Tuesday, February 02, 2010

POSITIVELY THE WORST SALINGER TRIBUTE YET. When J.D. Salinger passed a lot was said about him, some of it affecting, some idiotic. As he was not in any way an overtly political figure, there wasn't a handle conservative bloggers could easily grasp. And some of them were actually gracious -- even including Gerard Vanderleun, if you can imagine it.

There was Jules Crittenden's ridiculous screed, in which Crittenden seemed to confuse Holden Caulfield with his author and blame him for Flaming Youth, but I took that as a bit of willful contrarianism meant to generate traffic, which is a big thing on the internet with or without politics, rather than seriously.

On another order is Tom Bethell's American Spectator piece, which reader Greg Costello pointed out to me. Bethell mentions that librarians censored Catcher in the Rye in the 60s and thereafter -- "censored" in quotes, which is an ominous tipoff.

Bethell alerts us to a coming reversal: "But maybe the librarians knew something that the rest of us have overlooked." Then he recounts the part of the book in which Caulfield's old English teacher tries to get "perverty" with him.
So there you have it. Holden talks about perverts and flits, in a book published by Little Brown in 1951, and reprinted a million times since then. A Back Bay paperback edition reappeared in 2001.

Is it allowed, in the 21st century, to use words like that? Notice that the New Yorker refused to published Catcher in the Rye, but they did publish Salinger's unreadable story "Hapworth 16, 1924." So maybe Harold Ross at the New Yorker was alert to these nuances of political incorrectness long, long ago.
Bethell goes to the trouble to ask someone at Little Brown "if they would allow a book to appear today in which a gay man is called a 'pervert' or a 'flit.'" The guy "laughed openly. 'The question answers itself,' he said." Therefore: "If you haven't read Catcher in the Rye yet, better get a hold of it soon. Because it is likely to disappear from the shelves before you can say flit."

It's a miracle Bruno ever got made. Or that this line was approved for the cable series Party Down: "That is a question for a psychologist -- or as Adam would say, a Jew faggot.” Or that Joe Rogan can do a routine in which a guy tells his dog, "How about you stop chasing your tail, faggot!" Or bloggers can call Lil Wayne a faggot. Or Ann Coulter can call John Edwards one. Or -- 'scuse me, what were we talking about again?

This reminds me of the complaints of National Review contributor Mark Goldblatt, who in the last decade published a novel called Africa Speaks, by which he meant to show the world that "If not for the French... African Americans would currently rank as the most hypocritical, most paranoid, most pretentious group of people on the planet." His book was offered for sale on Amazon -- you can still buy it there -- but he was unsatisfied because he had received "no newspaper or magazine reviews" and "no bookstore shelf space." Though he had been allowed to publish, despite the PC police, he was mad that he couldn't get The Breaks, which he attributed to reverse racism.

When these guys bring up the specter of censorship, they usually mean not that they are denied First Amendment rights, but that many people don't approve what they're saying. This state of affairs, alas, is beyond Constitutional protection. They do have the right, though, to publish their claims of homosexual oppression -- with Catcher in the Rye as evidence, yet -- in whatever publications will accept them, which itself shows that our freedom of the press is exceedingly robust.

UPDATE. In comments Cleter makes what should have been the obvious connection: "The conservatives should LOVE Salinger. He actually went Galt, and stayed Galted for fifty goddamned years." Halloween Jack notes that librarians have actually been fighting to keep allegedly "politically incorrect" books in libraries for years. Hell, Laura Bush could have told them that.

Monday, February 01, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rightwing spin on the James O'Keefe arrest. Being a permissive, turn-'em-loose liberal, I approve the use of any legal means to win advantages for the accused. In fact, I doubt that the rightbloggers who are pretending to believe that the coverage of O'Keefe's legal troubles is the real crime here are very concerned with his hide. Hell, if he went to prison, that'd be holy martyrdom, no doubt attributable to the long reach of Eric Holder, and a great way to rally the troops.

If it comes to that, I look forward to FREE O'KEEFE rallies at which earnest young conservatives explain to passersby that justice has not been served. One way or the other it will be a radicalizing event.

UPDATE. The good Roger Ailes tells us in comments that "Ben Stein has started the 'Free James O'Keefe' movement, following on the success of his 'Free Credit Report' movement."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

WE'RE STILL NOT VOTING FOR YOU. The current rightwing yap about the Center for American Progress -- a member of which organization has scoffed (as I have) at the notion that New York can't handle a terror trial -- is that CAP is part of the Obama Administration, which hates New York. Moe Lane refers to Ken Gude's comments as "liberal distant finger-shaking edition" -- though Gude lives in Washington, D.C., which is not only very close to New York, but also was one of the other 9/11 terror targets. (Lane refers to himself as living in "the first America," which probably means he lives out in Bumfuck with the rest of these rubes.)

