News from the world o’blog…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader took yesterday off from blogging. As it was Richard Wagner’s birthday he broke out his Brigit Nilssen recordings of Die Walkure and enjoyed a little bit of the Ho-ya-ta-ho on the iPod.

Your Maximum Leader has noticed, as he’s sure many of you have as well, two important changes in the sphere o’blog in the past few days… The first is that the very lovely Annika of Annika’s Journal has retired her blogging keyboard in favor of studying for the California Bar. Your Maximum Leader can understand that a young woman would want to put her life and career before the needs of her readers. Afterall… We all want Annika to be a successful lawyer in the Golden State, fighting to put sense back into our crazy legal system. Who knows, Annika might wind up as a judge some day (and the 9th Circuit could use a little dose of Annika)… Of course, in the Mike World Order, Annika will be Commissioner of Baseball.

Annika, fare thee well in your studies. Your Maximum Leader wishes you the best (even if you are leaving him high and dry from the perspective of blogging). He looks forward to seeing your occasional posts over on Six Meat Buffet.

The second bit of news from the world o’blogs is over at our friends the Peperium’s. One day you go to bed after reading about the exploits of Mrs. P… The next day you wake up and find that Patum Peperium is a group blog! A group blog with a line up that is a veritable “murderers row” of your Maximum Leader’s favorite bloggers (and commenters). Let’s make sure he gets this right… Blogging now at Patum Peperium are: Mrs. P., Mr. P., Sir Basil Seal, Fr. M., Old Dominion Tory, Christine, and “Crackie.”

Your Maximum Leader might guess that “Crackie” might also be known as “Chip,” but your Maximum Leader could be wrong…

Big news, loyal readers. Very big news…

Of course, here at Naked Villainy, it is pretty much your Maximum Leader and Smallholder just plodding along… A pseudo-benevolent autocrat and his manure besmattered farmer friend. What a combo.

Carry on.

Fareed Zakaria Lays The Hammer Down

Fareed Zakaria is an insightful columnist who doesn’t hold with partisan hogwash. He looks at the facts and makes up his mind instead of making up his mind and then trying to make the facts fit. When he is mistaken, he’ll publicly acknowledge the mistake and discuss why he was in error in some detail. He influenced me early on to support the invasion of Iraq (together with Micheal Pollack), and his turn against the Bush mismanagement of the effort mirrors my own.

Today, he takes on immigration. His title?

“America’s New Know-Nothings”

Heh.

In 1989, Ronald Reagan made his farewell address to the American people and summed up his view of the United States. “I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life,” he said, “but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. [I]n my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and heart to get here.” Today, all the Republican Party can talk about are walls, fences, border guards and attack dogs.

“But that was about legal immigration,” Republicans today will claim. “Our complaints are about illegal aliens.” Actually Reagan addressed the issue of illegals directly and with surprising candor. In a radio address in 1977, he observed that apples were rotting on trees in New England because no Americans were willing to pick them. “It makes one wonder about the illegal-alien fuss. Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal-alien invasion or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won’t do?” Reagan asked. “One thing is certain in this hungry world: no regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters.”

The facts incidentally confirm Reagan’s view. The six states that get the largest inflow of illegal immigrants—New York, California, Illinois, Texas, Florida and Arizona—have unusually low unemployment rates. With the exception of California and Illinois, they are all lower than the already-low national average of 4.5 percent (last month). As for the argument that immigrants depress the wages of native-born Americans, the best new research on this topic—by economists Giovanni Peri and Chad Sparber—demonstrates that unskilled immigrants complement rather than replace native Americans in the labor force, doing jobs that native Americans will not.

The compromise immigration bill worked out in the Senate by Sens. Ted Kennedy and John Kyl is imperfect. But in broad terms it solves many of the problems with the current immigration system and, in Kennedy’s words, “brings millions of people out of the shadows and into the sunshine of America.” It does what legislation in a large and diverse country should do—makes trade-offs, compromises and accommodations to actually get something done. The requirements for illegal immigrants are so arduous that many might stay hidden and the guest-worker program is so complicated that it might be unworkable. But these features could be fixed and the proposal does move this important issue forward.

