Thursday, April 16, 2015

EITHER I'M TOO SENSITIVE/OR ELSE I'M GETTIN' SOFT.

I can't even tell if they're kidding anymore. Paula Bolyard at PJ Media:
What is it going to take for voters to turn on Hillary? I suspect it’s not going to be Benghazi, Filegate, Travelgate, Whitewater... But fear not, all is not lost. I do think there is one thing that would be guaranteed to sink Clinton in our shallow, cult-of-celebrity culture: Pictures of Hillary doing those “yoga routines” she said were in the emails she deleted from her servers. 
Imagine a picture of a sweaty, haggard-looking 67-year-old Clinton in yoga pants appearing on every Facebook feed, mobile device, and news outlet in the country. It would be a devastating blow to her campaign. (Think I’m exaggerating? See: Dukakis in the tank, Nixon in the first televised debate, and Howard Dean’s Rebel Yell for other examples of campaign-ending memes.) 
But this raises some questions. If you were in sole possession of the hypothetical picture of Hillary in yoga pants, would you leak it to the press and/or her opponent’s campaign? Is all fair in love and war — and campaigns?...
I just can't tell. It has some of the characteristics of irony, and it's possible the is-it-moral question is Bolyard's way of tipping us off that she's not serious. Or maybe it's only morality she's not serious about, because at the end she solicits reader input, and gets the sort you (and doubtless she) would expect ("You don't need yoga pix. The ones on the beach are just as good..").

It is difficult to escape the conclusion, uncharitable as it is, that her premise is actually, boy if we could get our hands on those yoga pictures that would be the end of Hitlery Klintoon!

Elsewhere at the same site:


For the time being I'm going to assume they're not in control of any rhetorical apparatuses, and are just free-associating ancient slurs in a kind of Tea-Party Tourette's.

UPDATE. Yeah, I know, if I go collecting lame anti-Hitlery stories we'll be here all day, but I am compelled to note this entry from William A. Jacobson of Legal Insurrection:
Hillary has an Elizabeth-Warren-Like Family Lore Problem
Contrary to stump speeches, only one of Hillary’s grandparents was an immigrant.
Gasp! It's #Gen-ghazi! Heritage is a big deal for Jacobson: You may recall his whole ugh-how-woo-woo-woo campaign against his previous hard-on, Elizabeth Warren. During Warren's 2012 Senate race, Jacobson was constantly frothing over her claims to Native American heritage. Warren somehow overcame this brilliant strategy, but Jacobson sticks at it to this day: See his April 6, 2015 post, "Jeb Bush is more Hispanic than Elizabeth Warren is Indian." (I think he just likes to take any excuse to think and talk about her, which may be why he was telling his presumably perplexed readers last December that Warren was a shoo-in to beat Clinton for the nomination.)

Really, if you're throwing the kitchen sink 18 months before the election, what will you have left to throw next fall?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

SAY IT LOUD.

I've been saying that the essence of libertarianism is the elevation of "them that has, gets" to the level of holy gospel, and hey, here comes David Boaz of the Cato Institute to prove it. Boaz likes those check-off boxes that let you devote a few bucks of your taxes to different funds and wonders, why can't the whole thing be like that?
Why not take this one step further? Why shouldn’t taxpayers make direct decisions about how much money they want to spend on other government programs, like paying off the national debt, the war in Iraq or the National Endowment for the Arts? This would force the federal government to focus time and resources on projects citizens actually want, not just efforts that appeal to special interests.
They're all "a republic, not a democracy" until it comes to money -- and of course Boaz isn't for letting the moochers use the tax system to loot the makers (as they do now -- ask Mitt Romney!), but rather for the makers with the most bucks to decide what services will be available to the little people:
Entitlements would be the biggest problem. About 60 percent of the federal budget now goes to entitlement programs. Medicare and Medicaid make up more than 20 percent of spending, and most of that comes from general revenues. Should taxpayers be able to withhold their hard-earned dollars from such programs? In a free society, they should. So how do we handle a shortage of funding? Congress could change the spending parameters to fit what the taxpayers are willing to supply.
The more money you have, the more dollar-votes you have on this. Like it is now, in other words -- but with no need for subterfuge, because that's the difference between libertarians and conservatives: Libertarians don't feel shame, so there's no need to be sneaky about it. (h/t Brent Cox.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

STOP THE PRESSES.


