Friday, February 19, 2010

What’s Olbermann’s evidence that Tea Parties are overwhelmingly racist? Apparently, that there are no “people of color” at these rallies. That is so blatantly false as to induce uncontrollable laughter.
I'm all about uncontrollable laughter, so I watched his video clip, which offers in evidence no fewer than 21 black people at Tea Party rallies. Total Tea Party attendance, as we have been tirelessly reminded, numbers somewhere around 50 kabillion.

The correct answer to diversity concerns about popular movements is, of course, "so what?" Yet even the explicitly racist British BNP feels compelled to recruit people of color these days. They aren't making right-wingers like they used to, except in one respect: However feeble their effort, they insist on getting top marks for it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

LOW CHURCH. Mike Potemra's opening is a thing of beauty all by itself:
The question has been raised, Was it appropriate for a Catholic TV network to provide a platform for a torture advocate? In my view, the answer is yes.
You can stop there. But I can't! 'Cause this baby has everything. It has the Appeal to Widespread Belief:
Furthermore, if the polls are to be trusted, he speaks not only for the majority of Americans but for the majority of American Catholics.
Mirabile dictu, the cafeteria is now open! Then, the argument, popular in these precincts since Larry Craig's arrest, that hypocrisy in the defense of hypocrisy is no vice:
I think torture is a great evil, and that the resort to it in the past decade is a black spot on America’s record. But I am not in a stone-throwing mood against people like Marc, because I realize that the accusation that someone is not living to up to his or her religious creed is one of the lowest and least helpful arguments imaginable.
I should have just stayed in the Church; Catholicism seems to have gotten very easy. Now they love the sinner and the sin. It's as if Jesus followed up "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" with "Right -- carry on being taken in adultery."

But though the Church is greatly changed, some old habits of mind die hard:
Say it’s 1942, and the Nazis, having conquered England and the U.S. eastern seaboard, have developed an H-bomb and plan to use it against St. Louis to bring the rest of the U.S. into submission. American forces in St. Louis have in custody a Nazi agent with knowledge of the specifics that would enable them to foil the attack and turn the tide of the war. The Nazi agent is being uncooperative. I concede that it would be morally wrong to torture him – but I also admit that I would more than likely sacrifice that principle.
I would bet that Potemra is not unacquainted with the fantasy of criminals forcing him at peril of his family's lives to have sex with Megan Fox.

In the last ditch, Potemra goes for that hoary chestnut, the Argument From a Liberal Was Mean to Me. He describes attending a "meeting at a liberal Catholic parish here in New York" about torture, where he starts comparing it to abortion. This is met with "eye-rolling, dark mutterings, and dirty looks." "I’m not so na├»ve as to have thought there would be no pro-choicers there," says Potemra, "but I think I know now what it feels like to have someone read you out of a moral community, even when you’re acting in good faith."

Actually I should have taken holy orders. When my outraged parishioners inevitably caught me in flagrante, I could have answered that they were all being pretty judgmental for a bunch of sinners who probably cheated on their income tax.

Though I can't be sure that this sort of thing works anywhere but on rightwing websites.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

KILLING JOKE. This post by Jonah Goldberg got me thinking more seriously about his case than usual. He starts out okay:
A bunch of people have sent me this story (via Drudge) revealing that the University of Alabama shooter was a leftwinger. A few, at times contradictory, reactions: First: So what? It's hard to figure out how her political attitudes figure into her motives for murdering these people.
Then, in what appears to be an attempt at logical jiu-jitsu:
But one of the things I take away from this is that there are a lot of crazy people in academia. There's something about the tolerant atmosphere of campus life, plus the way really, really, odd or dysfunctional people can get by, that makes them havens for the maladjusted. Obviously, the vast, vast majority of these oddballs are harmless and decent people. But the few dangerous ones don't stick out as much as they might elsewhere.
Someone protests that he's dissing academics. You might imagine he'd fart his way out of it, as in his dogs-rule posts, but instead he thrashes:
I think the reader is misreading me. I didn't say that all or most academics are crazy, merely that academia tolerates weirdness in ways most other sphere don't (government bureaucracies come close). I've had this conversation with a lot of professional academics, and I've never met one who really disagrees with me. Walk through through the stacks in a college library sometime, some of those carrels are homes to some truly Tolkienesque creatures.
It becomes increasingly obvious that Goldberg was writing a joke post, based on the cultural assumptions of which such things are made (by me too) -- but he didn't know it was a joke. And it strikes me that he probably feels the same way about the silly dogs-vs.-cats stuff, and everything else he writes.

