Tuesday, September 21, 2010

ANNALS OF LIBERTARIANISM, CONT. On the Bill Maher show, Jon Hamm (Mad Men) said some stuff:
Actor Jon Hamm said that the "Luo tribesman" statement [made about Obama] was racist. "That's what it's all sort of couched in ... that's the secret agenda." He then added this: "When they say [Obama] is a 'Luo tribesman,' it's all sort of code"...

Hamm finished up the "racism" discussion with a jab at conservatives. He said that the Tea Party keeps ta[l]king about "taking back" America. "Well," he said, "who are 'we' taking it back from?" Hamm then concluded with this remark: "I'm pretty sure ... 'we' as Americans still have America. I don't know who 'we' need to take it back from." The crowd applauded when he was done.
This is just good sense. The whole Gingrich-D'Souza Luo thing is clearly racist, and the TP "taking America back" message is clearly populist piffle by which well-funded Republican pressure groups try to position themselves as the Forgotten Man.

As followers of rightbloggers may have already guessed, this was seized upon by the usual idiots with Gol-Durn-Hollyweird rants like "is there something that happens to you when you become a huge star in Hollywood... that makes you unable to understand that Americans are often partial to limited government" etc.

There is a particularly ripe example out now, entitled "Don Draper Thinks You Might Have a Hidden, Racist Agenda" (even though its author says of the "racist" charge, "the actor never actually says it outright"). It's got all the rightwing culture war crap you've learned to expect from such outlets: The author laments that "actors, musicians, and comedians" have "exceptionally dumb political views" (like the Dixie Chicks, amirite? Shut up and sing!). He "wonders how Mad Men star Jon Hamm would react to Maher asking about the 'violent' nature of Islam." He bets Hamm would be all "reasonable" about that, yet he smears good tea party Americans on Bill Maher by almost-sorta saying they're racist. Etc.

This was published on the blog at Reason, where consumers who have some lingering doubts about going full wingnut can get their talking points in the "libertarian" flavor. In advertising, they call this a niche market.

UPDATE. Commenter Bob asks, "Okay, so how long before there's a full blown Mad Men boycott by people who already weren't watching it?" The hardcore cases are way ahead of you, Bob -- they recognized long ago that even such seemingly innocuous entertainments as Paul Blart: Mall Cop are full of liberal propaganda, and have stopped engaging so-called "pop culture" altogether. Bible Reagan puppet shows for the kids on Sunday will suffice. The rest of the week's for Galt-Goin'!

Monday, September 20, 2010

NATIONAL REVIEW COVERS THE ARTS. After yet another series of complaints about how artists say liberal things to which conservatives are forced to listen (presumably at gunpoint), Jay Nordlinger addresses an objection:
“That man and his wife can’t expect to go to folk concerts and not hear leftist politics from the stage! Come on! That’s like going to a Chinese restaurant and objecting to the sight of rice.” Well, maybe: I don’t know. Are there right-leaning folkies? Performers, I mean? I bet there are. And I bet many are closeted (as right-leaners are in the classical-music world).
What richness this adds to our picture of persecuted rightwing artists -- now joining the novelists, filmmakers and actors cowering in the attic, we have cellists and hammered dulcimerists! I would especially like to meet the folksinger who trudges from coffeehouse to coffeehouse, blaming the poor reception he receives for his renditions of "Where Has Spiro Agnew Gone?" and "Masters of ACORN" on liberal bias, and taking heart in the examples of Bob Roberts and The Goldwaters.

You might also enjoy this Nordlinger reader letter:
I was a very prolific jazz reviewer for years — live performances and recordings — but totally quit when Obama got elected. The constant e-mails, liner notes, and remarks at gigs that trashed Bush and the Right, while extolling the coming of The One, enraged me, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. Why should I spend one minute of my (volunteered) time helping jazzers when they obviously despise what I stand for?
I like to think this is from Nat Hentoff.

Nordlinger's colleague Benjamin Weinthal catches the bug, and tries an artsy angle on Iran:
Where does the musical film Cabaret, which depicts the rise of German fascism, intersect with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appearance at the United Nations this week? “It is clear the future belongs to Iran,” said Ahmadinejad in an AP interview on Sunday, which conjures up the eerie beer garden scene in Cabaret in which a young Nazi stirs up jingoism with the song “Tomorrow Belongs to Me"...

