Tuesday, June 29, 2010

JAY NORDLINGER SENILITY WATCH: Oh, Jesus:
Let me instead say this: I think many of my conservative colleagues are far too gingerly when it comes to liberal media bias. Far too timid, delicate, and forgiving. For a long time, complaining about media bias has been seen as uncouth. It’s something we all need to learn to live with, like death, taxes, and mosquitoes. Don’t be uncool by bitching about it, man.
The only thing that could make the idiocy more self-evident is if it were cross-posted at Sarah Palin's Facebook, Big Journalism, TimesWatch, Media Research Center, NewsBusters, or any other of the hundreds of other sites devoted to exposing the Lamestream Liberal Media. Even by the regular standards of conservative eternal-victimhood, this is rich.

I haven't been keeping up with the Nordlinger Senility Watch, BTW, because even when he lays out a beauty like this "Sigh, I Wish the IDF Could Walk Through Walls Like Back When I Was 60" post, I know he'll come up with something just as dotarded later, and it makes me lazy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF GREAT AMERICAN MAGAZINES. Michael Kinsley does somebody a favor, I guess, revisiting the debate over Originalism, but the point he fails to address about Kagan critic Robert Bork is that he is a miserable old bigot who should never have been let out of the dustbin.

But I couldn't help but notice this bit:
[Bork] is an embittered man who will be even more disconcerted than I was to learn that the very bright and well-educated, but young, editors of The Atlantic Wire had never heard of him.
I thought The Kids from McArdle was a fluke, but apparently they're all about 12 over there and get their American history from flash cards. Maybe The Atlantic should rebrand itself as the new CosmoGirl.
SHORTER OLE PERFESSER. Megadittos to Camille Paglia, who agrees with me that liberals suffer sexually from their devotion to sterile corporate life, while we conservatives thrive in the me-Tarzan-you-Jane world of academia! Which reminds me of a paid advertising link...
THE LOST CAUSE. At first I wondered why Dave Weigel even bothered going on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government to explain himself to the rightwing hoi polloi. I hear they don't pay that well. And he gets the kind of reaction anyone could have predicted ahead of time:
This guys career can go south with the rest of the Main stream media.........he got what he deserved........he is just trying to save his own @ss

Man, I am happy that I never had to share a foxhole with you!

Dude, if you are pro G A Y Marriage, Open Borders, and Voted for ObaMao the ONE thing you are NOT is conservative. You may not even qualify as a RINO.

What I learned from this: You're ugly. You're an idiot. Lots of "libertarians" are really just leftists.

Meet a real journalist David [link to Lew Rockwell]
And those are the kind ones! But upon reflection, I guess the whole crazy conservative reaction to his case must be galling to Weigel. His career makes (or used to make) conservatism look classy. He worked hard and quoted accurately -- hell, he went out and talked to people worth quoting, which is unusual in itself. He was genuinely even-handed, as opposed to a difference-splitting Borderbot. He made the sometimes obscure tropes of wingerdom comprehensible to general readers.

Any sane conservative would see that the Democratic electoral strategy going forward will be to remind America about the birthers, the Joe Bartons, and the Rand Pauls of the world and make them the face of the conservative movement. It might have seemed useful to have one or two conservatives in the public eye who didn't seem totally insane or malignant. Well, that's all over now. It'll be Obama Iz Hitler and Debbie Schlussel-Cassy Fiano catfights all the way to the Convention. We'll see how it works.
A LITTLE RESPECT. Senator Byrd has died, and the usual assholes remind us that he used to be a Klansman, but neglect to mention that he changed his mind about it and apologized, representing a progress exactly the opposite of that made by the Republican Party, which is really why they hated at him. (UPDATE: Also this. The man had balls.)

Among Byrd's last acts was to hold the feet of the coal industry to the fire in the wake of disaster, rather than apologizing to that industry for such actions, which is the Republican way to do things.

Though there are drawbacks to the reflexive grubbing for bacon that was the hallmark of Byrd's generation of politicians, he at least brought some home to his constituents, rather than transferring it all directly to corporations. Some old ways were indeed the best ways.

