Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WHY ARE YOU MURDERING YOURSELF? James Fallows is appropriately outraged at the police violence at some Occupy sites. Here's how James Taranto plays it at the Wall Street Journal:
Fallows sees the Davis incident as a political boon for Obamaville...
This Occupy moment is not going to end any time soon. That is not just because of the underlying 99%-1% tensions but also because of police response of this sort--and because there have been so many similar videos coming from cities across the country.
Read the Fallows piece, or even Taranto's quote from it, and you'll see immediately how tendentious this interpretation is. But it doesn't stop there:
What Fallows is predicting--perhaps hoping for--
Oh Jesus Christ.
...is what PJMedia.com blogger "Zombie" calls a "Kent State moment." Kent State is the Ohio university where, in 1970, National Guardsmen fired their rifles at a mob of rioting student-protesters, killing four. "Why would these left-leaning pundits and activists hope for fatalities amongst the protesters?" Zombie asks rhetorically:
But that's not what they're hoping for. . . . When a leftist hears the words "Kent State," the immediate association is that fateful day when the media published an iconic photograph of an anti-war martyr that was the final tipping point that convinced the majority of Americans to oppose the war.
But wait. Let's say, heaven forbid, that the Obamavillians get their "Kent State moment"...
So, building from a bogus premise, Taranto gets another wingnut to say that "leftists" want a "Kent State moment," and then attributes the sentiment to the "Obamavillains."

And then he just keeps running with it: "if Fallows and other bien-pensant pundits think the Obamavillians will advance politically by seeking confrontation with the police..." and "If the American public has any sympathy at all for the Obamavillians, there is no surer way of squandering it than to follow Fallows's advice and pursue a strategy of confronting the police."

I know they try to fool their readers, but it's something to see one of them doing it in a major newspaper so badly, so transparently, and with so little hope of success. Do they even believe they have normal readers anymore, or is Taranto just hoping Jonah Goldberg will send him a nice note? And does Murdoch -- oh, hell, we all know what he thinks.

The blogging thing really has been a net loss for journalism; the race to the bottom has run so deep that we now have Wall Street Journal writers publishing stuff that would make Jeff Goldstein think of trying a second draft.

Monday, November 21, 2011

KEEP THE CRAP COMING. I'm way late on everything these days, gentle reader. I got me a job with a long commute, and between that and domestic bliss I hardly have time to run over here, yell JONAH GOLDBERG FARRRT, and take my bows. But I must get this one done. You all know World O' Crap? It's one of the few reliably funny current-events blogs, and its Smiler With a Knife, Scott Clevenger, is having a spot of bother, cash-flow-wise. And it's not just he that's got trouble, but also some poor woman who I assume is his mistress, and someone called "Moondoggie" who I assume is his mentally deficient adult son. It's a dark picture which you can limn a healthy green via his Pay Pal button. Please do, it'll make me feel good about myself, not to mention you.
IT'S THE NEW STYLE. Every once in a while I come across some young rightnik and wonder what he's been up to. James Poulos we last considered here in his role as interlocutor for a Jonah Goldberg video fart-fest, from which no one could come out smelling good. Well, Poulos has been spreading his seed, lately with this article in Foreign Policy. I found it so unobjectionable that I had to wonder whether I'd misjudged him and everything else. So I went to his First Things blog:
With the recent death of Steve Jobs we should applaud the expansion of the use of technological i-devices he provided, in that we are more and more connected. But out of wedlock births seem to be on the rise nonetheless.
Okay, I feel centered now. (Update: Poulos didn't write this one, apparently; someone named John Presnall did. So hereafter I'm changing the proper names. Poulos actually quit PMC over a year ago. Maybe he's gone legit! I'll look into it.) Presnall isn't like those total internet madmen you shy your kids away from when they come stumbling down the bandwidth -- he's more like parfait crazy; there'll be a sweet, foamy layer of stuff about the problems of constant, empty connectedness in the internet world, and then suddenly BAM, flash mobs, technocrats and JOE PATERNO:
Meanwhile, people die. These dying people still care about sports—even college sports. They may be stupid in their concern, but the immense amounts of money that college sports generate for the apparatus of colleges and universities gives prestige to such important things that the tenured genii of the future provide for humanity. Or at least that is what I saw on the commercial advertising the greatness of any given particular school during the typical televised football game. The TV ads showed multicultural pictures of scientists dressed in lab coats and safety glasses.

All this reminds me of Pascal’s observation regarding the dress that the nobility must don in order to maintain their authority—their nobility is secure in their purple and ermine, i.e., sterile white lab coats with beakers in the laboratory background. ...
You know -- oh wait, gotta get this in:
But I am a product of all his “higher education” nonsense, and as a teacher I am pressured to perpetuate it.
Yeah, thanks, Professor. Postmodern conservatism, like postmodern anything else, is a great racket -- while Jonah Goldberg is attempting things that resemble arguments, however superficially, and embarrassing himself in front of anyone who can grasp their inferiority to other actual arguments, including those held by Ralph and Alice Kramden, Presnall doesn't have to bother -- he can just throw up signifiers of discontent with our lousy liberal society, where an accused child rapist enabler proceeds naturally from scientism-multiculturalism. Or is it vice-versa? Whatever.

Or maybe they're all doing that. Come to think of it, Victor Davis Hanson may be the granddaddy of the postmodern conservative mash-up. Curse these tenured radicals!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, following up on the continued rise of Newt Gingrich. A rightblogger consensus seems to be forming that Gingrich's lack of popularity is proof of his seriousness as a candidate. Also, he hates the Lame Stream Media so hard that he's bound to win, just as Sarah Palin was bound to win before she decided not to even run, for reasons none of them have figured out yet.

Among the outtakes, Doug MacKinnon:
Gingrich understands that Americans have to work harder and harder to not only take care of themselves and their families, but support the various freeloaders the Democrats enable in search of easy votes.

As such, they simply don't have the time to go to their favorite websites, blogs or conservative talk shows to always get honest reporting or facts.
I return again and again to this image of Mr. and Mrs. America crawling home after an 18-hour day at the collective solar energy farm and plopping down on their pallets, too exhausted to turn on the computer and read Mark Steyn, and I weep with laughter for my country.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT, AND YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU LIE. So Steven Hayward is doing one of those New Conservative things, sort of like Ross Douthat's Sam's Club conservatism, only newer and fresher so the suckers might not catch on.

For starters, Hayward swallows hard and admits that when Ronald Reagan cut taxes but didn't cut spending on anything except bums and black people, fun as it was, it wasn't really doing much for America. Well, except for this:
And yet, conservatives resist facing up squarely to this grim reality for a variety of reasons, some of them having to do with their undeniable successes of the last two generations. The first and most significant triumph was the creation of the conservative movement itself, which arose from the far fringes to the center of American political life in little more than a generation.
So all us College Republicans got jobs. Sweet. Look out, here comes another success:
The reduction in income and investment tax rates is of a piece with a broader reinvigoration of market processes...
Damn right it reinvigorated the market, which became so robust that a few years ago it ate all our money and jobs. The hits keep on coming:
Despite these cases of incomplete or counterproductive results, the conservative reinvigoration of markets and the discrediting of central planning was a positive correction to liberalism worldwide...
Because liberals suck.

That really could be the end of it, but like all bullshit visionaries Hayward has to do the reaching-out thing where both the enlightened conservatives and the liberals-who-suck have to come together to realize Steven Hayward's revolutionary plan:
Requiring the American people to actually pay for all of the government they receive is, as Niskanen and others have convincingly argued, the most effective way to limit its growth. Right now the anti-tax bias of the Right results in shifting costs onto future generations who do not vote in today's elections, and enables liberals to defend against spending restraints very cheaply. Instead of starving the beast, conservatives should serve the check.
Sane people who've been around the block can easily see right down to the marrow of this thing, which is: After years of conservatives looting the treasury, everyone's out of money, and you the punters will pay the bill. You liberals should like it, though, because we're going to "expand the current $1,500 per child tax credit to something closer to $5,000, which would wipe out a large portion of payroll tax liability and raise household after-tax income considerably." And that's whatchacall progressive. Oh, but you have to spot us the Paul Ryan Welfare-into-Coupons-for-Codgers plan. Fair's fair.

