Tuesday, June 15, 2010

THE LAND OF MAKE-BELIEVE. Looking at the Left's coverage of the June 6th rally against the downtown mosque in New York ends with LatL's train trip back to wherever:
Immediately to my right on the train, I did see something extremely unusual. A number of passengers were staring, as was I, in utter disbelief of what appeared to be a man dressed as a moslem woman carrying a large bag over the shoulder. The more I looked the more I was convinced it was a man. To this day, I do not know if that was a man or a woman. I don’t know if anyone reported this to authorities and I will always wonder about this bizarre figure.
Not only is even a mannish Muslim woman with a large bag just about the opposite of "extremely unusual" in New York, take a look at LatL's photo -- which doesn't show "passengers staring... in utter disbelief" at all, but engaged in the usual middle-distance staring.

Well, even several weeks after hearing Atlas Pam yell for an hour, I'd probably still be a little disoriented too. But I get the feeling that this is how the guy sees everything all the time.
JONAH GOLDBERG, HARD ON THE JOB, LATEST IN A SERIES*. Monday, 10:25 a.m.: Precious minerals in Afghanistan? Awesome.

Monday, 10:54 a.m.: Here's that video everyone's looking at.

Monday, 11:42 a.m.: Top Chef was cool before it went all P.C. by giving Top Chef to Africa. But I mean he was great and it was a close call but it was also P.C. Fart.

Monday, 12:26 p.m.: You should read this thing at Commentary.

Monday, 1:27 p.m.: Pakistanis don't understand free speech. Plus they're all anti-Semites. Or was that those other guys?

Monday, 1:31 p.m.: You should read this thing at AEI.

Monday, 3:33 p.m.: These liberal dudes at The Nation think conservatives hate soccer 'cause we're racists. Dudes misspelled a word! LOL.

Tuesday, 1:15 p.m.: About that Nation soccer thing: We don't hate soccer 'cause we're racists. We hate it because liberals like it! Oh, and they only like it 'cause it's P.C. Obvs.

Tuesday, 1:22 p.m.: I'm doing a thing.

Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.: Here's a bunch of letters about soccer my intern put up.

* Inspired by compilations by Instaputz and Tbogg, among others.
FLASH! UPDATE AT CAMP McARDLE! Yeah, this is going great.

UPDATE. Har, from comments: "Whadda they have -- like 14 guest-bloggers -- and a total of one sorta-post for all of Tuesday? Even Kaus is harder working than this."

UPDATE 2. Everyone else was at the Northside Festival so K. Mangu-Ward had to double up. She chooses a new trend in food obsessives' labeling, which she wants to make fun of; but she hasn't the talent for satire, so she falls back on the last refuge of a libertarian: A swipe at those jackbooted thugs at the relevant federal bureaucracy, in this case the USDA ("If there's money to be made, there are regulations to be written"). Good thing we've got people like her standing athwart food inspection. How are future generations going to develop a resistance to e coli if we insist on nannying them?

Monday, June 14, 2010

THE ATLANTIC 90210: AN UPDATE. Since introducing themselves, the McArdle guest bloggers have stirred themselves to go out for coffee, check the action at the dog run, and cover the McArdle-Suderman wedding.
I thought I'd mention another notable thing about the wedding: the promiscuous use of Twitter by the assembled guests. As you might expect at a marriage of two bloggers, we used Twitter for everything. Peter used it to announce that the deed was done...

Finally, Twitter enriched the experience in more pedestrian ways.
These kids are gonna make the whole world fall in love with Generation A equals A.

Ms. Mangu-Ward had an extra cup of Stumptown and revisited that online university education Wal-Mart is offering its drones, which had earlier excited her so much that she expressed a desire to live at Wal-Mart. She is delighted to hear that diploma vendor American Public University was willing to "go the extra mile" by customizing programs for Wal-Mart -- which "includes giving course credit for on-the-job time and training."

Mangu-Ward shows some awareness that there's a "question of whether there will be more than one employer interested in those Wal-Mart degrees." But it seems not to have crossed her mind that Wal-Mart's arrangement is designed to push workers who may, once upon a time, have expected free job training into spending thousands of dollars to improve their chances at promotion (or even at keeping their jobs). They might as well call it Company Store University.

So Mangu-Ward is bullish: "The company brings dramatic change to every industry that they touch," she says, "and higher ed will be no exception." And that's good, because colleges have gotten too arty-farty for her tastes anyway:
If we're going to push every 18-year-old in the country into some kind of higher education, most people will likely be better off in a programs that involves logistics and linoleum, rather than ivy and the Iliad. And, in contrast to an associate's degree in Japanese studies from Northern Virginia Community College, we know there is at least one employer interested in a Wal-Mart-subsidized logistics sheepskin: Wal-Mart.
Mangu-Ward knows whereof she speaks, having attended Yale, where she no doubt majored in Food Handling.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP. I just called this one "The Week We Talked About Sarah Palin's Tits." I ain't proud.

From the cuttings, a nice new bit of Palin victimology from new rightwing It Girl Lori Zingrano:
They attempt to diminish [conservative women] and turn them into a caricature of some airhead bimbo. You can spot the leftist bias regarding Sarah Palin usually within a first sentence or two of an article: “former beauty queen” will be used.
Palin hasn't been much called a "former beauty queen" since 2008. But I agree if we did use it, it would be unhelpful, like calling Richard Nixon a former community theater actor.

Zingaro's a find. This is from her fist-shaker on Tina Brown and other feminazis:
Sorry, Tina Brown, but feminism is already dead. And I say, “You’re welcome.” As perpetual children, you self-avowed feminists may not thank us yet. You may continue to stomp and whine and throw your little tantrums, petulantly holding your mouths closed to the icky vegetables known as truth, personal responsibility and self-sufficiency, but one day you will thank us.
It makes one yearn for the fresh fruit of coherence.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

LOOK, IT'S THE KIDS FROM FAME RENT GLEE McARDLE! While Tbogg was introducing his crack team of substitute bloggers -- which I now learn includes Athanae of First Draft, adding to his unfair advantage -- Megan McArdle was unveiling hers.

I figured she'd bring in her previous stringers, like Poulos and Friedersdorf, which would have been good for some laughs. But apparently the glibertarian blog world is like Hollywood and everywhere else -- only Xtreme youth will serve. Sorry James and Conor, welcome to the hag pit!

By way of credentials, she's had the n00bs put up their headshots. They seem to have put more thought and effort into these than into their writing, anticipating no doubt a future National Review spread in the manner of Vanity Fair. This blogging thing has certainly changed since I was a lad. I wonder if any of them already has an agent shopping the tumblr version?

Tony Woodlief declined to supply a photograph, which made me want to give him a fair hearing till I saw some of the crap he's written.
I've actually gone to change the boy after hearing one of the intestinally generated explosions that are his hallmark (explosions: another SEAL specialty!), only to find…an empty diaper. Somehow, he's able to fire a whole payload of poop over the rim of his diaper, and up his own back. The Defense Department pays, what, $2 billion for a Stealth bomber? I say this to our nation’s military leaders, with all due respect: you folks don’t know from Stealth bombing. I’ve got a Stealth bomber right here under my roof, and he only cost one dinner, half a bottle of wine, and nine months of misery to make.
Woodlief also has a book out about "unmerited, unexpected grace," which led me to believe he was born into money. But he went to the University of Michigan, so there is hope for him yet, though not much.

