Thursday, July 14, 2011

FOCUSING ON WHAT'S IMPORTANT. Obama says "don't call my bluff," and the shirt-retuckers at National Review raise a point of order:
Will no one call Obama on his tough-sounding “Don’t call my bluff”? What kind of threat is “Don’t call my bluff”? In saying that, Obama is admitting he’s bluffing. A sensible threat might be, “Don’t assume I’m bluffing!” But no...
Soon they'll tell us that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire, and get a wedgie.

Meanwhile Randall Hoven offers "The Speech Boehner Should Give" if by some magic spell the nation becomes remotely interested in what Boehner has to say. My favorite bit:
It has become clear to my House colleagues that the time for closed-door meetings and extra-constitutional commissions is over. We need to get back to the kinds of government processes we all learned in grade school civics.
Grade school civics! If we really wanted to teach the kids what goes on in our legislatures, we would just show them selected episodes of The Wire.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

TURN OFF THE DAMN TV AND GO OUTSIDE. It's time for some deepthink on TV cop shows:
In all, then, I think it’s clear that the show sends a consistent and obvious message, conveyed through the central characters’ continual physical, psychological, and legal intimidation of people not convicted of any crime or even under formal arrest.

It is this: we are living in a police state, a society in which the government has unlimited authority over the individual. And this, the producers appear strongly to suggest, is a good thing, as it results in the restoration of order at the end of each episode (albeit with the occasional cheesy irony or fashionable ambiguity), as mysteries tend to do. The fact that this “order” involves the reduction of citizens into subjects, of taxpayers into servants of a privileged elite through the continual threat of violence by police, seems of little consequence to the producers, as it is never dealt with fundamentally and critically in the show’s story lines.
So who wrote this crap? The Derrida Professor for Semiotics at some fancy-pants college, talking about Dragnet? No, it's by credentialed culture warrior S.T. Karnick, talking at Big Hollywood about Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Why would a conservative bitch about cops muscling suspects on TV? There's a simple explanation: The interrogations on L&O:CI are not the manly sort Jack Bauer dished out on 24, they're clear examples of liberal fascism. No, I'm not even kidding:
Both characters [Bobby Goren and Alex Eames] annoyed me in essence, I suspect, because they were such perfect specimens of a particularly common and grating type of contemporary American: the Priggish Urban Liberal-Progressive Busybody Knowitall Pseudointellectual Snob. And in doing so, the show conveyed a point of view firmly based on authoritarianism, exemplifying the contemporary worldview that the political writer Jonah Goldberg calls liberal fascism.
Karnick finds Vincent D'Onofrio, the big guy with the weird interrogation methods, an "unappealing character type." That I can buy, but then Karnick tells us where else he finds this particular type: thoroughly infests current-day TV news and talk shows, newspaper columns, Slate and the Huffington Post and other fashionable politico-cultural websites, contemporary art shows, your neighborhood Starbucks, and other such locales made repellant by their presence.
I dislike Starbucks because the coffee is crap, not because the baristas tower over me and read back my order in a halting, urgent whisper. What the hell is Karnick talking about?

Though he also doesn't like the lieberal storylines -- too many guilty businessmen; Karnick would prefer the shows be about "the usual domestic violence or street crimes that most murders result from," which sounds like a ratings goldmine -- Karnick mainly finds evidence of liberal fascism in the way the actors pull faces:
The progressive-authoritarian political agenda was strongly evident in the story lines and dialogue throughout the run of the series, but D’Onofrio and Erbe added much to the effect by conveying it continually through their facial expressions, gestures, and vocal inflections. The smug looks they passed to each other during their interrogations of suspects were downright insufferable, given the enormous power these detectives were given to detain people, subject them to intense questioning, and manipulate them psychologically in the attempt to send them to prison for felonies.
And not only do they evince liberal fascism by giving suspects That Look and taking That Tone, they're prejudiced -- there are certain suspects they exempt from physiognomological oppression:
...D’Onofrio was notable for his habit of looming into an individual’s personal space by edging ever-closer to the person, using his size (he is tall, bulky, and pudgy) to intimidate them. This was something Goren seemed particularly inclined to do to wealthy, successful people. The poor, by contrast, didn’t usually get that sort of treatment. Of course, since the latter were seldom actual suspects and had little sense of personal power, he had less desire to intimidate them, as he seemed well aware that the crimes he was chosen to investigate were always committed by the rich and powerful, and in particular those from the private sector, not government.
Clearly conservatives should hold a tea party in TV Land to demand a fairer distribution of smug faces on cop shows.

There are plenty of other things wrong with their culture-war obsession, but really, these guys are mostly hurting themselves. You'd think their friends would tell them that obsessively analyzing such things as Vincent D'Onofrio's eyeballs and facial muscles is turning them into total dinks. Those people aren't real, S.T. -- they're characters, and if they're weird it's because they're on TV, and viewers like unusual people.

Oh Christ, I've said too much -- now his next essay will be about Monk, and how obsessive-compulsive liberal fascists gesturally oppress him at theater benefits and Panera.

(h/t Dan Coyle.)

UPDATE. Great comments. Though I still advise he play outside, Gocart Mozart has another Kulturkampf case for Karnick to get on:
Batman and Superman always went after Galtian super villians like the Joker or Lex luther. They never beat up on the crack heads. Fuckin' liberal fascists!
That'll keep the rightdorks' comboxes hopping like they haven't since Revenge of the Sith.
VOX POPULI. My most recent Voice column drew a number of top minds to the comments box:
I know it hurts your liberal feelings that these 'ooga boogas' can't behave and act somewhat human...

American blacks need to be encouraged to immigrate to Africa, where they can be among their own and create their own civilization. Let’s face it…blacks are unfit to live among humans in human civilization...

Maybe miscegenation is the answer for your daughter, sugerpuff. I'm sure you're evolved enough it won't bother you at all. Until the black dude leaves her a single mother, and you can't get him to pay child support...

But this is what diversity is like for the rest of us: chaos, violence, fear, distrust, theft, assault, battery, rape, murder, gangs, declining property values...

Black folks: Is there nothing they can't blame on white folks?...

Let us know when your daughter has neighbors of feral fatherless young black males. Until then your words are of no value...
Etc. One of them directed me to American Thinker, where John T. Bennett tells readers that the liberal media is covering up a black crime wave.
We face the nightmarish reality of low-level ethnic conflict. If these violent mob attacks worsen, they will be a precursor to severe racial tension.
On the evidence I'd say that, among a select group, "severe racial tension" is already in effect.
These flash mobs already constitute the worst acts of racist violence in recent American history.
That's an interesting assertion. In any given era in this great land of ours, you'll find cases of black people fucking up white people, and some commentators (like Selwyn Duke in this 2007 WND article) will extrapolate from these familiar conclusions ("Often, hatred toward whites isn't lamented, but lauded as the attitude of a racial patriot toward 'oppressors'"). Here's one from the Sydney Morning Herald (!), published in 1995, claiming that "for the past 30 years a large segment of black America has waged a war of violent retribution against white America."

Usually these perorations don't get much traction, but the latest batch of "worst acts of racist violence in recent American history" is receiving generous play among the belligerati, despite the relatively low crime levels nationwide. You don't suppose politics has anything to do with it, do you?

Monday, July 11, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the ooga-booga race-baiting stuff coming out of the rightwing talkshops these days. I've been discussing the phenomenon here at alicublog, but in the Voice piece I tried to tie the whole thing together efficiently for folks who aren't as familiar with the brethren and their peculiar ways as you Real People are.

