Sunday, July 31, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rightblogger coverage of the debt ceiling fight. Some squawked, some chest-bumped, but in the end, it would seem, they got what they wanted. Not enough of it, of course -- it's never enough. And that's the secret of their success.

UPDATE. Oh Jesus, Shorter Joe Klein: So what if Obama got walked over -- at least he wasn't impolite! I guess Klein thinks if Obama gets tough, it's like Mookie throwing a trash can through Sal's window, and black neighborhoods will erupt in riots.

UPDATE 2. All the comments are, guess what, great, but I have to pull up cleter's: "Obama should have told Geithner to mint a trillion dollar coin with Reagan's face on it. Republicans would have been powerless to stop such a thing."

Friday, July 29, 2011

NO COMPROMISE. I don't have high hopes for the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis, particularly with the addition of a balanced budget amendment to the Boehner plan. Our opinion leaders appear to see the situation as this New York Daily News cover portrays it -- two sides being unreasonable. But it's the Republicans who are proposing big changes consonant with the agenda of their most radical constituents. And while the GOP jumps to please its Tea Party peeps, Democrats don't seem to hear their further-left members at all; the Reid plan is basically a softcore version of the Republicans'.

In other words, all the movement has been in the Republicans' direction, as the cannier conservatives have noted. If the Democrats really believe that massive cuts will further weaken the economy, they're doing a great job of concealing it. The situation offers little hope that significant new tax revenue from our wealthiest fellow-citizens will be included in whatever deal gets done. All the burden will be borne out here in Little People Land.

So a desperate GOP, holding only the House and strongly influenced by its fringe, yet pulls the country further right; and the Democrats, with the Senate and the White House, follow along, dragging their feet a little. Things may change, but they'd have to go awfully far in reverse before this becomes anything like what is traditionally called a compromise.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

SHORTER KATHRYN J. LOPEZ: Dollywood told this lesbian to turn her "marriage is so gay" shirt inside-out. She complied, but brazenly persisted in being gay. Moral: I hate fags, I mean tyranny.
WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE RANDIAN SUPERMEN? Dr. Mrs. Ole Perfesser reacts to the inclusion of apple slices in McDonalds' Happy Meals:
Great, I’m allergic to apples as are many people because of the pollen allergy. I have a friend who has very low sodium levels and when she goes to restaurants in New York City where she lives, she actually needs the salt. Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to ban salt leave my friend frustrated and annoyed. I wonder how many kids have apple and/or pollen allergies? Human physiology varies from person to person. One person’s apples are another’s poison. Are regulators and perhaps Michelle Obama trying to kill me with their “good intentions”? And don’t they care about the children?
It is unsurprising that our would-be Galtian overlords sense great personal danger in a change in the McDonalds menu. But "frustrated and annoyed" by a possible reduction of salt in prepared foods? Someone tell Dagny Taggart one of the things on the table with holes on top is filled with salt. They don't want you to know!

UPDATE. Patriot Update tried to warn us back in January -- Walmart was the thin end of the wedge!
Michelle Obama and nutrition czar Sam Kass have taken the Food Police nationwide. Last week Wal-Mart announced that it is joining the first lady’s anti-obesity campaign by reducing the salt and sugar content of the food it sells.

As perfectly staged as Thursday’s White House-Wal-Mart press conference was, it is clear that this is not Wal-Mart’s doing. Wal-Mart has been coerced into complying. I kept looking for the Wal-Mart spokesman to flash a silent “distress” signal during the press conference.
Imagine those poor top Walmart execs living under such conditions! And to add insult to injury, Democrats want them to pay more taxes.

UPDATE 2. In comments, Doghouse Riley: "I have a friend who insists his spinach salad has never tasted the same since they made 'em wash the E. coli off." And Mark B thinks DMOP "should partner with [Megan McArdle] so they can negotiate with Mickey D's to put Pink Himalayan salt in the Happy Meals." Good idea -- it will help drive all the Poors out of McDonalds, and they can go eat in those outer-borough taquerias or whatever they call their food-hovels.