Something called El Campeador hollers, where were you on September 11? Right Wing, Nut, claiming Gude called us "wimps," says he was attacking "the same wimps who ran into burning, collapsing buildings to save their fellow man." Etc.

The temptation is to say: guys -- give it up. The last Republican Presidential candidate to get a majority of New York City's votes was Calvin Coolidge. Even George McGovern got a majority here. In the first election after 9/11, not only were we not going for George Bush -- a half-million of us marched in protest of the Republican National Convention held here. (Ed Morrissey doesn't remember it that way, of course -- "from my personal experience at the convention, I found New Yorkers to be very gracious and enthusiastic hosts"-- but it is so, nonetheless.) I admit our present-day citizens are not what they used to be (too many noobs) but history still suggests this Obama-hates-NY trick is highly unlikely to work.

But they aren't really trying to sway us. They want to convey to their supporters across the nation that conservatives are the ones who really care about New York -- just as they pretended to do circa 9/11. Of course neither they nor their constituents really give a shit about us -- how could they, with so many foreigners, black people, and gays among us -- but they probably figure they won in 2004 in part by engulfing New York in their sweaty, false embraces, and lightning may strike twice.

God, I hope pretending to like New York doesn't become a thing again. I may have to move out.
COURTLY LOVE. Randy Barnett weeps over the uncivil treatment of the Supreme Court by President Obama. Jack Balkin laughs, wonders if Barnett has ever heard of the great SCOTUS-twitter Franklin Delano Roosevelt. (Perhaps not wishing to pile it on, he leaves out FDR's plan to pack the court.) Barnett responds:
FDR did not launch the attack on live national television, with the justices there under the glare of cameras, having given them no advanced warning of the impending attack on the Court.
Yeah, because they didn't have TV in those days. What would have been an equivalent act in the 1930s? I guess FDR could have invited the Supremes to appear on a newsreel, and then ambushed them as the cameras rolled; or pretended to lambast James Clark McReynolds live on the radio, promoting this fiction by adopting a hammy old-man voice at intervals ("...hardening of the judicial arteries." "Now see here, young man, sputter, oh my heart..."). He didn't do either of these things, but I'm not sure the thought didn't occur to him.

Barnett goes on:
FDR did not foment the Democrats in Congress who surrounded the six seated justices–and the Attorney General a few feet away–to spring to their feet applauding his critique of the Court (note Harry Reid and Dick Durban enjoying themselves directly behind the justices).
You'd think they'd jumped the Justices and taken their wallets. I didn't get a good look, officer, but I know the leader was black!

My favorite part: a classic bit of video analysis* --
...notice the empathetic look of concern by the page...
Ah come on. If she were really concerned she would have started screaming like Doris Day in The Man Who Knew Too Much.

If these guys had one-tenth as much concern for people who aren't powerful, this would be a wonderful world.

* -- Of course no one is better at this sort of thing than Ann Althouse. Check out her reading of SOTU stills. In another era, she'd be doing this with dolls and funny voices. (Yeah, I know, but if she did, don't you think she'd be podcasting them?)
DEFINING HAGIOGRAPHY DOWN. There are some lovely passages in John Fund's blowjob of new Senator Scott Brown, but this is my favorite, coming shortly after Fund tells us what a normal, regular guy Brown is:
But he knows things are no longer normal. A few hours after we talk he will appear on Jay Leno's TV show. His daughter Ayla -- the one who performed on "American Idol" -- has been offered a job by a major TV network.
Ain't America great? Once upon a time little Ayla was just an ordinary, small-town American Idol contestant. Now she might be on TV! Again!

The graf about MassCare is pretty good, too. His whole "Cinderella story" is based on opposition to health care, yet Fund allows him to brush off his own support of fellow Republican Mitt Romney's health program with "We were being eaten alive by health-care costs." Fund adds, with due diligence, "Universal coverage hasn't changed that, however," before moving on to more permanent-campaign literature for Scott Brown. It's a bad sign when your own hagiographer can't keep you from looking like an unprincipled tool.

Friday, January 29, 2010

DOES ANYONE REMEMBER LAUGHTER? It's comedy gold when someone tells you how she's going to make you laugh at someone who, for ideological purposes, she has decided must be made laughable. Ladies and germs, give it up for "Cynthia Yockey, A Conservative Lesbian":
Obama’s Kryptonite is ridicule. Especially when mixed with shame.

