novatownhall blog

Where you are held accountable for your convictions and record

This seems like one of those wild card happenstances that can totally screw up what everyone in the U.S. might have thought would be happening in the current political contest here – giving meaning to the notion that a lot can happen between now and November:

South America was on the brink of war yesterday as Venezuela and Ecuador amassed troops on the Colombian border in response to the killing of a Marxist rebel leader.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened to join the rebels in a war to overthrow hard-line Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, a key ally of the United States, deploying tanks, fighter jets and thousands of troops along the Colombian border.

A key question here is whether Hugo Chavez is willing to take the leap – the military leap – of faith as it were. He’s not had to do a lot of that type of thing. He’s had more of the luxury of taking pot shots from the peanut gallery at countries actually involved in conflicts. Wonder if he knows what he is getting into.

Well, the Washington Post has outdone itself for stupidity today. In not one, but two op-ed pieces, stupid women have penned stupid articles about how stupid women are. As the husband of a highly intelligent wife and the parent of three highly intelligent daughters, I was, frankly, disgusted.

The first article, by Charlotte Allen, starts off griping about women “swooning” at Obama rallies. Never mind that, to get such a front-row position, one must stand in line for hours. Never mind that the Secret Service often forbids bringing liquids. So people faint. What a surprise.

She follows up this nonsense with this beauty:

Depressing as it is, several of the supposed misogynist myths about female inferiority have been proven true. Women really are worse drivers than men, for example. A study published in 1998 by the Johns Hopkins schools of medicine and public health revealed that women clocked 5.7 auto accidents per million miles driven, in contrast to men’s 5.1, even though men drive about 74 percent more miles a year than women.

So men have 74% more practice driving. How surprising that one gets better from practice.

She concludes with this gem:

So I don’t understand why more women don’t relax, enjoy the innate abilities most of us possess (as well as the ones fewer of us possess) and revel in the things most important to life at which nearly all of us excel: tenderness toward children and men and the weak and the ability to make a house a home…. Then we could shriek and swoon and gossip and read chick lit to our hearts’ content and not mind the fact that way down deep, we are . . . kind of dim.

I think I’m gonna be sick. Is this what I should teach my girls, “Well, girls are kind of dim, so just be a good little housewife”?

But wait, there’s more. In a companion article, Linda Hirshman laments

Black voters of all socioeconomic classes are voting for the black candidate. Men are voting for the male candidate regardless of race or class. But even though this is also a year with the first major female presidential candidate, women are split every way they can be. They’re the only voting bloc not voting their bloc.

[The] women’s vote has fragmented. The only conclusion: American women still aren’t strategic enough to form a meaningful political movement directed at taking power. Will they ever be?

So she’s complaining that women vote policies, not genitals. What shall we do if Obama wins the nomination, have him and McCain “whip it out” onstage, so Hirshman can vote for the bigger candidate?

Young Minds


An article appeared in a local newspaper that deserves perview.

It seems that we need to find “other” ways to reach our youth in order to educate them.  It isn’t bad enough that the county school budget becomes more bloated every year.  Now they intend another program to promote a “sub-culture”.  This belongs in Humanities class-not English.  I can only wonder about the next “experiment”!

The article is on rap/hip-hop used for poetry.

Jacob already noted this, and of course it’s the big story of the day in the conservative blogosphere: But for the record, I’ll miss William F. Buckley and I am grateful for all he did for me.

As a college kid in the early 1980s, still trying to figure out what I thought, I religiously read The Nation, The New Republic and National Review, basically unconsciously covering all parts of the political spectrum (New Republic was a middle of the road publication back then). If there was a “truth,” it definitely seemed like it would inhere somewhere within this troika of magazines.

By 1986, National Review had become my philosophical home, in large part because of Bill Buckley’s commentary. At age 25, I became a “conservative” for life. My first vote for a Republican was for George H.W. Bush in 1988. (Then, my first vote against a Republican was for Ross Perot in 1992, but that’s a story for another day).

Apart from his fantastically helpful idiosyncrasy of including in every op-ed column a single word I would need to look up in the dictionary (a mantle since picked up by R. Emmett Tyrrell), and the fact he was right about so many issues back when “conservatism” was by no means assured a place at the table of policy respectability (the Reagan Era was not judged a success until long after the Reagan presidency was over), Bill Buckley’s work ethic was the stuff of legends. He wrote extensive commentary in the magazine on a weekly basis, maintained a nationally syndicated 2-3 times a week column, did the weekly Firing Line television show for a decade or three, and of course wrote all the books and ancillary essays.

He penned op-ed pieces in the limousine on the way to the airport, for crying out loud. It took me an entire weekend to write a 5-page, double-spaced paper at the time.

While trying to overcome laziness and my own wide-ranging stupidity, having WFB as an example of what a human can do was immensely valuable. I never met the guy, but throughout my 20s he was one of my few mentors, at a time I needed all the help I could get.