In composing it, I was struck (not for the first time, but more forcibly than usual) by how much racist bullshit even A-list rightbloggers like Robert Stacy McCain spew without raising an outcry -- I mean, McCain's gotten more shit from Patterico on that score than from mainstream (let alone liberal) media. I think this speaks to the weird marginal-yet-prominent status of political blogs in general; they're like the off-off-Broadway or indie hit of the moment; they're usually short of actual patrons, but generously covered in ink and pixels, which gives them influence and credibility far beyond what their drawing power would by itself afford. The rightbloggers' yapping about big bad black people doesn't reach too many actual people, but is read by commentariat, and eventually will influence David Brooks sufficiently that he will tell us in the pages of the New York Times, gosh, there seems to be a lot of chatter about black crime, which indicates an influence far beyond what you might see in mere statistics (which lie!), etc. Thus crackpot ideas enter our national debates, as they have done for decades.

UPDATE. Commenters have noticed that the Voice column has attracted the attention of race-obsessed people, probably sent by Bill Quick, who thinks that by pointing out historic crime rate drops I'm covering up for black people.
That Edroso, wrapped in the outdated intellectual shroud of lefty political correctness, still tries to cover up this unsettling fact, only betrays his own unconscious racism: since most of the victims of this black crime wave are themselves black, what he is really advocating is ignoring the depredations of criminals in and on the black community.
As usual, I'm the real racist, and the African-American community's best friends are internet commenters who go around saying that black people are irredeemable criminals. I suspect Quick's solution to black crime is to be very afraid and vote Republican.

UPDATE 2. Half Sigma's in on it too:
According to the liberal who wrote the article, crime has been dropping year after year (which is true), and therefore there can’t possibly be a new crime wave happening.

Just because crime in general is down, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a certain specific type of crime can’t be on the increase. But arguing with a liberal is useless.
With arguments like that, I can imagine why he'd think so.

Friday, July 08, 2011

ANNALS OF CONSERVATIVE VICTIM-PLAY. I have treated the works of National Review's Mark Krikorian here before. He complained when liberals wanted to free Tibet because liberals love Mao and why are Maoists bitching about China; he likes to review movies he hasn't seen, based on their politics; he hates illegal immigrants, but gave George Bush a pass for his wetness on the issue because at least it was based on principle (i.e., Clinton got his dick sucked); he is given to gibberish like "our commander-in-chief is an effete vacillator who is pushed around by his female subordinates," etc.

In short, Krikorian is a fairly typical conservative buffoon. Yet NPR had him on Fresh Air to talk about the Messicans he wants to chase out of the country. This seems generous of them, to put it mildly. In fact it practically qualifies as social promotion.

Does Krikorian appreciate NPR's openness to conservative views? You're new around here, aren't you?

In a post entitled "We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Diversity of Views" (ha ha, get it? Gold-tooth Messicans!) Krikorian first complains that a couple of Fresh Air listeners wrote in to say they didn't like his contribution -- which he interprets to mean they were "appalled at even being made to hear a dissenting view."

Nonetheless he has to admit he was on the show and treated decently, which he does in this fashion:
The reporters and producers at NPR really have tried to put out a less biased product over the past couple of years — not just because of defunding threats but because they really do take seriously the reporter’s duty to present the news fairly. (Don’t snicker — I know a lot of them and, sure, they’re lefties marinated in a lefty environment like fish that don’t know they’re wet, but I think a lot of them have come to realize that their parochial view of things is not all there is in the world and they’re honestly, if often imperfectly, acting on that.)
Which is an encomium on the order of, "My neighbor's wife is trying to be less of a whore, mostly because of police pressure; she's basically a slut but dimly appreciates that she might catch a disease," etc.
But despite such efforts, NPR has a big problem with its listenership. A big part of it doesn’t want to hear anything ideologically jarring — they tune in to NPR for the same reason conservatives listen to Rush Limbaugh.
You will seek in vain for a Mark Krikorian post critical of Rush Limbaugh, so we must assume that the only problem with NPR listeners wanting to listen to like-minded commentators is that they're liberals. So it's basically hopeless -- they could let Krikorian yammer all day and there'd still be listeners who didn't agree with him, which would spoil everything and prove bias.

We don't even have to ask why Krikorian is so ungracious -- this is SOP for these people: Get gigs with the MSM, then bellyache about how you're oppressed by something or other: The host, the audience, the wallpaper. What really needs to be asked is, why does the alleged liberal media stoop so low to kiss these ingrates' asses? (Yeah, I know NPR's on the government tit, but what's everyone else's excuse?)

UPDATE. Many comments are about favorite/least favorite NPR shows. Still good, though. Jay B: "NPR can burn in hell for the toxic shit it helps spew into the cosmos, devaluing actual liberal thought by having Cokie Fucking Roberts on the air and twee, charming, apolticial stories of cute kids having asthma attacks while a clown scared them in an odd, charming way or whatever the fuck they endlessly smirk about." Oh well, when you put it that way...

Kia, on the actual subject, Krikorian: "He must constantly assert his intolerance lest his conviction be doubted. He's not expressing his feeling; he's been doing dirt on his own feelings for years so that that little provincial nest of boobs he considers the world can know his bona fides. It's all he's got to offer, his readiness to take offense and umbrage at liberal perfidy. The rest of the brain might as well be dead. What a sad oaf." Sometimes I think I should just send Kia what I've written, and only post her responses.
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Thursday, July 07, 2011

A KIND OF GENIUS. Rightbloggers are such a malignant force that they ruin even such perfectly good ideas as they occasionally take up in their greasy mitts. Take the "Higher Education Bubble" stuff promoted by Ole Perfesser Instapundit and others. It's certainly a fine thing when young men and women prefer a career in the manual arts to a college education, and they stand a chance of prospering thus; I know a few carpenters who do alright.

But when kids pick up hammer or hod instead of a college application, it's not usually because they've taken a precocious interest in "soulcraft" -- it's usually because they can't afford to go to college. Like it or not, this has become a paper-pushing society, and the smart bet is on getting a degree. That's why people are preemptively bankrupting themselves to obtain them. Like much else in this country these days, it's a shit deal and a gamble either way.

I would like young folks to be more aware of the odds and better informed in their choices going in. But there I go, plain fellow that I am, reacting to real life, while rightbloggers push their psychopolitical meme: that higher education is a Marxist plot.

In "The College Scam," John Stossel starts by naming several famous people who never got a diploma. This is the sort of hooey with which normal people comfort a lad whose father has drunk up his college fund. Stossel, however, is not here to console, but to attack the educrats and Hitlery:
But today all kids are told: To succeed, you must go to college.

Hillary Clinton tells students: "Graduates from four-year colleges earn nearly twice as much as high school graduates, an estimated $1 million more."

We hear that from people who run colleges. And it's true. But it leaves out some important facts

That's why I say: For many people, college is a scam.
If anyone took this seriously, it would be close to journalistic malfeasance -- "for many people, college is a scam" is as true as "for many people, quitting smoking will not keep them from getting cancer," and as misleading. And get a load of Stossel's "important facts":
"People that go to college are different kind of people ... (more) disciplined ... smarter. They did better in high school."

