Why the Tea Party exists

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Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit blogging...

...and Tweeting and Facebook.

But I quit smoking about 200 times before I succeeded so I'm not one to let past failures to quit stop me from trying again.

So why quit?  Well, I have a day job -- minimum 5 days a week, minimum 8 hours a day.  And unlike the people I chat with on Twitter, my day job is not to get paid to talk about politics.  My employer definitely would not endorse any of  my views and now would be a good time to state that my views are my views alone and do not represent the views of my employer.

When I started blogging, I was childless and had only myself to support.  Today, I'm married and have a family to support, including a 5 month old daughter.  My family should and usually does mean a lot more to me than my attachment to politics.  On Sunday, the priest at the local cathedral gave a good homily on attachment to worldly things.  He was speaking largely of material wealth, but the point is still valid for my obsession with all things political.  I really appreciated the priest's cute little joke about the Buddhist vacuum cleaner... you know, since Buddhists detest attachment so much their vacuum cleaners don't come with any attachments.

My daughter means more to me than any "attachment" in this world every could.  She doesn't know the first thing about Twitter or blogging.  She even smiled at me when I returned to the dugout after another lousy softball at bat.  Her only worldly attachment right now is well, her parents.  Today, it almost feels like my baby girl has more to teach me about not being attached to worldly things than I have to teach her about the world.

The legal disclaimer for this blog contains a quote from one of my favorite movies, A Time To Kill.
"You see, in all this legal maneuvering something has gotten lost, and that something is the truth."

"Now, it is incumbent upon us lawyers not to just talk about the truth, but to actually seek it, to find it, to live it."
The truth is, my heart isn't into politics anymore.  But now that I have a daughter, I'm far more motivated by something else from the movie A Time To Kill.  The reason that movie was so powerful is that Grisham captured perfectly in Carl Lee Hailey a father's role as protector of his family -- especially his daughter(s).  I also love the movie Gran Torino for similar reasons -- though Clint Eastwood ends up protecting the family next door because they show more loyalty and love to him than his actual children do.  But it's a universal yearning all fathers of all races, creeds and nationalities have -- to protect their families.

Grisham's genius was to portray a black man in the South in the role of protector, protecting his family against the white thugs that raped his daughter and then trying in vain to protect them from a trial by a mostly white jury.  Gran Torino turned the protector's role on its head and instead of making the protector an empathetic character like Carl Lee Hailey chose a not so empathetic bitter old white blue collar man known for making crude, distasteful and some would surely say racist remarks.  Gran Torino took a much different and much more difficult and unexpected road to arrive at the same place -- the father who would do whatever was necessary to defend his family (or adopted family) including sacrificing his own life if necessary.

And that's the road I'm on and I frankly don't see my personal Tweets or blog posts about politics adding any value to my family today.  I hope I'm never faced with the ugly violent threats to my family that the main characters in Gran Torino or A Time To Kill were forced to defend their families from, but I hope I won't hesitate to do what is necessary and right in order to protect them. 

With that, I leave you with this powerful closing argument:

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Twitter: All the news you need

I spent all morning "refudiating" attacks against Sarah Palin for going rogue (Shakespeare-style!) with the English language.  Too much fun!

If you're not following me on Twitter, you're really missing out.

Seriously, though, I tweet a lot more than I blog so please check me out at http://www.twitter.com/ikeonic

And for the record, I like very little about Sarah Palin, which a quick search of my blog posts would verify in a heartbeat.  But I dislike pointless attacks on people's misuse of the English language.. especially misspellings on Twitter.  I can find 1000 better reasons to dislike or ridicule Sarah Palin.  Picking on her for what is likely completely unintentional misuse or misspelling of a word is silly, childish and downright mean.

Not to mention, every time we talk about Sarah Palin we give her exactly what she craves most:  more attention.  She's a rogue former governor who spends most of her time fundraising and pimping her books.  She needs more attention to sell more books and raise more money.

Though as much as Michael Steele pimps himself I'm starting to think Palin may be a relative genius.  Hey, at least no one is calling for Palin to resign from her post as rogue ex-governor.  Could we get her to switch jobs with Steele?  Maybe she could raise some cash for the RNC.  Just saying....

Back to Twitter or Back to the Future... same difference!

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Time to "refudiate" Obama's Porkulus claims re: unemployment

Innocent Bystanders.net charts this beautifully.  You see, in the business world, actual results matter.  Not so much with the federal government.

So why is this relevant today?

Because Joey Biden is using an interview with Jake Tapper to spin this inconvenient truth as the GOP's fault.

