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Monday, November 24, 2008

"It's like a nightmare, isn't it? It just keeps getting worse and worse."

The Wolverines were dead man walking from mid-season on. I couldn't conjure a scenario for victory that didn't involve alien invasion/cracks in the earth, and sure enough, neither happened. The DC has to go--they squandered solid talent this year. And one of the new QBs better be the second coming of Pat White, too.

And to the Long National Punchline, the Detroit Lions: they're really going to do it. They're going to make the worst kind of history. Yesterday was the last realistic shot for a victory, facing rag-arm Jeff, who, naturally, picked them to pieces.

The last hypothetical shot at victory is the Vikings on December 7. But I think Peterson's going to run over them like an avalanche.

History in the making. The really bad news is that it will happen on the road, meaning no blackout.

Epic. Just epic.

"Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody banks today."

Citigroup gets a lollipop, a hug, and $326 bn in additional funds and guarantees from the taxpayer. Over the course of a weekend, no less.

I wonder if their CEO has a corporate jet.

Odd that no one's even asking.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Let me see if I have this straight.

(1) Dubious financial minds come up with even more dubious [read: bullshit] derivative "securities" upon which transactions are based, and our Congressional masters sling the financial industry $700bn, no questions asked. In fact, the entire premise upon which the bailout was approved even gets changed in midstream, but no worries.

(2) Auto industry which employs hundreds of thousands (over a million if you kick in the cascade effects) and remains the largest part of the American manufacturing base asks for $25bn to get it through until new cost-saving labor agreements and reduced legacy costs kick in, and the answer is "Clear it with Countrywide Chris and Subprime Barney first." Oh, and you boot John Dingell for the Mayor of Whoville in the process.

Yeah, we're watching here in Michigan. Which reminds me, a word of advice for Senator Dick Shelby: I can't recommend sticking your schnozz north of Toledo for the foreseeable future--you've become a household name on sports radio, of all things. And not remotely in a good way.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Because there's no better way to get yourself in an Advent state of mind.

Than to clobber elves with snowballs in this classic timewaster.

You're welcome.

Myself, I'd go, run around the house chanting in Latin, spitting dyed creamed corn at everybody and generally have a good time with the family.

But that's just me.

My father's family, by contrast, sees mental illness as a stigma and has always disagreed with my approach to treatment. Recently, they invited me to my grandmother's birthday party. When I arrived, everyone was sitting solemnly around the living room, and the local pastor was there. He calmly explained to me that I was not actually mentally ill but possessed by agents of Satan and in need of an exorcism. I choked back tears as I explained to them that I did not need any demons driven out, and the evening ended awkwardly. Now they've invited me for Thanksgiving...

Back when country music was country music.

And not Nashville pop.

Mark Sullivan links to a nice tribute to Johnny "Battle of New Orleans" Horton.

Why don't we just all save everybody the time and

nuke my home State instead? The unemployment rate just hit 9.3%. I guess some folks are nostalgic for 20%.

Yes, the leaders of the Smaller-by-the-Day 3 are tone-deaf louts.

And for that, we'll drop the hammer on everybody? In every associated industry across the country?

Say, I don't remember people questioning how AIG or Bear Stearns' CEOs tooled around the country.

Lest we forget, not everybody on the Hill is Mr. Smith, either.

Oh, and here's a solid rebuttal of Romney's "Let 'em eat Chapter 11" argument, which made (a few) good points:

But what Romney got wrong in his piece badly undercuts his strong points.

First, he gives the industry no credit for the huge steps already taken to restructure. He cites the inflated price of vehicles due to high benefits costs for retirees, but doesn't mention the significant off-load of those costs that was achieved with the latest labor contract. Certainly, the companies can do more, but the new cost structure, which kicks in next year, goes a long way toward making them competitive with foreign automakers.

Romney doesn't discuss the excess capacity that has been yanked out of all three automakers' production, so much so that they'll be able to more competitively price cars in a way they haven't for decades. He says nothing of the dramatic shift to making high-efficiency vehicles, which should kick into full gear by 2010.

Romney also fails to address how exactly he'd get rid of the expensive retiree benefits he decries, or what effect that would have in other parts of the economy. Yank health care from retired GM workers, for example, and they'll have to go elsewhere for those benefits, probably at a government expense that would exceed the cost of the assistance the auto companies are seeking. Does that make any sense?

