Re: Defending Lamb

Wlady, perhaps my post wasn’t clear enough, but you are mistaken. Government does not mandate the 5-cent contribution. It’s totally voluntary. That is, it’s up to the individual cable companies to decide whether they want to carry C-Span. It’s only mandated in the sense that if your cable company chooses to offer C-Span, you have to pay the five cents. Just as you may have to help subsidize other stations you may not care to watch. It’s a bundled service, not offered a la carte–that’s why I made the analogy to the buffet.

Defending Lamb From Savage Attacks

Huckster Michael Savage has created a pseudo-controversy by accusing, of all outlets, C-Span of liberal bias. For those who are unfamiliar with the background, Savage received an award from Talkers magazine recently, but instead of showing up at the ceremony, he sent in a speech by DVD. C-Span cameras were at the ceremony, but the channel did not air his speech because it was not delivered live. Anybody who watches C-Span knows they give unfiltered coverage to all sides. I mean, they even broadcast the Constitution Party convention. So, the channel’s explanation seems perfectly reasonable. But Savage knows an opportunity to make a quick buck when he sees one, and has cried censorship! His website features the scrolling text, “C-Span Blacklists Savage’s Speech! Click here to order!” If this was really about him wanting to get his message out, of course, he’d post the video of the speech on his website, making it free for anybody to watch. Instead it’s $22, and you have to “allow 4 weeks for production and delivery.” Savage has posted a list of C-Span’s phone numbers and email addresses, allowing his legions of fans to inundate them. Brian Lamb responded brilliantly, by reading some of the vitriolic letters he received on air, such as, “You are a Nazi and a Stalinist and probably a homosexual, and I don’t appreciate your agenda.”

The Politico wrote on the controversy, quoting one letter Lamb read in which the writer assumes C-Span is taxpayer funded. Lamb explained that the channel is not publicly funded, but financed via a five cent contribution from everybody’s cable bill. Apparently, this was beyond the grasp of “cornhusker,” who posted the following comment to the Politico story:

Mr Lamb seems to think that because CSPAN is ‘paid by a nickel when you pay your bills’ instead of federal funding, so, it’s a private station. I wasn’t familiar with this debate until reading the story, but Mr. Lambs comments show his slant towards socialism. Take from people that don’t want to pay it and make them accept what ever you decide they want to hear. To me, this isn’t about a speech, this is about his agenda and the resistance it’s meeting. To bad we can’t choose whether to fund his paycheck. Oh, that’s right, a mandatory collection of our funds doesn’t make him “A taxpayer organization”. How can I be so ignorant….

Yeah, and when I go to an all-you-can-eat buffet and proceed directly to the guy in the paper chef hat slicing juicy prime rib, and then skip to the dessert station, I’m paying a “vegetable tax” for the string beans that I choose not to eat.

A Fiery Ron Paul

Via Hit and Run, I see this priceless clip of Ron Paul as a young pitbull libertarian presidential candidate in 1988, making the case for drug legalization by shouting down an audience member at the Morton Downey Jr. show. YouTube actually has some more clips from the show in three parts (1, 2, and 3), which feature Gaurdian Angel Lisa Sliwa, a mysterious man named “Otto” (who dons a sport jacket with red lapels, sunglasses, a string tie, and a checkerboard shirt), and Charlie Rangel (via phone).

And if that isn’t enough for you, you can view this clip of another episode in which Downey battles a dominatrix stripper for God. Don’t you miss the 80s?

Yet Another Reason To Love Mike Pence

Amid  magical thinking  by the Bush and Olmert administrations regarding developments in the Palestinian territories, a voice of  reason emerges:  

Pence, R-Ind., said he is drafting legislation that would restrict money from being given to the Palestinians so long as Hamas has control of Gaza. Pence wants to offer the measure as an amendment to a $34.2 billion bill that funds the State Department and foreign assistance programs.