I haven't said anything about the douchebags who've already declared because a.) the prospect of a Ted Cruz presidency fills me with dread, not humor; it's like, "Haw, Hitler is 30 miles outside Paris!" b.) Even if she wins 50 states the Hitlery Klintoon candidacy will never be anything but sad to me -- sad in the way Robert Downey Jr. doing one more fucking Avengers movie is sad, and of course sad for the nation, but mostly sad because there cannot possibly be anything human about it -- even if she were suddenly struck with enlightenment or the seventh degree of concentration, even if she became luminous with self-knowledge, her campaign of necessity would be this big lumbering thing that demands attention for burritos (and gets it mainly from agents of arghblargh). Plus I may have to vote for her. c.) C'mon, Rubio's not old enough to run for President!

But this Pataki announcement blows the game wide open. Wait'll the kids get a load of the Pride of Peekskill! He's lawn-order, and he knows the rent is too damn low! He's every awful thing they want without the distracting layers of marketing that make the real candidates so extra loathsome.

OUR FEELINGS WE WITH DIFFICULTY SMOTHER/WHEN CONSTABULARY DUTY'S TO BE DONE...

David Brooks will go along with body cams for cops but he won't be happy about it, because it will interfere with the citizen's naturally cozy relationship with officers of the law:
Cop-cams chip away at [privacy]. The cameras will undermine communal bonds. Putting a camera on someone is a sign that you don’t trust him, or he doesn’t trust you. When a police officer is wearing a camera, the contact between an officer and a civilian is less likely to be like intimate friendship and more likely to be oppositional and transactional.
When a traffic cop pulls him over in this brave new world, Brooks will have to fold the hundred-dollar bill more tightly before he tucks it under his license so that the camera won't pick it up.
Cop-cams will insult families. It’s worth pointing out that less than 20 percent of police calls involve felonies, and less than 1 percent of police-citizen contacts involve police use of force. Most of the time cops are mediating disputes, helping those in distress, dealing with the mentally ill or going into some home where someone is having a meltdown. When a police officer comes into your home wearing a camera, he’s trampling on the privacy that makes a home a home. He’s recording people on what could be the worst day of their lives, and inhibiting their ability to lean on the officer for care and support.
I imagine some Harry Guardino sort of tough detective crying, "Dammit, you're turning us into a bunch of babysitters!" You don't call cops for social services, you call them because you wish to expose a crime to the state -- which is pretty much the opposite of seeking privacy.
Cop-cams insult individual dignity because the embarrassing things recorded by them will inevitably get swapped around. The videos of the naked crime victim, the berserk drunk, the screaming maniac will inevitably get posted online...
Oh no, oh no come on, he can't be that --
... — as they are already.
My God, he pulled a Goldberg -- that is, he refuted his own point but didn't bother to rewrite the passage! Goldberg usually emits a cloaking fart of irrelevancies to cover for himself -- let's see what Brooks does:
With each leak, culture gets a little coarser.
Ah, culture -- I forgot this was the Times!

Monday, April 13, 2015

SEASON 7, EPISODE 9.

Because Mad Men has such a moody house style, it was hard to recognize at first that this episode is a farce -- bitter, a little sluggish, and with some dark shadows, but with appropriately outsized comic premises. (Funnily enough I was just reading something about Kafka reading early pages of The Trial to friends and how he had trouble getting through because everyone was laughing so much.) The sad story of Diana the waitress tugs the heartstrings, but look at it from Don's perspective: He basically gives away a million dollars because he thinks this mystery woman is going to take away his pain -- and it turns out pain is what she's after. Then he discovers his furniture is missing.

Okay, so it's not A Flea in Her Ear. Maybe it's because the principals are now sufficiently comfortable (financially and dramatically) that I can't worry about them, or maybe it's the dank smell of the approaching end that's encouraging me to detach, but whatever it is I'm not inclined to take the suffering in this episode very seriously. And there is suffering, copious suffering. Even Pretty Megan, usually associated more with insufferability than suffering, has her nerves convincingly flayed; she has moved past gentle, make-believe separation into the hard reality of divorce and, worse yet, it's shoved her right back into the maw of her family, and I may be dense but I only realized when Megan's sister was blubbering about having to fly back to *Paris all by herself that she and the old lady aren't charming gallic goofs, they're horrible, self-centered monsters and it's understandable Megan would be freaked out that Don won't be around anymore to rescue her from them.

