Look, I'm the last guy to say anything bad about the idea of a female president. The idea, that is. Someday, it will become a reality. When it does, we'll have as good of a chance of getting a Hoover as a Lincoln. Women aren't better, but they are different from men. That said, is Geena Davis's Mackenzie Allen the best Hollywood could come up with?

Apparently, the message we are to take to heart after watching Commander In Chief is that a woman isn't likely to be elected president any time soon, and that her best shot at the Oval Office is by means of the 25th Amendment. (If I were a woman, I'd be insulted at this.) And that a woman would be willing to call in the Marines when as few as two lives are on the line to prove she's got resolve. And that she would send her child to a school where the kids are taught to sing America the Beautiful in French. (I barely made it through the show after that.)

The politics of a presidential candidate choosing a running mate not of his party -- and someone who has broad and significant political disagreements with him -- is nothing more than a fantasy of the politically disaffected. (Considering it's easy enough for a Republican to select a running mate he disagrees with from within his own party.)

Let's pretend for a moment that the circumstances of her ascendancy to the White House are even possible. The most offensive thing to me was that the character of the Speaker of the House (a Republican), who "makes Genghis Khan look like Mahatma Ghandi", is so repulsed by the idea of a woman in the Big Chair -- or so power hungry -- that he will apparently stop at nothing to persuade her to resign, including embasrassing her before a joint session of Congress. That's right, all Republicans are moral reprobates stuck in the 50's. They have an insatiable lust for blood, and they prefer to keep women barefoot, pregnant, and baking cookies for the PTA bake sale. This is the tired, cartoonish cliche which ABC presents as groundbreaking entertainment?

I'm not much for reality TV, but here's hoping the Amazing Race doesn't jump the shark this season.

The show was liveblogged by Charmaine at Reasoned Audacity.

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Powerline notes that French police have arrested nine alleged terrorists who were planning to bomb the Paris subway.

Early reports indicate that the bombers were motivated by France's support for the U.S. war effort in Iraq.
Imagine what they would do if France had actually supported the war effort in Iraq.



If a moonbat gets arrested on Pennsylvania Avenue...

and no one's around to hear it, would anyone care?

No? What if there are camera crews?


Porkbusting, III

I got an e-mail yesterday from the office of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) with some additional options (aside from cutting pork) to offset the cost of rebuilding the areas affected by Katrina. I'm not personally that knowledgeable about Senator Coburn, but a quick google gives some good MSM references. He appears to be conservative and a budget hawk.

At any rate, since the e-mail was more or less a press release, and I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else, here's the gist:

Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Jim DeMint (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Ensign (R-NV), and John Sununu (R-NH) announced at a press conference earlier today that they plan to produce a legislative proposal to find savings and called on the president to work with Congress to help those in need without passing the fiscal burden on to future generations.

Savings Options Compared to Congressional Budget Office Baseline Estimates

Significant savings can be found if the federal government curbs its lavish spending habits. The following table shows the differences, in billions of dollars, between the August 2005 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) "baseline" spending estimates and different spending scenarios.

Freeze non-defense, non-homeland security discretionary spending at 2005 level for next 5 years.$17.3$37.5$138.1
Reduce non-defense, non-homeland security discretionary spending by 5% for one year and maintain that level thereafter.$38.9$80.7$246.1

There's more in the file, and I'd be happy to pass it along if you e-mail me.

Update 9/26: Contacted Senator Coburn's office, and found there isn't currently a copy of the document hosted anywhere else, so I'm reposting the bits I liked below.

Examples of Wasteful Washington Spending
The following examples of wasteful spending were uncovered by the Senate subcommittee on federal financial management, chaired by Senator Tom Coburn.

  • At least $45 billion each year is being wasted in improper payments by the federal government and that amount only covers a limited number of federal agencies. If the 3.9% rate of known improper payments is applied to the entire federal government, elimination of these improper payments could save taxpayers at least $100 billion each year.
  • The General Services Administration, the chief procurement agency for the entire federal government, charges middle-man fees of almost $20 billion to purchase $66 billion worth of goods and services for the government. That equals a middle-man fee of nearly 30%, even though the private sector usually charges less than 5% for the same services.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the nations accounting watchdog, has seen cost overruns of $47 million on its building projects. The SECs building project costs, estimated to total $22 million, have instead tripled to $69 million.
  • The U.S. Agency on International Development spent less than 10% of its $90 million malaria budget to purchase products that treat or prevent malaria. The agency spent less than 1% of its malaria budget on drugs to prevent or treat a curable disease that is the leading killer of children in Africa.