Romney also suggests other things the industry has already done.
He insists management must recruit leaders from "unrelated" industries. But both Alan Mulally at Ford (Boeing) and Robert Nardelli at Chrysler (Home Depot) spent most of their careers doing other things. If outside expertise were a magic pill, both of those automakers would be healthy companies today.

Romney says management and the UAW must end the "enmity" that dooms their relationship, but doesn't even acknowledge the grand progress made on that front just in the last year. The labor contracts signed in 2007 were a wonderful example of both sides recognizing the others' needs, and their common interests.

What Romney gets most wrong, though, is the assumption that bankruptcy will somehow fix the problems he cites rather than exacerbate them and cause a raft of others.

How will the companies restructure when a bankruptcy obliterates sales? How will millions of job losses at the auto companies and their suppliers make it easier for the government to invest in the industry's technological future? Or for that matter, to sell cars?


Yes, this is personal. Rachel's godfather works at Ford and a lot of our friends are either Big 3 employees or work in associated industries.

"Because it's become art. I call it Entrope': With Gourds."

"It's a statement about how all things are passing."

"Daddy, mine has a river of mold and dirty water in it."

"Dead mold, sweetheart. The freezing weather's almost certainly killed it."

"Eeeewwww."

Fine, I'll get rid of the jack o'lanterns on the stoop.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Definitely worth a shot.

Henry Karlson at Vox Nova penned this fine open letter to President-elect Obama on life issues.

It hits all of them and presents the right tone as an opening invitation (which is important to remember--it isn't the final word).

This deserves a lot of publicity, so I'll take a risk and post it in its entirety (with a grateful hat-tip):

An Open Letter to President-Elect Barack Obama
November 14, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama,

As American Catholics, we, the undersigned, would like to reiterate the congratulations given to you by Pope Benedict XVI. We will be praying for you as you undertake the office of President of the United States.

Wishing you much good will, we hope we will be able to work with you, your administration, and our fellow citizens to move beyond the gridlock which has often harmed our great nation in recent years. Too often, partisan politics has hampered our response to disaster and misfortune. As a result of this, many Americans have become resentful, blaming others for what happens instead of realizing our own responsibilities. We face serious problems as a people, and if we hope to overcome the crises we face in today’s world, we should make a serious effort to set aside the bitterness in our hearts, to listen to one another, and to work with one another

One of the praiseworthy elements of your campaign has been the call to end such partisanship. You have stated a desire to engage others in dialogue. With you, we believe that real achievement comes not through the defamation of one’s opponents, nor by amassing power and using it merely as a tool for one’s own individual will. We also believe dialogue is essential. We too wish to appeal to the better nature of the nation. We want to encourage people to work together for the common good. Such action can and will engender trust. It may change the hearts of many, and it might alter the path of our nation, shifting to a road leading to a better America. We hope this theme of your campaign is realized in the years ahead.

One of the critical issues which currently divides our nation is abortion. As you have said, no one is for abortion, and you would agree to limit late-term abortions as long as any bill which comes your way allows for exceptions to those limits, such as when the health of the mother is in jeopardy. You have also said you would like to work on those social issues which cause women to feel as if they have a need for an abortion, so as to reduce the actual number of abortions being performed in the United States.

Indeed, you said in your third presidential debate, “But there surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, ‘We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby.’”

As men and women who oppose abortion and embrace a pro-life ethic, we want to commend your willingness to engage us in dialogue, and we ask that you live up to your promise, and engage us on this issue.

There is much we can do together. There is much that we can do to help women who find themselves in difficult situations so they will not see abortion as their only option. There is much which we can do to help eliminate those unwanted pregnancies which lead to abortion.

One of your campaign promises is of grave concern to many pro-life citizens. On January 22, 2008, the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when speaking of the current right of women in America to have abortions, you said, “And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.”

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) might well undermine your engagement of pro-life Americans on the question of abortion. It might hamper any effort on your part to work with us to limit late-term abortions. We believe FOCA does more than allow for choice. It may force the choice of a woman upon others, and make them morally complicit in such choice. One concern is that it would force doctors and hospitals which would otherwise choose not to perform abortions to do so, even if it went against their sacred beliefs. Such a law would undermine choice, and might begin the process by which abortion is enforced as a preferred option, instead of being one possible choice for a doctor to practice.