The pressing question at the end of the Cabaret scene was posed by the British actor Michael York, who expressed justifiable disbelief about whether Germany’s aristocracy could exercise control over the Hitler movement.
I'm constantly hearing claims that the future belongs to some damn thing or other -- Microsoft, Linux, Matt Meola, walkable communities, et alia. Previously I thought these were just harmless enthusiasms or marketing gimmicks. Now I know they're Hitler! I expect this will be included in the next edition of Liberal Fascism.

Wait a second -- Hitler once said that "the future belongs to color photography." Gasp! His influence lingers to this day! Set the color saturation to zero, for democracy's sake!
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP about the Christine O'Donnell funsies. It's less of a surprise to me that rightbloggers would do anything to cover for their tea party princess -- we all know what good little soldiers they are -- than it is that the Delaware GOP let her get through. I mean, I don't see how it can be that no one looked at her MTV stuff and thought: Hmm, Jesus freak desperate to get on TV -- 10 to 1 she's spoken some holy-rolling that would make William Jennings Bryan blush.

Anyway, I see some of them like Don Surber are doubling down ("I have news for these liberals, most Americans do have questions about The Won’s true beliefs"), which suggests less real confidence to me than a full-scale retreat into fantasy. I'm not optimistic in general, but you only tout a nag like this when you're desperate to sell your tickets.

I'm also interested to see their big knock on O'Donnell's opponent, Chris Coons, is that he once wrote an article for his school paper called "Chris Coons: The Making of a Bearded Marxist.” "Of course it’s doubtful that Chris Coons’ bearded Marxist paper will get half the scrutiny that O’Donnell’s masturbation video will receive," wrote Right Pundits. "Dems Hope Voters Will Focus on O’Donnell & Not on Chris Coons’ Marxist Past," said Jim Hoft. "O'Donnell's Opponent: A Bearded Marxist," announced TownHall. Etc.

Coons' reference, it turns out, is to friends who joked that Africa, where he had spent a semester, "takes in clean-shaven, clear-thinking Americans and sends back bearded Marxists." (He himself merely became a Democrat.) You don't even have to guess at the context -- it's obvious if you know how to read. But rightblogging doesn't require that skill; in fact, at times it seems like an outright impediment.

UPDATE. The latest refinement of the schtick, as advertised by the Ole Perfesser, seems to be that the judgmental liberals are attacking O'Donnell for actually being a witch, whereas the conservatives are accepting and embracing her for it. This is actually pretty clever, as it may excite evangelicals, who will enjoy both the image of O'Donnell picnicking on Satan's altar (presumably in the traditional state of undress) and the opportunity to embrace her in Christian forgiveness. I suggest they get working on those prayer meetings now, and include full-immersion baptisms at every stop.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

CONSERVATIVES WILL TELL YOU WHO THE REAL BIGOTS ARE, PART 56,298. Ann Althouse compares the dissemination of wacky "Political Incorrect" clips starring Christine O'Donnell to the smearing of a civil rights worker:
It's a good attention-getting ploy by Maher. He's got the video and he's taking clips out of context for the maximum shock/comic effect. It's perfectly okay to do that with video, right? Remember when Andrew Breitbart did something like that to Shirley Sherrod, and all the liberals got all righteous about taking things out of context?
Shirley Sherrod was shown, when context was added, to be making the polar opposite of the point Big Breitbart falsely accused her of making. What context is going to redeem O'Donnell's witchcraft stories? A clip of her saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, these are not actually my thoughts and experiences -- I was reading the cue-cards of a character who's supposed to be a total idiot"?

Better still is this Althouse commenter:
One quibble--no, Breitbart did not do any such thing to Shirley Sherrod. That was liberal spin that successfully changed the subject from the very damaging thing that Breitbart did do, which was expose the hypocrisy and racism of the NAACP.
Reminds me of the general under investigation in Costa-Gavras' Z who, when a reporter asks him if he's being railroaded like Dreyfus, righteously hollers, "Dreyfus was guilty!"

UPDATE. Michelle Malkin helpfully explains:
At 1:03 in the video, one of the panelists on the show criticizes O’Donnell for criticizing Halloween — “Wait a minute, I love this, you’re a witch, you go ‘Halloween is bad,’ I’m not the witch, I mean wait a minute.” She responds by explaining that she opposes witchcraft because she has had first-hand experience with what they do.
So O'Donnell was only saying that silly-sounding stuff to defend her real point -- that Halloween leads to witchcraft. Or vice-versa. Glad we cleared that up!
Bitch: Murkowski Will Run As Write-In.
I await the wingnut's traditional response that Riehl is the real feminist.