UPDATE. You're going to see a lot of this sort of thing today: "Meanwhile, let’s try to refrain from trashing Senator Byrd too much and stay respectful. This isn’t the Democratic Underground, after all. We’re above that. I will, however... [torrent of abuse]." Mourning doesn't become them.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about rightblogger Gay Pride coverage. It offers some rare good news: The wingnuts appear to be keeping quieter during Pride. They're still wrong, and the smarter ones are disingenuous -- this weekend we had Kyle Smith suggesting an "end of the culture wars," which in his world means the rise of "Chris Christie and Scott Brown, libertarian-ish Republicans who are socially liberal but fiscally conservative." (Brown's against gay marriage, and Christie promised to veto gay marriage if it were passed in Jersey. Maybe that's what Smith means by libertarian-ish.) But at least we get fewer of their noxious gases this time of year.

The thing ran long, and one of my saddest cuts was Esther Green's "To My Liberal Relative." Green apparently likes to bug her relatives with rightwing bullshit, and one of them, a gay man, finally sent her a short note asking, "Seriously, can we please just agree to disagree?" Some people would have switched topics to the weather or something, but Green sent back an 858-word harangue, explaining that
It is precisely because you and ____ are gay that Obama scares me. He surrounds himself with people who are true believers in sharia law (Rashid Khalidi, Dalia Mogahed, and Rashad Hussain). Sharia law clearly states that gays are to be stoned.
Later, perhaps hoping that this will have softened her gay relative up, Green tells him that Obama is a Muslim. Bet the Green family is going to be very careful about its Christmas invitations this year.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

MINOR OFFENSE. Wingnuts love their child prodigies. (Easy to program, and they have no trouble internalizing the philosophy, having learned all about it in their anal stage of development.)

Richard Brookhiser was 15 when he started at the National Review; Kyle Williams was 13 when he was enlisted by World Net Daily. And anyone recall the name of that little kid who wrote a book about virtue or something six or seven years ago, and was briefly their teen heartthrob?

Their most recent child star, 13-year-old Jonathan Krohn, was a hit at the last CPAC, but he hasn't been getting much ink lately -- at least, not the right kind -- so apparently someone at American Thinker thought it was time to roll out a new conservakid.

Behold:
My name is Sam Besserman, I'm eleven years old, I live in Beverly Hills, California, and ever since I can remember I have been subjected to political bias in school.
It's a dream come true -- only 11, and already he's learned his Conservative Victimization Tables!
The first time I noticed the bias was actually in preschool [italics his - ed.] where the teacher was reading a book about the importance of mothers and the inferiority of fathers. I tried to tell the teacher that dads might be just as important. The teacher responded in a sing-song, "No, listen to me, I'm the teacher."
Goddamn liberal bitches, always infantilizing our pre-schoolers!

The whole thing's like that, all commie thought police and suspiciously big words:
At Beverly Vista, my first teacher was a full-time misandrist and global warming wacko.
Some of you may suspect a hoax -- either because the kid's too young (especially for the Feminazi stuff, which usually doesn't hit conservatives until their first prostatitis episode), or because it sounds like a parody. Don't underestimate these people. I thought Mytheos Holt, who proposed at Big Hollywood that the brethren bring down Obama with parody websites and 4chan, was some kind of joke, but commenters proved him a true specimen.

If Besserman's a fake, the American Thinker commenters certainly haven't caught on. Remember: Just because they're increasingly ridiculous doesn't mean they're not serious.

(Thanks to Nancy Nall for the tip.)

UPDATE. Holy shit, R. Porrofatto found a video! Young Besserman appears on camera, but he doesn't use any big words. (Who'd like to see the outtakes video?) He does report that the bullies all yelled "Global warming is real" at him. Bullies sure have changed since I was a kid; maybe in Bev Hills they all get subscriptions to The Nation for their tenth birthday.
HAPPY PRIDE. It's small, but it's progress:
The adventurous Stanley Cup will make its first appearance in a gay-themed event this weekend.

The Chicago Gay Hockey Association invited the Blackhawks to join Sunday's Gay Pride Parade -- and the team said yes. So did the Chicago Cubs, who will have their own float for the first time.
I don't usually post feel-good items, but I wanted to do what I could to increase the possibility that this news would be seen by some bigot asshole wingnuts.

Like this one:
SODOMY IS SOURCE OF PRIDE, SEXUAL REPRODUCTION IS NOT!...

If Chicago's professional sports teams will be represented, I don't think Ernie Banks and the Blackhawks' Brent Sopel should be the only participants. I think in the spirit of having one's backfield in motion, the Chicago Bears should send a tight end and a wide receiver....