Several commenters wonder why DMOP hates the free market, but as Patriot Update showed, these corporation heads only appear to be making business choices based on market realities; they are in fact mind-control slaves of the Kenyan Pretender. When liberated by the Republicans, they will burn down the FDA and sprinkle bacon bits on your frozen yogurt.

UPDATE 3. Roger Ailes asks the burning question: Who is John Salt?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CHUTZPAH. An anti-circumcision bill is under consideration in San Francisco. The local ACLU has come out against it, there's a lawsuit against it, some Democratic state assembly members are trying to head it off, and the polling doesn't look good for it.

Still, dare to dream, Dennis Prager:
If the most left-wing major city in America starts arresting Jews who have their children circumcised there, some American Jews might awaken to the threat to Jews posed by the Left.
Maybe Prager can try an "Operation Chaos"-style vote freep to get it passed. Won't Rush be impressed if it works!

Can't leave Prager without noting this:
The anti-Israel propaganda on the left is so great and so effective that according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Many of the youths who survived the [Norway] massacre said they thought the killer, dressed as a police officer, was simulating Israeli crimes against Palestinians in the occupied territories.”
I must say, sticking somewhat to the subject, that it takes some balls to find an anti-Israel angle in the story of an Islamophobic mass murderer.

Monday, July 25, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rightblogger reaction to Anders Breivik's Norwegian rampage. As is customary with these guys, they imagine themselves the aggrieved party, put upon by liberals who connect their politics with Breivik's just because -- well, their politics are Breivik's. If my local ward-heeler went on a mass-murder rampage, I wouldn't feel obliged to explain to the world that not all Democrats are mass murderers, especially on such thin evidence of slander as rightbloggers present. For a bunch of internet tough guys they sure are pissy and defensive.

Oh, and it strikes me that in all their complaining, they don't have a lot to say about the dozens of people who were murdered in cold blood. It's as if victims only become worthy of their interest when they're killed by Muslims.

UPDATE. Comments brilliant as usual; I especially appreciate BigHank53 linking to Charles P. Pierce's story on the Spokane would-be MLK Parade bomber, and other right-wing nutcases.

Meanwhile rightbloggers, including big ones like the Ole Perfesser Instapundit, continue to insist that they're the real victims here. The various defenses of Jennifer Rubin genuinely surprise me; Rubin was clearly, spectacularly wrong, yet her comrades echo her belligerent response that even non-Muslim violence is a reminder of Muslim violence as if it were a home truth rather than a non-sequitur. And Mark Steyn actually disappoints me; the incident seems to have spooked him off his usual stylish insouciance, and thrown him back upon gooberisms more appropriate to dimwits like Jonah Goldberg.
So, if a blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavian kills dozens of other blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavians, that’s now an “Islamophobic” mass murder? As far as we know, not a single Muslim was among the victims. Islamophobia seems an eccentric perspective to apply to this atrocity, and comes close to making the actual dead mere bit players in their own murder.
The killer explained at length that he considered leftists responsible for the Islamification of his country, and then he went out and killed a bunch of them. He clearly despises liberals and Muslims, and mass murder is his preferred mode of self-expression. It's easy to see why Norwegians worry that some other nut -- possibly also quoting Mark Steyn -- might decide to cut out the middleman.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

PRIDE (IN THE NAME OF LOVE) In preparation for what is expected to be the first legal gay wedding in New York State, Niagara Falls (courtesy of @LanceBass):

Goddamn, I'm proud to be an American.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I'M SORRY, AMY WINEHOUSE. Back when I was crushing copy for the Voice, I sometimes had a bit of fun with the antics of Amy Winehouse. Her bizarre behavior and drug escapades made for good copy.

As you may imagine, I feel kind of bad about it now.

It's a bitter kind of amusement to joke about musicians headed for an early death, and musicians sometimes play along. Lou Reed once finished neck-and-neck with Keith Richards in a poll of likely casualties, and Reed deadpanned that he was proud to be mentioned in the same breath as Keef, "a real rock star." To an extent this is whistling in the dark. Sometimes people who dance on the edge successfully complete the performance and move to firmer ground, and the examples of the survivors (like Reed and Richards) insulate us from the possibility that the dancer may take a very hard fall. It's all fun and games until someone loses a life.

