norm. Why? For entertaining, of course. That's all well enough, except that nobody entertains anymore. Most people never even see the inside of each other's houses.

As houses have gotten (much) larger, the number of people in each house has dwindled, and people leave their houses less. When they do go out, it's to visit parents or attend some wedding. So basically, people pump $85,000 into their kitchens so they have a nicer place to heat up frozen pizzas and store baby food.

This development is precisely stupid on so many levels.


On the topic of entertaining, Fat Lorenzo's deserves a shout out (can we still do shout outs, or is that too MTV Beach House?) for their oustanding catering of a celebration event at my brother's church.

Special touch: The manager responsible for our order (Lorenzo himself?) recognized that volunteers had not been included in the head count, and so brought back an entire pan of pasta just for us. You won't get that kind of Minnesota nice from D'Amico...


I think the Detroit Lions should embark on a bold experiment. Release every player not named Calvin Johnson, and draft a collegiate football team in its entirety. My vote? Ball St.

Let's bring a winning tradition on board and restore the roar!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Top Ten Fridays - Overrated

Ten things that are overrated.

10. Pirates

Seriously, the Russians can't take care of the pirates? This is a nation that killed millions of people without anyone knowing about it. And now, pirates have them flummoxed? Some dictatorship. Putin is a weenie.

9. Lake Calhoun

Lake Calhoun has nothing going for it. It's crowded, full of bizarre people, and it's in Uptown. The path around it is just long enough that you get half way around before realizing that you are exhausted, which puts you in a bind, mathematically speaking. The neighborhood is home to affluent trust fund babies, who are my least favorite kinds of people. I'll take Theo Wirth anyday over this overhyped liberal Disneyland.

8. Gay Tolerance

Facing defeat in the California gay marriage amendment battle, California gay power advocates have levelled their wrath on Mormons and black people. Money quote, from a outraged fellow in West Hollywood:

"Those n-----s had better not come into our neighborhood, if they know what's best for them."

But where will the Los Angeles Clippers go to get their nails done?

7. Japanese Automobiles

Yes, they are better than America, and get better gas mileage. But a Toyota Corolla cost 1.5 times what a Ford Focus costs. Is that extra 2 mpg going to save you $5,000? Not unless you plan on driving 900,000 miles.

6. Macs

If you own stock in Apple, sell. In a down economy, nobody has the money to pay for a computer whose sole feature is a sleek design, or a $500 phone that doesn't work. Oh, and taking out an advertisement to criticize PC for spending money on advertising is a priceless piece of hypocrisy that only the ditziest Mac fanboy is going to overlook.

5. Hillary Clinton

Clinton as Secretary of State? Who is asking for this?

4. Diamonds

Nothing that exists in greater quantities than Spam ought to cost $2,500 per carat. And yet, men willfully pay absurd (and illegal) mark-ups for these not-particularly-precious gems as a sign that they are committed to the woman whose future bank account they are, essentially, plundering. Consider this: Why do diamonds have virtually no resale value?

And they call these modern times. Ladies, if your man goes into debt to pay for a wedding ring, leave him. A diamond is forever, but so is abject stupidity.

3. Assists

People respect assists so much that the Stuff White People Like blog even had a feature on it. For basketball fans, an assist is the closest possible approximation of Christ's love... Unselfish sacrifice in the name of the team (basketball fans tend to have a tenuous graps of theology).

Assists are also a lousy way to measure the quality of a player. When aggegated with made baskets, and weighed against turnovers, they help contribute to a measurement of a player's effectiveness. Other than that, rebounds are much more important.

2. Search Engines

The other day, I had a passing interest in the price of 30-year old Whiskey, in American dollars. In 2003, this would have been easy. Now, all you get is random clutter. Online stores that are out of business, random blogs that haven't been updated in 16 months, some city newspaper in Omaha and, of course, porn... Anything but the information you are looking for.

With advances in Social Media (insert cliche about Social Media impact on the Internet), will we begin to trust links from friends over the vagaries of search engine optimatization?

1. Home Ownership

In 2005, everyone with a real job got the same advice. Don't piss your money away on renting. Buy a house, and pro-actively hemmorhage money from your anus. Now, those same people who were dispensing stupid advice (I was one of them) are advising friends and family to cash in their 401k and avoid the housing market like the plague.

Lesson learned. Going forward, whenever I have a financial decision to make, I am going to get a consensus opinion from a dozen or so folks, and then do precisely the opposite. People are stupid. I'm buying stock.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wanna Get High?

Hey, Brandon Jacobs, do you dance the mambo? You like to get scorched? Do you Mickey Rooney?

You wanna get high?

I know. Your offensive performance has been absolutely smokin'... But I think it would really be a nice idea if we got together for some smokin'...

No, I didn't mean that sexually, I'm not into that. I'm family.

I just thought we could do to the basement, smash some old vaccum tube television sets, and huff the dust. You know, without fear of consequence.

Right. Your on-field exploits have been tremendous. Believe me, I have you on my fantasy team. Mr. Jacobs, you know how to get it done on the playing field.

Maybe you and I can go over the Pickle's house, grab some Salvia... Get mildly nauseous, and then drop 26 points on the idiot who drafted Joseph Addai with the 4th pick. Would you do that with me?

To be honest, I think it's the right way to go.

