December 30, 2007

Space Wars '07

We couldn't have a year pass in Boston without rehashing the old argument of reserving parking spaces with household items during a snow emergency. This year the debate rages just as virulently as ever. It's basically trench warfare out there in the streets of Boston during and after a snow storm dumps mounds and mounds of the white stuff everywhere in sight.

The parking and overall traffic situation is already a major problem for the city. The amount of cars on the roads and cars that need to be parked on the streets is an ever increasing proposition, with no relief in sight. With construction projects blighting the city at every other intersection, the amount of room to maneuver and/or park your vehicle anywhere in the city is of the ever increasing difficulty variety.

When there is news of an impending snow storm in the greater Boston area, a kind of general mania sets in amongst its population. Suddenly people realize that they have to rush out and do 5 more errands. Housewives rush to their mini-vans to go pick up their dozens of kids early from school. Everyone dashes to their car to either leave work early or do those last few deliveries. Public service personnel and the transportation industry deploy all of their assets to aid those who feel the need to flock around as if a nuclear device was about to be detonated somewhere in the city. Every car that can start its engine in the entire greater Boston area hits the roads in some form or another. And if they're lucky that's the only thing they'll hit in the upcoming bedlam.

The first snow storm of the year this year resulted in massive traffic jams throughout the state of Massachusetts resulting in 7,8,9, hour commutes for some people depending on just how ambitious of a journey was being undertaken.

The 'Deval Crawl', as its come to be known, was probably the single worst experience commuters have ever endured in the history of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The overall chaos, which represented a confluence of factors including the mania of the people and clear mismanagement of the situation by state and local officials, is not the end of the story however.

The mania does not recede when the snow ceases. In fact it intensifies as frustration slowly builds in those seeking to navigate the now almost impassible in some cases, streets of greater Boston. The surface area of the already over crowded streets is reduced because of the massive piles of snow buffeting parked cars and covering street signs entirely.

Then the real fun begins when the perennial debate and struggle I call 'Space Wars' ensues. Vigilantism and 'street justice' are the order of the day when Bostonian sets upon fellow Bostonian in the struggle to find a place the park their car. In recent years, the Mayor has weighed in, ordering residents not to deploy household items into the street in order to reserve a shoveled-out parking space. But despite the pleas of Mayor 'mumbles' Menino, all manner of items have been and continue to be employed as an informal disincentive to park in "some one's" space all day long when they are at work or simply out on the streets causing grid lock.

The situation has gotten so out of hand that last year a city councilor from South Boston came out in support of residents reserving their little piece of public property indefinitely with whatever manner of unsightly piece of house hold refuse. The mania caused by snow storms even drives many space holders to keep their devices in place on the public streets long after the majority of the snow has melted. It does start to look exceedingly silly to see old toilets and rusty lawnmowers sitting on the side of the road when merely a few hand fulls of very dirty snow are strewn around. Only in an old school town like Boston would so many residents defend the practice of reserving spaces like this with a straight face. People are set in their ways, and are immune to the use of logic in order to dislodge a long held view that during a storm a given person has the right to temporarily posses a piece of public property.

Read this Boston Herald article for a good laugh and view the comments section of the article to get a glimpse into the mindset of those who are proponets of this sociological phenomena.

December 28, 2007

The Centrist Ticket

I'll take the centrist ticket over any combination of two of the following names: Clinton, Obama, Huckabee, Edwards, Kucinich, and Ron Paul.

Fateful Moment

Pakistan's interior ministry said Friday that Benazir Bhutto died from hitting her vehicle's sunroof when she tried to duck after a suicide attack, and that no bullet or shrapnel was found in her.

Ministry spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema said the opposition leader had died from a head wound she sustained when she smashed against the sunroof's lever as she tried to shelter inside the car.

"The lever struck near her right ear and fractured her skull," Cheema said. "There was no bullet or metal shrapnel found in the injury."

December 27, 2007


Pakistani television is reporting that Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in what appears to have been at least a two pronged attack involving several suicide bombings and a secondary gunman attack. This is terrible news.

December 21, 2007


At this point Mike Huckabee has distanced himself from his own belief that illegal immigrants should be entitled to pay instate tuition as well as distancing himself from his own disbelief in Darwin's Theory of Evolution. The other day Huckabee raced to assure Larry King, of all people, that his own disbelief in evolution would in no way change or effect his public policy if elected president.

Today Huckabee, in response to Condi Rice's ardent defense of Bush foreign policy, is essentially backtracking on his comments about the Bush administration's "bunker mentality" as he called it. He's parsing, dodging, and weaving even suggesting that he was not responsible for writing his own commentary which appeared in the most recent issue of "Foreign Affairs Journal".