I didn’t go to Yale. I wasn’t rich. My forebearers – back to the beginning of time, as far as I could tell – were blue collar. I started a family during college and consequently we were not well off. But I never got a whiff from all of WFB’s writings that he was in any way intrinsically different from me. I eventually learned that he was wealthy, but in the miles of column-inches I never read anything that set him apart.

And what a legacy he left! I have a ton of his essays and my stock of NR magazines, but there are gems like the Firing Line interviews with Malcolm Muggeridge discussing Catholicism and other topics – such important cultural artifacts.

The specifics of WFB’s contributions in the ideological arena are not within my range of expertise to discuss, simply because the content was, in essence, the content of the conservative revolution which took place in America from the 1980s on. There are much better informed people out there who can limn out the details of what Bill said and when, and what followed.

(And be sure to dig into the writings over at NRO, where the folks who know are spelling it out.)

But here is one I can do.

Many years ago, I think back in the early 1990s, Bill wrote a column reporting on his and his wife’s struggles to quit smoking. The gist was they both had decided to quit smoking cigarettes, and after some time in the project they – two life-long smokers – were at each others’ throats. They sat down to discuss it, and recognized they could not both go through the ordeal and live in the same house with each other. The physical and mental stress of overcoming the addiction was too much – you could not have two baskets of crazed atoms in close proximity at one time.

So they had to decide – either we both keep smoking or only one of us can quit, if we want to stay together. Bill quit, and Pat resumed smoking and became the stabilizing force while he overcame the addiction to nicotine.

This story had an impression on me, both because I have my own addictive tendencies and because self-sacrifice seems to be such an essential part of life particularly manifested in our most immediate relationships. The decision Bill and Pat Buckley made was one I had never even thought about, but after I read his column I never forgot it. Throw aside all the levels of analysis that could be brought to bear on the question: It’s a pretty stark expression of life – human life, relationship reality – is it not? It makes you think, What would I do? What decision would I and my spouse make to preserve the relationship if it came down to that.

Pat Buckley died in April, 2007. Honestly, back when I read about the poignant story above, I assumed Pat had consigned herself to a much earlier demise to preserve the relationship. But they were only off by ten months. I hate it that Bill Buckley died; I hate it that Pat Buckley died. But I am glad they got almost the full time together. I think God looked kindly on their difficult decision.

Sad story linked at MonkeyWatch, although the ridiculous aspect is also hard to ignore. It’s surprising you don’t hear about more cases like this from eating contests.

This is why, while drinking contests may not be safer per se, they do provide a better likelihood of dying in your sleep. Which is nice.

Now that the cat is out of the bag it will be useful to begin cataloguing the growing scientific evidence which for some time has been showing that our trucks are not, in fact, changing the weather.

David Deming had a hint of this story back in December.

Back in 2002 there were already reports of Antarctica’s cooling trend.

For the entertainment value: A mocking look at two Chinese scientists who discovered evidence of the trend, back when the “man-made global warming” scam still had the aura of credibility.

Let’s not neglect to give credit to the forward-thinking visionaries at Time magazine in 1974.

Kevin Tapping’s work is showing data suspiciously pointing to the Sun as a possible factor in the Earth’s actual temperature. Good luck selling that one.

Russian scientist Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin of the Oceanology Institute in a report from January also fingers the pesky Sun among other factors for the current cooling period.

Stay tuned for much more on this topic in the coming months, as it will eventually end up in the mainstream press where I predict not every editor is going to be willing to follow the “global warming” true believers over the cliff.

Speaking of which, man can Al Gore not catch a break! He loses the presidential election in a year when the country was at peace and prosperous and the corporate shenanigans which flourished under the Clinton White House had not yet been discovered – and most likely the loss was primarily attributable to his First in Command being a bit of a scalawag. That election should never have come down to 500 votes in Florida.

Then, for his next career move, he hitches his wagon to the man-made global warming hysteria and tours the country warning of bigger, badder hurricanes … right before the hurricanes went on a two-year hiatus. He suffers the indignity of having to defend with a straight face his heavy use of SUVs and private jets because via the carbon-offsets marketplace he has “purchased” exemptions from the rules he wishes to impose on others. He wins a Grammy Award for his amazing picture book (or was it a Golden Globe – I forget) which has now inconveniently been revealed as hogwash. It’s a pretty amazing run of public crashing and burning. Luckily, he is a young enough man to have time for one more act, and I do hope he gets to finish his public career with a Richard Nixon-like image rehabilitation.

At very least, he can start saving all that carbon offset cash and put it into something fun, like off-roading and potato guns.

Heh heh heh.

..The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C — a value large enough to wipe out nearly all the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year’s time.

Following this story could make what was looking like a grim year rather enjoyable. Although, as we’ve seen, it sure does freak out some of our visitors.