Thursday, February 01, 2007
Biden on Obama
I see that Senator Joe Biden made The Drudge Report yesterday for the following remarks (specifically, the ones in bold) about fellow presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama:
Mr. Biden is equally skeptical -- albeit in a slightly more backhanded way -- about Mr. Obama. "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," he said. "I mean, that's a storybook, man."Predictably, this is causing conservatives to wish the leftist media would pounce on Biden in the same way they would had a Republican likewise said something that -- ripped from its context -- implied that most blacks are not "bright and clean".
But -- and the "but" was clearly inevitable -- he doubts whether American voters are going to elect "a one-term, a guy who has served for four years in the Senate," and added: "I don't recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic."
(After the interview with Mr. Biden and shortly before press time, Mr. Obama proposed legislation that would require all American combat brigades to be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of March 2008.) [bold added]
This is understandable on one level, but absurd on another. As Jonah Goldberg makes clear, Biden was really guilty only of the same thing Republicans are most of the time the press pounces on them: putting a point badly. "[E]veryone knows what the guy meant to say. He's simply missing 'candidate,' or 'presidential candidate' to be more accurate, after African-American. ... [I]f you read him as saying Obama's the first mainstream black Presidential candidate, Biden's right."
What I find frustrating about this is that we are seeing, for the umpteenth time, the conservatives tacitly admitting that they either have no ideas of their own or no confidence in them. Biden actually has made a good point -- one which the conservatives are probably afraid to make: Aside from Obama's support being due mainly to the fact that so little is known about him, it is partly due to the fact that as a black, he is something of a novelty. If anything, the Republicans should thank Biden for pointing this out and opening the door to attacking Obama on issues. But Instead, I guess the plagiarist is such a fearsome candidate that the Republicans must single him out from all the other pandering Democrats as a faux racist! And pass up the opportunity to begin to attack Obama on substantive grounds.
Well, okay. I won't pass up the plagiarism joke.... Buck up guys! Sooner or later, some bureaucrat is going to realize that two "Barack Obamas" have filed to run for President and the Biden juggernaut will have taken care of itself anyway!
California to Ban the Incandescent Bulb?
Reading some news stories is as good as banging your head against a wall. Like this one:
A California lawmaker wants to make his state the first to ban incandescent lightbulbs as part of California's groundbreaking initiatives to reduce energy use and greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.As if this weren't ridiculous enough, the "reporter" has to give his two cents' worth:
The "How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb Act" would ban incandescent lightbulbs by 2012 in favor of energy-saving compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
If passed, it would be another pioneering environmental effort in California, the most populous U.S. state. It became the first state to mandate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, targeting a 25 percent reduction in emissions by 2020. [bold added]Pioneering? In the sense of driving your Conestoga Wagon right over a cliff, it is.
The article then goes into excruciating detail about the minutiae of how much energy incandescent bulbs use versus an expensive new type (whose performance is apparently not yet up to the task of mass replacement).
Not once was it mentioned that the motivation for this bill -- the assumption that global warming occurs due to human activity -- is still controversial. Nor was the issue of whether the government really has any business -- even if such grounds were valid -- telling individuals what to screw into a light socket even brought up.
Instead, a piece of legislation that would blatantly violate individual rights and could ruin California's economy is treated like a long-awaited miracle cure! And after the advertising blurb, anyone out there with a brain is numbed to sleep with blather about nonessentials. If you don't believe that modern journalists are at war with rational public debate, this is a prime example.
Final Harry Potter Due in Summer!
July 21, to be precise. More here.
Two Good Ones via Noodle Food
Greg Perkins discusses the whirlwind tour of Ayn Rand and Objectivism written by Greg Salmieri and Alan Gotthelf for a philosophy dictionary and posted at the web site of the Ayn Rand Society.
Also, I rather belatedly followed Diana Hsieh's advice to read Mike's demolition job of the common smear about Objectivism as "ignoring children".
I find this criticism especially annoying. If you think about it, it is a disguised "Ayn Rand eats babies" attack. The motivation is very clear; it is an attempt to show Objectivism as callous and incapable of providing practical guidance. It does this by preying on ignorance about Objectivism and common misconceptions about egoism.Quite the opposite is true, as a matter of fact. Read it all, if you haven't already.
Support Objectivism Online!
Here's how. They're all pretty easy, too.
Today: (1) Revised first section. (2) Corrected link at "plagiarist".