Who says pro athletes aren't role models for our children? If more big name athletes get involved in peddling "Gay Pride" more 10 year old might be inspired to become "Gay Pride" grand marshals. This is critical because some young people think it is alright or even cool to be straight.
I think this is supposed to be funny, despite the rhetorical hoarseness. Remember that line by The Replacements? "Kewpie dolls and urine stalls/Will be laughed at/The way you're laughed at now."

Yeah, this day gets better and better.

UPDATE. In comments, montag: "I think Moses would have gotten a double hernia carrying down all the commandments these guys want."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

BATTING 1.000. Matt Lewis gets a statement on Dave Weigel from the American Spectator's R. Emmett Tyrrell:
"I thought he was a liberal. He had no sense of humor. Yet he did his job diligently."
No sense of humor! Good to see that Tyrrell -- a buffoon of long standing who for years invited comparison of himself to H. L. Mencken via an imitative byline photo and a constipated emulation of HLM's prose style, then declared, "I know thee not, old man" -- has not lost his gift of being wrong 100 percent of the time

Friday, June 25, 2010

U WERE DOIN IT RITE.



Whiny ass titty babies.

The problem with covering conservatives is: There's no way to do it without being offensive -- at least in the bar after work, or its email equivalent. Which is apparently a resignation-accepting offense at the Post.

They've run this country for most of the past thirty years. I don't see why we should continue to treat wingnuts like special needs children who have to be shielded from criticism.
FUTURE SCHLOCK. For years most of my own work has been online, and the subject by which most of my readers know me has been the blogosphere. I know as well as the rest of you that online is not only the present, but also The Future, because it is tirelessly presented as such by people like Jeff Jarvis on websites and in well-compensated speeches.

I've always been annoyed by that kind of talk, and most of the time if you ask me why I'll say it's because I'm a miserable old curmudgeon who likes newsprint and daguerreotypes and LPs, and for whom everything has to be old and in black and white. But that isn't wholly true, as this Reason article by up-and-coming libertarian Katherine Mangu-Ward and some interns reminds me.

The article is a kind of guide to online stuff, a popular favorite -- why, I've done that sort of thing myself, pimping mostly small local blogs of diverse agenda.

But the premise here is that these Randian super-genii will instruct you in "kicking your dead tree habit." No, there's no Kindle promo tie-in -- the object of ridicule here is not longform dead tree, but newspapers. The intro is all ha-ha-stupid-foolscap-people:
Newspaper. Personally, I never touch the stuff. But rumor has it there is a certain amount of distress about the impending doom of the news-on-dead-tree industry...

We assumed for the sake of the experiment that The New York Times would be the last to go. Since I refuse to sully my delicate hands with filthy newsprint, Jesse and Robby paged through Wednesday’s edition in search of facts and insights that would need replacing in the event that print news goes kaput.
Though I don't know much about mockery myself, the tone seems a little forced to me -- as if KMW were not trying to summon a new audience of strangers not yet educated to the superiority of the internet, but instead trying to stroke and signal the usual true believers, who are always up for a round of ragging on paper-pushers.

It reminds me of the preemptive gloating of folks like Roger L. Simon, who tells his readers all the time that the MSM is a dinosaur, dying, on the ropes, in extremis, etc. (We're still waiting for the body to fall, but never mind.) For years this has been one of the key tropes of the rightwing online community -- which came out of the rightwing offline community's contempt for the offline equivalent, the impudent snobs of the lying liberal media, usually short-handed as the New York Times.

The Times, it just so happens, is mentioned several times in Mangu-Ward's article, mostly derisively ("New York real estate obsessives have long since left the Times behind... the Times tech reviewer, appropriately enough, senses his own irrelevance...").

Mangu-Ward does give the online edition a left-handed head-pat at the end, though. Clearly the Times and whatever it represents will be part of The Future -- just not so big a part. If years of yap have yet to completely displace the Times, they have opened up some space for an alterna-press which, like alt and indie vendors since time immemorial, not only hopes but asserts that it's The Future, your future. And they mean it, man!

In reality, when the smoke clears you are likely to find that the main effect of such a revolution has been to transfer some power -- not so much to you, though, as to those who have positioned themselves to profit from revolutionary sentiment. Here's who Mangu-Ward recommends for opinion journalism:
As for the Opinion pages, Reason should meet your needs there. But if you must, it could be supplemented with the columns aggregated at RealClearPolitics, or you could enjoy a firehose of opinion at Huffington Post or Daily Kos. Want to come back over and over to a name you trust? Hit up brand name bloggers like Glenn Reynolds, Matt Yglesias, Megan McArdle, and more.
Glenn Reynolds, Matt Yglesias, Megan McArdle! That's some groovy revolution right there.