I make a joke now and again about the possibility of my own untimely demise (though it's getting a little late for that). This is a leftover from my punk rock days, when I was living a good deal harder than I do now, and more inclined to romantic, Wertherian broodings. (The title of the unfinished third Reverb Motherfuckers album was Goodbye Cruel World, and I blush to think of some of the lyrics I wrote for it.) When you tend that way, you don't always know how serious you are about it until life gives you a clue. The examples of some people who went all the way helped convince me that in matters of self-destruction I was a mere poseur. Now, though I sometimes sink into despair, I'm less likely to act it out. But the pose has stayed with me in the domesticated form of a writer's schtick. Does everything seem ridiculous and beyond hope? Well, then, there's always oblivion, a good card to play when nothing else seems to work.

It's easy to forget that some of us aren't playing. All I really know about Winehouse is that she was ferociously talented, a very good songwriter and a great singer. I like Back in Black but only ever owned Frank, which I'm listening to now. Her idiom was old-fashioned but she inhabited it fully; it was the product of great craft but also wholly natural; you can hear her taking pleasure in her own sound without abandoning the meaning of her songs. Her work always had more than one thing going on in it. When the songs were moody, her pleasure lifted them; when they were playful, her craft gave them ballast. ("Fuck Me Pumps" would sound much cheaper without it.)

As a million second-rate chanteuses have shown, this is no mean feat. It's the kind of mastery that makes you believe the singer can do anything. When she started to fall, some of us thought it was something her talent, or some innate respect for it, would pull her back from. When she stayed down, some of us still couldn't take it seriously. Now the seriousness is inescapably proven, and along with the regret that comes with the passing of any major artist, I feel regret that it took this to convince me. Celebrities aren't friends, and we're not obliged to act as if they were. In fact it's presumptuous to do so. But, generally speaking, it's never a good thing to treat the sufferings of another human being as if they were unimportant.

UPDATE. All of the comments are good, but I would draw your attention to that of BigHank53. Go look; I won't do it the violence of excerption.

UPDATE 2. Great tribute by Maura Johnston at Sound of the City.

UPDATE 3. I'm taking What Would Tyler Durden Do off the blogroll. I've long appreciated his harshness, but this is bullshit.

Friday, July 22, 2011

AROUND THE HORN. I know, it's hot. But as someone who was born in July and spent a summer in east Texas, I advise that you screw your courage to a sticky place, and try not to look at the thermometer. Heat waves are unpleasant but, making allowances for the medically vulnerable, they're unlikely to kill you, while internalizing the endless newsbreaks about them could make you crazy enough to kill yourself. Like a lot of what's on the TV news, those stories use endless repetition and alarmism to keep you twitching. Ignore them. Stay mentally chill, and hydrate.

Speaking of crazy, Peggy Noonan endorses the Gang of Six plan, and says the only thing standing in its way is... Barack Obama, who talks too much and should instead "stay in his office, meet with members, and work the phones, all with a new humility." In reality, conservatives have been screaming bloody murder about the plan ("[Brent] Bozell: Republicans who support Gang of Six proposal ‘will walk the plank’'; National Review, "Worst Plan So Far"; etc). But they scream bloody murder about everything and then when it's done, whatever is done, declare victory. Noonan wants Obama locked in his office so he won't be at the champagne party when the inevitable agreement is reached. Given that said agreement will probably be awful, maybe Obama is well-advised in that respect.

My old Voice pal Steven Thrasher has an interview with Kitty Lambert who is expected to pop the cherry on New York's marriage equality act and be legally wed to Cheryle Rudd on Monday "in front of the specially rainbow lit Niagara Falls," thus destroying the institution of marriage and Maggie Gallagher's digestion in the most spectacular way possible. Yay!
BLEW PERIOD. Some sissy in a beret must have made him look bad, because Ace O'Spades is on about the artist menace:
The Police song -- Synchronicity I, I think -- goes...
Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes, Contestants in a suicidal race.
That is, all you wage-slaves headed to work each day are lemmings in a suicide machine.