They would have made more money even if they never went to college.
That's why so many Fortune 500 CEOs never had no book-larnin', and proudly display their high-school equivalency certificates instead of diplomas. Who's Stossel trying to kid? Answer: Fellow conservatarians who hate the professariat, those tenured radicals whose "research is often on obscure topics for journals nobody reads," like Wymyns Studies, amirite? Also Scary Obama, who "plans to increase the number of students getting Pell grants by 50 percent," the evil, dream-crushing bastard.

But what to do? Even Chris Christie is pimping Big College! "We need to wake people up," cries Stossel, leaping on the back of a truck like Kevin McCarthy in Invasion of the Body Snatchers and encountering piles of rolled-up diplomas (They're here already! You're next!).

Can't let Stossel go without noting this:
What puzzles is me is why the market doesn't punish colleges that don't serve their customers well.
Maybe the educrats are protected from Supermarket by Keynesian Kryptonite. I think the stuff Stossel uses on his hair has finally seeped through his skull.

Believe it or not, there's someone even worse -- oh wait, it's easy to believe, because it's Michael Walsh, working the pseudo-populist angle at the down-'n'-dirty National Review, founded by Butch Buckley:
But that’s not the way things work in Liberaland, a cargo cult that firmly believes in the totemic value of parchment — preferably, parchment with an Ivy League patrimony. That’s why self-made people like Sarah Palin, with her crummy journalism degree from Dogtooth State Teachers College, drive them crazy: Their only definition of “smart” has to do with school and GPA.
Well, Walsh does know from a kind of "smart" -- he managed to get paid for this suspender-snapping bullshit, didn't he? And in that sense we can give him and all his colleagues honors: it's increasingly difficult to get any kind of a job in this country, yet they've found a way to make money telling people that college is a trap.

Let's enjoy one more Walsh proof-point against Liberalanders:
By their lights, someone like Andrew Lloyd Webber, who dropped out of Oxford after one term in order to become a composer, is a complete failure.
These Liberalanders don't even like Cats -- how elitist can you get? To Walsh, America is an unhappily married mom singing "Memory" as she speeds off to one of her three fast-food jobs. At least she didn't have to study no semiotical whatchamacallit. Freedom!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE. Last weekend some black people did some violence in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee, which sucks, and beat on some white people, which also sucks. For the blogbrethren, by the ancient code of Ooga Booga, this means race war. Vox Populi:
It's really not that difficult to understand that whereas small minorities usually conform, more or less, to the behavioral patterns of the majority that outnumbers them, they cease to do so once they become the numerically dominant population. And to be fair, why on Earth should they? It's now their territory by ancient right of conquest and modern right of self-determination. So, one can safely predict that it will not take long before the Milwaukee crime rate rises to the level of Detroit.
Or sinks to the level of New York? I live in Harlem, which we can safely say is a majority-black district. Here's my precinct's crime stats. Here's a piece of them:

Click it and you'll see that this little slice of heaven is pretty safe. Over the past few years, some categories of crime are up and some are down, but generally we're doing very well, consistent with the big crime drop in many U.S. cities; the 32 is very, very different place than it was when I came to New York years ago.

Felonious assaults are slightly up -- 161 in 2011 versus 147 in 2010, year-to-date (this in a district of hundreds of thousands of souls). But fear not, fellow honkies, there's no evidence that we are the targets. We have no stats on cross-color crime, but here are a few recent stories: "Harlem Mother Dies After Attack by Son, Police Say"; "Police Arrest Man Who Allegedly Stabbed Aunt." Maybe these occurred in racially blended families, but I can be forgiven for doubting the motivation was to Get Whitey. It's possible also the 67-year-old man who was beaten and mugged in May was white, though in my observation I'm about the oldest white guy around these parts.

Racially-motivated violence is not unknown, but anyone who's been around knows that the L.A. riots of 1992 are neither ongoing nor nationwide, and that Americans generally fuck each other up for reasons other than race hatred.

Meanwhile, back in Milwaukee, though the rightblogger spin has generally been along the lines of "once again, no retribution" (retribution?), the actual story has been "Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn hears from Riverwest residents at public meeting" and "Parents begin to turn in children in Riverwest case." Citizens of all kinds react negatively to disorder, though some people enjoy telling one another that the dusky hordes (aka "Obama Supporters") would prefer anti-Caucasian pogroms.

You may be tempted to believe that these guys are motivated by racism (or "raaaaacism"), and it's not a bad bet; but I think the simpler explanation is that they just hope racists will hear them and be motivated to turn out on Election Day.
SHORTER RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: I blame the death of little Caylee Anthony on Society, subsection Permissive Parents.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

OOGA BOOGA, CONTINUED. I noticed earlier that conservatives are reviving the 70s-vintage idea of life in big cities as one continuous loop of scenes from Death Wish and The Wanderers. Crime has been plummeting in American cities for years, yet the brethren seem to have recently decided that our metropoli are jam-packed with depraved minorities randomly spraying bullets with one hand and pushing drugs with the other.

Walter Russell Mead is doing his bit. This is from his essay about LBJ's War on Poverty:
...even as Great Society era programs worked for some, conditions in the inner cities worsened for many who remained.

The result is the urban quagmire in which we now find ourselves. We are spending massive amounts of money and conditions are getting worse. Liberals recognize this as a problem in Afghanistan; they are more reluctant to see it in St. Louis — but it is true. What we are doing now isn’t working and while some of the reforms being tried (especially in education and perhaps also new ways of handling drug issues) offer promise, there is no light at the end of the urban tunnel.
"No light at the end of the urban tunnel!" Too bad newsweeklies are dying; this just screams for a cover image of little black children standing against a graffiti-scarred wall, crack vials and hypodermic needles at their feet.

The Mead article also describes cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Seattle, et alia* as "a holocaust of youth and hope on a scale hard to match" and "an unsustainable drag on the national economy"; bids us worry that urban drug gangs will team up with Al Qaeda; and wonders why Democrats want to take money from "poor children in the inner city" and give it to unions. (Not that the kids need it -- you will be unsurprised that Mead's solution for the uncontrolled turmoil of ghetto life is not increased spending, but bootstraps, charter schools, and stern-talkings-to.)

Even the tourists know cities aren't so bad anymore, so why are these guys bringing the old ooga-booga so hard? My guess is that they're trying to draw backwoodsmen to the polls for the next election. If a black President does not in and of himself make their blood boil, and if they consider our government's depredations a bipartisan thing rather than the fault of the socialist Othello, it may be time to break out the raw stereotypes. Surely nothing riles a redneck's blood more than the idea of fancy coastal cities full of welfare queens and strapping young bucks bullying the local whites into submission, not because they have to live in them but because they believe it reverses what they consider the natural order of the universe. If this doesn't work, maybe they can get Lee Stranahan and the Big Hollywood boys to remake Birth of a Nation.

*UPDATE. I should clarify that Mead doesn't mention these specific cities in his essay (except for a reference to New York's abortion rate "with higher rates among Blacks"), referring mainly to cities in general as a mega-blight; the only other city he directly cites is St. Louis, which is indeed troubled, though its crime rate has been declining. One may as well talk about the dynamic job growth in the United States today, defend the proposition with generalities, and cite Texas.
YES, AND THE PORTIONS ARE SO SMALL. This may be my favorite Jim Hoft Gateway Pundit headline of the summer:
Despite His Plans to Hand Over Jerusalem and Holy Land to Terrorists, Obama Still Enjoys Strong Support From Jews
Bless me, I haven't seen headline spin like that since the days of Mr. Bernstein:

Monomaniacal sites like Real Americans Defend Israel and Jews Against Obama are at this writing quiet, not to say speechless, at the news. But in the silver linings department, Hot Air's Tina Korbe goes for the rail shot:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jews who attend synagogue weekly — who tend to be more conservative, in general — are less supportive of Obama than those who don’t.
The anti-Obama strategy is clear: If they can just get more Jews to go to that churchlike thing they have more often, the tide may be turned. And if it can't be managed, conservatives may comfort themselves with the knowledge that Jews who won't go to Jew Church are every bit as damned as non-Jews who similarly disdain attendance at their assigned Houses of God. (The theology may be a bit shaky here, but they can probably get Billy Kristol to give them an Amen.)