That's the real reason this stuff bugs me. It's not that I like the Times and newsprint so much. I don't, really. And I like the internet fine. But I've also seen some come-ons in my time, and The Future is one that never gets old.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

SHORTER JOSEPH BOTTUM: Higher education is a liberal conspiracy to fuck your daughter.

UPDATE. Bottum's commenters are a joy for the expected reasons -- I particularly like the one who warns the Opus Dei wannabes who read First Things about the scourge of Jesuitism at Georgetown, and the one who thinks the knocked-up heroine did right to keep her baby because now she'll have someone to open jars for her in her old age. But my very favorite is the one who asks:
How do the girls who don't get to college get knocked up?
HE SAID SHE SAID. Moe Lane sniffs sex scandal!
Fun game for your morning: see how far you get into this report before you develop this sudden and burning need to go find a rock, and throw it at Al Gore. I personally made it to page 13.
Of course it's very different when something like this happens to a respected figure like Nikki Haley.
IT'S ARTHUR JENSEN'S WORLD -- WE JUST LIVE IN IT. Grab yer shootin' ahrns, morons -- Rupert Murdoch wants to make them Mescans legal so's they can bundle his papers or sumpin'!
In a model the AP compares to his coalition against gun violence, [NYC Mayor Mike] Bloomberg is rolling out a group of big city mayors and powerful CEOs called the Partnership for a New American Economy. The group will lobby Congress for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, arguing they need amnesty for those here illegally in order to run their cities and businesses effectively.

This won't play well with the Tea Party, but Mayor Mike is being joined by big business CEOs, and Republicans hate telling the heads of HP, Boeing, Disney and even News Corp. that they don't know what's good for America. Rupert Murdoch is on board, and he and Bloomberg even went on Fox News to hawk their plan this morning. (Murdoch may be the boss over there, but he's smart enough not to roll out this position on Glenn Beck or Hannity.)
The Castillo Chronicles has already bitten:
Murdoch the traitor who prefers to coddle illegals instead of help Americans take back their country especially since he has the bully pulpit to make a difference.
They can't grasp that while the ringmaster of the Fox News circus is happy to keep them riled up with titrated doses of jingoism, Uncle Rupert is not so much a citizen of the United States or of the (snort) "Anglosphere" as he is a citizen of the world -- as much at home in Red China as in Mexico City, provided his accommodations are suitably luxe.

But they'll forget about it soon enough. Psychologically they'll have to. We now live in a world where Lonesome Rhodes' unmasking would cause only about one or two news-cycles' worth of outrage before everyone began talking about his comeback. And anyway, most of the rubes think not at all about the men behind the cameras and the presses; they remain convinced that the guys and gals on the sets and in the byline photos are making it up as they go along.

UPDATE. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
THE KIDS FROM GLEE IN THEIR DEGENERATE PHASE. The most productive McArdle Summer Replacement wonders why we should care about American ironing board manufacture gone to China:
Econ 101 aside, though, there's a more compelling moral reason to condemn this kind of tariff that should help break deadlocks like Matt's: Jobs lost at home are usually jobs created elsewhere, typically in poorer countries. If anything, jobs are likely to be gained when an industry moves to China, where more aspects of the manufacturing and assembly process are done by hand. They just won't be created here. If that's your focus, you have to make the case that American jobs are intrinsically better or more valuable than Chinese jobs.
I examined this from every angle, and find no evidence of a joke (which is not Ms. Mangu-Ward's strong suit in any case). She really thinks local (that is to say, American) suckers will just have to tough out a creative destruction phase, in which the Chinese get their jobs at a fraction of their wages, and the suckers get unemployment for a while and then whatever they can scrounge up. Some (okay, many) of them aren't going to make it, but who wants them around anyway -- they're not on Twitter and Foursquare and wouldn't have fun things to say if they were. But many of their kids will probably become New Technocrats. That should be some consolation to their parents in the hobo camps!

And as to them being Americans? There are no nations, there are no peoples; there is only money.

I'm beginning to think Mangu-Ward was raised in a Skinner box.

UPDATE. In comments, Freshly Squeezed Cynic explicates Mangu-Ward's use of Whataboutery; AC in BC suggests, "Surely the Atlantic can find an Indian to write something this stupid at one quarter the cost?"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

SHORTER JONAH GOLDBERG: Farrrrrrrrt.