It is because of such concern we write. We urge you to engage us, and to dialogue with us, and to do so before you consider signing this legislation. Let us reason together and search out the implications of FOCA. Let us carefully review it and search for contradictions of those positions which we hold in common.
If FOCA can be postponed for the present, and serious dialogue begun with us, as well as with those who disagree with us, you will demonstrate that your administration will indeed be one that rises above partisanship, and will be one of change. This might well be the first step toward resolving an issue which tears at the fabric of our churches, our political process, our families, our very society, and that causes so much hardship and heartache in pregnant women.

Likewise, you have also recently stated you might over-ride some of President G.W. Bush’s executive orders. This is also a concern to us. We believe doing so without having a dialogue with the American people would undermine the political environment you would like to establish. Among those issues which concern us are those which would use taxpayer money to support actions we find to be morally questionable, such as embryonic stem cell research, or to fund international organizations that would counsel women to have an abortion (this would make abortion to be more than a mere choice, but an encouraged activity).

Consider, sir, your general promise to the American people and set aside particular promises to a part of your constituency. This would indicate that you plan to reject politics as usual. This would indeed be a change we need.

Sincerely,

Deal W. Hudson
Christopher Blosser
Marjorie Campbell
Mark J. Coughlan
Rev. James A. Nowack
Craig D. Baker
Susan DeBoisblanc
Megan Stout
Joshua D. Brumfield
Ashley M. Brumfield
Michael J. Iafrate
Natalie Navarro
Matthew Talbot
Paul Mitchell
Todd Flowerday
Henry C Karlson III
Adam P Verslype
Josiah Neeley
Michael J. Deem
Katerina M. Deem
Natalie Mixa
Henry Newman
Anthony M. Annett
Mickey Jackson
Veronica Greenwell
Thomas Greenwell PhD
Robert C. Koerpel
Nate Wildermuth

New, Online Signatures:
Steve Dillard

Bailout redux--Wheeled edition.

Two interesting bits on bailing out the Detroit 3.

First, by Tom Piatak, noting the odd concern with economic purity from East Coasters and Sunbelters now that it's the Midwest's ox being gored.

Second, a handy bit of myth-busting showing that the Detroit automakers are, in the main, quality producers.

Myth No. 2

They build unreliable junk.

Reality

The creaky, leaky vehicles of the 1980s and '90s are long gone. Consumer Reports recently found that "Ford's reliability is now on par with good Japanese automakers." The independent J.D. Power Initial Quality Study scored Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Mercury, Pontiac and Lincoln brands' overall quality as high or higher than that of Acura, Audi, BMW, Honda, Nissan, Scion, Volkswagen and Volvo.
Power rated the Chevrolet Malibu the highest-quality midsize sedan. Both the Malibu and Ford Fusion scored better than the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.


That said, despite my energetic arguments elsewhere, I have serious qualms about the merits of a bailout, at least as structured by Congress. A bridge loan to get them through the hurricane, yes. Micromanagement by Henry Waxman, no.

Then again, the cost of collapse is inconceivable.

0 and 16?

A distinct possibility for the Motor City Kitties.

And one I can't root for, even though some devout Lions fans are.

You'll never get rid of that stench--ever. Even though I dislike the collective idiocy and lack of talent that has brought the team to the brink of dubious history, I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Matt Millen included.

It doesn't just stick to the team, either--it's a label for the entire area, one I want no part of.

Toss in the numbness from the Wolverines' epic pratfall this season, and it's been ipecac-through-a-beer-bong, football-wise.

Smoke if you got 'em--this is an open thread.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Throw SoCons from the train.

Happens every bad GOP election cycle and this year it's Charles Johnson's turn to develop a case of the vapors:


This [the David Frum] argument makes sense to us, and we’ve been holding forth in our comments on this very topic. If the GOP decides to go in the Bobby Jindal direction (fundamental Christianity, creationism, hard-line anti-abortionism, aggressively anti-gay rights), it will be committing political suicide. As much as anything else, this election was a referendum on the social conservative agenda, and the social conservatives did not win.


My first prescription for proponents of the Godbotherer Heave-Ho Project, is, as always, to snuggle into one's easy chair with a nice hot mug of Biteme.

With marshmallows.