Fortunately, Obama has supplied conservatives with plenty of material. And we’d better get busy with the ridiculing, mocking, derision, scorn, belittling, shaming, parodying, satirizing and lampooning toot sweet like our lives, homes, families, nation and the world depend on it. (Because they do.)
I was waiting thereafter for actual gags -- other, that is, than "Cynthia Yockey, A Conservative Lesbian" (which I take as a gloss on Peter Sellers' "Nancy Lisbon"). But in an Andy Kaufmanesque twist, Yockey instead quotes at length from Eric Hoffer, cleverly evading the overtly funny bits, and then complains about how people have been encouraged to laugh (by ideological means, of course -- is there any other kind?) at the wrong side:
Somehow, thanks to the constant ridicule of the mainstream media, and their shameless falsehoods and bias -- the one that irks me the most is the “Bush-tax-cuts-for-the-rich” chant, when those tax cuts also dropped the tax rate for the poorest taxpayers by 50 percent -- we hit a tipping point where a majority of Americans stopped believing in themselves and America, which left them receptive to Obama and his brand of socialism.
But this is wronglaugh, comrades! Yockey prescribes the proper guffaw-making for true patriots:
Wall-to-wall exposure of Obama to his Kryptonite: we must ridicule, mock, shame, belittle, parody, satirize and lampoon him in every way until he is the global and historic laughingstock that he deserves to be.
If you ain't busting a gut yet, Yockey refers you to yuckster Ed Kaitz of American Thinker:
Kaitz explains that thanks to “selfish elite race hustlers” American blacks have lost their individuality to their racial identity, and along with it, their belief in their ability to succeed as individuals.
Wipe the tears of laughter from your eyes, as Yockey explains the cream of the jest:
One of the most important things to understand about Obama is that he is a sociopath, in the clinical sense. People have caught on to his narcissism, but they do not understand his sociopathy... I think he is destroying America as a capitalistic, meritocratic and democratic republic ON PURPOSE because he loves and craves power (this is his sociopathy) and he is shamed by the achievements of genuinely talented people (this is his narcissism).
With such a fine grasp of politically correct rib-tickling, Yockey is a great candidate for the editorial management of a doctrinaire humor magazine. Fortunately an appropriate model already exists. And some of its jokes perfectly fit her view of the brainwashed masses who will, when confronted by her wit, appreciate the folly of their ways and flock to it.

How Treacher got this gig instead of her I'll never know.


GETTING OFF ON A TECHNICALITY. Patterico:
As I noted last night, the Washington Post yesterday retracted its claim that the feds are charging James O’Keefe with an attempt to bug Mary Landrieu’s phones:
Earlier versions of this story incorrectly reported that James O’Keefe faced charges in an alleged plot to bug the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu. The charges were related to an alleged plot to tamper with a phone system. The headline incorrectly referred to a plot to bug the phone and a caption incorrectly referred to an alleged wiretap scheme.
Some other organizations owe corrections and clarifications.
Yes, Patterico has really nailed the MSM now! They claimed O'Keefe is charged with tapping Landrieu's phones, when he is only accused of tampering with them! Why, that's like claiming he's charged with rape when he's only accused of forcible sodomy! Big difference!

This is followed by lots of forensic evidence (e.g., a screenshot with the word "bug" circled) and dudgeon like this:
Actually, it isn’t a “fact” that they “tried” to access the office’s telephone closet. It’s an allegation in a government affidavit.
A guy who has nothing but contempt for Miranda warnings thinks the Evil MSM has wounded O'Keefe's right to the presumption of innocence. This is so rich it makes double Devon cream look like Blue Bonnet margarine.

I like to think myself beyond surprise when it comes to these goons, but their hair-splitting on O'Keefe's behalf is astonishing on a couple of levels. First, there's the absurdity of lawn-order conservatives rushing to defend a reporter taken in by the Sons of J. Edgar Hoover -- how often does that happen? Second, there's the surreal presumption that the real story here -- like the real crime your hippie friend will tell you about -- is MSM malfeasance.

I'm old enough to remember when this was a big theme in TV cop shows: a punk gets hauled in, and the fancy dans start moaning about how his rights have been violated, and seeking to get him off on those grounds. Believe it or not, kids, back in the day, these guys were presumed to be liberals! How times have changed.

UPDATE. Patterico updates, with more bug-chasing:
Nope. They’re not “phone bug suspects.”

That last graphic is courtesy of Retracto, the Correction Alpaca, who is still demanding a retraction.

The wooly guy’s right. I sent Mr. Hechtkopf an e-mail asking for the last “bug” to be squished.

I’ll keep you informed.
O please do! We wouldn't want the world to get the wrong impression about the precise nature of O'Keefe's felony charge. Though, when O'Keefe and his lawyers refuse to respond to even the Wall Street Journal, it's easy to see how they might.