Wow, you look really different without your uniform. I was not prepared for that, but am nonetheless eager to do this. Just wait a couple of minutes while I pawn my grandma's wedding ring.

I'm really looking forward to this.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Musings

The day is young, but I am not. Let's roll.

I woke up this morning to find that ACORN had deposited 87 pro-Franken ballots under my pillow. I have filed an appeal to have the votes included in the final tally. It's true that most of the ballots are just slips of paper with a curly-haired stick figure drawn on them, but I must make sure the votes of Mickey Mouse and the seven year old down the street are counted. DEMOCRACYYYY!!!!




Paid a visit to Chai's Thai over the weekend. It's fun, in a reminds-me-of-a-real-city-restaurant sort of way. The food is good (not Bahn or Ruam Mit good, but good), and very affordable. The best part? It's BYO for alcohol with no corkage fee. I would exchange half the bars in this city for that option.

Also, my Pad-Thai-only wife rates Chai's Pad Thai among the best in town. I thought they were a bit over-sauced, but she's the expert.


So much for the conservative revolution. The only Republican running against John Boehner is fellow crap-eater Dan Lungren of California. I have a $1.25 restocking fee due with Blockbuster video. Can I have a bailout?

What a monumentally stupid country this has become.


Open question: How did Africans figure out how to become pirates? It's pirate-mania over there. Do they wear eyepatches? That would be awfully endearing, though I'm sure the French will support them either way. Yarrrrgh....


Seriously, though, damn pirates.


Fantasy Football!!!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tiretracks - A Poem


One night, a man had a dream
He was driving along the coastline
He looked back along his journeys
The longings, the regrets

He pulled to the side of the road
He gazed out to the ocean,
the unending carpet, rippled and dancing
under the soft hiss of moonlight

He strummed his hands along the contours
rough hewn and ribbed
of the steering wheel that had guided him
for all his life

He looked back at the road
and saw distinct tire tracks
for miles on end
past the horizion, save on interruption

At one point, the tracks veered off the cliff
but he couldn't remember such an incident

He stepped out his sensibly-priced Toyota Corolla
and followed the greasy double-string of tracks
He asked his car when he had veered off path
And how his car could fail him so abruptly

The Toyota spoke:

"My precious, precious driver
I love you, and I will spend the next 175,00 miles with you
During that time when your suspension gave out
and you nearly drove off the cliff...

That is when you were saved by Zero"

Later in the dream,
he encountered a former childhood bully
who taunted him and made him sad
he picked up a hammer and beat the bully to death.

He was kind of glad he woke up at that point, on account of he would have been arrested for murder.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Welcome Invitation

(phone rings)

Hello? Oh, hey Steve, thanks for calling me back. No, nothing urgent, I just wanted to, uh, you know, touch base... How's Cindy?

That's cool, that's cool. Congratulations. Well, the reason I'm calling is, well, I told you that I've been saved by Zero, right?

Yeah, from the commercial... Yeah, from my blog, right... No, that wasn't a joke...

So, anyway, I was wondering if you wanted to, maybe, head to Buffalo Wild Wings and grab a beer... Yes, I can still drink beer. I'm saved by Zero, but I'm still a man... No, I know you prefer wine... Sorry, I didn't mean...

Anyway, would next Thursday work for you? Like 6 pm? Cool... I'll pick you up...

Um, you knowm, I forgot, well, I was gonna (cough) I was gonna head up to the Toyota Dealership. Maybe you'd want to just tag along...

Well, I guess I wouldn't call it a dealership... More of a school of driving excitement...

No, this isn't like those other dealerships... There's no muzak or laminated copies of Car and Driver in the lobby... They play KS95, and they even have free M & M's... No, they don't have peanuts... Oh, cause they were made in the same factory, so you can't... I get it...

Well, they have Starbucks coffee, and... Well, you can meet my friend Rich who I'm always telling you about... Yes, he's real... Yeah, he's an experiential facilitator for Toyota... Yeah, kinda like a salesman, though I wouldn't use that word, per se...

I mean, you can just go and, see if Zero is right for you... And then, we can go get some chicken wings... You know, like old times, minus the Mazda...

No, I mean, it's a great car... It's just that, after 75,000 miles, I mean, with the baby...

No, I understand... You have the chance to be saved by Zero and you'd rather stick with the same old... I'm not trying to convince you of anything man, it's just, once you've been saved by Zero...

Okay, no need to be brusque. Hey, let's just meet for Chicken Wings, and I'll let you drive my new Solara around the block a couple times...

Oh, I'm a zealot? Your wife is a car-hopping whore! When she's on the side of the road, freezing to death with your new baby in her arms, she'll wish you had listened to me about Toyota's roadside assistance program!

I'm sorry... I didn't mean that... It's just, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be saved by Zero... If you had the cure for cancer, you'd tell people, right?

Well, this is like that... What? Ohhhhh. No, I didn't hear that about your mom... How long does she have? Wow... How's your dad taking it?

You know, what's her number? I should probably, you know, call her... Do you happen to know if she's been saved by Zero?

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Saved By Zero FAQ

Since yesterday’s revelation that I have been saved by Zero, literally millions of people have written letters and e-mail. Some supported my decision, while the more inhibited minds opposed it.

But mostly, people had questions, and I feel it my duty to answer them. Without further adieu, here is my “Saved By Zero” FAQ:

Q: Now that you have been “saved”, can we still be friends?