Of course it makes sense to him--Johnson thinks ID is the next worse thing after Al Qaeda. And for a Californian, he seems to have missed how the residents of the Biggest Blue told gay marriage proponents to stuff it. Political suicide--perhaps not so much?


And 2008 was "a referendum on the social conservative agenda"? In what universe? The one where he tries to fend off Christianist hordes hurling their Bibles and rosaries at his mountain survivalist retreat, maybe. Abortion was mentioned at one debate (two if you count Saddleback). The issue was the economy, plain and simple, and big-spending Barack, with his promises of Much, Much More Spending won big and spending freeze Johnny lost.


Sounds like a referendum on economic conservativism to me. And economic conservatives lost.


Hey, I'm just using what passes for the logic in his argument.

Oh, and let's not forget McCain explicitly campaigning on a more muscular foreign policy. Lost to the candidate of International Chat, big time.

Sounds like a referendum on foreign policy conservatism to me. And the hawks lost.

Any idiot with an axe to grind (and Mr. Johnson has a glittering collection) can spin up the same arguments, of comparable degrees of worthlessness.

The election turned on disgust with George Bush and the financial crisis. Period. Anybody who says otherwise is simply hard at work trying to gore somebody else's ox.

[Thanks to Owen at Southern Appeal for the link.]

More on the Showdown at St. Martin de Porres.

Long-time FotB Maureen provided a link to The Smoking Gun, which has the police report and a mugshot of the star-crossed young protester. Apparently, the daily Massgoers were really, really hacked off:

We advised the parishoners to get off of him, at which time the w/m, John Samuel Ricci, was placed into handcuffs for his safety and our safety until we could ascertain what was going on.



On the bright side, the winter tourism industry will really come into its own.

Earth oscillating toward permanent ice age?

I report, you decide.

Or deride.

And now, for some drooling food pr0n

Metro Detroit's best burgers--via montage.

Your moment of economic horror for the day: the consequences of a bankrupt GM.

I can't believe I just typed "bankrupt GM":

The issue boils down to a historic proposition: Is what's good for GM still good for the country?

"If GM were to go into a free-fall bankruptcy and didn't pay its trade debts, then the entire domestic auto industry shuts down," says Rodriguez. The system — the domestic auto plants and their interconnected group of suppliers — is far bigger than GM. It includes 54 North American manufacturing plants and at least 4,000 so-called Tier 1 suppliers — firms that feed parts and subassemblies directly to those plants. That includes mom-and-pop outfits but also a dozen or so large companies such as Lear, Johnson Controls and GM's former captive Delphi. Beyond those are thousands of the suppliers' suppliers.


Although the Detroit Three directly employed about 240,000 people last year, according to the industry-allied Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor, Mich., the multiplier effect is large, which is typical in manufacturing. Throw in the partsmakers and other suppliers, and you have an additional 974,000 jobs. Together, says CAR, these 1.2 million workers spend enough to keep 1.7 million more people employed. That gets you to 2.9 million jobs tied to the Detroit Three, and even if you discount the figures because of CAR's allegiance, it's a big number. Shut down Detroit, and the national unemployment rate heads toward 10% in a hurry.

Not to mention putting the State of Michigan into receivership. No, I'm not exaggerating on that one.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Urge to eat brains...fading...

Things are getting much better around here. Yesterday, our recovering kids composed this (Maddie did the actual writing) on our dry-erase marker board:

Dear Mom and Dad:

You are the best Mom and Dad on Earth!
I hope you get better!
Mad bad pie man!
You'r the best!

Love, Maddie, Dale and Rachel

P.S. We love you!

Bonus question: Guess which one was Rachel's contribution.

Friday, November 07, 2008

This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative.

Remember that happy talk about the stomach bug missing Heather and me? It's 50% accurate now. If that's not sufficient to guess who's the suffering party, remember that Heather's immune system laughs derisively at Ebola.


If you're going to spew, spew into this.



[Update, 11/8/08: And then there were two. Rachel has it now. And I look like a scarlet-eyed raccoon, having ruptured the capillaries in the skin around my eyes during last night's festivities. It was so bad I missed saying an office in the Liturgy of the Hours for the first time in four years. Prayers for the family requested. If this is rotovirus, we're in for a miserable ride.]

What am I missing here?

I'm talking about those recent essays calling upon Catholics who supported Obama to act as a restraining force on his policies for abortion, etc.