We might call this "doubling dumb."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

GOLDBERG REVEALS OBAMA'S PLOT TO EMBARRASS CONSERVATIVES WITH THEMSELVES. With, as is traditional, one foot in a bucket and his fly open, Jonah Goldberg takes on Obama's Don't Ask Don't Tell play:
It's not aimed at voters, but at conservative talk radio and similar sectors of the Right. Obama wants to win back independents. And while I doubt that independents care very much — at least right now — about the issue, they also don't like big fights over gays.
Goldberg trying to do nuance is like a drunken bear trying to do origami, but I think he means that while independents don't care about gay people's civil rights, they do have a guilty conscience about it.
Stirring-up social conservatives and eliciting the inevitable harsh soundbites from, say, Pat Robertson would provide the White House with an opportunity to reprise the anti-talk-radio storylines of early last year (remember the whole White House v. Limbaugh fuss?). Whatever the merits of the issues, and fair or not, independents tend to blame conservatives for those sorts of debates.
That damned Obama! He'll hypnotize fag-bashers into bashing fags -- and do it in such a way that people will blame the fag bashers! Is there no end to his perfidy?
So, as a matter of strategy, why have that debate if Obama and Pelosi aren't actually going to do anything about Don't Ask, Don't Tell for the foreseeable future.
Looks like the independents aren't the only ones who are embarrassed. I wonder how many rightwing brayers will lash themselves to the mast at Jonah's command.
I haven't looked for any polling to back that up, it's just my hunch.
I realize this is a sign of narcissism, but sometimes I think Goldberg says stuff like that just to confirm my prejudices about him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

RAPID RESPONSE TEAM. Gotta say, I'm impressed that Megan McArdle didn't even take the time to devise a clever headline for this:
Oregon's Rich Tax is Not a Victory for Liberals
And there's your elevator summary! To the details:
Trying to close the gap with only taxes on high income makes state revenues very dependent on a very small group of people. Ask New York and California how that's going.
This is the you'll-be-sorry argument, implying that Oregon is about to become a festering hellhole like New York and California. (Michelle Malkin has a version of it: "Look for affected business owners to start Going Galt en masse." That Gulch is gonna be awful crowded, and wait'll they try to keep their lawns up without any illegal immigrants.) Here in the Empire State, however, the Governor wants to cut the bejesus out of school and social service spending, and create tax incentives for businesses. Hell, he wants to cut more than Haley Barbour.

That sounds like enlightened libertarian thinking to me, and should exempt us from McArdle's wrath. But maybe it looks like too little, too late from her own low-tax haven in D.C.

Should that fail to convince, there's always the no-big-deal argument:
The Tax Foundation says that pre-tax, it was on the top ten list for business tax climate. That suggests that it has relatively more room to increase taxes than other states.
She has seven of these, and one is sure to fit your needs.

Even some less-blue states have been hit hard by the recession, and will have to find new ways to get by. Federal stimulus payments have masked this condition somewhat, but as it looks like we're not going to get any more of that action, eventually nearly everyone is going to have to come to reckoning. Maybe Oregon is further delaying its own, or maybe its citizens judged that the kind of high-earning immigrants it hopes to continue attracting would be more inclined to relocate to a place with extensive social services than to a rainier version of Mississippi.

One thing's for sure: As impatient as the voters may be getting with Big Gummint lately, few are ready to bargain on the magic Ayn Rand beans just yet.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

THIS IS THE SORT OF THING UP WITH WHICH I WILL NOT PUT. So, I saw this from Jonah Goldberg:
So [James] Cameron missed the point in the movie he made [Avatar] and conservatives were responding to what Cameron actually intended in the movie. And [David] Boaz agrees that the plot is "tired" and the dialogue "merely servicable." And conservatives got it wrong . . . how?
And I wonder: Do I have to see this fucking thing just to keep up with the culture war? Christ in Heaven, I hope not.

We've reached the stage where Goldberg is arguing with David fucking Boaz about property rights in Avatar. Surely this must be some sort of low point in the torture of pop culture in furtherance of useless propaganda -- and brother, let me tell you, I have seen it all.

I have no love for George Will, but once upon a time he was able to write something like "Well, I don't love you, E.T." (of which only fragments are available on the web) in which he was content to divine the evident anti-technological bias of the film and say bah, humbug, without trying to make a countervailing case for Steven Spielberg's conservatism. (Will later considered the film About Schmidt ham-handedly, but with some awareness that its makers and their literary forebears were expressing a point of view that was different from his own.)

This seems to me the way to play the game, if one is so inclined: to discern ideological motive and attack it. It's mostly cheap and stupid, but honest in its way, as it admits that the analyst is speaking from a political prejudice about a work of art.