Friday, September 17, 2010

THE TEA PARTIES EXPLAINED SO CLEARLY THAT NO NORMAL PERSON WILL WANT TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THEM. Sigh. Young James Poulos is again shaking fists against his corrupt, sex-having elders.

Having previously done his part for the groovy Puritan revolution by denouncing nude yoga, the whorishness of Miley Cyrus, sexual harassment litigation, and softcore pornography, he now explains that the tea parties will succeed because they, like Poulos, are anti-sex:
Indeed, anti-tea-party voices are already congealing around the narrative that the Tea Party is powered by these people -- that a vote for Tea is a vote for Crazy, and that any decent American freak or rube had better throw in with the liberal sex vote in the first case and follow union orders in the second.
There you have it, America: Poulos says you must choose! On the one hand, "The liberal sex vote" (and organized labor!) and on the other, Tea Party blueballs. The choice is clear!  If you ain't done havin' fun, you might pursue young Poulous' extra points:
Only a fool can deny the deep resonances between [Hunter S.] Thompson's Southwestern libertarianism and the Nick-Gillespie-chronicled Tea Party longing to restore America's honor while keeping America weird.
Holy shit: Hunter S. Thompson = the Tea Parties? Try to imagine the Good Doctor going among the living Ralph Steadman drawings that are the Tea People and finding anything in them but bad craziness, or hearing Gillespie's PR on their behalf and taking it seriously. I suppose Poulos has, and expects that with his prodding zombie Thompson would eventually clasp hands with Richard Nixon and join him in a celibate Valhalla. I won't say it's out of the question, but I have to ask: Where, in this day and age, would you get drugs good enough to convince him?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

LET'S DO IT AGAIN. Remember last year's savior of conservatism in New York's 23rd Congressional District, Doug Hoffman? How he was going to upend that RINO Dede Scozzafava by running on the Conservative Party line in a special election, and restore dignity etc? And how conservatives were so sure of victory that they nationalized the election, only to see Hoffman destroy both Scozzafava's and his own chances and elect the Democrat to a seat the Republicans had held since the 3rd Century B.C.?

Well, the regular election is upon us, and guess what:
With 93% of precincts reporting, businessman Matt Doheny has 53% to Hoffman's 47% and the Associated Press has projected Doheny as the winner. Doheney will now face Democratic Rep. Bill Owens, who narrowly defeated Hoffman in last year's special election...

However, Hoffman is still the nominee of the Conservative Party...
If I wasn't very well aware that they didn't work that way, I'd start to think Hoffman is a Democratic mole.
ONE THING YOU GOTTA SAY about Reason's Matt Welch and Steve Chapman -- not for them the hand-wringing of moderate Republicans over the loony new tea party candidates. As libertarians they understand the vital necessity of electing Republicans, no matter how crazy.

Chapman gets extra points (and maybe a nice bonus check from the Koch Brothers) for reminding us yet again that George W. Bush started it all, which is why the tea party movement dates back to 2004, or will as soon as they get that time machine built.

Wouldn't it be nice for Democrats if they could count on that kind of support from Ralph Nader?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

SERVICE ADVISORY. This is just to notify you that I'm still doing the Tumblr thing. Tonight the Times gave me an opportunity to harsh on the Yankees and their douchebag fans, which some of you know is kind of a hobby with me.

That Yankees gear has become popular among crooks does not surprise me: as I observed on the occasion of the Bombers' most recent World Series victory, "as in the old days, the favored leisurewear of the city's mouth-breathers, subways gropers, and bump-and-runners will become a Yankees jersey." I'm not clairvoyant. I just used to live with these people.

UPDATE. Actually, when Kander and Ebb do the song themselves, I kinda dig it.
A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THE TEA PARTY'S LIBERTARIAN, POPULIST IDEALS. Last night's other nut, GOP New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, isn't getting as much coverage as Christine O'Donnell, which is unfair -- he's at least as crazy as she is, as his recent interview with Rick Sanchez at CNN shows:
SANCHEZ: How do you feel -- what is your position on abortion?


SANCHEZ: Should a woman have a right to have an abortion if she's -- if she's been raped?


SANCHEZ: She should not? She should have to have the baby?

PALADINO: And the baby can be adopted, yes.

SANCHEZ: What if it's -- what if it's a case of incest?