Why didn't they think to handle it as Politico did: "Jewish support for Obama flat"? That's the way the pros win the morning!

Only somewhat related, but still entertaining: Yid With Lid snarls at Media Matters' Eric Boehlert:
I was a bit surprised though when he said I wrote a"Jew-bashing"post. Particularly when one realizes my nickname "Yid With Lid" is slang for Jew wearing a yarmulke.
Ha ha, how silly of Jewish Boehlert to accuse a fellow Jew of Jew-bashing! Then, minutes later:
The truth is, Eric Boehlert is part of the propaganda arm of a Jew-bashing machine... As a senior member of the Soros Jew-bashing machine, Eric Boehlert's disingenuous actions...
How do people at this negligible level of self-awareness even eat without chewing their own tongues off?

Monday, July 04, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about rightblogger observations of the Fourth of July, which mainly consist of recriminations and bitching. If they had only these to judge by, archaeologists in the far-off future might get the impression that the American Civil War actually started in 2008. If I hated my fellow-citizens this much, I'd move.

UPDATE. Commenters are much funnier than me. "From gay parades to Thanksgiving parades," says wjts, "to veterans parades to Apprentice Boys Parades to Tournament of Roses Parades to Parade magazine to stereotypical Russian military parades to St. Patrick's Day parades to Jaques Tati's Parade, there is no kind of parade I don't hate." I know where wjts is coming from, but what about The Big Parade and Jean Cocteau's and Erik Satie's "Parade"? Patriotism isn't dead, it's just insufficiently inclusive.

Friday, July 01, 2011

STORY TIME. You see the title "Wisconsin Firefighters’ Union Tries to Block Parade Float Honoring 9/11 Victims" and you think, well, guess the firefighters tried to block a float about 9/11. But the headline's at National Review, so you suspect bullshit and read the source article, and find out that the firefighters in Racine just declined to march with or support the float, which is still in the parade and run by a fireman who bailed on the union, and who insists throughout the article (in which he amplifies his complaints about his ex-union-brothers' lack of cooperation) that he doesn't mean to make it about politics, but about 9/11 our heroes etc

The lying we should all be used to by now, though I am surprised NR factotum Christian Scneider didn't find another misleading article to link to instead of linking directly to the source that refutes his spin. What's noteworthy about this stinkbomb is what a perfect piece of culture war ordnance it is. For years conservatives slobbered over firefighters because they were living symbols of 9/11, their war cry and ass-saving campaign theme. Times have changed; rightwingers who once cheered whatever wars Bush demanded in the Middle East have turned peacenik on Obama's Libya adventure. And in Wisconsin, where firefighters have been largely united in their opposition to the Scott Walker neo-feudalist program, conservatives are suddenly realizing that firefighters aren't so hot after all -- they're really all looters and parasites like the rest of those Americans who insist on their New Deal advantages! All, that is, except those few firemen who eschew the union, who become the only smoke-eaters fit to be associated with nineeleven neverforget.

Remember, their lying and spin may seem to be merely habitual, but it's actually also strategic.

UPDATE. In comments Susan of Texas points out an article in the rightwing City Journal by Tom Gray, containing this remarkable line: "Police and fire unions may resent the public’s sudden turn against them, but they have only themselves to blame." Gray's evidence that the public has turned against cops and firemen is flimsy, but rest assured he and his buddies will keep working on making it so.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

WHETHER YOU WANT IT OR NOT. At the New York Post, Michael Walsh on Greek dissension over their austerity plan:
A zero-sum mentality regarding capital and labor has brought Europe to its present pass -- and Americans should be worried. Because what's happening in the cradle of democracy could be coming here.

Not the rioting -- Americans rarely take to the streets in violent protest. But Greece ought to be a wake-up call. With the national debt standing at more than $14 trillion -- and as much as 10 times that in unfunded liabilities and other obligations -- America's on a path every bit as unsustainable as the Greeks'.
Mind you, just before this he was explaining that Americans and Europeans were different species -- "Europeans lack the American tradition of self-reliance. They expect somebody -- the king, the chancellor, the Eurocrat -- to protect them from life's vicissitudes." Yet Walsh still warns us of the bad times to come as we enter "the beginning of the end of the welfare state." The Post editors get the message, and run the photo at right with Walsh's column. Later Walsh amplifies at The Corner:
The culture of entitlement will not go quietly or easily, but go it must — and go it will, one way or the other.
There's only one reason for him to exhibit such nervousness: despite all Republican assurances to the contrary, he knows the American people don't want the welfare state, such as it is here, to end.

I wonder how long Walsh's faith in the self-reliance of Americans can endure. Our citizens seem not to like the Republican plan to turn Medicare into Coupons for Codgers, and though they sense a connection between the national debt and the fate of Social Security, they are mistrustful of the ideas politicians offer to maintain solvency.

And no wonder: the citizens are willing to hike taxes to sustain Social Security. But everyone in Washington knows raising taxes to save the safety net -- let alone, perish the thought, raising them on the rich for that purpose -- is a non-starter; taxes are bad; Reagan said so. Slashed services are what the authorities are selling, hard.

In other words, what our leaders seek is austerity by other means, even though the people don't want it. Their attempts to sell it aren't going over, so I expect they'll make an effort for a while, then just lower the boom. After all, what are we going to do? Go on strike? Like so many other things, that's only for the rich anymore. We could riot, but then we'd get the stick, like that fellow up top.

The only alternative will be to sit around, wait for bootstrap magic to happen, and then, to protect ourselves from a maddening awareness that it never will, revise our expectations to conform with our reduced circumstances. You know, like we've been doing for decades.

UPDATE. Luke Feszard's essay on the long-lived Republican plan to shred the net is well worth reading. It's funny, those guys are always talking about the left's alleged march through the institutions, Saul Alinsky, etc, but they're the real champs at the long game.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

THEY'LL KNOW WE ARE CHRISTIANS BY OUR LOVE. I see The Anchoress has caught up with the New York Marriage Equality Act. We can sense her state of mind in a post at her own site, in which she practices what seems to be a little displacement upon Maureen Dowd, who wrote a puff piece on gay marriage hero Andrew Cuomo:
Oh, you dishonest, hate-obsessed, sniping harpy, you know damn well that if Bush 43 had talked to his father every day, you’d have crucified him for it with a gem on the order of: “The boy-pwince needs to tawk to Poppy evewy day, or he can’t find the Owal Owwice!”
Yeesh, some anchoress.

Her more substantive argument against the Act comes at First Things, where The Anchoress tells us about a nun who wanted to gender-neutralize prayers. This becomes The Anchoress' point of comparison with The Gays:
And since nothing is free, their “equality” came at a price: Sister’s obsessive focus on gender-language eventually closed her off to other voices and other words, until she became her very own cloister, leaving the very lively parish community for a safe-but-sterile environment where she is not challenged to relate to God in any way other than what she has permanently settled-on and declared for herself.