I haven't seen Avatar and so must reserve judgment on it, but I will say that I have never, ever, seen a political discussion of even a cinematic piece of shit on the order of Goldberg's and Boaz's that proved fruitful once the steaming object was finally presented to me, and don't have high hopes for this one. And I will further state that I mildly resent being drawn into contact with a goddamn James Cameron movie on grounds of its alleged cultural relevance, "culture" being understood here as a political construct having to do with environmentalism, Native American rights, imperialism, and crap like that.

I accept that in a free marketplace of ideas I will be exposed to this stuff, and have the right to ignore it. I was able to do that with Brokeback Mountain, a worthy object of contemplation under any circumstances, and suffered no ill effects. But great God amighty, a 3-D movie about sentient cat-monkeys? Endured just to find out whether some dumbass had anything resembling a case to make about its Ayn Rand component?

I'm beginning to think this game isn't worth the candle.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

JIBBER AND JABBER. Hugh Hewitt gets his old pal Christopher Hitchens on his show to talk about Scott Brown. After offering Hitchens a series of Doesn't-Obama-suck opportunities, in which Hitchens seems not very interested, they finally get down to talking about health care:
CH: I don’t think there’s any possible mistaking that message. It confirms to me something I’ve long thought and hate saying, but I’ve always thought that deep down, Americans do not want to be covered. They just don’t want national health...
HH: Do you expect…
CH: …you know what I think, honestly, Hugh? I sometimes think Americans want to live dangerously. They think this wouldn’t be America if you had health coverage.
HH: Oh, it could be…
CH: You and your children should be at risk. It’s funny, but it’s there somewhere.
HH: It could be leftover of pioneer days...
CH: Well, it may even be they’re doing that, but not that anyone remembers what the Hell that was like, and think what it was like before dentistry, and to go to some of the states where there aren’t any dentists, and see what people look like.
HH: Well, go to Haiti.
CH: I mean, it seems to me an absolutely nightmarish delusion, but I think it’s very widespread. Somehow, they feel they’d rather not have it if it comes at the price of single payer, or any simulacrum of it.
HH: And, they also might believe that it’s bankrupting, that it is a complete disaster for the economy.
CH: No, no, that’s not it. That’s not it.
HH: I don’t want to debate. I don’t want to quarrel, but I could debate you on that.
And immediately after assuring Hitchens that he could debate him on the subject of whether Americans are delusional to reject the very idea of a health care system, Hewitt changes the topic to something with which they can both be comfortable: How the Left is hypocritical because it approves the "invasion" of Haiti for humanitarian purposes, when it opposed the invasion of Iraq because Bush was President. Yes, really.

I would be embarrassed for the impression such things would give of us to future generations, were I not quite sure that we won't have any.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

PARTY OUT OF BOUNDS. I haven't had time to sift through all or even many of the Brown responses (I confess that I have become powerless over my day job, and may have to resort to a higher power), but there can't be many that will beat that of Alvin S. Felzenberg at National Review, who suggests that Massachusetts voters reacted in disapproval of the uppity Henry Louis Gates, who was arrested for talking back to a cop -- and, Felzenberg is compelled to add, who is "reported to own more than one European-made luxury car." "History may remember tonight’s Massachusetts returns as the vindication of the Cambridge cop," says Felzenberg. He also compares the election of one Republican senator to Nixon's 49-state victory in 1972. Felzenberg seems an excitable fellow, especially where black people with luxury cars are concerned.

Marc Thiessen's elated cry of "Waterboarding Wins" is pretty awesome too. How well he must have slept last night, dreaming of tortured detainees in secret prisons.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD. It would be nice to think the Democrats had a Plan B for getting health care passed, but they barely had a Plan A. The discussion of their post-Coakley chances is devolving to reconciliation, which makes me think of the old Thurber cartoon of an exhausted man watching his wife preparing to throw a bowling ball overhand: "Oh, all right, go ahead and try it that way."

It appears Democratic presidents in the modern era get only a brief shot at effecting meaningful change, and if they miss it, that's it for the next half-term, or term-and-a-half if they play their cards right. In a way, Obama has no one but himself to blame. He signed on to those stupid bailouts in 2008, and has been fatally hampered by their economically injurious legacy every since. I realize someone probably would have had him shot if he hadn't backed the bailouts, but he should have had the guts to take one for the team and let President Biden guilt-trip everybody into passing a Free French Health Care and Ice Cream for Everyone Including Rapists Bill.