PALADINO: The baby can be adopted, yes.
Also, Mr. Limited Government wants to use eminent domain to stop the Burlington Coat Factory mosque. And he made this extraordinary statement:
I'm not -- I'm not a person looking for money. I have no political ambitions whatsoever. I don't seek power.
This is pretty much the polar opposite of the truth -- first, because he's fucking running for Governor. Also, his whole life has been a hunt for money and power -- as Joshua Holland points out, he's what the Buffalo News calls "the state government’s biggest landlord in Western New York, holding half of the 52 leases the state has taken out on offices in Erie and Niagara counties," with yearly rent receipts over $5 million-- swollen by humongous tax breaks he has received from the tyrannical, business-strangling state.

Holland also points out that Paladino uses the same pseudo-revolutionary rhetoric favored by the rest of the Tea Party guys, and specifically mentions the "ruling class" that was a big talking point among rightwingers a short while ago -- even though if anyone in America qualifies as ruling-class, it's Paladino.

Maybe he's not getting the media play because he's expected to lose badly in November. Or maybe he's been kept out of the spotlight because the insanely racist emails he got caught sending around don't make him the best poster boy for the tea people. In any case it's too bad, because the wealthy landlord who portrays himself as a tribune of the people -- whose interests he says he will support against those of the folks who've been making him rich for years -- is as perfect a symbol of the whole bullshit tea party movement as you'll ever see.

He puts me in mind of Tom Golisano, the perennial self-financed gubernatorial candidate who tried to manipulate New York's 2008 elections the old-fashioned way, with massive contributions -- and, when they didn't work out to his liking, backed Pedro Espada's coup in the state senate. He also announced he was leaving the state. Poor Golisano -- absurd as he is, he might have had a chance if he'd only hung in long enough to get with the tea party and let them portray him to the punters as Tom Joad.
THE NEW NORMAL. You'd think that as a connoisseur of right-wing comedy I'd be delighted with last night's GOP primary results. And in a way I am. Christine O'Donnell could be the most fun Republican quote machine since Michele Bachmann. And the racist lunacy of Carl Paladino should make for an entertaining six weeks in New York, especially with sad sack Rick Lazio contending on the Conservative Party line.

However, I'm not just a comedian; I'm also a citizen. And so I have an auspicious and a drooping eye because, along with the promise of lulz, I get an unpleasant feeling of deja vu.

Atrios says that with the ascent of the nutbags, the new Party leadership is Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh. That's true as far as it goes, but leaves out that at least one of these worthies has already held the Chair. National Review was calling Limbaugh "The Leader of the Opposition" back in 1993. They meant that the talk radio phenom was supposed to provide the propaganda fodder for the GOP comeback. (Talk radio, for all you kids out there, filled in the 90s the what's-happening role now filled by the internet.)

Limbaugh riled the troops, and the benefit went to that other revolutionary leader, Newt Gingrich, with his Alvin Toffler and his blessed Contract with America. When Gingrich and his Now People took over the House, there was much mooing over the new era in conservative politics this allegedly presaged.

At Reason Virginia Postrel gushed over the new Philosopher-Speaker. The sheeple resented him, said Postrel, for his "fascination with big ideas," his Progress & Freedom Foundation that "attempted to expand Washington's mind" (i.e., provide yet another make-work project for wingnuts funded by corporations) and other such innovations. Why did they disdain this groovy revolution? Because
it threatens the controllers of convention because it says they, and even Gingrich, aren't especially important. It declares that the most significant people, events, ideas, and innovations are outside Washington, outside government, outside convention. It dares to suggest that society changes first and government (and media) must adapt...
In other words, Rush and Newt were leading the Tea Party of 20 years ago, the New Thing that was going to change politics.

We all saw (and students of human nature foresaw) how that worked out: Gingrich led a pack of con men who fattened their districts and themselves at the expense of their allegedly sacred public trust -- even copping out on the self-imposed term limits that were the big come-on in their Contact with the voters. The whole thing was a fraud top to bottom.

Now we have another New Thing, also said to be revolutionary, also right-wing. Only instead of being driven by the Power of Talk Radio it is driven by the magic of the internet. It's also supposed to be leaderless and "crowd-sourced," as is asserted in the latest guff on the subject, disappointingly written by Jonathan Rauch.

Rauch tells us that the tea party is "a coordinated network, not a hierarchy" -- which he knows because organizers from the Tea Party Patriots ("a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group") told him. (Rauch doesn't even mention Dick Armey's TP front, FreedomWorks, in the article; maybe he promised TPP an exclusive.)