Suddenly I'm beginning to see what Liberal Fascism was really about.

(The Steven Hayward post Goldberg finds "more persuasive" is totally insane, btw.)
IT'S THE LITTLE RED BOOK THAT MAKES EVERYTHING WORK. John Fund's Journal editorial has a promising title -- "Why Bayh Is Quitting the Senate." It quotes Bayh, too -- 48 words' worth. It quotes 64 words by Ronald Reagan. Some of these are from Reagan's version of a John Dryden poem, but Fund also includes a 28-word quote from Larry Kudlow paraphrasing Reagan.

Reagan has sort of become like Confucius to these people -- everything they need to know about anything is in the Analects.

Monday, February 15, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the calls for the impeachment of Captain America after he said some mean things about the tea parties in a freaking comic book. I liked the culture war better when it had sex instead of superheroes.

I noticed along the way that The Falcon's claim that the crowds look awfully white drew counterclaims that there are, too, black people at tea parties. Instapundit always seems to find such African-Americans as there are at these shindigs, and to take their picture for posterity. So far I think he has maybe a couple dozen. Mudville Gazette explains that perhaps black people are scared they'll get beat up by liberals like Kenneth Gladney was and that's why they're not making the scene. With a little better security, I'm sure these events would look more like old Benetton ads. (I think Conservative Blog Watch is on surer ground: "How many black people are in Boise Idaho in the first place?")

Friday, February 12, 2010

SHORTER RIEHL WORLD VIEW: You say a guy who's in an anti-government organization was stockpiling weapons to use against the government? What makes you think it had anything to do with that venerable organization? I'd be looking at his wife, who tipped the police off to him and has filed a restraining order. Bitches will drive you nuts!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

SPIN CITY. It's not my way, you know, to just link something and go "read the whole thing." But I'll make an exception for John Cole on how a speculative, decent bill may become anathema, first on the fringe, then in the what-liberal media, and then for opportunistic purposes by wet Democratic legislators:
Somewhere around this time, Randy Scheuenemann and Meg Stapleton would post a bunch of nonsense on Palin’s facebook page, maybe declaring that Americorps is just like Hitler Youth Corps. This would get picked up by the Weekly Standard’s resident Palin fluffer, Matt Continetti, repeated by the increasingly loathesome Michael Goldfarb, and mainstreamed into CNN by Stephen Hayes in one of his typical fact-free appearances. Bill Kristol would pick up the ball and run with it, and before you know it, Fred Hiatt’s fishwrap would have 20 editorials railing against Americorps.

At this time, we would have tea partiers packing guns to town hall events, terrified of a socialist takeover of, well, something, carrying racist signs and chanting “Keep Government out of Americorps!,” and the rest of the MSM can start their coverage. Sensing an opportunity, shitheels like Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu sense the bill is in trouble, and would start to pack the goodies into it for their home state...
This would have piqued my interest even if David Broder hadn't gone on about what a great populist Sarah Palin is at precisely the moment when a new WashPo-ABC poll showed that Palin has never been less popular. I still think Palin can adapt and improve her way to the Republican Presidential nomination, and that her trifling with fools -- which may currently disappoint ordinary Americans who, after all, are not that fond of complainers -- may pay off in the long run; that's partly because she knows the nervous "mainstream" types who don't wish to be exposed to big winds whichever way they blow will carry her water in the meantime, no matter what.

It's an unavoidable problem, I fear, of democracy in an age of mass communications and dwindling dollars. To the honorable old question, why oh why can't we have a better press corps? I can only answer: No money in it. The Kremlinology of the press, citizen and otherwise, can be extremely subtle, but the basic state of play is that those with little power are desperate and those with much power are scared.

