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HEH: “Remember, the side with the protest babes always wins.” Especially when they’re well-armed . . .

A REPORT FROM LANSING: “The grounds of the state Capitol were packed with protesters today, as several thousand Michiganders turned out for one of the national Tea Party demonstrations against excess taxation, government regulation and assorted other maladies. An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people showed up for the midday event, one of dozens across the state and hundreds nationally.”

Plus, a report from Columbia, S.C. Also, this: “Thousands of people gathered in front of the Statehouse and around the state today to boo big government, socialism and taxes while enthusiastically cheering Gov. Mark Sanford and his stance on not accepting federal stimulus money.”

Plus, unhappiness with the establishment: California Tea Party to California GOP: Smackdown. “Will this make the MSM coverage? It doesn’t fit the narrative. But it’s yet another demonstration that this movement is not partisan and equal opportunity when it comes to holding politicians’ feet to the fire for fiscal irresponsibility and fecklessness.”

And Protest Babes! And a photo gallery from CNET News.

UPDATE: Hartford Courant: Hartford Tea Party Draws Thousands. That can’t make Chris Dodd feel any better.

Plus, Charlottesville pics. And lots more from Chicago.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Columbus, Ohio: Thousands Converge On Statehouse To Protest Gov’t Spending, Bailouts.

I MENTIONED THE HUGE CROWD AT MARK LEVIN’S BOOK-SIGNING, but reader Dan Byers sends this video. That’s a truly amazing line. He writes: “My wife and I just got back from Levin’s book signing in Tysons Corner. The line was unbelievable. As much as we love Mark, we decided not to stand out in the cold rain for five hours. But thousands of others seemed happy to do so–here is a quick video I took that shows the size of the line–the passion and size of his following sure make it easy to understand why the Left wants to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine (or ‘Localism,’ it’s kinder-sounding twin).” And why they’ll have a lot of angry people to deal with if they try. . . . The book’s still #1 on Amazon.

UPDATE: Bob Krumm writes: “The video of the line for the Mark Levin book signing was truly astounding. However, if I could give a pointer to recorders of future Levin line videos, it would be a variation of your ‘Protest Babe’ rule. That is, to reenact the scene from Eurotrip where there is an enormous line of people waiting to get into the Louvre and the camera quickly pans past everyone until it comes to a dead stop in front of a particularly attractive woman in the line, before resuming footage of the rest of the line.” Hmm. Are such media techniques too contrived for the blog-world? I mean, next somebody might be doing “man on the street” interviews about Obama with these folks without talking about why they’re at the Mall today. And that sort of manipulative technique would be wrong.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Krumm responds: “You ask: ‘Are such media techniques too contrived for the blog-world?’ If there are protest babes involved—no.”

MORE: So what does this mean? I haven’t read Levin’s book yet — the InstaWife grabbed it and wrote this — but I suspect that neither have the people waiting in line, who are just now buying their copies. I think it has more to do with a transition out of apathy, and a desire to show up and be counted, much like the Tea Party protests. With all respect to Levin, who has a lot of fans, I think this is bigger than him — and I suspect he’d say the same thing.

VIDEO: A “tea party” protest at the Utah state capitol. Plus, reader David Kirkham emails this report:

There were 75-100 people there. Way more than I expected for a Friday when most of us have to work. We secured a place inside the capitol building, right at the bottom of the stairs below the representatives. When the broke for lunch, I started my speech. 4-5 of them even spoke after I gave my little speech. They were quite nice to me and thanked me for organizing the event. Overall, I felt a lot of resentment at the entrenched Washington Republicans. That was good news. Love your blog; keep up the good work! The local talk guys have interviewed me several times now. I think I want to do another one–now that I know what to do.

Repetition is key. And some pictures. Kirkham’s crowd estimate came in smaller than KSL-TV’s, though, which shows he’s new at protest-organizaing. They said it was 100.

UPDATE: Reader Grace Nunez loves the kid in the picture above:

The caption for this picture could be, “You want my generation to pay for WHAT?”

