As you've probably noticed, the real world has intervened and I'm been unable to find the time to continue posting. Thanks to everyone who has read my work, and maybe we'll meet again some time.


Tim Blair has moved!


A reader of the Corner writes:

That is great! It is why our side wins the "flyover country" so solidly. Most of America doesn't have time for such theories or beliefs. That is why as soon as the advocates for the left-wing (not nessacerily the candidates, but the intellectuals and pundits and academics) start talking, most of America stops listening. Oh, if you have too much education for your own good or wish you did, you love this kind of stuff...but most of America with a high school diploma and some college or a degree has no interest in this. Two things to turn off middle America the quickest are making too much of obscure symbolism in trivial things, and trying to sound important by making complex arguments and using big words, and the best thing is that the LIBERALS DON'T KNOW THIS/CAN'T UNDERSTAND IT!

Conservatives love to mock intellectuals with 14 diplomas but not an ounce of common sense. However too often, as this emailer demonstrates, this ridicule turns to scorn of education itself. This perspective is as damaging to the conservative cause as the left's view of middle America is to that side's efforts. While many intellectuals certainly lack the common sense required to be conservative, the relationship is not causal in either direction. Therefore, conservatives should not denigrate an education, just those with one who can't see beyond the university gates.

There's no such thing as too much education.
The BBC informs us that the Iraqi people should really be thanking the Security Council:

Passage of the new Security Council resolution on Iraq will mean a new era for a country which has suffered from 13 years of sanctions and a generation of oppression by Saddam Hussein.

You know, many of us thought that Iraq’s “new era” began when coalition troops marched into Baghdad and toppled Saddam but the Beeb sets us straight.

It is only now, once the UN passed another resolution, that Iraq’s long national nightmare has finally come to an end.


Tonight's the Academy of Country Music Awards, and here's my list of predictions:

Female Vocalist:

Should Win - Martina McBride
Will Win - Same

I don't think this year was a particularly strong one for the ladies, so this is going to come down the MM and Faith. Faith defended two years in a row until Martina unseated her last year. Look for Martina to defend, and rightly so.

New Female Vocalist:

Should Win - None
Will Win - Who Cares (alt choice - Rebecca Lynn Howard)

Want to know what's wrong with modern country music? Look at the two female categories. The top two women are amazing, but after that the bench is not deep. Hopefully this year is a minor blip, because "New Female Vocalist" has produced some quality winners over the past decade.

Male Vocalist:

Should Win - Alan Jackson
Will Win - Tim McGraw

Top Vocalist and EotY don't often match up, so this year Tim takes home the Male Vocalist prize, although my vote would go to Jackson. It's a tough call between the two, though.

New Male Vocalist:

Should Win - Blake Shelton
Will Win - Same

Like the ladies, I can't say that anyone here really distinguished himself, but Blake was probably the best of the bunch.


Should Win - Brooks and Dunn
Will Win - Same

Category killers B&D win it again.


Should Win - Diamond Rio
Will Win - Dixie Chicks

Was my vote swayed by politics? You bet, and hope other's were too. That said, the Chicks did have a phenomenal 2002.

New Group:

Should Win - Nickel Creek
Will Win - Nickel Creek

While this isn't the Grammies where voters love giving Blue Grass/Folk performers country awards, Nickel Creek is by far the best of the lot.


Should Win - No Shoes (Kenny Chesney)
Will Win - Home (Dixie Chicks)

No Shoes really is a great album, but again it was probably personal bias that put me over the edge.


Should Win - Movin' On (Rascal Flatts)
Will Win - Drive (Alan Jackson)

It won't be the Angry American, and I don't think drive was quite as good as Movin' On, but both would be fine choices.

Vocal Event:

Should Win - Beer For My Horses
Will Win - Mendocino County Line

Willie's up for three in this category! Beer's probably my favorite song out right now, but Mendocino is a bit more voter friendly.


Should Win - Who's Your Daddy
Will Win - Drive

Miss. Georgia + sweet F-Series pickup = best video. But a lot of the voters are fathers and a lot are women, so Drive gets it.


Should Win - Toby Keith
Will Win - Toby Keith

This goes to the performer that had the biggest year, and Toby's was simply huge.
This week's Carnival is up over at Cut on the Bias.