And yet, it faces a barrage of criticism on the right from those who seem to reject any solution to immigration that does not deport 12 million people. Anything else they call amnesty. The term amnesty comes from the 1986 immigration bill, supported and signed by Ronald Reagan, which gave many illegal immigrants in the United States immediate permanent residency—green cards—with few requirements, a tiny fee and a fast-tracked application process. The current proposal would allow illegal immigrants to apply for a green card after a minimum of eight years, the payment of large fines and fees and proof of clean records and good employment history. To call this amnesty is to reveal that no compromise will ever be acceptable.

More startling than the transformation of the Republican Party has been the cowardice of its presidential candidates. Four of the men running for the Republican nomination—John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Sam Brownback—had sensible views on immigration. All supported the original Kennedy-McCain bill, which was a much more intelligent and also more liberal piece of legislation than the current proposal. Apart from McCain, all have now backtracked in various ways. It isn’t just the politicians who are AWOL. The Weekly Standard had been a lone voice for immigration reform on the right. But it has been strangely silent of late, not having run an editorial on the topic for one year, a year during which immigration has been a burning issue. The Republican Party today is filled with what Winston Churchill called “boneless wonders.”

There are legitimate concerns about illegal immigration and about the need for assimilation especially among Mexican immigrants. But it is also true that beneath the current wave of protests lies a familiar fear. In 1996 Rudy Giuliani clearly identified it: “The anti-immigration issue that’s now sweeping the country in my view is no different than the movements that swept the country in the past,” he said. “You look back at the Chinese Exclusionary Act, or the Know-Nothing movement—these were movements that encouraged Americans to fear foreigners, to fear something that is different, and to stop immigration.” He was right then. But the Republican Party he wants to lead is becoming the modern incarnation of the Know-Nothings.

People watching nature

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees on loyal reader and commenter (and neighbor of the Smallholder) Polymath’s site that our good friend the Smallholder was displaying some of his sheep at the local town fair over the weekend.

And while displaying his livestock to the crowds… Something happened… Something natural…

But you will have to read all about it to find out more! (Pictures too!)

Carry on.

Cutty Sark Fire

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader loves tall ships. He will often go out of his way to see them under sail. If he knows that one will be in port somewhere, he will seek it out.

As a young villain, in the days before he was Maximum Leaderly, your Maximum Leader visited Britain for a long summer. During that summer (1985 in fact), he went to Greenwich and saw the tea clipper Cutty Sark. It was a memorable visit. Your Maximum Leader imagined racing from China with a load of tea to get the top prices in London. Wonderful stuff…

Well… Last night the Cutty Sark burned. The ship has been closed for restoration, and last night it was engulfed in flames. According to the wire services:

Firefighters responded to an early morning alarm at the ship’s dry dock. The flames were out about two hours later.

“At the moment we are treating the fire as suspicious, as we would do any fire of this scale and importance,” police Inspector Bruce Middlemiss said. Surveillance cameras showed several people in the area at the time the fire started, but there was no indication that any had been involved in igniting the fire.

“There is no evidence or intelligence to lead us to think this was an arson,” Middlemiss said.

The ship is the world’s only surviving example of an extreme clipper, regarded as the ultimate development of a merchant sailing vessel. Most of the original hull had survived since the ship was built for the tea trade of the 1800s.

Cutty Sark had been closed to visitors since last year for a $50 million renovation.

The leaders of the restoration project said the damage was not as bad as they feared.

“I’m relieved. I came here thinking the ship had gone on her last journey,” said Richard Doughty, chief executive of the Cutty Sark Trust.

However, “this will have resulted in millions and millions of pounds of damage. This is a ship that belongs to the world, and we’re going to need financial help,” said Doughty.

Your Maximum Leader is glad to hear that the ship, it is believed, can be repaired. He hopes that they can rebuild the Cutty Sark as a museum to a lost age of sail.