This kid’s facial expression is priceless in capturing a challenging skepticism about what taxpayers are being asked to do, and there’s no doubt I would want him on my side in any battle. I guess in addition to protest babes, it can’t hurt when endearing children become the face of a revolution.

Indeed.

IT’S COLD AND RAINY, but the Tea Party pictures are coming in via cellphone already. Here are a couple.

From Atlanta, where a reported 300-400 showed up, a flag with protest babes:

From Chicago:

More Chicago pictures here. Plus this summary: “The Chicago Tea Party was an unqualified success. I’m not an expert at judging crowd sizes, but there could’ve been as many as 500 to 1000 people there. In cold weather, in the middle of February, without paid organizers like the left has.”

Plus Bill Rickords emails from Wichita, Kansas: “About 3-400 folks showed up in 25 degree weather. Don’t know what these things would be in Spring weather. But we had a pig show up anyway.” I thought they were all in D.C.!

And Bradley Ems emails from St. Louis: “I don’t know if you’ve gotten any pictures from St. Louis (I’m too swamped at work to have attended), but KMOX just reported that the tea party here was expected to draw a small group of 50…over 1,000 showed up. There is something brwing in the
heartland.”

And Joe Fairbanks emails from Oklahoma City: “I’ll be sending you pictures from the ‘Tea Party’ in Oklahoma City soon. I wanted to let you know that we had an amazing turnout of 400 people. This is amazing for multiple reasons, but mostly because this rally was organized in less than 48 hours and it took place at 11 am and the temperature was below freezing with the wind blowing quite strongly. Simply put: people are mad as hell. Obama and Congress won’t be able to ignore this anger much longer if they hope to survive 2010 or 2012. I can also tell you the crowd did take a lot of pride in the fact that our Senators, Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe, are two of the leaders against all this irresponsible spending. I’ll get those pictures to you as soon as I get them back.”

Plus, at Gay Patriot, pics from Los Angeles.

UPDATE: Reader Trish Elam sends this news report on Atlanta from WXIA TV. I’m in the car and don’t have a good enough connection to play it, but I’m passing it along FYI.

Plus, reader Michael Bassham reports from the Nashville event: “Weather was cold and drizzly. Attendance, in my estimation, was about 300.” Plus, a pic:

And a reader who requests anonymity writes from Tulsa: “Surely someone will send you a better pic than this one, but wanted to make sure you had at least something from Tulsa’s event, where I’d say about 200 or so turned out on a very cold day.”

And, via email, some thoughts from human-rights blogger Robert Mayer:

I just want to offer you and the tea party protesters some words of encouragement. As someone who has studied (and blogged) protest as an act of democratic revolution and people power in the post-Soviet area, I know a lot about the dynamics of mass civil society unrest, government transition, etc…

What we are seeing now is truly huge POTENTIAL for massive civil unrest against the American government gone lunatic with spending. Realistically, 400-1000 people at a protest, even at a dozen protests across the country, will do nothing to change the minds of our idiot leaders.

However, it creates the POTENTIAL that each protest could have a million. The Orange Revolution in Ukraine did not start out with two million people camping in tents in downtown Kiev. It started with only a few hundred diehard activists.

Conservatives and libertarians have never had a strong activist base, but this appears to be the time to start. They need to capture today’s momentum and hold bigger and bigger protests every week. Use technology to organize and move and grow the movement. Compared to other countries, the United States is huge. Don’t aim for a massive march on D.C. (at least, until you have a few million going). Focus the protests locally, on state policians and state capitols.

In any case, this is simply an email of encouragement to you guys. You just have to stay determined and keep people focused and believing. You’d be surprised. Within a month you could go from 500 to 50,000.

Well, it’s broken a thousand already, reportedly, and in not much more than a week.

Meanwhile, Ed Driscoll has the photo and quote of the day, so far.

THE ATLANTA TAX PROTEST HAS ISSUED AN open call for “protest babes.” Smart move, in more ways than one . . . .

UPDATE: A reader emails:

You should decry this overt sexism. Me and my cue-ball head plan to be there on Friday. We need a call for Protest Himbos.

One thing I’ve learned on the Internet is that everything has its demographic.

ANOTHER UPDATE: New Media pressure works!