You hear this an awful lot from artists. An awful lot. You see this basic idea -- the emptiness and awfulness of normal, quotidian life -- in dozens of movies, like the empty American Beauty, and damn, if they don't win Oscars a lot.

Death of a Salesman was about this. So, instant classic.
Spades prefers Tommy Boy, because "the heroes actually made good quality car parts so that people could fix their cars."

To each his own, you might say. Spades talks about these things as if only their allegedly bourgeois-hating creators could enjoy them -- because they "could not function happily within the confines of what most people would call 'a normal life,'" he says, "and are driven towards more Bohemian, atypical lifestyles." (Never heard of Wallace Stevens, I guess.)

But Synchronicity II*, American Beauty, Death of a Salesman et alia were hits. They weren't only patronized by scribblers and dabblers. Even people who make good quality car parts dug them.

It never crosses Spades' mind to ask why ordinary people sometimes go for songs, plays, and movies that suggest their lives might not be all they'd hoped. He doesn't know what art's for. In his view it's always about self-affirmation, always being told that you're right and that other possibilities would inevitably be worse. In other words, it's like his own political propaganda, only with tom rolls and explosions.

Among the essay's more poignant moments:
I don't begrudge them that. As someone who's wound up, whether by choice or by chance, in a sort of Bohemian limbo myself, I get why they chafe at the idea of 9 to 5 and nicely-trimmed suburban lawns, myself.
Pause to imagine Spades in Bohemian limbo: sharing a garret with other disaffected rightbloggers, deranging their senses with Mountain Dew and discussing 24 deep into the night. Then Spades made the big time, and it looked like he and his buddies were going to really change things; it would be Montparnasse all over again! Alas, inevitably came the disenchantment.

The rest is mostly bitching about those damned artists and their superior attitudes, but I have to point this out:
In fact, the number of artists a society can support is surely hard-capped at no more than, say, 1% at the very most, and only during a period of strong, strong economic activity, when artists who can't make a living on their art can get paid good wages as a waiter or something.

This is so obvious, isn't it?

So what the hell is the Artist scorn for all non-Artists?
As usual Spades is projecting massively. But as a conservative, he should have considered this answer: if that one percent of artists has succeeded financially despite overwhelming odds, why wouldn't they have contempt for people who hadn't made it, or were unmotivated to try? Here, this may help: try imagining them as investment bankers or captains of industry who consider themselves producers and everyone else looters and parasites.

*UPDATE. Commenters point out that Ace got this title wrong, so I fixed it. Some of them also draw a connection between Spades' peculiar idea of art and the Soviets', which, I have sometimes noted here, is increasingly adopted by American conservatives. Not every philistine is a would-be commissar, but with these guys you have every reason to be nervous, as they talk so much about lifestyle issues these days, and their Will to Power is so fierce.

kth notices that Jay-Z provides the kind of business-friendly messaging Spades could get with -- actually a lot of rappers do -- but that would require Spades to adopt an idiom with which I suspect he would not be comfortable.

UPDATE 2. Ed Driscoll puts his oar in:
Actually, it’s not artists; it’s leftists... a few months ago when I spent a week in Texas, I listened to several hours worth of songs celebrating working hard, living on a farm, patriotism, and essentially being a grown-up.
I spent six months in Texas. Maybe Driscoll's handlers played him nothing but Toby Keith and told him he was from Texas. Surely they didn't play him any Ray Wylie Hubbard. Or Brian Keane: "When you sing about your Wrangler jeans/Pickup trucks and Dairy Queens/You make the place I love seem like a bad cartoon..."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A COUPLE OF WHITE GUYS SITTING AROUND TALKING. Jonah Goldberg is puzzled that a private school and a journalists' convention are promoting "diversity" as selling points. I'm puzzled by Goldberg. Isn't he a capitalist? It should no more bother him that services are peddled with diversity than if they were peddled with HD, 9.0 megapixels, electronic brake-force distribution, or whatever. Hell, Violet from Peanuts bought a bracelet because it was hi-fi. Just because Goldberg doesn't want it doesn't mean other high-end consumers won't.