  • Freeze non-defense, non-homeland security discretionary spending at FY2005 level for the next five years.
    • 1-YEAR SAVINGS: $17 billion
    • 2-YEAR SAVINGS: $38 billion
    • 5-YEAR SAVINGS: 138 billion
  • Reduce non-defense, non-homeland security discretionary spending by 5% for one year and maintain that spending level thereafter.
    • 1-YEAR SAVINGS: $39 billion
    • 2-YEAR SAVINGS: $81 billion
    • 5-YEAR SAVINGS: 246 billion
  • Implement the February 2005 Office of Management and Budget proposal to reduce or eliminatespending in over 150 federal programs.
    • 1-YEAR SAVINGS: $15 billion
    • 5-YEAR SAVINGS: $77 billion
  • Reduce or eliminate "pork projects" and earmarks from the highway bill
    • 5-YEAR SAVINGS: $24 billion

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    Keep praying

    As Rita continues to approach the coast, it appears to be weakening slightly. Here's the National Hurricane Center's forecast for the region. Wherever you are, your prayers for those affected are needed.



    Porkbusting, II

    VOA News - Republicans Suggest Spending Cuts To Offset Katrina Costs

    That speaks for itself. The article doesn't say which Republicans, except that they are members of Congress, and that they definitely do not include Tom DeLay.

    See my original post and the Porkbusting home page here.

    Update: Instapundit reports Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana is leading an effort to have spending cuts offset the cost of rebuilding.

       According to WISH-TV in Indianapolis, some Democrats are asking for tax increases to offset the cost. Haven't seen any names attached to that yet, but some Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, at least, are outdoing some Republicans (like DeLay and Alaska's Don Young).

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    Disabling Blogroll

    Ran into some long refresh times after changing my Blogrolling preferences, and couldn't access the BR site to repair it. I'll restore links when their site is back up.

    Update: Blogrolling is back up.
    Update II (9/21): And down.
    Update III (1pm): And up. Somebody take away their yo-yo. Actually, it looks like they were doing server maintenance, but should be done now.




    Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, has put forward the challenge to the blogging comunity to come up with a list of congressional pork which could be cut to fund the Katrina relief effort. Lets just say I'm happy to do my part. Took me all of 5 minutes to find this local gem.

    1. The first item is local - mostly intra-city - public transportation.

    2. The second item includes $2 million to rehabilitate a bridge which crosses the river into downtown Toledo. Not that the bridge doesn't need it, but why is that not the city's responsibility? It's not really clear from her press release or the final version of the bill what the remaining 6.4 million was for.

    3. The third item listed on her press release is reconstructing a major highway interchange, at a cost of $2.4 million, but it appears to have been increased to $5 million by the time the bill cleared the Senate.

    4. The last item is for a safety upgrade to US 24, which has been overburdened with traffic due to poor management of the Ohio Turnpike (I-80) by the turnpike commission.
    I'll accept the need for federal funding to support the infrastructure that faciiltates interstate commerce. Why does the city of Toledo need federal funding to rebuild a city-owned bridge? Are you happy about paying for it?

    How about TARTA? Most people in Toledo don't ride TARTA buses, let alone the rest of Congresswoman Kaptur's district. Let alone the rest of the country!

    Bottom line: I could understand an argument that some of that money should come from the federal government. But I'd like to see Congresswoman Kaptur and Senators Voinovich and DeWine argue that the money would be better spent here than in NOLA. Total pork from NW Ohio: up to $17.9 million.

    Update: Well, since posting this, I've gotten a brief hit from senate.gov. Hopefully some senate staffer has read this and passed it along. The idea is definitely getting some inside-the-beltway attention.

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    Okay. GearMommy was watching the awards show in the other room and called me in because she knows I like the original Star Trek series. William Shatner was on, ostensibly to sing for a segment called "Emmy Idol". He read the opening lines to the theme of the old show: "Space: The final frontier..." Then they had a professional opera singer (I assume) sing the theme (which has no lyrics) while he stood up there looking out of place.

    Maybe that's better than this. Good Lord! Hey he won an Emmy, though.

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    Counting my blessings

    Wednesday was a great day. Of course, it was my birthday, so it should have been. Not that I put a lot of stock in my birthday. Haven't really, for years. As a kid, your birthdays are significant, because there have been so few of them. At some point in your life, God-willing, birthdays become significant again, because there have been so many. I've got a ways to go before that happens. Anyway...

    The alarm went off at 5:30, and I awoke to the realization I had a dentist appointment at 8:30 and could sleep in. Nobody wakes up glad to have a dentist appointment in their future, but when it means an extra hour of sleep, you make an exception. (That's one.)

    When I awoke an hour later, I found Younger Daughter sleeping on the floor beside our bed as she's been doing for a few weeks now. She has trouble sleeping in her room, and must have come into the room in the middle of the night. Quietly! (That's two.) I tip-toed around her to get to my clothes. In my dresser drawer are a pair of hand-made cards from Older Son and Oldest Daughter.

    Came downstairs, read the cards they made. I am the luckiest guy in the world. OS's card is a simple "I love you Dad" in crayon on the back of a neatly-decorated coloring book page, written in perfect kindergarten letters. OD's is a postcard with a pencil drawing of Harry Potter and a hand-drawn "HP" postage stamp in the corner. It bears a glowing note of love and appreciation for me, and compares me favorably to her favorite young wizard. (Three and four.) If that was all that happened for the day, it would have been enough.

    Did my normal morning routine as well as I could without leaving the house to go to work. Ate breakfast and enjoyed a glass of juice as I read an extra chapter of Paul's letter to the young church of Rome. I read more than I usually would, since I had the luxury of time. (Five.)