Now that’s the kind of perceptive staff you want:

Morale in Rep. Karen McCarthy’s (D-Mo.) office has reached an all-time low following her return from an alcohol treatment program.
Staff members, many of whom have been recipients of her abuse, are coming to the conclusion that the situation is impossible and their only option may be to quit.
With bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco and continuing difficulty in the rebuilding of Iraq, Democratic candidates are beginning to ask whether national security could potentially be a source of weakness for Bush in 2004. Howard Kurtz, for one, addresses the subject in today's WaPo:

Whether they can exploit the issue – particularly with the aftermath in Iraq looking far more chaotic and shaky than the war itself – is an open question. What would they do differently? Can they convince the public that they're tough enough on national security? Would they look good in a flight suit?
It's probably better for the '04 candidates to engage the White House on what will inevitably be an overriding issue in the first post-9/11 presidential election, rather than sticking to poll-tested, consultant-driven, interest-group-pleasing spending proposals. Because the threshold question, as Joe Lieberman said in the South Carolina debate, is whether a potential president is strong enough to protect the country.

Kurtz is right that any perspective candidate cannot avoid national security post-9/11, yet it is hard to see any way for Democrats to turn this into a winning issue.

Kurtz asks the most important question of all – “what would they do differently?” Other than Graham, whose message only works if America becomes truly terrified, I find it hard to imagine an anti-terrorism counterproposal that could engineer significantly more support than what Bush’s current path. Therefore in talking about terrorism, the candidates are left merely sniping at Bush without offering any real counterproposals.

Think about it – what message could a Democrat offer that would both maintain the base (thus eliminating Graham’s) and, at the same time, cause the American people to want to replace Bush’s anti-terrorism plan with a new one? I can’t come up with one.

What does this mean for Democrats? How do we reconcile agreeing with Kurtz that the Democrats need to discuss terrorism while also acknowledging that a truly unique and effective counterplan doesn’t exist? Is it hopeless for the Democrats?

Not necessarily.

First off, as Lieberman keeps repeating, the Democratic candidate needs to have a basic level of authority on terrorism and foreign policy. Thus the wimp factor dooms Dean, the irrelevants (Sharpton and company), and perhaps even, due to his waffling on Iraq, Kerry.

Once they pass that test, I think the best chance the Democratic candidate has on terrorism is to agree with Bush. Sure, he can criticize this or that on the margin, but on the big picture he must be very agreeable. But here is the key – unlike Daschle prior to the 2002 election, the candidate can’t look like he’s following Bush’s lead. Instead, by repeatedly agreeing with the measures Bush took following 9/11, the Democrats should make these decisions look like common sense:

Of course I agree with the invasion of Afghanistan, improvements in homeland security, and working with our allies to break terrorist cells,” the candidate will say, “because it wasn’t leadership - it was logic, nothing more than common sense.”

Kurtz asks the Democrats what they would do differently. I say they should instead argue that they would have done exactly the same thing as Bush because no one would have acted differently.

To regain the White House, Democrats must be strong on security. Therefore avoiding the issue is simply not an option. Neither is an all-out attack on the President – they are then forced to put out an alternative for contrast, and, frankly, I don’t think any Democrat will beat Bush in a street fight over terrorism. Therefore, the only option remaining is to make the choices that Bush made look so obvious that his leadership becomes diminished.

Is this an easy option? Clearly not. Not only does it entail agreeing with your opponent on the fundamental issue of the day, it also runs the risk of enhancing Bush’s already strong hand on this issue. Yet, barring any major change in the war, working to make the decisions faced in the fight seem obvious is the best way for Democrats to remain engaged on this topic.
Should we call it the Andrew Sullivan award - given for the use of massive hyperbole in attacking the Christian Right's view of homosexuality? Here's Sullivan today on Gary Bauer:

But for Bauer, gay people are the equivalent of the KKK. A central tenet of his political message is not Christianity as represented in the Gospels, but the use of Christianity for purely political ends.
Woo hoo! The French are sending observers to the Congo! 1,000 years of peace!


Jay Caruso has a nice defense of Wal-Mart:

However, these places are always crowded, and always ringing up big sales because people get in one package what they want: to conveniently find decent products at a low price. Wal-Mart is one of the few places were somebody can buy a ceiling fan, underwear, a gallon of milk and the a copy of 'Toy Story' on DVD all in one place. Barnes and Noble discounts their titles. Plus they offer big comfortable armchairs to sit and read, and the best part is: you can actually return the books if you don't like them.
People have to understand that we live in a different world than we did so many moons ago. There is one thing that people don't anymore in abundant quantities: time. We're so busy working and doing so many different things that being able to shop at different stores for different items is a luxury these days. We don't want to have to special order items for our yard. That's why we go to Lowe's or Home Depot.

I've always found attacks by liberals - supposedly the champions of the common man - on Wal Mart a bit interesting. Like Jay said, they offer a decent product at a decent price, and what's wrong with that?


Happy Birthday Your Holiness!