A: Of course. I support you in your decisions, and your Subaru Outback lifestyle. Heck, my wife and I have been through it. We dabbled in American cars, and even got into some 7% APR with our local Ford Dealer. I don’t come to judge, I come to save.

Q: I would like to purchase a Honda. Can I be “Saved By Zero”?

A: I would love to say yes, and some heretical examiners of the Toyota text disagree with me. That said, I can see nothing in my loan agreement that says I should transfer my low-low financing to a reprobate Honda.

Q: If I am “Saved By Zero”, will I go to heaven for eternity?

A: No. But with Toyota’s legendary reliability, you’ll feel like you live forever in your new Corolla.

Q: What if I already own a Toyota?

A: This is a great question, and I get it a lot. A lot of people think they can be saved by Zero just by owning a Toyota automobile. After all, if you own a Prius, you are already good car-owner, right?

Nothing could be further from the truth. Take a look at that Prius. You probably have a payment on it, right? Being saved by Zero means not having to worry about interest payments. Your slate is wiped clean.

Q: I’m black. Can I be saved by Zero?

A: Yes, which is why Toyota has introduced the affordable Yaris. Now, all of mankind can be saved by Zero, and enjoy Toyota’s renowned fuel economy. Also, Barack Obama.

Q: Wow, that’s really condescending. I’m a Senior VP of communications for a Fortune 500…


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Sunday, November 09, 2008

A New Beginning

Regular readers of this blog know that I am passionate about my faith. God has moved me in so many ways, and I am thankful for what he has done in my life. But, lately, God has felt small to me. Frankly, these past several weeks have caused me to re-evaluate my beliefs. But there is no denying the truth, and there is no turning back.

I have been saved by zero.

In truth, I should've have seen it coming. At the beginning of the football season, I pretty much thought Zero was just a big red ball that bounced behind the entirety of the Toyota product line. Like many of you, I struggled with self-doubt, and regret. But, after 4,747 subsequent viewings there it was, right in front of me.

All of my deepest, darkest questions were resolved by low-low financing on select new and pre-owned Toyota models.

Just today, I was moved to tears by the testimony of a friend, who has been saved by Zero during the Patriots-Jets game. He told me how he would wake up each morning, grab a bottle of wine, and drink in bed. Now he drinks in the comfort of his spacious new 2008 Toyota Tundra.

He still steals from his grandmother, but less-so these days. Zero is good, all the time.

Of course, this means I will be spending less time with my church, and more time with the three identical Camry's I purchased on Friday.

For those who have endured with me through this whole process, I cannot thank you enough. You complete me, the way other things used to complete me before Zero completed me. I would also like to thank the good people of Toyota for their wisdom in devoting GNP of Haiti to a massive media buy for a shoddily produced, creatively bankrupt horror of an advertisement. If it weren't for you, Zero would never have saved me, and I'd probably buy American.

Also, if anyone has a place where Khris can crash for a few nights... She hasn't been the same since I used her wedding ring as a down payment on a RAV4.





Thursday, November 06, 2008

An interview with Peter Welle

Every now and then, my blog affords me the opportunity to interview various newsmakers. Today, I am honored to introduce Peter Welle, teacher and author of The John Larroquette Project. With out any further adieu, Peter, welcome to TPWK

TPWK: So, how are things with you. Any election hangovers?

Peter: Same old crap. Back hurts. The sweet whisper of death can't come quickly enough.

TPWK: Um, what?

Peter: Well, I should go. I've got a long drive to work.

TPWK: But, it's 11 am. Aren't you a teacher?

Peter: Well, you know, daylight savings.

TPWK: Um, 'kayyyy...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

10 for 20 & 10 in 2010

Predictably, the Republicans had a lousy night, and my beer was consumed in its entirety. That said, the Democrats are now the proud owners of the keys to a shiny new Ford Pinto. Slow, disliked, and liable to explode.

As such, let’s look to 2010. Since most party operatives usually come to my blog for advice, I thought I would give 10 keys to 20 (house seats) and 10 (Senate seats) in 2010. You see what I did there. Let’s roll.

1. Dump Boehner. He is not a wartime consigliore, so to speak, and neither does he have the policy gravitas to make the conservative case to the American people. Calling a bill a “crap sandwich”, and then voting for its passage it frankly absurd. Mike Pence of Indiana is a principled conservative who failed in his initial bid to be minority leader. Representing a safe district, Pence opposed the bailout, NCLB, and numerous other bloated budget items. It is time for someone to take the ideological reigns here, and Rep. Pence is the man to do it.

2. Use the filibuster wisely. The Republicans retained the use of the filibuster in the Senate, but it remains a parliamentary trick that is unpopular with the American people. The filibuster should be used to prolong the national discussion on issues like Card Check, Bailout Part Deux (yes, it’s coming), and the Fairness Doctrine, issues that Democrats would rather pass quickly, and sweep under the rug.

3. Embrace evangelicals. Call us the fringe, the base, or what have you… But our stances on social issues are supported by the majority of voters. McCain’s candidacy cracked the foundation of evangelical support to a modest degree, but Christians (and orthodox Jews) will be powerful allies when the Pelosi clan takes a swing at home schooling, domestic discipline etc... Remember Jocelyn Elders?