    Sat down to write for a little while, and was greeted at about 7:45 by OS, who had seen my car still in the driveway from his bedroom window. Got a hug as if he hadn't seen me for two days. (Six.) Time you spend with your kids is always special, even when it doesn't feel special. It's important even when they resent you for being there. But when they are happy and surprised to see you, it's thrilling. Kissed the family goodbye, and off I went to the dentist.

    And what happened there? The hygienist had thought she saw a "shadow" on one of my rear teeth, but it didn't show up on X-ray, and the dentist gave me a clean bill of health.(That's seven, before 9am.) "Merry Christmas," he said.

    Actually, I said, happy birthday.

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    Nuclear Option

    The NY Times has a story up now, saying senate Democrats are frustrated over Roberts' confirmation hearings and unsure how to vote.

    Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New York Democrat whose vote will be among the most closely watched in the Senate because of her possible White House bid in 2008, agreed.

    "I have found it is very difficult for Democrats to influence this White House on anything, and so I don't count on them paying attention to our legitimate concerns," Mrs. Clinton said, adding, "They will do what they think is in their interest, however they define it."
    I think they've still got a tiny sense of what's in their best interest, but it sure would be entertaining to watch them try to filibuster.

    It's really sad that this has become about picking a justice who will give the kind of decisions they agree with, rather than someone who understands their duty to interpret the law with respect to the Constitution.

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    Fine art of the non-apology apology

    ScottG has an update on the latest episode in the Crescent of Embrace drama.

    Check it out here.

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    Absent actual content:

    Really? Really??

    I've got a decent post or two percolating right now, but still trying to flesh them out.


    A worthwhile proposal

    Instapundit has some recommendations for disaster preparedness which should be implemented, city by city and county by county, across the country.

    One excerpt. The rest, you should read for yourself:

    Put somebody in charge. Politicians and bureaucrats thrive on diffusion of responsibility, because it helps them escape blame (as they're trying to do in the fingerpointing orgy that's going on now). Somebody needs to be clearly in charge. Right now it's mostly state governors, but this needs to be made inescapably plain, regardless of where it is. I don't agree with Mickey Kaus that we should ignore federalism and just put the President, or the FEMA Director, in charge and empower them to override state and local officials, but even that would be better than leaving no one in charge.
    As I see it, "ignoring federalism" would require a an act of Congress (at a minimum) to clarify the intent of posse comitatus to allow federalized use of the national guard to engage in police actions on American soil. Parties (e.g. 1, 2, 3) disagree whether such actions are proscribed by law. Absent congressional action, the Supreme Court could be asked to step in to prevent the President from using NG units in this manner.

    But aside from what it would take to make this legal, we need to really ask ourselves if it's the right thing to do.



    So gas should be cheaper in Iraq than here, right?

    I think everyone expects that. As the political situation there stabilizes, the oil supply from Iraq will increase. (According to the Department of Energy, Iraq's all-time peak oil production was in December 1979, at 3.7 million barrels daily. As of May '05, daily production had reached a level of 1.9 million barrels. Clearly, more can be done in the future.)

    But the price difference between gasoline made from Iraqi oil, refined and sold here and gasoline sold in Iraq should basically consist of the cost of transportation plus the difference in refining costs and taxes.

    So guess what Iraq does. I don't know how old this policy is, and whether it dates back to Saddam. There's no question, though, that its results are clear. Even to a member of the MSM. The policy I'm talking about isn't the one in the headline. It's down about 6 paragraphs.

    This is the new policy they're enforcing (with questionable success), which is mentioned in the headline.

    To save fuel, and to general confusion, the government has ordered half the capital's car fleet off the roads on any given day.

    Tuesday was the first day of the new rule, and only cars with licence plates ending in an odd number could take to the streets.
    This is the policy that caused the problem, which they've done nothing to address. The emphasis is mine.
    Shortages have become inevitable, creating queues and a thriving black market for gasoline, which, because of subsidies, officially costs just over one U.S. cent per liter.
    If that isn't a typo on Reuters' part, then that works out to less than 4 cents per gallon. Most cars here could fill up for less than a dollar. Does anyone have an incentive to reduce their usage of a product when they pay so much less than it costs to produce?

    It doesn't matter whether the subsidy is a direct subsidy supported by payments from the government, or whether it's in indirect subsidy in reaction to an attempt by a government to control the price. In either case, demand will increase. And if the subsidy is indirect, as I described in my earlier post, there's no incentive for the supplier to maintain a supply equal to demand. The result is a shortage.

    Update: Iraq the Model has some more information about the new driving limits. Notice what he says abot the price. There's a black market (due to the shortages). And the new policy is having the impact of reducing the black market price -- to about 40 cents/gallon, if my math is right.

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    Happy Labor Day

    I'll be without internet access this weekend for the annual extended GearFamily vacation. If you've stopped by for updates, please drop me a note in the comments or by e-mail, and I'll talk to you next week.

    Meanwhile, have a great holiday weekend.