Hayward's very good at this -- he can even say stuff like "the experience of welfare reform suggests that there has been no 'race to the bottom' among the states to eliminate basic assistance programs" with a straight face despite its obvious absurdity. So he may get a book tour and a few C-SPAN appearances out of it. After all, he's already got one sucker. They can't all be as stupid as Dreher, of course, but in political writing, unlike politics, you don't need anything like a majority.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE ETC. Veronique de Rugy is always solicitous of the rich, and at National Review today she again attempts to wring tears from their lot, this time in the matter of income mobility:
After the first year year, roughly half of those who were millionaires (reporting over a million dollars in adjusted gross income) at some point between 1999 and 2007 were still millionaires. After two years, 15 percent — roughly 102,000 millionaires — retained that status. This decreasing rate of remaining millionaires persists, and only about 6 percent — roughly 38,000 millionaires — were millionaires for all nine years.
At her companion piece she tells us the former millionaires "face substantial downward income mobility over time." Perhaps they're all sleeping under bridges; I wish I knew where; what stories they must have to tell!

Then de Rugy refers to Stephen Kaplan, who says that "when you only look at data that stops in 2007, it obscures the fact that the wealthiest 1 percent took a sizeable hit after the financial crisis — their share of income went down to 17 percent in the last two years." Neither he nor de Rugy tells us how much that is in actual dollars, but it must be awful; in fact it may be that the former millionaires who are sleeping under bridges look down on them. Want a Kleenex?

It's an interesting thing to talk about while people are being thrown out of parks nationwide. Or does she even notice things like that?

UPDATE. Several commenters smell a rat. "According to her train of thought," says Nylund, "someone who made 10 million a year for 10 years, then retired, ceased to be a millionaire." Shhh, you're spoiling the magic of millionairism! Once you get into that club, you are not like other people, and so must be separated from them, your traces kicked over, and your finances disguised with bullshit statistics.

Monday, November 14, 2011

MORAL DEGENERATE. Just last week Daniel Foster was pissed because some mean liberal implied that the Penn State pedophilia scandal had something to do with white male hegemony. I knew right then and there that Foster was not expressing moral outrage but jealousy, and that the only reason real rightwing craziness hadn't ensued on the subject was that the central committee had been caught off-guard and had yet to work out an angle.

And so it turned out. Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog has already torn up the idiotic Walter Russell Mead column about how the liberal 60s caused Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky, but there are other examples floating around, though none so ripe, to my mind, as the one at Bookworm Room:
Agrarian and frontier societies are, of necessity, self-reliant. (Yes, even Europeans once knew how to make do.) Right up until the 1960s, what separated America from other nations was that, until very recently in historic terms, it managed to be an amalgam of Western intellectualism and frontier self-reliance... And, by gosh, if self-reliance is the standard, those pioneers were virtuous.
You see where he's going: back in colonial times there weren't any child molesters! The usual villains are trotted out: Roosevelt, who "jump-started the notion of a comprehensive welfare system," and Obama, who because he disdained the Republican philosophy that "if you get sick, you’re on your own" shows "hostility to the classic American dream, one that believed it was a virtue for people to make it on their own."

But then it gets deep, brothers and sisters. Bookworm brings us "headlines in both England, where the dependency rot runs deep, and America," showing that in ObamaRoosevelt's America/England, "people abjure individual action," and that's how you get raped kids. These stories are about people failing to rescue distressed citizens, and this line from the peroration gives you a clear picture of Bookworm's reasoning:
That’s just two stories, right? What if I add a third, again from England?
Three! Holy shit, you're right, we're all moral degenerates! Eventually there's nothing for it but the Reich card:
Looking at these few examples, I can’t help but think of another culture that allowed itself to lapse into such a bureaucratic mindset that citizens either passively watched or actively engaged in the most heinous acts. I’m thinking, of course, of the Nazis.
By now Bookworm has worked himself into such a lather that he has to tell us how he'd have beat up Jerry Sandusky with judo or something ("I do martial arts because I really like it — but I also do it so that I can act").

Eventually he's all seethed out, and his mood swings skyward:
Fortunately, despite socialist government’s best efforts to mandate inaction (or, at least, to give people an excuse for failing to get involved), all is not lost. There will always be decent people who do get involved.
And then he starts telling us another kind of story -- tales of derring-do, heroism, moxie! You hope then that he'll realize that the ugly stories he repeated a few grafs back aren't an indictment of his fellow countrymen -- that ours is a big country with lots of different kinds of people in it, good and bad. We have no idea whether the heroes and villains were liberals or conservatives, only that all were tested and some found wanting -- surely that will remind him that not everything in this life is about his crappy little politics.

Recently, a motorcyclist trapped under a car was lucky enough to find himself in the presence of proactive people, unconstrained by analysis paralysis, government regulations, or career worries.
For him, that's the significant thing -- not that men were brave, but that in being brave they rose above the welfare state. Oh, and also:
Barack Obama has stated clearly that his goal is to create precisely the bureaucratic, dependency culture that makes Penn State’s (and Nazi Germany) possible.
A million 60s-vintage Jerry Rubins gibbering in unison couldn't beat that.
UPDATE. Commenters sure had fun with this. "It's like No True Scotsmen," says Spaghetti Lee, "but the Scotsmen in question are the cast of Trainspotting." DKF notes that "Republicans have created their own culture of dependency on strawmen." Some of the commenters talk about what things were really like back in the early days of the Republic -- hint: it wasn't all virtuous self-reliance and knitting -- but this is overkill; the past, present, future, and any conceivable fantasy/parallel universes are bound by no rules of logical consistency when rightbloggers are in this sort of dudgeon -- so long as they get in two buzzwords per paragraph and at least one affirmation of moral superiority before the close, the means of conveyance is practically irrelevant.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the next President of the United States, Newt Gingrich. Gingrich doesn't seem like a fit candidate for rehabilitation to me, but what do I know -- look at Nixon.

Here's one that didn't make the cut, from NewsBusters:
Newt Gingrich Accused of Hating Mankind by 'Conservative' Kathleen Parker

Moments after being introduced by Face the Nation host Bob Schiiffer as a "conservative" columnist, the Washington Post's Kathleen Parker on Sunday referred to Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich as a "misanthrope" - aka a mankind hater...
Reminds me of the Gore Vidal joke about the candidate who circulated a rumor that his opponent's sister was a thespian. And Gingrich, we are told, is the intellectual candidate.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I DON'T SEE ANY METHOD AT ALL, SIR. Regarding last night's GOP Presidential debate, I have not much to add to Charles P. Pierce's righteous commentary, except to marvel aloud at the hallucinatory quality that these events (what was this, the 32nd of them?) have achieved. My simple human interest in observing these cornpone con artists at work on their national profiles has not only waned, but evaporated; I could only spare about 20 minutes for this one; it was as mentally fatiguing as a bank of televisions simultaneously playing sermons by different evangelical preachers.

I will say that while Pierce is on the money regarding the principals' expressions of childlike faith in The Market, I do not see evidence that the magic of capitalism rises for any of them to the level of a theme that might define and animate a campaign, let alone the current Republican Party, as it did for Reagan. The idea, if we can call it such, that the market will fix everything is pretty comical in the midst of a worldwide depression, and I doubt even the candidates (with the possible exception of Paul) believe in it; they're only trotting it out because it's one of the concepts market-testing has shown will excite the GOP dead-enders from whom they are trying to cadge primary votes.

If the Free Market con was prominent in their stew of non-sequiturs last night, it's only because their other paternosters are almost exclusively negative -- hatred of Mexicans, hatred of hippies, hatred of the poor, hatred of sex, hatred of themselves -- and somewhere in their playbook it says Reagan had a sunny disposition because it's always morning in America. So every once in a while each these wretched, miserable people, sensing he or she was missing something important, would testify to the healing power of economic freedom, receive approving seal-barks, and then get back to the resentment-stirring that comprises the rest of his or her schtick.

Given all this, neither the latest confirmation of the magnitude of Rick Perry's ignorance, nor the parlor game of wondering when Herman Cain will just get it over with,  put his hand up Michele Bachmann's skirt, and offer her the Vice-Presidency, can make these debates interesting to me anymore. I'll just wait for the general, when one of these poor schmoes will have to talk to a human being.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

WHY ARE YOU HITTING YOURSELF? The Washington Examiner crime section:
Occupy DC becoming increasingly violent, police say...

