Tuesday, September 07, 2010

CONSERVATIVES CRY: GENERAL BETRAY-US! General Petraeus, generally thought by conservatives to have superhuman powers and be buddies with Jesus, has disappointed his fans by suggesting that the planned burning of Korans by American nuts may be bad for our troops and the war effort over in Arabia; heart and minds and all that. To witless:
Shut the Fuck Up Pussypants Petraeus!... If we want to help our troops, we need to remove Obama and Petraeus from the battlefield and let our troops do their job—eliminate the enemy—the ragheads. Not fucking coddle and community organize them...

General Petraeus treasonous to freedom... Let it be known that in the name of freedom others may burn the Bible, build mosques on our sore spots but they cannot stomp on our freedoms... To imagine that we should give up freedoms in order to help an Islamic nation is beyond absurd. It is treason to the cause of freedom...
Etc. If you remember the "General Betray-us" ad, and the general rightwing hollering that only treasonous lie-berals would dare sully the reputation of America's warrior-prince, this is pretty goddamn funny.

A subtler kind of humor may be had from the agonies of the more bigtime rightbloggers, who are forced by Petraeus' attention to the subject to wrestle with their traditional logical fallacies. Power Line's John Hinderaker argues that because Petraeus is "probably the most respected person in the federal government" -- certainly compared to that Kenyan pretender who "leads" us! -- his comments might lead other General-worshipping Americans to believe that Koran-burning "would be regarded as giving aid and comfort to the enemy," and that would be awful. Hinderaker pretends that his concern is related to the First Amendment, but surely the numbskulls who read him know that only Liberal Fascists are capable of thus endangering the Constitution. (It doesn't help when, in his distress, he whips out one of the usual rightwing 1A talking points -- "the First Amendment only prohibits the establishment of a religion by government" -- leaving the rubes to wonder if he means that Petraeus has gone Mooslim.)

Clearly the real source of Hinderaker's disturbance is that someone he thought was on his team is throwing cold water on the Islamophobic hoopla Hinderaker and his comrades have been whooping up over the Almost Ground Zero Mosque. How can get they keep getting traction out of that when their own honkey heroes are putting on the kibosh?

In fact, at the end Hinderaker finds himself face to face with this dilemma, and not only blinks but squeezes his eyes shut, plugs his ears and goes la la la:
Finally, an interesting question: how is this controversy similar to, and different from, that over the Ground Zero Mosque? Both involve actions that private citizens have a right to take, but arguably shouldn't. It is a worthwhile comparison, but that is a post for another day.
I think the day Hinderaker actually explains why the mosque-builders' can-but-shouldn't calls for screaming outrage, and the Koran-burners' can-but-shouldn't calls for silence, is a long, long way off.

UPDATE. It's even worse for Uncle Jimbo of Blackfive, who also suddenly caught the tolerance bug.
In the same way that Mr. Bridge Builder has the right to build at Ground Zero these clowns have the right to burn Korans. They just shouldn't. Neither one of them. But the bottom line is we should recognize and uphold the right to the most offensive kinds of speech.
So when the yahoos were bellowing at that mosque, was Jimbo saying, no, let's recognize and uphold the Muslims' right to be offensive?
Just left the Ground Zero Mosque rally and it kicked ass. Several thousand patriots not about to stand idly by while a trophy to a terrorist act is built on sacred ground.
Also, he apparently thinks Live Bait is a "dive bar."

Monday, September 06, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP for Labor Day. Title says it all: "On Labor Day, Rightbloggers Denounce Labor Day, Unions, Minimum Wage, Etc."

No outtakes -- as with the hot dogs many of you will eat at today's picnics, everything went in but the squeal. No, wait -- it was mostly squeal. Or skree, as we say.

Try not to let the collapse of everything we hold dear spoil your day off. I myself will be on the job. This here's a right-to-work state.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

ANNALS OF LIBERTARIANISM, CONT. Libertarian Nick Gillespie, who saw wonderful signs and portents in the Beck event last weekend ("[it's] about restoring a lost sense of America. The people here are somewhat inarticulate on what was lost, but they know they want to gain something back"), comes back for more. "While I think Beck is often massively confused in terms of basic facts," he tells us, "he is channeling a very strong tradition in American with regards to religion and the public square." As I said previously, that combo's gotta work out well.

To be fair, Gillespie isn't completely certain that the TeaBeckers (whom he also observed had a "huge amount of free-floating anxiety about everything" and "were pissed off that their individual actions did not seem to mean much," another winning combination) will be attracted to his free minds 'n' free markets philosophy. But just in case they come a-knockin', he's getting his populist cred in order.
The crowd reminded me of Wal-Mart (not being snarky!). I live part-time in small-town Ohio where the local Wal-Mart Super Center is a major third space.
I'll just let you savor that bit before we get to Gillespie's notes on his proletarian part-time neighbors' third space. Now, look out Tocqueville!
Over the past few years and contrary to its image as wholesome, the chain has gone serously goth. Check out the T-shirts you can buy there and virtually every other one has skulls and crosses on it. And if something doesn't have stylized chains and blood on it, then it's in Day-Glo colors. The crowd reflected that, with more piercings than I've seen at some rock shows, ZZ Top beards galore, a biker look on many men and women. A noticeable number of the crowd were even wearing inexpensive Faded Glory (Wal-Mart's housebrand) American flag T-shirts. Any number of commentators may have been appalled by the crowd, but check it and see: This is America.
Also, did you know that many of the rustics have taken up the radical couture of Ed Hardy? That's a sure sign freedom is in the house!

This country is going to shit, but at least it promises to be a fun ride.

UPDATE. In comments, yournamehere: "Next Gillespie will tell us of the right wing revival promised by the Gathering of the Juggalos."

Saturday, September 04, 2010

SHORTER JONAH GOLDBERG. Barack Obama's socialism becomes clear as soon as you accept that liberalism is socialism. Also fascism! Fart.

[Goldberg gets extra fart points for asserting that liberals exhibit "a loud and growing antagonism to democracy per se," and offers in evidence... Thomas Friedman, whom we are told "speaks for many." Goldberg also asserts that during the health care debate, liberals "rallied around the notion that the American political system 'sucks,'" and offers in evidence... nothing. As we never tire of saying, this article is the stupidest thing ever written, and will remain so until Goldberg writes something else.]

Friday, September 03, 2010

HAPPY LABOR DAY: REMEMBERING THE TRIANGLE SHIRTWAIST SUICIDE BOMBERS. Everyone celebrates Labor Day in his or her own way. Michelle Malkin's is to memorialize "the union movement's violent and corrupt foundations." But the only example she offers is a guy shot dead during a miners' strike* 17 years ago, which incident has lately become the conservatives' go-to citation when they talk about unions.

I am surprised Malkin and her colleagues didn't also highlight some of the other sordid incidents in labor history:

• The The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911, in which Bolshevik operatives suicide-bombed first responders with their own bodies by hurling them out of the upper stories of a useful business owned by wealth producers Max Blanck and Isaac Harris. Some of the operatives set themselves on fire before attacking in an attempt to mask their intentions. Blanck's and Harris' worker-incentive program of blocking fire exits was blamed for the operatives' deaths by the liberal media, as the Bolsheviks had planned.

The Pullman Strike of 1894, another stunning PR victory for the forces of collectivism, in which Marxist railroad workers complained that their wages had been cut during a recession, a violation of the law of supply and demand which the Federal Government answered with troops, against whose bullets the Marxists viciously threw their bodies.

The Bisbee Deportation of 1917, an early attempt by Arizona patriots to deal with illegal immigration which liberals, naturally, smeared as unconstitutional.

Why not? It's not as if their readers wouldn't believe them.

* Miners are also known for getting stuck in holes and dying in a deliberate attempt to drum up support for Big Government, whose resources are wasted in getting them out. Comes the day of the Randian superlegislators, miners will not get such handouts, and will be required to pull themselves out of their so-called "cave-ins" (reminiscent of the "love-ins" of the 1960s) by their own bootstraps.