By the way… Do any of you know what a “cutty sark” is? (Without googling?) Robert Burns fans probably do…

Carry on.

Offal-ly good on Friday

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, if he’s not mentioned it before, is of Scottish ancestry. And as we all know, we Scots (or those of Scottish ancestry) have a fascination with bad food.

This is not to say that Scottish food is bad. Because really - it isn’t. It is quite good in many respects. But ask yourself something… When you think Scotland and food what do you think about?

Come on… You were thinking Haggis weren’t ye? Of course, ye were.

So… Your Maximum Leader availed himself of eating haggis when once he visited fair Pict-land. He’s had it a number of times since. He’s even prepared it once…

Your Maximum Leader writes this to establish his bona fides in terms of offal.

Now… For your reading (and viewing) pleasure…

Porchetta Di Testa (or marinated and braised pigs head) Honestly… It looks pretty good…

Your Maximum Leader doffs his bejeweled floppy (mylan) cap to loyal reader and commenter Polymath for the link.

Carry on.

Smallholder: Also Not A Politician

Allow your Maximum Leader to say something… There was a time when he thought he might get into politics and run for something. Well… Last night reminded him why he doesn’t have the patience to do it. He doubts he could remain civil to a voter who wanted to lecture him on the flawed science of global warming - as related to him by this friend of a friend who once studied meteorology at a community college for a semester. At some point your Maximum Leader would want to just strangle the lecturer. It is your Maximum Leader’s understanding that in a democracy, one can’t just go around strangling voters. Although, if the voter was an idiot one hopes an exception could be made…

The Maximum Leader’s murderous fantasy reminded me of my own consideration of higher office.

When I was in Maryland, NASCAR sought to have an industrial site near my community rezoned so they could build a new track. They arrogantly assumed that they could ram the rezoning down the throat of Anne Arundel County’s residents. They ran into a buzzsaw. My community got particularly active. During one public meeting, I ended up at the microphone as a spokesman for that community. As the next speaker after an hour-long bells and whistles presentation form NASCAR, I took apart their highly-paid lobbyist’s arguments piece by piece. There were around 700 people in the audience and I had them cheering and going nuts.

Your humble Smallholder is a rather shy individual. As an introvert, I don’t generally like to be in the public eye. Rage at the dishonesty of the developers propelled me forward. That said, during my twenty-minute demolition of the exaggerations, half-truths, bad science and outright lies of the NASCAR goons, I felt the rush that all demagogues cherish. I experience that rush in the classroom. Setting aside protestation of humility, I am a damn entertaining high school teacher. But in this instance, the numbers were so much greater and the response so vociferous, that the adrenelin started flowing and I started purposefully playing to the emotions of the crowd and designed applause lines on the fly.

After the meeting, I was approached to run against the incument councilman who had angered the community by not coming out against the project. It was flattering, but, like the Maximum Leader, I knew that I was unelectable.

Case in point: During the council campaign, a woman got up at the debate and asked the candidates what they were going to force the Naval Academy to keep the Naval Academy dairy open*.

If I had been on that stage, I would have answered:

“Absolutely nothing, you twit. Read the Constitution. The U.S. Navy is not accountable to a county council in any way, shape or form.”

I’d have answered the abortion and immigration questions the same way.

Additionally, we all know what happens to moderates**. I’d never get elected because I’d gore somebody’s ox everytime I opened my mouth. The middle position doesn’t garner much support.

And on some issues I’m well outside the mainstream. If someone asked my about getting tough on crime, I’d say that I was in favor of releasing drug offenders in order to make truly violent criminal serve a greater proportion of their sentences. The electable answer is to either a) build more prisons without raising taxes or to b) magically use government power overcome bad familial influence and install law-abiding values in the underclass.

If I honestly attempted to triage the importance of incarceration, I’d be painted as being pro-drug.

Loyal readers also know that my analysis of the immigration issue won’t win any votes. Our leadership on both sides of the aisle understands that illegal immigrants are crucial and beneficial to out society and that they don’t promote crime and that there is no way to seal the border. But try saying that out loud and see how well you do with the “wah! My unemployment isn’t the result of my own choices - it’s those brown-skinned for’ners!” crowd.