The other Children of the Damned include a couple of liberaltarians: Tim Lee (Princeton, Cato Institute), a repeat customer whose Randian icebreaker is "I've criticized top-down institutions, ranging from the the iTunes app store to the the Johnson administration" (but he's also a technocrat who's going to work for Google so obviously he doesn't take that shit too seriously), and the Top Chef of the Tendency himself, Will Wilkinson (University of Maryland, Cato Institute). Hey, a gig's a gig!

Working the other side of the street, there's Julian Sanchez (NYU, Cato Institute) , who was smacking down the Civil Rights Act before Rand Paul joined the family business (he is strongly against the "Care Bear Stare" of ostentatious compassion, which is no shock), and Katherine Mangu-Ward, previously described here as "the Reason author most likely to obsessively check her email for an offer from National Review." (She actually brags on this insane article, in which she professes a desire to live at Wal-Mart because they offer their wage slaves an online university education; Mangu-Ward, you will not be surprised to learn, did not graduate from an online university, but from fucking Yale.)

I don't know who Courtney Knapp is but she's already exhausted my patience.

UPDATE. Sanchez sent me an email of complaint, saying that, since his unfortunate 2005 remarks in Reason ("If some employer decides it doesn't want to hire people named Sanchez, I think it ought to be able to legally—though I'd hope for it to be swiftly punished by public opinion"), he's written in defense of the CRA, in Newsweek no less.

Sure enough, after Rand Paul ruined it for everyone, Sanchez admitted that libertarians might have to concede that in this "fallen world" their principles might not always apply in a pure form. But this wasn't just a learning experience for libertarians, continued Sanchez, but for DFHs as well:
Liberals and progressives, for their part, should also reconsider whether the civil-rights era’s expansion of federal power ought to be seen as a norm or an exception. Faced with the enormities of history, a unanimous Supreme Court stretched the constitutional power of Congress over interstate commerce to permit an attempt at a remedy. But if we recognize the circumstances of the time as exceptional -- as the exigencies of war are exceptional when we consider the scope of executive power -- we should be less eager to make it the basis of a general federal license to pursue any attractive end through the commerce power.
In other words: Okay, you guys were sort of right about Jim Crow and the power of the state, but that was just an accident of history, so don't try to get away with it again. It's similar to the classic McArdle post in which she explained that lefties were right about Iraq for the wrong reasons, but much subtler. No wonder she's godmothering him.
THE PEOPLE, UNITED, CAN NEVER BE DIVIDED. Atlas Pam Geller claims PayPal cut her off on account of the jihad. RS McCain steps up to the plate:
Some are suggesting a boycott of PayPal but — good Lord! — how else am I supposed to pay for my daughter’s wedding next month? I need that money, and since Amazon ended its online payment service, PayPal’s got a monopoly.

Let’s hope PayPal can be made to understand that they’re being used as weapons in a financial jihad against truth and will rescind their fatwa against Geller. In the meantime, those who wish to help Pamela Geller and SOIA can send checks by mail to...
Somewhere a Tea Party Patrick Henry impersonator is weeping.

UPDATE. Atlas Pam follows up with more crazed skree about Obama the Muslim. I just can't understand why McCain won't go to the mat for her -- clearly she's asking all the right questions except, "What happens if I don't take my Haldol?"

UPDATE 2. So funny in so many ways, Five Pounds of Racism in a Two Pound Bag Feet of Fury:
Those who trumpet the advent of YouTube, Google etc as tools that have "permanently changed the media landscape" and will make it easier for right thinking people to get their messages past the legacy media blockade, take note:

These sites are all just tools, privately owned by individuals with fears, weaknesses and a perfectly commendable desire to make money.
That "perfectly commendable" is great -- it's like all that quivering anger she was showing at the weak, fearful tools at YouTube and Google had to get sucked up once the Free Market police showed up. But sir, they love jihad -- Quiet, soldier! They're part of the Invisible Hand Alliance, and God damn it, we can't touch 'em!

The follow-up's even better:
These tools belong to people who are not like us and don't like us in many ways; we must develop our own independent YouTubes and Googles to ensure that developments like these will have minimal impact in the future.
Don't they already have those? Pajamas Media? QubeTV? People's Cube? I guess they have to develop new versions -- powered by whining! When they're ready, please send the press releases here -- I can always use a laugh.

Apparently the cries of "dying MSM dinosaur lamestream media" will henceforth apply to YouTube and Google as well. Somehow I don't think they've thought this one through.

UPDATE 2. Gates of Vienna:
Conservatives and libertarians and Jews live in a world whose default is leftist and under-the-radar anti-Semitic and anti-black.
GoV makes the common mistake of imagining that, because they are conservative-libertarians and sympathetic to Jews, all conservatives, libertarians, and Jews are therefore as paranoid as they are. Well, if I were them I'd imagine myself a bunch of fellow-sufferers, too.

Inevitably, the Old Perfesser:
YouTube’s reputation, on the other hand, takes another hit. Perhaps the perception is inaccurate, but people on the right are beginning to feel that YouTube can’t be trusted. If I were YouTube, I’d be trying to address that somehow.
I was going to say this is another category error, but maybe by now "on the right" is a straight-up synonym for paranoid. As to the Perfesser's references to what YouTube should do to get back in his peeps' good graces, I think he overestimates his power. Or maybe he just wants his readers to believe everyone's clamoring to duplicate the success of his sponsored Amazon links. Makes sense -- we all know what a credulous bunch Instapundit readers are.

UPDATE FINAL. Oh, yeah -- I must say that, of course, their YouTube thing should be protected under the fair use parody exemption. Defend to the death their right to say, and all that. But it's awfully funny to see wingnuts clamoring for their rights under the example of 2 Live Crew.
SHORTER DOUG POWERS: Hey Limeys, when I said your boys weren't dying for our cause in Afghanistan, I didn't mean nothing by it. Now let's put it all behind us, blame Hollywood, and unite for a common purpose: Getting that bastard Obama.
WHERE I'M CALLING FROM, PART 4: DINNER AT SODOLAK'S ORIGINAL COUNTRY INN, SNOOK, TEXAS.









That, friends, is chicken fried bacon. As prepared by the fine people of Sodolak's Original Country Inn, it is as light as chicken fried bacon can be, or so I assume, though the white gravy adds ballast.

I ate nearly all of it, which may be why I couldn't finish my 16-ounce ribeye. Or maybe it was the salad. Yes, I'm sure the salad was a mistake.

I've been putting this sort of stuff on my tumblr of late, but I wanted to make sure you folks heard about the chicken fried bacon.