The real oddity, though, is Rauch's refusal to acknowledge that the tea parties are a conservative movement. For the most part, he swallows the organizers' line that "the real point is to change the country's political culture, bending it back toward the self-reliant, liberty-guarding instincts of the Founders' era," and only gets around to mentioning near the end that the tea parties have a "right-wing, or at least libertarian, ideology."

This comports with the tea partiers' own propaganda: Our new futurist patriots now don't even admit they're conservative, even though their platforms are without exception extremely conservative, and they are backed almost exclusively by conservative activists and media outlets.

You can see the strategy here: Just a few years ago, the Republicans self-evidently destroyed the economy, which loosened their grip on the electorate. The smarter conservatives knew their best hope was to portray the Democratic rescue remedy as dangerously alien -- black socialist fascist etc. But to complete the trick, they also had to pretend that they were not who they had been back when America fell out of love with them.

Thus their candidates' advance men tell the world that they are beyond left and right, and stand merely for Freedom, which as Thomas Jefferson knew means no capital gains tax or teaching evolution.

Maybe in future iterations these candidates will refuse to even acknowledge they're actually running for office. They'll ask reporters why they're following them around; do their speaking engagements with their backs to the audience and, when people applaud, look around as if confused; finally, they'll walk into their election-night victory celebrations as if they're surprise parties, and announce, "Well, as long as I'm 'elected,' as everyone keeps telling me, I guess I'll do away with Social Security and Roe v. Wade."

But here we are onto science fiction: It won't be proper satire for another year or two. And by then it will be too late.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A CHILDLIKE FAITH. Apparently orders for new, improved Obama insults have gone out to the talkshops of the right. In the blog mills, where they churn out the rough stuff, they call the President insane. In the journalism plants, where they water the stuff down a bit for mass consumption, they promote softer-sounding diagnoses of Obama's alleged dysfunction, such as Dinesh D'Souza's and Newt Gingrich's contention that Obama is playing out the anti-colonialism of the father he barely knew, Dorothy Rabinowitz's that Obama is an "alien," etc.

In the fudge factory known as National Review, Kathryn J. Lopez churns out the pablum version. It begins with the sort of belly-flop that first made her NR bosses say, "Make her an editor if it'll just keep her from writing":
If Carly Simon were a conservative, she might be writing “You’re so vain, you probably think this White House is beneath you,” to accompany the next big tea-party rally.
Thereafter she tells us that everything Obama has done has been a failure and all the Democrats hate him for it. Example:
He made a lot of Democrats fall on their swords for a health-care plan that could conceivably be dismantled before it’s even remotely fully implemented.
Similarly, he keeps showing up at work and signing bills even though God could strike him dead at any moment.

Stop there, K-Lo, someone should have told her -- it's not too late to be merely rather than spectacularly incoherent. But no, she had to come up with philosophi-mological explanations like the former Speaker and all the other cool kids did. Here's her first:
Some of what Barack Obama does can be attributed to a fondness for socialism.
Well, here at least she's using understatement, because all conservatives know Obama isn't just fond of socialism, he likes to kiss and hug it. Maybe Jonah Goldberg saw this over her shoulder and laughed, thus fatally encouraging her, and after she brushed the Cheeto crumbs from her jacket K-Lo wrote this:
The answer for all the analysts may be just a bad old-fashioned vainglory, one that the man just can’t keep in check. Thus the snippy Slurpee comments, about Republicans standing on the sidelines (drinking them). Besides the issues of truth — House GOP leader John Boehner has been making concrete bipartisan proposals, so he can’t legitimately be attacked for standing on the sidelines — more Americans today could probably relate to 7-Eleven than to Martha’s Vineyard.
Obama's snotty comments (making them) about Slurpees (disdaining them) shows reg'lar Americans he'd rather be in Foofytown drinking fancy drinks (umbrellas in them) than chowing down on an Arby's Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich by a dirty overpass and telling Mooslims to go to hell.

In addition to his godless attacks on sugared slush, Obama proves his hubris by acting as if his Presidential victory means something -- "It’s as if he won American Idol fair and square and he’s going to do with the win what he will, make of his title what he will." Whereas K-Lo knows he only won it because he's pretty and has a nice voice, not like George W. Bush, who earned his victory on Jeopardy! after long nights of hard study.