In another way, you can't blame Obama or even the dummies that ran Coakley's campaign. It was almost touching the way he expected people to hold on and continue to trust their 2008 instinct that, now that things were tough, the major surgery they'd been putting off could no longer be avoided. He must be disappointed at how quick they got cold feet. Cynical as I am, I'm amazed; you'd think that, when America ran out of funny-money and banks started to collapse, they'd have been forcefully shaken out of their faith in the fairy story with which Republicans had been swaying them for years -- that they could fix any mess with some tax cuts and magic beans -- and for a good long while. But in little more than a year, a lot of them are going for it all over again.

Having seen this game a round or two, it's getting so I almost look forward to the Republicans taking over again, to see what explanation they come up with this time. Alas, the grill is mixed for a while, and all we can be sure of is that the safest bet will seldom be the people's interest.

Monday, January 18, 2010

MLK. Conservatives tend to keep off Martin Luther King Day of late, which is too bad, as it has brought us some hilarious essays in the past. But the blogprof handles it pretty well all by himself:
Today everyone should be reminded that Martin Luther King Jr. was a REPUBLICAN. The black community has been duped by Democrats. It was Democrats that fought to keep the black population enslaved. They were on the wrong side of the Civil War as a result...
It goes on like that. Not that you need it, but FAIR has a nice account of some of King's late endeavors, including his opposition to the Vietnam War and to authoritarian regimes "in a world that borders on our doors," which seems especially timely now that people are paying attention to Haiti again.

I hope you enjoy MLK in your own way today, and spare a thought for President Goldwater for signing the Civil Rights Act.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

WHAT'S ALL THIS TALK ABOUT GIVING EAGLES RIGHTS? In another har-har at gummint spending, National Review's Veronique de Rugy complains, "$1.8 Million for a Map. Seriously? In the 'crazy ways government is spending our tax dollars' category, this example may be one of the worse items."

She's talking about Connecticut's federal grant for federal broadband mapping, which is not about creating a piece of cartography, but about getting the information necessary to provide high-speed internet access across the county, since private high-speed providers are loathe to provide such information as they have to the public.

One of the sources in the abovelinked Times article is something called Connected Nation, which has been nettled by the Wall Street Journal and others for carrying the water of big carriers who don't want their territory stepped upon. It is generally thought that public oversight will do a better job of mapping than private entities, which have traditionally declined to share their proprietary info. For that reason, private companies' inclusion in state mapping plans has been controversial.

The Connecticut plan to which de Rugy objects will be administrated by the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control. de Rugy might have objected with more reason to the administration of the grant given to Texas, which will be done by Connected Nation. Three guesses why she chose to pick on Connecticut instead.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A FACE IN THE CROWD. If you had been told that Sarah Palin has signed to do a reality show, would it be more or less of a surprise than the announcement that she is going on Fox News? I would have been slightly more surprised by the reality show, because some of the resulting footage might have proved more embarrassing to her if she runs for President someday; you can never predict what other people, even members of one's own family, might do, as Palin's career has shown. Her colleagues at Fox will be much less likely to put her in an awkward situation.

The Ole Perfesser is in the ballpark when he refers to Breitbart's "Red State Oprah" remark. The question is, is this Lonesome Rhodes routine going to be an end in itself? I think the "multi-year contract" gives her plenty of time to see if things get more insane, and we have candidates stepping up from keys of the Mighty Wurlitzer rather than just being played on and off by it. In the current environment she's ballot-box poison, but the next few years might make Network look like The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Reagan isn't the model. He had to do some SAG politicking and undergo extensive training by handlers before he was ready to appear before the public as a serious candidate. Palin has obviously had all the pre-Presidential political experience she cares to endure, and the grumbling of McCain operatives suggests she does not respond well to coaching. She may pick up a few tricks, but if she ever feels ready to make her big move, it won't be because she's greatly changed.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP about the Harry Reid controversy. I have to say I'm impressed to see conservatives coming out so strongly against casual racism, if only for a few days. Some of them are having a hard time getting their outrage properly tuned for public consumption: "Democrats, like blacks, simply cannot be racist. No matter how racist they actually are," says Bill Quick. This would seem to conflict with the current spin, which is that Democrats hate black people and Obama is excusing them because "the Soros money which elevated Obama to the position of President has bought his servitude." If they want to add on the venerable blacks-are-racist theme, they'd better get that Michelle Obama "Whitey" tape out quick.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

MORE SONGS ABOUT BUNGLING AND FAIL. The Ole Perfesser has taken to linking to a thing called When Falls the Coliseum, which is supposed to be about "culture," always comedy gold in the ham-hands of rightwing bloggers. My two favorite WFTC posts at the moment:

Steve Mazzeo, who tells us that "since the beginning I have claimed to be a Family Guy fan," but while recently "watching Family Guy in syndication" he "realized the following: I’ve never really liked this show..." Why, then, did and does he watch it? Mazzeo doesn't really say, but he does tell us the show is funnier if he watches it with other people -- "If I’m watching alone I laugh (on average) three or four times an episode. Add one person the viewing and I laugh eight to ten times" -- whereas with South Park, "I laugh ten to fifteen times in twenty-two minutes" even though "I watch these episodes alone," which presumably proves the show's superiority. Read a few Mazzeo posts and you'll see that he's wise to seek out entertainments that can be enjoyed without company.