Citing injuries to five people outside the Washington Convention Center on Friday night, the mayor urged the demonstators to show restraint so that their protests are not discredited by violence. [italics mine]
If you're one of the few people who read several grafs further down, you'll see this:
Four of the injured people appear to be protesters themselves.
That's how the pros do, and by "pro" I mean propagandist.
SHORTER JOE SCARBOROUGH: Barack Obama has taken a lot of Wall Street money, and his policies have made Wall Street very rich. So it's an outrage that he called Wall Street bankers or somebody like that "fat cats." Now, you know me, I'm a free-market guy, so you'll understand that I'm not asking for a genuinely anti-bankster President -- I just want one who'll take their money and kiss their ass... What, I'm still short? I'll just make my description of that scene from Casablanca longer and harder to follow. I mean it's not like they haven't all seen it.

Monday, November 07, 2011

ALL THE GOOD THINGS HAVE BEEN TAKEN. Kia showed me this Megan McArdle column about the Occupy arrestees who spent a lot of money on rent and mortgages, and at first I couldn't see what was so awful about it, besides the usual awful McArdlisms, like compulsive goalpost moving -- you know, from some people having expensive homes to "a $795,000 one-bedroom apartment" to "the people at those protests-- [throatclearing]at least the ones who get arrested[/throatclearing]--really are, on average, unusually affluent." Like they moved to a park because the Hamptons were overcrowded.

But then I focused on this stuff:
Many New Yorkers believe that they should be given some sort of income tax abatement because of the expense of living there (with the lost revenue being made up from "really rich" people, natch). Slightly less affluent New Yorkers frequently believe that landlords should be forced to offer them "reasonably sized" apartments at a modest fraction of their income, because after all, otherwise they couldn't afford to live in New York...

...In fact, perhaps society should get busy making it up to you for all the hardships...

... After all, to state the obvious, that apartment costs so much because many, many people want to live in New York...

... Living in a blue state is a choice.
And then it hit me. She's not limiting herself to the simple point that some things are expensive and if you don't have the money you can't have it. She's talking about the desire to live in New York -- not just to move there, but to keep living there if you'd been there a while without getting rich -- as if it were the desire to live on Park Avenue -- no, better, to live in a fairy palace on a cloud, in fact, a palace and a cloud you wished to steal from your betters. It's not just that you can't afford New York -- it's that you're insolent to even think you should be tolerated there. You just don't deserve it.

If you've seen more than a few movies and heard more than a few songs and read more than a little history, you know New York's place in American culture. All kinds of people have lived there, cheek by jowl; not always comfortably, but enduringly. The poor haven't always had the best time of it, but they persist -- indeed, they still come by the boatloads to live there -- as do the middle-class and the rich. It's part of what even outlanders know and admire about it.

But over the past few decades, despite the legacies of an era when some more enlightened people ran the place, the city's been pushing the poor further out and giving them a harder time. And in recent years the middle class has been getting it, too -- by 2009, the Center for an Urban Future found, it took $123,322 to sustain a traditional "middle-class" life in the city. As the idea of raising a family in the city on a working-class job (with some comfort and occasional vacations, to boot) receded from living memory, those who would and should have been the backbone of the city learned to do with less, or to leave. And the rich, who had always had plenty, scooped up what they had to surrender.

To McArdle this isn't a tragic or even a negative development. It's the natural order of things, or maybe a course correction -- after years of everyone having at least a little something to live on, the Invisible Hand woke one day and realized that freeloaders and ne'er-do-wells were breathing some of the air He, in His wisdom, had reserved for the wealthy, and is righteously putting an end to it. After that He'll do something about their crazy idea that they're entitled to water -- once it's all been privatized, maybe they'll finally take the hint and just lay down and die, perhaps consoling themselves in their last hours with the Freedom of Religion, which the Invisible Hand is pleased to allow them, as it has no market value.

As someone who lived in New York for decades on the (relatively) cheap, I had a box seat for this turn of events. I knew what was happening was worse than unfortunate, but being in the middle of it, and very busy most of the time, and not wishing to be completely consumed by bitterness, I couldn't devote much time to thinking about the injustice of it. But some people have taken the time. Young as they are, they can see what's happening, because it's been accelerating so absurdly that you'd have to be blind -- or bought off -- to miss it. And that's why the worst people on earth are so mad to break them.

UPDATE. Amanda Marcotte rips it up.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rightblogger escalation of the Occupy movement from a bunch of stupid hippies to the Manson Family.

BTW sorry for the paucity of posting here lately. Been busy working, which is good because it pays and bad because it's work. More later.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

BOO! In the midst of the Cain meltdown, what are the big rightbloggers thinking? Ole Perfesser Instapundit:
A JOURNOLIST REMINDER: There was this email group, called Journolist, where journalists got together and talked about how to bury stories that hurt Democrats and push stories that hurt Republicans. Here’s a list of the members.

UPDATE: Who, exactly, is the Cain story hurting?...
Good Christ. Journolist, run by that noted Bolshevik David Weigel* back in 'ought-ten! (I haven't bothered to check the current list, as these guys have made some hilarious misattributions to it in the past.)

Ann Althouse:
Who they were, where they worked.

(Via Instapundit.)

(If you don't remember what JournoList was, click the tag below for all my old posts on the subject.)
Flopping Aces:
Journolist Redux?….The Herman Cain Witchhunt
So, to recap: A joke candidate whom I have come to think of as Black Donald Trump has, after a string of buffooneries, had a previous buffoonery come back to haunt him. Because members of the press had the temerity to ask Black Trump questions about it, the brethren are darkly muttering about a defunct e-mail list which they had portrayed as the nexus of a liberal media conspiracy to protect Obama.

If Journolist still existed, of course, and its members really wanted to protect Obama, they'd be moving heaven and earth to elevate Black Trump to the Republican Presidential nomination. Obama might then get enough electoral votes in 2012 to save up for a third term.

The brethren haven't thought it through. But it's not about thinking. Journolist is a talisman to them, or more properly a trophy, because their squawking did manage to get it shut down and its libertarian founder fired from the Washington Post, which really showed those liberals. And yet the victory seems not to have brought them comfort; now that the night is dark and wolves howl outside the glow of the fire, they act as if the dead Journolist, or some progeny of it, yet lurks the woods, baying for their blood.

*UPDATE. Some of you have written to tell me that Ezra Klein ran Journolist, not Weigel. Sure, that's the cover story the big men tell saps like you. I can't say too much, but there's a reason Klein still sits pretty at the Post while Weigel is forced to forage at some content farm called Skate or something. (If you don't buy that, make it this: Klein, Weigel, what's the diff -- we collectivists don't acknowledge individual achievement.)

UPDATE 2. Commenters get into the retroactive-conspiracy frame of mind. "THE TIDES FOUNDATION IS BEHIND THIS!" (zuzu); "The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was responsible for credit default swaps" (gocart mozart); etc. I liked this from DocAmazing: "You can't win, Darth Wingnut. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine." Maybe you have to be a follower of the Ole Perfesser to appreciate it.

UPDATE 3. Oh, Jesus, Dave:
[Ole Perfesser] Glenn's written another post about this, and he's pretty representative of the emergent defense of Cain: We can't trust the media, because they didn't cover or try to break other stories of sexual harassment when they reflected poorly on Democrats. How about this: The media should be tougher on all of these people?
Tougher on all these people -- yeah, look at the free pass the media gave Anthony Weiner! Why, if he were a Republican, he'd have been hounded from office.

Maybe they should get Weigel fired from Slake or whatever that thing is called. Then maybe he'll see how dangerous the liberal media really is!

UPDATE 4. At Balloon Juice, Tim F looks at the increasingly insane scandal spin and declares, "This is conspiracy building in the same way that making a 'house' with four Lego bricks counts as engineering."

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

COFFEE BREAK OVER, EVERYBODY BACK ON YOUR HEADS. A few weeks back we looked in on The Anchoress and Rod Dreher, two rightwing God-botherers who nonetheless seemed to have been slightly intoxicated by a whiff of American Autumn -- The Anchoress declaring "those who support capitalism and free markets have a responsibility to demand that manufacturers and suppliers do the right thing," like Jesse Jackson or something, and Dreher siding with Occupy Wall Street against Rand Paul.