UPDATE. In comments, montag gets in the spirit, helpfully calls our attention to "the propaganda exercise still referred to as the 'Ford Hunger March.'"

As often happens, commenters find people for whom our satirical perspective is their perpetual hallucinatory state -- i.e., libertarians. AJB tips us to one Rex Curry, who literally opens, "The Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire of 1911 is often misused as a example of the need for safety codes and child labor laws."

More mainstream is R. Porrofatto's discovery, Jeffrey A. Tucker of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, whose advice to unemployed youths to "Work for Free" doesn't seem entirely insane -- sure, if you and your family can afford it, intern and build your resume -- until you realize Tucker is simply an ass-licker who reflexively sides with the boss on everything, as seen in this poignant passage:
The first case comes from a job I had in my teens. I was standing around with a few other employees in a clothing shop. The boss walked by and said to my coworker: "Please straighten these ties on this table." My coworker waited until the boss walked away, and then he muttered under his breath: "I'm not doing that for minimum wage."

That comment seared right through me, and I thought about it a very long time. The worker was effectively asking for money up front before working, even though he was employed to do things like straighten ties. This was even worse than insubordination.
The Ole Perfesser should do his next book about such people, and call it "An Army of Niedermeyers." I mean, forget technocrats and elitists, do we really want to be ruled by dorks?
Whether or not Operation Iraqi Freedom was a blunder, only time will tell—as even some strong critics of the war, such as former Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean, concede. But it is not too early to say that Americans are not the villains in this story. That role belongs to the dictator who drove so many of his subjects to welcome a foreign invasion, and to the extremists who unleashed carnage on their own.
Wait'll Ron Paul hears about this!

Nowadays libertarian's just a word to use when you want to say "conservative" but need an extra syllable.
OUR FEEBLE EFFORT AGAINST PROFESSIONAL LIARS. As Moscow Gold is not what the rightbloggers would have you believe it is, I must work for my daily bread, and have not all day to deal with the bullshit dished out by high-volume lie-vendors like Glenn Beck's new internet catastrophe, The Blaze.

Nonetheless I will try to handle one of their recent ass-effusions, "KEY OBAMA ALLY WORKS WITH SOCIALISTS FOR GLOBAL TAX."

The overview: AFL-CIO Prez Richard Trumka (helluva guy, saw him at Netroots) is portrayed by Beck as not only a friend of Obama, but also "a friend and close ally with European Socialists."

Keep in mind: Most of us, if we met and liked any Europeans, would wind up being friends with "European Socialists" because they're all socialists, at least by the wingnut definition. Never mind that, though.

Trumka speaks in favor of a tax on speculative financial transactions -- you know, the kind that bankrupted America. This tax is also favored by many other democracies around the world. That's what makes it "socialist" to the Beck people.

The tax Trumka mentioned is described at the "Wealth for the Common Good" site as a 0.25 percent tax "on stock trades and 0.02 on trades of future contracts, swaps and credit default swaps (options would also be taxed at the underlying rate governing the security on which the option is written)," which "would dampen the incentive of short-term speculators, thereby protecting long-term investors." Does that sound bad to you? Or even especially socialistic?

But in keeping with Beck's grotesque misrepresentation, when Trumka suggests democracies "regulate speculative funds such as hedge funds and private equity funds, create a financial speculation tax, or a financial transaction tax, or a Robin Hood Tax, however you wish to refer to it" -- this is how Beck's people show that:

SKREE ROBIN HOOD! Must be a Scandinavian Commie!

Oh, and the activist whose Hitleresque friendship Beck kept using to damn Trumka? He's Poul Nyrup Rasmussen -- the former Prime Minister of Denmark. I know, you thought he was Karl Marx reincarnated.

These dirtbags lie so much, and in so many venues, that I couldn't possibly keep up. But I figured at least I'd nail one before I went to bed. Light a single candle, and all. G'night.

UPDATE. Oops, sorry, Batocchio, you mean like this:

UPDATE 2. Jennifer, in comments: "Funny - they love all other types of transaction taxes -- sales taxes on poor people's food, VAT taxes, etc. -- because by their definition they are the only 'fair' taxes since they shift the burden of taxation to those lowest on the ladder."

Thursday, September 02, 2010

THE BARREL HAS NO BOTTOM, PART 699,020. When I heard there was yet another oil-related disaster in the Gulf (platform, fire), I wondered if rightbloggers would go there. Now reader teh mantis has alerted me and I know: Yes, they would and they have, on jet skis.

Melissa "The Chiropractor" Clouthier:
...I have a theory about the unfolding explosion on another Gulf Oil Rig today. It has to be an environmental wacko. I mean, they've been getting out of hand recently. And as the James Lee guy demonstrates, these people do tend to be given to violence.
Shannon Love of Chicago Boyz:
We went 31 years without a major oil spill in the Gulf prior to Deepwater Horizon. Now we have a second explosion so soon. Meanwhile, some Greenpeace “direct action” types are attacking an oil rig off Greenland.


There’s no evidence of any human agency in either explosion. Still when you look at the utter frothing hysteria directed against drilling and the oil industry in general, it’s pretty easy to imagine a group deciding that a little violence now will save a lot of lives later.
Left Coast Rebel:
What do you think? How long do you think that it may take for the investigation behind this to prove that it is a case of eco-terrorism? Perhaps one of the 13 workers that were saved may provide insight into the cause of the Vermillion 380 oil rig. Does James Jay Lee have a friend that works on oil rigs?
Making this extra adorable, LCR later complains about liberals rushing to judgement on the Vermillion Bay fire ("Can you believe the communist nutroots?").

Anything's possible, I suppose. But think about it: When they heard about a second oil disaster in the Gulf, their immediate thought was: I bet liberals blew it up.

Or maybe it wasn't their immediate thought -- maybe they first considered several options, and then went with this. Which is even worse.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

QUICKIE. Republican consultant Josh Trevino at the HuffPo: "Why the President's Partisans Talk Down Islam," about the grave offenses committed by Democrats against Muslims (that is, when they're not helping the Muslims build their Victory Mosque right on top of Ground Zero).

We could go through the whole tendentious thing, but this line captures both its spirit and tone so perfectly that we don't need to:
As it happens, the President does share many goals with Muslims who believe in shari'a and its expansion, and it's not a slander upon him to say it.
If only they were all this easy.
LIVE BLOG, APPLE MEETING. What the hell, I have a few minutes.

10:01 PT: Jobs looks skinny but by now I just assume it's the yoga. Does he always sound so Eddie Haskellish? I thought his voice was deeper. Maybe I was mixing him up with Larry David.

They're opening a second store in Paris. "A beautiful old building that we restored." But it's their new store in China -- "a 40-foot-high glass cylinder" -- that gets the applause. The Apple Corps understand unity! Also, new store in Covent Garden. Their 300th store.

10:05: More about stores. Lots of people in stores. Lots of lessons taught. Nothing about how much they buy.

10:06: 120 million iOS devices shipped! (iTouch, iPad etc.) 130,000 new activations a day! 6.5 billion apps!

iOS 4.1! Bugs fixed. "All the bugs that we get mails on." HD video over wifi, TV show rentals, Game Center.

Also "High Dynamic Range Photos" standard. What? Tap a button and it "takes 3 photos in rapid succession," with a range of exposure calculated by "some pretty sophisticated algorithms."

Basically, it's an equalization feature.

10:10: Game Center lets you play with friends and "if you don't have any friends they can match you up with some." Laughs from the room full of former and present geeks.

Oh no, gamer stuff ("Project Sword!")! I'm going to just fade away here awhile...

10:15: They played a game and everyone went "woo."

Back to iOS 4.1: Wireless printing. AirTunes becomes AirPlay because it's not just music anymore. Jobs puts Pandora on, and is now multi-tasking -- an exciting new concept for mobile! -- by looking at the Web. Coming in November.

iPods will be the "entree." First more boasting: 275 million sold. It's digital McDonald's!