Huckabee is man who seems to come out proudly and say the wrong thing and when pressed on it, rather than admit he was wrong, he prefers to backtrack and/or obfuscate. "Did she actually read the article?", he said today in an obvious attempt to muddle the issue by suggesting that his criticism of the Bush Administration has been some how misinterpreted or taken out of context. No Mr. Huckabee, nice try though. We all knew what you meant. We've heard the exact same refrain countless times from your leftie brethren and other agenda driven critics of the Bush administration's foreign policy.

I'd have more respect for Hackabee if he just flopped and said," I was misinformed or mistaken and I'm sorry, I was wrong." Instead we have this bad Bill Clinton impersonation of parsing the truth. "My comments were taken out of context." Yeah... sure they were.

December 19, 2007

Christmas Message (and response)

No Mr. Huckabee, I'm not worn out from all the political ads but I can imagine why you are. For your sake, the less conservatives know about you the better. So I'm not very surprised to see that you seem to be advocating a moratorium on political ads.

Sorry Huck, but we're not suspending civics and politics because it's Christmas time. Christmas will come again next year, but the opportunity to expose you for the closet liberal that you are is a now or never proposition.

Stressful times

December 15, 2007


Rich Lowry of National Review is quickly becoming one of my favorite political analysts. In the following brilliant piece he succinctly lays out why Huckabee winning the Republican nomination would be a disaster for Republicans.

The ghost of Howard Dean haunts the pundit class. As soon as a candidate of either party spikes up in the polls, he is compared with Dean, who had a spectacular boomlet in the second half of 2003 only to deflate as soon as people began to vote in early 2004.

After many false prophecies, Dean circa 2008 has finally arrived. He is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Not because he will inevitably blow himself up in Iowa. But because, like Dean, his nomination would represent an act of suicide by his party.

Like Dean, Huckabee is an under-vetted former governor who is manifestly unprepared to be president of the United States. Like Dean, he is rising toward the top of polls in a crowded field based on his appeal to a particular niche of his party. As with Dean, his vulnerabilities in a general election are so screamingly obvious that it’s hard to believe that primary voters, once they focus seriously on their choice, will nominate him.

The GOP’s social conservatism inarguably has been an enormous benefit to the party throughout the past 30 years, winning over conservative Democrats and lower-income voters who otherwise might not find the Republican limited-government message appealing. That said, nominating a Southern Baptist pastor running on his religiosity would be rather overdoing it. Social conservatism has to be part of the Republican message, but it can’t be the message in its entirety.

Someone needs to tell Huckabee. His first TV ads in Iowa touted him as a “Christian leader,” and his target audience of evangelicals has responded. But according to a Pew poll released in early December, only 1 in 7 nonevangelical Republicans support him in Iowa and 1 in 20 nonevangelicals in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Huckabee has declared that he doesn’t believe in evolution. Even if there are many people in America who agree with him, his position would play into the image of Republicans as the anti-science party. This would tend to push away independents and upper-income Republicans. In short, Huckabee would take a strength of the GOP and, through overplaying it, make it a weakness.

He’d do the same on taxes. In general, the public tends to support Democratic proposals for bigger government, which Republicans counter by saying that the proposals will require higher taxes. Huckabee will be equipped poorly to make this traditional Republican comeback, given his tax-raising history in Arkansas. Huckabee tries to compensate with a sales-tax scheme that allows him to say he supports eliminating the IRS, but is so wildly implausible that it would be a liability in a general election.

Then, there’s national security, the Republican trump card during the Cold War and after 9/11. Huckabee not only has zero national-security credentials, he basically has no foreign-policy advisers either, as a New York Times Magazine piece this Sunday makes clear. In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in September, Huckabee struck notes seemingly borrowed from Barack Obama, hitting the Bush administration for its “bunker mentality” and strongly supporting direct talks with Iran. A foreign-policy debate with a Democratic nominee would be a competition over who can promise to be nicer to foreign countries.

None of this is a winning formula. Huckabee has been running his campaign out of his back pocket, and has done it extremely well. There’s a reason, though, that serious candidates surround themselves with policy experts. It’s necessary to running a campaign based on more than sound bites. Wherever you scratch Huckabee on policy, he seems an inch deep. Do Republicans really want to enter what is already a tough political year with a candidate apparently allergic to preparation, and who has shown no predilection for organizing or fundraising, when he can do cable TV appearances instead?

Democrats have to be looking at Huckabee the way Republicans once regarded Dean — as a shiny Christmas present that is too good to be true.