As Ed Morrissey puts it so well:

Joe Biden offered a flat-out, horse-crap lie to Tapper in this interview. The Obama White House got exactly the amount of stimulus they wanted, and more. The stimulus didn’t fail because Congress didn’t spend enough money. It failed because Barack Obama and Joe Biden have no idea what they’re doing, and they’re proving that much every day they’re in office.
Wrong-o, Joey.  Porkulus failed to produce the results you said it would.  We're $800 million deeper in the hole without a lot to show for it.  That's why we call it...PORK-ulus!

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Team America plays race card on... Al Qaeda?

Oh yes.  Finally something I can back Obama on 110%.  I think this may be one of the most "kick ass" ideas I've heard from an American President in a long time.

From Jake Tapper at ABC:
“...U.S. intelligence has indicated that al Qaeda leadership specifically targets and recruits black Africans to become suicide bombers because they believe that poor economic and social conditions make them more susceptible to recruitment than Arabs,” the [Obama administration] official said. “Al Qaeda recruits have said that al Qaeda is racist against black members from West Africa because they are only used in lower level operations.”

“In short,” the [White House] official said, “al Qaeda is a racist organization that treats black Africans like cannon fodder and does not value human life.”
In short, I like this strategy by the White House.  Coming from Dubya, Muslims and Arabs would just laugh.  Coming from Obama, a charge of racism really stings -- especially when he's accusing of them of being racist towards black Africans.  In a perfect world, race wouldn't matter one bit either way.  I wish we lived in that world.  But we don't and the charge of racism -- whether true or not -- always sounds better and more credible when levied by someone of African descent like Obama.

This is just the kind of winning over of hearts and minds the Obama White House should be engaged in.  Rather than going on a world apology tour, go on the offensive and attack Al Qaeda as not only evil, but racist.  I like it!  This could just work!

Hat tip to Hot Air and be sure to read Allahpundit's analysis here.

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Liberals are half-assed Keynesian hypocrites

Oh, and yes, I'm thinking of you, Paul Krugman.

I'll be blunt.

I have a MBA and a Ph.D. in common sense which makes me at least as qualified as Obama to opine on economic matters.

Simply stated, here's my bone to pick with liberals:

Democrats, particularly liberals like Obama, do not get (or simply choose to ignore) that during boom times, Keynes essentially argued for the inverse of his prescription for recessions. Sure, they pay lip service to paying down the deficit but we all know it's a farce.  The gist of Keynes' argument for countercyclical fiscal policy is that if borrowing and spending are required to provide fiscal stimulus during busts to get the economy moving, then surely saving, paying down debt and reining in government spending would be required during boom times to keep the economy from overheating and imploding -- not to mention paying down all that debt the goverment accumulated! 

To use a real life example, let's say you suddenly lose your job and decide to turn lemons into lemonade by furthering your education.  A true Keynesian would be willing to borrow (student loans) to invest in an education today that will pay dividends for decades (a sound investment with a solid ROI).  A true Keynesian would then happily pay off those student loans and build savings as soon as they got a good paying job.  In other words, use your personal "boom time" to do the inverse of the borrowing and investing you did during your personal "bust".  Then when the next "bust" in your life arrives, you'll be better prepared because you've paid off your debts and built a rainy day fund to weather the storm.  This is how government ought to manage its finances -- it's just common sense.  Making sound, smart investments (not Porkulus!) during lean times and paying down debt and saving during boom times.  But as we all know, this is very rarely this case!

Our government has paid down its debt on very rare occasions in the post Eisenhower era.  The best example: BJ Clinton and a GOP Congress beholden to a "Contract With America".  That's about it.  You want to know why Rick Santelli is screaming mad and there's a Tea Party movement brewing?  That's why.  It's not that people don't think the economy needs government action, it's that people don't trust the government to pay down its bills once the current economic crisis is over.

We the people don't really trust the Democrats or the Republicans to pay down the debt.  We are in a similar mood to 1992, when Americans were so disgusted with both parties that many turned to a funny sounding man from Texas with his charts based on little more than common sense and folksy logic.  Simply put, people were fed up with half-assed hypocritical Keynesians on the left and supply side voodoo economists on the right who say deficits don't matter.  And yes, I've already said plenty about Dubya era hypocrisy on deficits and debt.

So when Krugman says crap like this I can only laugh:
When I was young and naïve, I believed that important people took positions based on careful consideration of the options. Now I know better. Much of what Serious People believe rests on prejudices, not analysis. And these prejudices are subject to fads and fashions.
Yes, Mr. Nobel Prize Winner, anyone who dares to disagree with you must be doing so because of their prejudices.  Only wonkish Keynesians like yourself are capable of serious analysis.  And during the next boom time, I'm sure you'll be hammering your liberal friends for not saving and paying down debt like good Keynesians should.  NOT!  Because we all know that liberals are only Keynesians during recessions and almost never during boom times.

