March 23rd, 2007 by Rightsideup

In all the coverage over the return of John Edwards’ wife’s breast cancer, there has been little or no mention of the fact that he now becomes the second current presidential candidate – not the first – to have a spouse afflicted with a serious illness. Mitt Romney’s wife Ann, of course, suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, and although the illness is currently in remission, it could presumably return at any time. It will be interesting to see how the illness of both these candidates’ wives affects their candidacy and campaigns.

March 23rd, 2007 by Rightsideup

The quote attributed to Andrew Jackson, “One man with courage makes a majority,” (see this link for an explanation of why we shouldn’t really attribute it to him) appears to have been both taken a little literally and distorted by his political descendants.

For the last several years (essentially since the 2000 election) Democrats and other liberals have acted as if small groups with strong enough opinions should be treated as if they were in fact majorities. After accusing George W Bush of “stealing” that election, they have since claimed that he was “not listening” on the war in Iraq, that we needed to pull out of the war, etc. even though for a long time these people did not constitute a majority. James Taranto included some comments on a recent story in his Best of the Web column this week (see Vandals for Peace).

Although the 2000 election provides a pretext (the 2004 election surely should have neutralised this, but of course didn’t), Democrats no longer even tie their civil disobedience back to the stolen election. They just act like they’re in the majority, and express disbelief when neither Bush himself nor their elected Democratic leaders in Congress are willing to adopt their extreme positions. They assume this means that they are “not listening” rather than understanding that their political leaders have listened and yet disagree with them. This must be particularly frustrating for them since Democrats now have a literal majority in Congress and yet haven’t pulled troops out yet. On the other hand, it appears the original quote (even if attributed to Jackson’s biographer and not Jackson himself) appears to have been “desperate courage makes one a majority” – so not such a far cry from the Democrats’ current interpretation “desperation makes a majority”.

Will this trend continue, or will things change if a Democrat wins in 2008? Chances are, the left wing of the left wing will continue to be unhappy with virtually any political leadership and will continue to act as if its strong opinions (not courage) make a majority.

March 22nd, 2007 by Rightsideup

Many news outlets covered the story about the attempted attack on the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon – including CNN, which had both an article and video.

So, it appears that even the UN is a target for Al Qaeda – it doesn’t make (to them) subtle distinctions between Westerners who favour the removal of dictators and Westerners who want to talk dictators down. Much as Democrats and other liberals want to suggest that the way to success in the Middle East is a UN-type approach, this is a useful reminder that Al Qaeda doesn’t think so.

Separately, Ban did remarkably well to regain his composure after the explosion hit, although even more impressive was Al-Maliki, who appeared barely to flinch.

March 22nd, 2007 by Rightsideup

Gordon Brown delivered his 11th (and presumably last) budget on Wednesday. It appears that, among other things (including surprise “tax cuts”) Brown is going to force all children up to the age of 18 to stay in school. However, instead of honestly describing this initiative in this way, he puts it thus:

“We will, for the first time in our country‚Äôs history, make education a right for every young person until 18″ [my emphasis]

So now, when we force people to do something, we are describing it as a “right” on their part. I wonder what other rights we could think up? The “right” to pay high taxes? The “right” to have our children’s education entirely dictated by the government? The “right” to speak only those words which are considered politically correct? Is this a preview of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister? Creating new obligations and labelling them rights?

March 19th, 2007 by Rightsideup

The WSJ has a good article summarising some of the changes in the coverage of the global warming debate of late – focusing on Al Gore’s personal issues in this department but also some of the other coverage of respectable scientists who disagree with Gore in part or in totality.

One of the biggest themes of the last several weeks is hypocrisy on Gore’s part. It appears that, while urging all others to change their lives now to save the planet, he continues to live the same old luxury lifestyle while using his cash to pay off his guilt. There are obvious parallels here with the old practice of rich landowners sending others to fight in their place in wartime – it was no more honourable then.

March 17th, 2007 by Rightsideup

The BBC has published the first of a number of pieces which constitute a backlash against hte alarmism of the climate change industry and Al Gore’s movie in particular. Respectable scientists – most of whom are in agreement with the basic premises that warming is occurring and that CO2 emissions play a part – are questioning the tone of Gore’s movie and some of its more outlandish predictions. Great (and somewhat surprising) that the news media are actually covering this – perhaps because Gore is a wealthy politician and not just a bleeding-heart activist? Perhaps the hypocrisy about his Tennessee home pushed them away? Who cares – as long as we now begin to get a more realistic picture of the ongoing debate about climate change I’m all for it.

March 4th, 2007 by Rightsideup

The Wall Street Journal has an article on climate change (Cap and Charade) which looked at the issue of businesses getting sucked into the climate change debate. See previous blog from 27 January for the first mention of this. It focuses on the artificial scarcity in CO2 emissions caused by a cap-and-trade system, and the perverse incentives a plan to introduce such a system creates for businesses. Efficient (“green”) businesses which already have low carbon emissions are seeking to get their allowances set as high as possible so they can make big windfall profits from selling their CO2 rights.

A nasty cynicism on the part of businesses has crept in around climate change – whereas they used to fight the climate change agenda on the basis that it would force them into changes in practices that would be detrimental for their businesses, they are now embracing it at least in some cases because they see a way to make a quick buck. But of course this lends additional false legitimacy to the whole campaign and it could end up coming back to bite them if it adds further to the “the debate is over” trend we’re seeing.

March 3rd, 2007 by Rightsideup

Mitt Romney gave a phenomenal speech at the CPAC conference on Friday. It’s great written down (RedState has the full speech here) but he also did a great job delivering it (you can see part of it on Mitt TV here). So much better than his announcement speech, which was a bit of a damp squib. I guess it’s a pretty different audience at CPAC from the nightly news, but this is the kind of stuff he’s got to be saying and the way he’s got to be saying it to really get attention and win votes. I hope we have more of it.