Could it last? Are they distributing hand warmers at the encampments, or at least boycotting grapes for old times' sake? Let's see what they're up to now:

The Anchoress:
A lot of people on Twitter are swooning over [Herman Cain singing at the National Press Club]. Some are declaring that “Cain just won the election!”

Which is silly nonsense. He hasn’t even won the nomination, yet.

Having said that, though, Cain has just struck a note that will resonate for many in the country, particularly African Americans in the churches. Don’t minimize the effect his lovely basso profundo will have on people who are looking for something a little human, a little authentic and a little consoling. Do not underestimate the impact this stirring little ditty will have on some.
Fifty years from now, there'll be a giant statue in Washington of Cain emerging from a rock with "Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan" chiseled on the side.

Later The Anchoress takes on liberal media bias. You'll find it in the most surprising places!
Former First Lady Laura Bush, and former first daughters Jenna and Barbara have been included in Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year issue.

That’s nice. Surprising. I can’t help wondering, though, why the magazine known for its photos has chosen such a cramped, graceless and uncomfortable-looking one to illustrate their story.

I mean, these are all-three beautiful, poised women. Glamour has them looking like they need to find a loo. Ah, well, what else would we expect, I guess? The other “Women of the Year” fare much better — their pictures are uniformly excellent, spacious, graceful and complimentary — but I guess Glamour couldn’t bring themselves to praise these three women without punishing them, as well, so they served up this unflattering pic.
Wait for it...
Small potatoes? Sure. But still, how petty.
In The Anchoress' world, self-awareness is a mortal sin. Now on to Dreher, who unsurprisingly has fallen hard for that David Brooks "Blue Inequality-Red Inequality" column with which Charles Pierce mopped the deck earlier. Brother Rod feels the spirit, especially the bit about the poor Red chillen suffering from their special Inequality because they have been prevented from getting married and Christening their babies by something or other:
It’s easy to scapegoat the one percent, in part because they really do deserve a lot more critical attention, but also because nobody loves them. It’s far, far more difficult to talk about the other things, because that involves making hard judgments about moral and cultural values, which, generally speaking, liberals don’t like to do (unless it’s against the white working class), and about facing how economic conditions can work against a building a culture of strong families and moral stability — something that most conservatives would prefer not to face. You could confiscate all the money of the top one percent and distribute among the bottom 99 percent, and that would do little to nothing to address this deeper culture of inequality Brooks identifies.
Well, if you also told them, "Get a marriage certificate and this 100 grand is yours," I think that might move the needle. Also, Dreher tells us that bastard Corzine is a Democrat. Fight the real enemy!

As an add-on, let us briefly treat (not successfully, I'm not a clinical psychologist) Megan McArdle, whose Occupy Wall Street post is more or less David Brooks', but stuffed with extra self-regarding prattle, and with a decent respect for your betters (I'm not being colloquial, she means your betters) standing in for God. Excerpt:
Similarly, in the 1990s, when I worked with a lot of mostly blue-collar and first-generation college grads (with a fair sprinkling of Ivy Leaguers, to be sure)...
Can't you just see them at the Blarney Stone, knocking back boilermakers and talking derivatives?
...I didn't hear nearly so much about the rich and how greedy they were--even though in the late 1990s, income inequality was almost certainly worse than it is right now.
Things were rough in the days of the Clinton boom, I tell ya. We didn't have iPods! But wait for it...
As IT consultants...
One is tempted to flip all the cards and call it a night, but let's upshoot this with a parting Shorter: All the OWS kids are just jealous, not like me, and my friend George Orwell agrees.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rise of Herman Cain. I think we have time for a few more surprise GOP frontrunners before the primaries. So whattaya think -- Bobby Jindal? He might as well make some evasive statements which the press will dutifully cover, remind people that he just got re-elected with a big majority, and then walk off with a public image bonanza he may someday parlay into a more promising new job, like a Nawlins-themed cooking show.
WEEKEND SHIFT AT THE BULLSHIT FACTORY. Earlier this week, James Pethokoukis and the AEI were telling us that there isn't any such thing as income equality, because lots of houses have air conditioners, etc. Rich Lowry, however, seems to acknowledge that, why yes, some chaps gets stuck at the bottom -- quite a lot of them, even.

This seems like progress, until Lowry tells us what his solution would be:
This stagnation is less a statement about the structure of America’s economy than about its culture. As Ronald Haskins, also of the Brookings Institution, wrote in an essay for the publication National Affairs, “economic mobility is constrained above all by personal choices and behaviors.” He argues that society’s leaders “should herald the ‘success sequence’: finish schooling, get a job, get married, have babies.” If Americans finished high school, worked full time at a job that matched their skills and married at the rate they did in the 1970s, the poverty rate would be cut 70 percent.
That again! Too bad this wasn't announced during one of the top reality shows, so Lurleen could hear it, run to the other side of the double-wide, smack Jethro in the head and yell "We has to git hitched, cousin, and give these babies a name; then we's movin' up econonomical ladder, Mister Lowry says!"

Lowry's nonsense is pimped by Ole Perfesser Instapundit, who adds his traditional dark musings about The New Class, i.e., "people who, well, have state-supported managerial or intellectual jobs..." He says this New Class in America is made up of people in whom he detects "anti-Americanism, and the various manifestations of what some have called Transnational Progressivism." Ole Perfesser Instapundit is a tenured employee of the state of Tennessee. Whatever else you can say about him, you can't say that he doesn't have nerve.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

YOU NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD. Jonathan Chait compares "inequality deniers" to global warming deniers. At AEI, James Pethokoukis gives his response:
In a way, Chait is correct that income inequality really resembled global warming. Both are issues that, to the extent they are even problems, could be be fixed though faster economic growth.
Don't huh-what yet -- Pethokoukis links to an AEI paper that proves, pinky-swear, that there's no real income inequality in America, either. Highlights:
...official measures... paint a bleak picture of the well-being of the middle class and the poor... This grim picture is inaccurate for several reasons. First, most analyses of economic wellbeing rely almost exclusively on narrow income measures that do not reflect the resources available to the household for consumption. These measures ignore taxes and in-kind transfers such as food stamps and often rely on underreported measures of income.
When you factor in the food stamps and the cash you make selling peeled oranges by the freeway on-ramp, you bums are swimming in wealth.
In addition, [between 1980 and 1999] the middle 20 percent of the income distribution experienced noticeable improvements in housing characteristics: living units became bigger and much more likely to have air conditioning and other features... The share of households with amenities such as a dishwasher or clothes dryer also rose noticeably.
Some of you layabouts even have refrigerators! Coming next: An AEI paper explaining that, when the authors pee down your leg, it's raining if you look at all the data.

Again I have to ask: Do these freaks even know any human beings?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TRY, TRY AGAIN. You may remember when Hot Air's Tina Korbe was snarling at the Occupy Wall Street hippies with their "bag sex, in drugged-out meltdowns, in litter-filled spaces. Even if the ends they aim for are just (arguable), they haven’t pursued them honorably... Then, too, it seems the protesters are looking less for work as they are for the material benefits of work," etc.

Well, as propaganda that wasn't working out too well, so Korbe has a new tack: the erstwhile hippies have gotten a metaphoric haircut, and become quite noble and determined:
It’s becoming increasingly clear: Cold won’t chase these protesters away — at least not immediately. Nor are the NYC protesters alone in their persistence. Across the country (and even around the world), countless others have joined the movement — and appear similarly committed to sticking to their spots as long as possible... Sure, most of the protesters aren’t homeless, but many are jobless — and that’s the point.
Bums no more! The punchline is these newly-ennobled souls are actually not the victims of Wall Street or the banks or any of those things they think they're mad at, but of Barack Obama.
Many of the policies President Barack Obama has championed — not least Obamacare — have contributed to the country’s joblessness. So, it seems neither unfair nor inappropriate to say, regardless of whether they realize it or call it by name and regardless of who else has contributed to the borderline corrupt culture of a federal government in bed with business, the protesters are, in fact, protesting the Obama economy. And that would make those Hoovervilles … Obamavilles.
It's not as if she'd go down there herself and tell the kids this. They're probably as pissed at Tim Geithner as they are at anyone else. But she's not trying to sway them -- they were set-dressing to her as hippies, and they're set-dressing to her as the pathetic residents of the new Hooverville. She's just dressed and lit them differently, and she's trying to get the Silent Majority, whom she just knows is out there waiting for her show, to react to them appropriately.