Maybe Goldberg thinks the proliferation of diversity talk is bad for America in some way. Will he grasp the nettle?
Whether you think that’s a good thing or bad — or a mix of the two — is a topic for another day.
Goldberg never fails to come down to our expectations.

John Derbyshire jumps in to make everything worse:
Last week the whole Derb family went to an Open House at the college our daughter will be attending this Fall. As part of the presentation there was a promotional movie for the college. One of the first words spoken in the movie was “Diversity.” I think it may actually have been the very first: “Diversity is our highest goal here at . . .” or some such.
Or maybe it said, "Your daughter will meet attractive black men"; with the blood pounding in his ears, Derbyshire may have misheard. Also, unlike Goldberg, Derbyshire is willing to say where he stands on the whole diversity racket:
The U.S.A. was born diverse and we have never had any choice but to cope with that original Diversity as best we can.
Just so: along with the Brits, Germans, et alia, hundreds of thousands of black people somehow wound up in America in the 18th Century, and it's been nothing but trouble ever since. I believe Charles Murray wrote a book about it.
Still, if managing Diversity demands such commitment of time, resources, and effort, above and beyond what is ordinarily required to keep a civilization going and an economy humming, isn’t it foolish to be taking on more Diversity? Especially in a world where, as one of your commenters points out, we are in rivalry with big nations that have no Diversity overhead at all?
Well, there's an exciting new theory of America's economic doldrums: we face a disastrous racial purity gap. Maybe one day Derbyshire will explain his plan for addressing it. I expect it will involve driving African-Americans out of the country with dialect humor.

UPDATE. Another classic Goldberg-Derbyshire tag team on the subject. (And another.)

UPDATE 2. Right out of the comments box: "What'ya mean 'we,' lime-sucker? Get your rotten-toothed, queen-humping arse back to Old Blighty and leave America to us Americans." You're the real racist, Roger.

RACE CARD. Rep. Allen West called Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz “vile,” “despicable” and “not a Lady," which is unusually pointed language for intramural Congressional squabbles, and the Democrats are making hay of it. Perfesser Instapundit interprets the situation thus:
RACISTS: Democrats Demand Allen West Apologize For Criticizing White Woman. I guess they figure he doesn’t know his place.

Hey, I didn’t make the racial rules for political discourse. I’m just following their previous application.
Ann Althouse gets in on it:
What's with West? Is he — as Think Progress would have it — into "making outrageous statements just to provoke a reaction"? Or have media folk on the other side of that "ideological clash" decided that the way to ruin Allen West's potential for a brilliant career is to portray him as hotheaded and irrational?
Portray? West's comments were impolitic, as even West seemed to realize, albeit briefly. Althouse adds:
In this context, let's remember all the discussion about how Barack Obama had to fend off the "angry black man" stereotype:
And she excerpts a year-old article with some quotes about Obama's rhetorical mildness, e.g.: "Rev. Wright almost cost [Obama] his run for the presidency because of fears of the angry black man... He is Mr. Equanimity and Mr. Consolation... That's how he negotiated his way through multiple worlds, and reached out across bridges." Trying to figure out what Althouse means is often an unrewarding chore, but the idea seems to be that because Obama's publicly even temper has been noted, noticing West's less-even temper is... shit, I don't know; again I rely on the Perfesser to interpret:
ARE THE MEDIA TRYING TO TAR ALLEN WEST with the “angry black man” stereotype?

Because I’m pretty sure that makes them racist.
Further down the food chain, we get stuff like this: "WOW, I think the DNC chair is a racist. She’s going after Allen West because he’s black. That’s the only reason for the issue. IF a white man had said what Allen West said it would have been overlooked. I’m sure of it.. Debbie Wuzhernamesmuck is a RACIST!" Not to speak of the commentary at the plankton level.