4. Draft women. A fair number of moderate women remain unhappy with the treatment of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. While this did not translate into a McCain victory, it does represent an interesting opportunity for the future. Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina were on the VP shortlist, but the Republicans would do well to find qualified women to run in House and Senate races.

5. Ignore the shiny things. Over the next two years, we’re finally going to learn what Barack Obama actually did in Chicago. Some of it will make headlines, as the media seeks to play catch-up on all the reporting they missed while they were covering Sarah Palin’s shoes. I don’t care if they find a picture of Louis Farrakhan reading Obama a bedtime story. Ignore the headlines and ignore the conspiracy theories. They didn’t work against Clinton and they won’t work here.

6. That said… DO draw attention to real corruption and illegal activities. Start by censuring Sen. Stevens, who appears to have won re-election, and calling on him to resign. Then turn to Charlie Rangel, Barney Frank and the rest of the goons. Introduce legislation calling for transparency and pork reduction. It won’t pass, but that’s one of the benefits of being in the minority. It doesn’t have to.

6a. And when you do stuff, be loud about it. Use 527s to fight these ideological battles. Get the College Republicans building Hoovervilles to protest Obama’s tax hikes. Republicans can make some big gains in 2010, but they will NOT coast to them. Be loud and proud, so to speak.

7. Showcase the superstars. Even in a down year, the Republican Party has some interesting talent amongst their ranks. In addition to Pence, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, Michael Steele and Jeb Bush and a slew of female entrepreneurs are poised to join (future NY Governor) Rudy Giuliani, Sen. McCain and Sarah Palin as stars within the party. These people should talk to every political reporter on Earth for the next two years. Outside of The One, the Democrats have mediocrities like Evan Bayh, Mark “you’re speech suuuuuuucked” Warner, and Jake Oken-Berg.

8. Do stuff. This is a novel concept, but I think Congressional Republicans should actually take a crack at legislating. You know, that whole “performing the job function” thing. Introduce legislation to reform Social Security, draft a counter-proposal to Obama’s tax plan, and craft a health care bill. The Democrats won’t compromise (I wouldn’t if I were them), and the bills won’t make it out of committee, but the public doesn’t know that. Competing bills are a great way to draw distinctions early and often.

8a. That I even feel compelled to offer the above as advice is a good sign that the GOP is in disarray.

9. Keep Obama’s promises. Barack Obama ran as a right center populist who promises to reduce spending and cut taxes. Yeah, right. When Obama tries to pretend that it was never his idea to make a pledge to cut taxes for 95% of Americans, Republicans should introduce a bill designed to do just that. While Obama is playing Santa Claus for the left, the right should be exposing what an utter fraud his campaign was. This was VERY effective against Bill Clinton, and will be again.

10. Play the judge card. Judges were a winning issue for Republicans in 2005, in part because Joe Biden looked like an ass, and in part because people liked Roberts and Alito. Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens are going to retire sometime shortly after January 21. In their place, Obama is going to pick leftists. Republicans should not filibuster, but they should use the issue (as Dems did in ’05) to shore up support among the base. Each of these judges will have let a pedophile off the hook. I guarantee it. Show America the kind of men Barack Obama wants on the court.

Minnesota wrap-up

With results coming in, the Senate race is too close to call. (UDPATE: Recount. Now lawyers get to pick our next Senator)

It appears that Michelle Bachmann has held her seat, and that Erik Paulsen has defeated Ashwin Media to hold the seat vacated by Jim Ramstad. Alas, Jew-hating lowlife Keith Ellison gets to keep doing what he's doing.

Incumbent judges won down the ticket in my district. Memo to the Lake Calhoun latte sippers: When you're sitting in your living room munching on a ball gag, watching some fervent Obama supporters commit their 15th and 16th felonies on your wife (or mistress, or significant other...), don't complain to me.

Alas, Minnesota has passed the "Everything is Happiness" amendment, requiring us to pay more money for everything in an effort to spend more money on everything. To reward Minnesotans for their new sales tax, my wife and I will be making our Christmas purchases in South Dakota this year. As if my wife's hometown of Aberdeen weren't growing enough already.

Speaking of which, our city passed the "support our failed schools" referendum, which means that my wife and I will be paying $200 more per year so that Minneapolis schools can buy more flat-screen TVs for it's illiterate student body. All the more incentive to leave our home (and the school district) to the rats. Foreclosure was never a more affordable decision. Who would want to raise kids in this city?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Whither Sarah Palin?

I say this as a person who advised against the selection of Sarah Palin on this very blog, but I like the woman. Not in the condescending way I like Michelle Bachmann, but in a way that I would like to see her move forward within the party.

Obviously, Sarah Palin will not be Vice President in 2009. But what do Republicans do with such an incendiary and divisive talent. Since I know the Palin family reads this blog, I would like to offer a vision for how she should proceed. Here are my proposed steps.

1) Brush up. Voters, particularly moderate voters, are going to be stunned by the weird ideas drummed up by the Obama-Reid-Pelosi trifecta. Palin needs to be in a position to take the airwaves and speak intelligently about why those ideas are terrible for America. To accomplish this, she'll need to establish herself as a thinker.