Rightwing propaganda is generally an easy racket, which is why it draws such weak employees, but they can be fun to watch when they are obliged to make a fast change.
THEIR WHOLE WORLD IS WANKING. The cops rousted Occupy Oakland last night with tear gas.  Normal people are appalled or at least dismayed at the violence; conservatives, expectedly, are jerking off to the footage. Allahpundit:
Video: “The Man” 1, Occupy Oakland 0.
Haw haw, got them hippies good! Verum Serum:
Both the reports I cited said the arrests were peaceful...
The many sources that reported and (in case he can't read) ran pictures of the gassing he somehow missed, or saw but failed to cite. But he'll refer to them with appropriate disdain:
So how is the Kremilin’s network reporting this? Brutal arrests at Occupy Oakland. This is backed up by the lovely folks at Think Progress who have been dutifully repeated anything the protesters said about the raid...
Apparently Verum Serum is not only unable to read, he can't see pictures  or video, either. Maybe he's actually blind, and they keep him in a basement,  periodically hitting him with a stick and yelling, "the tyrant Obama and his flash mobs just ran in and hit us all with sticks!" whereupon Verum Serum stumbles to his Braille laptop and cranks out another screed.

They aren't making hardhats like they used to.

UPDATE. Robert Stacy McCain:
UPDATE: The NY Times reports on the Oakland riot, including reports that some protesters sang “We Shall Overcome” — as if these mangy white hipsters are victims of injustice and the Oakland P.D. is commanded by Bull Connor.
Yeah -- look how nicely dressed those black folks were when the police turned the hoses on them! That makes all the difference.

When the cops are tear-gassing and shooting beanbag rounds at you for protesting obvious injustices, you may be said to have received the Bull Connor treatment. And I must say it's a little rich for McCain to be using the civil rights movements as a stick to beat anyone.

Monday, October 24, 2011

TALL BUILDINGS AND EVERYTHING. Don Surber and his fellow outlanders are convinced by a New York Post story that the hippies of Occupy Wall Street have pitched New York into a crime wave. Funny, their old story was that New York was already having a crime wave caused by black people. Make up your minds!
The recent gunplay has now pushed the number of shooting victims this year slightly above last year’s tragic tally -- to 1,484 from 1,451 -- through Oct. 16.

Four high-ranking cops point the finger at Occupy Wall Street protesters, saying their rallies pull special crime-fighting units away from the hot zones where they’re needed.
Steve M. of No More Mr. Nice Blog already called bullshit, but I must also tell the boys that New York is a very big city, with many precinct houses, and it's not like the citizens in high-crime areas go, "Hey, there's a protest downtown -- quick, let's all shoot at each other before the police can get uptown and stop us!"

I was going to say their idea of city life comes from The Warriors, but it's more like The Warriors as improvised by a troupe of paranoid schizophrenics.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the Iraq withdrawal and the death of Gaddafi, neither of which has made the rightbloggers happy. In the Iraq case, it seems to be for them like the end of a beautiful dream in which the death of Saddam Hussein was the death of Darth Vader -- something they could stretch out in endless sequels and prequels and keep raking in money and respect. Now it's over and they're pissed. Obama fucked with their shit.

Regarding Gaddafi, there've been some grousings along the lines of Big Peace's "Democrats Cheer Gaddafi’s Death: Whatever Happened To ‘No Blood For Oil!’?":
Heck, even Hillary Clinton, who looks more haggard each time I see her, received no any major criticism for describing the Libya operation and the killing of Gaddafi thus: “We came, we saw, he died.”

The hypocrisy is more than palpable.
You too? More like fuck you. I wasn't a big fan of the Libya adventure, and I wouldn't cheer anyone's summary execution, but I must say I've never seen a single one of these guys worry seriously about the torture, imprisonment, or death of any foreign belligerent (or any American suspected of collusion with them) before Gaddafi. Well, maybe Pinochet.

That goes for Bin Laden, too; they said all kinds of crazy shit when he died, but I barely saw anything resembling a human rights demurrer from them. But now some of them are getting all weepy over the Libyan butcher. We have, for example, White House Dossier:
Can anyone imagine Henry Kissinger, George Schultz or Madeleine Albright having a good laugh after taking actions that resulted in someone’s death?
Mainly I imagine these horrible people having a good laugh as they collected the checks. Also, I remember Schultz saying of Gaddafi, "You've had it, pal" in 1986; if the old bastard is still sentient, he's probably marveling that his old client lasted so long.

We can talk about Obama's hypocrisy all day, but in the end his Middle East agenda at least makes some kind of sense. The American conservative approach has demonstrably been to invade a place, fuck the shit out of it, rack up a trillion dollar bill, and then bitch when someone else cleans up the mess.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

SHORTER MEGAN McARDLE: Won't somebody please think of the 1%?

UPDATE. No, really --
I doubt Occupy Wall Street will be assuaged by learning that the top 0.1% now only receive 8% of the income earned in the US, even if that number is the lowest it's been since 2003.
I'm very upset with the liberal media -- they've obviously spiked my proposal, sent to all major networks, to give McArdle a Sunday morning show called Attend Your Betters, starring her and a bunch of dollies (whom she calls her "Board of Directors") having tea and telling each other how good it is to be away from the riff-raff. (I can tell you good people the secret of its inevitable success; once or twice an episode, we let assorted zoo animals loose on the set. No, she won't quit. It'll be just like the financial collapse: she'll never suspect things can go wrong again, so long as all the dolls have pretty dresses.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NEW TO OUR PLANET. John Hood at National Review sees Obama hanging out in a small Southern town where nobody lynched him. Something must be wrong.
But put the president in an unscripted moment with “average” people, such as those who ran into him yesterday at a restaurant in Reidsville, N.C., and you get glimpses of a stiff, stilted scold.
Here's the news report Hood worked from:
To one man, Obama said: “Now, you ate all your vegetables before you had dessert,” noting his wife’s focus on healthy eating...

“You’ve got to work hard,” he said to one pair of community college students.

One woman handed Obama a phone, telling him that her grandmother was on the line. “Hey grandma — boy this is an old style phone … I appreciate you.”
John Hood re-tucks his shirt and interprets:
Called me old-fashioned — though I no longer own an “old style phone” — but I’m not greatly interested in running into politicians who might choose to critique my choice of lunch items and the order in which I eat them. A skillful politician, say a Reagan or a Clinton, might smile conspiratorially and make a joke about how good my dessert looks, or flatter me by asking for a menu recommendation. He wouldn’t thank me for following his wife’s dietary pronouncements, then instruct a passing college student to study hard, then make fun of a grandson’s phone to his grandma.
Along with fairness, equality, and humanity, these guys seem not to understand the concept of normal human behavior.

UPDATE. In comments, Nom de Plume: "I found it shocking and vulgar when he held a very young person (or 'baby'), and pressed his lips to its face, a custom that I am reliably informed is known as 'kissing'. No previous elected official of my recollection has engaged in such behavior publically. I shall register my displeasure with the proper authorities."

harrison is surprised Hood was allowed to implicitly praise Bill Clinton's political skills. Praise for retired Democratic politicians, and dead MLKs, is acceptable for use in National Review propaganda -- you know, like barricading the door with the corpses of the enemy.