Friday, June 11, 2010

GOOD, MORE FOR ME. Tbogg's taking a long vacation to relieve "burnout." Ha! Maybe Mr. California should go take a few mud-packs and be doused in healing weeds at the spa! [rolls eyes, flaps hands limp-wristedly]

I understand his fatigue and disgust with the whole sorry business of blogging, and frequently share it; but when I have nothing in the tank, I don't tell people to stop paying attention until I'm feeling better -- I just keep writing. Not always at fever pitch, of course; during my Runnin' Scared tenure, I had to slow down here, because I was producing 2,000-3,000 words a day (and that was quality prose, too -- not always accurate, but quality!), which led not to burnout in the creative sense (at least not that I noticed), but to plain physical incapacity. By the end of the day I couldn't even write a grocery list. Why, some nights I couldn't even talk, and at the bodega had to mime the ingestion of a six-pack and the resulting drunken collapse so they knew what I wanted. (Actually I think they knew anyway, but just enjoyed watching me do it.)

If there's one thing I've learned during my mottled career as a pro writer, it's that if you keep going you get better. But Tbogg probably doesn't worry about that because he's already pretty near perfect. The big sissy. [rolls eyes, flaps hands limp-wristedly]

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT UPDATE: Holy shit, in T's absence Jay B -- onetime CEO of lamented Brooklyn maudit imprint Contemporary Press, advertising legend, and ace alicublog commenter -- is picking up the slack! Now you can get him without having to go through me! It's win-win. First installment here.

WHA-A-A-UPDATE? Susan of Texas is also on board. She too is a friend of ours, if you know what I mean [winks archly, readjusts green carnation]. A door closes, a window opens, and genius vomits out of it!
HEED THE CRAZY JESUS LADY'S FILTHY CARDBOARD SIGN! What is this, Old Home Week? First Lileks showed up, and now comes the Crazy Jesus Lady herself, Peggy Noonan, to tell us: Skree terrorists will kill us all Obama sleeps skree.

Oh -- you want proof? Well, aside from the usual ass-coverers saying "If something blows up, don't say I didn't warn you (and if nothing blows up, no harm done)," there's this:
You can see a certain air of complacency even in government websites. On the front page of the House Committee on Homeland Security site there's a picture of Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, then, below, an area devoted to something called "Business Opportunities Model" and an area for "DHS Business Opportunities." On the Homeland Security Department's website, the priorities seem equally clear: "Find Career Opportunities," "Use the Job Finder." There's little sense of urgency; it's government as employment agency, not crisis leader.
They're actually wasting time hiring people! When they should be sending Tommy Lee Jones out to recruit Will Smith and put on dark glasses! When will the madness stop!

Why don't they just dress Noonan up as a Get-Ready Man and march her around the streets with a sandwich sign? But then I suppose her message would go unnoticed by the crucial "thought leadership" demographic, and be more visible among the sort of people who know enough to focus on something in the middle distance and keep walking .
HE HASN'T CHANGED A BIT. Emerging from the Vale of Old Matchbooks: Jim Lileks! How I've missed him! What's up, Jimbo?
My nine-year-old daughter looked at the front page of the paper, and her eyes grew wide:
The president said “ass”?
What th-- he's actually doing this? The President swore in front of my widdle girl? It's like the Clenis, only PG!

Also, Gnat managed to make it to nine without running off to join a gang? She has guts; must get 'em from her mother.
She swallowed the A-word, because it is, after all, the A-word.
My admiration for Miss Lileks' nerve grows by the minute. What a picnic is must be at that house. Swallow your ass, young lady! Boy, when she gets to Bryn Mawr the fur, so to speak, is gonna fly.
I nodded; he said that. She was silent for a while, digesting the information. Presidents, after all, are part of the great Pantheon of Authority, standing over the school principal, teachers, the pastor, police, and perhaps the mailman. To consider them using bad words reordered everything.
"Where were you when the President said the A-word?" asks Mike Huckabee, roaming the audience with a microphone as the super reads A-DAY: THE END OF THE INNOCENCE.
Barack Obama is probably the last guy you’d think would introduce “ass” into the mainstream political discourse. It’s like Spock announcing he wants to “knock boots” — a expression both crude and banal coming from someone renowned for dispassionate cool.
Well, Jimbo, Obama was working from the original Harlan Ellison script, before that bastard Roddenberry softened it up*. Does that make it easier for you to understand?
But the idea that the president should confine himself to polite terminology is one of those antiquated chocks that prohibit true, honest expression, and if the post-Boomer culture has taught us any-effin-thing, it’s that authentic people use earthy language, authentically, and only the spats-and-monocle crowd blah blah blah
Oh no, Jimbo -- surely not the beatnilks-dirtied-up-my-TV routine again? Alas, it is: And you can read the rest to find out how the beats, led by Barack Obama, Bill Maher, and Helen Thomas, destroyed civility -- and, even worse, impeded traffic:
The hero isn’t the man who invents the traffic signal, it’s Ratso Rizzo who crosses against the light, bangs on a hood of a car that dares to nose into the intersection, and yells “I’m walkin’ here!”
Just for reference:



If you've ever laughed appreciatively at Ratso's reaction, in Lileks' world, you are Ratso, one of those 70s New York skels whom he fears will crawl out of his home entertainment center at night and Death Wish his family. That's why he keeps a go-bag at the ready, so they can escape to the tall pines and join with the guys in the tricorners, with whom he will set about remaking America out of old Sears catalogues, back into a land where no pauper can interrupt the majestic parade of gas-guzzlers.

Well, at least it's good to know he can finally stop thinking about 9/11 for a while, even if it's only to think about ass.

* If coffee isn't doing it for you this morning, try Ellison's hilariously acerbic "introductory essay" to The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay that Became the Classic Star Trek Episode. "There's only one reason I'm doing this book: Fyodor Dostoevsky..." I bet he knows how funny he is, though.

UPDATE. I should note that the illo snatched 'n' patched above is the work of famous rock star Tom Tomorrow.

UPDATE 2. Not being a blowhard like me, commenter Christopher extracts the nub: "This sort of pre-emptive whining of 'I know you're going to call me a pussy for not getting the joke, but I'm not, damn it!' combined with 'You guys think you're so cool but you aren't!'"
MORE FREE ADVICE FROM A SHOW-BIZ PROFESSIONAL. From TV Squad:
The writing team who brought Superman back to TV screens in 'Smallville' are set to work their magic on the reboot of 'Charlie's Angels' for ABC.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, hit writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar are replacing Josh Friedman ('Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles') on the Sony Television Pictures project, which is being developed for a potential pilot order and midseason launch.
Oh, that's a mistake. After -- what was it, seven Charlie's Angels movie? That salt has lost its savor.

But there's one project that's screaming for these guys' revivalist touch: Riverdale. The world has been waiting for a moody, introspective Archie ("What's wrong, Archie?" says Veronica. "Why won't you ever let me inside?") and a Jughead with father issues ("Are you proud of me now, Dad?" he asks, forcing down another burger).

When people get sick of the primaries, Gough and Millar can zoom in on the peripheral characters. By 2013 viewers should be ready for the budding romance between Moose and Dilton.

If they have trouble getting it lit, five words: Mickey Rourke as Pop Tate.