In short, Lopez' entry is less like the baroque conspiracy theories now fashionable, and more like the first injured wingnut peeps heard after it sunk in that the hated blackamoor had won: That he's snobby and he isn't all that. It's a time trip back to when they were all snarling about "The One" and the Obama Dear Leader Song, and dreaming about how he'll get his comeuppance after the Prom.

Well, I'll say this for it -- it has the advantage of simplicity. If I am sometimes moved to pity for K-Lo because even he own colleagues look down on her, I can also see a benefit to being so incurious and Jesus-addled -- she doesn't need fancy theology to know that her redeemer (John Boehner) liveth.

Monday, September 13, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about rightbloggers' 9/11 observances. The emphasis this year seemed to be on how Muslims, when they are not erecting Victory Mosques, are trying to kill us all. Don't worry, non-Muslim Americans who didn't spend the weekend watching footage of people jumping out of the World Trade Center also came in for abuse. But the main culprit was "Islam" -- by which they perhaps meant all Muslims except the ones they knew personally and Muhammed Ali, though they didn't say so. Maybe by this point they're so accustomed to using coded language, they think everyone understands it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

HONKY CHATEAU. No idea why, but #racialdraft -- a reference to a great bit from the Chapelle Show -- is trending on Twitter. And it's bringing some nice gags, of the sort made by people who are comfortable with one another:
Naceesha #racialdraft whitney houston fer amy winehouse < #cokeheads

coachdorian #racialdraft Churchs for Chickfila<< those Moormen's damn near have a chicken monopoly

AyoShaNielle #RacialDraft, we'd gladly give up 50 Tyson for a klondike bar.

E_zDoesit #RacialDraft Black people just traded the head of BET for Lindsey Lohan's dad & a shot of Hennessy
I'm loving it, but I ask you: Don't tell our conservative friends. 'Cause all we need to spoil the joke for everyone is for the How-Come-They-Can-Say-Nigger-And-We-Can't types like Ann Althouse to start telling us who the real racists are -- or even worse, trying to joke along. (Try to imagine, say, Rich Lowry [pictured] going, "Yes, heh, the black community trades in Barack Obama and Al Sharpton for a real leader like Sarah Palin, and the punchline is democracy! Do you people of color not see the irony?")
WILL 9/11 NEVER END? Even here (clap clap clap clap) deep in the heart of Texas:
Texas Engineering Extension Services Urban Search and Rescue employees Joe Easterling (left) and Matthew Winn unload a beam of the World Trade Center Friday at Kyle Field. The beam will be positioned in the Zone before the Texas A&M football game against Louisiana Tech at 6:05 p.m. Saturday.
Well, the Aggies won, so I guess God still blesses America.

How weird, to be down here for 9/11 instead of back home telling the rubes to lay off. But then, who's a rube anymore? I understand the folks back home have caught a touch of stupid since I left. I may have to go back and regulate.

Oh well, happy waning moments of 9/11. Now, on to 9/12. Look, people, as driven as I am to talk sense to you by my catecholamine surges and the Voice of God, there may come a time when I'm forced to decide that it's just not worth the bother.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

THE BARREL HAS NO BOTTOM, PART 9/11. Oh Jesus. Newt Gingrich (via National Review, condensed by Soup:
What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? That is the most accurate, predicative model for his behavior. This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president.

I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating — none of which was true. In the Alinksy tradition, he was being the person he needed to be in order to achieve the position he needed to achieve. He was authentically dishonest.

[Obama] is in the great tradition of Edison, Ford, the Wright Brothers, Bill Gates — he saw his opportunity and he took it. The American people may take it back, in which case I may or may not be the recipient of that, but I have zero doubt that the American people will take it back. Unlike Ford, the Wright Brothers, et cetera, this guy’s invention did not work.

I think Obama gets up every morning with a worldview that is fundamentally wrong about reality. If you look at the continuous denial of reality, there has got to be a point where someone stands up and says that this is just factually insane.
There are two possible explanations:

1.) Gingrich was drunk, or on some drug.

2.) Gingrich is very well aware that he is widely despised by the extremists who have taken over the GOP, and has been waiting for the right moment to redeem himself in their eyes by saying a bunch of crazy shit about Obama of the sort that they say every day. He knows they're stupid enough to go for it, particularly if he sticks in a signifier like "Alinsky," to which these nuts respond like Cleveland audiences respond to a rock star yelling "Cleveland."