It is left for Halloween Jack to spell it out: "If Obama weren't able to schmooze with folks from all over, he wouldn't have made it past the primaries... That whole arugula-and-grey-Poupon thing was invented out of whole cloth by GOP spinners who were deathly afraid of someone who had charisma to spare..." We have to remember that sometimes they're trying to convince others, and sometimes they're just trying to convince themselves.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ROLLING OUT THE BIG GUN. Occupy Wall Street has gotten so troublesome that the brain trust at Rightwing Central -- you know, Hitler, Dracula, Satan, the guy who invented reality TV, et alia -- has been forced to once again call in the man they call The Ano-Vaporizer to argue it down. Take it away, Jonah "This Poundcake Is Lo-Cal 'Cause I Injected It With Frozen Yogurt" Goldberg:
I grew up anti-Communist. I remain anti-Communist. I share with my National Review colleagues and forebears an abiding hatred of Communism. And that hatred extends to ill-conceived, poorly articulated, envy-driven jargon from street radicals.
Jonah Goldberg promises to reveal the secret connection between Josef Stalin and Maynard G. Krebs.
But at the same time I’ve got to say there’s something truly refreshing, even reassuring, about the all of the Marxist twaddle coming out of these protests. These Red goons, buffoons, ruffians and tatterdemalions didn’t spring forth ex nihilo. They’ve been living among us all of this time. All that is new is the opportunity for them to out themselves in YouTube videos and the rest.
None of you were actually expecting him to explain how Occupy Wall Street is communist, are you? It's Jonah Goldberg; lower your expectations.
I think we’ve all known that, but it’s useful to be reminded of it.
Farrrt, farrt farrt -- BTW, joy-poppers, this is where the whole Goldberg Gas thing comes from: the uncanny similarity between many of his rhetorical tropes and flatulence -- i.e., they're valueless, the merest residue of what was once substantial and nourishing; and they stink.
It’s also useful (as I argue in the current issue) to be reminded of the fact that given the flimsiest of excuses a great number of mainstream liberals will drop their apparently feigned resolve against leftwing radicalism and leap at the opportunity to express solidarity with the crazies.
Cut to grainy super-8 footage of Lucianne drilling young Jonah: "And who is this a picture of?" "Action Jackson. [sound of electrical charge] OWWWW! Fart." "Henry Jackson, Jonah! Or you may call him Scoop. And what is Scoop Jackson?" "[crying] C-c-cold war libr'l?" "Very good. Two more and you get a banana boat. Now, who's this a picture of?" "Hubert H. Humperdinck. [sound of electrical charge, sharts, dogs barking]"
So far, except for one honorable dissent from the editors of The New Republic, I haven’t seen any prominent liberals expressing any serious concern about what the occupiers are actually saying.
OK, let's tote it up: Goldberg hasn't made any case at all against the Occupy kids except to call them commies, which unsupported accusation he finds so convincing that he assumes liberals also accept it, and yet they go around acting like everybody doesn't know they're commies, which Jonah proved and I think we all know and farrt fartfart FA RAR R R R R RT. [Wow, that last one had undertones and overtones like the guitar in Teenage Lobotomy.]

The rest just goes on like that, but there's time for one Greatest Hit:
If the Occupy Wall Street mob swept the country, I’m sure some of these liberals would, eventually, find a backbone — particularly when it came time to redistribute their stock portfolios or seize their McMansions.
Yeah, that's when I was planning to get off the bandwagon myself. I mean, fun's fun, but this Olympic-size hot tub doesn't chlorinate itself.

Thank you, good evening, and farrt.

Monday, October 17, 2011

POETS' CORNER. Some of you may remember that I wrote a book some years back, announced that it would be out soon, and then shut up about it. The only public reminders came from a commenter to my Village Voice columns who would regularly write things like "Hey Roy, when is your novel coming out? Or are you just going to write a dull blog for the rest of your life?" I suspect Mark Helprin.

As it happened, the publisher had gone under, and I was too busy/demoralized to do anything about it except drink and stagger around my crappy apartment wearing a cardboard dookie rope to which I had fashioned a crude imitation of a Pulitzer Prize medal.

Well, recently I heard that this e-book thing is all the rage, so I put the novel out in that form. Now you lucky people can buy it for $2.99 (cheap) at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and who knows where else, and read it on your iWhatchamacallits.

As if that weren't enough of a come-on: Morgue for Whores is a neo-noir set in Brooklyn, and has lots of violence, sex, and hard-boiled palaver as only Roy Edroso, semi-known internet buffoon, can deliver. Cover art by frequent alicublog commenter and the pride of New Providence, John E. Williams. Enjoy!

UPDATE. Commenter Snarl says the B&N Nook edition is missing pages, so you may want to try one of the other formats available at the Smashwords link until I find out what the problem is. (Re-Update: I tried out the Nook edition, and found that while the page numbering is indeed screwed up, the pages themselves are complete and in sequence. Weird.)

UPDATE 2. In comments. John E. Williams says, "New Providence sucks." Noted!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about what I like to call the Nixonization of Occupy Wall Street. Catchy, no?

UPDATE. Reagarding a photo of protesters with a "Class War" sign -- which might shock the Little Old Lady from Dubuque, if no one else -- Ole Perfesser Instapundit lays on the bullshit:
And Reuters ran this pic, but I doubt many newspapers front-paged it as they would have a similar photo of masked Tea Party protesters proclaiming some sort of war...
Yeah, the MSM commissioned it and ran it -- but they didn't run it big enough to suit the Perfesser, the Perfesser bets! Well, I don't remember seeing this one on the cover of the New York Post, proving the rightwing media is preje-ma-diced, infinity:

I'm not sure why Reynolds didn't just pretend the picture was from Zombietime, and that Reuters tried to Photoshop it to look like Rick Perry was stupid or something -- it's not as if his minions would notice.

UPDATE 2. Give the commenters some! Hunger Tallest Palin reminds me that the whole thing about sleeping-bag sex, which Tina Korbe claims would incense MLK if he were alive and Thomas Sowell, was more or less claimed against King and his peeps, too -- in fact, some of the brethren still run that game ("Those four days on the road had turned into an habitual sex orgy by the time [the Freedom Riders] reached the capitol").

And D. Sidhe, yes, I know who Kalle Lasn is, but so what? The protesters are not the cat's-paws of Kalle Lasn, nor of George Soros, nor any of the other ooh-scary figures these operatives are trying to stick to it.

Fave one-liner from DocAmazing: "I don't expect originality from these loons, but a shot-by-shot remake of Joe?"

Friday, October 14, 2011

SHORTER DANIEL FOSTER: Are you proud of me now, Dad?

[gets extra points for riffing off a two-month-old story; also for bragging on the Silent Majority of which he is apparently valedictorian, and for generally having the Youth for Nixon schtick down cold]

Thursday, October 13, 2011

COME LET US REASON MAGAZINE TOGETHER. At the Washington Examiner, "A libertarian camps out with Wall Street occupiers." The libertarian is Timothy P. Carney, whose bona fides are impeccable. Expectedly he finds the occupiers' grievances "unfocused," "scattered," "incoherent ," etc, but like Rod Dreher he has to admit, or pretend, that he sees something to approve in them:
They're right. It does undermine our democracy and harm our economy when hiring a former Senate majority leader, for instance, can be the best investment a company ever makes. Wealthy special interests do dictate policy too much, regardless of which party is in power. I don't know who made the sign under which I slept Sunday night, but I agreed with its thrust: "Separation of Business & State." The back read "I can't afford a lobbyist."
Aw, that's sweet. Inevitably, though, Carney has to explain to these kids why all their dreamy talk founders on the strong bedrock of libertarianism: they "don't seem to understand," he says, "that getting government more involved in the economy always gets business more involved in government." I'll bet if he said that to the guy with the sign, he'd be flummoxed! Maybe James O'Keefe can try it with a video camera.

Assuming, perhaps unfairly, that he hasn't already tried it and encountered an unhappy result, Carney should go back down there and explain to the protesters why they can't get something more for the 99 percent out of the 1 percent, because as Galtian supermen the 1 percent deserve every penny they've got. Also, that they should instead focus on reducing government to its libertarian essence, because in that state of nature everyone will get what they need -- except the losers, of course, who are always part of the libertarian vision. (In fact they're its most important part, because how could you be sure you've achieved Free Market Nirvana unless some people die because they don't have health insurance, or starve because they don't make enough money, or lose their home to conflagration because they didn't pay the Fire Department?)

He should tell them also that maybe 99 percent is too big a target -- they should count on ten or fifteen percent, or maybe more, remaining sunk in penury because they made bad choices. Couldn't we call our movement the 75-to-80 percent? Or better yet, the Winners?

