Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just In Time For Christmas

V8-powered skateboard.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Year Of Thanksgiving

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Monday, November 22, 2010


Headlines from Instapundit:

CHANGE: Red-Light Cameras See Cities’ Support Fading. You mean city governments' support is fading. Citizens were never crazy about those things.

CHANGE: Ireland Breaks Down, Requests Euro Bailout. If I asked for a bailout, I wouldn't want it in Euros.

C-SPAN: Newt Gingrich on Presidential Politics. Mr. Newt reports the obvious about presidential debates.

BRIAN DOHERTY: What Can Rand Paul Do? The Tea Party libertarian will likely prove a more effective figurehead than senator. And how is that different from the rest of the Republican leadership? If the GOP Senate had leaders when it held the majority, the GOP and not the filibuster-happy Democrats would have controlled the lower-court approval process. Spending policy during the Bush years looked like Democrat Lite - WHERE was Republican leadership THEN?


Friday, November 19, 2010

Wrist Slap

Charles Rangell gets censure.

I have a thought: bring back wooden stocks.


Love Pat, Baby!

Memo to Senator Claire McCaskill: do you really think it's a good idea to describe an airport screening procedure with a phrase that sounds like an Austin Powers pickup line?

Come to think of it, "love pat" brings a B-52's song to mind:

Well the love pat is a little old thing that we can do together...

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Good News And Bad News

First the bad news (banging head on desk) Murkowski wins (banging head on desk some more).

If I were an interviewer, the first question I'd ask is: "How do you plan to repair relations with conservatives in Alaska?" She can't win a primary or a (two-candidate0 general election without them, and the odds of winning another write-in candidacy are slimmer than a 90-pound fashion model, so she had BETTER realize the value in making amends - ASAP.

Now the good news - Republican Joe Walsh wins his bid for Illinois' Congressional 8th District.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Somebody's Not Paying Attention

Howard Kurtz reports:
[Roger Ailes] offers this observation about Obama:

“He just has a different belief system than most Americans.”

That seems a rather loaded phrase—different belief system—even if you strongly disagree with most of Obama’s policies. It fits the view of those who are trying to paint the president as being outside the mainstream.

Dude, policies stem from belief systems. Obama sees the State as a gigantic nanny - the ultimate helicopter parent. Most people do not regard the citizenry as children.

(My 2006 Elitism = Paternalism post has something to say about the nanny state - and nanny press.)

Oh, and Howie, have you seen the President's poll numbers? What part of "outside the mainstream" do you not understand?


Sunday, November 14, 2010

A New Proposal Before The Virginia Legislature

"Don't Tread On Me" license plates.

Commenter Seanpatriot says: "I want mine to say 'COME AND TAKE IT' here in Texas." Here's the source of that slogan.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Parasite Of The Week

A New Jersey school administrator is trying to weasel out of a salary cap. I note in comments here that his salary well exceeds that of the New Jersey Secretary of Education. (And it would still be about 30K bigger under the salary cap.)


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tea Party Looms Over Mitt Romney Like The Sword Of Damocles

The Tea Party Express will not forget RomneyCare.

The Cato Institute dangled the sword earlier this year.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Alec Baldwin Ponders Elected Office Again

Can't support him like I did before - at least not in the general election. (He had gotten my endorsement months before he first floated the idea.) Primaries maybe.

Baldwin is thinking of running for Congress if Republican Randy Altschuler wins the neck-and-neck race with Tim Bishop.

So a Republican really does stand a chance of winning in NY-1 (east Long Island). Gosh.


Tea Party Looms Over Olympia Snowe Like The Sword Of Damocles

Marc A. Thiessen has thoughts about her 2012 reelection bid.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Olber Gantry


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The Spirit(s) Of Patronage

If you could cancel a government program that would result in lowering government and citizen costs and increasing revenues, most people would thing that's a good thing, right? What could possibly be more important than those things?

Government jobs.

Pennsylvania has public-sector liquor stores. What? How in the hecking heckity heck did something like that happen on this side of the Atlantic? I thought only Commies and the worst kind of Euroweenies were greedy and insane enough to nationalize booze.

Republicans now run both the governorship and the legislature, and privatization is on the table. Privatizing the industry will accomplish the three goals in the first paragraph, but "endanger[s] the jobs of thousands of state workers."

(Link via Rand Simberg.)


Saturday, November 06, 2010

Moderate Dems vs. Pelosi

Some House Democrats think it's time for a new coach.


Keith Olbermann's Replacement Should be...

...Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, aka "Baghdad Bob." If he's unavailable, there's always Ben Affleck.