Maybe both of these explanations are right; though I doubt his gorge rises easily, even a hardened player like Gingrich may not be completely at ease with with the Gathering of the Juggalos that is the current GOP, and his use of "factually insane" may indicate that he was, with the aid of spirituous beverages or weed, reaching for whatever concert metaphor he could remember that might be appropriate to such a crowd, and finally settled on Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Membrane."

(Also, his "I may or may not be the recipient of that" suggests that he had to be high.)

Unquestionably Gingrich has upped the ante for all the squares at the top. Now Mitt Romney must appear at some state fair on a makeshift stage, holding two cylinders, one marked FASCISM and one marked COMMUNISM, and ram them suddenly together, whereupon in a puff of smoke an effigy of Obama will appear and be set upon by local yahoos bearing sticks who will break him open to get at the candy and prizes inside. (It'll be much easier for Tom Tancredo, who will just have to tell his crew that Obama is a goldurn Messican.)

UPDATE. Commenters remind me that Gingrich was riffing off an impenetrably awful article by incomprehensibly employed Dinesh D'Souza, who blames Obama's social-ma-listic policies on the old Ooga Booga ("Luo tribesman" and all that). "It's really a great innovation in birtherism," says one Guest; "we can't claim the son of a bitch is Kenyan anymore . . . so we'll just say the dead father he never knew is actually running the country. It's so much crazier than birtherism I'm proud of D'Souza for having that kind of imagination." Well, I wouldn't go so far as to call it "imagination," though since de Quincey at least there has been argument as to whether hallucinations qualify.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

WORST AMONG EQUALS. That Koran-burning guy seems to be pissing everybody off. Sane people of course have always found such provocations absurd. (If you are the sort to bring up Piss Christ as if it relates, I can only say that explaining the difference between art and propaganda is something your high-school English teachers should have done for you, but if you'll send me $200 I'll send you a study guide.)

But as you may have heard, even the rightwing nuts are not completely on board with it. Even the Sarah Palin Word Factory squeezed out some toleration talk for the occasion -- then, perhaps noticing that a lot of the commenters were mad because the SPWF was being nice to Mooslims, added this:
Update: Book burning is bad. But the Muslim cleric who is running for parliament in Afghanistan is calling for the murder of American children in response to scorched Korans, which is worse. Where is the media's focus?
The many fans of the Sarah Palin Word Factory can be distracted from anything -- Mooslim-hate, sexual climax, even the latest episode of "Wipeout" -- by the red flag that is the Lame Stream Media.

Most other conservative vendors are just as transparently insincere in their denunciation of Pastor Jones' stunt. Allahpundit is so confused by his own twisting logic trail that among the evil media he claims are trying to "buttress their pre-midterm 'Islamophobia' narrative" with the burning he includes... Fox News.

Many of these folks denounce the coverage itself as some sort of liberal plot -- never mind that it does the liberal cause no good; that just means it's a plot that didn't work! "Some crackpot dreamed up a stunt that the liberal media loved, and now they don't know how to get off the tiger," says Tom Maguire. NewsBusters even asked, "Did Media Negligently Create Koran Burning Controversy?" and wondered why said media would follow such a transparent put-up job, an "unknown Pastor - with a following smaller than what's normally in line at an In-n-Out restaurant drive-thru..."

To which I can only: I dunno. Why did the media follow the every garbled word of a highly unsuccessful Vice-Presidential candidate and resigned Governor who, were she not so heavily promoted by them, would have been laughed off the public stage, and help build her into the head of Goober Nation? (Especially considering that an actual former VPOTUS, who served both of his terms without resigning and then won most of the votes in a Presidential election, was treated by the same media as a buffoon?) Why did the media treat a handful of bumper stickers and T-shirt logos, and one billboard, as a groundswell of support for former President Bush, and an even smaller number of actual "Obama Joker" signs as evidence of an populist uprising? Why does the media promote rightwing non-entities with no record of accomplishment, and rightwing bloggers of no discernible talents, in the New York Times?

So how would the media know not to pay attention to the Koran-burning clown? He's every bit as deserving of the public's attention as most of our bigtime conservatives.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

IT DOES DISTURB ME, BUT I RISE ABOVE IT -- I'M A PROFESSIONAL! The New York Times shows what an evil liberal propaganda machine it is by doing a feature on a heretofore unheralded rightwing documentarian, Ray Griggs. I can't fault the reporter too much, especially as his account includes this deathless example of the Hollywood conservative persecution complex:
Mr. Griggs suspects that a politically motivated makeup artist even tried to sabotage the movie by giving him a distinctly unflattering look.
The brethren agree that Griggs is persecuted ("As in the 'Dark Days of McCarthy', anyone even slightly right of center in Tinsel Town," etc). Maybe a spread in Vanity Fair will appease them!