Pence said his concern is that Bush's decision to resume aid will "open the flood gates of support for authorities within the Fatah government that could ultimately be used against Israel," he said in an interview Wednesday.

"Right now we're at a time when Hamas is sitting behind the desk of government buildings in Gaza City wearing ski masks and holding AK-47s," he added. "It's hard for me to see where we can provide any funds directly or indirectly to supplement or support what is an emerging terrorist Palestinian state."

r r

Bad Bloomberg Theories

Just wanted to quickly shoot down a few other Bloomberg theories that have been floated around the blogs:

Matt Yglesias argues that Bloomberg could be the best bet for libertarians, if only they could get over their disproportionate reaction to his nanny-state policies such as the smoking and trans fat bans. Er, yeah, that, and the fact that he’s a tax hiker.

Over at Tapped, Paul Starr touts Bloomberg as a possible Democratic VP candidate. While the Democratic Party would certainly be a more comfortable ideological fit for him, I don’t see why a man with a massive ego who has spent decades as the top dog would be willing to be the second dog. Not to mention the fact that he’d be pushing 75 on Inauguration Day 2017.

At RomneyCentral, Hugh Hewitt describes why a Bloomberg candidacy “has to help” his man Mitt. Do you really need me to comment on this? Didn’t think so.

How Bloomberg Could Hurt Rudy

I’m a little late to this party, because I’ve been otherwise occupied, but I figure there’s still time for me to play the Bloomberg speculation game. To me, it’s mind boggling that Bloomberg would consider wasting money on a presidential bid that has no shot of succeeding. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what constituency of voters he thinks he’s going to appeal to other than David Broder. He’s far too liberal for any Republican and Democrats are going to be united around their nominee. Would he really have much appeal to independents? People are always fed up with the two-party system, but it’s hard to see why swing voters would think Bloomberg is the right man for this time. When Ross Perot ran in 1992, following the end of the Cold War and the U.S. triumph in the Persian Gulf, Americans were not concerned with outside threats, but with deficits and a mild recession. Perot was able to do well in that environment, but he still didn’t get one electoral vote. Now, with the primary concerns of the electorate overseas, and the economy doing well, it’s hard to see what demand there would be for a billionaire businessman. Perhaps Bloomberg’s ego is just so big, and he has friends and advisors telling him he actually has a shot, that he’s become delusional. Or perhaps he’s just leaving the door open, and will decide based on who the nominees are in the major parties.

As for which party he would hurt? It’s too early to tell, and there are arguments to be made on both sides. You could argue that he would hurt Democrats by dividing the vote of anti-Bush, anti-incumbent independents. Or he could peel off moderate Republicans. But a lot depends on who the nominees are. If Giuliani is the Republican nominee, it may discourage Bloomberg from running, but if he ran anyway, I think it would definitely hurt Rudy. In the campaign, Bloomberg would have to tout his own record as a mayor, which would necessitate him arguing that it was an improvement over his predecessor. That would mean that Giuliani would be facing not one, but two candidates, spending millions of dollars on negative campaign ads blasting his record as mayor. Also, it would be hard for Giuliani to criticize Bloomberg’s level of experience when they both served as mayors of the same city. Bloomberg fans argue that he has been a better mayor than Giuliani was, because he was able to manage the city well without the polarization of the Giuliani era. But that’s a disingenuous argument. Rudy inherited a city in shambles, and his bulldog mentality was necessary to turn it around. Giuliani handed Bloomberg a city that, though recovering from 9/11, was still in good shape. That allowed Bloomberg to be a competent manager without having to re-fight all of the battles of the Giuliani era. Nonetheless, Bloomberg’s entrance into the race would force Rudy to defend his record on two fronts.