In the positivist view, this constant tension is supposed to create a better state of affairs, with the bustling marketplace of ideas yielding a better product. Maybe the positive thinkers think that better product is a higher degree of truth. But from what I've seen, it's more like the progress of junk food: from an agreeable, consistent, and convenient substitute for the real thing, to something everyone eats and nobody remembers is junk.
SHORTER MAGGIE GALLAGHER. Pre-teens weighing over 200 pounds may or may not be a bad thing -- I'm no denialist, though the "science" of that doesn't convince me -- but when are we going to do something about teenagers having sex?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

THAT EXPLAINS A LOT. John J. Miller at National Review:
My favorite blog of the moment is Grognardia, which is dedicated to old-school RPGs. (If you don't know what RPGs are, then stop reading this and continue your day.) Today's post is on Twilight: 2000, a Red Dawn-ish RPG published in 1984 and set in what was then the future, and specifically in Poland following a U.S.-Soviet nuke exchange. I never played the game, though I loved the concept and bought a copy of the rules when they were brand new. Twilight: 2000 engaged my imagination and is at least partly responsible for igniting my interest in what was at stake during the Cold War.
I suspect he also learned about economics from Richie Rich comics.

Monday, February 08, 2010

WINNING ISN'T EVERYTHING, IT'S THE ONLY THING. I've said in the past that politics is everything to the nuts who comprise my subject matter, and the Super Bowl supplied plenty of wearying examples.

Like a lot of us, President Obama has a soft spot for the underdog Saints, but figured the Colts would win. The delightful surprise of the Saints' victory also pleased the Obama Fail Blog, which said, "Sure, most of America picked the Colts - that's why they were a five point favorite. But it is really amazing how everything Obama touches turns to poop." "Did Obama curse Super Bowl's Colts?" asked Frugal Cafe.

There were a lot of posts like these, but American Thinker's Troy Nelson only heard the part about Obama being sympathetic to the Saints, which had him supporting the Colts, as he found the notion of rooting for the underdog emblematic of "this generation's elevation of 'victimology' and symbology above all else."
What happened to the days of pulling for organizations, teams, and players whom best demonstrate the virtues of team work and heart and will power? Who overcome the challenges of a determined opponent on the level playing field of competition? Of blood, sweat, and tears? I guess in our coddled, emasculated, socialist society any overt demonstration or celebration of these qualities is offensive, too Darwinian, too Randian, too capitalistic.
This guy probably felt cheated when Cinderalla scored against the wicked stepsisters.

They even found political import in the Super Bowl commercials. "SUPER BOWL COMMERICALS PUTS LEFTARDS IN THEIR ABSURD PLACE," said The Freedom Fighter's Journal, referring to Audi's funny "Green Police" ad. NewsReal was actually worried about it: "We’d like to say that this commercial is harmless... But let’s face it -- you can get more people to accept something with a laugh, a wink, and a smile that you can with an order handed down from on high. It would be funny if there weren’t too many environmentalists that really do think like this. It would be funny if it weren’t entirely too possible." It would funny if the stick up their asses didn't make it impossible for them to laugh.

National Review's John J. Miller yelled at kgb for being called kgb. "For some folks, the Cold War may be way back in history times," he said. "You will know them by their Che t-shirts. By my lights, it seems a little premature to forget that the henchmen of Communism were a force for evil in the modern world."

Don't they even get sick of being politically correct?
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about coverage of the recent Tea Party Convention. The stuff about Sarah Palin's palm notes is amusing (and has led to the sort of goofy support gestures we've come to expect from these people), but beside the point. The Tea Partiers have gotten a bit of press by holding rallies, some of them quite large, but lifted their coverage and profile exponentially by holding a small convention with celebrities in a hotel. Whatever the impact or import of the local events, the Tea Party is becoming a brand name that sustains itself with traditional PR gestures, of which sympathetic bloggers take advantage by making grand claims -- a Third Great Awakening? -- while they have the punters' attention. That's how populism works these days: as a guerrilla advertising advance campaign for traditional marketers. Their products, though, are hardly revolutionary.

Friday, February 05, 2010

ICWUDT. I usually find myself having to play catch-up on the issues of the day before I can talk about them, so it's kind of a shock to see something like Gerard Alexander's "Why Are Liberals So Condescending?" which discusses something I already know a little about, and find it completely at odds with what I've observed.