It is similar for the gay community now, too. Clutching a hard-won, if illusory, prize of worldly “equality,” and being “like everyone else,” they perhaps do not yet realize what they are rejecting—the challenge and adventure that leads to the pearl of great price: the call to be “other” than your own declaration.
These gays don't appreciate what a gift their second-class citizenship had been! Those earthly powers who spoke for God denied them marriage not out of bigotry, but so their isolation and heartbreak would bring them closer to God.
The adventure begins when you hear the call, and respond not with a “give me,” but with a “please take.”
It sounds like something torturers might say mockingly to their victims. In this case the victims have escaped, but they're not out of the woods yet.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

THE OLD FOLKS AT HOME. Referring to his own essay at National Review, Matthew Shaffer tells readers of The Corner, "I encourage you to read the whole thing here, precisely because it’s a bad piece, in need of serious work — quite sketchy and incomplete." This at first endeared him to me, and made me wish his colleagues would similarly warn us when they were about to uncork a stinker.

Alas, I read the thing. Shaffer's self-evaluation is overly generous. His premise is that "America today is startlingly segregated by age relative to historical norms, a change that is as lamentable as it is unremarked upon." You can tell he's serious because he mentions C.S. Lewis several times.

He never explains why this "segregation" is bad, though -- or why it's segregation as the term is generally understood, since there is no evidence that the generations are being forcibly separated. Of course, by the modern terms of conservative victimology, Shaffer needed only to find people who felt freedom of association was working against them, as with the Big Hollywood guys' claims that their lack of Hollywood jobs proves they've been blackballed. Perhaps he should have strengthened his case with quotes from seniors complaining that the kids don't ever come over. Didn't he think to take a tape recorder to an early-bird special?

Shaffer supplies a list of malign influences leading to generational drift. Social mobility after the Second World War is one; Shaffer says it brought about a "change in the conception of home and property," which I suppose couldn't be helped, as no one had to foresight to throw the battle against fascism and thus avoid the socially disastrous post-War boom.

But naturally the New Deal made everything worse: "FDR’s Social Security used Leviathan to free the elderly from want" -- that is, codgers got cash and were not obliged by the threat of starvation or ill-health to take their kids' spare rooms, thus "freeing of duty the children who might have cared for them more holistically, and more humanly."

In a better, Social-Security-free world, the elderly would have been discouraged from relying on doctors and home-health aides for end-of-life treatment, and had their poultices applied by grateful progeny. As for those elders who didn't have children, they might have rotted in lean-tos or on the street, but they would at least have had the satisfaction of knowing their miserable deaths were not distorting the American way of life.

This is not entirely new thinking; Stanley Kurtz has similarly longed for an America without a safety net, so that out of economic catastrophes "a new set of social values could emerge" -- that is, we'd learn to eschew our former mobility because each family would need every member's contribution just to survive.

But Shaffer is even more ambitious than Kurtz, at least in the ringing of rightwing bells: Having unmasked the cultural menace of the New Deal, he lays into "the Sixties," which "took cultural authority from the elderly and gave it to the youth." In evidence he offers the heartbreaking fate of Yale students deprived of the company of their professors. (Or of the kind of company Bill Buckley kept with his profs at Yale -- I couldn't really figure out what Shaffer was talking about there.) Then he tackles that newer tool of Satan, the internet:
On the new digital globe, the generations are separate nations. A twentysomething trying to explain to his mother why, at the frivolous end, a video of an “Auto-Tune cat” is funny, or why, at the political end, his generation is resolved that it is taboo and a stigma to oppose same-sex marriage, will have as much luck as the Hawaiian natives had with Captain Cook.
Here I lost patience and wondered, first, how Shaffer knew, given the anonymity of the internet, that geezers are uniformly ignorant and suspicious of LulzSec and viral videos -- I'm quite an old dog myself, and I enjoy those things -- and, second, if Shaffer ever considered that different people might enjoy different things without suffering spiritual decay. That goes for old folks too; if grandma would rather watch reruns of Quincy than Portlandia -- if in fact she's grateful that she has a range of choices, instead of being limited to the quilting bee, the revival meeting, or rocking and whittling on the porch -- isn't it possible this is a good thing?

As usual, the idea of consent seems to elude these people.

Anyway: Shaffer has solutions.
Here are a few preliminary prescriptions to counter the problems of age segregation...

More people should die in their homes.
At first I thought he was longing for an uptick in fatal domestic accidents, perhaps to put the fear of God into people, but it turns out he just doesn't like hospices and such like. Also, "Grandparents should be more involved in raising their grandchildren" -- they should stop spending their time at the senior center, or on vacation, or working as greeters at Walmart, and go home; while Mom is cooking and the kids are playing video games, they can set by the fire and rail about how in their day TV was in black and white.
To counter age segregation, and because of economic-demographic realities, we should improve employment opportunities and incentives for seniors.
Since they're already taking care of the kids, it looks like the grandparents aren't going to get much of a retirement.
Churches especially should be skeptical of the efficacy of youth services... Even if they did increase youth attendance, that would not be worth the alienation.
This seems like a recipe for empty churches, as the elders will probably be too exhausted after their double-shifts at child care and senior employment to attend services. Or maybe in their misery they'll be psychologically driven to embrace religion anew. It worked with slaves!

Why is it that their solutions always seem to make things worse?
FEAR OF A GAY PLANET. Just thought I'd follow up on those rightbloggers who, I noticed in my Voice column, had previously remained tight-lipped about the New York gay marriage vote. RedState finally hosted Some Guy to try a Big Gummint spin. "Gay-rights activists are surely pleased with the new law," allowed Some Guy, "but they should ask themselves what they really want from this issue and whether the government can ever deliver." True, these activists seem pretty damned pleased about it now, but they may not have heard Some Guy's tightly reasoned argument.
Anyone can hold a marriage ceremony anywhere. Anyone can wear a ring. Anyone can cohabitate and raise children. The laws surrounding the transfer of wealth apply to less than 1% of taxpayers. Anybody can already visit Vermont for some syrup and a gay marriage. Very few lives will change in a practical way with the NY’s new law. Why the gay-rights obsession with government sanctioned marriage? Acceptance is the real gay-rights goal.
Those homosexuals whose ears lifted at this and who cried "O no, they're on to us!" will surely be affected by Some Guy's follow-up:
Gay-rights activists are sure to be sorely disappointed to learn that nobody’s opinion of gay marriage will change simply because NY now allows them to fill out a standard form. Gay marriage is a symbolic blast of hot air.
Hear that, faggots? Our fingers are in our ears, we're not listening, la la la.
Traditionalists will not change their beliefs. Life will go on, apart from a handful of politicians like Pres. Obama who in 2008 said “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me as a Christian — it is also a sacred union.”
Bwa ha ha! Where's your Obama now, gaysocialists? Finally Some Guy turns his rhetoric to whatever non-gay readers RedState might have:
Those who oppose gay marriage can only blame themselves for entrusting their institution with the government. The government twists in the political winds, and can only be relied on to disappoint. Most people now know that entrusting their retirement and healthcare to the government was a mistake. Entrusting marriage to the government is a similar roll of the dice.

