Chris Muir and the Day By Day gang are back in action.
Yes, PJ Media has again agreed to have me drunkblog tonight’s Republican Presidential Debate (8pm Eastern), the 87th of this season. With only 117 more to go, I’m pretty sure that, with a little smart Googling, you can find a pool going on how long until my liver gives out.
And on that note, Doug Mataconis has all the details you need to play along at home.
UPDATE: We here at VodkaPundit understand that you might rather watch tonight’s little baseball game, than read along with a semi-pro pundit and his cocktails as he watches a bunch of guys in suits on TV pretend to beat each other up.
The fact is, tonight’s ballgame will affect, at most, the people of three not-quite-huge cities. But the winner of tonight’s debate could very well be eavesdropping on your phone calls or invading your sovereign nation in as little as 15 months from right now. So do yourself a favor and go with the real action tonight.
We got our first snow last Sunday, but there wasn’t enough of it for pretty pictures. Today we’ve gotten the predicted 4-8 inches already, and the stuff is still coming down.
As always, click the image for a better look. Before you ask, I didn’t shoot in black and white, and I didn’t wash out any of the colors in Photoshop.
Did I mention I love living in the woods?
Here’s a bit of a quandary:
A federal panel Thursday urged shutting a Washington area Islamic school operated by the Saudi government until the State Department can ensure its textbooks don’t teach religious intolerance.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom singled out the Saudi-supported Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) in Northern Virginia in a broader report that accused Saudi Arabia of promoting Muslim extremism and religious intolerance six years after the Sept. 11 attacks. The panel, created by Congress and authorized only to make recommendations, voiced concern about what the private school was teaching.
On the one hand, the Federal Government has no business telling a private school what it can, can’t or must teach. That ought to go for any level of government. On the other hand, here we have a foreign power, whose citizens are waging a freelance war against the US and its allies, running what is essentially a subversive propaganda effort on American soil.
Is it a school just because it’s a building full of kids and books? Or is it something else?
If you missed it live, or just don’t have XM Radio, you can download this week’s PJM Political podcast.
This doesn’t bode well for China’s nascent space program:
BEIJING (AP) – China might not have a permanent presence in space yet, but the country’s rocket men are already thinking about setting up a Communist Party branch in the outer reaches.
Now 14-strong, the Chinese astronaut corps more than meets the party’s minimum requirement of at least three members for a branch, the official Xinhua News Agency said Thursday.
China’s space communists would “carry out the regular activities of a Communist Party of China branch in space in the way we do on Earth,” Yang Liwei, the first Chinese astronaut to fly into space, was quoted by Xinhua as saying on the sidelines of the national party congress.
Does China really want “regular” Party activities carried out in space? I sure wouldn’t want to fly in a ship whose spare parts had all been sold off by the local boss. And those lead-painted zero gravity food packages just wouldn’t be safe.
It’s got to be good news when Nancy Pelosi can’t even wrangle the Democrats together to support her Screw the Troops and Diplomats bill:
A House vote on whether to label as genocide the killings of 1.5 million Armenians by what is now Turkey — a resolution that deeply offended that key U.S. ally — could be delayed as Democrats hash it out.
While top Bush administration officials and powerful Democrats press colleagues to scrap the measure, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday appeared to hedge his pledge to bring it to a full vote before November’s holiday recess.
“I said I thought we would bring this up prior to us leaving here,” said Hoyer. “I have not changed on that, although I would be less than candid [not] to say that there are a number of people who are revisiting their own positions.”
You’ve got to just know the bill is a bad one, when even CNN describes it as “a resolution that deeply offended that key U.S. ally.”
More positive news from Iraq:
This year, al Qaeda has seen Iraqis, especially Sunni Arab Iraqis, turn on them in growing numbers. The U.S. “Surge Offensive” begun earlier this year capitalized on that, and shut down more and more al Qaeda cells in Iraq. Worse, in the last few months, several key al Qaeda leaders were killed or captured, and many of their records, usually on laptop computers, were captured. U.S. forces have long had a drill for exploiting finds like this. The computer data is quickly gone over for names and locations of other al Qaeda operations, and within hours, more raids follow. Many American commanders are complaining of a shortage of al Qaeda targets to go after, which has made the Iranian backed Shia terrorist groups nervous enough to offer ceasefires and calls for negotiations.
As someone who vividly remembers the final decade of the Cold War, a “target-poor environment” ain’t exactly how the Army trained to fight.
Not that I’m complaining.
If you think the campaign season is already too long, it just got worse. Here’s how some Republicans are taking on the Democrats’ heir apparent:
Republicans plan to seize on an allegation from the 1992 presidential campaign to tarnish Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on the red-hot issue of government surveillance.
