150 Conservative and Evangelical Leaders Endorse Santorum

This has to be very encouraging for the Santorum campaign, and also for any of us whose hope for 2012 lies in consolidating conservative opinion behind a single candidate.  While not an "evangelical" myself, and not much given to joining organizations of any kind if I can help it, it's good from my perspective if it helps move people in  one direction.

Mr. Santorum hadn't seemed to me to be one of the serious candidates until Iowa, but I wonder to what degree that judgment was improper.  It was made based on the fact that no one seemed to take him seriously, plus his infamous Google problem.  The latter, though, was a work of viciousness by a character of low morals who ought not to be granted a veto over anything.  The former is an unfortunate necessity of democratic politics, because no matter how good your candidate is, he can't win if no one will vote for him.  (Not that this usually stops me; I can't recall the last time I voted for someone who won a primary election.)

So, Santorum?  He gave a good speech at the Iowa convention, and since I have been paying attention, I like what I see of him.  I won't go as far as Mr. David Brooks in endorsing his vision, but I do agree that we need to think about a system that looks out for the interest of those Americans who play by the rules and work hard. Santorum clearly believes in such a system, though it is worth noting that he rejected Gingrich's bashing of Bain capital, and truly groups like Bain are a necessity in a free market economy.  Gov. Perry wasn't wrong to call them "vulture capitalists," though -- the positive contribution they make is very similar to the work that vultures do for the world.  Any man who spends enough time in the wild comes to like vultures.

I think I could vote for Santorum, all things considered.  We have to choose from what is on the table.  Of those options, this may be the best.

Dueling Chanters

The concept is Appalachian, but the execution is Irish enough.

Humans in Big Gatherings

Interesting infographic.

Another Take on Abortion

With h/t to Power Line, this image makes one aspect of the question pretty clear. Regardless of where one falls on the abortion question, the grandparents have a large, if not decisive role.

Eric Hines
What were those Taliban doing in those Marines' latrine anyway?

To put this in a little perspective, In WWII, Marines were boiling the flesh off of Japanese skulls and sending them home to their girl friends.

A Stinging Rebuke

It's not every day that you see our Supreme Court decide an issue 9-0.  On the other hand, given the merits of the case, any other split would have been quite alarming.  Though the case revolves around a mundane question of just why a woman was fired -- for cause or for health -- the EEOC's position on what they were prepared to recognize as a minister was outrageous.

SCOTUSblog notes that Alito's separate opinion was joined by Kagan, which is another remarkable feature of this decision.

Good Point

The "Young Americans Foundation" reports:
Young people today face a three-pronged attack on their financial security—educational debt from their past, unemployment in the present, and a future plagued by the burden of massive government debt. The government is largely responsible for all three problems. 
The one that might not be obvious is student loan debt, but government policies have also led to massive increases in it.  This is both by making such lending (to youth without capital) easier by subsidizing the process; and also, at the state level, by massively increasing tuition in order to suck up every dime that the Federal government was willing to help the kids borrow.

Government policies, meanwhile, have managed both to over-regulate and under-regulate the economy, resulting in the massive unemployment.  Regulations on industry and manufacturing have made it far, far harder (and far, far more expensive) to open a new and productive business.  Under-regulation of financial gamesters, as well as political pressure from Congress, allowed for the inflation of the housing bubble.

So, yes, if you're young, government is very much your problem.  Any government spending is coming out of your hide, as is the debt created by the past generations.  Think carefully about what you really want the government to do.

Perhaps Here Too

We should be startled if we were quietly reading a prosaic modern novel, and somewhere in the middle it turned without warning into a fairy tale. We should be surprised if one of the spinsters in Cranford, after tidily sweeping the room with a broom, were to fly away on a broomstick. Our attention would be arrested if one of Jane Austen's young ladies who had just met a dragoon were to walk a little further and meet a dragon. Yet something very like this extraordinary transition takes place in British history at the end of the purely Roman period. We have to do with rational and almost mechanical accounts of encampment and engineering, of a busy bureaucracy and occasional frontier wars, quite modern in their efficiency and inefficiency; and then all of a sudden we are reading of wandering bells and wizard lances, of wars against men as tall as trees or as short as toadstools. The soldier of civilization is no longer fighting with Goths but with goblins; the land becomes a labyrinth of faërie towns unknown to history; and scholars can suggest but cannot explain how a Roman ruler or a Welsh chieftain towers up in the twilight as the awful and unbegotten Arthur. The scientific age comes first and the mythological age after it. 
From Chesterton's A Short History of England.

St. Joan of Arc

Another event I missed by a few days is Joan of Arc's 600th birthday.  The link is to artwork done in her honor; here is Mark Twain's.

Old Hickory Said...

We're a few days late on this, but only a few.  On 8 January 1815, American forces, largely militia, led by Andrew Jackson defeated elements of the most powerful military in the world.

It's a more interesting story than the famous song suggests:

That makes it sound like Jackson won in a walk, against an inept opponent.  In fact the British forces were disciplined and supplied with artillery and rockets, and the fighting lasted half a month.  It is only the remarkable disparity in casualties that make it seem, with hindsight, like an easy victory.

It's Even Worse Over There Than We Feared

I've never heard of Ryan Air before, but it sounds like an Irish/European Southwest Airlines on steroids, relying on no-frills flights, unfashionable airports, and a uniform 737 fleet.

Those of us who don't travel in Europe won't be able to take advantage of Ryan Air's many ten-quid flights. That doesn't mean we can't enjoy this guy tearing the European Commission a new one. H/t Maggie's Farm, which gave this talk the appropriate title: "Why the EU Will Never Again Ask an Actual Innovator to Speak at an Innovation Convention." His explanation of why Ryan Air charges a fee for your checked baggage is priceless.

Margaret Thatcher gave the airline one of its early breaks. The entertainingly snide Wiki article gives detail about the wide variety of preposterous suits that have been brought against this innovative airline, which got one of its early breaks from Margaret Thatcher.

The airline's own website is here.

It's Probably Wrong To Enjoy This So Much

I've got a friend who really, really hates Tim Tebow.  I've been enjoying watching him foam at the mouth at various points during the season.  He's a huge Broncos fan too, from Denver -- it's really Tebow that he hates, hates, hates.

So, naturally, I just sent him an email.


...and there goes the Christmas tree, which we left up a little longer than usual this year.  I'd normally make some remarks about a long, cold and joyless winter ahead; but lately it's been more like March than January.  Daffodils are up, and the frogs are singing by night.  I feel like I ought to be able to jump on the motorcycle and take off for wherever with tent and Bowie knife, as the blood suggests in the springtime.