And when taxes come up, it’s likely that my TANSTAAFL response is unlikely to be favorably viewed by either side of the political divide.

Now, the Maximum Leader would like you to believe that I choose my candidate based on physical characteristics. In this he is as reliable as is customary. I frequently fault the insipid reasons behind the avergae voter’s ballot decision. In fact, a common refrain in my AP US history class is me channeling Jerry Seinfeld but instead of exclaiming “Newman!” I grit my teeth and declaim “Jacksonian Democracy!”

kennedynixondebate.jpg

The Kennedy-Nixon televised debate was a tipping point in American politics, but it would actually help Smallholder as a candidate.

Americans tend to evaluate candidates on how they look, and I have to admit, I’m a handsome, handsome man:

grizzly-adams.jpg

UPDATE: Thanks to Kevin, who reminded me I didn’t add the footnotes.

* The Naval Academy used to have a dairy in order to serve the cadets good raw milk in the days before pasteurization. Post World-War Two, the new highway systems and trucking brought store-bought milk right to the table, so the Naval Academy could have chosen to buy milk like any other food. However, tradition is strong at Annapolis and the U.S. Navy continued to operate a dairy farm until the 1990s. The farm set on land that was incredibly valuable for development. The U.S. Navy decided that operating the dairy was outside their mission and determined to shut it down. The good citizens of Anne Arundel were apoplectic. My God, the land might be sold to developers! And it was.

** As the Maximum Leader likes to point out, moderates are usually the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

Political Debates Part the Second.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader mentioned yesterday that he recently attended a debate amongst the various candidates for the Republican nomination for the 28th District Virginia Senate seat. He noted that on the basis of what he heard there, he was choosing to vote for Richard Stuart in the primary election.

Now… Your Maximum Leader chanced to be visiting his local coffee shop when he was on the receiving end of a stare from another patron of the establishment. While your Maximum Leader was sipping his chai in the shop for a moment the person giving him the stare approached him. The stranger looked vaugely familiar. The stranger had a face your Maximum Leader had seen - but couldn’t place.

The stranger asked your Maximum Leader if he (your Maximum Leader that is) was in the audience at the Republican debate the other night. Your Maximum Leader said that he was. Then we established that we had, in fact, been sitting a few seats away from one another during the debate. The stranger asked your Maximum Leader if he was going to vote for Mr. Myers. Your Maximum Leader said that he was not. The stranger asked if your Maximum Leader was going to support Mr. Van Hoy. Your Maximum Leader stated that while he was impressed with Mr. Van Hoy, he was going to vote for Mr. Stuart.

Well… That didn’t seem to go over too well with the stranger. Didn’t your Maximum Leader know that Mr. Stuart wasn’t a “real” conservative? Didn’t your Maximum Leader know that Mr. Stuart was “squishy?” Didn’t your Maximum Leader know that Mr. Stuart was a dreaded RINO?

Since your Maxmium Leader had a moment he decided to play along. He admitted to the stranger that he did not know these things. The stranger then announced that Mr. Stuart had, in the past, given a political donation to Andrew Pollard? (Mr Pollard is the Democratic nominee for the same position that Mr Stuart seeks.) Didn’t your Maximum Leader know that Mr. Stuart had bought tickets to the inaugural ball for (now former - Democrat) Governor Mark Warner?