Exqueeze me? Baking powder? Asphinctersayswhat?

OK, so Zippy's is a rhetorical exercise, and no less illuminating for that--note the entertaining subject-change softshoe in the comments box there.

But let's say for the sake of argument that the bulk of them want to go that route (for counter-evidence, go here) and fully intend to tell the President "Whoa--stop right there."

On what basis could they credibly object? More to the point, why should President Obama take them seriously? It's not like he's betraying them--they signed on knowing where he stood. So much for their hypothetical objections to federal embryo farming.

More to the point, they've already conceded on non-industrialized abortion, having entrusted that portfolio to Doug Kmiec's mystical poverty-fighting unicorn, ridden into battle by the suitably-androgynous "Social Justice" (1) Fairy.

Sure, we're abolishing all of the modest limitations on abortion nationwide with FOCA and consigning the Hyde Amendment to the pyre, but it'll still come out a net plus with all of that new spending.

--Yours in Hope and Change,

Some Mid-Level Aide to the President.

P.S. Feel free to call us again starting some time in November 2011.

And they say pro-lifers are dupes of the GOP. What about Obama's pro-life contingent?

--------------
(1) "Social Justice" is not to be confused with actual Catholic Social Justice principles.

Just because.


Lots more picks at the link.

Projectiles.

Maddie and Dale were brought low by the barfing bug. They are better today, but Wednesday night was awful. God willing, it's stopped with them and doesn't go further. Heather was feeling a little out of sorts, but she recovered.

As I've told her time and again, she's not allowed to get sick.

[Crosses fingers.]

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

And now for my one moment of savage post-election recrimination.

Way to get bamboozled and hoodwinked by the human embryo cannibalization lobby, 53% of Michigan voters. Since you are impervious to arguments based on morality ("here, U of M--have one of my leftover kids. She's not all that cute and I wasn't going to do anything with her, anyway"), hard medical evidence (zilch-o results from ESCR--unless you like tumors) or medical progress (we're pretty damn close to getting pluripotent stem cells without dismemberment), let's try your wallet: every. Single. State. which has endorsed embryonic snake-oil has ended up funding it with taxpayer dollars. U of M has already built the frigging center. Hey, remember our budget crisis? No, I guess not.


Oh, and please note that there are already murmurings that our amended Constitution doesn't go far enough and will have to be amended to allow for factory farming if we are going to "remain competitive," as the soulless libertarian editorial goons at the Detroit News admitted. [When the News goes under--as it will soon, being the weakest of the two Detroit dailies--I will not shed the slightest tear for its editorial staff. The rest of the employees, yes. But I'll giggle at the unemployment of its utilitarian editorial board. I'll even give them the Vir Wave.]





America: It's More Carthage than Rome. Only without Hannibal's squeamishness.



Here's the Inside Catholic piece.

Let me know what you think.

Disappointed, but hardly surprised.

Congratulations to President-elect Obama. You have my prayers.

On a related note, I'll have something up on Inside Catholic later this afternoon.

Monday, November 03, 2008

"And in news--sport."

OR--I'm Suffering From Electile Dysfunction and Need a Subject Change.

A.I. for Mr. Big Shot and Antonio McDyess?

Interesting...

FWIW, I've always liked the way Iverson plays (just so long as we're not talking about practice), and he was the only guy going for broke in the 2004 Olympics, which endeared him to me. All he does is score, and this will be the most complete supporting cast he's had in his career. I'll definitely be paying closer attention to the regular season.

All in all, it looks like a salary cap move, believe it or not.

I think it weakens them slightly, but the 'Stons wanted to give Rodney Stuckey a bigger role at point guard. Also, Chauncey had been subpar during the last two playoff runs. Still, he will be missed--we wouldn't have celebrated a championship in 2004 without him.

Oh, and thoughts on Culpepper signing to be the QB for Nobody's Team? He'd better have some of his old mobility, otherwise he'll be retiring again, tout suite.

Help Heather win a contest!

Over at the MCJ. She's captioned this picture of Episcopal overseers:



Speaking of going down swinging.

I spent two and a half hours GOTV phone-banking yesterday. Remarkably easy (we were hitting self-identified GOPers with a history of needing a kick to the backside). Don't have any real (as opposed to anecdotal) impressions, but I wasn't the only first timer.