The government should not endorse gay marriage; the government should get out of the marriage business altogether. Most of all, nobody should look to the government for validation of his life or defense of his religion. The governments of the US are corrupt, capricious, and are the biggest threat to the nation’s survival. Why should anyone expect such bodies to arbitrate morals?
This is lovely, as it conflates homo-hatred with libertarianism: Big Gummint can't protect us from universal health care, how can it protect us from the gay menace? Best to take down Moloch and have gay-free churches like grandpappy intended. But keep your Big Gummint hands of our Big Gummint subsidies!

Speaking of BG, Andrew Breitbart's Big Government finally ran a related story: "NYC ‘Pride’ Parade Turns Into Celebration of Gay Marriage." This was entirely cribbed from an AP story, but the commenters provided some pleasure. "They have until January of 2013 to live it up," muttered one cowboy, "then the Nation comes back to being the United States of America, with an American President, a Nation which includes New York State." So much for the federalist laboratories of democracy! From another, whom I am not entirely sure isn't kidding:
It's time to stop the perversion of the language. 'Gay Pride is an oxymoron, if homosexuals are proud, let them keep the word and not co-opt and redefine another word. I'm taking the word 'gay' back. 'Gay apparel' is a colorful Christmas sweater or blouse, not a leisure suit with a change pocket.
Not bad, but I prefer the Homer Simpson version:

Many other top rightbloggers remain silent on the issue. Michelle Malkin can't be arsed, nor can Gateway Pundit, Roger L. Simon, Jeff Godlstein, Ed Driscoll, Dean Esmay, and even the mean fake nun The Anchoress, among many other top-tier lunatics. If I didn't know them better I'd say they might be embarrassed, but I do, and assume they're merely waiting for the day when they can either claim credit for gay marriage or lead torch-bearing mobs against homosexuals, depending on the breaks.

For shits and giggles (mostly shits) let's close with one of those low-end vendors who had nothing to lose and so were happy to extemporize on the subject, Francis W. Porretto. After explaining the biological basis of No Gay Marriage in his inimitable, Looka-me-I'm-Chesterton-after-a-brain-injury style -- "Women, therefore, are vulnerable before the male sex drive. They have their own sex drive, of course, and are legally 'protected' against rape in all civilized nations" -- Porretto delivers the saddest-ever defense of het marriage in an age of abundant divorce:
Most spouses remain faithful to one another while the marriage lasts.
Eventually he gets around to yelling at gay people, more in concern-trollery than in anger: While declaring that the "great majority" of same-sexers "are just as decent as the great majority of heterosexuals" ("for the sake of argument," that is, not really), Porretto asks:
  • Given that the correlations among same-sex marriage, declining fertility rates, and single-parent families are so strong, and that the obvious path forward is to research the matter for its causal interstices, why are homosexuals so determined to prevent even the discussion thereof?

  • If there is a causal link, such that the legalization of same-sex marriage does lead to various social pathologies and accelerating social decline, what benefits do homosexuals expect to reap from it that are:
    • Currently unavailable to them; and:
    • Great enough to justify inflicting that much damage on American society?
Or, to put it another way, when did you stop beating your same-sex so-called "wife," and Western Civilization? Look at it this way: He's just saying what rightbloggers are all thinking, but are too career-minded to say out loud.

UPDATE. Thank you commenter Keith: "Gay Panic no longer holds any water since they've been screeching about it for more than a decade and the worst thing to happen is that it's become socially exceptable for men to use hair gel."

Monday, June 27, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the New York gay marriage vote and the rightblogger reaction to it. I can't say it was hard to predict, nor that it is hard to enjoy. Go look!

The story reminds me of another this year, in which the New York Times [!] purported to tell us about "just how common open relationships are among gay men and lesbians in the Bay Area." To anyone over 18, this report would be about as explosive as one about the prevalence of bowling alleys in Michigan; also, the study the Times quoted wasn't restricted to married (excuse me, "married") couples. But many conservatives, like Tom Hoopes of the NC Register, thought it proved that "those who argue for heterosexual marriage were right all the time. Homosexual 'marriages' aren’t really marriages in the way we define them." The article was similarly characterized by other rightbloggers, e.g., "Study: Gay Marriage Involves More Outside Relationships," "NYT: Rampant Polygamy in Gay ‘Marriage’ May Benefit Institution," etc.

I note that some of the boys are at least acting embarrassed about the kind of nonsense they normally pull now that another boulder has come down in advance of the gay marriage landslide. But let us never forget how full of shit they are when they think nobody's paying attention.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

THE CIVIL RIGHTS STRUGGLES OF RIGHTWING REPUBLICANS. One of my staples here at alicublog has been stories about conservatives playing the victim. It is strange to me that people who constantly assert that America is as right-wing as they are, and whose ideas of government have ruled Washington for most of the past three decades, are unembarrassed to declare themselves oppressed and disenfranchised by liberals. Even when a Democrat is shot, they portray themselves as the injured parties.

A fine example is provided today by Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator. A bunch of liberals who have been mean to conservative Republican Sarah Palin have also been mean to conservative Republican Michele Bachmann. Said liberals have also been mean to Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and others whose viewpoints they disdain, but Palin and Bachmann, Lord suggests, are of a special, vulnerable class, and Palin's noble campaign of self-aggrandizement has blazed a trail for Bachmann's current success. Lord finds the objective correlatives:
Al Smith and John F. Kennedy: The group trying to rise? Catholics, Irish-Catholics specifically...

The group trying to rise? The new American conservative movement. Goldwater, the Senator from Arizona, was the champion -- the Al Smith of conservatives...

Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama: The group in question? African-Americans...
One of these things is not like the other -- and not just because there's no boldface header for Goldwater and Reagan, which may have been an editor's attempt to soft-pedal Lord's bizarre comparison of struggles against anti-Catholic and anti-black prejudice with the way "the liberal media of the day treated Goldwater scandalously." Nonetheless the comparison is later made more forthrightly:
And so -- like clockwork -- just as their predecessors tried to re-make JFK into Al Smith, Reagan into Goldwater, Obama into Jackson, the usual suspects, doubtless startled as the political ground shifts, are suddenly trying to make Michele Bachmann into the caricature they created of, yes, Sarah Palin.
Along the way Lord tries to bolster his argument by accusing Palin's and Bachmann's detractors of an actual longstanding prejudice, sexism -- but in this case it is a special sort of sexism, only roused by a certain class of female: "The idea of a conservative woman in the White House," says Lord, "was a danger to liberals on multiples of levels." And suddenly all those libs who supported, say, Hillary Clinton (whose status apparently protected her from unkind remarks from conservatives, in some alternative universe) have shown their true colors.

Lord must have heard somewhere that sisterhood is powerful, and decided to get in on the action.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A GRIM DUTY. Walter Russell Mead, seconded by such as Ole Perfesser Reynolds, dances victoriously with the news that some top-100 lists of public high schools in the U.S. have Red State schools in the top positions. This, he declares, means that teachers' unions are through, America needs more home-schooling, etc.

If you think about it for a couple of seconds, you remember that America has many thousands of high schools, and that the presence of a shining example or two in Texas doesn't make that state an education winner any more than the presence of Michael Jordan made the Washington Wizards NBA Champions.

Some of Mead's commenters point this out; others refer to flaws in the surveys' methodologies, etc. But none of that matters and you know it; it does as much good as reading Shakespeare to sea lions. Among the belligerati, the notion that schools in Republican territories are naturally, vastly superior to those found in fancy-pants states now spurs the usual internet chest-bumps, and will do so long into the future; when their local education budgets have been voided out because they're socialist, and their grandkids know only the Bible, the Turner Diaries, and how to cook meth, they're still be talking about how their schools (or, as they will then be known, "l'arnin' sheds") are the best in the nation Because Low Taxes.