"Every year we try to improve iPods and this year, we've gone wild."

A new design for every model. Like the Shuffle: "People missed the buttons." So they have some. Plus it's tiny, see? And provides 15 hours of music.

iiPod Nano HAS MULTITOUCH! IT HAS MULTITOUCH EVERYBODY! And it too is very tiny. And has 24 hour battery life. Starts at $149.

10:30: Jobs is talking about how the touch screen turns upside down if you want it to. "Photos look pretty good on it as well." Especially when projected many times over their real size.

Apparently they're doing something similar with the Touch. "Some people call in an iPhone without a phone. It's also an iPhone without a contract." Well, that's a plus. And Touch is not only their most popular mobile, it's also the biggest game player in the world.

The new one is: "More thin," hence "more beautiful." Also the "retina display" and front-facing camera/FaceTime that were the big come-ons for iPhone 4G. And 4 hours of music playback. And now iPhones and Touch communicate with one another. Starts at $229 -- next week. Vrroom!

10:30: New ads. iPod ads emphasize wearability due to size, clip. Touch ads tout gaming, FaceTime.

Oh, and iTunes 10. They've "ditched the CD" from the logo, because no one uses those anymore. Just notes in a circle now. Also, Discovery: "How do you find out about new stuff?" Something better than email? Solution: "Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes." They call it Ping -- "a social network built right into music." Click the Ping button, you see friends, stars, posts, etc. You sign up to follow people and find out what they're listening to, what concerts they're going to. "All the information on the people we follow will be delivered right to us." You can also set up a "Circle of Friends" option whereby you get to exclude the losers from following you. You can look at an artist's photos, post comments on them, etc. Great for kids and bloggers!

Oh God, a personal video message from Lady Gaga to her "beautiful monsters." She sounds weak and stoned. No applause.

In a way it's weird. It seems like a walled garden version of... the whole internet. On the other hand, the interface lets you listen to other iTunes users' music -- which is a previously missing piece that could be big.

10:50: Wait a minute -- Apple TV? Those few people who use it want on-demand -- "Hollywood TV and movies." And HD. And lower prices. "They don't want a computer on their TVs. They have computers." They don't like syncing. They don't like noisy mechanisms. Hard for computer people to understand, says Jobs -- but "easy for consumers to understand."

Solution: AppleTV 2nd Gen. And it, too, is mini. ("I can hold it in my hand.") Basically it's like TiVo only smaller, and it has WiFi and streaming. There are no longer any purchases -- you rent your shows -- and thus, no storage issues. But even if you rent the same content several times, Jobs claims, it's still cheaper than buying.

You rent from iTunes. First run rental movies, $4.99. (And you can see the Tomatometer!) TV shows, 99 cents. (ABC and FOX are the partners, and they think the other producers will "see the light" soon.) And you can stream off your computer. And get Netflix. Jobs keeps saying "simple," which they must have perceived was the problem with AppleTV. (And "tiny little box," because that's today's theme.) UPDATE: $99!

And... that was an hour. I promised myself I'd stop then. In sum: Everything is smaller and touch-ier, and that's it -- except that, thanks to Ping, you can listen to other people's iTunes from home, which -- since iTunes is so cheap -- will probably lead to a buttload of new iTunes sales.

UPDATE. Gwyneth Paltrow's husband performs. I take it all back: Apple sucks.

UPDATE 2: Sorry, I just had to replay these two comments from the Endgadget thread on Ping: "Apple just created a social network which is only available to Apple customers. Thank fuck for that." "Yes thank fuck indeed. I like to think of it as more of a douchebag hipster quarantine."

UPDATE 3: Thanks, comrades, for spelling tips. I haven't done this liveblog thing since I was blogging regular at the Voice. So much multitasking! No wonder I have a twitch.
LET'S SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE AND JUST SAY I'M RIGHT. At Pajamas Media, someone called Zombie slicks down his hair, puts on a nice smile, and tries to act reasonable about the Texas schoolbook debacle. Some of us were tipped off by the first part of what Zombie has promised will be a five-part (!) essay. There, Zombie said:
But what you won’t find is anyone willing to say that BOTH sides are unacceptable. (Until now, that is. I’m saying it.)
Wait -- if one side is Jesus freaks who don't go for no separation-of-church-and-state nor ee-volution nohow, and who got the school board to change Texas schoolbooks to reflect those and other prejudices, then the other side would be the side championing actual U.S. history and science, right? No, only Zombie in all the wide world supports that. The other side he characterizes thus:
However grotesque Texas’ twisting of facts may seem at first glance, it’s positively mild compared to what’s going on coast-to-coast in the rest of the country’s classrooms. That’s because the Texas curriculum wars are not happening in a vacuum — they’re happening in response to a complete perversion of the American educational system that has taken place right under our noses over recent decades.
In case you don't get what he's talking about, he includes a helpful cartoon of Obama and Karl Marx trying to wrest control of a schoolkid from Texas and Jesus. No, I'm not kidding.

In Part 2 -- excuse me, "Part II" -- Zombie admits that the Christers have some "ideological baggage," but the ObamaMarxists have some too: for example, they don't approve the newly-inserted praise for that great American Joe McCarthy. "Perhaps McCarthy’s tactics haven’t been vindicated," explains Zombie, "but his claims have." Similarly, the witch-hunters of old Salem may have overstepped, and like the McCarthyites punished many innocent people, but they knew Satan was real and fought against him, and that's the important thing.

Finally even the patience of Zombie of the Five (I Mean V) Parts is exhausted, and he goes for the money shot:
Since I hate each side’s main course, I have to look to see what else they have on their trays...

It all comes down to a matter of intent. WHY does each side mutilate the truth? To what end?

In the case of the left, the ultimate goal is to overthrow the United States as we know it.

In the case of the right, the ultimate goal is to preserve and strengthen the United States.

What choice do I have, therefore, but to support the conservative side as the lesser of two evils?
The tribute vice pays to virtue and all that, but I don't like it when they pretend to be reasonable, especially when their message boils down rather efficiently to OBAMA MUSLIM PERVERT OUR KIDZ SKREE. It takes too long to get to the crazy, and who's got that kind of time?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BUGS. The Ole Perfesser hears about the resurgence of bedbugs, and blames Obama:
"...The reasonable course, Dr. Goddard said, is to recognize that we are, in effect, back in the 1920s ‘Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite’ era. People should be aware, but not panicky.”

They told me if I voted for John McCain, America would be taken back to the 1920s. And they were right!
He also quotes a reader:
What a horribly defeatist article. The “future is grim” and we are “back in the ’20’s ” with no proffered solutions? Parsing the lines, apparently there are some pesticides that work, but we are not told what they are. I guess we are supposed to not ask questions and suffer through this plague. This is a perfect metaphor for the Obama age.
These guys suffer badly from Susan Smith Syndrome.

Public service department: The Perfesser has in the past declared DDT is a cure for bedbugs ("Bringing back DDT would solve this problem"); here he lets a quote from the Times about DDT hang without comment. Confusion on this issue is sometimes found on political sites where commenters try to spread the word that Rachel Carson, in addition to being a mass murderer, condemned us all to life with bedbugs.

So let's hand it off to the folks at New York vs. Bed Bugs (h/t reader Hob), who know what they're talking about:
In a March 2008 Bedbugger interview, Texas A & M research scientist James W. Austin noted the continued resistance to DDT (emphasis added):
While screening multiple populations of bed bugs against various insecticides we have found virtually all populations were 100% resistant to DDT. This is not a surprise given that the first observances of DDT resistance were noted almost 50 years ago. It is a little surprising that they continue to be so completely resistant to DDT.
It's not just about global warming denialism -- conservatives treat science like they treat everything else: As an occasion to work on their lying skills.