C'mon, Tim, let's get the dialogue going. Maybe you can have 'em wearing tricorners before the weather turns cold.
Solidarity hero Lech Walesa is flying to New York to show his support for the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

"How could I not respond," Walesa told a Polish newspaper Wednesday. "The thousands of people gathered near Wall Street are worried about the fate of their future, the fate of their country. This is something I understand."
Walesa's been a supporter of American unions for years, which is something that his Reaganite worshippers always manage to miss; it goes directly to their bone-deep, bonehead conviction that anyone who opposes them is a communist.

Really, I'm just putting this here to increase the chances that they'll hear about it. It's been a hard day and I'd like to refresh myself with the taste of their bitter tears.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DO PEOPLE REALLY CHANGE? You might be tempted to think that, despite her long history of rightwing lunacy, The Anchoress is onto something as she rather surprisingly comes out for fair trade in chocolate and less exploitative working conditions for the folks who bring it to us. She's seen some heart-tugging videos, you see.

Go back a few posts, though, and you'll see she's still on about the flash mobs Obama is using to bring socialist revolution to America. Those of us who follow her know she'll be back at that popsicle stand soon, possibly tomorrow.

So what caused her current hiccup? Besides disturbances in her brain chemistry, I mean. Well, I wouldn't be surprised if it were the Occupy Wall Street stuff. While the regular kind of functionaries are furiously denouncing the damn dirty hippies, the volunteers are more prone to sentiment. (Which is why the functionaries often try to pull them back in line by telling them that the revolutionaries are actually hurting the common people.) Maybe The Anchoress has picked up on the general mood of uplift and social justice, and though she can't get with all this share-the-wealth crap, it may have softened her soul sufficiently that when someone showed her a sob story she thought, o let's be mad! In another era she'd be choking up to "The Impossible Dream" and wondering if maybe she shouldn't just go ahead and put on that Humphrey for President button. Later, of course, she'd be cheering the hardhats.

You can see it more plainly in Rod Dreher, who is in a mood, too:
You know, whenever I hear an American politician, especially a Republican one, denounce “class warfare,” I roll my eyes. What Rand Paul is doing here is implying that any questioning of the way our system distributes rewards is an expression of crypto-Marxism. Is this kind of thing really of no interest to Sen. Paul?
But Dreher is more hapless than The Anchoress; he doesn't have the same kind of sudden dissociative breaks; he has to talk himself into things, often in public. So further down he starts talking about culture war, and after some traveling music about Sarah Palin et alia...
Though liberals refuse to concede it, this line of attack doesn’t come from nowhere. What is invisible to so many on the left is as plain as day to conservatives: the liberal cultural overclass in this country looks down on their values. Candidate Obama’s gaffe in which he condescended to explain conservatives to liberal donors as “bitter” people who cling to God and guns blah blah blah...
Also, liberals recreate themselves by "yelling, 'Bigotry!' in its various forms (e.g., 'Racist! Sexist! Anti-gay! Anti-Catholic! Islamophobe!') at anyone who points it out that there’s something really disordered about their behavior." Rudely disordered! So there you have it: Everyone under the top one percent is getting screwed, but some prig on Fifth Avenue sneered at the salt of the earth -- see, it all balances out.

These have been the observations of an old man who has seen a few surges of popular enthusiasm in his time, and has seen what they came to. By which I mean, kids: don't get your hopes up.

Monday, October 10, 2011

NO WAY TO GO THROUGH LIFE, SON. Jonah Goldberg says some guy says conservatives are obsessed with Elizabeth Warren.
We could stop there; Goldberg isn't likely to make this argument any more convincing. Might be fun to watch him try, though.
But does anyone really believe that George Will(!) was challenged or threatened by Warren’s spiel?
George Will is the Most Interesting Man in The World.
That gets to my point: The reason conservatives responded to Warren’s “declaration” is simply that liberals were relentlessly hyping it. It didn’t become a YouTube sensation among conservatives. It became YouTube sensation among liberals who were inspired by it and then conservatives responded to that.
He's not obsessed, you're obsessed.
It’s an important distinction because to listen to liberals, Warren’s argument strikes fear into the heart of the right because it’s so powerful and super-terrific. It really doesn’t and it really isn’t.
Well that was elegant.
I’m sure Will wrote a column about it not to pay “enormous tribute” to her brilliant insight. Rather, it’s because liberals wouldn’t shut up about it.
In other words, the conservative response to Warren isn’t nearly as interesting as the liberal reaction.
And by "interesting" he means dur hur hur.
The real question is why is liberalism so arid and why are liberals so dejected that when a liberal politician offers a fairly trite exegesis on the social contract, leftwing bloggers stand up and cheer like it’s a St. Crispin’s Day speech?
The real question is why liberals are all jerks. Except he thinks he ought to fancy that up, so he gets a thesaurus, and calls Nordlinger to get the name of an awesome speech by whatshisname, the Hamlet guy, except not Hamlet because everyone knows that's Cuomo's dad.

I like to think Goldberg knows how stupid this is, but enjoys the fact that they have to let him get away with it. He has to have one admirable quality, at least.

UPDATE. Many alicublog commenters disagree that Goldberg has to have one admirable quality. Maybe the ability to appreciate absurdity isn't it -- I think Alanis Morissette would walk away from Goldberg muttering, "This guy doesn't understand irony at all" -- but there has to be something, if only because he's one of my favorite comic characters and I would like him to have the dimensionality of a Tartuffe or a Hank Kingsley. Maybe there's a little boy in Africa he writes letters to. ("Dear Mtumbo, how's it hanging?")

Spaghetti Lee reacts badly to "Meh." I understand; I've written about it before; it's the characteristic vocal tic of a specific type of suburban douchebag who thinks his unqualified, monosyllabic opinion on anything matters because you can't see his house from the road -- the bleat of the burgher who resents every moment the world isn't kissing his ass.  I must admit Goldberg uses it perfectly.

UPDATE 2. Also in comments, Duncan takes offense at my rough handling of Goldberg. I see what he means, but believe he misunderstands me. As I intimated earlier, I view Goldberg as a character and not as a live human being. And in this incarnation he delights me. What look like my gross physical insults to him are only good fun and even in a way (excluding his wretched politics and writing) not unkindly meant. I don't think of Goldberg as fat so much as appetitive; or if he is fat, he is fat like Falstaff, or stately, plump Buck Mulligan, or Junior Samples -- that is, he is outsize, expansive, suitable for State Fair exhibits, one of those giants with whom the world sometimes demands our awestruck attention. His Cheetos are to him as the bow to Orion, and his farts as the wound of Philoctetes, except worse-smelling. I am not insulting him -- I am immortalizing him.
A STEADY DIET OF BULLSHIT. Let's play a game: see if you can figure out whether  Julie Gunlock was forced by her employers to write this horrible thing for National Review, or whether she burst into K-Lo's office juiced to rip the lid off the lefty plot to frighten kids with some junk about children going hungry:
Although Lily is just the latest politically charged plot to come out of Sesame Street...
From this toss-off, I judge the rightwing notion that Sesame Street, known to most of us as promoters of good citizenship and basic education, is actually a communist propaganda mill has been fully adopted by the Central Committee.
...the problem with this storyline is that it is absolutely false. In fact, Lily’s lucky to be “poor” in this country.
Paf! Just because the new Muppet isn't getting enough "food" to "eat" doesn't make her poor but only "poor," which translates from rightspeak to "I know all you homeless fakers are luxuriating in Starbucks bathrooms and eating garbage paid for by my tax dollars, and I resent the hell out of it as I fart through silk and stuff my fat maw."
The truth is, 94.3 percent of American households are able to put enough food on the table every day to feed their families. And despite the grim “facts” and figures thrown around by children’s television programs, celebrity spokespersons, and the mainstream media, the vast majority of children living in America are healthy and well fed.
Leaving only, what, about 15 million hungry? That's not so much and Gunlock sure doesn't know any of them. Plus there's that whole loaded term "hungry":
In fact, American kids have it pretty good. As I wrote on NRO back in January, the idiom “food insecure” — a term created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — means one has either “reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet” or “disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.”

So, far from hungry or starving, Lily suffers from a much less dramatic condition — unpleasant to be sure, but at its core, just a somewhat boring, irregular, and occasionally reduced diet.
Similarly, people who are being waterboarded merely experience occasionally reduced breathing.