He talks about concerns with boob-baiting tactics as if such concerns had no cause but the vain wish of an intellectual cadre to feel good about themselves by feeling bad about someone else. This could be an interesting philosophical premise -- this is a republic, after all, and maybe baiting boobs is the only game in town. And complaints such as those I make, with increasing weariness, on these pages are on such grounds irrelevant, like going to a dance club and complaining about the loud music. It's an argument I'd be willing to entertain, especially on bad days.

But he also thinks one political group specializes in it to the exclusion of its opponents:
Every political community includes some members who insist that their side has all the answers and that their adversaries are idiots. But American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration.
He also says liberals believe "the thinkers, politicians and citizens who advance conservative ideas must be dupes, quacks or hired guns selling stories they know to be a sham," and also believe "conservatives are driven purely by emotion and anxiety -- including fear of change -- whereas liberals have the harder task of appealing to evidence and logic."

This, I have to say, threw me. Has he never seen a conservative blog? Has he never noticed them explaining to black people that they're stupid and ungrateful to vote for Democrats? Or their belief that the media is hypnotizing the American people, and their threatening to take vengeance on it while simultaneously whining that it is all-powerful? Or Jonah Goldberg's insistence that his opponents are not just wrong, nor even just "driven purely by emotion and anxiety," but fascists?

It's almost too much to believe that such a person is arguing in good faith -- which, whoops, makes me one of those liberal elitists. Well, that's how it goes.

And very unfair of me too, after Alexander has gone to the trouble to almost admit the vague possibility of something resembling the Republican Southern Strategy:
Race doubtless played a significant role in the shift of Deep South whites to the Republican Party during and after the 1960s. But the liberal narrative has gone essentially unchanged since then...
This is like saying violence played a role in the impalement of the victim on my client's knife, but the prosecution insists on taking this thing to trial.
SPOILER ALERT. Culture warriors are starting early on the Oscar-related denunciations. There's Brent Bozell, telling us that liberal elitists want The Blind Side to lose. But he is heartened by the presence of blockbusters among the Best Picture nominees. "Even if this were simply a ploy for ratings," says Bozell, "Hollywood is sending a message that it doesn't hate and dismiss its audience as the ignorant masses." Whereas the collected works of Brent Bozell (see for example "Hollywood's Four-Letter Word: God") show that Hollywood does hate and dismiss its audience as the ignorant masses. I marvel he doesn't castigate Tinseltown for its duplicity.

But who cares about him when we have Jonah Goldberg to pick on? He announces at the start, "the Oscars are one of the most overhyped events in American life," so he chooses to discourse on "what [the movies] say about American life." What they say is what Goldberg already believes. That's why they call it the Dream Factory.

Goldberg says, sensibly, that "filmmakers aren’t always aware of their inspirations and that sometimes the best way to articulate a larger message is to not try." Then, perhaps remembering who he's writing for, he tells his readers what actually inspires moviemakers is hatred of America.
Since the end of the Cold War, Hollywood has been in desperate pursuit of enemies. You’d have thought that 9/11 would have provided a great opportunity for Hollywood to find a worthy enemy. But it turned out that moviemakers were more comfortable depicting jihadi terrorists before 9/11 than after (rent The Siege and Executive Decision if you don’t believe me). They’ve tried (and retried) aliens, drug kingpins, bad weather, and the always-enjoyable zombies. But, with a few exceptions, Hollywood is still most comfortable with the idea that the enemy is really us.
It's hard to tell from the way this is written whether the zombies, eco-cataclysms, etc. are supposed to be stand-ins for America in the treasonous parables of Hollywood, or what Hollywood settles on when it is frustrated in its attempts to destroy the country. What's clear is that Hollywood is against us, which is why no one ever goes to the movies, except when they do, which only happens when these America-haters accidentally make movies that people will like for sound ideological reasons: For example,
The Kingdom, another War on Terror movie, was a hit despite the best intentions of director Peter Berg, who wanted it to be a parable about the cycle of violence. It succeeded because it was a good action movie that depicted Americans as heroes.
Considering that Hollywood has made billions on movies that were supposed to advance their anti-American agenda but failed, I wonder why conservatives are so concerned about them. Maybe the bit about Hollywood needing an enemy is just projection.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