Hamas Nobel Peace Prize Watch

As part of its journey toward winning a Nobel Peace Prize, Hamas will have to start being treated with legitimacy by Western elites. Leave it to the New York Times to provide that legitimacy. On Wednesday, the so-called paper of record gave space on its op-ed page to Hamas flak Ahmed Yousef, allowing him to spread the terrorist group’s propaganda as if it were within the range of acceptable discourse. Among the lies being perpetrated under the name of the Gray Lady:

From the day Hamas won the general elections in 2006 it offered Fatah the chance of joining forces and forming a unity government. It tried to engage the international community to explain its platform for peace. It has consistently offered a 10-year cease-fire with the Israelis to try to create an atmosphere of calm in which we resolve our differences. Hamas even adhered to a unilateral cease-fire for 18 months in an effort to normalize the situation on the ground. None of these points appear to have been recognized in the press coverage of the last few days.

Calling for the destruction of Israel at home, speaking peace to gullible Western elites abroad. That’s the same act that Arafat played for decades, and he got a Nobel Peace Prize out of it. No doubt, by publishing this, the NYT‘s editors believed they were showing themselves to be “even handed” about the Middle East. There’s nothing wrong with presenting both sides of an argument, but when one side is pure, unadulterated evil, it should not be presented as having an equally valid perspective. Barbaric terrorists who glorify death should not be granted such a forum in a civilized society.

Also of interest is that if you read Yousef’s op-ed, he’s essentially making the same arguments that Jimmy Carter did.

Obama Wins Straw Poll

As far as the horse race aspects of the straw poll were concerned, Barack Obama won with 29 percent of the vote, edging out John Edwards who was at 26, Hillary Clinton at 17, Bill Richardson at 9, and Al Gore with a strong 8 percent showing as a write in. If you combine the first and second choices, Obama is at 60, Edwards at 53, and Hillary at 33. The poll had 727 respondents, with 83 percent identifying themselves as progressive/liberal. All the normal caveats apply in a straw poll such as this, but you can either say that it’s incremental evidence that the progressive base of the party is gathering behind Obama/Edwards, or consider it a decent showing for Hillary with this wing of the party, and the things she would need to do to make a stronger showing in a crowd like this could hurt her general election strategy. Another interesting thing to note is that in the absence of Edwards, most Edwards supporters defect to Obama, and vice versa. It’s clearly in Hillary’s best interest to have both of them stay in as long as possible to split those voters. If one of them drops out early (more likely Edwards), that would give the other oppourtunity to consolidate the anti-Hillary vote. As I’ve written before, Hillary has universal name recognition among Democrats, and yet she typically polls nationally in the mid-30s, meaning that nearly two-thirds of the party knows who she is and would prefer somebody else. This indicates to me that there is still an opening for another candidate, and despite the conventional wisdom, this primary race is far from over.

Poll: Fighting Terrorism Low Priority for Liberals

Not that this should come as surprise, but the results of the Take Back America straw poll were just announced, and a paltry 3 percent of the attendees to this annual gathering of progressive activists chose terrorism and national security as their most important issue. This ranked it in 7th place in the list of their priorities, behind the war in Iraq, health care, energy and global warming, the economy, education, and corruption in Washington. Some may counter that the 34 percent who identified Iraq as their leading issue could have cared about national security, but even if you combine participants’ first and second choices, only 7 percent chose terrorism/national security. Liberals have accused conservatives of using the War on Terror as an excuse to invade Iraq, but now liberals are using withdrawal from Iraq as an excuse to retreat from the War on Terror.

Jesse the Jew Hater

Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson just spoke to a standing ovation here at the the Take Back America conference, declaring, “Bush spied, Cheney lied, too many have died, and it’s time they be tried. It’s impeachment time.”

Much of the speech was a call to action for the “Rainbow” agenda, and he nostalgically recounted the glory days when he won the Democratic nomination in 1988…er, almost… “We moved into the New York primary as the leading candidate. In a three way reace with Dukakis, Gore, and I–we would have won and perhaps gone on to win the nomination. But Gore was encouraged to drop out. In reaction to the Rainbow, people were in fits.”