What makes these people such godawful whiners?

TALKIN' 'BOUT THE YOUNG STYLE. I've lost touch with that nice young man James Poulos, so I went to see what he was up to with his snazzy new Ricochet thing. Answer: Complaining that gay marriage leads to polygamy. The proof: "TLC's new polygamy-loving show" Sister Wives.

You know, he's got a point. Have you ever seen Wife Swap? You've got a lot to answer for, Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich!

Bonus points for the commenter who makes a case for arranged marriages and, when he gets high-fived for it, says, "Honestly, I'm surprised anyone agrees with me."

Elsewhere Poulos divines the real meaning of the "The Suitcase" episode of Mad Men:
In today's corporate world -- a world dominated by the emo-bureaucracy of Human Resources departments -- the relationship that Don and Peggy have forged would be repulsive, cruel, unprofessional, and impossible. Nothing about that intimate relationship, which the show has patiently shown since the outset to be deeply natural, could be officially recognized or even comprehended by the HR culture that has done its best to conquer corporate life. For HR officialdom, the human resources Don and Peggy found in one another -- and, I think, in themselves -- must not exist in the workplace.
Poulos is very accomplished for his age, but I wonder if he's ever had an actual job where he has to go to an office and be around people. Does he not know that salaried employees often work overtime, as Peggy did, because they feel they have to if they want to get ahead, and there's not a lot Human Resources can do about it?

And trust me, son: Co-workers go to bars together, yell at each other, and even snuggle on the couch (at the very least) to this day. What they don't do so much is get away with actually harassing co-workers, like so. For instance, if Harry told Danny "You're such a Jew" in the modern world, and they didn't have the kind of relationship where those things can slide, Harry might get in trouble for it. Yes, that's the horrible emo-bureacracy in which we're trapped -- a guy can't even be anti-Semitic anymore! No wonder America no longer makes great Glo-Coat commercials.

The difference is consent, a concept with which conservatives traditionally have some difficulty.

(I liked the episode okay, but I'm not overfond of Draper's new tendency to blubber.)
THE TRUE BELIEVERS. Libertarians are still fighting the Battle of Rand Paul. Over at Reason, Damon W. Root waves an article by Forbes' Richard Epstein, telling us that Jim Crow was too the fault of Big Gummint, as racism could not possibly exist in a truly free market. Epstein reads in a new book that even as late as the early 20th Century black folk had to be smuggled into the North from the South, and asserts:
Why the clandestine activities? Answer: because helping African-Americans leave the Old South was an illegal activity under state law.
No citation given -- which is weird, because this is big news to me. For one thing, how could any state prevent blacks from leaving "the Old South"? Would they let them relocate from Mississippi to Louisiana, but not to Missouri, or to parts of the South that were insufficiently Old?

Maybe Epstein is saving the explanation for a follow-up. Or maybe he means that many Southern African-Americans couldn't leave home because they owed their souls to the company store, via the widespread debt peonage system that kept many blacks shackled post-slavery -- in which case, no wonder he didn't explain it better. (Though maybe Nick Gillespie would have proposed that the poor sharecroppers could have been liberated by the opening of a Starbucks in their neighborhood.)

Maybe I'm so mistrustful of Epstein because of the way he also suggests that blacks may have been discouraged from moving by the machinations of local utility companies. This theory also exempts the free market from any racist activities, Epstein says, because "in 1915, all services were monopolistically supplied," so "the politics of exclusion thus dominates the economics of open competition." Again, no citations nor evidence of any kind are offered, but Epstein just knows that "it is likely that the full history of Jim Crow will show that control of public utilities fostered racial and economic discrimination in the Old South." This fellow I've never met sure asks me to take a lot on faith!

You really want to tell them, get over it -- Rand Paul finally decided to just pretend he didn't believe this horseshit, why can't you? No one will ever call you on it except liberals, and no one cares what they think. But they can't let it go -- they're obsessed. In their labs they diligently reconstruct the history of the civil rights movement as libertarian fanfic, so that future generations will know that segregation, lynching, and second-class citizenship were finally defeated by deregulation and the Austrian School, despite the meddling interference of Martin Luther King and other statists.

UPDATE. In comments, Fats Durston explains Epstein's confusion: "It wasn't a true Scotsm--er, market!"

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."