Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Good and Bad About Specter the Defecter

The news this week is swollen with commentary about the defection of longtime Republican Senator Arlen Specter to the enemy camp. The right wing talking heads have dubbed him 'Benedict Arlen' and wish him nothing but the worst of luck in his new endeavors. The left wing commentators are gloating almost more than when their candidate took the white house (and I dare say perhaps they were looking for something else to gloat about these days). I wonder though if this switch which would have been hard not to predict, is really such a big deal for anyone and if so what it might actually mean.

Let's face it Specter has never been a very good Republican by anyone's standards. The left hasn't ever been particularly fond of him, even though he votes with them far more often than the right would like. The right can't stand him since he is an outspoken pro-choicer and clearly loves government spending. The truth is he follows the wind and polling data in his state and has no real set of values. His own representatives have been all over the news this week spelling out the fact that he left, not due to some ideological schism (though one could easily show that there is one) but simply because he had no viable means of being re-elected if he ran again as a Republican. The right wing of the Republican party responded to his support of the bloated stimulus package by supporting a more conservative candidate (with this kind of friends...) Now Specter faces a strong challenger from the right in Pat Toomey and may not garner the support he thinks he'll have from the left in his state. It's almost assured that his party shift came with a handshake deal from the DCCC that they would not field a primary candidate against him, but that doesn't make him a 'good Democrat' to Pennsylvania voters.

One thing that becomes painfully clear with this shift is that the differences between the statist Republican party and the statist Democratic party are significantly fewer than their similarities. If a 28 year veteran of one party can't fins something more suitable between them then I wonder if there is any reasonable difference at all.

For my money I don't see this hurting the Republican party at all. For starters he already voted against them any time it mattered. Secondly he's not likely to vote differently as a Democrat so on the floor of the senate all it does is shift more leadership into the hands of someone who is arguably less liberal than other Democrats might be. Also as a bonus to the R's the next Senate election in Penn. will be a race between a 'good' Republican and the shitty Republican they used to have which blocks out the possibility of an even more left wing whacko Democrat that might very well have had a chance against Pat Toomey fresh from a hard fought primary. Now Toomey can begin campaigning immediatley against a weakened and despised Specter. Specter as a Republican took the senate seat in 2004 with an 11% lead over the Democrat opponent and while many people may have shifted party loyalty and some may go with Specter it still amounts to a large margin for Toomey to hold. Especially when you consider how many fewer Democrats can bring themselves to the polls for a man they have hated for years. Also of note I highly doubt with all the vitriol on the right it will be remotely difficult for Toomey to raise a campaign war chest.

For those of us who prefer Liberty to the State this doesn't mean very much at all. Specter was no friend of ours to begin with and frankly Toomey isn't much better. The amount to which this emboldens the big government left may hurt a little but at this point it would be difficult to find that nugget in the massive pile of insult we are already enduring. It may stand to help fund raising efforts for us as it's one more name to add to the list of people who prove that both major parties favor vast government expansion as much or more than we have been saying all along.

So across the board (as with most political upheaval in Washington) it may very well amount to equal parts benefit and deficit for all parties involved. Perhaps there's some advantage for the left in that they can claim a strong victory over a longtime Republican but the cost is the loss of an opportunity for what very well could have been a much more favorable (to them) candidate taking the Senate seat in 2010. And I can assure this wont save them any money in that race.

What Value Does an Obama Promise Hold?

Calvin Woodward in an article for the AP talks about more of Pres. Obama's myths and broken promises.

Obama Less Popular at 100 Days than Jimmy Carter


Friday, April 24, 2009

My Old Boss

I won't try and dirty his reputation by saying he's responsible for any of my behavior. Nor will I dirty mine, based on some votes of his I don't agree with. I under-voted his assured win in the last election as a protest to his initial bailout vote (he has since been more prudent). But this is my guy today. Well done with Al.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I've Said it Before


Fat people cause global warming

Of course no one would ever try to regulate what people eat... Oh yeah they already do.

Green... It's the new Red

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Invisible Hook

My old room mate discussing his new book and the economics of self regulation with Nick Gillespie over at


I've discussed the idea of a secession movement at some length with friends and family and I'm not sure I took the idea seriously even while I was entertaining it. I have for a while now thought that moves towards secession might be a good way to illustrate the frustration that people have with both the course of our governance and the widening chasm between people who see themselves as Liberals and Conservatives in this country. It's a difficult thing to maintain unity in a country that both encourages the freedom of one's political ideas but is also mired in a virulent partisan divisions. I believe that there are still significantly common ideas and ideologies in this country to support all of us together but there are solid reasons to believe that an environment of forced division and competing extremist political movements may not. This is one of the reasons that I am such an advocate for liberty and for the liberty movement. The initial premise is, unlike other systems, devoted to the idea that each of us can and should choose the way in which we live our lives and the political theories we wish to adopt.