Now, as a reward for wasting your time: Here's the entire Kurtzman/Elder "Starchie" comic. Also: their entire "Goodman Goes Playboy." And while we're at it, Goodman Beaver meets Superman! You're welcome!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

ANNALS OF CONSERVATIVE VICTIMHOOD. The recent flotilla-killa mess brought us a new round of All-Youse-Liberals-R-Anti-Semites. It's not entirely fresh, but I wanted to make sure you saw Theodore Dalrymple's contribution to the genre, in his Pajamas Media defense of European banks against a Guardian columnist:
The article in the Guardian was therefore an exercise, not untypical of the genre, in scapegoating, that disregarded both the most obvious considerations and the deeper currents. In days gone by, it would have been the Jewish money-lenders who would have been blamed; to blame the banks seems so much more acceptable, generous, and liberal-minded, but the structure of the thought is similar.
So now, if you speak harsh words about anyone and some wingnut jumps out from behind a bush and yells "Anti-Semite," you'll know where he got it from.

Actually, Dalrymple's blargument closely resembles that advanced by many other conservatives this week: that if you make fun of Sarah Palin you are attacking all womankind.

It's the biggest gun in their arsenal anymore. When one of their young honkies was caught doing black dialect at CPAC, they demanded an apology -- from the reporter who pointed it out. When psychologists frowned on their gay-straightening rackets, they cried oppression. Even making jokes about them is wah, no fair.

Being a conservative these days is mostly about dishing out sob stories of your ill-treatment. They apparently intend to whine their way back into power.

UPDATE. In comments, herr doktor bimler: "So, [Dalrymple] is arguing that 'This banker-unfriendly talk makes me think of Jews and this is the fault of the liberals.' This is mendentious stuff, which is a combination of mendacious and tendentious but more intense than both."
TODAY'S RIGHTWING ALTERNATIVE HISTORY LESSON. In a post about Mitch Daniels' transparently insincere offer of a "truce" on social issues, Ramesh Ponnuru sighs over what might have been with... the Phil Gramm Presidential campaign.
I also can't help but think of Phil Gramm's presidential campaign in 1996. Like Daniels, Gramm was an enthusiastic budget-cutter. Concern about big government was running strong in the years just prior to that election. Gramm had a solid social-conservative record, but consciously chose not to campaign on it; he famously flew out to Colorado Springs to tell James Dobson, "I'm not a preacher." That approach helped to doom Gramm's campaign.
Actually Gramm's campaign was doomed by the fact that he made Boss Hogg look like John Kenneth Galbraith. I recall wondering in 1996 whether Gramm actually thought anyone outside Texas could tolerate him, or whether he was just padding his post-political resume. He was a miserable, unpleasant candidate who received a grand total of 71,456 primary votes, less than even the clinically mad Alan Keyes.

As to his stump style, I regret that I cannot remember the name of the writer who said that the bizarre rictus which overtook Gramm's face whenever he attempted to show amusement was like the stricken visage of a sufferer from gas pains.

And age hasn't improved him any:

PATIENCE MY ASS -- I'M GONNA KILL SOMETHING. "The incompetence of the Mexican government to handle corruption and criminality along the border has led to 'corrective action' before. The Mexicans need to get their house in order before a 21st Century America determines another punitive expedition is in order, and finds their own Patton to to cheer." -- Confederate Yankee on that kid the Border Patrol killed. (Later he says, "I find myself having less and less sympathy for Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereka and his family..." which would be quite a trick.)

When they get back in power, though, I suppose Mr. Lost Cause will content himself with the Iran war he'll get instead.
SHORTER HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Obama and his Big Gummint are making the oil spill worse by usurping the authority of the Fritters, Louisiana Baywatch. The obvious solution is to get Big Gummint out of the way, and bring in the Burkean "little platoons" of the Dutch Government. Oh, and more offshore drilling, of course! (Pockets check.)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

INVASION OF THE BULLSHIT SNATCHERS. Obama's approval rating hovers around 46 percent -- about where Reagan's was at this point in his first term. Naturally the Reagan-worshippers consider this disastrous for Obama. At the Wall Street Journal, Dorothy Rabinowitz hears "deepening notes of disenchantment," and attributes them to American's growing awareness that Obama is an alien.

An illegal alien, does she mean? Sort of.

Rabinowitz explains that people are not disappointed that Obama has not fixed the oil spill, but that he did not drape himself in the flag while hollering "Glory, Glory Hallelujah" (or maybe crooning "the oil has slipped the surly bonds of earth") as the poison spread:
For it was clear from the first that this president—single-minded, ever-visible, confident in his program for a reformed America saved from darkness by his arrival—was wanting in certain qualities citizens have until now taken for granted in their presidents. Namely, a tone and presence that said: This is the Americans' leader, a man of them, for them, the nation's voice and champion. Mr. Obama wasn't lacking in concern about the oil spill.
And there's a reason he didn't, and never could have done so, says Rabinowitz: Because Obama is not a true American:
What he lacked was that voice—and for good reason.

Those qualities to be expected in a president were never about rhetoric; Mr. Obama had proved himself a dab hand at that on the campaign trail. They were a matter of identification with the nation and to all that binds its people together in pride and allegiance. These are feelings held deep in American hearts, unvoiced mostly, but unmistakably there and not only on the Fourth of July.
See? Obama learned to talk purty, all right, but he can't say the magic words "tax cut," "states rights," or "Rumpelstiltskin."
A great part of America now understands that this president's sense of identification lies elsewhere, and is in profound ways unlike theirs. He is hard put to sound convincingly like the leader of the nation, because he is, at heart and by instinct, the voice mainly of his ideological class. He is the alien in the White House, a matter having nothing to do with delusions about his birthplace cherished by the demented fringe.
That last bit is very cute (though we could expect no less from a master propagandist who raged and blubbered over victims of 9/11 but, when their widows stopped cooperating with the program, ignominiously cut them loose).

Not for Rabinowitz the trap of Birtherism, or even Birtherism With An Explanation -- for those rely upon phantom proofs which adherents believe reside in some undiscovered vault. No, better to say the President is an alien, which can never be proved or disproved.

You just have to sidle up to such weak-minded marks as read the Journal editorial pages, and say things like "Why do you suppose Obama didn't want the bust of Churchill in the White House?" and "Did you notice that Obama never says anything bad about Islam?" and "Why does he like those Mescans so much?" Never make a direct accusation that couldn't be explained away as a metaphor, should anyone call you on it.

But the marks whose minds have been roiled by this bullshit will take it as was intended to be taken. So what if no Kenyan birth certificate can be found? They'll know it explains the unsettled feeling they've had since they saw that un-American-looking guy take the Oath of Office.

True, the uninitiated won't get what they mean when they say Obama is an alien, but at least no one will call them a racist. (At least, no one who doesn't know them will.)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

ARGUMENT FROM PATERNITY. Power Line:
William Shawcross is the son of Winston Churchill's lawyer, the prominent former Nuremberg prosecutor and Labor MP Sir Hartley Shawcross. He thus provides something of a living link to Churchill whom we are especially proud to claim as a friend of our site.... [skree, libs hate Jews, etc]
Two words come to mind: Paris Hilton.