Monday, August 30, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP about Beckapalooza. The distinguishing features of the rightblogger coverage, I found, were 1.) a conviction that this allegedly apolitical demo proved America was on their side (and no one was really buying the apolitical angle, as press coverage showed; it was universally acknowledged as a ploy, which made the rigor with which the fake neutrality was observed especially fascinating); and, 2.) an unshakeable awareness that, despite their best efforts, no one is buying Beck as the new MLK and teabaggery as the new civil rights movement, which irritates them no end, and reanimates their rage over the many unfair advantages enjoyed by black people in this country, even dead ones.

I did watch Beck's speech and I have to say, America's taste in demagogues has deteriorated. He comports himself like an overgrown child, all appetite, talking about dark days and civil wars and other bleak subjects but bouncing around like he just shotgunned a packet of Kool-Aid and now hopes to talk the crowd into giving him cake. That anyone would follow him to Washington in August says more about the parlous state of the nation than anything in his incoherent speech.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

SHORTER RICK MORAN: Some say Glenn Beck is no Martin Luther King. But I have here Zombie MLK, and he tells me he hates affirmative action and Jesse Jackson. No, no quotes -- you'll just have to take my word for it.

[In fairness, MLK did advocate a guaranteed income, and I'm sure many of today's Restoring Honor attendees are on some form of government psych disability.]

UPDATE. I must commend in comments Kia Penso's peroration on Beck himself, whom she classes "a huckster, a person who gets the hell out of town before his customers wake up and discover that the hair restorer doesn't work. It's not even that what he peddles is shit to sane people, it's shit to his people too. But Beck's audience can't even recognize that, they think shit is what they are supposed to get..."

Friday, August 27, 2010

WHEN THEY SAY "NON-DEMAGOGIC," HOLD ONTO YOUR WALLET. At National Review, Avik Roy tries to explain in "A Non-Demagogic Disquisition on Death Panels" how conservatives are perfectly right to worry about this non-existent phenomenon because the Brits kill grannies and conservatives just know that American liberals will start killing grannies the second the money runs low. Let the healing begin!

Not adding to the versimilitude: Roy throws in as a supporting example the end-of-life counseling document "Your Life, Your Choices" used by the Veterans Administration for years before Obama walked in the door. Roy thinks this example shows that the state can't handle such delicate matters without trying to get veterans to kill themselves.

But as I found when I examined the controversy last year, the document in question is nothing like what Roy (and his source, a Bush Administration official who tried to get the VA to use his own document in its place) portray it as; also, that the controversy over "Your Life, Your Choices" was ginned up by rightwing shouters and fist-shakers who have never been anywhere near a "Non-Demagogic Disquisition" in their lives -- including Roy's colleagues Jonah Goldberg and Andy McCarthy. From McCarthy's ravings:
This Orwellian “Your Life, Your Choices” questionnaire, in the familiar “push poll” manner, methodically steers the patient toward the notion that he is a malingering near-vegetable causing a “severe emotional burden” for his family. I don’t know what the correct, non-hysterical term for such a process is, but “Grim Government Reaper” strikes me as more accurate than “Your Life, Your Choices"...

In essence, Democrats want to repeal individual liberty...
It's pretty rich to try and pull a fast one like that in the middle of an allegedly "non-demogogic disquisition."
I AM THE ONE, ORGASMATRON. I just want to recommend "The Ultimate Escape: The Bizarre Libertarian Plan of Uploading Brains into Robots to Escape Society" by Sadlynaut Brad Reed at AlterNet. It's an update on that whole transhumanist scheme Ole Perfesser Glenn Reynolds and other libertarians are into, whereby they hope to upload their brains into robots and live forever, free from the interference of looters and littlebrains.

One choice bit, involving Bryan Caplan (best known to us as one of the intellectuals who think women were more free in the 1890s than they are now, because of the socialism):
"Yes, I wish to clone myself and raise the baby as my son,” he confessed earlier this year. “I want to experience the sublime bond I'm sure we'd share. I'm confident that he'd be delighted, too, because I would love to be raised by me.”
If you've ever noticed that libertarians don't seem to care about people who do not very, very closely resemble themselves, this may explain a lot.

A useful concordance from my back catalogue: Reynolds' Universal Robots.

UPDATE. In comments Jay B explores the sitcom potential in Caplan's clone child: "Me 2: Millionaire narcissist Joseph Marriott (Macaulay Culkin), a self-help guru, realizes his dream of cloning and raising himself using his own 'living strategies'..."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN. In the National Catholic Register, Kathryn Jean Lopez bids us attend the Passion of Mel Gibson.
But somewhere, in the ravenous appetite for news about the private lives of public people, there is something unhealthy going on. Media laptops and tweets and “E! True Hollywood Story” strategy sessions are a chisel to the lives of human beings, who by nature or surgery are beautiful; their lives now lie in pieces for us all to watch and discuss.
If Joe and Jane Schmo get into a domestic violence beef, they are spared this horrible chiseling. Of course, they don't have the millions of dollars either, so there's a trade-off.

It's full of gems, but this is my favorite:
Mel Gibson, presenting that fruit of labor and prayer [The Passion of the Christ], was more of a feminist than any activist in Washington devoting her energy to the destruction of innocent human lives.
Well, when you put it that way...

UPDATE. Satch, in comments: "Jeez, K-Lo, Mel Gibson's rant was a month and a half ago, and you're just getting to it now? He probably doesn't even remember it."
THE SQUARES DON'T GET ME. Ann Althouse thinks I missed her point:
Did Edroso even understand my point? I deliberately write in an elliptical style sometimes. You have to think a minute to get it, and I don't think Edroso did. The writing may look simple, but there is a challenge in that simplicity that you'd better be sure you see and meet before you decide you've done the easy reading and are now in a fine position to call me stupid.
731 words, folks. Seven hundred and thirty-one words. Not counting the title.

She eventually gets to her secondary target, and makes this generous admission:
I don't think [Savan] wanted to deal in higher level philosophy about individual freedom and autonomy (which is the subject that I went on to talk about, quoting James Madison).
Considering Savan was talking about some nut talking about Obama's Muslim seed, yeah, maybe she wasn't heading for the rarified air of higher level philosophy.
So, Roy, imagine that an editor at The Nation had responded to Savan's draft with these direct questions:
You can go look. Her prescriptions sound very little like what any editor would write in the margin of any copy, and rather like what someone might write across a blue book if he or she really had it in for the student who submitted it.

I'm starting to think they gave Althouse tenure just to shut her up.
THEY'LL BELIEVE ANYTHING. It appears John Derbyshire got punked:
An e-mail correspondent (Orthodox Christian) sent me the four pictures below, with this message:
This is an accurate picture of every Friday afternoon in several locations throughout New York City where there are mosques with a large number of Muslims that cannot fit into the mosque. They fill the surrounding streets, facing east for a couple of hours between about 2 & 4 pm.
...I have no idea if my correspondent is correctly relating the facts behind these pictures... I move around New York City a fair amount, and haven’t seen such things; but then I’m rarely there on a Friday. Can anyone shed light?

If this kind of obstruction of roads and sidewalks is really going on in Nurse Bloomberg’s city — where a restaurateur can get a four-digit fine for placing a chair on the sidewalk without the proper permit — it’s a disgrace. But give me the facts, someone, please.
I thought something was fishy when I saw one of the pray-ins was filling up Madison Avenue. I've been away from New York for five months, but I knew things couldn't have changed that much.

Turns out the photos are from the once-a-year Muslim Day Parade -- 2009 edition. (Adding to the jest, the photos come from Muslim hater Pam Geller.) They do not represent a weekly event, as Derbyshire's emailer portrayed it.

Of course, if you really want to believe the Mooslims are taking over, why bother to open Google and possibly lose your hate-on?

UPDATE. Derbyshire catches on: "Apparently the city enjoys a Muslim Day Parade," he sniffs (God God! First the Irish, now this!) -- but he leaves the original post as is. Expect your grandma to email you the link in a couple of months, or years.