PUSHING ETHANOL:

President Bush, hoping to reduce demand for oil in the Western Hemisphere, is preparing to finish an agreement with Brazil next week to promote the production and use of ethanol throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, according to administration officials.

Not a bad idea, in terms of promoting energy independence, though ethanol, like other biofuels, is generally overhyped. But there’s also this objection:

But the agreement has already begun to prompt complaints from politicians from corn-producing regions of the United States. They fear that the plan would lead to an increase in imports of cheap foreign ethanol and undercut American producers.

That’s stupid, or at least self-serving. In fact, we should get rid of the protectionist trade barriers that favor corn syrup over sugar anyway. Plus, there’s this bonus:

By increasing ethanol production and consumption, particularly in countries that produce sugar, officials of the Bush administration hope to reduce the region’s overall dependence on foreign oil and to take some of the pressure off oil prices.

As a side effect, American officials contend, the program could also reduce the influence of Hugo Chavez, the president of oil-rich Venezuela.

Does that mean that the agribusiness interests who oppose this plan are unpatriotic?

UPDATE: Ethanol tariff protest babes! Well, pretty much.

MURDERER IN THE CATHEDRAL: Andrew Marcus and Richard Miniter are reporting on Khatami at the National Cathedral. It’s some useful background you’re unlikely to see elsewhere. Plus, hot Iranian protest babes.

DANISH EMBASSY BURNED in Syria. Gateway Pundit has a roundup. This really is a case of civilization against the barbarians. The good news is that moderate Muslims are standing up for civilization:

The Danish press has also paid very little attention to the representatives of a group of 80 immigrants who have expressed their support of Jyllands-Posten. A statement by the group placed on the internet carries the caption “We must condemn Islamist threats against free speech.” It goes on to accuse the Islamists of “viewing any criticism or any making fun of the Islamic religion as an affront and an insult to Muslims. In this way they want to prevent any human being from questioning the Islamic religion and its holy book and the prophet Muhammad. … With the same argument Islamic regimes and other forces in the Middle Eastern and Arabic countries have killed thousands of people and issued fatwas against authors, journalists and artists.”

The bad news is that the Boston Globe is siding with the barbarians, comparing the Danish cartoonists to Nazis. Just look at the photo and decide who really deserves that comparison. Michael Graham is unhappy with the Globe, too.

The funny thing is that the Globe views fundamentalist Christians as a god-besotted threat to liberty, but makes excuses for people like this.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has more thoughts. And Michelle Malkin has a must-see video presentation. And a reader points out that the Boston Globe was defending “Piss Christ” artist Andres Serrano’s right to federal funding back in 1990. Apparently, standards of decency have “evolved” at the Globe, or perhaps it’s just a measure of who they’re actually afraid of.

David Bernstein has more on double standards.

MORE: Ashish Hanwadikar says the Europeans are hypocritical in a different way.

And Ed Driscoll has much more, including a look at Serrano’s more recent employment.

Plus, Tigerhawk looks at appeasement and wonders why it remains so popular. “This has been a long time coming — after the Rushdie fatwa, the West cannot claim that it isn’t on notice. It will be a long time in the undoing, too.”

STILL MORE: A Jordanian newspaper is braver than the Globe:

Meanwhile, a Jordanian gossip tabloid on defiantly published three of the cartoons that have triggered outrage in the Arab and Muslim world.

“Muslims of the world, be reasonable,” said the editor-in-chief of the weekly independent newspaper Al-Shihan in an editorial alongside the cartoons, including the one showing the Muslim religion’s founder wearing a bomb-shaped turban.

(Via All Things Beautiful).

Much more here.

EVEN MORE: Of course, the brave Jordanian editor has been arrested:

A Jordanian newspaper editor sacked after publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad has been arrested.

Jihad Momani is accused of insulting religion under Jordan’s press and publications law.

The newspaper had fired him after he decided to reproduce the cartoons – originally printed in Denmark – which have caused a global storm of protest.

Pathetic.

AND MORE STILL: Reader Kathleen St. Onge emails: “Unsurprisingly, I didn’t see any protest babes in the photo you posted. As such, I have to conclude that this is a movement of losers.”