I've always known that, though they like to pretend they're anti-elitist, they really just prefer a different kind of elitism. But I hadn't realized they meant it to be hereditary. Now cometh the time of the Reagan Grandchildren!

Monday, June 07, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the flotilla killa mess. My main insight is that the rightbloggers are even crazier than usual about this, Because Israel, which I think is a subset of Because Jesus.

You'll have to click over to get the full effect. In any case, they're sloppier than usual, throwing accusations of Israel hatred at Obama in the ripest terms and on the flimsiest pretenses.

I don't think they're even paying attention to what they're saying anymore. It's like that scene from Bukowski's Post Office:
One night I was assigned to the stool next to Butchner. He didn't stick any mail. He just sat there. And talked. A young girl came in and sat down at the end of the aisle. I heard Butchner. "Yeah, you cunt! You want my cock in your pussy, don't you? That's what you want, you cunt, don't you?" I went on sticking mail. The soup walked past. Butchner said, "You're on my list, mother! I'm going to get you, you dirty mother! You rotten bastard! Cocksucker!" The supervisors never bothered Butchner. Nobody ever bothered Butchner. Then I heard him again. "All right, baby! I don't like that look on your face! You're on my list, mother! You're right there on top of my list! I'm going to get your ass! Hey, I'm talking to you! You hear me?"

It was too much. I threw my mail down. "All right," I told him, "I'm calling your card! I'm calling your whole stinking deck! You wanna go right here or outside ?" I looked at Butchner. He was talking to the ceiling, insane: "I told you, you're on top of my list! I'm going to get you and I'm going to get you good!" O for Christ's sake, I thought, I really sucked into that one! The clerks were very quiet. I couldn't blame them. I got up, went to get a drink of water...
Buk had a point. Why am I letting them get to me like this?

UPDATE. Maybe this is why: "The latest ship to be stopped by Israel's blockade, the SS Rachel Corrie, was escorted to an Israeli port without incident. Too bad Israel doesn't have a seagoing bulldozer." I'm always a little surprised at people who are proud of being douchebags. See also celebrity douche RS McCain.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

EVERYBODY'S A TERRORIST! The Pixies have cancelled their scheduled Israel concert -- presumedly, though not announced to be, in reaction to the flotilla mess.

Well, their body of work, their choice, one supposes. The rightbloggers have been surprisingly slow to react, but an Israeli promoter is instructing them in the appropriate victimhood schtick:
Israel is falling victim to "cultural terrorism," a top music promoter charged on Sunday, after US alternative rock group The Pixies cancelled their first-ever gig in the Jewish state.
Promoter Shuki Weiss also says the Pixies and other cancelled acts are "robbing" Israeli music fans "of a handful of hours of joy, adrenalin, and culture."

I almost approve, because I assume Weiss is motivated not by politics, but by a healthy, cynical desire to exploit the situation to get big acts to sign with him to make a contradictory political statement, thus generating income from the foolishness of others.

Oh, wait a minute -- maybe that's the same thing as politics, these days.

UPDATE. A GayandRight commenter moans, "Why not perform in Palestine where HAMAS live or are they too Chichen sh*t to do so." Maybe they can't get enough electricity over there to power their amps.

Friday, June 04, 2010

THE NEW WAVE IN REPUBLICAN SEX SCANDALS. I see that Michael Gerson has taken up the Republican sex-scandal defense championed by David Frum and others during the great imbroglios of 2006 -- that is, that hypocrisy is okay if you're a Jesus Republican, because Jesus.
Yet moral liberals have something to learn as well. The failure of human beings to meet their own ideals does not disprove or discredit those ideals... I would rather live among those who recognize standards and fail to meet them than among those who mock all standards as lies. In the end, hypocrisy is preferable to decadence.
The problem with making this argument to "moral liberals" (whatever the fuck he means by that -- since I'm a liberal with a mean streak, I'll take it to mean me) is that we have been watching Republicans and their co-conspirators in the evangelical Christian movement run their Moral Majority bullshit for years, and have coldly recognized it as bullshit from Day One. This is because we have some understanding of human nature, from the works of Shakespeare, Moliere, and Somerset Maugham, and from direct experience, and we know the randy preacher routine backwards.

When that scam devolved into a pile-up of naked and sometimes wet-suited or diapered Republicans a few years back, we did not mourn that these awful people had failed to live up to their "standards," because we knew that they never really had any standards, except "don't get caught" and "never give a sucker an even break."

At first I couldn't figure out why Gerson even bothered, except as a favor to his old friend Mark Souder. But then it occurred to me that he had been inspired by the Nikki Haley case.

In that case we have seen something remarkable but little remarked upon: a political sex scandal in which the controversy does not fit the Moral Majority template. Haley is either the victim of opponents' smears, or has had extramarital affairs, or both. Most of the reaction from the liberal side has been ha-ha, but as Haley is being man-handled, not by Democrats, but by her fellow Republicans, it is the GOP reaction that is most relevant, and so far I haven't seen many of them burbling on about the Sanctity of Marriage. Haley's opponents are mainly saying that she lied, and Haley is saying that her opponents are lying. It's a plain political media power struggle, with no hint of Jesus in it -- which may be why one SC Republican douchebag called her a raghead like President Obama: He was frustrated that the punters weren't going Biblical on her, and sought to stir their religious mania by other means.

But that doesn't seem to be working either. And how awful this must be to Christian types like Gerson, whose whole schtick depends upon people acting (and voting) like extras from Inherit the Wind.

UPDATE. In the Washington Times, Robert Knight helps prove my point. He is stung to the quick that George F. Will and Charles Krauthammer -- no one's idea of bleeding hearts -- have abandoned, on behalf of mainstream Republicans, the word of the Living God when it comes to gays in the military. Knight raves about the "Creator of the Universe" and "God's moral code that has undergirded Western society for more than 3,500 years." And he suggests at the end that they and all infidels will be sorry one day when they end up in the Lake of Fire:
Perhaps the answer lies in the Book that they now find quaint: "Professing to be wise, they became fools ... who exchanged the truth of God for a lie." (Romans 1:22, 25)

Someday, the smartest folks in America will wonder how they could have been so foolish.
Damnation -- the Hail Mary pass of all moral hucksters who have discovered that Bible-waving no longer has a hypnotic effect on their subjects.
IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING WITH THESE PEOPLE. Wingnuts are super-excited because, in addition to it being National Doughnut Day (when they have a National Cheetos Day, there'll be riots), Paul McCartney insulted George Bush. So they're having a contest to see who can get the most worked up and say the stupidest thing about it. So far, by several lengths: Warner Todd Huston.
This from a guy whose entire songwriting career is well known to be as deep as a thimble philosophically speaking. And this is not to even mention that this is from a guy whose country voted Neville Chamberlain into office once upon a time!
Plus Macca is also a traitor to his own Hitler-loving country, which his boyfriend Obama grievously offended by giving the Queen "discs that cannot play on a British DVD machine" and other similar indignities.

And Beatle-wise, Huston pretends to be more into "John Lennon's dark cynicism." I can easily imagine him bellowing "Sarah don't go/Reagan come home" in the middle of the night with his shirt off, which is one of the drawbacks of a fertile imagination.