Having recently been confronted by unambiguous racists -- the kind who use "nigger" without irony -- I am perhaps more sensitive than I might be to this kind of thing. Their claims are unserious -- I assume even they realize that normal people would find them ridiculous, were they to stumble upon them. But they're still disturbing, because they presume that any claims of racism (except the kind made against black people) are phony and meaningless, so why shouldn't they have some fun with them, too? It would be nice to think they're doing this in hopes that, by laughing it off, we can get past the absurdity of racism itself. But I expect that if they need some base-shoring in 2012, we'll find that they're hoping for something entirely different.

Monday, July 18, 2011

NEAREST THE MERCHANT'S HEART. At Andrew Sullivan's site, a discussion of that flogging-for-prison thing I talked about earlier. Here's one conservative's reaction:

Maybe we should take this to its logical conclusion, and allow inmates to, say, cut off a hand to get out of two years of prison. Or maybe a leg to get out of five. Similarly, borrowers should be allowed to put up a pound of flesh if they default on a loan. Hey, it's their choice, right?

When did this sort of thing become debatable?

UPDATE. Among our brilliant commenters, with their references to Larry Niven and fafblog and so forth, Gerald Fnord comes out of the gate with "the problem with a system that will let you buy anything is that everything will be for sale... at which point no right is inalienable."

Quite so. The follow-ups by aimai et alia about kidney harvesting further remind me of those libertarian-style conservatives who want to let living citizens put their vital organs on the open market; they usually say it's Because Freedom, but I suspect they see it as a kind of extreme welfare reform -- instead of subsidizing the desperately impoverished, why not give them the opportunity to pull themselves up by their own ureters? Rich people have the need, and poor people have the kidneys -- problem solved!

When you get used to thinking this way, the idea of letting prisoners trade their own torture for early dismissal from prison seems like a no-brainer. These are the sort of people who go in for bland cost-benefit analyses of torture and, when the local school calls to report that their sons have been bullying other kids, breathe sighs of relief and satisfaction.
No Time for Real Time
By Kathryn Jean Lopez

On this weekend’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the host presided over a discussion of imagined violent sex with two presidential candidates (Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum), courtesy of Air America’s Marc Maron and Dan Savage (who we last heard from on the joys of non-monogamy).

What a repulsive conversation. And it is not a first there.

Can we all agree to avoid that show? To avoid going on it. To avoid watching it.
The idea of Lopez looking for high-fives while all the fame-hungry Conerites pretend to tie their shoes is pretty funny, but no match for her next line:
I’d like to think most try to enter conversations on television hoping to bring something new and different but uplifting and constructive, that might move the conversation forward.
I guess whenever Jonah Goldberg goes before the cameras, the National Review interns jam Lopez's transmission, and secretly replace Goldberg's actual burblings with old tapes of Malcolm Muggeridge.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the debut of the Sarah Palin hagio-doc The Undefeated and the grand claims for it made by rightbloggers. Basically, they opened the thing in a couple of cowtowns, and it's supposed to be the biggest sleeper since Easy Rider. Those of us living in civilization will have to wait to see how good it is, but the bullshit of the Palin promoters remains ripe as ever.

Not included in the column is the review by Ben Howe of RedState, wherein he abhors and repents his prior lack of Palin worship.
I didn’t think she’d really done much in Alaska, or if she had, that it was enough to act like she was the second coming of Reagan. I thought that her contributions when being interviewed were bubble-gum and lacking of any real substance. I would never finish hearing a story about her and think, “Wow, I never thought of that before.” I just didn’t see that she had that much to offer.
But then he saw the movie --
I pride myself on my ability to know when something is baloney, almost instinctively. On Sarah Palin, I was so incredibly hoodwinked that the one word that my wife and I agreed described how we felt after watching it, was shame. Yes of course invigoration, satisfaction and all the other things you experience when watching a good film, but about how we had handled our vetting of Mrs. Palin, shame was the word that best described it.