The fact that Texas is talking about secession is really not a huge surprise to me. They have threatened this repeatedly throughout our history as a nation. Perhaps it is important to note that the only time they have actually voted and declared secession was in 1861. I'm not sure if there are significant numbers in the Texas political architecture that actually intend to follow through with it but I wouldn't bet my paycheck against it.

What I see as the positives of Texas secession: for starters there is the immediate disconnection with the federal tax system and the ballooning national debt. That's significant, it's basically like you or I declaring bankruptcy without the credit problems. Second of course would be the hardest blow in favor of states rights since... well since 1861, and as a bonus there isn't an overreaching moral issue like slavery on which their opposition can hang a long and violent war. As such this might be the gambit that the state's rights movement has been waiting for. I doubt it about as much as I doubt the seriousness of the secession in the first place. Even as a simple act of protest this is a strong move for state's rights. One of the things they teach you in negotiation seminars is that you don't need to achieve your primary goal, you simply need to set a primary goal that makes meeting your actual needs seem attractive. A giant step forward in the quiet fight between the federalists and the state's rights crowd would be a very nice prize for remaining a state.

There are negatives in secession as well and not every state can do it easily. For Texas the large quantity of seaports, oil rigs and refineries makes for a pretty safe bet on a post secession small nation success. Landlocked states without significant commodities might suffer from what would assuredly be a bitter relationship with the remaining country. Many nations know that being on the outs with the United States Government isn't a great place to be.

So we shall see what comes from this and I'm not certain it will be much but the only real negatives I see are the ones that come with the independence of actually winning a secession fight. The other thing they teach you is that the key to any good negotiation is walk-away-power. And Texas is telling the world right now that they have tons of it.

Or maybe Rick Perry just announced his run for the White House.

Maddow is a Child

I'm all for dick and ass jokes. People that know me know that I can hardly resist the opportunity to insult someones mother or make a crude gesture with any found phallic object. That being said I have to wonder if Rachel Maddow thinks herself the new Walter Cronkite with this little gem.

CNN and MSNBC are all over the "tea bag" jokes this week and while I'm sure they think they are clever, I can't imagine how they expect to be taken seriously as journalists. I'm all for humor but can we really combine news coverage of economic crisis and jokes about balls without maybe losing some credibility. Which calls into question how much credibility these idiots had in the first place.

My advice: let Jon Stewart handle the jokes about dick and balls and maybe we can convince him to leave the shoddy journalism to the likes of Maddow and her ilk. Probably not though.

Bonus: if you don't know what 'tea bagging' is... You have to look it up, I'm not going to describe it for you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Phil Spector Convicted of Second Most Heinous Crime

Music industry mogul Phil Spector was convicted finally this week for second-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a crime. Spector shot actress and night club hostess Lana Clarkson in February of 2003. This was of course a heinous and unforgivable crime. Spector was of course no angel before this however and I think it goes without saying that he should be put to death for his worst crime which is turning


into this:

"Wall of sound"? How about wall of crap I didn't need to hear.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

RIP Marilyn Chambers

In the fight for liberty there are pioneers that must be remembered for their efforts. Their are people who, intentionally or not, further the cause of freedom. This week we have lost one such hero. Pioneering adult film actress Marilyn Chambers brought us the first mainstream adult feature film. Classics like "Behind the Green Door" and "Deep Throat" paved the way for the sweet story of prosperity and innovation that is the porn industry, both here and abroad. People often overlook the important role that smut plays in society and the economy. The porn industry accounts for between two and twelve billion dollars of income annually, depending on who you ask (and how honestly they answer the question). Porn is routinely on the cutting edge of technological development in many areas of media, from the proliferation of targeted magazines promoted by Playboy and Hustler, to the development of VHS, to the rise of the internet itself. We must remember that the basest of human desires are often the strongest influences on development and entrepreneurship. Encroachment on the liberty to pursue ones base desires (so long as they cause no direct harm) is encroachment on the kind of development and business spirit we need throughout the economy. Bravo to Marilyn Chambers for her innovative work in the industry and her contributions to freedom in America and around the world. RIP Ms. Chambers you will be missed.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Motorhome Diaries

I know I have been conspicuously absent in the past week or so. As some of you may know this blog does not pay my rent so I have been out busting my ass on several different jobs of late. I promise more in depth blogging is around the corner. I certainly have a lot to examine. There's the failing nature of the Obama foreign policy (or lack of one), there's the constant attempts to turn tragedy into justification for enslaving the masses and of course there is the utter failure of the administration to simply operate and staff it's offices. So more to come I assure you.

In the mean time, check out what Jason Talley, Tom Pearson, and Pete Eyre formerly of Bureaucrash, currently of Fr33agents, and most specifically Motorhome Diaries are doing. They are embarking on a grand adventure to tour the country in a motor home visiting with people who share the cause of liberty.

Hope to see you guys when you get out to Los Angeles at the end of April.