It'll take a lot to beat Huston. Dan Reihl tells McCartney to die, but that's just him being his usual lovable self.

UPDATE. "To quote Mr. Darcy: My good opinion once lost, is lost forever," says Nice Deb. As if that weren't newsworthy enough, she further reports that "large numbers of Americans are reeling in disgust by his behavior," though sadly she doesn't post video evidence. That'll show that rich British peer.

Does the CDC keep statistics on delusions of grandeur?
SHORTER JONAH GOLDBERG: There's this guy who wants to cure millions of Americans of depression, chronic pain, and sleep disorders. This is exactly what I was warning against in my book Liberal Fascism.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? A PEEK IN AT ACE O. SPADES. It's like blogger drunkdialing! Hadn't paid attention to the site in months, so I looked today and saw some guy posting a map of the places where English is the official language, then commenting:
So when you're choosing your apocalypse bolt-hole, you might want to consider which lingua the locals sprechen. And yes that little blue speck in Central America is Belize which speaks English thanks to its history as a British colony. Here's some info on fleeing retiring to Belize as an American. Of course there's also Guyana to the south, but it seems a little far from the US and a little too close to Venezuela. Next best options would probably be some of the Caribbean islands.
Belize. The guy thinks he's going to Belize. I doubt that Delta allows customers to pay for their flights with Cheetos proofs of purchase.

Ace really hasn't been the same since he went softcore.
DON'T CHANGE JIM JOYCE'S CALL. Apparently the Commissioner is considering changing the umpire's call that cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

No. Human umpires are part of baseball, and if you're going to have them, you're going to have blown calls. And human though they are, their rulings have to stand. Why? Because to challenge their authority is to throw the whole premise of baseball into chaos.

Baseball is not supposed to be a quasi-mechanical Thunderdome affair like football, with everything from the players' muscle mass to the video review delegated to state-of-the-art science. It is, as George Carlin memorably observed, a game played in a park. The vagaries, oddities, and lapses in judgement -- and there are plenty in a 162-game season -- are part of the pleasure. I once saw Benny Agbayani take a fly ball he'd caught and toss it into the stands, thinking he had made the third out; he had in fact made the second, and the ground-rule double cost the Mets the game. That sucked, but nobody thought the result should be reversed because that wasn't what he should have done.

Umpires fuck up too, yet we've decided to treat them like God: Their word rules even if everyone in the park disputes it. And only the ump himself can reverse the call. Maybe you would prefer that there should be Baseball Courts of Appeal or The Guardians of the Universe or some shit, but them's the rules, and games without rules are only fun for people who've taken too much acid.

If you want to put in video review -- an abomination, I still believe -- then you can avoid these kinds of problems in future games of the thing you will call baseball and I will call bullshit. But only then.

UPDATE. Let me add something else: A ballgame is not a court of law. Our judicial system is convoluted because human lives are at stake. In Major League Baseball, the only thing at stake is some millionaires' future trade value.

I think Billy Martin said it best.

UPDATE 2. And if me and Billy haven't convinced you, be aware that one of National Review's biggest idiots -- John J. Miller, sort of Jonah Goldberg on training wheels -- wants the call overturned.

Speaking of National Review idiots, Daniel Foster:
In a weird way, it is like the BP spill. Those of us who oppose instant replay in baseball, like those of us who support domestic drilling, correctly (I think) point out that catastrophic failures of the status quo are so unlikely that worries about them shouldn't guide our policy thinking. But then Deepwater Horizon blew up and Jim Joyce blew a perfect game.
I've never seen Foster so maybe he really is 10 years old and a lot of things in life that we adults take for granted are brand new to him.
THEY DON'T MAKE CAPITALISTS LIKE THEY USED TO.The Anchoress interrupts a rant about Obama Hitler socialism for a personal complaint, which she believes is relevant to her point:
I feel like my relationship to my son’s college is a microcosm of our relationship to the government. Every year tuition goes up appreciably, even though our salaries have gone stagnant. There are union workers on campus, you see, and they must get their raises, even if services to the students must be cut to ensure them. So, it’s cut services or bleed the students, and either way the cafeteria has too many carbs. The scholarships don’t go up, but the tuition does. We’re trying to keep his student loan debt down to about $30,000, so our contribution, year after year, just gets bigger and bigger.
I think I see the relevance: A degree from the college of her choosing is something The Anchoress believes she should have, and if the price goes up to what its administrators think the Free Market will bear, this is not capitalism in action, as it might seem to the uninitiated, but socialism, because all the money over and above what The Anchoress wishes to pay for this sheepskin will be going to communist union janitors; she just knows it.

If only she could strike a bargain with the professors -- have them come over to the house and teach Buster, free from the constraints of the unions! She could in recompense bake them a pie. They could call it Galt's Gulch Community College!

It's astonishing that these people achieved adulthood without ever realizing that the Invisible Hand is not Casper the Friendly Ghost.

UPDATE. The Anchoress amplifies in comments that her husband (who already has a profitable engineering degree) and her sons agree that university educations are worthless, which makes it even harder for me to understand why she hasn't taken the kids out of school yet and used the savings to buy gold, shotguns, and a generator in preparation for the End Times, and maybe some church raffle tickets. Also, why in the first place is she exposing these innocent young minds to the evil liberal professors who, her commenters assure her, will just try to convert them to Marxism? They'll be safe from that kind of brainwashing at barber college.

Using the kind of fantasy problem-solving she also exhibits in her subsequent, why-isn't-Obama-doing-this-thing-I-heard-about-in-the-Gulf post ("Is this something that is possible? I have no idea, but let’s find out! Seems like something the government ought to already be aware of"), The Anchoress dreams up (via the medium of one of her children) an alternative educational regime -- sort of a rightwing Montessori:
My Elder Son has made a very strong case for the de-emphasizing of degrees in favor of true competency certification (based not on education credits but true proficiency) for educators, the social sciences and business degrees, and artists--whether in fine arts or music--should be able to study as apprentices, journeymen, etc.
These certificates, which I'm sure would be covered with gold stars, would also no doubt be accepted in lieu of diplomas from accredited colleges by the Bigbrain Randian Wealth Producers who have Gone Galt. And aren't they the only sort of people by whom Buster and Boomer or whatever his name is would consent to be employed? Don't dream it, The Anchoress, be it! Let your Galt schools be the monasteries of the new Dark Ages!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

SHORTER ABIGAIL THERNSTROM: Why did Artur Davis lose in Alabama? Because he defied Obama. Or because he's good friends with Obama. Something to do with Obama, anyway. But whatever it was, it certainly had nothing to do with race.
JONAH GOLDBERG, HARD ON THE JOB, LATEST IN A SERIES*. 9:21 am: Look, funny video!

9:40 am: This flotilla thing -- anybody know anything about it? Cuz you can't trust the lamestream media, y'know. They hate Jews.

5:31 pm: W00t, wingnut welfare gravy train now boarding! Come on, it'll be fun, like college.

5:36 pm: More video!

5:40 pm: I got to judge a conservative beauty contest! Fart. I mean, "Fart."