Your Maximum Leader asked the stranger how exactly these items were proof that Mr. Stuart wasn’t a conservative. The stranger announced that the very act of making a political donation to “the enemy” was proof positive that someone couldn’t be trusted. Your Maximum Leader speculated that Mr. Stuart, a lawyer, may have just wanted to be on good terms with the elected representatives in the Commonwealth with whom he might have to interact? It is not uncommon for lawyers and businessmen to donate to both political parties afterall… Well… That didn’t go over too well…

Then the stranger said that Mr. Stuart wasn’t Pro-life enough. Your Maximum Leader said that what he heard Mr. Stuart say was that he was Pro-life, but that he recognizes that the Virginia Senate isn’t empowered to overturn the law of the land as decreed by the Supreme Court of the United States. That wasn’t the point said the stranger. The point was that he didn’t come out and say he would do all he could to outlaw abortions. Your Maximum Leader followed up by saying that Mr. Stuart didn’t say that at all. He just stated that he acknowledged that he knew what the law of the land was, and that as a Virginia Senator there wasn’t much he could do to change the Federal law. Your Maximum Leader added that no one asked what Mr. Stuart might consider reasonable restrictions to abortion that might withstand a federal challenge.

Well… That didn’t seem to sit well with the stranger either. The final point appeared to be that Mr. Stuart lives in Montross, VA. Montross is a rural town in the eastern area of the district. To the stranger, your Maximum Leader ought to support a candidate who lived in Stafford or Fredericksburg (more densely populated areas on the western area of the district). To the stranger it was obvious that no one in Montross could know what the problems of Stafford and Fredericksburg were.

Your Maximum Leader asked the stanger if it was possible for someone outside our area to read a newspaper, or a blog, or make friends in different areas so as to learn more about what is going on somewhere else?

It was about that point that the stranger excused himself saying that he needed to get on with his errands…

So did your Maximum Leader…

And your Maximum Leader is still voting for Mr. Stuart.

Carry on.

Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, as he mentioned yesterday, did not watch the Republican Presidential Candidates Debate the other day. He has, however, through regular reading of many blogs, now read about/heard about/seen video footage of the little tiff between Rep. Ron Paul and (former Mayor) Rudy Giuliani.

Your Maximum Leader thought he might comment a little on the exchange. Alas… Mr. Poulos has done a smashing job writing what your Maximum Leader was thinking. No need for additional comment here.

Carry on.

Sexy Awards

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has gone what, a week or more, without writing a post about the dreamy Jennifer Love Hewitt? At least a week anyhow…

Well… What should your Maximum Leader read today but that the dreamy Miss Hewitt won a Saturn Award for Best Actress Science Fiction, Horror, or Fantasy Television program. Take THAT Mr and Mrs Emmy! Hah! Your silly golden statue ain’t got nuthin’ on the Saturn Award! Nuthin’

Okay… Your Maximum Leader admits that he’s never heard of the Saturn Awards until this very day. They seem to give away some shiny golden thingie. One must wonder if the star must receive the award in person, or if they can just have their housekeeper sign for it when the UPS guy delivers it after awards show airs on a Los Angeles area cable access channel.

Anyhoo… Congratulations to the very dreamy Jennifer Love Hewitt. You won a best actress award, your series was picked up for another season. Things are going well for you. They would be going better for you if you would drop your Maximum Leader a line from time to time… But hey, you must be a busy woman.

A few days ago, our friend - the delightful Mrs P - directed your Maximum Leader towards an article in the Daily Mail about the very beautiful Sophia Loren. It seems that Mrs. Loren recently attended a party for her film studio. At the party Miss Loren (or is it Mrs Ponti? - aged 72) wore a dress with a rather plunging neckline. (If you clicky on the linky you will see her in the dress.) Now some are speculating that Miss Loren (really - should she really be Mrs Ponti?) has gone under the knife the enhance her “figure.”

Frankly, your Maximum Leader doesn’t know - and frankly doesn’t much care - if Sophia Loren has had cosmetic surgery. If she has, he will admit that he doesn’t understand why she might have done so. Regardless, for over 50 years Sophia Loren has been a stunningly beautiful woman. Your Maximum Leader would (if he were single and unencumbered by family - or some would say morals) gladly submit to a date (or two) with Sophia Loren. She is a beautiful woman (and reportedly she is politically right of center - which is always a plus…). What hormonally normal man (who hasn’t taken a religious vow of some sort) wouldn’t?