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Dave Weigel: Hero to the Houston Tea Party?

As the whole world knows by know, Dave Weigel was forced to resign from the Washington Post.

Now for... the rest of the story.  Or at least my take on Dave Weigel as I've come to know him.

I didn't know Dave Weigel from a hole in the wall until January 2010. At that time, I was researching and blogging about an idiot named Dale Robertson -- who was caught holding this sign at a Houston Tea Party event.  Dave Weigel broke the story for a wider audience and it was picked up by Chuckles at Little Green Footballs -- a blog I used to follow quite a bit before Mad King Charles decided to turn his blog into a 24/7 discussion on racism and lunacy, but only on the right and only according to Mad King Charles' definitions.

Weigel's original story reported this reaction from the Houston Tea Party Society:
Update: Josh Parker of the Houston Tea Party Society tells me that Robertson was booted out of the event for this sign.
I thought to myself: Wow, now there's a newsworthy nugget that Chuckles seems to find irrelevant in his zeal to tar and feather all Tea Partiers as racists.  Not satisfied (and wishing to prove Chuckles wrong), I began to dig deeper by researching more about the Houston Tea Party Society and even befriending some of their members via Facebook.  I found that not only did they have a long ongoing feud with Mr. Robertson, they were extremely frustrated because no one (other than Dave Weigel and myself) seemed to listen to their pleas that Robertson was persona non grata, not one of them, and someone out for his own fortune and fame.

I blogged about this extensively in January and several times I contacted Chuckles (before he blocked me from his Twitter feed) and Dave Weigel to report more on the Houston Tea Party's position and get their voice heard.  Whereas Chuckles refused to report anything about the Houston Tea Party's rejection of Robertson, Weigel was not only responsive to my tweets, he also issued this update on January 7:

The Houston Tea Party isn’t having it. Their statement on Robertson:

1. He is NOT a member of our Leadership team.
2. He owns a website with which we have never been affiliated.
3. He has never been a part of organizing any of the Tea Party rallies in the Houston area, or any other area that we can find.
4. We addressed some issues involving him back in April. Here it is on our website, where Mr. Robertson himself comments: http://houstontps.org/?p=318
5. We do not choose to associate with people that use his type of disgusting language

The nice treatment of Robertson in The Washington Times, however, demonstrates just how hard it can be to deny someone “leader” status in the Tea Parties.

As a result of this incident, I came to follow and respect Dave Weigel.  He listened to me, was responsive and published the other side of the story.  In fact, here's the tweet I sent to Dave thanking him for reporting the full story.  Even Media Matters reported the Houston Tea Party Society's repudiation of Robertson because Dave Weigel reported on it!  Some folks at Houston TPS were kind enough to give me some praise for blogging on their behalf, but it was really Dave Weigel who got the Houston TPS their due in a way I never could have with my miniscule following.

Weigel's recent interview with the National Review's Dan Foster demonstrates that he does his best to be an unbiased observer, reporter and critic -- calling it as he sees it.  I respect that because that is exactly what I aim to do on this blog -- seeking out the truth, wherever it leads.  I also like that Dave is very snarky, a bad habit I can't shake either.  Having a sense of humor is an awful thing in the humorless world of modern politics.  Unless you're Stewart or Colbert, you can't get away with much anymore.  Few people can take a joke but Dave Weigel loves to give even better than he gets via his Twitter feed.  It's a must follow primarily because Dave is a master of snark.

Don't get me wrong.  Dave's personal political views (which got him in hot water at WaPo) are mystifing and baffling.  I needle Dave quite a bit on Twitter about his insane voting history.  He voted for Nader in 2000 and blames his vote on being a silly 19 year old.  Confession: I would have voted for BJ Clinton over Bush when I was 18 but didn't bother to register in time so I guess I'm little better.  Weigel also says he voted for Ron Paul in the '08 GOP primaries but Obama in the general.  In the interview with Dan Foster, Weigel says "I know I’m not a liberal. On issue after issue I oppose the Democratic coalition."  How do you reconcile that with Weigel's voting for Obama?  It makes my head spin! 

But I still like Dave a great deal despite his insane voting record.  He still commands a great deal of respect from fellow reporters, including a few on the conservative side of the fence like R.S. McCain.  Oddly enough, Chuckles thinks R.S. McCain and I are racists -- yet we both find reasons to like Dave Weigel.  If I've learned anything over the last year, it's that I'd rather have the respect of straight shooters like Weigel and McCain than blithering, ranting loons like Chuckles. 