7:55 am: Ooooh, I got in trouble lookin at the purty girls. Fart. Speaking of which, wingnut welfare!

8:00 am: That big hole in Guatawhatchamacallit sure is big. Like something out of a scary movie! Haw! This is almost as good as Hurricane Katrina.

Etc. * Compiled by Instaputz and Tbogg, among others.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

HOW YOU GET A BP. What I and perhaps many of you have been grumbling under our breaths for years, Nancy Nall eloquently lays out in complete sentences, in the course of a lengthy gripe about her shitty bank:
Oh, why bother with this? You all have your own tales of pain and woe, if not with banks, then with health insur­ance com­pa­nies, mort­gage hold­ers or whomever. Here’s what amuses me most about them — how, in our allegedly per­fect market-based sys­tem, our cus­tomer expe­ri­ence should be improv­ing year to year. In some ways, it has, although I credit tech­nol­ogy (the ATM) more than man­age­ment. But mostly, bank­ing — and many other allegedly service-based busi­nesses — has only become more Soviet with time, more mono­lithic, less sen­si­tive to cus­tomer com­plaint, more frus­trat­ing to deal with. Yes, I enjoy check­ing my bal­ance online or over the phone. No, I don’t like being nickel-and-dimed — or ten-dollared and thirty-dollared — to death over every lit­tle thing.
I still hope to get past the muttering stage on this important topic someday, but Nance has it good and broken down already.

I will add this: Any of us, if we think about it for more than a few minutes, can see that our largest and most powerful institutions are increasing treating us, their customers, like sub-humans.

They do it in Washington, with monstrosities like the nightmarish 2005 Bankruptcy Bill, and they do it in the day-to-day, by socking us with every hidden fee, added surcharge, delayed payment, automatic renewal, and designed-to-discourage phone tree they can dream up to separate us from more of our money.

I don't suggest there was ever a golden age when businesses didn't try to get more of our money, but I've been walking around this civilization for quite a healthy span of years, and I've never spent as much time as I do now fighting with corporations to keep or get back my money. I don't recall, in the allegedly less enlightened past, a bank insisting that I still had a credit card with them years after I paid off the balance and told them repeatedly to close my account. I don't recall being told that it didn't matter when I sent in my payment, it only mattered when the bank decided to accept it, and if it wound up being late they could raise my rate and fuck up my credit. (BTW thank the Democrats for fixing at least some of this shit.)

It's true that in the old days, I didn't have internet, and I often had to physically approach a service desk to get satisfaction. But those desks were clearly marked and manned. If they were run like the byzantine "support" features at many company websites now, they would be available only by rope ladder at the bottom a 30-foot shaft, and their agents would fend me off with pikestaffs.

Yet as plain as this is to us normal people, conservatives and libertarians (but I repeat myself) are insensible to the situation. They generally tell you, hey look, you got iPods and diet pet food, you never had it so good. And if you're suffering, it's your own damn fault for being a littlebrain. If you go through, say, a typical Megan McArdle post about bank shenanigans, you'll find the comments filled with the counsel of Randian supermen who have never had any troubles getting loans themselves, and don't understand how any decent person would ("When it comes down to it, if a person lives responsibly, chances are they won't have to worry").

And there's always someone like Cassy Fiano to blubber that the banks are the ones getting screwed by their customers and how dare they etc.

Which brings us to the depraved indifference shown by those BP ratfucks toward actually cleaning up (as opposed to covering up) their disastrous pollution of the Gulf of Mexico. For a while I was actually in sympathy with them -- when you fuck up that bad, you might be forgiven for using a psychological strategy to distance yourself from the enormity of your guilt, if only just so you can function. But after watching them at work awhile, I have decided that they are incorrigible. To put it politely.

And why shouldn't they be? See it their way: In this country, in this time, if you want the big money you don't give the suckers an even break. You brass it out. Fuck the regulators, fuck the press, and fuck the paupers who think they have some say in what washes up on their beaches -- we got people, we got money. And most of all, we got the right of way. Because for decades now, wherever some herkimer-jerkimer objected that our business was coming on a little too strong for their precious "community," we had the answer that never failed: Step aside, buddy, you're standing in the way of the Free Market.

It never failed before. Why should it fail them now?
IT WON'T FLOAT. As an old-fashioned Democrat who would really like to support the Israeli government, I remain open to any good justification for boarding an aid flotilla (even an embargoed one of suspicious political provenance) in international waters [!] and killing and kidnapping several of its passengers. So far I haven't heard any -- only shrill blood-libel crap like Jennifer Rubin's.

Anytime you find yourself writing something like this --
When the Israeli commandos were set upon as they were lowered from a helicopter, they acted to defend themselves.
-- and it isn't meant as satire, you should know that you aren't making your case, and in fact are strongly giving the impression that you don't have one.

Monday, May 31, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rightblogger reviews of Sex and The City 2, and how they've changed their minds about the franchise since they found the new film talks smack about Arabs. It also contains what may be my favorite Rod Dreher quote of all time.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A NEW LOW. Big Hollywood is your one-stop shopping place for the conservatism of petty personal grievances, with its constant surveillance of movies, TV shows, and Some Silly Liberal Who Was Mean to Me for evidence of wrongthink. They're so good at it that I long ago stopped trying to think of ways to top them. After they attacked Sesame Street for failing to make up affectionate nicknames for Fox News reporters, I knew no one could embarrass them better than they regularly embarrassed themselves.

And here's proof: In a million years, could you have come up with a parody Big Hollywood headline to rival this one?
Elayne Boosler ‘Unfriended’ Me on Facebook for Being Conservative.
Yes, the guy's actually complaining about this, though he adds, "You want to be narrow minded and intellectually lazy so you don’t have to defend your opinions, that is your right as an American." Generous of him! Next he'll grudgingly defend your right to shoo him off your porch when he shows up singing "The Ballad of the Green Berets."

Eventually he cites Some Silly Liberal Who Was Mean to Him, and then gets to the inevitable veiled accusations of Hollywood McCarthyism. "I look at folks like Dennis Miller, a guy who I have admired for years, and Drew Carey," he says, "and wonder what their brash conservatism has cost them." Gee, I don't know -- maybe the lead in Cast Away?

A few months back I suspected one of the BH guys of being a ringer. Now I'm starting to think they're all putting it on.

UPDATE. Typo fixed, thanks Nance. Any others? My MBP is at the shop and I'm using Mary's PC, which makes me clunky on the keys.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A CRAZE, IN A SENSE. That Go Galt thing lives on -- in rightwing campfire stories! Today's is from Dan Kennedy at Townhall:
During a conference at which I just spoke, the owner of several companies showed me a pair of cufflinks he’d just had custom-made, engraved with the words “Who Is John Galt?”
Not just a president, mind you, but the president of several companies! He probably owns a mansion and a yacht.
This business owner said the cuff-links were the last item other than absolute necessities that he would buy until Obama was an ex-president. He said he was sending out a letter to the restaurants and shops he patronized, his dry cleaners, the service companies that tended his lawns at his homes – over 200 different business owners – letting them know that President Obama had determined he was making too much money and was too rich for reason. Therefore, he was going to cut sales and production at his companies by half, himself work but one day a week, cut business spending to the bone and personally buy nothing – other than vacations out of the country – until the president exits.
Apparently Elmer J. Fudd also rules a feudal community, where the dry-cleaning vassals rely upon his custom to feed their children.