And finally… It seems Maxim Magazine has come out with their list of the top 100 best looking women. Topping the list - Lindsay Lohan. (If you want to just peruse the list itself here it is.) Not appearing on the list - the dreamy Jennifer Love Hewitt (frankly neither does Sophia Loren).

To this your Maximum Leader can safely declare that whoever it is at Maxim that thinks up this list is obviously smoking crack or something… Whoever thinks up this list should also be glad that the Mike World Order (MWO) is not upon us. For if it were… That man (or woman, or group) would be dragged out and shot.

Carry on.

Political Debates

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wonders if any of you out there read the title of the post and assumed that this post would be about last night Republican Presidential Candidates debate…

Well, it isn’t. Your Maximum Leader isn’t paying attention to those people. They make his head hurt. Call him when the field gets winnowed down to two or three… And don’t call him until next year either… It is unseemly to be campaigning so early…

Anyhoo…

For those of you who follow such things… Your Maximum Leader lives in the 28th Virginia Senate District. The Hon. John Chichester has been representing this district for-evah. The Hon. Senator has decided that it is time to retire. So, there are now four men vying for the Republican nomination for this now-open seat. The four candidates were debating near the Villainschloss, so your Maximum Leader attended to hear what these men had to say about the issues.

Excursus: Just in case you cared, the Democrats have already selected their candidate - so there were no Democratic party debates to attend… If there were, your Maximum Leader would probably have gone to them…

Now… Allow your Maximum Leader to make a confession. Two confessions in fact. The first confession is that (honestly) he didn’t know walking into the debate which of the candidates he would be inclined to support. One of the candidates was endorsed by Senator Chichester and your Maximum Leader’s delegate, Speaker of the House of Delegates - Bill Howell. Those were two meaningful endoresments as far as your Maximum Leader was concerned… But he didn’t really have an opinon on any of the candidates, because (aside from the endoresments) he didn’t know much about them.

Oh yeah… The second confession… Your Maximum Leader walked into the debate and was shocked to discover that there were four candidates seeking the seat. Your Maximum Leader was only aware of three prior to the debate. Oops…

Well… There is something to be said for attending an event with fellow citizens and seeing how “the system” works. Your Maximum Leader will venture to say that of the 70-odd people in the room, he was one of perhaps 5 who didn’t seem to support any particular candidate. All other attendees appeared to have chosen their man beforehand and were there for moral support.

The format of the debate was interesting. The local GOP had six “subject matter” experts who each asked the same three questions of all the candidates. Questions ranged from Transportation (a hot-button issue), taxation, education, public safety, moral/ethical issues (abortion and stem cell research), and immigration.

Your Maximum Leader will admit that he was surprised to learn that there were going to be questions on immigration. Afterall, how much influence does a state senator have over the problems of immigration policy? Not much. But apparently that didn’t stop people from asking. The best response was from one of the candidates who said, like your Maximum Leader was thinking, that he didn’t think he would have much impact on the immigration situation and that it was a federal matter. If only the rest of the candidates said the same. (One of the candidates wanted to empower Sherriffs and the state police to arrest and incarcerate illegal immigrants for just being illegal immigrants. Further he said that illegals should be held until they can be deported. This got some applauds from some in the room. But your Maximum Leader sat there dumbstruck thinking to himself that when illegals are arrested for committing serious crimes the INS wants nothing to do with them. It is almost impossible to deport an illegal who has been convicted of a crime. So holding illegals in anticipation of them being deported seems preposterous.)

All in all… The four candidates attempted to “out-conservative” each other. Since they were in front of a “friendly” crowd this seemed like a reasonable strategery. The memory of Ronald Reagan was invoked by most of the candidates - which was nice, but is growing a little old for your Maximum Leader. Reagan was a visionary man of his day. We have many different problems facing our nation - and our community. And your Maximum Leader thinks it is hard to guage how Ronald Reagan would have felt about raising the speed limit to 60 mph on Route 3 east of Fredericksburg; or how Reagan would “fix” the intersection of Route 1 and Route 17 (which, by the way, needs to be “fixed”).