IDIOT. The whole business of demanding Rahm Emanuel apologize or even resign for calling a bunch of liberals "fucking retarded" is ridiculous, but at least in Sarah Palin's case it's clearly fake and opportunistic. I have no doubt that Hadley Arkes is sincere when he complains that Emanuel was allowed to apologize to the head of the Special Olympics -- "to a Kennedy," he adds with a palpable shiver -- rather than submitting to an inquisition of Arkes' own devising. Hell, he even thinks Sarah Palin wasn't hard enough on Emanuel:
...she too seems to have missed the deeper issue: Emanuel’s comment reflects the understanding, widely held among the “bioethicists” attached to this administration — including his own brother, working in the White House — that people with Down’s syndrome do not enjoy a high “quality of life"...

Would Emanuel think it permissible to end the lives of people walking around, well out of the womb, who happen to have Down’s syndrome?...

Emanuel’s embarrassment involves more than just a slip of the tongue — it involves a deeply planted moral understanding.
Presumably if Emanuel had called the liberals "a bunch of dildos" Arkes would assume he meant that they should be used as sexual devices, and that Emanuel should be asked whether he supports human trafficking.

When your babble provokes such as Mark Krikorian -- of all people -- to complain about "grievance-mongering," you know you've sailed off the edge of the earth.

What a douche, by which I do not mean a feminine hygiene product.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 01, 2010

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

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

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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 29, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We might call this "doubling dumb."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So [James] Cameron missed the point in the movie he made [Avatar] and conservatives were responding to what Cameron actually intended in the movie. And [David] Boaz agrees that the plot is "tired" and the dialogue "merely servicable." And conservatives got it wrong . . . how?
And I wonder: Do I have to see this fucking thing just to keep up with the culture war? Christ in Heaven, I hope not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 21, 2010

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

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

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

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 18, 2010

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

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

Thursday, January 14, 2010

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 11, 2010

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

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

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

Saturday, January 09, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 07, 2010

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 04, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 03, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 02, 2010

YOUR OWN LYIN' EYES. The meaning of the much-circulated Photoshop of Barack Obama as a shoeshine boy shining Sarah Palin's pumps is clearly understood by most people. We're sure the boys at Chimpout -- "Cops on Nigger Obama and shoeshine boy Gates" -- and Stormfront get the joke. See also Urban Dictionary, etc.

The image has turned up at Free Republic, SodaHead, and other places where you'd expect to see it. But other rightbloggers are going to great lengths to rehabilitate this ancient racist trope since it's been used on Obama.

One device they're using is the Democratic Party affiliation of one person whose handling of the photo made the news. "Her status as a registered Democrat cannot be ignored," says Patterico.

As the image was flagged by Charles Johnson, whose apostasy has made him a target of conservatives, this becomes a "My Hair is a Bird, Your Argument Is Invalid" line of defense among the brethen. "For someone so 'scientific' [as Johnson],'" says American Power, "real facts must have caused nasty bouts of cognitive dissonance and psychological displacement." Patterico's research is commended by America Daughter Media Center: "If a CJ makes a mistake, along comes a Patterico to correct it... bloggers are inheriting the mantle of the dying mainstream media."

Others are actually insisting that there's nothing racist about it. Tom Maguire, while conceding that "there are certainly some racial overtones of servitude to the shoe shine imagery," learns that Rush Limbaugh claims to have once been a shoeshine boy, thus cleansing the image of its racial associations.

Instapundit picks it up:
Or is it racist? Rush Limbaugh actually was a shoeshine boy. Yeah the racial stereotype is a bit shaky -- when I was a kid I knew older brothers of friends who did that; even in Birmingham, Alabama they were white. By the time I was a teenager, of course, shoeshines were on the way out.
And he's from Tennessee, so he should know. We also have Armed Liberal taking the things-are-complicated approach, whereby liberals of the unarmed kind are trying to make a "Big Story" out of what is actually the fascinatingly complex phenomenon of a black President pictured shining shoes. Plus he saw a black cashier being mean to an Asian.

