Webb opens small lead

Will George Allen’s lame attempt to criticize Jim Webb’s writings backfire? Webb has opened a small lead in Virginia.

Allen has exposed himself in this race as being unworthy of holding public office. His campaign hit a new low when they pulled passages from Webb’s novels out of context to imply that Webb was promoting deviant sex and demeaning women. Fortunately, this pathetic attack was exposed by the Webb campaign and by the press.

Webb is an intellectual and a man of character. There are too few people like him in American politics. Allen is an empty suit that simply repeats conservative talking points. He seems incapable of expressing an original thought.

This is one of the most important races in this election cycle. Webb will bring fresh thinking and a moderate voice to the Democratic Party. He will also be an important asset in the Senate as we debate how to deal with the debacle in Iraq. Let’s hope he pulls it out.

Democrats are fighting back this year

The GOP slime machine has been in full force this year, but the Democrats have been fighting back with rapid-response counter-punches. Democrats like Sherrod Brown are benefiting from this strategy.

It will be interesting to see whether the latest wave of disgusting ads and allegations in the Tennessee and Virginia Senate races backfire against Republicans.

George Will ridicules the new law limiting Internet gambling

Add George Will to the growing list of commentators who are ridiculing the new law passed by the Republican Congress to limit online gambling. Will calls it “Prohibition II” and argues that we need to fight excessive paternalism by the government.

Granted, some people gamble too much. And some people eat too many cheeseburgers. But who wants to live in a society that protects the weak-willed by criminalizing cheeseburgers? Besides, the problems—frequently exaggerated—of criminal involvement in gambling, and of underage and addictive gamblers, can be best dealt with by legalization and regulation utilizing new software solutions. Furthermore, taxation of online poker and other gambling could generate billions for governments.

We need a new movement to keep the government out of our lives. Following the Terry Schiavo fiasco, many liberals have rediscovered the notion that too much intervention by the government can be a very bad thing. Libertarian conservatives like George Will are taking on the cultural conservatives on these issues. Unfortunately, many of our politicians on the right and the left still don’t seem to get it. Perhaps this stupid law can help. By pissing off the legions of poker players and other normal Americans who like to bet online, the politicians who want to control our lives might have finally gone too far.

I’m hoping more politicians on the left and the right pick up on this trend.

Should Japan go nuclear?

Charles Krauthammer makes a powerful argument that the United States should consider the possibility of supporting a decision by Japan to go nuclear:

The immediate effect of Japan’s considering going nuclear would be to concentrate China’s mind on denuclearizing North Korea. China calculates that North Korea is a convenient buffer between it and a dynamic, capitalist South Korea bolstered by American troops. China is quite content with a client regime that is a thorn in our side, keeping us tied down while it pursues its ambitions in the rest of Asia. Pyongyang’s nukes, after all, are pointed not west but east.

Japan’s threatening to go nuclear would alter that calculation. It might even persuade China to squeeze Kim Jong Il as a way to prevent Japan from going nuclear. The Japan card remains the only one that carries even the remote possibility of reversing North Korea’s nuclear program.

Japan’s response to the North Korean threat has been very strong and very insistent on serious sanctions. This is, of course, out of self-interest, not altruism. But that is the point. Japan’s natural interests parallel America’s in the Pacific Rim — maintaining military and political stability, peacefully containing an inexorably expanding China, opposing the gangster regime in Pyongyang, and spreading the liberal democratic model throughout Asia.

Why are we so intent on denying this stable, reliable, democratic ally the means to help us shoulder the burden in a world where so many other allies — the inveterately appeasing South Koreans most notoriously — insist on the free ride?

The balance of power is shifting in Asia as China emerges as a major power. Japan is our ally, and it may be time to play this card with China.

Bloodbath at NBC and MSNBC

NBC is slashing staff and spending in a feeble attempt to revive the fortunes of the network and their cable operations. They’re blaming everything on “new media” and the need to adapt to the new environment.

Now we know why MSNBC has stopped covering the war in Iraq – it’s too expensive and it doesn’t get great ratings. How pathetic. Instead we’re subjected to nightly “doumentaries” featuring prisons and sensational murders that make local news broadcasts look like quality programming. Do you think they could manage to do a one hour documentary on serious subjects like the war, torture, social security or health care? Nah – that would require too much work and money.

Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman might be moved over to CNBC. Huh? Are they just giving up on MSNBC? How many hours of prison documentaries can the American public take? Here’s an idea – why not cover REAL NEWS?

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