2) She should take a leadership role in fighting the Fairness Doctrine. Palin has been a victim of vicious media attacks, and congressional Democrats plan to force media outlets to adhere to governmental standards of fairness. In the liberal world, the NYT and AP are fair, and Fox News is not. This idea won't be popular, and Palin would be the ideal counterpoint to liberal excess here.

3) She should run Alaska in a brutally conservative manner. No compromise, no potential scandals, no gifts to anyone. The next Republican power needs to be a conservative voice. The party-line folks had their ass handed to them in this election, and rightly so.

4) She needs to play up her "aw shucks" working-class credentials. Obama has won this election on the strength of old money trust-fund babies, and their teet-suckling adherents. The prototypical Obama supporter is a 27-year-old intern who is using the non-profit that pays him $20,000 per year to put him through law school, with the promise of a cushy, six-figure VP spot once he garduates. Americans hate the hell out of those people. Sarah Palin is not those people.

5) Don't be Dan Quayle. Don't worry about "Two and a Half Men". Don't stand up against the inevitable move to allow homosexuals in the military, or in favor of some obscure county law regarding parental notification. Big fish fry big fish. Stick to the major issues. By all means, weigh in on judges, card check, taxes. Don't let a media, which will be DESPERATE for pro-Obama stories, use you as a whipping girl.

6) Don't do a reality series. It might be tempting. But, seriously, please don't.

If you follow this advice, we could be looking at a Huckabee-Palin ticket in 2012. And, if you play it right, nobody will be discussing the relevance of rural counties in Indiana. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

To Minnesota

At this time, perhaps the highest profile race that remains in doubt is that of Norm Coleman vs. Al Franken.

Additionally, Michelle Bachmann is holding a lead over her challenger, Jiminy Twinkletits, or whatever his name is. Honestly, he might not even be a real person; he materialized after Bachmann questioned whether members of Congress are pro-America. McCarthyite overtones aside, there are plenty of members of Congress who don't give a damn about America, and it isn't shameful to bring it up.

Things being how they are, she faces a close race. For all the criticisms of the lady, she is rather obviously sincere, and seems like the very type of woman who would die to protect you from a McCarthyite before she assented to a governmental tyranny. Save your rancor for Keith Ellison.


Ohio for Obama. Election for Obama.

To the Dems who read this, congratulations. In some respects, you made a smart calculation. This was a year in which Democrats were almost assured victory. Obama supporters wisely supported an ideological torch-bearer over a lifetime politician in Hillary Clinton. I chided the decision, noting that Clinton would have won in a landslide.

The left-wing took a risk, and instead of picking the guaranteed victor, they elected their horse.

Well, he's not my horse. The Democrats have their George W. Bush (and then some). As a blogger, I'll have fun either way, so long as Obama tolerates free speech, and for some time after that.

To Senator McCain, thank you. You are a tremendous man. The dominoes fell against your presidency, and you still came damn close to attaining it. People are alive because of you. May you be remembered as the William Seward of your generation, but with more acclaim.

To Barack Obama, good luck, you brilliant, brilliant man. Please don't get me killed.

Brit Hume

Is going Dan Rather on this situation. His main point of contention is that his correspondents are leaving him stranded into the commercial break. He is lecturing his audience on the concept of vamping. Also, Fox News is accidentally calling Ohio for Obama, which seems impossible, but eerie.

I'll take the time to note that David Axelrod is taking victory laps, congratulating (essentially) himself on having run a great campaign. Has this been a great campaign? Barack Obama is an attractive black man, with a minimal record to have to defend in traditional red states. And yet this is certainly no landslide.

Why is a state like Ohio a mystery? Why hasn't he take Virginia by storm? Gains in Indiana are understandable, given that there were plenty of votes to plunder in trashbin cities like Gary, which were obviously going to go for Obama.

But do can liberals conclude, at this point, that anyone is interested in their ideas? Reigning in Wall Street is as popular as ever, but Obama has still been forced to run as a tax-cutter. If this were the sort of victory that liberal ideologues could build upon, shouldn't we see some support for liberal ideas?

But yeah, Brit Hume. Going nuts.

The Pennsylvania Call

Nobody on the right likes it. I mean, of course they don't like it. But the actual numbers don't seem to back it up.

Now, McCain won't win it. But he doesn't need to. The fact that the early call doesn't gel with the numbers means that it might be closer than you might expect. Until I see a margin, or some evidence that Obama is catching up in Virginia, I'm not calling it a night.

Also, feel free to hit the comments section. That's what it its there fore.

The Filibuster is Alive

Mitch McConnell has won his race in Kentucky, which means a veritable end to the idea of a filibuster-proof majority. The Democrats would need to win the Chambliss and Coleman seats, which seem extremely unlikely at this point.

What this means is that card check and government broadcast are far less likely to see the light of day, or at least to be enacted into law.

Of course, losing the Dole seat in NC so early is no good. But Liddy Dole has never been an effective campaigner. NC Senate was a consolation prize, but it appears that she wasn't able to maintain that.

With Stevens and Chafee going down in successive elections, maybe it is time for the GOP to learn to support conservatives. This idea that moderates are going to hold seats has been proven preposterous.

Cat, votes remain

Smartycat has called the election for Barack Obama. Cat, there are still votes yet to be counted. McCain maintains a lead in Indiana. We would have to call that for Obama to know where we are at.

Your speculation is unwarranted, and also I think it's weird that you always sniff my food, but go on to express no interest in eating it.