Government surveillance will be at the forefront of the political debate this fall as congressional Democrats and President Bush square off over legislation allowing electronic spying on U.S. soil without a warrant.
Republicans are focusing on an allegation in a recent book by two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, which suggests Clinton listened to a secretly recorded conversation between political opponents.
Is that the best the Republicans have? Stuff from 1992? Look. If you’re going to come at Hillary from the Scandal Angle, you’re going to have to find something more recent than, say, Monica Lewinski. Anything from about Lewinski on down, Americans have already digested and forgotten about, or at least set aside as mostly irrelevant. Besides, Clinton’s negatives are about as high as they can go — old scandals, even ones recently revealed by writers from The New York Times, aren’t going to do her much harm.
Progress, of a sort, for the Middle East:
Hamas is now willing to give up control of Gaza, and negotiate a peace deal with Fatah. Hamas is caught between its rhetoric and the reality of its situation. Hamas still calls for the destruction of Israel, but with Palestinians ruled by Fatah in the West Bank living so much better than those living under Hamas rule in Gaza, Hamas is rapidly becoming less popular. Hamas is also becoming less stable, with the more radical factions unwilling to give up control over Gaza, even if that control is threatened by an increasingly anti-Hamas population.
Just don’t start getting your hopes up.
But still, possibly, toothless:
A police source said Rhodes never filed a report and never claimed to be the victim of a mugging. Cops from Manhattan’s 17th Precinct called her attorney, who told them Rhodes was not a victim of a crime, the source said.
Rhodes’ lawyer told the Daily News she was injured in a fall while walking her dog. He said she’s not sure what happened, and only knows that she fell down and is in a lot of pain. The lawyer said Rhodes expects to be back on the air Thursday. He stressed there is no indication she was targeted or that she was the victim of a “hate crime.”
If you’re one of those people who immediately accused right-wingers of having attacked Ms. Rhodes, I’ll wait here for your apology.
(Hat tip, Jeremy Gilby.)
Yet more proof that VodkaPundit readers are smarter and better looking than most:
Fewer than half of you use Internet Explorer to read VodkaPundit. A hearty “Well done!” to your gorgeous, brilliant selves.
…and it stinks.
Here’s the latest record label scam to force you, forever, to rent your music from them:
Universal CEO Doug Morris is reportedly hammering out a way to provide music from Universal, Sony, and possibly Warner, while incorporating the cost into cell phone charges, according to the report. So, instead of paying per song, customers would pay a little extra for their phones or their wireless service and obtain most, or all, of the labels’ music as part of a package deal. The service would be called Total Music, BusinessWeek.com reported.
See here. I pay enough cell phone charges already. I do not want to pay extra, for the rest of my life, to rent music I don’t want and to lease songs I already own. I buy my music, preferably just once. Are we clear?
Also, I’m not all that excited about digital Vikings and Hobbits.
I didn’t want to say anything during the playoffs, lest I jinx something. So I’ll say it now:
Well done, guys.
Especially for winning 21 out of your last 22 games to get there. That’s an amazing run. Just don’t get cocky now, OK?
UPDATE: How hot are the Rockies? They’re making converts out of formerly non-baseball fans.
Randi Rhodes was mugged on Sunday night on 39th Street and Park Ave, nearby her Manhattan apartment, while she was walking her dog Simon.
According to Air America Radio late night host Jon Elliott, Rhodes was beaten up pretty badly, losing several teeth and will probably be off the air for at least the rest of the week. At of late Monday night we have not able to locate any press accounts of the attack and nothing has been posted on the AAR website.
I know this is hardly the time for cruel honesty, immediately after a brutal assault. But when you work for Air America, muggers are going to pretty much assume that you walk around unarmed.
UPDATE: Not mugged, after all.
FURTHER UPDATE: Welcome, “Sadly, No!” readers. Just to clarify, the victim — if any — is never asking for it. But it’s sure nice when they have a fighting chance at fighting back, no?
I know it’s unwise to trust the New York Times, but I still (mostly, kind of) trust them to do basic arithmetic. So this can’t be good:
Two of the leading Republican presidential candidates spent more than they raised this summer, according to campaign finance reports filed yesterday, in another sign of the fund-raising difficulties the party faces as it seeks to hold on to the White House.
It gets worse:
Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, raised $9.5 million in contributions over the summer but spent more than twice that, $21.3 million.
Mr. Romney, a wealthy businessman, lent his campaign $8.5 million over the summer, and even with that large loan, which helped pay for a big television ad campaign, his expenses still outpaced his receipts. His campaign reported that it had $9.2 million in the bank that could be used for the primary elections.
Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, raised more money than any other Republican this summer