Or from scumbags like Harry Crane. It's perfect that the one thing ringing in her ears after that humiliating encounter is "I can't believe Don threw you away... you don't think he could have helped you?" -- as is made obvious by her bitterness at the lawyer's meeting (with no lawyer), and by the writers making the implicit callback to Campbell's and Sterling's bitter speeches about bitter divorced wives. It begins to seem that the writers share my feeling that no one on this show is going to learn anything.

But hey, comedy! We have Mimi Rogers as a boss dyke artiste who can also approach a problem from, as it were, the other direction, leading to some beautiful one-upgirlship between Peggy and Stan ("She tried the same thing with me -- but she didn't get as far"). That was good enough by itself, but then showing Stan at home with Elaine, showing only the tiniest glimmer of awareness that losing a power struggle wasn't the worst thing he did, was even better. Warm fandom may be a bad perspective from which to watch this show; the picture's clearer from farther away.

*UPDATE. Commenter shortstop points out that the Calvets are from Montreal. In fairness to myself, that is an easy thing to miss. sundaystyle makes a good point:
 I don't care about Diana, Waitress of Death, or Pima swanning around out-butching the guys... if Weiner's going out on a note of existential despair, I hope the remaining episodes focus more on Peggy, Don, Pete, Joan, Sally, Betty and Roger. They're the characters we've been watching since the beginning.
Yeah, the more comfortable I get with this being Just a TV Show rather than a deathless work of art, the more I want to see character payoffs, too. If you share my tedious preoccupation with Mad Men, you might enjoy Matt Zoller Seitz's recap; good catch, Jeff Strabone! (But isn't it weird that Don's record library still has Martin Denny in it?)

Friday, April 10, 2015

FRIDAY 'ROUND THE HORN.


Thanks to Chuck Gilligan I finally saw the Mountain Goats this week.
Liked it all, but this song really jumped up and grabbed my throat.

•   Charles C.W. Cooke takes me to task -- rather gently, considering how abusive I've been toward him -- for my review of his column on the Walter Scott video. Let me try and return the favor. I thought that column showed him resistant to the lessons of a long and depressing trend of which Scott's killing is a part (notwithstanding Scott's is less likely to go unpunished since someone took video of it):
...I think that [Michael Graham] is confusing conviction for humility. Pace Roy Edroso, I am not at all “sure” what happened in the cases of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin. On the contrary: I have written repeatedly that I do not — and I cannot — know what happened in those instances, and that, in all likelihood, nor can a jury...
He then goes on about Blackstone and the presumption of innocence, as if my argument (and those of the others) were for a presumption of guilt in murder cases. Let me clarify, then: that is not what I'm arguing for at all. I'm arguing instead for an acknowledgement that cops (and would-be cops) sometimes treat black citizens differently from white ones, and not in a good way. This is not just the fantasy of "those among us who are convinced that the United States is an irredeemably racist nation," as Cooke described us in his original column, but a judgment based on years of bitter evidence. I'm arguing this not to begin any bogus race "conversation," nor to agitate for some quota of cop convictions. I'm arguing this because it's a plain fact that some folks seem committed to ignoring and to slurring other people for noticing, and that's one of the big reasons why, 150 years after Appomattox, this country remains totally nuts about race.

•   With his latest on the death penalty, Jonah Goldberg not only keeps up with the worst-thing-ever-written pledge I made on his behalf some time ago, he actually outdoes himself. First, he argues, that Tsarnaev bastard deserves the death penalty, doesn't he, and if you don't think so, what about that cop who shot that black guy 'cause you love black guys when the cops shoot them:
Wait, before you answer that, consider Michael Slager. He’s the North Charleston, S.C., cop who shot Walter Scott in the back as he was fleeing and then allegedly lied about why he did it. 
I don’t have to say he allegedly shot Scott because Slager admitted that much.
Huh, what about that, libtards? The smarter libtards take a seat and wait, and sure enough Goldberg starts pee-dancing around:
Legally, it’s harder to argue that Slager should get the death penalty if convicted. Not all murders are equal before the law. It’s unclear how much premeditation, if any, there was in this case. Presumably Slager didn’t know Scott before he pulled him over for a traffic stop. 
Still, I think you could make a case for the death penalty in cases like this.
[Libtards light cigarettes, read Elizabeth Bruenig on their phones.]
The analogy that comes to mind is the wartime military.
[One libtard looks up expectantly.] 
There are capital offenses for crimes other than murder because the integrity and effectiveness of the armed forces is a priority. We are not a martial society, but I could make a similar argument about police officers who murder and lie about it. Faith in the fairness of the justice system is simply indispensable to a democracy and social peace. Lack of such faith may be why Scott ran from Officer Slager.
[By now all the libtards have turned their attention to him.] 
If so, his mistrust was tragically well placed.
[The sneering laughter comes but is soon drowned out by the most insidious weapon in Goldberg's flatularium, the Cloaking Fart.] Sometimes I think Goldberg is a gift from the muses.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