Early numbers

No count on Virginia, as anyone who cares to know already knows. Florida is looking good, but is it time to put that state back in with the Kentuckys of the world? Gore was able to make it a nail-biter by hitting hard on the Social Security issue. Between Jews and Cubans, there is no reason the man from Kenya should win that state.

But this presents an interesting paradigm. Obama still seems comfortably (though not incontrovertibly) ahead, not unlike GWB in 2004. Now, 2004 was no landslide. Should Obama win, he'll be on a short leash.

In addition to the other facts and figures you might care to look at, consider whether Obama can garner more than 51% of the vote. If he cannot, then we may be looking at 2010 as a foregone conclusion for the Republicans.

Of course, Democrats assumed the same thing about Bush. And then 9/11 happened, and Bush became very difficult to beat. Would a 9/11 have a similar effect, or is he a transitional president?

The numbers tonight will help answer that question.

Exit polls

With thirty minutes until we get any official numbers, apparently the exit polls on the East Coast are about dead even across the board.

Now, these are not the early exit polls, a la the 2004 polls that had Kerry leading by 20 in Pennsylvania, but it does give a hint that, for all the hubbub about Obama's gains, we still have a very divided electorate.

It is weird to watch commentators on the cable news networks, who have full access to the polling data, pretend they do not know what is going on.

CNN is trickling some early vote totals. I'm not sure the point. Why not wait?

Best early vote total results.

In the NH Senate race, Shaheen lead Sununu by a count of 26-21.


And I have the sticker to prove it. No long lines, of course. Such are the benefits of living in a neighborhood of losers. That said, anecdotally, it would seem that ACORN has done their job. Lotsa meth mouth.

School Board

In my recommendations for the Minneapolis ballot, I neglected to endorse Soil and Water Conservation and School Board candidates. I stand by my non-endorsemen in the S&W races. It doesn't matter. It's a position where bureaucrats learn to be better bureaucrats. Who cares?

That said, I do endorse Kari Reed for Minneapolis School Board. A homeschooler of five, she is the only one who understands why educated people are steering their kids away from an abysmal system. You have the option to vote for three candidates, but you are permitted to vote for one.

The remainder of the candidates are union shills. Kari is the only one who deserves your vote.

Black Panthers on Patrol

Fox News has footage of a run-in between a reporter and the Black Panthers, who have dispersed 300 members to intimidate voters at the polls. The Black Panthers, obviously, have strong ties to the Obama camp, given his religious background.

Could you imagine a run in with the KKK and a reporter? You wouldn't be hearing about anything else, I'll tell you that much.

If I happen to run into a Black Panther enforcer at my polling station, suffice to say, you'll hear about it here first.

McCain to 270

There is no question as to whether Obama is favored to win the election tonight. He is, which I have so much beer in my basement right now.

So what are we looking for tonight? What does it take for McCain to win?

First, he has to win every tossup. According to RealClearPolitics Battleground Map, the tossups are as follows

Florida (27 EV)
Georgia (15 EV)
North Carolina (15 EV)
Virginia (13 EV)
Ohio (20 EV)
Indiana (11 EV)
Missouri (11 EV)
North Dakota (3 EV)
Montana (3 EV)
Arizona (10 EV)

This combination of states would give him 260 electoral votes, with 269 needed to tie.

The state to watch, mathematically speaking, is Virginia. The polls close earliest here, and it sits in the center of the polling data. If McCain wins Va., it's a pretty good bet he rolls through the remainder of these states, save Ohio(sound familiar?). There is no realistic scenario in which Obama loses Virginia, but picks up North Dakota. In other words, we'll know if it's going to be a long night by about 9p CST.

About the Dakotas. The polling has these traditionally (blood) red states as tight races. This doesn't make sense, historically or anecdotally. My mother-in-law, a died-in-the-wool union family Democrat, voted on Saturday. She left the presidential column blank. She doesn't trust Obama, and why should she? There is nothing in Obama's character or profile that should win the trust of a Dakota voter.

If my theory is correct, and McCain wins these states by comfortable margins, what does that say about the polls in the following states, which, at present, lean toward Obama?

Colorado (EV - 9)
Nevada (EV - 5)
New Mexico (EV - 5)
Minnesota (EV - 10)
Pennsylvania (EV - 21)

Well, if McCain picks up Pennsylvania, shows over, and the Obamabots can go ahead and move to Canada (pretty please?). But states like PA and MI could be early bellwethers as to the accuracy of the polls. If McCain picks up VA, and loses by 5-6 points in those states, New Mexico and Nevada are going to become very interesting.

And so, for McCain supporters wondering when to go to bed, here's what you need to stay up late.

Virginia (McCain +2 or better)
Pennsylvania (Obama +5 or less)
Michigan (Obama +7 or less)

And if Obama picks up West Virginia, take a dozen sleeping pills and hibernate until June, when America finally realizes what the hell they've done.

Madelyn Dunham - RIP

Barack Obama's grandmother died yesterday at her home in Honolulu. Madelyn Dunham succumbed to injuries sustained in a bus accident on March 18, 2008.

At one point on this blog, I speculated that Obama's grandmother's death would be his October surprise. Only the Chicago political machine, eh?