Legally, MSNBC is in the right. The Network has a rule, and Olbermann broke it.

Ethically, the rule is dumb. Media outlets should not bar journalists - and especially not pundit journalists like Olby - from donating to political campaigns. The media should restrict the PUBLIC political activities of the journalists under their hire.


Birthday And Blogiversary

I turned fifty Friday November 5, and the Henderson Prize turned eight.

At such a milestone, one might expect me to have something poignant to say. Nothing comes to mind.

Over the past year I've had a lot of personal distractions. I hope to start putting more effort into this blog and the Henderson Prize soon.

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Friday, November 05, 2010

Langston Hughes, George Orwell, And The Tea Party

For those of you who brought your Langston Hughes collections, turn to the poem Harlem:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Hughes may have had a particular tragedy in mind, but despair is universal, and he eloquently captures its essence. Deferred dreams are met in different ways. Some people give up. Some get angry at the dream, or at themselves for having it. Some manage to savor the dream, whether they have any real hope in achieving it or not. Some sink into chronic despair. And some "explode" - that is, they drive themselves to some desperate act.

How does a dream explode?


In Animal Farm, Benjamin the donkey was fully aware of the machinations of the pigs that had ousted the owner of Manor Farm, and he hated every minute of it. But for whatever reasons he did not fight the swinish insurrectionists. Year after year he faced every new policy as an inevitable fate.

But that changed one day. His best friend, Boxer the work horse, had been injured in a battle with a neighboring farm. Over time his injuries sapped his strength, and one day he collapsed. The pigs sent for what they said was an ambulance; in reality it was a van for the horse slaughter and glue boiler.

Napoleon the "fierce-looking" Berkshire boar and his gang heaped misery upon miser, and Benjamin did nothing. But suddenly they upped the ante too far. Boxer was being sent to be killed. Benjamin madly chased the van with every last ounce - but in vain.

But after that one act of desperate act of defiance, he gave up and lived out his life in bitterness.


One of the basic needs of humanity is an economic system that is fruitful, reliable, and predictable. For a long time the Pirates of the Potomac have steadily eroded that pillar of civilization at a steady pace with hefty and complex tax policy and reckless spending. State governments have done likewise, some more than others. Those Americans - fiscal conservatives and libertarians - who recognized the tyranny for what it is groaned under it, and like Benjamin most didn't try to do anything about it.

But then the Glue Factory Moment arrived, in two stages. The first was TARP. In The Tea Started Brewing Under Bush, Timothy Dalrymple writes:

Many of the leaders in the Tea Party movement presently did protest the big-spending habits of the Bush administration. As I have noted elsewhere, the very same FreedomWorks that undergirds the Tea Party movement pushed hard to "Stop the Wall Street Bailout" in late 2008, at the same time as Dick Armey was declaring that “compassionate conservatism was a mistake” and Republicans should return to the effective compassion of small government solutions. And when the Heritage Foundation objected that TARP exceeded the enumerated authorities given the federal government in the Constitution, they gave the same reasons they give now for their support of Tea Party objectives.

The second phase, of course, was Obamanomics, a raft of policies culminating in the known world's first-ever trillion-dollar annual deficit. The Tea Party intensified as deficits this large would become repeat performances.

If the glue factory van was a faint blip during the TARP debate, it was coming around the corner now. No way could the American economy survive this kind of fiscal insanity for long. Obama, Reid and Pelosi upped the ante too fact. Americans could see Armageddon from their house.

These Americans did not follow Benjamin's example. They did not protest for one moment and then fade into the background. They took an option that is missing from Hughes' poem: they worked proactively to win back the dream.

America is not quite Animal Farm. We have a two-party system - one party dominated by pigs, the other with enough pigs and non-piggish cowards to maintain a porcine status quo in Washington.

Last Tuesday a lot of pigs (and cowards) were taken out, and the Tea Partiers now has a sizable voice in the latter party. They're after the glue factory van. They're trying to save theirs and their children's futures. Any leaders of that latter party who try to block their path to that van does so at his or her own political risk. The Tea Party has unseated top-ranking Republicans before, and it can do it again.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Best Advice For The Republicans

From Richard Viguerie, cited at Samizdata:

Some have asked how the Tea Party movement hopes to pressure Republican leaders or influence the party. That's the wrong way to look at it. The goal is not to pressure Republican leaders but to become the Republican leaders. The goal is not to influence the party but to become the party.

If you want a job done right, you've got to do it yourself. Don't put your trust in the pantywaists who led the party into defeat in 2006.


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