Yes. Angry, bitter losers. But potentially dangerous ones.

SYRIA MOUNTS PRO-REGIME PROTESTS and other responses to its political/diplomatic problems:

Officials are talking about rationing some consumer goods to manage the impact of sanctions, and are considering other measures, like releasing political prisoners or making overtures toward cleaning up corruption, as a means of rallying support, the analysts and people who work with the government said.

The efforts, however, may not provide much of a salve. At least one Kurdish leader, for example, said he doubted the government’s sincerity, and viewed its offers as far too little to make a difference.

“If they don’t allow for real freedoms and resolve internal problems, the people will not be behind them,” said Kheir al-Deen Murad, secretary general of the Kurdish Azadi Party in Syria. “They have to open up the political life.”

They are, however, deploying pro-regime protest babes. As arms-races go, this is pretty benign, at least!

UPDATE: Reader Russell Mitchell emails: “The pro-regime babes aren’t doing one thing… .. smiling. Tells you all you need to know.”

Indeed.

A LEBANON PROTEST ROUNDUP FROM PUBLIUS, plus some Beirut protest photos at light seeking light, and another roundup, with video, at Gateway Pundit.

UPDATE: Read this, too.

THE ANCHORESS WONDERS WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO BUSH?

Does anyone remember April and May of 2005? And the months preceeding them? The Orange Revolution? The Arab Springtime? The Cedar Revolution of Lebanon – all of them seeming to have a fire lit under them, a wonderful fire of liberty. Remember Revolution Babes?

All around the globe, there was a spirit of something that felt a lot like the Will to Power – something that was building in momentum…like we were on the brink of something truly remarkable and historic and new.

Then, suddenly – poof! – it all stopped? It all just seemed to go away. It was like a big giant foot just came down and stomped out all of those wonderful fires…and the White House seems to have just…blink! Forgotten about it.

I like W a lot, but what the hell?

Judging by the polls, a lot of people are wondering.

As I noted Monday:

Bush’s position traditionally flags during the summer, with supporters complaining of malaise, only to see the Administration go back on-message after Labor Day. Will it happen again? It had better, if Bush wants to succeed.

It had better.

UPDATE: Jim Hoft says we’re just not paying attention:

I am sorry that people are so blue…. But I am feeling another surge coming upon us.

A trial of a Mass Murderer, a Meeting with the Jews: Link

Abused [Pakistani] women standing so very tall! Link

Soldiers welcomed home!!! Link

There is great news out there! Let’s help others tap into it!

Bring it on, to coin a phrase.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Stephen Bainbridge complains that Bush’s Iraq strategy has deep-sixed the social-conservative agenda. To me this is less a bug than a feature, and it seems to me that the Democrats would have been wise to recognize this, too, and run with it.

Meanwhile, reader Mike Walker emails:

I think whats wrong with the President is that he is tired, as we say in the south “slam wore out”. Like a good blue tick after hunting, he needs to crawl up under the porch out of the heat and sleep for a good long spell. Look at pictures of him, you can see the graying, the wrinkling, and the fraying take place right before your eyes.

The man has had to preside over some momentous events during his 2 terms, from 9/11 to Enron et al to recession to Afghanistan to Iraq to a bitter, long and momentously important election to supreme court appointments. Every step of the way he has been criticized, demonized, lied about, misrepresented, belittled and opposed. No matter what he has done, he has been trashed out by someone somewhere, often including his own party members and some “supporters”. He has been betrayed by members of his own party in the senate. HIs victories are ignored and his losses maginified a thousand times over.

The cumulative effect of all this, from what I can judge, has worn him out and drained him of his fire and energy. Lets face it, he is human, and the man has borne some unbelievable burdens over the last 5 years, where his choices were often between shades of the lesser of evils, and no choice was ever easy or apparent. HIs tank is low, and he needs some uplifting by those who believe in him. Nobody will please us 100% of the time.