Each man to his own kinky fantasy, I say, but I wonder what the thrill is here. Do they imagine the underlings will say, "Wow, that rich guy means business -- I better vote Republican but pronto"? Or -- as the old "No tipping, we're Galt" routine suggests -- do they just like the idea of stiffing service employees and blaming it on politics?

Or maybe they're trying to sell the punters these. Only $50, yet just like what the Lord of Several Companies wears! Now there's capitalism I can understand -- the sort that never gives a sucker an even break.
GENIUS, I TELL YOU. Kaus has this thing sewn up. My only question: Is that Ann Althouse in the front row?

(From the Stephen Kaus Weblog; h/t Farley at Lawyers Guns & Money)
SPIN-OFF. I don't know if you've noticed but I have a link on the sidebar for my tumblr page.

I took it up last year, didn't know what to do with it, and let it lay. But a couple of weeks ago I started using it for the sort of cultural stuff with which I used to irregularly seed alicublog. Fond as I am of themed tumblr pages, I haven't come up with a Big Idea for one of my own yet. But it seems a nice format for quick shots on neat stuff.

I think I'll keep that going a while, so stop by if that sort of thing interests you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS. Regular readers may already know about Dave Weigel's problems with Palin fans who are enraged by his perfectly sane observations on the former Alaska governor's latest public complaints.

The sad thing is, in a different context we might be able to rationally discuss Joe McGinniss' decision to get a home near that of a former politician/current TV celebrity on whom he is writing a book. Is it more invasive and less ethical than the near-constant presence of reporters outside the less bucolic homes of other public figures?

But Palin is reliably full of shit and a professional victim, so as with the idiotic David Letterman fuss she stirred up last year -- claiming against common sense that Letterman was intentionally attacking her underage daughter -- Palin has ended all chance of rational debate by accusing McGinniss of looking at her tits and suggesting that he might want to ogle her 9-year-old.

Weigel squawked, and here's a sampler of what ensued:



But what else can we expect? Rush Limbaugh's black fill-in Walter Williams is advocating secession from the perspective of the Confederacy. I like to think I'm pretty creative, but I don't think I could have made that one up, though maybe Sam Fuller already did:



This country has already gone nuts. Now it's all about waiting to see what entertaining means the patient will use to do harm to herself.
MAYBE I'M GETTING OLD. but the whole time I was watching this video preview (warning: incredibly NSFW), two questions kept crossing my mind: 1.) Who is Kendra Wilkinson? and 2.) Please, God, can you make Kathryn J. Lopez and Maggie Gallagher write about it?

UPDATE. In comments Leonard Pierce explains: "Kendra Wilkinson is one of Hugh Hefner's exes, which makes her appearance in a porn video about as shocking a headline as 'GOLDBERG DICKS AROUND IN OFFICE, POSTPONES WORK.'"
SHORTER WEASEL ZIPPERS: Sputter sputter, I hate fags.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

SHORTER TIGERHAWK: Remember, if you do anything to punish BP, their employees will suffer. Think of them as moral hostages of the Free Market!
JONAH GOLDBERG, HARD ON THE JOB, LATEST IN A SERIES*. "The reason I have not commented on the series finales of Lost and 24 is that I have not been able to watch either yet. I will not read or respond to email on these subjects either until I've had a chance to catch-up. I know this reflects a shameful lapse on my part."

Christ Jesus, Goldberg is now too lazy to watch TV.

Also: "What's David Brooks Trying To Say?" in which Goldberg suggests Brooks is making a couple of connections not supported by the actual Brooks column (including one to himself), then concludes, "I have to assume that's the case, but Brooks just doesn't make it clear." One of the non-legacy-pledges at NR picks up his slack.

Goldberg also prints a bunch of reader letters, and has enough energy left over to link to BP propaganda.

* Compiled by Instaputz and Tbogg, among others.
SARAH PALIN ACCUSES AUTHOR OF LOOKING AT HER TITS. As R. Crumb once drew himself thinking in a comic jam about the apocalypse, I always hoped I wouldn't be alive for this.

THE BITTEREST PILL (THEY EVER HAD TO SWALLOW). A week ago at National Review, in honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Pill, Kathryn Jean Lopez came waving a celebrity news hook:
If you need a quick primer on the birds and the bees, on how a culture has been misled, and on why Carrie and her friends from yet another Sex and the City movie have had miserable, not-so-pretty lives...
(Yeah, that "conservative cause celebre" thing is really gonna happen.)
...the woman once declared “Most Desired Woman” by Playboy can help you out.
Surprise, it's Raquel Welch! Bless her, Rocky has a book out and says she's seen how contraception "has altered American society for better or worse" -- while it "made it easier for a woman to choose to delay having children until after she established herself in a career," it also made people less likely to get married, presumably by obviating the time-honored tradition of the shotgun wedding.

Though Welch is four times married and obviously didn't let child-rearing slow down her own career, K-Lo swooned. "What she writes knocks the glimmer off the rose of so-called 'sexual freedom,'" wrote Lopez. Also, "Raquel Welch echoes another pope when she talks about sexual explicitness in the culture." The crime of the Pill, in K-Lo's view, was that it turned women away from something they really wanted: "Motherhood is at the heart of what it means to be a woman, and, for decades now, the pill has been trying to deny that reality."

Later Lopez claimed her column "seemed to strike a nerve." But she only cited in evidence a couple of Catholic blogs, and there is no sign that in the wide world women started burning their Ortho Tri-Cyclen in response.

So Maggie Gallagher dropped by to both raise the stakes and change the subject: The Pill wasn't bad because it worked, but because it sometimes didn't:
If we had truly separated sex from reproduction, why would we need abortion?

It was the failure of the Pill to reliably separate sex and reproduction that led quickly to Roe v. Wade.
"The problem is not the Pill," Gallagher added later. "The problem is the idea, which promoters of the pill introduced and promoted with great fanfare, that we have separated sex from reproduction." Because we haven't -- "If you spend ten years being unmarried and sexually active, the odds you will get pregnant, or get someone pregnant, are quite substantial."

Apparently Lopez had been too idealistic: The kids weren't going to stop using birth control because it was morally wrong -- they could only be scared out of it. Pregnancy was not to be used to lure them to virtue, but to terrorize them out of having sex.

K-Lo agreed as much as pride would allow: "That pill alone was not the poison that made a mess between men and women, but it sure was a contributing factor."

And so it goes: Tactical debates among cultural warriors whose cause is long, long lost. They might as well be arguing about why the invention of washing machines turned the innocent women of their great-grandmothers' time into flappers, and what can be done about it today.

But keep pitching guys! Maybe the environmental angle will "strike a nerve" somewhere.

UPDATE: In comments, good point, PGE: "Wait a minute... It doesn't work, plus women don't REALLY want it. How has it survived the miracle of the free market?"