Jesus, the guy keeps topping himself. And he keeps announcing, basically, that he doesn't know what he's saying ("This isn't the best comparison because Petraues is no dictator") -- and yet keeps going.

This passage in particular will live in the annals of dumbassery:
Maybe a better comparison is to the experienced sergeant who may be formally outranked by the new lieutenant, but when the bullets fly, everyone looks to the sergeant for leadership.
Yes, Goldberg is explaining the Petraeus assignment with old WWII movies. Hopefully the General will bring a major offensive, so Goldberg can enact it on YouTube with Army Mens.

Also among my favorites: "Petraeus is a servant to his nation and history at this point" -- as opposed to, I don't know, when he was seven. And the ending! You have to imagine it followed by the stage collapsing and Goldberg climbing up out of the wreckage with a flowerpot on his head, hollering, "Uh-oh, Spaghetti-os!"

You know the drill.
SPEAKING OF WHICH, reader Donald alerts me that Jonah Goldberg is reviving the old Megan McArdle "you never had it so good" routine (i.e., you have iPods, why are you complaining?). I guess he didn't get the memo that they're supposed to shut up about this now that Obama is President.

I eagerly await a counter-post by one of his colleagues explaining that the Obama recession has destroyed capitalism, and Goldberg's 2,000 word walkback.
WHY I AM NOT A LIBERTARIAN, PART 4,229. Normally I don't respond well to baiting (I tend to throw my food dish and plead for dignity) but this National Post column (by our old friend Katherine Mangu-Ward!) that Adam Serwer dished me must be dug:
At first glance, any comparison between the gentle beeping of a Brooklyn mom dialing 311 on her iPhone and the roar of the Taliban pickup truck seems absurd. But it remains true that both want the same thing -- a targeted ban on ice cream.
The article actually compares an Afghan Taliban interdiction against ladies eating ice cream with an anti-Mr. Softee drive in Park Slope.

The Taliban (as reported by that great libertarian journalist Eve Ensler) disapproved of girls who dared eat ice cream. The Brooklyn moms complained of the incessant jingle of ice cream trucks in their neighborhood.

The Taliban killed and/or whipped the girls. The moms called 311. Don't you see the similarities? Mangu-Ward sure does.
This is why the Taliban and the Brooklyn moms can come to the same conclusion about ice cream bans. While they disagree on the parts of the self that need to be checked or limited -- and the Brooklyn moms prefer democracy to determine those limits -- they agree that state intervention to limit highly personal choices will make people better, and even freer.
In addition to the Taliban, the Park Slope mothers are also like "Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx and John Rawls," and Mangu-Ward is like Isaiah Berlin.
Those who lobby for and approve of such restrictions don't see the ever-growing list of banned behaviours as an infringement of liberty. Instead, they are a convenient and practical solution to the problem of what Berlin called "the divided self."
Now, I have myself twitted the anti-ice-cream-truck nannies of Brooklyn for the Voice -- not as neo-Taliban, but as dorks. I did not go the full Mangu-Ward distance there, nor in my other Nanny State items at Runnin' Scared, partly because I have a sense of humor, and partly because I recognize that neighborhood associations are within their rights to agitate against what they consider public nuisances and, in their formalized state, even use legal power to deny a liquor license to a restaurant, limit the number of street fairs on their blocks, etc.

Being an arty-farty and an anti-social, I generally prefer fewer rather than more restrictions on both art and commerce. And I think in the Bloomberg era the City's gotten way too protectionist. But I also live on planet Earth. I do not think every attempt to use legal means to alter the public space is automatically the equivalent of a Taliban death threat, for the same reason I do not think Big Gummint is being unfair to poor little BP: because I am neither a libertarian nor a fucking nut.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WHO'S TODAY'S KING OF THE CRACKPOTS -- THOMAS SOWELL OR JON VOIGHT? Sowell:
When Adolf Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920s, leading up to his taking power in the 1930s...
Yep, right out of the motherfucking gate.
Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit...

Technically, it has not been confiscated by Barack Obama, but that is a distinction without a difference.

With vastly expanded powers of government available at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats...
Clearly he refers to the Power to Cloud Men's Minds, with which Congress invested Obama in 2009.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt arbitrarily took the United States off the gold standard, he cited a law passed during the First World War to prevent trading with the country's wartime enemies. But there was no war when FDR ended the gold standard's restrictions on the printing of money.