I had expected to get to bed early and wasn't even going to mention this story. I mean, who needs the aggravation? People like Mead and Reynolds do this and worse pretty much every couple of minutes. Keeping track of it is a lost cause.

Well, maybe that's the point. It's good to be reminded that, any given moment, these guys are busy driving up our national rate of flying bullshit. (I think we're up around Tulipmania now, and fast approaching levels not seen in nations before, but only in cults and Amway seminars.) If you can't catch all the incoming, at least you have some idea where the smell is coming from.

UPDATE. The subject is depressing for other reasons, too -- commenter N.C. looks at his local listings and says, "I'm totally super excited about the two-tiered future of public education: great schools for rich kids and math nerds with good test-taking skills, and Junior Sing-Sing (Now With Books) for everybody else."
SHORTER ELIZABETH SCALIA*: Maureen Dowd is very juvenile about gay so-called "marriage"! Let me make the grown-up Catholic counterargument: Dicks fit better in pussies than in assholes.

*Mean fake nun when she's off-duty.

(And that's just the tip of the yikes!berg; my second-favorite bit is "I am not sure gay fulfillment rests in adopting heterosexual norms, either" -- she's only keeping those norms away from them for their own good! -- but there are many others you could pick over, had you the same perverse taste in abnormal psychology case studies as I.)

UPDATE. Several of you do share my taste, you poor devils (Doghouse Riley: "Maureen Dowd was vapid and incoherent? And you think this means you win?"). Scalia's interest in "the two shall become one flesh" puts Hell's Littlest Angel in mind of David Cronenberg, but it reminded me of Robert P. George.
BLACK PRESIDENT DONE STOLE MAH CHAINSAW. All Victor Davis Hanson's National Review posts are pretty much the same stew ladled from different parts of the pot -- e.g., Anthony Weiner blah blah John Edwards blah blah RobertByrdJosefStalinSaddamHussein blah narcissists Versailles Washington. Or: Boeing blah blah Petraeus-Bush blah Van Jones blah Geithner Defense of Marriage.

He goes a little further in this essay, about some recent robberies in his neck of the woods. One guy snatched Hanson's chainsaw. ("Mind you there was only a 5-minute hiatus in between my cutting.") Another pulled copper wire out of his pump. And a house down the way was relieved of its major appliances. Hanson is in California farm country, and I must say his sad tale made me happier than usual to be living in Harlem, where such offenses are not so bunched up.

Hanson has been inspired by these misfortunes to generalize:
I think the public would react in two different ways to the above occurrences — and such a dichotomy explains a lot why the nation has never been more divided.
(I never did figure out what the second way to which he alluded was; maybe one of you can explain it to me.) A majority of his fellow citizens, Hanson says, will know that the robbers wanted money for "drugs, excitement, or to buy things like an iPhone or DVD" rather than food. Which may well be, though as he later complains of California's rotten economy, I'm not sure how he knows this -- oh, wait, Mexifornia blah blah gangbanger blah blah La Raza; I see what he's getting at.
After all, Hollywood, pop music, the court system, and the government itself sympathize with, even romanticize those forced to take a chainsaw, not the old middle-class bore who bought it.

The remedy to address theft would be not more government help — public assistance, social welfare, counseling — but far less, given that human nature rises to the occasion when forced to work and sinks when leisured and exempt. I don’t believe my thieves have worked much; instead, they figured a day’s theft beats tile setting or concrete work beginning at 5 AM.
Here we see the casual connection between these three robberies and Hollywood, which spurred them on, his link suggests, with Bonnie and Clyde. (I'd be stunned if the crooks knew anything about this 44-year-old movie; I guess Hanson felt a reference to rap music would give the game away.)

Also, illegal immigrants are using up Hanson's emergency room services.
The taxpayer cannot indefinitely fund the emergency room treatment for the shooter and his victim on Saturday night if society cannot put a tool down for five minutes without a likely theft, or a farmer cannot turn on a 50-year old pump without expecting its electrical connections to have been ripped out. Civilization simply cannot function that way for either the productive citizen or the parasite, who still needs a live host.
Yes, the producer and the parasite -- the basis of all the Going Galt stuff though, as Hanson is here in full victim mode, we are not getting the traditional threats that he will actually leave, alas.
The same is true of unions, pensions, and compensation…

…if everyone is on food stamps (actually computerized government plastic credit cards designed to avoid the old stigma of pulling out a coupon), are there still food stamps?…

This liberal notion of being careful of what you wish for extends to energy…
If you're an aficionado of this sort of thing, you can see what's coming next:
Watching the tastes, the behavior, the rhetoric, the appointments, and the policy of this administration suggests to me that it is not really serious in radically altering the existing order, which it counts on despite itself. Its real goal is a sort of parasitism that assumes the survivability of the enfeebled host.
blah blah cap and trade blah blah Guantanamo blah blah solar panels. You'd hardly know that the Democratic governor of Hanson's home state is actually battling the Democrats in his legislature to scale the budget back, using the traditional tool of the veto rather than putting on a tricorner and raging in the town square. But Jerry Brown is prosaically trying to fix California's budget, whereas Hanson is -- I would say poetically, were it not an insult to poetry; might I say doggerelly? -- trying to exponentiate race and class resentments which may be useful in future elections.

We've lately seen others among the brethren use minority crime stories to rile their readers against the black President, but Hanson goes to much greater lengths than they have to conceal his purpose. Is it possible that he's embarrassed?

UPDATE. Commenter MikeJ breaks down VicDave "300" Jo's POV: "He's just upset that we don't allow the hoplite farmer class to keep slaves around to guard the chainsaw from the persians."

Monday, June 20, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP. about the emergence of Michele Bachmann as a serious Presidential candidate, and by serious I mean ridiculous. There's also some stuff in there about Rick Perry, the latest in a series of If Only candidates. (I don't know why no one's approached Nancy Reagan.)

I'm still waiting for Sarah Palin to make things absolutely mesmerizing, but you can learn a lot about conservatives by watching them window-shop. In this case they're kind of like someone who's looking for a gift to help cheer up a depressed America, but keeps wandering over to the gun counter.

Friday, June 17, 2011

BLEEDING HEARTS. Michele Bachmann attacks Obama for an alleged lack of "empathy" for the little guy; almost simultaneously, ABC's Jake Tapper grills White House communications director Jay Carney on Obama "seeming to be out of touch over the economic woes of Americans." (Here Tapper gives them more. Ya gotta love that liberal media -- they're so clever they often give the impression of carrying the GOP's water. But that's all their craft and artfulness! )

Suddenly the brethren wonder why Obama isn't crying them a Boehneresque river: Gay Patriot ("he seems strangely dispassionate, only showing emotion when criticizing his critics"), Hindrocket ("perhaps it suggests that his real objective is to advance leftist objectives like government takeover of medicine, not to improve the lot of working Americans"), Taylor Marsh ("he just doesn’t connect emotionally"), the Perfesser, et alia.

Of course come the 2012 campaign, both Obama and whatever horrible creature the Republican Party imbues with its life-force will be empathizing their asses off, so this doesn't mean much except for one thing: It's a sign the boys have, in their minds, already advanced to the electioneering stage and are starting to think seriously about bamboozling someone other than their regular readers. No regular patron of these professional Patrick Bateman impersonators would mistake them for empaths; the hope instead is that, with enough practice and a thorough cleaning of the sheep's clothing, they might take the act on the road and there find some success.