But what do we do? We start criticizing him again for not being super-human, and we start asking “whats wrong with the president?”, as if we ourselves never get tired, worn-out, run down, and just plain disocuraged in our jobs or lives. As a people, have we become this divorced from the realities of high-stakes leadership, and the toll it takes on those who take it on? Worse yet, have we no understanding and empathy for it?

Maybe the real question is, whats wrong with us?

I think everyone is tired. I was tired of the war before the invasion of Iraq and my involvement has been rather more peripheral than GWB’s. But it’s a good point.

UPDATE: Reader John Beckwith emails:

You have frequently reminded us that democratization is a ‘process, not an event.’

I would add that it’s more a bursty process not a continuous one. We saw a lot of good news in the 1st half of the year from areas of interest to those of us who actively support extending human liberty. This streak lasted roughly from Arafat’s death to Condi’s visit to Egypt and included the Iraqi elections. Now things have slowed down, at least in terms of large headline grabbing events with protest hotties. I would expect lulls like this from time to time as people on both sides of a particular struggle absorb what has happened and plan their next move.

Like him or not, Bush is as patient and goal-oriented as one could hope within the political constraints he faces. This is a good thing as our war with the ‘insurgency’ in Iraq has become largely a test of wills fought in an unfavorable media environment. I would like to think that the president, as is his pattern in September, can alter that environment a bit and regain some public support, but there is only so much he can do with words. Events will matter more and we can expect them to pick up relatively soon. I doubt Bush sleeps too well at night, but if he does it’s because he has done what he can up front to maximize the likelihood that the next flurry of activity will break in a good direction for our country and allies.

Your reader’s blue tick metaphor is apt. Bush has taken a lot of criticism for the R&R he takes and his ‘early to bed’ habits, but they are the actions of a leader who understands the that the tempo of events is bursty. We should cut him some slack on this basis.

That’s true. But momentum matters, too.

More here: The Thrill is Gone.

LEBANON HAS PROTEST BABES: Norway has countered with a protest goat. To each his own, as they say.

UPDATE: I counter with one of these.

MICHAEL TOTTEN is back from Lebanon and, by popular demand, has posted a gallery of Lebanese protest babes:

A few words, though, before we begin. If any of you think only the Christian women of Lebanon walk around without their own portable tents, forget that. It’s isn’t even close to true. My hotel was on the Muslim side of Beirut and I saw almost as many modern-looking women on that side of the city as I saw in the Christian areas. Even Hezbollah doesn’t mandate the veil or the hijab.

Read the whole thing.

PROTESTS IN EGYPT have passed a crucial milestone: They’re now producing photos of protest babes. This should have Hosni Mubarak worried.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, here’s a report of a protest by Syrian dissidents, in Damascus.

INSTAPUNDIT CORRESPONDENT DAN CASSARO sends these photos and a report from a Bush rally in Jacksonville, which looks to have been well-attended:

Taken with my Nikon 5700, fyi….

The original site for the rally was the Jacksonville Landing, a riverside location that would hold, at most, a few thousand. Demand for tickets was so high they moved it to Alltel stadium (where the Jacksonville Jaguars play). Attendance was estimated at 40,000. We passed a group of Kerry supporters on the way in, maybe 50 at most.

First is a wide shot of the stadium, they had the top levels blocked off. Not a lot of empty seats anywhere. When GWB came out, the noise was incredible. That’s him in the blue shirt at the microphone.

Second is the lone protester I saw leaving the stadium, with a with the word “War” on one side, and moral equivalence on the other. I don’t think he was old enough to vote either way….

Finally is the moonbat with the “Utilize Poland!” sign. He wouldn’t answer questions, he just kept shouting “Poland!” I don’t get it. Nobody else did, either.

PS Air Force One made a low, slow pass over the stadium on the way in… an awesome sight!

[LATER: Air Force One pics here and here]. More photos below.

I don’t get the Poland bit either. Maybe he meant this?

UPDATE: ConfigSysBoy has posted a recap (“The Babes for Bush phenomenon is alive and well in Jacksonville. . . Speaking of which, the turnout today among the 18-30 demo was absolutely staggering.”) and image gallery from the Jacksonville rally. And for those few who insist on Big Media coverage, here are some pictures from the Times-Union.