At about the same time, during the worldwide Great Depression, the German Reichstag passed a law "for the relief of the German people"...
You know, even in wingnut writing, there is such a thing as trying to do too much. Equating FDR with Hitler calls for a post of its own, surely. (Sowell also refers to both "czars" and "useful idiots," putting Obama on both wrong sides of the Russian Revolution.) Just feed the talking points to Glenn Beck and have him do a DVD, TS!

Voight:
Dear President Obama:

You will be the first American president that lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well, when you said that you would defend Israel, the only Democratic state in the Middle East, against all their enemies.
That promise to defend Israel was in the Oath of Office you didn't get to see: The one they had later in the basement, with body shots!
You have done just the opposite. You have propagandized Israel, until they look like they are everyone's enemy - and it has resonated throughout the world.
That was a hell of a thing -- who'd have thought that such hotbeds of philo-Semitism as France, the UK, and especially Turkey could be turned against Israel by one measly Presidency?
The Jewish people have given the world our greatest scientist and philosophers, and the cures for many diseases, and now you play a very dangerous game so you can look like a true martyr to what you see and say are the underdogs.
Yeah, they're scientist and philosophers, and you play with that baby toy See 'n Say like a little baby. (In fairness to Voight, this may be a corruption of his original; we understand the Washington Times no longer has proofreaders, or editors, or a dictionary.)
Your destruction of this country may never be remedied, and we may never recover.
Way to rally the crowd, Joe Buck! "To arms, citizens -- we may get out of here alive yet!"

I give it to Sowell. Voight has been soaking his brain in Hollywood for decades, and so has an excuse. Also, unlike Sowell, Voight has a useful skill.

Monday, June 21, 2010

MORE N00BS. I lost interest in the Kids from The Atlantic Megan McArdle Summer Replacement series, which is no big deal, as they seem to be working Summer Fridays every day of the week.

But go over there yourself and see what you think -- you don't need my help to find the obvious qualities in stories like
  • "The Growing Geek iPhone Backlash";
  • Katherine Mangu-Ward's pretense of concern that statists are forcing paupers out of the banking system (since the Obama people have messed with overdraft fees, "protecting" indigents from overdraft ass-raping whenever their desperate checkbook juggling goes wrong -- now how are they ever going to learn that poverty doesn't pay? -- the cash-starved banks have been forced to charge everyone for checking, which is socialism);
  • Courtney "Is It Time For My" Knapp ripping the lid off that Slovenia-United States soccer match. Was the U.S. victim of a bad call? The story they don't want you to see!
Alternately, if you value your sanity, you can let TBogg substitute Susan of Texas guide you through the work of Fatherhood Expert Tony Woodlief ("Excuse me, I seem to have something caught in my throat. Cough*bullshit*cough. There, that’s better").
LOOK, I HATE TO SAY IT, but the Facebook Fox News Discussions Page...




...doesn't it just prove everything?

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the Joe Barton fiasco and the rightbloggers' insistence on making it worse. They -- ugh, you know what, read the thing; I can't provide a gloss here because that would require a new, more retarded version of I LOVE OIL GUYS MORE THAN U.S. BECAUSE IS LIKE REAGAN JESUS ME IS, IS TOO! and so far even conservatives (hopped up on whatever catecholamine killing one's own soul produces) are too worn out to provide one.

UPDATE. There's nothing for me here, so I will disappear:
If BP cut corners on safety and if the cut corners greatly increased the probability of this disaster, it deserves every legal penalty we can throw at it. But let's not forget that a prostitute can be raped, church-going family men can commit rape, and you're more likely to get away with rape if everyone thinks the victim deserves it.
If she turns up while I'm gone, please let me know.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

TRAIL OF TEARS. Jesus Christ, these guys are still crying that BP got hosed by the U.S. Government. Reihan Salam goes the extra distance:
Shakedowns of this kind have a long and undistinguished history... During the westward expansion of the United States, the federal government “negotiated” with sovereign Indian nations in a similar spirit.
Yes, he's actually comparing BP to the fucking Indians. Soon I suppose Tony Hayward will have to watch his yacht races from a reservation.

UPDATE. Also, "the Muslims who were burned alive in Gujarat in 2002." Jesus.