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Cat, your politics are unwarranted

By now, many of you have read Smartycat's very public endorsement of Barack Obama. While his represents perhaps the most sophisticated case I have seen for the Senator from Illinois, I cannot understand his reasoning.

First of all, as a self-described moderate, I would be curious to understand how Smartycat can reconcile Obama's voting record to his own policy preferences. I honestly can't help wonder whether the cat is following the trend, as 77% of cats have pledged to support Barack Obama.


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The polls open!

If you've been following the news, you know we have an election today. Unfortunately, record turnout will strain our polling precincts, as millions of black voters will be forced to wait in lines, unlikely to be able to vote at all. This is the biggest story ever.

Let's turn on CNN to watch the disenfrachisement unfold.

Oh, wait, it's just correspondents standing awkwardly in the middle of sparsely populated gymnasiums in Ohio and Florida. Just like it was in 2006... And 2004... And 2002... And 2000...

Well, one reporter did find a polling place in Virginia with a line. Turns out the polling chief failed to report on time with the equipment. The polling chief's name? DeFrancesco Blaques.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Pre-election meanderings

With the election about to get underway, I want you to know that TPWK is your resource for obsessively checking on election commentary. Seriously, you can watch Candy Crowley pontificate on numbers that do not exist for 11 hours, or you can hit me up.

Also joining my on this pseudo-live-Blogging excursion will be the cat. Be sure to check the Smartycat blog throughout the day for realtime musings from everyone's favorite implausible animal. I thought I'd get things started with a pre-election back and forth. Without any further adieu, I welcome the cat.

Cat: Thanks for having me on your blog.

TPWK: No problem. I should get started by saying I am having trouble concentrating, with the announced trade of Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson.

Cat: How fitting that we should kickoff our election coverage by discussion the relative merits of a trade executed by two non-local basketball teams.

TPWK: Too parochial?

Cat: If your blog had a tagline, it would be "Bifurcated Parochialism".

TPWK: Isn't that an oxymoron?

Cat: Cripes, man, I'm a cat.

TPWK: Fair enough, who do you think emerges the victor, tonight?

Cat: Well, with dramatic voter turnout, the clear winner is American Democracy.

TPWK: Do you really believe that?

Cat: Of course not. Obama wins.

TPWK: Trite sentiment is not your wheelhouse.

Cat: You want a real man? Vote !@#$ing McCain.

TPWK: You are mocking me, viz. a previously ecstatic post re: McCain

Cat: I mock the dog, viz. he ate two squirrels last night. You, I tolerate.

TPWK: Are we using "viz." correctly?

Cat: Does anyone?

TPWK: Moving on to less predicatable Minnesota races, Norm Coleman...

Cat: Al Franken writes rape jokes, or so I have come to understand.

TPWK: Yes, his previous writings have indicated...

Cat: For cats, there is no, per se, delineation between rape and normal intercourse.

TPWK: ...

Cat: Does this idea scare you?

TPWK: I can't even begin to answer that question.

Cat: And so I cannot answer your question. That said, I'll be opposing Keith Ellison. He seems the sort of fellow who sets fire to cats.

TPWK: Agreed.

Cat: Not so fond of Jews, either.

TPWK: No, not "per se".

Cat: I see what you did there, with the quotes. By the way, do you know what the dog is doing? He is rubbing his face against the recliner becuase it smells like our owner.

TPWK: Dogs are given to loyalty. That's Stalin.

Cat: No it isn't. The dog is ridiculous, in this state, heaving his jaw against the arm chair of the recliner, as though nuzzling a secret lover. Stalin would have no words.

TPWK: Well, that's all the time we have on TPWK. I'd like to thank the cat for stopping by.

Cat: I'm at my keyboard. Why the pretense? You just...

TPWK: Stay tuned throughout the day for our hard-hitting election coverage.

The terrorists have won

Alas, though she held strong for two weeks, the only McCain/Palin sign in North Minneapolis succombed to thieving Obamabot thugs. Maybe it did some good, and one of my neighbors was able to sell it to ACORN in exchange for crack.

Liberty may weep, but I am undeterred. I have crafted a sign that is even better than the one before it. The McCain Palin ticket takes its rightful place in my yard once again!!!

But wait! There's more.

With the miracle of two-dimensional technology, I am able to simultaneously endorse Norm Coleman on the same sign!!!

We rise again!!!!

Well, until Hopeface gets elected and forbids white people to rise.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

McLaren concludes

In the fifth and final installment of his “why Obama is the Jesusness” series, pseudo-Christian putz Brian McLaren finally treats us to his pro-life case for Obama. It is one of the most egregiously dishonest strawman flayings I have seen since, well, his last installment. You know the drill. Excerpts, comments, all that jazz…

Some of my friends and relatives have been reading my reasons for voting for Barack Obama, but the issue of abortion is a major roadblock for them.

Here we meet McLaren's friends and relatives who, while persuaded by McLaren's extraordinary reasoning prior, are too myopic and obtuse to let go of the silly little abortion question.

Again and again over the last 30 years, Republican presidents and other politicians have used the issue of abortion to get elected and raise funds, but then, once in office, they have said little about abortion and done even less.

And Brian McLaren LOVES it when conservative politicians talk about abortion.

Some say that their silence doesn’t matter, because the only way abortion can be reduced is by electing presidents who will appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe vs. Wade.