UPDATE 2. Derb denounces this special parade for Mohammedans -- "To the best of my knowledge... the only one currently dedicated to celebration of a religious, as opposed to national, heritage" -- and is informed that New York has many such parades. (He does have the good grace, I must say, to observe, "today must be Show Up Derb’s Ignorance Day.")

But then he asks:
So can we get the Orange Parade re-started?
Why rely on the bloated socialist State to sanction you, Derb? You and a couple of yer mates should just get a permit and march through Woodside singing "The Sash My Father Wore." I can name a few bars for you to visit along the way where you will undoubtedly receive a bracing reception.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WHAT THEY DO WITH THEIR BRAINS INSTEAD OF THINKING. At The Nation's blog, Leslie Savan mocks the eminently mockable Franklin Graham ravings on Obama's Muslim "seed," and points out that "Regardless of what the Muslim world may or may not believe, this whole seed fixation is profoundly un-American."

Ann Althouse's response:
Is the author of this piece — Leslie Savan —paying enough attention the the way she is expressing contempt for Muslim beliefs? I didn't know you could do that in The Nation.
Tee hee. Because libs are so cowardly they cannot dispute Muslim articles of faith. Which Savan proves by just having done so.

The Old Perfesser hehndeeds, and soon all the cool kids will be laughing about the silly liberal who must be pissing herself with fear because she inadvertently offended her Muslim masters.

You can follow the rest of Althouse's dribblings ("Another point. Graham didn't 'claim that Obama is a Muslim.' So ironically, it's false to say that he did... And I'm wondering who did say Obama's a Muslim?") if you want to really, really feel profound gratitude that you were never stuck in one of this woman's classes.
LIBERTARIANS IS THE CRAZIEST PEOPLE. Where else but Reason would you read this:
Khan does not show, incidentally, that the Republicans have lost the Muslim vote for good. It's not as though the Democratic Party has been making Muslims welcome.
Written in the midst of a Republican-led nationwide Klan rally against the New York mosque, this is beyond rich. But the author, Jesse Walker, hasn't ignored the issue entirely:
More recently, Republicans may have taken the lead in condemning Cordoba House, but relatively few elected Democrats have risen to defend the project.
They hardly need to -- the Liberal Media, as some like to call them, have done an excellent job of carrying the GOP message that only liberal Democrats think those wretched Muslim-Americans, who would re-bomb Ground Zero given a close enough coat factory, have the same rights as everyone else.

If you still wonder why libertarians exist, this will help show why: Because someone's got to make the ridiculous arguments that even Andy McCarthy is too embarrassed to sign his name to.

UPDATE. Walker contends fairly in comments. You will be unsurprised to learn that I still disagree with him!

UPDATE 2. I really have to thank commenter commie atheist for pointing to this TPM list of Democratic Senators and Representatives who have spoken in support of the mosqueteers. Really, the idea that there's no meaningful difference between the two parties on this issue just doesn't make any sense.
THIS IS THE SADDEST STORY I HAVE EVER HEARD. On a late, lonely election night, starting here (click image for larger), scrolling down:

I don't know about you, but it's the "It's 1 A.M... What are you reading?" that made me want to grab Kathryn Jean Lopez by the shoulders and cry, "You're pretty J.Lo! You're pretty!"

I know all us horrible liberals are supposed to be mean to K-Lo, but I don't think we could ever be as mean to her as her own horrible colleagues are.

UPDATE. Aaaggh, no more shall I gaze: "This Is the best excuse to work from home," gleeps Lopez, linking to a story about that giant Chinese traffic jam. Translation: A bad thing that has happened on the other side of the world just confirms one's belief -- which one developed hiding in the closet while Daddy rampaged through the townhouse playing 3-D Whac-a-Mole -- that one must remain protectively snuggled with one's old Cabbage Patch Dolls and cardboard cutouts of the Buckleys if one wants to survive.

Monday, August 23, 2010

BENEATH THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL, PART 429,467. I know nothing she does should surprise me anymore, but this Pam Geller "exclusive" repeating some comments by the New York mosque's Feisal Abdul Rauf is tendentious beyond belief.

For example, she quotes Rauf on the "genesis of conflict": "If gender is not what distinguishes us we'll look at skin colouring and say: niggers or whities, or whatever, and we create an ethnic conflict..." Here's how Geller interprets it:
Reverend Al Sharpton was unavailable for comment. Too busy endorsing the Islamic supremacist mosque. Rest assured, the tolerant Imam Rauf will not suffer as Dr. Laura did (and she was making a "word" point, Rauf is using it.)
It just goes on like that. Rauf says that when he saw in Fahrenheit 911 an Iraqi woman whose home and family had been destroyed by Coalition bombers, he understood how jihadi terrorists could be recruited, while adding, "it is true that it does not justify the acts of bombing innocent civilians, that does not solve the problem..." Geller's takeaway:
And the Imam is conspiracy theorist - 911 was an inside job:
Even if you're not interested in this conflict, but merely know how to read, you have to be appalled. It actually made me want to believe that she's cynical enough to have thus misread Rauf's statements on purpose, because if she really thinks they mean what she says they mean, I'd be forced to pity her.

UPDATE. If you feel you haven't lost enough respect for humanity yet, go over to the Hit & Run post about Ron Paul's mosque statement, scroll down to the comments and check out the libertarians arguing that liberals are keeping the mosque issue alive as a political ploy. No, serious. Bonus: Cameos by Jim Treacher!
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the Obama-is-a-Muslim dumbassery. Among the outtakes: Chuck Norris, who does the heavy contextual analysis of a 2004 Obama interview his career in action movies prepared him for:
To the question do you pray often, Obama replied: "Uh, yeah, I guess I do."

"Guess"? Not sure?

When asked if he has read the Bible, Obama responded: "Absolutely. [But] These days I don't have much time for reading or reflection, period. … I'll be honest with you, I used to all the time, in a fairly disciplined way. But during the course of this campaign, I don't."

"I don't"?

In answering reporter Falsani's question, "Is there an example of a role model who combines everything you said you want do in your life, and your faith?" Obama's first response was, "I think Gandhi is a great example of a profoundly spiritual man."

Gandhi? A Hindu? How about Jesus, since Obama claims to be a "committed Christian"?
Clearly this Obama is no Christian, because he doesn't thump his Bible hard enough, as such Christian paragons as Newt Gingrich might on their way to their mistresses' houses. You know, for a long time I just accepted that bullshit artists did well in this country without analyzing it too much, but now I'm beginning to think that bullshit is really what this country's all about.

UPDATE. Ugh, Tammy Bruce:
There’s only one group of people who were mass murdered on 911 and that was Americans, not Muslims.
The most repulsive thing about this is, she probably knows about the Muslim victims of the attacks, and thinks she's doing them a favor by saying they weren't Muslims.

UPDATE 2. Oh, this is great -- from the National Review coverage of yesterday's anti-mosque demo:
The participants’ views on Islam varied. Some seemed to believe that no moderate version of Islam exists.
This is rather like saying, "The participants’ views on Judaism varied. Some seemed to believe that Jews were devoted to the destruction of Christendom. Others thought they just drank Christian babies' blood." (An example of their "seeming" hard line on Islam: "In the Muslim world, a moderate believes that you can take down America without violence.")

UPDATE 3. Have you read my column yet? It's pretty good.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A friend poses the following: Imagine that there really were these fundamentalist Christian terror cells all over the United States, as the Department of Homeland Security imagines. Let’s say a group of five of these terrorists hijacked a plane, flew it to Mecca, and plowed it into the Kaaba.

Now let’s say a group of well-meaning, well-funded Christians...
I have to say I'm disappointed. After a week or two of ratcheting up the anti-mosque arguments to previously unseen levels of crazy, it appears they're getting fatigued, and are just taking the usual, ridiculous Oh-yeah-well-the Ayrabs-wouldn't-let-US-build-a-CHURCH "thought experiments" and making them more complicated.