Mike McGowan is pleased to learn that the "G-spot" may be a myth because that means he can stop even pretending to care about pleasing a woman:
How many man hours have been wasted in the bedrooms of America trying to find the product of some woman’s flight of fancy about her super-heroine, realistic-karate-chop-like-action orgasmic abilities? How many times have men been blamed for failing to satisfy their woman when it isn’t their fault, but basic human physiology’s?
There's a lot of haw-haw-ain't-I-politically-incorrect in this one. Steve Mazzeo, behold your future!

McGowan sometimes leaves comments on his colleagues' posts which are also worth your time ("I don’t think that 'insanity' should be a defense in a murder case").

These guys make Big Hollywood look like the Algonquin Round Table*.

*UPDATE: ...except for the deranged Michael Moriarty, who now insists that Casablanca is Communist propaganda, and is in a class by himself.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

THE RETURN OF ROD DREHER. A reader wrote to inform me of the demise of Rod Dreher's Crunchy Con blog. Halfway through the second bottle of champagne, I noticed that Dreher had actually started a new blog at Beliefnet. So I went to see what this back-to-the-land, Benedict-Optioning, cult-friendly enemy of modernity is up to, and found:
OK, I'm going to confess to you now that Santa Claus brought the Dreher chirren a Wii for Christmas -- and it was a fantastic purchase, for the most part. The kids are getting actual exercise...
A fucking Wii? I'm a rootless goddamn cosmopolitan and I don't have a fucking Wii. What would Solzhenitsyn say? And why aren't his kids building their muscles by chopping wood and drawing well-water?

I understand he's moving to Philadelphia. I wonder if anyone told him they have a lot of black people there?

UPDATE. Now that I think of it, Dreher reminds me of this panel about George Hamilton III from Peter Bagge's Hate comics (click to enlarge):

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

TV PARTY. Just wanted to let you know about the New Year's offering by Bill Whittle at PJTV. He recalls visiting the '64 World's Fair as a five-year-old, expresses his disappointment with the Futurama exhibit -- which may explain much -- and claims the experience "rewired my brain, it made me the person I am today," which may also explain much.

Whittle goes on to explain that Futurama was about the Frankfurt School, Saul Alinsky, and their "plans, which are not secrets, but rather promoted at every opportunity throughout the 60s and the 70s, to destroy the heart of America which stood, and stands, as a mighty Colossus in their path, towards the collective, big-state future of Marxism and Socialism." I wonder if General Motors knew about this?

Whittle laments, among other things, "the choking to death of the forces of innovation, science, and free trade" by "global warming proponents." "What is killing this dream, this definitively American idea of optimism and progress?" he asks, and answers himself: "The Left," aka "fascists," who started killing the dream "about the time that I walked into that building in 1964," surely not a coincidence.

Whittles then points to comments at a video of Futurama at YouTube -- "tidal waves of cynicism, self-hatred, bitterness, resentment and anger at things like corporate greed -- hurled by a population so pampered by the products of those corporations that they cannot see the irony of sipping six-dollar coffees as they complain about capitalism on $2,000 Apple laptops!" This is of course Obama's fault, and Alinksy's. But "we are not going to forget who we are," and will elect Republicans.

He compares the struggles of himself and his compatriots to those of Union soldiers at Gettysburg, though I imagine a great number of his Tea Party comrades will be outraged that they have been equated with Northern aggressors. Maybe they can get AlfonZo Rachel to do a conciliatory follow-up.

Just in case you were wondering if they had gotten any less nuts.

Monday, January 04, 2010

A SLIGHT MISUNDERSTANDING. Matt Welch is angry about a couple of paragraphs I wrote about him in a Voice item. He is right on this matter: "'Warblogging' came to prominence not during the run-up to the Iraq War, but in the run-up to the Afghanistan War." Many of the brethren kept the ball rolling into the Iraq years, but warblogs did start coming out in 2001, and Welch had one. Back in those days he was writing stuff like this:
The Inevitable Neville Chamberlain Comparison: My comrade Catherine Seipp directs my attention to this Pacifist-bashing column by Thomas Sowell, for which I can find no link as yet (update: she just sent it -- it's here. Seipp describes the column as “a welcome antidote to the inane thoughts of Michael ‘Tokyo Rose’ Moore, and other idiocies making the email rounds.” Here’s a taste:...
Also, regarding Bobby Fischer, "I wonder if the strongly anti-war crowd is uncomfortable at all with the fact that many who echo their views are lunatic anti-semites." He seemed then to have a mission of exposing "the loonies of the Left," finding it "important that we record, for history, how some of these buffoons behaved when the chips were down," though he did give some conservatives a hard time, too.