Friday, June 18, 2010

SHORTER CRAZY JESUS LADY: Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter.
JAY NORDLINGER SENILITY WATCH, JUNE 18. Since his Bloomberg post yesterday:

Thursday, 3:25 pm: Public high schools teach nothing but enviro-communist propaganda these days!

Thursday, 11:06 pm: Remember my earlier post mocking some guy who said "staid and formal hockey mom"? No? Here, let me tell it again.

Thursday, 11:18 pm: Unions are still angry at Thatcher. Good!

Friday, 2:21 pm: Classical musicians are a bunch of communists! You remember when I complained about this before, right? Well, now that Obama has sent back Churchill's bust, I wonder if these communists, the British ones, I mean... Classical musicians are a bunch of communists!

Friday, 3:22 pm: I hate that "serial" music they've been making us listen to. Give me Brahms, I say! The other day, I thought someone was making a joke about it. Turned out they weren't. But if they had, how I would have laughed.
GREAT MOMENTS IN VOLUNTEER PUBLIC RELATIONS. Rightwing reactions to Joe Barton's BP apology are just getting funnier. Though everyone in the Republican Party (including Barton himself) has run away from his comments, several conservatives yet endeavor to keep hope alive.

Jazz Shaw at Pajamas Media insists that while Barton's characterization of the Obama-BP agreement as a "shakedown" was "politically tone deaf," it was also correct. The escrow funds are "President Obama's demand," a "pound of flesh demanded by an elected official," "simply order[ed]... by fiat," "lawless, creepy, and dictatorial," etc. It makes Shaw think of Cuba, Venezuela, the Godfather, etc.

And then the punchline:
True, BP may have been under no legal constraint to follow Obama’s dictate.
This is akin to ending a prosecutorial peroration with, "While the accused's crime was not, strictly speaking, against the law..."

Thereafter it's all Shaw running around with a bucket on his foot. One evasive maneuver: By using legal action to get restitution from BP, Obama will only enrich the lawyers! Plus, the undeserving poor will show up to dip their beaks, as well:
If a blind, 84-year-old grandmother with a leaky rowboat showed up next month claiming that the spill may have prevented her from taking up shrimping next month as a retirement career, BP might very well fork over the requested cash.
Fuck that blind 84-year-old gangster bitch! BP is the injured party here, and Jazz Shaw is here to tell the truth to all the rightwing nuts who go to rightwing nut sites. And he doesn't care how politically tone deaf he is. In fact, judging from the evidence, maybe politically tone-deaf is what he's going for.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

PLEA BARGAINING. The rightwing defense of Joe Barton's and other Republicans' solicitousness of BP is that Obama is criminally assaulting the oil company. Cf. the American Spectator's Ross Kaminsky:
I am rarely at a loss for words, but I was briefly stunned into silence by Barack Obama's words during his Tuesday night speech that he would "inform" BP's CEO that he "is to" create an escrow account. The president has no authority to do such a thing -- but neither did he have authority to cram down Chrysler and GM bond holders for the benefit of the UAW. Law is irrelevant, probably not even considered as an afterthought, by this president.
One would think Obama had his goons frog-march Hayward to the Capitol and, when the police attempted to intervene, he blew them away with his tommy gun.

Any of these aggrieved parties might have said no to the President's plans, and accepted the consequences. They chose not to, almost certainly because they didn't want to take their chances with other authorities.

This is one of the few cases I've seen where a suspected malefactor cut a deal with the forces of justice and conservatives complained those forces were too hard on the skels. Aren't they supposed to be law-and-order types?
SHOTER DAVID BERNSTEIN. Rand Paul was right the first time, but he didn't use enough words to say so. Still not convinced? South Park!

UPDATE. Commenters show a reluctance to get out of the boat. Who could blame them? Some choice bits:
But antidiscrimination laws are unlikely to provide much protection to a minority group when the majority of the voting population is hostile to that group. America’s landmark civil rights legislation was enacted and implemented in the 1960s, when racial attitudes of whites had already liberalized substantially...

Even the 1964 Civil Rights Act did not noticeably accelerate the pace of liberalization of whites’ racial attitudes...
If that doesn't mean anything to you, forget it and we'll make it this:
Even a generally sober commentator like George Will...
SHORTER JAY NORDLINGER. I have forgotten, in my dotage, that conservatives are supposed to hate Nanny Bloomberg for hating guns, and judge him a superman who can and must immediately apprehend those beastly thieves who mugged an ABT ballerina. In Manhattan! I mean, it's not like it happened in one of those neighborhoods to one of those people.