Next time around they'll probably get to, "Let's say there's a planet that's all Muslim and another planet that's all Christian and the Muslim planet bombs one of the Christian planet's moons. No, two of its moons, because it's like New York, New York, and that should totally be worth two moons. And then Han Solo crashes the Millennium Falcon into one of the Muslim planet's moons..."

It's either La Mexicana, per this sign, or Las Mexicanas, per all the others. $1.50 each; two will do for most people. Also has Mexican Coke and Pepsi, and agua fresca, which they ladle out of a big jar.

I can't show you the tacos because I ate them before I could get my camera out.

Las Mexicanas also advertises local events, like this show at what is advertised at the website as El Grahams. I am interested to see this band, because I am into cable, too, and want to see how they convey this through Norteño. (I kid. In-toe-ka-bley are pretty good.)

If you're in Houston, then this place will do fine, though you will pay those upscale Houston prices ($1.60-$3).

Friday, August 20, 2010

NO DEPTH TOO LOW. Byron York says people think Obama is a Muslim not because of crackpot mass emails and other strenuous efforts by bottom-tier conservative propagandists, but because other members of his family are Muslim, which Obama has admitted, which means he's hiding something and people can just tell.
Pew asked respondents how they learned about Obama’s religion. Most who believe Obama is a Muslim say they learned it through the media. But 11 percent say they learned it through Obama’s “own words and behavior.” Perhaps they read the White House press pool reports, which often describe Obama heading out to play basketball or golf on Sunday mornings.
See, a real Christian male would never skip church to play b-ball. Maybe to watch it, but not to play it.

This bullshit will of course eventually wind up in crackpot mass emails and other strenuous efforts by bottom-tier conservative propagandists.

Just because York dresses and coifs himself like a character from The Paper Chase doesn't mean he's any better than the grubbiest rock-throwing Juggalo.
NEW ARTICLE UP AT ALTERNET, titled "10 Shameless Right-Wing Tributes to Ayn Rand That Should Make Any Sane Person Blush" -- which some may find mildly misleading, as not all the Rand rants I picked are attributable to traditional conservatives. Paul Ryan (R - Pluto) is one thing, but the men's-mag nut who wants a girl like Dagny Taggart -- as opposed to the sort of "whore or drunken slut" he is accustomed to find in "today's filthy dumpster of what we call the dating world" -- is another.

Or is he? In real life, Randroidism appears to be a reliable indicator that the libertarian you met at a party is not the good, do-your-drugs-I-don't-care type, but the FDA-denies-us-Laetrile-we-are-slaves-must-resist type who will eventually wind up at the Republican Convention waving a WHERES THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE sign. All "liberaltarian" bullshit aside, these people consistently prove again and again and again that they're basically conservatives minus the elementary social skills.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

NO CLEMENSY. Totally with Scott Lemieux here:
My official reaction to the indictment of Roger Clemens is that I don’t like perjury charges that are an outgrowth from “OMG baseball players use different kinds of PEDs than the good, clean ballplayers of my youth did” witch hunts. On the other hand, something bad has happened to Roger Clemens, so you can see my dilemma here.
The steroid witch-hunt is bullshit, but even the faint prospect of Clemens washing shirts in a prison laundry proves it's an ill wind that blows no one some good. Clemens is one of a select handful of people-and-I-use-the-term-loosely for whom my liberal heart does not bleed.

Oh, who am I kidding? If they do send him away, I'll chip in to get him an ACLU lawyer. With any luck, he'll reject it on principle!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

THE PEOPLE OF THE ABYSMAL. The explosions of stupid on the Right are too numerous these days to address in their entirety, but this one by Ilya Somin bears noting: Author Jack London (d. 1916) saying racist things = "racist elements of Progressive ideology."

After a long list of caveats through which his readers probably plugged their ears and hummed, Somin adds that this stop-the-presses info "undercut[s] claims that racism is primarily a product of the 'right' and that economic leftism and racial progress necessarily go together." So if the brethren were feeling squeamish about the recent conservative pile on black people, they can relax -- here's a long-dead lefty who didn't like Asians.

And this is as far as Somin's willing to go on the difference between art and propaganda:
Despite London’s reprehensible racism and socialism, I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to admire his novels on literary grounds.
Not necessarily! But we'll see what The Committee thinks before making a final judgement.

Christ, I need a drink.
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL. After he and his comrades did their level best to turn the discussion of the New York City mosque into a national Klan rally, Jonah Goldberg says
But there’s one point that I haven’t seen made that I think is really worth reminding people of. Simply: This is an incredibly tolerant country and, it has shown remarkable tolerance since 9/11. There has been no “anti-Muslim” backlash.
His defense is that Bush was nice to Muslims: "The supposedly 'crusading' and bloodthirsty President Bush could barely finish a sentence without saying 'Islam means peace.'" This would be more meaningful, of course, if any conservative had said anything remotely like that in the past week. Also:
The supposedly anti-Muslim 70 percent of Americans who don’t like the idea of building the Cordoba House near Ground Zero mostly also believe the owners have the right to do it if they can’t be persuaded otherwise.
Amazing that Goldberg knows this, as the CNN poll cited by his own magazine didn't ask if the builders had a right to build it.

I know he's allergic, but Goldberg might get a sense of the vox populi by looking at commenters who have come to yell at the Voice:
So you can rag on all the apes in flyover country all you want - we don't come to NY and find strippers, fags, and commies and stone them to death.

They do and will there in NY at the rate you people are appeasing them. If I thought for a minute you could keep them there - I wouldn't really be bothered to say or do anything... but they spread like rats.
Come to think of it, this cowboy puts the case about as well as their other writers -- maybe they should hire him.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

OBLIVIOUS. Politico ran a surprisingly sarcastic -- dare one say, even satirical -- post called "Obama, the one-term president." After an intro echoing the usual bullshit about Obama's mishandling of the mosque situation ("I am not saying Obama is not smart... I am just saying he does not understand what savvy first-term presidents need to understand..."), Roger "Not the Insane One" Simon's article goes on to say that Obama was, like Lincoln and Eisenhower before him, a fool to put principle before popular prejudice:
You can go back to the mid-1800s and find a lot of legislators saying that Abraham Lincoln should stop lecturing people about ending slavery and listen to them about keeping it.

And there were plenty of lawmakers who said President Dwight D. Eisenhower was “disconnected from the mainstream of America” when he ordered the 101st Airborne Division to go down to Little Rock, Ark., to make sure some black kids could go to school with white kids.

Both decisions may have been “off-message,” which is about the worst sin you can commit in Washington.

...what’s the point of doing the right thing if your party is going to lose seats because of it?

Maybe Obama is disconnected. After all, as a former professor of constitutional law, he actually knows what the Constitution says.

His opponents have no such fetters. They know what they want the Constitution to say: yes to guns, no to gay marriage and never to mosques close to hallowed ground, though churches and synagogues are OK.

What’s so wrong with that? I’ll bet they poll great.
Ole Perfesser Instapundit linked to it. Guess what he thinks/wants his yahoo readers to think it's about?
UPDATE: Reader Troy Lovell writes: “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I have been wondering for quite a while about that. The only evidence for Obama being smart is that everybody says so. But don’t smart people usually reveal themselves by knowing lots of stuff or making smart decisions?..."

It’s the Peter Principle on steroids, I think.
He's not the only one. Scared Monkeys even goes so far as to quote part of the punchline ("when it comes to doing what is right versus doing what is expedient, you do what is expedient so that you can get reelected and do what is right in the second term"), and his takeaway is still "Is Barack Obama a one term President? That is the questions asked and answered at the Politico … the answer is YES!"

Dave Weigel says, "Sometimes, it becomes clear that people are linking to what you write without actually reading it." While it's possible that these people don't read what they're yelling about, I think it's more likely that they're purposefully misrepresenting it. Oafs feeding the fires of bigotry don't scruple over the fuel.