Your Maximum Leader thought it took real guts for one candidate to stand up and assert that Roe v Wade was the law of the land and for the most part there wasn’t much he could do to change the fact that abortion is legal. He indicated that he would consider reasonable restrictions within the confines of the law; but that he couldn’t change the law of the land. In front of the gathered crowd, it was a real bold move.

After the Q & A from the “subject matter experts,” there were screened questions from the audience. Your Maximum Leader submitted two questions - neither of which were asked. (If only they had known they were from your Maximum Leader!)

NB to Smallholder: Your Maximum Leader asked two of the candidates after the debate had ended if they had considered relaxing restrictions on the selling of raw milk. They both admitted they had never contemplated the issue. Although one of the candidates did say that he knew some organic farmers in the district and might solicit their ideas if he wins the nomination and the seat.

After the audience questions, there were brief closing statements and then time to mingle…

Allow your Maximum Leader to say something… There was a time when he thought he might get into politics and run for something. Well… Last night reminded him why he doesn’t have the patience to do it. He doubts he could remain civil to a voter who wanted to lecture him on the flawed science of global warming - as related to him by this friend of a friend who once studied meteorology at a community college for a semester. At some point your Maximum Leader would want to just strangle the lecturer. It is your Maximum Leader’s understanding that in a democracy, one can’t just go around strangling voters. Although, if the voter was an idiot one hopes an exception could be made…

If you are still reading this post - and your Maximum Leader doubts many of you are - you might be wondering who these candidates are and what your Maximum Leader is now thinking…

Well… By the end of the debate, your Maximum Leader had determined that he could support either John Van Hoy or Richard Stuart. Both men were thoughtful, reasoned, and aligned with your Maximum Leader on significant issues. In the end he’s decided to cast his vote on Saturday for Richard Stuart. There were a few reasons for this. The first is that Mr. Stuart was the candidate who admitted that he couldn’t change Roe v. Wade because it was the law of the land, and he also indicated that there wasn’t much he could do about illegal immigration as it was a federal issue. Your Maximum Leader respects a man who can get up in front of a crowd of ideological supporters and tell them something they didn’t want to hear, but that showed he understood the office for which he was running and its limitations. The second reason is that Mr. Stuart has won elections before. He ran for, and defeated an incumbent Democrat, to win the Office of Commonwealth’s Attorney in Westmoreland County. Unfortunately, Mr. Van Hoy doesn’t have that experience. This will be a hard-fought race and you need a man with some experience running for something.

Finally… Mr. Stuart seems more “senatorial.” And we all know that one must look the part…

Actually… Your Maximum Leader typed that last line just to get a laugh from Smallholder - who once had to fess up that a close relative of his voted for George H.W. Bush for President because Bush was “taller” than Dukkais. Since then your Maximum Leader has harboured doubts that the Smallholder himself gets all caught up in how a candidate looks in determining how to exercise his franchise.

Carry on.

Forgotten tag lines

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader knew early on that he wanted a tag line generator on his blog… He first saw one over on Anna’s site and he wanted some himself. (Ahhh… Has your Maximum Leader ever admitted that his first blog crush was Anna? It was…)

Anyhoo… Sortly after establishing the blog… Your Maximum Leader got a random tag line generator on his blog. He still has it. It is up on the upper right side if you’ve never noticed it before…

Today he saw displayed a tag line he’d forgotten he’d added to the list. It made him smile… “Naked Villainy… Making you yearn for a firm boot on your neck daily.”

Your Maximum Leader is still smiling about that.

Carry on.

The Gentleman from Tennessee

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that in NRO today John Derbyshire is picking Al Gore as the next President of the United States. As improbable as it seems now, your Maximum Leader could see it happening if Clinton or Obama start to come off the rails early enough.

Carry on.

Not an iota of difference

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that over on the Washington Post, there is a lengthy article about how the GOP Presidential front-runners are remaining silent or (in the case of John McCain - backing away) from various immigration proposals before the US Senate right now. An interesting quotation from the piece:

Activists on both sides of the debate say the presidential candidates are becoming more conservative on the issue, believing that GOP primary voters who will decide the Republican nomination want tougher positions on how to deal with illegal immigrants.