Another Black Conservative testifies to the work ethic of black shoeshine men, which he suggests may be the real meaning of the photo. Certainly it's less demeaning than the job ABC's got.

Soon they'll be telling us that pictures of watermelons on the White House lawn are a tribute to Michelle Obama's garden, pictures of Obama as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose are a tribute to his rich cultural heritage, etc.

Friday, January 01, 2010

BLFF. Guy Benson -- "America's youngest top-market political talk show host" -- claims he knows a woman in Jersey who's a "lifelong Democrat voter, harbors a long-standing distaste for George W. Bush, and slants left on most issues." This already tells you where Benson is going, for when such as he announce they have a liberal friend, they will inevitably tell you immediately thereafter either that the liberal has committed a horrible offense, or that he or she has converted.

In this instance it's Door #2, as the alleged liberal friend starts reading off Republican talking points:
She was particularly furious about the health-care debate (a family member is battling cancer)... Her best line? "Just because I don't want my kids paying off national debts for their entire lives doesn't mean I'm a racist." Being a good Democrat, she couldn't quite bring herself to name names, but did noticeably bristle when I mentioned the unholy trinity of Obama/Reid/Pelosi.
How I wish he'd provided more detail to "noticeably bristle." How'd he notice her bristling? Maybe the fur on the puppet he was actually talking to needs brushing.

Anyway, Benson finds the alleged conversation "a real-life, first-hand example of the conservative re-awakening America is experiencing, and anecdotal confirmation of the polling data energized conservatives have been poring over for months."

Oh, yeah? Well, I had a conversation recently with a lifelong Republican who harbors a long-standing distaste for Jimmy Carter, and slants right on most issues. From Alabama! She came up to me at the sort of unspecified location where such conversations always take place, and suddenly started ranting about Bush having eight years to fix our national security and accomplishing "jack-shit," the way the former President let the banks run wild and destroy the economy, etc. Her best line? "This country is so totally fucked we had to hire a black guy to unfuck it," though I think she got it from Madeleine Albright.

This, I declare, is a real-life, first-hand example of the conservative destruction America has experienced, and anecdotal confirmation of the polling data showing the conservative movement splitting into a Give Us Our Patronage Appointments Back faction and a White People's Party faction.

And to add a little extra versimilitude, my conservative friend is a cab driver.
NOT A YEAR-END "BEST OF," but emblematic in its way -- The Ole Perfesser:
Yeah, I actually agree with Andrew [Sullivan] on torture, but the more I read his stuff, the weaker my sentiments on the subject get...
This really nutshells a certain kind of conservative thinking -- either directly of the "I used to consider myself a Democrat, but thanks to 9/11, I’m outraged by Chappaquiddick" school (thanks, Prof. Berube), or opportunistically feeding off it -- whose adherents claim they would have coherent moral standards if only liberals didn't make them mad.

I'm actually surprised the Perfesser used language that would hearken us back to the warblogger era ('member that?), when alleged former liberals like Matt Welch and Jeff Jarvis would bellow that the scales had been torn from their eyes, revealing to them the necessity of invading Iraq. I notice that they're not similarly rallying to the call to invade Yemen, which suggests such epiphanies have a more limited shelf life than once was thought, as well as a longer, subsequent period of buyer's remorse.

To assert while drunk and belligerent at a party that you've become more hot for torture because people you dislike are against it is one thing, but to publish such feelings while sober, and with evident sincerity, is literally depraved.

Yet apparently this sort of thing goes over in the conservative world now, as is also seen in the whole crotch-bomber contretemps. The similarities to the Richard Reid shoe-bomber episode, which passed with blame largely attributed to the malefactors rather than to the Bush Administration, are obvious, but the current rightwing talking point is that the threat "would have easily been caught by 1990’s computer" were it not for the deliberate malfeasance of Obama.

There is literally nothing, in the eyes of such people, that is not suddenly rendered immoral by its attachment to liberals. But it leaves the rest of us free to ask what, in particular, their own moral certainties might be.

UPDATE. People are leaving comments referring to some "New Year" thing. Is it some sort of holiday? It sounds suspiciously like Year Zero. Is it socialist?

Haw haw, I am making the joke. Happy 2010, if that doesn't prove an oxymoron.