Alas, no canvassing the undecided voters. Which meant I wasn't able to use my Barry White impression on the ladies and my R. Lee Ermey drill sergeant on the gents.

Oh, and another trespasser decided to try his origamy skills on my McCain sign (again sparing the No On Human Embryo Research sign), during the daylight (!) hours of Saturday while we were gone. I decided to respond by duct-taping a C battery to the sign, running a wire to the battery lead, taping that in place and digging a hole to run the other end of the wire into the ground. It won't do anything but make them think, but so far, so good.

Fighting for time.

Major-General Lew Wallace had been a rising star in the Union Army in 1862. He fought well during the Fort Donelson campaign and had the makings of a superb commander. Then came the disastrous battle of Shiloh, a horrific bloodbath which saw the Confederate Army of Tennessee come within a hairsbreadth of destroying Ulysses S. Grant's forces in a surprise attack. The career of Grant was nearly destroyed in the debacle. Wallace had no nearly.

He had been in charge of the Union reinforcements and had mishandled what were poorly-written orders by Grant. He marched to the aid of the Federals, found they were not there, then marched back too slowly to contribute decisively to the battle. Grant's career was saved by his brilliant record during the Donelson campaign.

Wallace had nothing comparable to fall back on and was kicked to an irrelevant command, an interesting what-if/if-only haunting him all the way.

In July 1864, however, Wallace returned to the front line. Or, rather, the front line found him.

In that blazing hot summer, Jubal Early's rebels came storming out of the Shenandoah, 15,000 strong.

Straight for Washington, D.C., the most fortified city in the world. Or at least it was when there were enough troops to man the walls.

However, the city had been emptied of most of its troops during the extremely bloody Overland campaign earlier that summer, as Grant ground his way to Richmond and ended up setting up a siege around that city and the crucial rail junction of Petersburg.

There were precious few troops at the capital itself, and Grant saw this nearly too late, finally dispatching the hardened veterans of the Sixth Corps, a division at a time, to the capital.

But they hadn't arrived in D.C. when Early's troops marched into Maryland, and disgraced and forgotten Lew Wallace was staring down the barrel of a cannon with almost nothing to stop them.

Until, at nearly the very last minute, the first of the Sixth Corps divisions arrived. Wallace deployed the veterans and some very green troops, including 100-day enlistees, at Monocacy Junction, Maryland. All told, he had roughly 6000 troops, but he'd chosen his ground well. After a day of see-saw fighting, greater numbers told and the Federals were driven from the field, having suffered 20% losses. But they had bought a day's delay and the Confederates were fought out and too tired to march immediately to Washington. The next day, Early's troops arrived at the Washington outworks and saw green conscripts manning the forts, and too few of them. As he got his men in line to attack, he saw a dust cloud to the south.

The rest of the Sixth Corps had arrived and marched into line, with more veterans behind them.

Game over, and Early knew it. To attack now would be folly, and after some skirmishing that saw a young Oliver Wendell Holmes roar "GET DOWN, YOU FOOL!" to a bemused President Lincoln who was visiting the fortifications, Early reluctantly retreated, ending the last Confederate invasion of the north. As Grant said in his memoirs:

If Early had been but one day earlier, he might have entered the capital before the arrival of the reinforcements I had sent. ... General Wallace contributed on this occasion by the defeat of the troops under him, a greater benefit to the cause than often falls to the lot of a commander of an equal force to render by means of a victory.

Wallace, his honor partially restored, survived the war and later went on to write one of the greatest bestsellers of the 19th Century: Ben Hur.

Thanks for the history lesson, Dale, but is there a larger point?

Yep, there is.

This election is the pro-life movement's Battle of Monocacy. Sure, McCain blows an uncertain (or sometimes worse) trumpet on the life issues. No, he's not going to be able to reverse Roe if he gets elected. We're not going to win a decisive victory with him at the helm. But what a McCain triumph does is buy us time to consolidate and protect our (very real) gains and raise up or season the next generation of leaders. Those who can take the fight forward, the ones who have been more committed from the beginning and who breathe it and feel it differently from McCain's generation. Like Palin and Jindal, for starters.

I'm going into this with my eyes wide open, and I don't expect much. But holding the line is good enough, especially given the alternative. Which, after the capital falls, is a minimum of four years of desperate routs and rear-guard actions.

It's your pick, but there's something to be said for fighting even when you can't win the war that very day.