Shame for not bothering to look up her record. Shame for not reading her story. Shame for turning the channel when she came on the tv. Shame for not listening to people that we had a great deal of respect for like Andrew Breitbart, Tammy Bruce, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
Keep in mind, this is a guy from RedState saying this. I tried to think of possible equivalents -- like a Daily Kos poster tearing his shirt and groveling because he never really appreciated Joe Biden -- but I think you'd have to go back to the Middle Ages, or to the Salem Witch Trials, to find such a (in the words of the padre in A Clockwork Orange) grotesque act of self-abasement. Maybe this is how these people keep the poor fish in their ranks from converting -- by offering conversion opportunities internally.

Well, read the column anyway, before the comments box gets taken over by racist lunatics.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

THE FUTURE OF ECHO CHAMBERS. As most of my posts are about politics, I guess I qualify as a political blogger. But it's not really politics as such that motivates me. I don't see myself promoting any political agenda, and would be very surprised to hear that anyone had changed their party affiliation or views on an important subject because of what I've written.

In fact, for years I tried as hard as I could to avoid politics. But with the dawn of the blog era, it became hard to even take the online equivalent of a Sunday stroll without being confronted by politics in its most degenerate form. So was I spurred; but not by offenses to my politics so much as by offenses to my reason.

I can countenance and even be swayed by conservative arguments, but much of what I read by rightbloggers has less to do with argumentation than with propaganda, noise-making, and just plain bullshit. And, by whatever accident of my upbringing, that sort of thing just grates on my nerves.

Take the subjects of some of my recent posts. Their politics are obnoxious to me, but my complaints have mainly been against the sloppy and even deranged thinking with which they attempt to promote them: the focus on irrelevant detail, the projection of political import onto trivialities, the mistaking of racist slurs for arguments, the false assumption of victim status, etc.

And that's mostly what they've got. When you survey memeorandum or Blogrunner, what you see doesn't resemble Plato's Symposium so much as the mob of crackpot messiahs howling in the public square in Monty Python's Life of Brian. And it gets worse all the time.

I got some idea of where this may go next from the comments to my recent Voice column.

The topic was rightblogger promotion of the idea that America suffers from a black crime wave. After a few rounds of the usual lively back-and-forth, one commenter started frenetically cutting-and-pasting stories about crimes with black perps -- hundreds of them, sometimes with commentary like "MASSIVE CHIMP-OUT" -- and claiming they were "evidence" that the "libtards" were wrong and that blacks were terrorizing America.

I pointed out to him that hundreds of thousands of violent crimes are reported in America every year, and that his cut-and-pastes don't prove anything; his reaction was to scream obscene insults and to call for my death. (Other commenters tried to engage him and got the same thing.) He even brought aboard a couple of other commenters to yell insults at me, and at black people in general.

They've been at it for days now. And they're all very pleased because now they're the only ones left in that combox, leaving them free to beat their chests and holler undisturbed. They aren't reaching anyone who isn't already convinced, as they are, that black people are inferior, but that apparently doesn't matter as much to them as their reign over a tiny corner of the Voice website.

This occupation by racist psychos is an extreme case, but as spaces in which actual discussion may take place shrivel away -- and the very idea of discussion falls into desuetude -- I expect you'll see more of this kind of thing. Because when reason is no longer meaningful, the only standard left is force -- how many words you can paste, how many all-caps insults you can inflict; freeping writ large. People like Rupert Murdoch have always been able to do this to the venues they own, of course, but in our electronic age, any dedicated (that is, insane) party may do it to other people's venues; having no other model for the propagation of his ideas, he has no reason not to.

Maybe a new kind of content farm will emerge, dedicated to flooding every available space with propaganda instead of advertising. In fact, as our billionaires get further into political outreach, maybe that kind of advertising will outstrip the other kinds. What the hell, when they're that brainwashed, they'll buy anything.

In any event, it doesn't look like an improvement. Thanks again, internet!

UPDATE. The psychopath seems to have invaded these comments, too. My regular commenters seem to know how to handle him, but I'm still going to block him when I get home, so if you want your last licks, take them now.

UPDATE 2. OK, I've blocked him -- not something I like to do, but the guy's clearly deranged. Sigh. Isn't it strange that anyone would choose to so misuse his time on earth?

I feel like one of those cops on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, coming home to his family after a long day of dealing with the criminally insane.

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.