Monday, August 16, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the New York mosque nonsense. I largely confined myself to big-time bloggers as subjects, which actually made the whole thing more depressing. The small fry are sometimes capable of interesting, if deranged, turns of phrase or trains of thought, which adds some zany charm to the whole business; the major leaguers, on the other hand, are just reliably prosaic and tendentious volume dealers in bigotry and bullshit.

Which doesn't mean you shouldn't click over and read it, of course. There's some jokes! And pictures!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

BUGHOUSE. In the name of glibertarianism, The Ole Perfesser is peddling his DDT bullshit again:
RATS ON THE WEST SIDE, BEDBUGS UPTOWN: “TVNewser has learned the human resources department of TBS Inc. has sent out an email this afternoon alerting staffers of a bed bug problem in their New York City offices at Time Warner Center — home to CNN, CNNMoney.com and other Time Warner entities.” Bringing back DDT would solve this problem. . . .
Forgive the repeat...
DDT proponents are generally reluctant to acknowledge the complicating and protean factor of mosquito resistance. Entomologist May Berenbaum finds this galling. An expert on insecticide metabolism, Berenbaum is director of the entomology department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Read the entomological literature of the 1950s," she said in a telephone interview. "Way before Silent Spring, scientists were already trying to understand resistance. That's what insecticide toxicology was all about back then. Resistance to DDT was first detected in Italy, in houseflies, in 1947!"...

After Berenbaum published the article, she said, she was barraged by e-mails demanding that she support her claims. "To get them off my back, I finally culled a list of peer-reviewed articles documenting resistance to DDT and other pesticides in pockets all over Africa. This is not my life's work. I spent 10 minutes--10 minutes--and I found 15 articles. What would I have found if I'd spent an hour?"
...but it's important that everyone get this: These people don't know what the fuck they're talking about, and they want you to follow them into the abyss.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

HOW BULLSHIT WORKS, PART 335,392.Doop de doo*, just checking the internet for Arcade Fire reviews and... hello?
American Socialists Release Names of 70 Congressional Democrats in Their Ranks
Posted by Jim Hoft on Friday, August 13, 2010, 4:16 PM

The Socialist Party of America announced in their October 2009 newsletter that...
(October 2009? How'd they keep it quiet all this time?)
...that 70 Congressional democrats currently belong to their caucus.
This admission was recently posted on Scribd.com:
American Socialist Voter–
Q: How many members of the U.S. Congress are also members of the DSA?
A: Seventy

Q: How many of the DSA members sit on the Judiciary Committee?
A: Eleven: John Conyers [Chairman of the Judiciary Committee], Tammy Baldwin, Jerrold Nadler, Luis Gutierrez, Melvin Watt, Maxine Waters, Hank Johnson, Steve Cohen, Barbara Lee...
Etc., skree, etc. Story spreads among other vendors of rock-solid information, including American Thinker, which marvels at "the astonishing number of Democratic House members who not only belong to the Socialist Party of America, but even more incredible, don't mind if people find out about it." There they are, boldly appearing as names on something someone else wrote! It's like they're hiding their socialism in plain sight!

At that other fine news org, Wizbang, commenters add depth to the debate over just how socialist these socialistic socialists are ("the headline 'Socialists in the Democratic Party' is quite redundant"). Then comes the skunk at the picnic:
Whoever the "Democratic Socialists of America" are, this is basically the exact same list as the Progressive Caucus. Which I'm sure you don't like - but which is no more socialist than the GOP is fascist.


So, in short, I think you've been had. In fact, I'll bet money on it.
But they know how to handle spoilsports like that:
Judging by this post and many others you have made recently, you must have been instructed to go into high gear as the election nears. Your posts are all aimed at defending the indefensible and your sputtering attempts to undermine your opponents are becoming laughable.

Do you really think that such trite manipulations are enough for this crowd?

Back to the drawing board tiny troll. Perhaps there's still time to think of something more effective...
At the 2012 Republican Convention, long after this has faded from the memories of sane people, you will find delegates and perhaps even a speaker yelling about Democrats who are also Socialist Party members. Regular media will assume it's just a bit of campaign hyperbole which they certainly couldn't take seriously.

* (c)

UPDATE: Aha! Crazy Dave Horowitz breaks it down:
The Progressive Caucus is an organization of Members of Congress founded in 1991 by newly-elected House Representative Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont), who is a self-described socialist.
Do we have to spell it out for you!
Until 1999, the Progressive Caucus website was hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America. After the press reported on this link, the connections suddenly vanished from both organizations’ websites.
1999! That's why they call them sleeper cells, I guess.

UPDATE 2: DSA on their connection with the Progressive Caucus:
Like our friends and allies in the feminist, labor, civil rights, religious, and community organizing movements, many of us have been active in the Democratic Party. We work with those movements to strengthen the party’s left wing, represented by the Congressional Progressive Caucus...

We hope that at some point in the future, in coalition with our allies, an alternative national party will be viable. For now, we will continue to support progressives who have a real chance at winning elections, which usually means left-wing Democrats.
Similarly, I hope to own a Mercedes someday, but till then I am riding a Schwinn Varsity. Which makes my Schwinn Varsity a Mercedes.

UPDATE 3. Talked to the the Democratic Socialists of America's National Director, Frank Llewellyn. Regarding the document to which Gateway Pundit and others are linking, which suggests the DSA named 70 Socialist members of Congress, Llewellyn says, "that's just total fiction... They certainly didn't talk to me."

Llewellyn also denies Horowitz' charge that the Progressive Caucus website was hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America. "DSA posted a list of the Progressive Caucus members as a public service," Llewellyn says, "but it had nothing to do with those people having any connection to us." He said DSA took the list down because occasionally "some hopeless Republican candidate would seize upon the fact that the names were listed [at the DSA site], and issue a press release condemning the candidate as a socialist. We took it down because it was causing them this problem."

But Llewellyn does admit that "I wouldn't know" whether the 70 Reps are members of the Socialist Party, because "we're not the Socialist Party." So keep digging, citizen journalists! The truth is out there!

UPDATE 4. At last, some of the commenters are talking about Arcade Fire!

Friday, August 13, 2010

THE BARREL HAS NO BOTTOM, PART 526,020. Jennifer Rubin of Commentary is fast becoming the worst hack on the internet -- and believe me, that takes some doing. I've been following her work for a while, and while it's always been noxious, of late she's just been cannonballing into bullshit, and at the deep end of the pool.

There was, for example, her commentary on the Palestinian flotilla incident in June, grandly titled "Does Israel Have a Right to Defend Itself?" in which she explained with a straight face, "when the Israeli commandos were set upon as they were lowered from a helicopter, they acted to defend themselves" -- spinning the IDF forces from invaders to innocent victims of unprovoked attack in one sentence. In July, there was her post associating the raving racist Mel Gibson with... Barack Obama.

But her post today reacting to Obama's support for the New York City mosque takes the cake. In this case she doesn't have to reach for unreason, as she and the whole conservative movement have been obviously bughouse on this subject all along. But the ripeness of her raving is something to behold:
Obama has shown his true sentiments now, after weeks of concealing them, on an issue of deep significance not only to the families and loved ones of 3,000 slaughtered Americans but also to the vast majority of his fellow citizens. He has once again revealed himself to be divorced from the values and concerns of his countrymen. He is entirely – and to many Americans, horridly — a creature of the left, with little ability to make moral distinctions. His sympathies for the Muslim World take precedence over those, such as they are, for his fellow citizens. This is nothing short of an abomination.
First, there's the slovenly writing -- Rubin's supposed to be a professional, yet she artlessly vomits out her catchrages (Obama doesn't understand Americans, he's a "creature of the left," he can't make "moral distinctions," etc) without bothering to use minimal skills to concatenate them as even a grade-school polemicist could manage. As we know she's not talentless, we can assume either that she was too shocked and upset by Obama's statement to perform adequately -- which is a long-shot, as her hatred of Obama is demonstrably so intense that she must have been expecting this all along -- or, more likely, that she simply wanted to get plenty of outrage signifiers out there as quickly as possible so that the yahoos might feed on them, and had no interest in building an argument she neither needed nor could manage.