As Welch finds me "full of shit," a "jackass," etc, you should not rely on me to tell you that this is typical, but take the time to scroll around his back numbers and see what you think. He characterizes himself on the Iraq invasion, when that came up, as "Hamlet, not Dick Cheney." This is an interesting interpretation of Hamlet. In 2002, Welch admitted, "I don’t know what the hell we should do in Iraq," then added, "Yeah, the let’s-invade-everybody plan seems a tad ridiculous to me, but I’m not exactly coming up with better solutions. Does this make me 'monstrously hawkish,' Nick?"

Welch also disputes that "my mea culpa was a direct reference to this pro-war belligerence." Reviewing that post, I see he describes the imagined glories of the golden age of warblogging ("yen for critical thinking, a sense of humor that actually translates into people laughing out loud," etc), but doesn't say much about the war part. Nonetheless some people, including many less critical than me, got the impression the warbloggers supported some wars. So maybe "warblogging" was a misnomer all along, and they should have called it critical-thinkingblogging, or laughing-out-loudblogging. That might have cleared up some confusion, and spared us all some grief.

UPDATE. "Hey look again!" updates Welch. "Dude found the search button!" This is the second time he's called me "dude," and I'm beginning to think it's not kindly meant. He also says, "he quotes a couple of my pacifist-bashing posts from September of 2001" -- maybe he thinks I'm cherry-picking; like I said, you can go look around his site and see -- "grudgingly acknowledges that the 'Farewell to Warblogging' column he so grossly mischaracterized 'doesn't say much about the war part'" -- which is true, and you may make of it what you will -- and "makes comments throughout about how 'angry' I am." I did say he was angry at the top; the rest he appears to be inferring from the various quotes from his own work that make him look angry. Those are not hard to find.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, picking through some of the recent attacks on Obama during his vacation, including the recently discussed Photo Phunnies. There's plenty of other choice stuff, including a rant by Erick Erickson suggesting that the President's condolences on the CIA agents recently killed in Afghanistan might be an attempt to "sabotage the intelligence community." Of course, if Obama hadn't said anything, it would prove he hates America's Spooks.

One thing I didn't get into was the high volume of complaints that Obama had a vacation at all, and had the temerity to golf during it. This is an old trope among the brethren ("Media Cheer Obama's Golf Outings; Criticized Republicans' Trips to Course"). I wonder how long it'll be before someone puts up an Obama Golf Watch.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

I MEAN, DID YOU EVER LOOK AT A DOLLAR BILL, MAN? THERE'S SOME SPOOKY STUFF GOING ON IN A DOLLAR BILL, MAN. Holy moley, they're still doing heavy photo analysis on Obama. Today the Ole Perfesser finds a pic of the President in a less than subservient attitude and goes all Ann Althouse:
OBAMA AND BIDEN: Analyze the body language. From the White House Flickr page.

UPDATE: No, I don’t think Obama’s facial expression is just a fluke of when the shutter went off. His eyes aren’t closed, as some with poor displays seem to think. Here’s a detail from the frame.
Jesus Christ. I wonder if he tried folding it to turn Obama's head into a mushroom.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Joseph Gautier writes: “If I really wanted to set my dad off, all I’d have to do is send him this photo..."
No doubt it would: "A nigger in a tuxedo!"
"... The amazing thing is, that it is found on the WH’s flickr page. Proving that they don’t see what we see."
Hate to tell ya, buddy, but we don't see the pink elephants or the leprechaun that tells you to burn things, either.

Was there a gas leak at the last CPAC convention or something?

UPDATE: Commenters point out further sifting by the photo analysis squad. This is getting to be the rightblogger equivalent of arts and crafts. Also, inevitably, one of the brethren says I'm "making this about race." Also claims people like me are "why I will never, ever, vote for a fucking democrat, ever again!" If the Democrats, or democrats, lose the House in 2010, you know who to blame, folks! They don't like socialism, but they really hate being made fun of.

UPDATE 2: Comments reveal the "making this about race" guy is kinda crazy, which is too bad. Where is that honest, sensible conservative who will help me get over my prejudice against white people?