No, the argument is that forcing the issue is moot in light of Roe v. Wade. Further, principled conservatives argue for a strict interpretation of the constitution, without which we all have something to worry about. But all those factors make it hard to demagogue the issue, so McLaren frames the argument thusly:

First, even if McCain were to win the election and appoint Supreme Court justices who would in fact overturn Roe vs. Wade, this move will not outlaw abortion, contrary to what many believe.

While McLaren's obtuse and myopic friends and relatives may not understand that overturning Roe v. Wade will not outlaw abortion, most conservatives understand this fact quite well.

It will only return the decision to the states, which raises this question: how many states lean toward criminalization? The answer: only sixteen states have at least 45% support for criminalizing abortion.

Even if I were to cede this argument, it does not refute my position, which is that reversing Roe v. Wade is the correct first step to eradicating abortion.

What would the impact of criminalization be in these sixteen states? Only ten percent of abortions occur in these states,

Over the course of ten years, this would result in more than one-million lives saved. But what’s a million people here or there? I mean, it’s not like they’re Iraqi civilians or anything.

and women desiring abortions would still be able to travel easily to a nearby state for an abortion.

Nobody desires an abortion, Brian. It just sorta happens to poor women, like mumps. That said, a court overturning Roe v. Wade would recognize the rights of the federal government to enforce laws against cross-state abortion traffic. If anything, this logic is affirmed by the Raich decision.

Would sincere and intelligent Evangelical and Catholic Christians

A group from which McLaren ironically distances himself with this statement.

How would they respond to the knowledge that we could likely achieve

Since when do “likely achievements” count as knowledge? A generous orthodoxy indeed.

more than a ten percent reduction in abortions by providing increased economic assistance and social support for pregnant women who are poor, since women in poverty have abortions at four times the rate of higher-income women?

McLaren here presents two facts. The first he just pulls out of his ass. The second is disingenuous. The "higher incomes" to which Brian refers are three times the poverty threshold. Women who make this salary are either old or married, and so their disinclination to have abortions is easily explained.

For example, Western European nations, where abortion is legal and available, have the lowest abortion rates in the free world, with less than 10 abortions per 1000 women of reproductive age.

McLaren is incorrect, simply regurgitating facts fed to him by Planned Parenthood. England has a comparable abortion rate to the United States. France's rate somewhat lower, but abortion is essentially illegal after ten weeks. Abortion is illegal in Ireland.

When I share these facts and reflections with my friends… Many begin to wonder if we Christians have been manipulated by clever but cynical political operatives who have used the issue of abortion to win elections.

McLaren constructs an entire argument by attributing assertions to his nebulous cadre of unbright friends. But yes, when you snow your friends with false data, that can be a game-changer.

Some anti-abortion voters have told me that they agree with me in this diagnosis, but they feel their vote for McCain is a symbolic protest against the generally low moral conditions in our society.

It must be convenient to surround one's self with people who only make the weakest possible arguments in opposition to your cause.

In this election, voters have in Barack Obama and Joe Biden faithful husbands and dedicated fathers...

McLaren is being cute, alluding to John McCain’s affair without having to come right out and name the sin, which is a bad idea if you are a Christian Democrat who supported Bill Clinton.

In my book Everything Must Change…

I think the only reason emergents pretend to be Christians is so they can hock their crappy books. That said, why does McLaren think it bolsters his argument to note that he made a similar argument in a book?

It is one expression of what I call the "covert curriculum" - a "framing story" that also fuels the current economic crisis, environmental crisis, and security crisis that together threaten our future.

So your book finds a way to present the mundane in terms that are aloof and opaque. Good to know.

Until we unite to acknowledge and address that deeper disease and dysfunction, thus dealing with our symptoms in a systemic way, we will stay stuck in polarized paralysis, fighting divisive and ineffective culture wars while our moral health continues to deteriorate.

Or instead of all this bed-wetting nonsense, we could just vote Republican and make abortion illegal. It takes two to tango w/r/t divisiveness, doesn’t it? McLaren’s argument boils down to instructing pro-life voters to vote for a pro-choice party because that party is pro-choice. Talk about a covert curriculum.

During this election, more and more of us who consider life sacred are losing confidence in the simplistic one-or-two issue voting habits that some vocal religious leaders and broadcasters have urged upon us for decades.

Ah, conservative are back to being single-issue types.

We are beginning to see through the unhelpfully-framed arguments
Emergent to English Dictionary:
Unhelpfully-framed argument = Argument with which B-Mac disagrees.

But in regards to abortion along with many other issues, we are convinced – firmly, thoughtfully, and enthusiastically convinced – that casting our vote for Obama is a step in the right direction,
Nonsense. Contrary to the position of McLaren’s imaginary friends, the argument against legal abortion is simple, and it is thus:

Abortion is murder, because killing a human being is murder. Murder cannot be legal, per the Constitution.

The case for McCain is that he essentially agrees with the above.

McLaren’s verbal contortions (and I'm being being generous) only obfuscate the issue. Which, of course, is the point. McLaren is fond of referencing the OT prophets (without ever directly quoting them, of course). No reading of Jeremiah could persuade any reasonable person God is cool with the legalized slaughter of infants.

That said, over the last several weeks, Brian McLaren and the Emergent political movement has made their case for Christians to vote for Barack Obama. That their arguments are found so wanting is instructive.