More than one-third of Republicans said in exit polls after the 2006 election that illegal immigration was extremely important to their vote. More than two-thirds of conservative Republicans surveyed by Pew Research in March said that newcomers from other countries threaten “customs and values” of America.

Your Maximum Leader is nominally a Republican. (He describes himself as a “conservative.” A label which, it seem in the sense your Maximum Leader understands it, doesn’t immediately afiliate one with either party immediately. Although in the past 30-odd years the Republican party has generally supported a “conservative” agenda.) He, like other Republican voters, wants a tougher position from politicians of all stripes on immigration and illegal immigration.

But he also wants to be sensible. Lets throw out a few unsensible items to consider… Mass deportation. Read your Maximum Leader’s lips. Not. Gonna. Happen. And frankly it can’t and shouldn’t happen. It would be devastating to our economy - which depends on illegals in a host of different ways. And frankly, your Maximum Leader feels that deporations are out of character for our nation historically.

Here is a second thing that isn’t going to happen… The creation of any workable way of transitioning current illegals into some legal status that doesn’t ultimately give amnesty to the illegal in one way or another. Some say that making illegals pay a fine for breaking our laws isn’t amnesty. Really, it is in that if you levy a fine that is not onerous on the person paying the fine it is hardly punishment. And if you levy an onerous fine, the person being fined (who is not known to you now because he has no official status) will not come forward and volunteer to be fined.

Finally… Your Maximum Leader will come back to the point that he’s made time and time again… Nothing the Congress, the States, or the President does will make a damned bit of difference until the border is secured. Back in the Reagan years the first big amnesty was going to “take care of the problem.” It didn’t. It didn’t because we as a nation can’t secure our borders with Mexico or Canada. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t like the idea of a wall or a fence or any sort of barrier. He thinks that it is out of our national character. But he does believe that we have to do something to stop illegals at or very close to the border. If that means a fence or a barrier - the he will reluctantly agree to one.

In your Maximum Leader’s mind, he would like very much to raise our low quotas on immigration. He would like to see a legal “guest worker” status for those who want it. But he would also like to see corruption and inefficency in Mexico decrease so that Mexicans don’t feel as much pressure to go north. He would like to see the ability for Americans to be guest workers in Mexico so that we could take our expertise and try and build businesses in Mexico that would benefit both countries.

There is no one solution to our immigration problem. But ultimately there can be no attempt at a “solution” to the “problem” until we can control the border. Anything done before the border is secured is just a small cork stuck in a single hole of a leaky dyke.

Carry on.

Hug your children

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been coming to terms today with a tragic death. A friend’s 16 year old son was killed Saturday in a freak accident while cutting up a downed tree. Words can’t describe the pain felt by so many today. One wishes there was some word or gesture one could use or invoke that might help ease the suffering of a man who cradled his son in his arms as the boy died. If there is such a word or gesture, I don’t know what it is.

Please keep Hunter Payne and his parents and friends in your prayers.

Carry on.

Happy Mother’s Day

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader extends his warm well-wishes to those of his readers who are mothers this Mother’s Day.

He especially wants to extend his warm wishes to mothers who are dear to him including: Mrs Villain (the mother of your Maximum Leader’s children and his loving wife), Your Maximum Leader’s own Sainted Mother, Your Maximum Leader’s beloved sister (for whom this is her first Mother’s Day as a mom), Your Maximum Leader’s beloved Mother-in-law, Your Maximum Leader’s beloved Sister-in-law, Mrs Smallholder, Mrs Air Marshal, Mrs Foreign Minister, and the Big Hominid’s Mother (who has always been like a second mother to your Maximum Leader - and to whom your Maximum Leader has been a bad “son” of late has he hasn’t written or called in a long while.)

Your Maximum Leader knows that many of his readers are moms. Please forgive him if he doesn’t list you all personally, as he is sure that he will inadvertently neglect to add someone’s name and give unintentional offence.

Carry on.

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