A WEEK OF SHORTER ROD DREHERS.

4/6/15, 10:42 am: The gays are oppressing us Christians.
4/6/15, 2:02 pm: Buy my book.
4/6/15, 5:35 pm: The gays are oppressing us Christians
4/7/15, 12:05 am: Facebook and the gay drag queens are oppressing us Christians.
4/7/15, 5:08 am: Buy my book.
4/7/15, 12:45 pm: The gays are oppressing us Christians (and after Ross Douthat was theoretically so nice to them!).
4/7/15, 10:57 pm: I know many of you must be sick and tired by now of my posting so heavily on the gay rights vs. religious liberty question, but the gays are oppressing us Christians.
4/7/15, 11:51 pm: The sex liberals are oppressing us Christians and Muslims.
4/8/15, 8:50 am: The sex liberals are close-minded about abortionmurder, and are oppressing us Christians.
4/8/15, 11:14 pm: Buy tickets to my festival.
4/8/15, 11:45 pm: Buy my book.
4/9/15, 4:26 am: The gays are oppressing us Christians, and Jews too I bet.
4/9/15, 8:52 am: The sex liberals and the gays are oppressing us Christians but we will go Benedict and outbreed them and then they'll be sorry.
4/9/15, 10:38 am: Buy my book.

UPDATE. Thanks, commenters, for letting me know I had the wrong dates at first -- this is not speculative fiction, but American History X-for-Jesus! Also thanks, commenters, for comments -- for rahab's "TL;DReher," for Jay B's "Imagine something being shoved down one's throat repeatedly, forever..." for Ted the slacker's "50 Rods of Gay," and so much more.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

THEY NEVER LEARN.

He almost got away with it:
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — One day after a South Carolina police officer was arrested in the shooting death of an unarmed black man, the victim’s family said Wednesday that no charges would have been filed if not for a video of the encounter — which showed the officer firing eight shots at the man as he ran away. 
“It would have never come to light. They would have swept it under the rug, like they did with many others,” Walter Scott Sr., the father of the victim, said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” Show.
A number of journalists have been making the point that without the fortuitous video, Scott would be dismissed as another lawbreaker who got, if not quite what he deserved, then at least no more than he had a right to expect, for reasons that I don't have to tell you. But none makes that point better on purpose than Charles C.W. Cooke at National Review does by accident.

Cooke admits that "the initial witness reports appear to have been wholly incorrect" in Scott's case and, based on the footage, "Scott's death at the hands of a police officer appears to be entirely unjustified." This, he says, is "an argument for more cameras," though he doesn't say how these would be put into practice; I can't imagine he wants the gummint to use precious taxpayer money on them; maybe he foresees Burkean "little platoons" of black folk recording cops, in shifts.

But one thing, Cooke makes clear, this case doesn't mean is that white cops are sometimes overeager to shoot and kill black people -- that's just gush from "those among us who are convinced that the United States is an irredeemably racist nation." And the apposite citation, for him, is a couple of dead black guys:
All in all, this seems to be the case that we have been hearing about for a long, long while now — that much-previewed-but-never-quite-forthcoming case in which the white cop unnecessarily guns down the unarmed black man who is trying in earnest to get away. This is that case in which the 80 percent white police force takes a life from the 47 percent black city; in which the small infraction leads to the fatal consequence; in which there are no wrinkles to complicate the complaint. This, in other words, is what the shootings of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin were not.
Are you wondering why he's so sure about Brown and Martin, even though "witness reports" can be "wholly incorrect"? I'm not.