So keep the snark and the straight shooting reporting coming.  The truth needs to be heard and everybody needs to lighten up and laugh a little more.  This humorless world we live in needs some color and comedy.

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Nikki Haley's SHOCKING interview with Palmetto Patriots

Update 6/23/2010: The Wall Street Journal reports that the interview was conducted by the Palmetto Patriots. The Palmetto Patriots website has the raw video posted here.

Update: Sorenkay provided me with a better copy of the video that hopefully will stay up. Also, should point out that it is strongly suspected, but has not yet confirmed, that the interview was conducted by Sons of Confederate Veterans Palmetto Patriots. When I have confirmation, I'll update this post again. Done!

Well, some might find it SHOCKING. I didn't. See for yourself and read my analysis below.

Big hat tip to sorenkay.

Her thoughts on why Civil War was fought:
"Traditions" vs. "Change" is how she sees it. The South being the ones stubbornly clinging to tradition vs. the North demanding change. Haley tries to be polite and not judge the motives of either side as hateful. Surely, some liberals will seize on this (a la Rand Paul) and assert that Haley just doesn't get it. But I would say that Haley is running for office in South Carolina, where Southern pride is a serious issue and she was trying very hard not to offend her interviewers or SC voters.

Afterwards, her interviewers from the SCV Palmetto Patriots go into a rambling apologist defense of the South's motives for the Civil War. Yawn. Boring.

Haley responds largely by not engaging their apologist, revisionist view of history and just letting them vent. Again, she's clearly being polite and trying not to engage the subject.

At the 4 minute mark, one of the interviewers lays down a threat by claiming that they helped to oust Governor Beasley in retaliation for "fibbing to us". Beasley proposed in the mid 1990s to move the Confederate flag from atop the State House. After laying out a couple more examples of politicians that fibbed and betrayed the SCV Palmetto Patriots, shortly after the 5 minute mark they ask Haley to go on the record as to how she will defend their beloved Confederate battle flag.

At the 6 minute mark, Haley answers by saying the existing compromise (keeping the Confederate flag in its current place on the grounds but not atop the State House) is fine by her and she has no intention of reopening the issue.

She then adroitly changes the conversation to highlight the issues she is fighting for: education, jobs, quality of life. She says she won't allow "us to be distracted by anything that doesn't focus on those three things". Finally, she touts herself as a "minority female".

In summary, Haley acquits herself reasonably well in an interview with one of those "traditional" groups South Carolina politicians have to ass kiss. I'm not a Nikki Haley fan (in case you haven't noticed) but I find no reason to dislike her based on this video. I still think she's a lying, cheating Palinista but I wouldn't "distract" readers from the topic at hand with that discussion. After all, the SCV Palmetto Patriots only care about whether she'll fight for the Confederate battle flag. They couldn't care less about how many GOP political operatives "Darling Nikki" Haley has slept with!

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Jeff Merkley: Let's end Oregon's dependence on Alaskan oil

Just kidding.

No, what Jeff Merkeley really said today is that he wants to end America's dependence on overseas oil:
This year, more than two-thirds of America’s oil imports will come from nations that too often do not share our goals or values. This dependence on nations such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, Venezuela, and Nigeria costs our nation billions...

But Senator Merkeley, don't you know that according to the state of Oregon's own Internet tubes, 80% of Oregon's oil starts out on Alaska's North Slope oil fields.

As I have blogged extensively about, drivers in Seattle and Portland should thank their lucky stars for Alaska.

Oregon produces zero crude oil just like Washington and has zero refineries. According to the state of Oregon, 90% of Oregon's petroleum comes from the four refineries in the Puget Sound area of Washington. 80% of the crude exported to Oregon comes from Alaska's North Slope oil fields. More latte liberals driving Volvos and Audis powered by Alaska crude.

But hey, Democrats don't want to drill offshore any more and we can't import from those dern ferners either so we Oregonians better hope Alaska keeps sending oil our way. Sure would be a shame to close down those drive thru coffee shops featuring bikini baristas!

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Dave Weigel: Assault = "acting strangely"

In Dave Weigel's world, this video represents a congressman "acting strangely":

And according to Weigel, the non-violent, non-assualting video featuring James O'Keefe and the Philly ACORN Housing office qualifies as a "strange video":

I agree with Dave on this much: ACORN is indeed strange. But a Congressman yanking someone by the neck is not acting strangely, it's assault. I would hope a "libertarian" reporter would be shocked by any Congressman asserting he has a right to know who his questioner is. Is that a Constitutional right I'm not aware of? Congressmen apparently have a right to know who dares to ask them a question.

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