December 13, 2007

'Crashingly Dull'

The lefty journalists in charge of today's Des Moines Register Republican debate were so focussed on stacking the deck against the Republican candidates that they totally missed the goal of making an interesting debate. The humorless moderator announced that no discussion of illegal immigration or the war in Iraq would be allowed. What???

Is it mere coincidence that discussion of these issues makes Democrats look bad? The war is going better and the Democrats have failed to effect any change in war policy, which pisses of the far left. Illegal immigration makes Democrats look bad because they are not on the side of the rule of law and favor amnesty and open borders.

And then the Des Moines Register, who are obvious fans of Hillary Clinton, insert Alan Keyes into the Republican debate in order to provide further distraction of relevant issues while at the same time they disallow Denis Kucincich from appearing in the Democratic debate. The debate organizers are scrambling to come up with a reason for the obvious double standard. I'll save them the trouble... there's no squaring it! Democrats have to stack the deck at the debates and in other formats because they will never win on the merits. In a raw un-interupted, un-handcuffed discussion of the issues, Democrats lose all day long.

Zoning Out

As soon as I saw the dour and humorless moderator hosting today’s Democratic Presidential debate I wondered just how quick the Bush bashing would begin. I didn’t have to wait long. The very first sentence delivered by the candidates involved throwing president Bush under the bus. And as I watched softball question after softball question, all met with the same sort of bush bashing answer, I started to zone out.

It wasn’t until later that I paid attention. I was semi stunned out of my stupor by the shrill tone of Hillary Clinton. She was giving a generic enough of an answer but I noticed how she seemed to me to be yelling. “Why are you yelling?”, I said to the TV as I considered just how loud in terms of decibels she must have been speaking. I concluded that she wasn’t necessarily that loud, yet listening to her voice made me very uncomfortable. It was that angry, grating tone that made me leap up to turn down the volume of my TV.

Hillary doesn’t seem to be able talk quietly and/or calmly very well. She seems to slowly build in shrillness to a crescendo which usually has the phrase “Bush administration” in it. Later in the debate, she had a revealing moment in which she cackled loudly when Obama appeared to be uncomfortable having been asked the one and only non-softball question of the entire debate relating to his experience. And on that matter, Obama’s resume may be paper thin, but Hillary’s modest senatorial experience is hardly something to draw too much attention to let alone make it the lynch pin of your campaign.

The Democratic candidates, have you zoned out yet?

December 12, 2007


'Romney for President' by the editors of National Review:

Romney is an intelligent, articulate, and accomplished former businessman and governor. At a time when voters yearn for competence and have soured on Washington because too often the Bush administration has not demonstrated it, Romney offers proven executive skill. He has demonstrated it in everything he has done in his professional life, and his tightly organized, disciplined campaign is no exception. He himself has shown impressive focus and energy.

We believe that Romney is a natural ally of social conservatives. He speaks often about the toll of fatherlessness in this country. He may not have thought deeply about the political dimensions of social issues until, as governor, he was confronted with the cutting edge of social liberalism. No other Republican governor had to deal with both human cloning and court-imposed same-sex marriage. He was on the right side of both issues, and those battles seem to have made him see the stakes of a broad range of public-policy issues more clearly. He will work to put abortion on a path to extinction. Whatever the process by which he got to where he is on marriage, judges, and life, we’re glad he is now on our side — and we trust him to stay there.

For some people, Romney’s Mormonism is still a barrier. But we are not electing a pastor. The notion that he will somehow be controlled by Salt Lake City or engaged in evangelism for his church is outlandish. He deserves to be judged on his considerable merits as a potential president. As he argued in his College Station speech, his faith informs his values, which he has demonstrated in both the private and public sectors. In none of these cases have any specific doctrines of his church affected the quality of his leadership. Romney is an exemplary family man and a patriot whose character matches the high office to which he aspires.

December 07, 2007

The Genuine Article

Recall the early days of the first Continental Congress in Philadelphia, during the fall of 1774. With Boston occupied by British troops, there were rumors of imminent hostilities and fears of an impending war. In this time of peril, someone suggested that they pray. But there were objections. "They were too divided in religious sentiment", what with Episcopalians and Quakers, Anabaptists and Congregationalists, Presbyterians and Catholics.

Then Sam Adams rose, and said he would hear a prayer from anyone of piety and good character, as long as they were a patriot.

And so together they prayed, and together they fought, and together, by the grace of God, they founded this great nation.

And in that spirit, let us give thanks to the divine "author of liberty". And together, let us pray that this land may always be blessed, with freedom's holy light.

God bless this great land, the United States of America.

-Mitt Romney