I guess there's no game here at all, really. A lingering faith in human nature is all that kept me hoping that Gunlock heaved a big sigh, looked at the desktop photo of the aged, infirm mother her paycheck was supporting, and forced herself to write this literally monstrous piece. In reality there are enough soulless humanoids who would scamper with  glee at the prospect of this assignment to fill several think tanks. Who knows, maybe one day Gunlock will be the business and economics editor of The Atlantic, assuming she hasn't been dragged off in a tumbrel before then. [h/t Kia.]

Sunday, October 09, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rightblogger enthusiasm for their new avatar of conservatism, the late Steve Jobs. Generally they seem delighted that a cool guy who made money died, and give the Occupy Wall Street folks a hard time about it. I think they're so happy with this schtick because they know they won't have another chance for even so cheap a pseudo-irony anytime soon; if either of the Koch Brothers drops dead tomorrow, people will be dancing in the streets.

UPDATE. Commenter James Norris: "I would never have imagined right-wingers to pour out such accolades for an iconoclast hippie drug-addled half-Arab anchor baby."

Friday, October 07, 2011

ANNALS OF McMEGAN. "Whenever I suggest that not everyone should go to college, I am met with cries of classism and snobbery. But here's the thing: I love studying in a way that most people just don't." -- Megan McArdle, who also explains that those non-studious non-McMegan types just sort of wander into college as if it were a blues bar on Beale Street, with no thought whatsoever of the job market, and would be better off if we made college prohibitively expensive (especially now that Megan McArdle no longer goes to one); this would also cause employers to hire high school graduates for desk jobs, of which there must suddenly be an enormous over-supply.

The whole thing is a nightmare, but I don't have time. Feel free to work it over in comments.
THE END OF THE AFFAIR.. It was only when it came that I realized it had long been inevitable. But like all the other poor Gomers who followed her, I thought Sarah Palin was something special. Just a few weeks ago I actually found myself telling a very skeptical  labor lawyer that next summer I expected Palin to ride like a Valkyrie into the convention hall and  relieve the Republicans of whatever false idol they had put in her place.

She certainly kept a game face on to the end. Just weeks ago, when the prominent dopes of the GOP were cautiously essaying their ridiculous war on crony capitalism, Palin jumped in with both feet, and got a lot of the punters to go with. Any time a crackpot idea came down the pike, by the time it was in the public's view (thanks, Liberal Media ) Palin was at the wheel with her pedal to the metal.

But I still should have seen what was up when the more prominent apparatchiks, who are more dazzled by the prospect of re-looting the treasury than by any candidate, started bailing on Palin. Chief RedState buffoon Erick Erickson:
The ["Sarah Palin Cult"] is full of people with little prominence outside a twitter stream, a few nominal soapboxes imagined to be bigger they they are, and possessing a lot of bile and little grace inside an echo chamber of indecision 2012 dementia. About the only thing this cult lacks are thetans...

As Ann Coulter said, “Fish or cut bait.” Governor Palin has teased us long enough. Most of us are tired of it. She has harmed her own entry into the race and now, even if she got in, would only see a modest rise in polling.
Shorter'd: The Republican field has found several fresher, more exciting lunatics, we don't need you. And we of "little prominence" who followed her better get with the program, and pitch in for the big win behind someone normal Americans have not yet learned to hate.

Erickson is nothing if not a wind-sniffer, and would not have put himself out there  if he didn't think the Palin dream was really over -- though, being also a coward, he drenched it in enough don't-get-me-wrong  sauce that he could afterwards say "Oh, no, I didn't mean YOU" to every person involved who might someday be in a position to do him some good, or some harm-- from Palin on down to those campaign operatives whose ship-jumping skills were in order.

And that explicitly did not include those poor sods who carry the hods -- the salt-of-the-earth types who are now left standing at Palin Central, waiting on a train to Galt's Gulch and glory that will never arrive. 

I note this with some sadness, and not only on my own account. Most of Palin's retinue will peel off without many tears to the Perry and Bachmann bandwagons, where their thirst for blood and bullshit may be slaked. But I spare a thought for those who actually believed in Palin -- who thought this venal con woman was the real deal, their mama grizzly, their wingnut messiah -- someone who, though swimming in unearned wealth and privilege, understood their underwater double-wide lives and, though incredibly averse to responsibility, would bravely take up the Old Standard and be the backwoods Boudicca of their redneck resurgence.

She was as close to a new Reagan as the Tea Party people had -- simultaneously  sunny and impenetrable, a great grinning billboard behind which they could safely wreak their bitter vengeance on the hippies, ethnics, and paupers on whom they blamed the modern world. How long will it take for them to move on, and where to? And -- here's a strange thought, coming from someone who expected to see her crowned -- whether they did or not, are there enough of them that anyone will notice? Or was the whole idea that battalions of backwards-looking, flintlock-shouldering patriots marched with her just a scam as well? That would seem the cruelest thing for them to find: that they were doomed all along, and had only seemed close enough to victory to yearn for it because hucksters found profit in telling the world that they were.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Today I saw a side to the Occupy Wall Street protests which hasn’t been much reported — the impact on local businesses. A Vietnamese immigrant came up to me and, frustrated, asked me what the protesters wanted and when they would leave. He hasn’t worked for two weeks, he said:
I don't recall this issue coming up back in the days of large Tea Party rallies. (Come to think of it, given the Tea Party position on the subject of immigration, shouldn't Cooke have verified that his Vietnamese subject isn't here illegally? Maybe Cooke, who has a furrin accent himself, didn't want to open up a can of worms.)

Next Cooke should talk to the banksters' cleaning ladies, whose workloads I'm sure have increased since the Occupation began, especially in and around their employers' liquor cabinets and toilets.

UPDATE. At Hot Air, Tina Korbe learns that Americans are warm toward the protesters' slogan,  “The big banks got bailed out, while we got left behind," but fancies this means they share her feeling that Obama is a monster for regulating offshore drilling, ergo, "Clearly, the American people understand the problem of crony capitalism better than the protesters themselves." It's amazing what they come up with when their whole philosophy is challenged by what's right in front of their noses.

UPDATE 2. In comments, Chuckling offers some primary reporting from the protest site.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

BRIEFLY NOTED. God bless Hank Williams Jr., who got in trouble for comparing Obama to Hitler. I'm giving him the same respectful treatment I gave the Dixie Chicks when they made their (non-Hitlerrific) remarks about Bush -- that is, snidely favorable comments. If a celebrity can't act like a buffoon in this country, then why the hell did Beaver Cleaver fight and die in Vietnam?

UPDATE. Making things even better is the coverage at Big Journalism, where I learn that Mike Tyson is a progressive and that Dana Loesch is still the master of schoolyard argument:
It seems that progressives are doing more to call Obama “Hitler” with their accusations than Williams implied with his remark.
That's their strength, you see -- you'd be embarrassed to say something like that, wouldn't you? These guys will smear themselves with poo just to keep the guards from grabbing them.

UPDATE 2. He can get tiresome, but I really do like HWII. His cover of "Kaw-Liga" is most kicking.

UPDATE 3. I see some of y'all don't like ole Hank Jr., though commenter Matt T ably defends him here. Again I am reminded of that unnamed New York Times editor who, years ago, blurbed TV listings for especially crappy, lurid old movies thus: "You want Hamlet, read it."

Monday, October 03, 2011

IS LANGUAGE A VIRUS? DEPENDS ON WHO'S USING IT. At Hit & Run, Meredith Bragg mentions that Reason has interviewed Ken Burns, whose Prohibition documentary is available via [looter-moocher network] PBS:
"The telling of history need not be Castor Oil, the dry recitation of dates, facts, and events" says Burns, who rejects doctrinaire activism in his art despite calling himself a "Democrat for life."
Similarly, I understand that despite calling himself a libertarian, Matt Welch does not have resounding B.O., nor reflexively correlate occurrences in everyday life to scenes from obscure science fiction novels, nor stand too close to you when he talks. (Gillespie I don't know about.)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP about the rightblogger response to Occupy Wall Street. They seem to think it's a bunch of hippies being their usual dirty hippie selves, and a great occasion for hippie-punching. I don't know nothing about it, but anytime the rightbloggers and the New York Times are on the same page ("Look at these kids, sitting here with their Apple computers") you have to assume all right and justice is on the other side.