Along with demonizing the ungushy Obama, they'll try to convince voters that their candidate is, conversely, full of gush -- someone they would like to have a beer with, in the old phrase (though, given how their last beer-worthy president worked out, they'll have some difficulty erasing from voters' minds the fear that their beer will be spiked with Rohypnol).

And that's the problem with the empathy thing. Given the wretched state of the economy, Obama should be getting blown out in polls, yet he manages to keep it close against a "generic" Republican candidate. I'm convinced this is because the American people know at least that Republicans do not have their best interests at heart and, given the Party's recent tendency to promote psychopaths, aren't sure they even have the will to pander anymore. The generic candidate actually has an advantage here; it's one thing to convince the punters that Obama doesn't care, but another to convince them that the Worthy Opponent does. Which of these guys convinces you?

Maybe they should just pool their resources and hire somebody who doesn't look like he would gleefully kill you for Jesus/your wallet. At least then they'll have done something about unemployment.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

TORTUREGASMS AT NATIONAL REVIEW. Peter Moskos has an op-ed proposing that, whenever possible, we subject convicts to floggings rather than incarceration. It's a flawed but genuinely interesting thought experiment -- not one of those "What if you stupid liberals were Hitler CAUSE YOU ARE!" thought experiments you get from conservatives -- the purpose of which is made plain by its closing: "If it takes a defense of flogging to make us face the truth about prison and punishment, I say bring on the lash."

But this sort of argument can only be conducted among adults who have learned to control their retributive impulses -- which lets out the boys at National Review, who of course see it as a chance to talk about their enjoyment of human suffering. Andrew C. McCarthy:
Jonah, this dovetails with a thought experiment I’ve been pushing for a while now, in rebuttal to the claim that waterboarding (as it was administered by the CIA on three top al-Qaeda detainees) is torture. If you gave every inmate serving, say, two years or less in prison the option of being waterboarded or completing his sentence, what would he choose? I’d be stunned if less than 95 percent chose waterboarding.
McCarthy thinks that if you were offered a choice between two years in prison and some waterboarding, and you took the waterboarding, then you obviously don't think think waterboarding is so bad. As usual, the very concept of consent eludes them. (That's McCarthy's head shot up there; looks like he's cumming in his pants over the prospect of manning the "Torture or Time?" booth.)

Even worse in his way is Kenneth D. Williamson:
Jonah and Andy: I’m not entirely sure about flogging, but I have long seriously advocated the return of stocks, especially for crimes of a nature that inherently degrade public life... I think 24 hours in the stocks for defacing a public space with graffiti would be appropriate, especially if the stocks were set up at the scene of the crime...
And you know who'll be there early with rocks!
But I also think that government should mostly do its business in public, including its punitive business. Public crimes ask for public punishments.
When they bring back public hangings, the victim won't be the only one to pop a boner.
As for the flogging, I remember thinking in the case of young Michael Fay — you may remember: the snot-nosed American punk kid who got himself caned in Singapore back in 1994 — that the punishment was probably appropriate to the crime, perhaps even a little on the lenient side.
Interestingly, Moskos says in the op-ed, "Some would argue that flogging isn’t harsh enough," and that if this is their counterargument, "then perhaps we need to question our humanity."

Seems a good place to put this:

HOCKEY RIOT IN VANCOUVER. I must say I'm surprised that Matt Drudge hasn't colored in the rioters' faces with magic marker, spurring another wave of conservative outrage.

In the absence of negritude, maybe they'll blame it on socialized medicine. If these guys had rickets, they wouldn't be able to riot!

UPDATE. Commenter KC45s gets there early: "Don't worry. They're working on the theme of 'liberal Vancouver' and 'Canada's San Francisco' even now. The posts would be up already but the crew at NR haven't been able to find the city on a map yet."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

ANNALS OF THE CULTURE WAR. I have been encouraged to review the latest opus of Ben Shapiro, boy culture-warrior, this one in National Review and about the "twelve best conservative TV shows." It is a noisome task. The descriptions are moronic ("I may be the only person on earth who believes that Lost skews conservative on political matters..."), as is indeed the whole thing. But this statement is worth noting:
You’ll see that many of these shows were also created by outspoken liberals — so this is a tribute to those gutsy liberals who didn’t toe the party line.
This is really how Shapiro, and his fellow operatives, think about TV, movies, literature, etc. They think all the studios, presses, and writers' rooms are actually devoted to advancing leftism -- that in real life the show-runner begins each day by asking, "How can we speed the coming of the dictatorship of the proletariat?" And if Shapiro likes a show, he imagines that some of these minions have bravely rebelled by inserting conservatism into their work.

It's sort of like when people who generally look down on TV think the shows they enjoy come from the creators' attempt to insert a little artistry into the commercial product. This is a simplification, but at least it acknowledges the forces of art and commerce. In Shapiro's case, though, it's all political, because that's what he thinks everything is. When he gets a pair of shoes that fit comfortably, he probably gives a prayer of thanks to the cobbler who resisted liberal orthodoxy to provide them.

Shapiro's height of lunacy is reached in his coda, where he offers to "help television save itself." From what, I wonder? Television is doing well enough that someone could afford to pay Charlie Sheen $2 million an episode. And when its producers are dissatisfied with the money they're making -- and they always are -- they innovate in ways that have nothing to do with politics (as with reality shows -- small investment, big profits). But Shapiro insists:
In truth, only Hollywood can save television. And Hollywood can save television only if they give up their liberal agenda and focus on what they should have been focusing on all along: pleasing the American people, regardless of political viewpoint.
The American people have already voted with their eyeballs -- they want Snooki and celebrity drug addicts. That's capitalism, comrade, and a better lesson in conservatism than Shapiro can manage.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

OOGA BOOGA. Some Guy at RedState:
Whether our best and brightest want to admit to it or not, law and order disintegrates daily in America...

Thus, I believe that the eventual GOP candidate for President has to ignore the accusations of racism and make this an issue. This is bigger than just a shot at political advantage. The blood of innocent people cries out from the stained and filthy alleys of our lawless urban streets.
I'm sitting here in Harlem; why has no one knifed me yet? Let's see what the FBI says in their Preliminary Annual Crime Statistics for 2010:
...the nation experienced a 5.5 percent decrease in the number of violent crimes and a 2.8 percent decline in the number of property crimes in 2010 when compared with data from 2009...

Violent crime declined in all city groups. Cities with populations of 250,000 to 499,999 saw the greatest decline in violent crime (6.9 percent). Violent crime in non-metropolitan counties decreased 6.4 percent, and in metropolitan counties, it declined 6.0 percent.
What's Some Guy talking about then? Oh, he saw some stuff on Drudge about black people committing violent crimes -- like the story that excited this eruption from the brethren last month. Says Some Guy:
The offenders portrayed were primarily young, black males. Those who listen intently for dog whistles heard them.
And by that he means liberals who pretend not to know that Drudge is way ahead of law enforcement in noticing ObamaAmerica's black violent crime wave.

But at least some patriots have got the guts to tell the truth:

Noted civil rights activist Robert Stacy McCain steps up to defend this ad: "Are people really so dense," he asks, "that I need to explain what Ladd’s video was intended to accomplish?" No -- no one's that dense.

UPDATE. See also, too.