I mean, she's actually saying out loud -- in a magazine that is not, or was not last time I checked, scrawled in crayon on pieces of scrap cardboard -- that Obama prefers the "Muslim World" to the country he serves as President. This is the sort of thing you expect to hear from Tea Party crackpots, or deranged shut-ins burbling ungrammatically on the internet. Now you see it in the "respectable" magazines of the right.

If I were more serious about this gig, I'd try to get a degree in abnormal psychology, fast.
WHY THEY SUCK. I think we've all enjoyed those Bed Intruder videos and remixes. But some of us can't lay off politics even for lulz -- like The Anchoress:
It’s entirely possible that Dodson and his family will be helped out of the projects not by well-meaning but stale and bloated government programs, but by imaginative, energetic, opportunistic art, and a culture that craves people it can like and root for.
For me the worst thing about these people -- and, really, this is the animating principle of this blog -- isn't the policies they push, hideous as those are, but the fact that they reflexively make everything about their politics. The Anchoress, who spends her days portraying Jesus Christ as very like Newt Gingrich, is one of the worst such offenders.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

GAYS CAN'T MARRY, STRAIGHTS CAN'T DIVORCE: CONSERVATIVE UTOPIA! Let's be fair to our anti-gay-marriage, social conservative friends. They don't just want to keep gay people from entering the bonds of matrimony -- they also want to keep straight people from ever getting out of them.

You may not have noticed, but no-fault divorce has become a big deal among this crowd. It appears inspired by New York state's brand-new impending no-fault law. So social cons and their audiences take a break from the monotony of beating on homosexuals, and lament that fewer people are trapped in loveless marriages than in grandpa's day.

At World magazine, Alisa Harris has a heart-rending story:
Two days after Christmas in 1993, Thomas McClintock's wife told him she was leaving him. After five placid years of marriage, he was shocked and willing to do whatever it took to keep her.

"I thought we were a good match," he said. "[Our marriage] wasn't all that great but it wasn't that bad and I thought it was something we could work on."

But days later she left her job, her dog, her house, her country, and her husband. She came back a few months later. They sat down and divided their finances. Then she was gone.
That bitch! Harris rubs Tom's shoulders and whispers there, there:
McClintock, then a resident of Virginia, said he considers himself a "victim" of unilateral no-fault divorce: "What other kind of legal contract can you end like that without any kind of legal consequences?"
I will have my pound of flesh -- closest to your uterus!

Poor Harris has a hard job. She unwisely acknowledges that Bible Belt and anti-gay states actually have higher divorce rates than the other kind. Here's her explanation:
States that have low divorce rates also tend to have low marriage rates. Arkansas, for instance, has the second-highest divorce rate (5.9 per 1,000 people), but it also has more marriages per year: 12.1 marriages per 1,000 people as opposed to Massachusetts' 5.9 marriages per 1,000 people.
Thus red states show their respect for marriage by having lots of them, and then getting divorces. Third time's the charm, Lutie-belle!

Among the remedies Harris' experts suggest: Covenant marriage, the double-secret-probation of wedlock. That should go over huge in New York! But Harris has to admit that covenant marriage's success has been negligible, and retreats into gibberish, implying that no-fault means criminal spouses go scott-free: "If a man beats his wife in the face with a barbell until she's unrecognizable, as one man did," she says, "then society should say this is wrong." Assault charges don't quite do it -- society should force that man to stay married to his abused wife! It'll teach them both a lesson!

There are plenty of others out there ("No-Fault Divorce is Institutionalized Evil"), but all you really need to know is that both Gay Patriot and the Heritage Foundation are against no-fault divorce. When they think it will advance their cause, they pretend they oppose no-fault divorce for the sake of women and children. But I think it's really just a knee-jerk reaction they have when someone escapes.

UPDATE. The good Roger Ailes writes in comments: "If we can force spouses to stay married, we should be able to force single people to get married. 'Do you, "Gay Patriot," take this woman, Kathryn Jean Lopez, to be your lawful wedded wife?'" I smell sitcom!

Also, M. Krebs suggests you "click on the 'Sign the Lame Duck Petition' link on the left and do something horribly nefarious." But I must warn you: 1.) I make money off these ads; it would be harmful to my interests to countenance such tomfoolery; and 2.) I have already used the link to send Congressman Nadler a message of protest under the name Heywood Jablome.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

SHORTER JONAH GOLDBERG: Comparing conservatives to the Taliban is lame and nasty. Comparing liberals to Hitler is brilliant. Why? Because farrrrt. Whoa, he who smelt it dealt it!
THE BARREL HAS NO BOTTOM. Just in case you thought the conservatives screaming about the New York City mosque had reached, or could possibly reach, their apex of lunacy, here's a column from Breitbart's latest vehicle comparing Michael Bloomberg to Nazi collaborator Marshal Petain.

Mencken said no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people. I'm beginning to think counting on the psychosis of the American Right has become equally reliable.

(h/t Daniel Coyle)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

SHORTER GREG GUTFELD: I hate Muslims so much, to get back at them I'll even pretend to like fags.

UPDATE. Comments are cherce. ("That tears it," says Jay B., "I'm going to open a library next to Fox.") But mds is a little behind the curve: "Imagine the whining" among conservatives, says mds, if the alleged bar can't get a cabaret license. "Islamists can build a monument to their conquest of America on an open grave, but we're denied a license by the leftist NYC government. Etc, etc." Sorry, Megan McArdle already got there. It's like they're preempting our satire!

Monday, August 09, 2010

ESSENCE OF PALIN. Sarah Palin, once again defending herself against reporters:
The LSM has now decided to use this brief encounter for another one of their spin operations. They claim I – wait for it – “appear to roll my eyes” when the lady tells me she’s a teacher. Yes, it’s come to this: the media is now trying to turn my eyebrow movements into story lines.
I'm actually sympathetic toward her on this score. But you know what would have really won me over? If she'd compared this attention to her facial expressions with the attention also absurdly paid to the facial expressions of Al Franken by wingnut shit-stirrers.

But that would never happen. Not only because -- to use a phrase traditionally employed by gomers -- it doesn't fit the narrative, but because it would require Palin to show sympathy for someone other than herself.

And I've never seen her do that.

She does defend her kids, but only when she fantasizes that they've been attacked by the media -- which isn't really a sign of interest in their welfare, but of an interest in the exploitive possibilities of one's own family that would have embarrassed Richard "Checkers" Nixon.

In other people's families, she's less interested. When Palin talks about "mama grizzlies," for example, she's clearly not talking about any actual people whose families are under threat -- such as single mothers who, unlike Bristol Palin, find it increasingly difficult to provide for their young. Her videos show lots of women, but we never hear a thing about their lives.

The sort of vulnerable mothers you or I might think of in this context never come up in Palin's mythology. Rather, it's all about winners: Grizzlies observed in their moment of protective rage -- rage being something to which her biggest fans of either gender can relate; mothers who are victorious just because they're angry (assuming that whoever they're mad at isn't holding a big old gun on them).

She doesn't bring up these symbols of motherhood to make her listeners sensitive to motherhood's perils and pains. She does it only to reflect glory upon herself, and her own brave, motherly defense of her clan against David Letterman and The Family Guy.

I still expect Palin to run for President, but her apparently ineducability to her own limitations may be a drawback to her. I think her awful poll numbers have very little to do with her affect as a politician (I actually think she's got a pretty good schtick), or with her politics, though they are perhaps a little more dumbed-down than even ordinary Americans can tolerate, at least so far.

No, the big thing Palin seems not to know or even be capable of noticing, and which ignorance may sink her, is that, except for the densest and most depraved rubes, anyone can tell that she doesn't give a damn about anyone except herself.