UPDATED SHORTER: You folks still go for the cab driver bullshit, right? (The Anchoress: Yes!)
IDIOCRACY. This is the most depressing thing I've read today (but then, I got up late):
President Obama's speech on the gulf oil disaster may have gone over the heads of many in his audience, according to an analysis of the 18-minute talk released Wednesday.

Tuesday night's speech from the Oval Office of the White House was written to a 9.8 grade level, said Paul J.J. Payack, president of Global Language Monitor...

Though the president used slightly less than four sentences per paragraph, his 19.8 words per sentence "added some difficulty for his target audience," Payack said...
It's depressing on several levels. It's like a parfait of suck.

First, that someone at CNN gathered this opinion, and someone else at CNN said, "Let's use it, but find a way not to say out loud that people are idiots."

Next, the widespread reports that nobody likes the speech because it proposed long-term solutions to our oil dependency when everyone just wanted Obama to announce he had developed a giant oil tampon in his secret laboratory.

There's also the diligent repetition of the "Rahm Emanuel said never let a crisis go to waste which means Democrat treehuggers supertax skree" mantra. (And that's just in the trad rightwing news sources -- as usual, their blog operatives are better at mindlessly repeating it.) Thus you get guys like Lamar Alexander telling constituents about "the advice of the White House Chief of Staff which has been so often quoted," which 99 percent of them, not being poli-sci nerds, never heard of before he told them -- but will probably go away remembering that it's supposed to be a famous saying, having something to do with Obama and skree.

Worst of all is the presumption that even in the face of vivid, horrible consequences of our oil culture, these people continue to insist there's no point in even trying to change it. Erick Erickson makes this "argument" about as well as anyone:
Most oil goes to fueling our cars. Windmills, nuclear reactors, and solar panels will not fuel our cars. If we don’t extract the oil, we will grow more and more dependent on Hugo Chavez and Iranian President I’manutjob. I realize he doesn’t want a crisis to go to waste, but his priorities are clearly not those of the rest of the nation.
Well, no one will accuse him of writing to the 9.8 grade level.

Did I say that was the worst of all? Actually the worst of all is that this horseshit might actually go over.

UPDATE. Aw Jeez, Joe Barton:



(My homeboy! Well, Texas ain't all Willie Nelson and chicken fried bacon.)

Astonishingly, this is the GOP talking point on the issue. At first I was surprised their schtick wasn't to investigate the corrupt deal between Obama and BP -- but then I realized that would require them to say something bad about an oil company. Not fucking likely. So they have to apologize to BP on behalf of the real America (i.e., lobbyists and nuts).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS AT McARDLE KIDS. Courtney Knapp says hey, what's the deal with tipping? She's not talking about the traditional libertarian practice of undertipping or stiffing waiters as a way of showing one's displeasure with the election of Obama, but about one of those thought-experiments that make libertarians such a drag at parties ("No seriously, if she were poor, would you have still married your wife? I rest my case! Hey, why did you bring me my coat? It's still early!").

As you might expect, the commenters love talking about this, not because it advances any knowledge (though it does confirm my suspicion that very, very few McArdle commenters have ever waited tables), but because it allows them to tell the world what and whom they think is and isn't worthy of their rewards ("I would certainly advocate dialing back on the number and types of people you should tip [no, holding a paper cup under a tureen spigot does not earn you my change]").

Next she and the kids will discuss why Cali has plenty of peeled-orange vendors at freeway entrances but Connecticut has none, and whether statist policies are to blame.

Later Julian Sanchez writes something thoughtful and lucid about one of Jay Rosen's "What Is Media Bias" stories. The only bad thing I can say about it is: So what? Maybe some monks will uncover these discussions one day, but at present they're completely drowned out by hollers of MSM LIES! And McArdle's page is about the last place on earth they may expect traction; it's like reading The Consolation of Philosophy to howler monkeys.

Tim Lee talks about interchange rates and the prospect of new regulation of same (unsurprisingly, he's against it), observes that picking a side between merchants and banks is a mug's game. A fair point, though a public that has been serially ass-raped by banks and still ain't shitting right may feel that banks have become a public menace and should be regarded and regulated appropriately.

Lee is not sensitive to this, though; he offers in defense of the banks the fact that his bank gives him 1 percent cash back on purchases and interest free loans. I wonder if he knows that his own failure (so far) to be caught by con men doesn't mean they don't exist.

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!'"